Cynthia Barlow Marrs SGFA

Portfolio: • Sketchbooks 2023-24

Chaos Dragon and the Light - Live screening Q&A Dec 2023

'Creativity is the answer, not bitterness.'

Born in Budapest in 1935, Marika Henriques was ten years old when she was hidden from the Nazis and given a new name and new identity. Twelve years later she fled to England during the Hungarian Uprising and began her career as a Jungian therapist. She tells her story for the first time in Chaos Dragon and the Light, a documentary which asks 'Who are we when our identity is stolen?'

I watched the online premiere with my sketchbook in my lap, waiting to draw the Q&A session at the end. I recommend both the documentary and Marika's book The Hidden Girl: The Journey of the Soul (Shepheard-Walwyn, London).

chaosdragonandthelight.com
A documentary by Iridescent Films - Director Sal Anderson, editor Natasha Westlake, executive producer Tracey Gardiner, co-producer Steve Gough

Original
Ink and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
15cm x 20cm

Waiting room, Heatherwood Hospital January 2024

Hospital waiting rooms turn up in my sketchbook from time to time, some of them more recognisable than others. In this drawing for instance I dissolved walls and limited colour to the people who were reporting for day surgery procedures or, like me, waiting for nearest and dearest to emerge from treatment rooms.

I haven't decided yet what to place in that empty box in the lower right-hand corner of my sketchbook page. How can a person write a big THANK YOU NHS in such a tiny space?

Original
Pen, watercolour and collage in A6 sketchbook
15cm x 20cm

The blue coat January 2024

When a slower than usual train journey brings joy to one's heart.

This is a tiny sketch on the train from Waterloo to Bracknell, by which means I would arrive at Staines, and from there would take the rail replacement bus to Windsor. all of which prolonged the journey, but with a sketchbook in hand one hopes a circuitous route will prolong the sketching as well.

As usual in these little sketchbooks, I make line drawings on the spot and add colour at home. I blame Christmas and New Year unwellness in the household for my being so slow to put pink in my fellow passenger's cheeks.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
9cm x 8cm

End of shift January 2024

Homeward bound on the Elizabeth Line.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
20cm x 15cm

Banquette 28 November 2023

We celebrated Tony's birthday with dinner at a local eatery, and I drew a woman at a nearby table.

Original
Ink and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
15cm x 10cm

'Being Human' at the Wellcome Collection 19 November 2023

I joined Urban Sketchers London colleagues at the Wellcome Collection near Euston Station, the museum and library dedicated to health and human experience. It's one of my favourite places in London.

This was my view in Being Human, an exhibition which asks 'What does it mean to be human, now? How can we care for ourselves and for one another?'

Sketchbook in lap in the darkened room, I drew figures in silhouette as behind them Transparent Woman turned towards the light, lifting her arms as if in search of an answer.

Original
Ink and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
15cm x 20cm

Windsor Fringe launch 2023

We had a blast last night at the launch party for the 2023 Windsor Fringe, hosted by Loading Bay Cafe and opened by our fearless chairman Karen Darville. It was our first launch party in four years, but the Fringe itself has been going for half a century. It was such a pleasure to catch up with friends, I left it a bit late to start this tiny sketch. If only I could have lingered to hear more from The Yes Mess Band. Supah!

Original
Ink and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
15cm x 20.5cm

Have I mentioned how much I love red hair?

My pocket sketchbook + public transport = sketching heaven

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
9cm x 4.5cm

Windsor Theatre Royal - Frank and Percy

Roger Allam and Ian McKellen 24 June 2023 - the watermelon scene.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 20.5cm

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.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 20.5cm

St Christopher Square, London

My husband often appears as a foreground element in my sketches, usually as a way of suggesting relative scale or introducing variety in a composition. In this sketch he seems to have shed a couple of decades and gained a Clark Kent jawline. Which I suppose is fair enough, as he footed the bill for our lunch in St Christopher's Place.

Sketched on location, watercolour added in the studio.

June 2023
Sketched on location, watercolour added in the studio.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 12.5cm

Lunch at Cafe Rouge Windsor

Sketched from life, watercolour added at home.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 20.5cm

The Elizabeth Line June 2023

Fellow passengers caught my eye on the way to and from a great day of drawing at Crystal Palace Park with Urban Sketchers London.

The woman on the right inherited her eyebrows from a man I had started sketching several minutes earlier. The man had leapt up and dashed off the train before I had managed to draw the rest of his face, leaving his eyebrows behind on my page. So when the red haired woman took his place I carried on sketching, reluctant to let a perfectly good pair of eyebrows go to waste.

Sketched on location, watercolour added in the studio.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 20.5cm

Overground to Penge West

Sketched from life on London Overground.
Watercolour added at home.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 20.5cm

London Overground from Peckham Rye

Sketched from life on London Overground.
Watercolour added at home.

Original
Pen and watercolour in A6 sketchbook
14.5cm x 20.5cm

Days 2 and 3 - One Week 100 People 2023

Every March for the past seven years, artists extraordinaire Marc Holmes and Liz Steel have organised the One Week 100 People challenge, the idea being to sketch as many people as possible in five days' time. Whether one draws from life or from photos, the aim is to fill a page with people and keep going.

To kick things into high gear this week, I've sized up my sketchbook and switched on the colour. My obliging models are family, friends and strangers in photos on my phone. I’ve counted 50 souls so far in my sketches from Days 1, 2 and 3. With luck, I’ll manage another half century by close of play.

#oneweek100people
#oneweek100people2023

Day 1 - One Week 100 People 2023

Every March for the past seven years, artists extraordinaire Marc Holmes and Liz Steel have organised the One Week 100 People challenge, the idea being to sketch as many people as possible in five days' time. Whether one draws from life or from photos, the aim is to fill a page with people and keep going.

To kick things into high gear this week, I've sized up my sketchbook and switched on the colour. My obliging models are family, friends and strangers in photos on my phone. I’ve counted 50 souls so far in my sketches from Days 1, 2 and 3. With luck, I’ll manage another half century by close of play.
#oneweek100people
#oneweek100people2023

Original
Watercolour and pen and ink in A4 sketchbook
30cm x 42cm