Sunday, November 25, 2007

Westminster at night

Study for Westminster Nocturne
11.5" x 8", pencil in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell


This sketch of Westminster at night is done from the 'light refreshments' end of the Portrait Restaurant which sits at the top of the Ondaatje wing of the National Portrait Gallery.

Last Friday evening, after visiting the ING Discerning Eye exhibition at the Mall Galleries I decided to avoid doing battle with the evening rush hour and instead walked across Trafalgar Square to the National Portrait Gallery and had a quick look round the bookshop before ascending to the Portrait Restaurant.

Before I got started on my other drawing, I did a very quick drawing on my bowl of olives and my drink (plus spot the pencil box at the back!).

Rock Shandy and Olives
11" x 8", pencil and coloured pencil in sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

My drink is called a "Rock Shandy" which means it contains lemonade, soda, bitters and 'London Sunset' - Pineapple, pink grapefruit and pomegranate juice.

I'm convinced I'm going to do a more developed piece of the view from this restaurant and this is the second time I've sketched it at night. I'm practising as it'll be impossible to take photographs and get any decent information due to glass glare and just general problems of photography at night.

From my table next to the window, I'm looking over the roof and roof lights of the National Gallery, across Trafalgar Square, past Nelson's Column, to the heart of British government - down Whitehall and Parliament Street to Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster, which houses the two houses of the United Kingdom Parliament.

You can see a sketch map of it on the right and this is a map of the area on Google Maps. The arrow is where I'm sitting and the direction of the arrow indicates the direction I'm looking.

I haven't included the colours of the various lights but am wondering whether you can make out the headlights and reare lights of the traffic at all?

Overall I'm quite pleased with this mono study. It's really helping me to sort out how all the relative values work at night within the context of both natural and artificial lighting.

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1 comment:

  1. i love the feel of the nocturne study. I did a plein air nocturne for my last show. The only suggestion--if I may, it's a study, right :-) --is to avoind having those two strong verticals line up exactly...even if the do in reality, it's not good for the composition.

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