Thursday, January 03, 2008

Boxing Day ice skating at Greenwich

Boxing Day Skating at Greenwich Naval College #1
Boxing Day Skating at the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich #1
8" x 11.5", pencil and coloured pencil in my sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On Boxing Day, we went over the Thames to Greenwich for a breath of fresh air and a vigorous post Christmas walk through Greenwich Park, down the hill to the former Greenwich Hospital/Old Royal Naval College, along the path by the River Thames and back up the hill.

There were lots of people in Greenwich Park with pretty much the same idea as us. We walked round the gardens near the main gate and then took a long loop round and down to the bottom of the park, passing "Vanbrugh Castle" on Maze Hill on the edge of Greenwich Park, the house where John Vanbrugh - famous architect - used to live.

We then walked past the front of the old Greenwich Hospital (which became the Old Royal Naval College and is now part of the University of Greenwich), past Cutty Sark and the reconstruction site, down to Greenwich Pier and then along the walkway besides the Thames. I don't think I've ever seen the river quite as high as it was and I was rather glad that there was very little traffic on the Thames.
Boxing Day 2007 - high water at Greenwich

We then walked back to the skating and I did a couple of quick sketches.
I have an urge to try a 'proper' artwork with skaters and the architecture as the subject. In the first sketch at the top, the National Maritime Museum across the road is in the background. In the second sketch below, you can see the towers on the Isle of Dogs - the reverse view of what I see from my kitchen window (and is portrayed in Canary Wharf Skies on my gallery website)

As it was chilly (although not as cold as last year), I don't like to hang about too long or to test the patience of "he who must not be bored while I sketch" too much. So I aim to sketch very fast and add the colour later - although I do make a point of looking long and hard to get a good sense of the predominant colours in the overall scene. I decided I wasn't totally enamoured with the colour of their uniformly fluorescent orange skates so omitted that!

Boxing Day ice skating at Greenwich #2
Boxing Day Skating at the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich #2
8" x 11.5", pencil and coloured pencil in my sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I learned last year that the trick to sketching skaters is to look at very big shapes and the things which make them distinctively skaters as opposed to walker. It's generally the way they lean or use their arms which makes a difference. Also there's lots of handholding and people supporting others in their bid to get round! The other main thing is to make sure that people overlap and that there is some sense of perspective - people can't be all the same size. Make them a different size and the sketch starts to have depth. I always try to get at least one larger person near the front. After that I'm drawing the head from one person hands from another and legs from another! When I've sorted the image posting problem I'll post some of the quick warm-up sketches I did as well.

After I finished sketching and taking my reference photos, we then walked back up the hill on the Crooms Hill side of the Park as the light disappeared fast - at 4.30ish and came back home and regretted the decision to ban hot mince pies!

This a link to the ice skating sketches I did last winter Skating and Sketching in London - I must transfer that post to this blog and update the links!

[Note: I'm having to load photos from Flickr as image upload isn't working for me. Is there any html trick to get the text to wrap around the photos?]

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Room with a view

The dome of St Paul's Cathedral from Tate Modern

View of the City, Cathedral and cranes from the Friends' Room at Tate Modern
8" x 11.5", pencil and coloured pencil in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On the Friday before Christmas we went to Bankside to see the Christmas Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery and do some food shopping at Borough Market.

The Mini Picture Show (see description below) remains open until 24 January. It's one of the few exhibitions at the Bankside Gallery where you can take your picture home straight after buying it. The aim is to keep the stock revolving and there is new work from members of the Royal Watercolour Society and The Royal Society of Painter Printmakers being hung all the time. I saw some very nice work by the printmakers - I was reaching for my plastic - before I remembered that the other main purpose was to get veggies for Christmas!
Mini Picture Show
Wed 12-Dec-2007 to Thu 24-Jan-2008

Featuring exciting new work on a small scale, this exhibition promises to be the perfect opportunity to purchase enchanting, original and affordable art for Christmas. Works by Members of both Royal Societies will be available framed and unframed and may be taken away when bought. Look no further for a thoughtful Christmas gift.

We paid a quick visit to the Tate Modern and had a cup of tea in the Friends Room - and sat on the sofas which line the long thin section of the room and look out to the City of London across the River Thames. It always feels pretty weird being nearly on the same level as the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. I continue to be amazed by how many cranes they've got in the City of London - they seem never-ending, only changing locations. Two ladies stood on the balcony outside the Friends' Room (which I have tagged as a plein air painting spot for a warmer day) and provided a nice bit of scale for my sketch!

We then trotted down to Borough Market which is the place you always used to see when Jamie Oliver was collecting his foodie bits and bobs in his early TV series. it was full of people collecting their partridges and turkies and geese and ducks and just about every other form of meat or fowl likely to be consumed over Christmas. Absolutely masses of other Christmas goodies too - but I restrained myself and stuck to the organic veggie stall.

We walked back via Southwark Cathedral and London Bridge to Monument and caught the tube home amongst lots of festive folk on their way home from work for the holidays. "He who must now be bored while I cook" did a stirling job in helping me carry it all the veggies home!