Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Victoria Tower from College Garden

Victoria Tower, Palace of Westminster - from College Garden
pen and ink and coloured pencils, 11.5" x 8"

copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This is a sketch of the Victoria Tower which is part of the Palace of Westminster.  It's the big square stone tower, 98.5 metres/323 feet tall, at the southern (opposite) end from Big Ben. The Union Flag flies on the top when Parliament is in session and inside they keep all the Parliamentary archives.

I recently went sketching in College Garden which is part of the precincts of Westminster Abbey with my Draw London Group.  This is a view which you don't often see of the Victoria Tower and is from the inside of College Garden immediately west of the Tower

Most UK readers will be familiar with watching parliamentary reports on television from TV correspondents interviewing MPs standing on College Green which is just the other side of the medieval wall at the far side of the garden inbetween the Garden and the Tower.

College Garden used to be the infirmary garden of the monastery adjoing Westminster Abbey, and it is said to be the oldest garden in England under continuous cultivation.

Ahem....the Victoria Tower is not falling over. I made the fatal mistake of not checking my verticals when I started to draw and I have a distinct tendency to get leaning structures if I don't do this!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Photograph of my sketching set-up

My sketch in Moleskine Sketchbook, basic sketching kit
and cup of tea at the Mall Galleries
 I normally forget to take a photo so this is a rare example a sketch in progress!

Yesterday I went to the Mall Galleries to see the  Watercolour Academy Exhibition and had a cup of tea and a sketch as is my usual practice after viewing the exhibition.

This time I remembered to take a photograph of the sketch in progress.  I did a bit more to the colours when I got home but all drawing in was done at the gallery.  This was taken just after the ladies who I had been sketching had got up and left - via a trip to view my sketch!  As always I draw figures rather than faces and often draw people from behind so nobody is recognisable - so no objections possible!

Watercolour Ladies at Watercolour Academy
pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
The exhibition review of Watercolour Academy will be on Making A Mark shortly - and the exhibition closes on Friday.  It's worth a visit.

My basic sketching kit is a mechanical pencil, a Pentel G-TEC-C4 gel ink rollerball, a Moleskine Sketchbook (lilac wrapper) and a basic set of Derwent Coloursoft pencils

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sketching Syon Vista

Last week we went to Kew Gardens and I sat on the steps leading up to the Palm House and drew Syon Vista with the new Lavender beds in the foreground.

Syon Vista from the Palm House, Kew Gardens
11.5" x 17", pen ans sepia ink and coloured pencilsin large Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is my plein air sketch.  I'm really enjoying my large Moleskine sketchbook as a double page spread gives me a good size to work with.  You can see the photos I took while trying to work out the best composition in Kew Gardens 11th August 2010 on Flickr.  I find that using the LCD screen on a digital camera is a really good way of working out a crop for a plein air sketch.  I went for a cropped further version of the second photo.

As always when posting these sketches I end up learning a bit more about the history and heritage of an aspect of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.
Syon Vista is a major feature in the Nesfield/Burton landscape. This part of the Gardens was originally part of Richmond Gardens, but its character is dominated by the 1845 and later design of Nesfield and the Hookers.

The view along the Vista to Syon House across the Thames make this possibly one of the the most visited areas at Kew.
Kew Gardens - History and Heritage
I never knew before today that the Vistas which raidiate out from the Palm House are the work of one man - Willian Nesfield
William Andrews Nesfield (1793-1881)
Nesfield was at first a soldier who later turned to drawing water colours. However, he found his real vocation in landscape design, gaining his first commission in 1836. This was the start of a long flourishing career, working on over 260 estates belonging to the most wealthy and influential people of the day. In 1844, he was asked to re-design the arboretum at Kew. His extensive plans included a number of vistas stemming from the Palm House, a parterre, the remodelling of the formal structure landscape around the Palm House as well as the Palm House Pond. One vista pointed south, called the Pagoda Vista, another facing west towards the Thames was called the Syon Vista. Although eroded in detail by time, Nesfield’s formal structured landscapes surrounding the Palm House, as well as his arboretum design and vistas, have largely kept their structure today.
I've added a "location" to this post but I'm not quite sure how this works in Bloggger - just off to find out.

You can see other sketches from Kew Gardens on this blog and in my Parks and Gardens in London gallery on my website

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Perfect Cuppa with Liz Steel

I love sketching interiors landscapes - of places where people eat and drink

One person who does something very similar is inveterate sketcher Liz Steel (Liz and Borrowmini) - however in her sketches she mainly focuses on tea rooms and the still life landscape of the tea table.

Below you can see A Perfect Cuppa - the book she has created in Blurb about sketches of her visits to the T2 Teahouse in the Macquairie Center in Sydney, Australia in 2009

Have you developed a series of sketches of 'interior landscapes' with a theme?

Liz is currently on her travels - sketching her way around the USA, UK and Europe - why not follow her on her blog?

Monday, August 09, 2010

A Cheshire garden in summer

A Cheshire garden in early August
11.5" x 17", coloured pencils and pen and ink in Large Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is what's known as incredibly lazy sketching - done entirely while sat in an armchair next to my Mother's glazed door into her garden.

It was very satisfying to do as it's a scene I know well and yet had never drawn - possibly due to the number of trees in this view.  

Intermittent showers meant that the planned gardening wasn't a great idea.  Plus the image of the doves sitting on top of the bird house meant that it was absolutely necessary to sketch!  My other cat Polly sat next to me at the open door absolutely transfixed by the doves as they preened and pecked.  I think she was only a quarter of the way through the door when they took off - having teased her for quite a long time.

What was slightly amazing to me on my journey north was to find that while London and the Southeast now closely resembles scorched earth due to lack of rain (shades of the summer of 1976), North West England has been getting a lot of rain - hence the garden was very lush with multiple variations on the colour green.  However even there they are having to close down sections of the canal system as the reservoirs which feed the canals lock system are so low.

Last week I came to the conclusion that there's an "English garden green" that I need which I didn't have with me as I was continuously mixing greens.  I'm still trying to work out which is the missing green......

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Cosmo weighs up the escape routes

I've been up north this week in Cheshire and Scotland.  My cats went with me and as always spent a long time trying to work out different ways in and out of my mother's garden.  Variety is after all the spice of life and my cat Cosmo does like to ring the changes.......

 Cosmo pondering the escape route options
11.5" x 17" coloured pencils and pen and ink in Large Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This sketch was done one morning as Cosmo tried to decide whether it was best to break out of the garden through the trellis, tangle with the blackberry brambles or dislodge the clematis which covers the loggia....

Mind you I reckon he was indulging in wishful thinking about it really as he's now ten, carrying a bit more weight than he used to and doesn't race up and down vertical surfaces quite the way he did when younger.  Although he still makes regular appearances on the top of the doors at home.