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.
Back in May I was asked by one of the Management Team of Be, the developer/contractor for the Brentford Community Stadium, if I could/would accept a commission to do a painting of Milan Cathedral. Generally I don't like working from 'references' but it can be done. Guess its a different skill to achieve presence and immediacy without standing by the subject - so a bit of a learning curve.
Here's the result, approved nay liked and now with my framer...
Concentrating on that and the Stadium Project I felt a bit 'sketched out' and went for two weeks in
Cornwall expecting to do a couple or so, no more sketches.
But Cornwall doesn't work like that. It was a few days before I opened my new KHADI PAPER sketch book. Not used Khadi before although seen others doing so. What a joy! Stunningly good surface for both ink and watercolour.
What was to be a few became 15. Here's a few. We've put the rest here.
Not infrequently I sketch a laugh - was amused while enjoying a pint of Tribute by the disused chimney being a support for a satellite dish, TV aerial and a bored gull devoid of ice cream snatching opportunities....
With Urbans to Three Mills Island on the Lee River which runs through the Stratford area of East London. Olympics Regeneration Land....and how. But preserved is a little enclave of old buildings, one once a Gin Distillery....This was a sunny Sunday and although relatively compact it was thronging with people running, cycling, picnicking, photo-shooting, just looking - in all huge asset albeit a little oasis. And there are some big fish in the river.
Spent a pleasant if chilly few hours with a friend beside The River Thames in Hampton. Well actually on the other bank, East Molesey having taken the ferry over to sketch the old boatyards on Platts Eyot known as Port Hampton - once a thriving vibrant leisure boat island. Sadly very much less so now. As ever there's plans to develop it for luxury houses or apartments so it was good to get a good look and sketch or two.
One of the benefits of being in different groups is finding new places. I've lived in London for ?? years but had no idea of Mercarto Metropolitano in Newington Causeway. A street food, mainly Italian, Market. Despite heaters Sunday morning there was cold but we struggled on. Only a few of us; here's my sepia ink drawing which seems to work but no doubt I'll give into the temptation to add a little select colour wash sometime.
A large number of sketchers at London Urban Sketchers' March day - and another great location / learning event. My Facebook post says it all: Thanks for a wonderful location. Whoever identified/chose it deserves the USk OBE. As ever two excellent exhibitions to enjoy, some helpful advice/information gained, good conversation and food on hand. Add a couple of halfs of Guinness to add interest to the lines and one challenged yet contented grey haired old man trundled home to enjoy yet more on Facebook. A photo of some of the midday 'show and tell' group and my two here:
A great place to sketch, but not best in winter although the snow scenes were very tempting. We went specifically to see the A New Era - Scottish Modern Art exhibition which was brilliant. Saw work and artists I had no knowledge of. Some a bit challenging but most very engaging. Well annotated which is good.
It was so cold we had to take breaks in nice places. Afternoon Tea in Colonnades in The Signet Library - a huge, cavernous columned former Parliamentary Library - ripe for drawing and another chance to try the pens in St Giles' Cathedral - equally lofty but very different.
The snow enforced 3 more days so I took the opportunity for a second go. Proves the importance of preliminary sketches to find the principle lines, points and perspective/s.
Killed two birds with one visit with the Urbans. Tate Britain's Impressionists in London - a fine and informative exhibition with some stunning paintings. Lots, as usual of Urban Sketchers. My colleague is a Member so we avoided the cold and spent the morning in The Members' Room. Comfortable easy chair sketching, although the dramatic columns, arches and perspectives are anything but easy. Good learning exercise and chance to test the versatility of the new pen/brushes.
In the afternoon the exhibition and as several had braved the cold thought I should. Back to pen and watercolour. Must remember although the delicacy of the medium is lovely striking views need stronger colour.
Sketching thoughts and stories from John Webb.