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.
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.
Sketching thoughts and stories from John Webb.