Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sitting on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral in the sun

Yesterday evening as I was making my way back to the tube to return home after my annual check-up at Barts, I found myself drawn to sitting on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral - in blazing sunlight with a blue sky overhead and the sun getting lower and lower in the sky. I wasn't alone - there were a lot of other people with the same idea. I think we had all probably read the same weather forecast about what the rest of this week is going to be like!

Ludgate Hill from the steps of St Paul's Cathedral 11th May 2009 7pm
8.5" x 11.5", pencil in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This then is the sketch of Ludgate Hill done from the top step of the steps leading up to the massive Great West Doors which are the entrance to St Paul's. I had the benefit of one the gigantic pillars behind me as a back rest if required.

I had the most amazing 'contre jour' (French for against daylight) scene in front of me. The glare from the sunlight removed all colour and rendered everything in black and white and only a few shades of grey. It became a task of trying to detect changes in the blackness and how to render white paint when it was actually in full shadow.

This is one of those memorable sketches that I get to do from time to time - which I ALWAYS remembers afterwards - because of its musical accompaniment. In this instance I was treated to the full peel of the cathedral bells at 7pm while I sat sketching!



  1. Wow, that's really lovely, Katherine. It's quite a daunting scene but you've pulled it off beautifully. I thought at first I was looking at an antique photograph.

    You must have gone home very pleased with yourself :)

  2. That has so much atmospheric feeling in it! Love it!


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