Urban Sketchers this month went off piste with aircraft of the RAF over 100 years. A gold mine, but challenging. It being my turn to run the day there was less time to draw/paint. Given the subject I decided to 'go big'. Somewhat of a scribbled pair but an impression of the mele that is The RAF Museum, Hendon
Unusually for London Urban Sketchers we met on a Sunday because the huge conservatory at The Barbican Centre is not open to the public on other days. So it was quite crowded but there was plenty of vantage corners in which to lean and sketch.
It was pretty cold so in the morning I grabbed a window seat (and hot chocolate) to draw the contrast of the old church and very glassy modern high rise of the City - and a bit of the wrongly described but popularly known as Brutalist Barbican Flats.
To The British Museum with Urban Sketchers. A cold day and going to get wet so whilst the delights of Bloomsbury were on offer I decided to stay warm and dry. The following week I've been asked to watercolour sketch a kid's production, professionally staged over two days, of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe including rehearsals so used the opportunity to get in some people practice. In the morning at least but as they all moved more quickly than expected in the afternoon opted for statues as they stay still - but perversely the people did too, in front of the ones I chose. Ce la Vie!
It was cold but gorgeously sunny for this month's Urbans day at The National Army Museum. So a number of us chose The Royal Hospital Chelsea - home of the Chelsea pensioners next door. I hadn't realised it is open to the public, nor its size or splendour. Dramatic perspectives - my first attempts failed so I opted for a detail of the main façade...
On my way out for our lunchtime review or show of work I noticed an entrance to the colonnade in that façade. A perspective but with useful height/reference points.
In the morning I had the (limited) warmth of the sun on my back and didn't notice it was cold but the colonnade - although the strong light and shadows through the columns were dramatic - was not in sun so this was a quickie.
But lots of interest from the friendly Pensioners going to and from lunchtime in the Great Hall - itself a fabulous space.
I had decided to travel light with an old 8 pan W&N travel box and water pens. With a bit more use/practice could become my pocket kit.
What better to do on a sunny autumn Friday than lunch in Richmond -Tide Tables Café - then stroll along the tow path to Teddington Lock Bridge pausing only to do a quick sketch before tea and cake from the Flying Cloud mobile café?
A few days away in North Norfolk and Lincolnshire where we discovered what lovely places RSPB Reserves are. Easy walking, plenty to see and people who stand still. You can draw them unnoticed from the bird hides! We ran out of time so I couldn't do the studies I wanted - but we'll be back and I will.
A wet day with Urbans in Holland Park and The design Museum. The forecast was rain ceasing mid-morning so I found some good tree cover and worked on the huge sports field - mainly kids football. Its always challenging getting people and action. Need to practice - on a warm day from a comfortable seat. But the results (not this one) can be rewarding.
The rain intensified before I could paint so I retired to the Museum Café and in the afternoon, unusually for me some pen and shading work of an interesting display of different styles/articles. Lots of them.
A couple of Urban Sketching days. Well the first just an evening at Gandalf's Wharf on The Southbank. One of the seemingly many 'joined-up' evening eating centres. London as a whole but particularly the Southbank throngs and thrives. I and a few others opted for the quiet of the 'beach' and jetties and views of new, old, traditional and the nowadays ever present cranes....
Then a Saturday nearer home at Chiswick House and Gardens. A Palladian Villa. Hugely inviting to draw - stunningly difficult to get right as one has to be - at least a little - precise.
On Saturday we had a full day London Urban Sketchers event at Si Katherine Docks by the Tower/Tower Bridge. Not so hot but probably a sketchers worst enemy wind and worse...gusts. Just as you settle into a drawing bam off go your pallet and water. Anchor them and re-start. Going nicely now then without warning another stronger gust. But there were lots of artists, plenty of fine work, and interested on lookers. Its said you draw you really see. Had an interesting chat with a small group including a photographer on the difference between drawing and photographing. They are very different arts and do different things. As we spoke I noticed a floating duck house which made the point. Put it into my 'East Basin' sketch below. '
A mess of Boats' is a 20 minute sketch at the end, done in a hurry but tries to get the 'jumble' feel of equipment, rigging and masts that is St Katherine Dock.
One of London Urban Sketchers excellent Summer Evenings meet ups. There are 3 each year and whilst smaller and shorter are great fun. Today in Flat Iron Square - a temporary 'pop up' street food open space in Southwark. As it was very very hot I opted for some shade outside the crush within and with a good number of others chose the surrounding streets. The proprietor of the Damascan Kitchen restaurant not only happy for me to use his table and chairs, brought us tankards of cold water with lemon and stayed for a chat.
The people one meets is an added bonus to public drawing.
Sketching thoughts and stories from John Webb.