Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Panoramic sketchbooks and Kensington Gardens

I got a new sketchbook at the Art Event last week. I've been wanting to try a panoramic sketchbook for some time and found an Artcoe Bluebell panoramic sketchbook last week (see review)

To get a sense of the size of the paper it's 430mm (or 16.9 inches) wide and 142mm tall (5.98 inches).

Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens
17" x 6"
pencil and coloured pencil in panoramic Artcoe Bluebell sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On Sunday, I went sketching in Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park with the RWS Friend group - and the new sketchbook came too. We met up at the Albert Memorial (table + benches and coffee stall within a few steps - what could be better!). I took one look at it and whipped out my new sketchbook and started measuring.

I have to say it was a complete joy to draw something tall and get it virtually all the page for a change! It is so frustrating when you draw anything complicated and then find that it's moving off the page as you draw!

I've had to hype the colours a little as I did find that the cartridge paper, as per usual, is not the best paper for coloured pencil. I'm thinking that I might try watercolour pencils and a water brush with it next in order to get better depth of colour.

I then went and sketched the areawhere The Great Exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, England, from 1 May to 15 October 1851. More of that in another post as it became an exercise which is worth explaining.

We had lunch sitting on the inside of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. I was greatly intrigued by all the sign saying that people mustn't walk in the water. According to wikipedia six wardens are now engaged to stop people walking in the water. All I know is that while we sat eating our picnic lunch there was a constant stream of children all paddling and wading round the granite course which is filled with water - aided and abetted by their parents!

Who on earth could be so silly to think you could create what looks like a rather sophisticated passling pool next to the Lido but that the children must not paddle in it walk round it? (Answer) It struck me as being rather like a grand challenge (like getting round a room without touching the floor) and was naturally going to attract children. I actually thought that was rather a good memorial!

The Serpentine Bridge
17" x 6"
pen and sepia ink and and coloured pencil in panoramic Artcoe Bluebell sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

After lunch I sat next to the Lido (created in 1930 and used in warm weather for sunbathing and swimming) - in a light drizzle - and sketched the Serpentine Bridge. Of course the new sketchbook behaved beautifully again in design terms. This particular sketch has some natural smudging involved where the sporadic rain drops spattered the ink on the page.

The waiter serving drinks just behind where I was sat was very keen to buy this sketch!

I then turned my attentions to the geese who have line up next to the railings hoping for the leftovers. I sketched a couple who were having a very prolonged grooming session - they do do the most amazing contortions with their necks and feathers.

Canada Geese on the edge of the Serpentine at the Lido, Hyde Park
6" x 17", pencil
in panoramic Artcoe Bluebell sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

I then walked back up the Serpentine, took a look at the long queues to see Jeff Koons' Popeye Series at the Serpentine Gallery and retraced my steps to Lancaster Gate tube station next to the Italian Garden and its fountains.

My pedometer is having major problems (again - this is the second new battery!) and has given up displaying any information so I've no idea how far I walked but Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are an excellent place for Sketchercise!

Hyde Park is 142 hectares (350 acres)[1] and Kensington Gardens is 111 hectares (275 acres),[2] giving an overall area of 253 hectares (625 acres), making the combined area larger than the Principality of Monaco (196 hectares or 484 acres), but smaller than New York City's Central Park (341 hectares or 843 acres).


  1. Lovely, Katherine! I enjoy my panoramic journal, too...I like the continuity possible. I'm impressed with your vertical one, especially--that's difficult to do, since the bottom gets in the way when you're trying to paint to top! It's beautiful...

  2. Ooh - now I want to get a panoramic sketchbook, how fun!!

  3. A wonderful day's sketching, Katherine. Both the Albert Memorial and the Bridge are challenging subjects - all those arches!. Great format.

    My sympathy for your pedometer problems - mine has taken to resetting itself. Grrrrrrr. However as I repeat the same walks and the same chores most days, I can pretty well guess how many steps I've done.

    Hope you are enjoying your break from the computer - but I see your Twitter activity has increased ;)

  4. Nice blog!


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