Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Portfolio: • Windsor in My Sketchbook

Frank and Percy at Theatre Royal Windsor

View from Row F: DOM the Play at Theatre Royal Windsor

View from Row F: Timothy Hudson as Boris Johnson and Chris Porter as Dom last night at Theatre Royal Windsor in ‘DOM the Play’, half bio/half ‘satirical cabaret’ directed by Michael Kingsbury. Brilliant.

Before the play began I had time to block in the minimalist stage set, and when Dom appeared I threw a few lines on the paper as a place holder, on the off chance Dom might return to that spot before long. In the end I left Dom partly assembled (sorry, Chris!), and turned the page to wait.

Then after the interval Boris turned up and never quite left the stage, and thanks to actors Sarah Lawrie and Jamie Hogarth there were brief appearances by Teresa May, Angela Merkel, the Duchess of Sussex, David Cameron, Nigel Farage, Nicola Sturgeon and the Queen. We were laughing right the way through.

My sketchbook is only tiny, an A6 model by Seawhite, but the rewards of live performance sketching are enormous.

Theatre Royal Windsor - 'Home I'm Darling' January 2023

We had excellent seats last night at Theatre Royal Windsor for ‘Home, I’m Darling’, a thought provoking feminist comedy with a toe-tapping 50s playlist. I had brought a little sketchbook and a fineliner pen, throwing lines down on the paper before the lights dimmed, and adding details in haste during the interval. Today I added colour and embroidered the stage curtain pelmet.

As I sketched during the interval, a young woman turned up at my elbow to say how nice it was to see someone drawing. I showed her what I was trying to do with my sketch, and turned to other pages so she could see what I’ve been up to. We talked about art class ‘failures’ in school, and agreed it’s so often the teaching method that makes or breaks a student’s confidence. I’ll always remember the play, but it was that chance encounter that warms my heart.

Jessica Ransom, Diane Keen and Neil McDermott lead the cast. Home, I’m Darling is at Theatre Royal Windsor through February 4th 2023 before it sets off on tour.

This is a 15 x 21 cm sketch in an inexpensive A6 Eco sketchbook by Seawhite. The paper is watercolour friendly, and I like the sturdy kraft cover, the low price and the diminutive size. I buy half a dozen at a time and toss them into bags or slip them into pockets.

Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 20.5cm

Theatre Royal, Windsor

I arrived early at the theatre with my sketchbook for Ian McKellan's one-man show Tolkien, Shakespeare and You! in 2019.

Pen and ink in A6 sketchbook
25cm x 10.5cm

Kitchen sink sketch with British Museum magazine

Jab Joy III - Third Covid vaccination in Windsor

The Bowker-Myslek Duo 21 January 2020

Another outstanding lunchtime concert at The Old Court in Windsor with Rosie Bowker on flute and Aleksandra Myslek on piano. This turned out to be my last sketch of live music performance before the first Covid lockdown in 2020.

Pen and ink in A4 sketchbook

Wilson and Wakeman Winter Tour January 2020

Another fabulous evening at The Old Court with Damian Wilson and Adam Wakeman

Ink in sketchbook

Alexander Soares in recital at Windsor Castle 5 April 2019

I carried my sketchbook to Vicar's Hall at Windsor Castle for a recital by the hugely talented Alexander Soares. Here you see him playing Bach's English Suite no. 3 in G Minor.

Alexander's newly released debut album is 'Notations and Sketches' by Rubicon Classics. It features solo work by Dutilleux, Boulez and Messiaen, and is Editor's Choice in Gramophone magazine.

The album artwork is an etching from 'Circular Scores', a sound visualisation project by printmaker Liz K Miller that 'sits at the intersection of music, geometry, psychology and visual art'.

Pen and water brush in A6 sketchbook
10cm x 15cm

Holy Trinity Garrison Church 175th Anniversary

16 June 2019: One week into the job, the new Rector of Windsor Rev. Canon Sally Lodge presides over the service celebrating the 175th anniversary of the consecration of Holy Trinity Church.

Pen on Paper
22cm x 10.5cm

View from Platform 1 - 2019

The Curfew Tower, Windsor Castle - my favourite view from Platform 1 at Windsor & Eton Central Station.

Inks in A6 sketchbook
15cm x 10.5cm

14/4 Literary Dinner 2013 at the Harte & Gartel Hotel

An elegant evening with fourteen authors and champagne. I borrowed a ballpoint pen and sketched my view of the proceedings on the back of a wine list. Our guest authors were Windsor's very own Essie Fox, Lesley Lokko, Martin Waites, Frances Osborne, Sally Spedding, Linda Waites, Lloyd Shepherd, Nicola May, Sinead Fitzgibbon, Lezanne Clannachan, Kevin Maher, Manda Scott, Will Booker and David Bullock.

Ballpoint pen on paper

Duchess of Cambridge Pub, Windsor

June 2017: Late lunch on election day.

Pen and water brush in A6 sketchbook

Monday at the salon

This is the lead illustration in 'Drawing at the Speed of Life', an eight-page feature about my location drawings published in the Summer 2016 issue of Drawing magazine in the USA. The author is British-American artist and writer John A Parks.

Graphite in Moleskine sketchbook
20cm x 26cm

The War Horse Memorial blessing service - 2018

17 April 2018 at Holy Trinity Church, Windsor -- A moving service to bless artefacts from the first World War which wil be buried beneath the War Horse Memorial sculpture in Ascot.

Mind over Menu - Lunch at Café Rouge

This sketch is one of four artworks of mine in the book Pen and Ink - Contemporary Artists, Timeless Techniques by James Hobbs. It's published in the UK and internationally. Thirty-four of us artists are in the book, from ten different countries. Well worth dipping into.

Pigment liner pen in Moleskine sketchbook
20cm x 28cm

Carols by Candlelight 2014 at Holy Trinity Church, Windsor

Ink in sketchbook

The Queen's Six at the Old Court, Windsor

This is my on-the-spot sketch of The Queen's Six in concert at The Old Court in Windsor on 24 April 2018 -- a one-off fundraiser for the Windsor Homeless Project in association with Bang & Olufsen Windsor.

Established in 2008, the Queen's Six are among the adult singers in the Choir of St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. The Chapel Choir performs during services and at private and state occasions, including the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Ink and wash in sketchbook

Café Mozart Concert in the Dungeon, Windsor Castle 2015

2015: Jenny Thomas flute, Ilana Cravitz violin, Ian Gammie guitar. Windsor Fringe Festival.

Graphite on Bristol Board

The Windsor Box & Fir Co play Bach

September 2017: 'Another Bite of Bach', a Windsor Fringe lunchtime concert at All Saints Church. The performers were the Windsor Box & Fir Co, who play 18th Century music on instruments of the period. That's Ian Gammie in the foreground on bass viol, Katharine May at the harpsichord, Michael Sanderson on violin, and Jenny Thomas on flute. (Jenny is petite, but I managed somehow to shrink her further -- and next time I shall position myself so as to draw more of Katharine!). All Saints Church made the national news last year when an altarpiece designed by the novelist Thomas Hardy was discovered behind panelling. That's the altarpiece at the right-hand side of my sketch. We looked in on the restorers after the performance, learning more about the extraordinary cover-up that kept Hardy's altarpiece hidden from sight and mind for nearly one hundred years.
Fountain pen and water brush in A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.

Café Mozart Concert in the Dungeon, Windsor Castle 2015

Rogers Covey-Crump tenor, Ian Gammie guitar - Windsor Fringe Festival 2015.

Graphite on Bristol Board

Author Essie Fox signing books - "Elijah's Mermaid"

January 2013: Virginia Water Library

Graphite in A5 Moleskine sketchbook

Authors Natalie Haynes & Stephanie Butland

September 2012: The Firestation Book Swap in Windsor. Stephanie's gorgeous red shoe kicked off the entire drawing.

Graphite in A5 Moleskine sketchbook

Authors Stephanie Butland and Robert Shore

April 2014: The Firestation Book Swap in Windsor. Such a treat to draw Stephanie at the Swap again. She had just published her first novel, Surrounded by Water, and Robert Shore's book Bang in the Middle was hot off the press.

0.5mm mechanical pencil in A5 Moleskine sketchbook
21cm x 26cm

Authors Amy Shindler & Lesley Thomson

August 2012: The Firestation Book Swap in Windsor.

Graphite in A5 Moleskine sketchbook

Authors Steven Appleby & D J Connell

February 2012: The Firestation BookSwap in Windsor.

Ink pencil in sketchbook