Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RI Exhibition at the Mall Galleries

Tea break at the RI Exhibition
8" x 10", pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This afternoon I visited The 198th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, which opened last week and continues at the Mall Galleries until 1st May.

It's a splendid exhibition - which will get a review tomorrow on Making A Mark

In the meantime, here's my sketch done during my 'cup of tea' break `at the exhibition. I'm sat just beneath the books area looking down the length of the West Gallery.

Some marvellous and colourful paintings by Bob Rudd of Iona and various other islands in the Hebrides feature on the end wall.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Courtauld, Old Bank of England and West Smithfield

This is the story of my day out in London last Friday and two large sketches I did.

On Friday we had a special trip and lunch arranged for the 60th Birthday of a member of one of my drawing groups. Susan told us she'd never celebrated any of her big birthdays before so this time was spending nine days on celebrations and treats! Which I think is an excellent way of celebrating being 60.

Courtauld Gallery

We started at the Courtauld Galleries at Somerset House with a visit to the Michaelangelo's Dream exhibition. It's always so nice to see drawings by one of the masters and this was no exception. I'll do a review next week on Making A Mark

I couldn't resist a quick scamper round the other galleries as the Courtauld Collection of paintings and sculpture is so good!

Old Bank of England

We then walked up the Strand, past St Mary le Strand Church and Wren's St Clement Danes Church (aka the RAF Church), the Royal Courts of Justice and along Fleet Street to the Old Bank of England Pub - which used to be the Law Courts branch of the Bank of England.

This is a sketch of our group (Les went for the toning shirt!) sitting in the back room of the pub ordering our lunch and looking at easy other's sketchbooks. Les has been ion a recent trip to the Antarctic and had his sketching journal with him which was facsinating - and will be the subject of a future post on this blog.

A birthday lunch at the Bank of England
11.5" x 17", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

After lunch I left the drawing group and continued on down Fleet Street and then up Ludgate Hill into the City of London towards St Pauls. My route took me left up Old Bailey and past the Central Criminal Courts and to Barts (St Bartholomew's Hospital) to go and get my bloods done for my annual checkup.

West Smithfield

West Smithfield (garden to the left and Smithfield market in background)
11.5" x 17", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Then out past the new extension and into Little Britain where I turned left to go up to West Smithfield. It has a considerable history and a considerable place in history.
Smithfield was a place of public execution for over 400 years. Here heretics, rebels and criminals were burnt, beheaded or boiled. In 1305 Scottish hero William Wallace was hanged, drawn and quartered after being dragged there behind a horse.

In 1381 Wat Tyler, leader of the Peasants' Revolt, gathered his army in Smithfield and was stabbed by the Mayor of London. The injured Tyler was taken to the hospital at St Bartholomew's Church, but dragged out again and beheaded.
West Smithfield Garden
Here I sat on a stone step in the shade and sketched the scene in front of me - Smithfield Market, the people standing around drinking on the street in the sunshine, the waiters from the local restaurant on their very brief break between lunch and dinner - and the cherry blossom.

I'm very pleased with this one. It's my first long complicated sketch of the year done entirely plein air and it came off well I think. The blue sky and the balmy weather helped I think!

I'd also like to say a special thank you to Hokusai and Hiroshige for reminding me of the strength of designs in their pictures of cherry trees and that you can have a tree trunk which is barely in the picture plane!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Peacocks, palms and magnolias - Kew Gardens in April

These are couple of sketches involving trees from our visit to Kew Gardens on Monday. Of course it was nice and warm with blue skies over the weekend. So I dressed accordingly for Monday which was grey and cloudy with a wind with a nasty nip!  Which meant it was a tad chilly unless you were walking briskly

So I sketched in The Temperate House while "he who must not be bored while I sketch" read a biography of the Rolling Stones.  This palm was rather big,

 The Temperate House
11" x 15", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in large Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

We did a quick tour up to see the bluebells - which of course weeren't out because the winter had been so cold and everything seems to be delayed.  So we then set off at a brisk walk to the Magnolias but got distracted by a male peacock doing that thing blokes do when they want a bit of attention.


Having admired the magnolias we settled for a piece of cake and a nice cup of tea at the Orangery Cafe.  It was great to be able to finally experience the sun making a reappearance while sat on the terrace without the usual omnipresent Yummy Mummies of Kew with their small children racing up and down.  I sketched a fir tree and tried to work out how to distinguish the colour from the underside of the parasol.

 Outside the Orangery
11" x 8", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in large Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Examination

The Examination
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink in Moleskine sketchbook

copyright Katheriune Tyrrell

I'm spending a lot of time at the moment sat around a large table with lots of microphones in a large room with tower blocks and cranes out the window - trying to stop the further invasion of tower blocks and cranes into what's left of the heritage of where I live.

It's not easy - and feels pretty bleak - when the planners repeatedly demonstrate they don't understand the place they're writing plans about.