Monday, October 26, 2015

4th Annual Exhibition by Urban Sketchers London - at Timberyard Soho

The fourth exhibition by London Urban Sketchers - and the third at branches of Timberyard - opens next week on Monday 2nd November.

It's really great to be one of the launch exhibitions at a brand new branch of Timberyard in Soho - and for the exhibition to be on until the end of April 2016.

I've been busy for the last few weeks organising the exhibition alongside the core team for the exhibition of James Hobbs, Nathan Breville and Evelyn Rowland.  James does liaison with our exhibition and event partners, Nathan and Evelyn are doing the really big job which is the hang next weekend and I'm doing admin and marketing. I organised the call for entries and selection. My next job is labels! (see How to make labels for an art exhibition)

Urban Sketchers London at Timberyard Soho

From Blackfriars Bridge by James Hobbs

WHERE: Timberyard Soho
AT: 4 Noel Street, London W1F 8GB
OPEN: Monday to Friday - 8am-8pm; Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm
WHEN: Monday 2nd November - 30th April 2016.
@timberyarduk, @urbsketchlondon

Timberyard create workplaces for creative people fused with speciality tea and coffee.

It's very appropriate that our exhibition should be associated with these brilliant coffee shops because very often after a sketchcrawl we go for a coffee. Then we admire each other's sketches and spend much time chatting about sketching kits!

Linked Events

You can get involved with any one of our three linked events planned at present - we may have more in 2016!
  • The Private View is on 3rd November between 6.30 and 9pm and regular readers of this blog are most welcome
  • There is a Sketchcrawl on Saturday 14th November - starting and finishing at Timberyard - Liberty's (Great Marlborough Street) to the BBC (Langham Place)
  • There is also a Book Event on 25th November - of which more later.  I'll be signing my book alongside James Hobbs and Isobel Carmona with their books. Plus we'll have the latest books by other Urban Sketchers.

Selected Sketchers

As well as me, these the names of the other urban sketchers whose sketches are included in the exhibition: Sangeeta Bhagawati, Elizabeth Blunt, Nathan BrenvilleJulie BolusIsabel Carmona, Jo Dungey, Katy Evans, James Hobbs, Isabelle Laliberte, Daniel Lloyd-Morgan, Choon Low,  Dolores Kitchener, Tom Ledger,  Paulina Little, Simone Menken, Olya Osipova, Simon Privett, Nick RichardsEvelyn RowlandSue SmithJohn SwansonMarissa Lee Swinghammer, and Tony Underhill.

The sketches are a mix of ones done on our regular monthly sketchcrawls and those sketched while people have been out and about London. Links in the names are to their websites or blogs. Do please take a look at their other work.

Previous Exhibitions

The Art of Sketching - our first exhibition at Foyles
Previous exhibitions:
Some of the exhibiting artists at our last exhibition at Old Street 
Thomas Corrie, Isabelle Laliberté, James Hobbs and Jhin-Ren Shih

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sketching at the exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015

My book has a section on sketching in Art Galleries and Museums (pages 102-103 of my book Sketching 365) - and that's because this is an activity I love to do!

6 Tips about sketching in Art Galleries and Museums
from Sketching 365
This is a photograph of the sketch I did on Monday of the people visiting the Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition on its first day open to the public at the Mall Galleries.

Sketch of visitors to exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition
at the Mall Galleries 14-19 September 2015
I did it very fast - while I drank my cup of tea! It was done in my usual Moleskine sketchbook using a Pilot G-Tec-C 0.25 Hyper Fine Gel Rollerball Pen which delivers a 0.13mm line - which you can also see in the photograph.  

This one had brown ink which gives a much less 'in your face" line when compared to black ink. Turner liked brown ink as well! (see Review of Ruskin's Turners at the Fitzwilliam Museum).

I'm not using watercolour because the ordinary Moleskine sketchbook absolutely detests watercolour!

You can read my review of the exhibition for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015 in Review: Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015 on Making A Mark 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Have you ever tried this with a sketch?

Superimposing sketch on scene - on the terrace at Chartwellwith Crypotomeria Japonica (Japanese Cedar) in the background
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
Have you ever tried superimposing your sketch on the scene that you are drawing? Below I've written my explanation of how I did this. It's not difficult but you can make it easier to do....

I normally sketch across a double page spread of my Moleskine to provide an 8" x 10" image. However yesterday, after dropping off my drawings for hanging at the Florum exhibition in Sevenoaks (opens on Saturday 12th September), we went to Chartwell.

Sat on the terrace I pondered as to what to draw while "he who must not be bored while I sketch" read the City pages. That's when I realised that I had brought out the sketchbook I finished last Saturday! (Have you ever done that?)

I was reduced to searching through it for half pages which I'd not used.

Given that Chartwell is a "big view" place I was somewhat perplexed as to what to draw - and then decided to draw HWMNBB against the house and the very large Japanese Cedar (Crypotomeria Japonica) in the background.

Then decided to have a go at the trick where you superimpose your sketch over what you are drawing.  The trick is twofold:
  • when you start the sketch make sure you have a horizontal and/or vertical lines in the sketch which you can line up against the scene - in my case the horizontal line was the top line of the tree shadow and the vertical line was the outside edge of the arm
  • then use one hand to position the sketch over the scene and line up your lines in the sketch with the lines in the scene.
  • finally use another hand to take the photo. This is when you realise a third hand might be useful! It means you must use a camera or phone which you can get level and click with one hand.

I nearly got it right. If the sketchbook had been level I would have got it almost spot on!

HWMNBB says he doesn't look like that at all - and I have to confess something went very wrong with the mouth and jawline! Top half is not bad!

Monday, September 07, 2015

The Paragon at Blackheath

On Saturday I went on a long walk to join up with London Urban Sketchers who were sketching at Blackheath (see map at end!)

I got there in time for lunch and then spent the afternoon sketching The Paragon which started life as seven pairs of houses linked by colonnaded sections built as part of the Cator Estate. They've now been split into flats. My friend Jean and her husband live in the one on the left

Western end of The Paragon at Blackheath
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchboook
We sat for most of the sketching in the afternoon under leaden grey skies - wondering if we'd need to whip out umbrellas very fast. It was certainly cold. Then just as I was getting to the end of the drawing the sun came out and produced one of those very pale turquoise skies.

Then the clouds came over and it went back to being grey!

I finished the drawing while sat in the cold but added the colour when I got home. I also need to add more grass cutting lines!

More sketches - from lunch and tea - to follow.

These are the people who came to Blackheath on Saturday - I'm taking the photo.

London Urban Sketchers at Blackheath - the end of the day lay down of sketches and group photo
This is the map of my walk. The walk from Cutty Sark Station on the Docklands Light Railway is very pleasant as it takes you through the park (uphill for most of the way) and then across the heath - so only a tiny bit of traffic for the whole walk.

From the station to the Princess of Wales pub (where we had lunch) in Montpelier Row in Blackheath is 1.4 miles and is uphill for half the distance. It's supposed to take 28 minutes and burn 114 calories - which (according to my invaluable Citymapper app) apparently equate to 0.6 packets of crisps or O.6 pints of beer. Just so you know....

The walk from Greenwich Cutty Sark Station to Blackheath.
(click to see a larger image)

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A slimming Tuna and salad sketch at the V&A and a long walk

The thing about making a big effort to become healthier and slimmer by losing weight is that -apart from showing the continuing downward trend on the  Weight Chart on my iPhone Health app to my GP - I need to be seen to be sketching healthy meals!

So this is my Seared Tuna and Green Bean and Mixed Leaf Salad from lunch at the Cafe at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London last Thursday!  This was drawn over lunch using pen and ink and then coloured at home afterwards as I didn't have my pencils with me because I was on a "reviews day".

Seared Tuna and Green Beans and Mixed Leaf Salad
pen and ink and coloured pencils
and this is me drawing my lunch!

I managed to be good and avoid an awful lot of temptation! (the link is to a sample menu!).

I then walked around the V&A and straight through the shop - without buying anything(!) - and then walked from the V&A to the Mall Galleries. Below is the map. Note the calorific values!

V&A to the Mall Galleries is just over 2 miles and takes 43 minutes
expending according to my Citymapper app
174 calories or (just to get a real perspective on this) 1.7 BANANAS!
Walking down Constitution Hill - Green Park on the left and Buckingham Palace on the right
Here's my blog post about the exhibition I saw when I got to the Mall Galleries - Rosa Sepple sells 50+ paintings in 4 days!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Sketching Cambridge: Magdalene College and Magdalene Bridge

Magdalene Bridge - sketching the sketchers and the Scudamore Punters
pen and ink and coloured pencils, 9" x 12"
on Arches HP Block
On Sunday 23rd August I drove up the M11 to Cambridge to join the Urban Sketching Cambridge Group ( also at which is based there.

They had got permission to sketch inside Magdalene College.  For some reason I spent all my student years in Cambridge without ever knowing anybody in the east part of the college so this was a novel experience for me.

They were planning on a couple of hours sketching before lunch - and I wanted to see the Watercolour exhibition at the Fitzwilliam in the afternoon so I needed to be speedy!

I decided to focus on just doing pen and ink sketches and then adding colour when I got back home.

I started by sitting in the corners of one of the courtyards of Magdalene College and sketched the sketchers.

Magdalene College: Pen and ink sketches of Cambridge Urban Sketchers #1
11" x 8" in a Moleskine Sketchbook
Next are the two sketches above completed with colour - using coloured pencils - when I got home. I'm not sure who I've sketched in #2 below!

Magdalene College: Pen and ink sketches of Cambridge Urban Sketchers #2
pen and ink and colour pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
Magdalene College: Pen and ink sketches of Cambridge Urban Sketchers #3
Sketching Sue Smith under the Pepys Library Portico (or is it a Loggia?)
- the words at the top say Bibliotheca Pepysiana 1724
pen and ink and colour pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
I then moved around the river side of the college and drew from the wall which separates it from the River Cam and the extremely busy Scudamore Punt station. I listened to lots of different punter guides explaining the college and the bridge and Cambridge generally to those on guided tours while sat in a large punt.  I also watched a few novice punters receiving their instruction on what to do when taking out a punt for the first time.

If I'd had more time I'd have loved to have drawn the comings and goings of the punters beneath me - especially the bit where those who knew the rules came up against those who didn't!

It's not too far to Cambridge - so I shall be back sketching with the group again - although maybe not every outing.  I saw some amazing sketches at lunchtime - not least the panoramic sketches done by Peter Wenman

Panoramic sketchbook by Peter Wenman held by
Peter Wenman on the left and Yasemin Gyford on the right
It was also great being back in a place which holds lots of memories from being a student 40 YEARS ago!  I walked with a friend down Trinity Street and Kings Parade to the Fitzwilliam Museum with a constant chorus from me of
  • "That's just the same!" (e.g. Heffers and all the colleges and Fitzbillies - even if I did forget precisely where the latter was!) and 
  • "Oooh, that's changed!" (e.g. The Copper Kettle looks completely different and whatever happened to Eaden Lilley who did my graduation photo?).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Admiralty Arch and Horse Guards

On the 16th August I organised the London Urban Sketchers sketchcrawl to St James Park, The Mall, Horseguards and Trafalgar Square.

Below are my sketches - and a little bit of history about the two important London buildings I sketched Admiralty Arch and Horse Guards. Both are Grade 1 Listed Buildings - meaning they are very important in terms of both architecture and heritage.

I've already written about the sketchcrawl for London Urban Sketchers and I'm not going to do it again. However you can READ more about the sketchcrawl:
Plus you can SEE more photos of both sketches and the sketchers that I took in the London Urban Sketchers - August 2015 (Mall) album on our Flickr account. You can also see the sketches done by other people that have been posted to Flickr in the Urban Sketchers London - Group Pool.

Admiralty Arch

Admiralty Arch - drawn while sat in the middle of The Mall (16th August 2015)pen and ink and coloured pencils
What you do on a Sunday morning after the VJ 70th anniversary commemorations the previous day!- sit in The Mall behind the traffic cones and draw something you could never normally draw from this perspective!
I focused on the drawing and added more colour when I got home- building up layers to get intensity of colour can sometimes take a bit of time
Admiralty Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII - to commemorate the reign of his mother, Queen Victoria - which is why her name is written in Latin at the top on The Mall side.

It used to be used as government offices and Ministers used to have flats at the top but it's now been vacated and let for use as a hotel (which as yet has not yet happened).

The central gate of Admiralty Arch is typically only ever opened to allow the Monarch to pass through. If you sit the other side of it is a great place to get a full view of The Mall when the traffic is normal - unlike when we were there and most of The Mall was coned off for pedestrians only.

Horse Guards

This is my sketch of Horse Guards and the Parade Ground - which is where they held the drumhead service for the VJ 70th Anniversary.  It's also where they hold the trooping the colour every year on the Queen's Birthday.  You can see a drawing of what it looked like in 1695 at the end of this post.

Did you know that Horse Guards houses the space used for the Tilt Yard used by the original Whitehall Palace?  (see a map of this in 1680 at the end of this post)

I had great plans to include the London Eye but needed a different perspective or a wider sketchbook! I think I'm going to go back and have another go. It's a view I walk past regularly and I've always wanted to have a go.

A view of Horse Guards and the Parade ground (16th August 2015)pen and ink in a Moleskine sketchbook

Plan of the Palace of Whitehall 1680 
- right click and open in a new tab to see a much LARGER version
The Tilt Yard is at the top. The map has the river at the bottom and the parkland at the top.
View of the Palace of Whitehall by Leonard Knijff, c. 1695-7
- right click and open in a new tab to see a much LARGER version
Thames is at the bottom of the picture and the space now occupied by St James Park is at the top
You can just see the entrance to Horse Guards in the middle
The VJ Day 70th Anniversary Drum Head Service on Horse Guards Parade Ground

PS. I've been very slow getting sketches on to this blog of late - and am now trying to catch up. It's not that I haven't been sketching - just that I haven't been scanning and photoshopping and blogging!


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