Saturday, April 07, 2007

Good Friday at Kew Gardens

The Palm House, Kew Gardens
pencil and coloured pencils in Daler Rowney sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

We're having good weather in London at the moment and so we decided to spend yesterday - Good Friday - at Kew Gardens. Everything is bursting out of the ground, the daffodils are virtually over but the spring borders are showing off although not everything is out yet. I had fun photographing tulips, magnolias and the blossom from some varieties of prunus. I was looking forward to 'The Cherry Walk' next to the Temperate House but sadly this had no blossom display at all although the trees are in bud and sitting in the midst of a carpet of blue scilla.

The first sketch is of the Palm House - which was eyeballed. Well I did hold up my pencil about three times to check angles to the horizontal. The trickiest bit was getting it to look like glass with palm trees inside at the same time as making it a darker value than the sky which was a very pale blue with lots of vapour trails from all the aircraft coming into land at Heathrow.

Syon Reach
pencil and Van Gogh watercolour pencils in Daler Rowney sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The next one is of Syon Reach - the River Thames next to the view over to Syon House - except the latter is over to the right out of picture. I was messing around trying to work out relative sizes of people for if I were to work this up and populate it. I've got a nice mini sketch of 'he who must not be bored while I sketch' who was deep in his biography of Attlee sat on a bench in the sun in front of me! I used my Van Gogh watercolour pencils for this one and my Japanese waterbrush. The paper buckled like mad to start with and then settled down as it dried. I also worked the watercolour pencils and pencil back into the damp paper.

This spot has been used by lots of artists to sketch and draw and paint the view. One of the most recent was Kurt Jackson (Happy Easter Viv!) - with his painting "A Sunny Morning by Kew....". I also did it last year in a post on Making a Mark" which I shall reproduce tomorrow.

Links: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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  1. Lovely, both of them! I remember taking the girls to Syon House when they were small. There used to be a butterfly house on the property. Is there still?
    Your tropical house one reminds me very much of my Grand Palais sketch from last October---we approached the problem of drawing an intricate glass structure similarly. I hope you had as much fun doing it as I did. Your world looks very springy and sunny. Enjoy it!

  2. These two sketches are among my favourite of late. I think the palm house is particularly beautiful - you have captured the beautiful structure, the glass and the palms within. I'd hang this one!


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