Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Portrait Cafe

When I visit the National Portrait Gallery I quite often take time out in the Portrait Cafe in the basement if I'm going somewhere else afterwards.  They have nice food and it's almost always quiet and peaceful.

 The Portrait Cafe
11.5" x 8" pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

It also has this very curious design insofar as it's long and thin and is the shape of the space between the railings and the building at ground floor level.  The wall seems to be some sort of polished concrete and the roof is glass and that's the only light into the space.

It's a bit of a challenge to draw because all your normal mental measures of what's 'normal' don't apply!

This sketch reminds me of a bit of a break through moment for me.  This was when I realised that flat surfaces actually look more normal if they're not portrayed as having only one colour.  There's colour variations in every flat surface of you look hard enough.

I forget how many colours there are in the wall - but it's at least six and probably nearer 10.


  1. You are so right about learning from a challenge. Your sketch is wonderful.

  2. This is great!
    I agree it's a nice cafe to sit in but I've never attempted to draw it.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I find if I go out armed with a sketchbook I find yourself drawing lots of places which it never occurred to me to draw before! :)


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