Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sketching Soho with Julie Oakley

Oriental Delight
11" x 16", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in Daler Rowney A4 sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I spent yesterday with Julie Oakley of "One Mile from Home" and "Julie's Pictures". Julie has a new blog "A Family Portrait" devoted to doing portraits of her family - aiming for one per day - in the last year that all her childen are still living at home.

I'd been hoping to meet up with Julie for some time and the Private View (yesterday) of the BP Portrait Award 2007 (exhibition opens today - 14th June) provided a great excuse! So we agreed to go but also to meet up for a mini sketchcrawl in Chinatown in Soho first and then have lunch. At 10.00 o'clock we set off from the National Portrait Gallery and walked round the back of the gallery, through Leicester Square and up into Soho so we could sketch Chinatown.

An Irish Perspective on Gerrard Street
11" x 16", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in Daler Rowney A4 sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

We set up on the north side of Gerrard Street in the middle of morning outside Tai Kai Lok. Deliveries to all the Chinese restaurants which line both sides of the street were in full swing and we thought we'd done really well with our spot looking at the Chinese gates into Gerrard Street - with the Irish pub behind them - until the owner of the restaurant announced he needed to wash the pavement! At which point we retired over to the south side of the road to sit outside Loon Tao and sketched the view of the Golden Pagoda and Oriental Delight in the other direction. I decided Julie needed a sketch of her sketching and duly included her in "Oriental Delight" above!

Soho is a great place to sketch in the morning - if you can find a place where your view is not obscured by delivery vans or people washing their pavement. I had a filthy great big white van behind Julie's head for most of this one hence the lack of development of the right hand side. Fortunately one which was going to park and obscure our view completely very kindly backed up and removed himself from our view.

I didn't quite finish either sketch as I was working on a double page spread of my Daler Rowney sketchbooks which means each image is about 11" x 16". I took a couple of reference photo shots so will probably work on them a little more and then post the end results here as well when I've finished them.

At midday we packed up and pootled back to the Portrait Restaurant on the top floor of the National Portrait Gallery for lunch (one of my very favourite places - we both had the Smoked Duck Breast Salad - yum yum!) and chin wagged our way through lunch and coffee and our respective lives, artistic training, experiences and ambitions!

After the Private View, we wandered around the twentieth century section of the gallery getting inspiration for different ways in which you can portray people - always a joy. Then when the gallery closed we 'retired' down the road to the The Tappit Hen to enjoy a bottle of Rioja and do some more sketching...and Julie sketched me!.

We finally went home at 8.00pm having had a thoroughly nice day. I think we may well be planning more days like this in future!



  1. it sounds fun :)

    and the sketches are good, I look forward to seeing hers too

  2. Sounds like a perfect day!! I'm going to be in England for a week in August, but only in London in transit---so wish I could meet up with you, but it looks unlikely this time. Can't wait to see Julie's sketch of you!

  3. AnonymousJune 14, 2007

    What a great day that sounds like! And excellent sketches.

  4. AnonymousJune 15, 2007

    "Double the Pleasure Double The Fun" and I hope you both do this some more.

  5. Found your pics through Julie's blog. What a lovely idea to have a sketchcrawl, food and yarn. I like your soft take on Chinatown.
    It's very cold here to go out and paint at present. 4 degrees C this morning. Okay, we Aussies are soft!

  6. oh what fun! I got here from Julie's blog. I will be in London for 5 days in October, sketching my time away I hope. I think I'll have to check out the resturant at the Portrait Gallery and some art stores! Your sketches are delightful!

  7. Sounds like a wonderful day, as one of julie's walking partners, i envy her the closeness of the city but her more rural life style. thanks to both of you.

  8. Beautiful graphic daily, Katherine!

  9. I love the perspective and colors of "oriental delight" - really like how you included Julie in the sketch. It captures the feeling of the perfect day with a sketchfriend. Really wonderful!


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