Saturday, April 28, 2012

The gardens at the Geffreye Museum

Yesterday I visited the Geffreye Museum with the Drawing London Group.  This is a museum of the home and garden between 1600 and the present day.  It's situated in Hoxton - inbetween Kingsland Road and the new Hoxton London Overground Station (opened July 2010).

The weather wasn't brilliant (constant showers) but the view of the period gardens at the rear of the museum from the cafe was - so I stayed inside during the morning and was able to sit comfortably, spead by pencils on a table and drink cups of tea!  Bliss!

After a very satisfactory lunch, I then visited the exhibition and then sketched in the garden in afternoon - with a few false starts due to the rain.

Both the sketches of gardens at the rear of the Geffreye Museum in this post are straight off the page - and, although drawn, they are not quite finished in terms of the colouration of the trees and vegetation which still needs to be completed.  Basically the edges are a lacking a bit of colour.

The Edwardian Garden

Geffreye Museum Gardens April 2012
Geffreye Museum Gardens - April 2012
20th Century Period Garden (Edwardian 1900 -1914) in foreground
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils on Arches HP, 9" x 12"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
From the cafe I could see all the way down the gardens at the rear - but the one which was closest to me was the 20th century - Edwardian Garden.  I can see from the photos that I'll have to go back next month when the roses over the pergola should be in flower and the wisteria better developed.  I discovered that wisteria is very difficult to capture in coloured pencils - and the watercolourists were having the same problem

Click the next link (at the end of the quote) to see the list of plants in the garden.
This garden depicts a scheme featuring mixed borders full of herbaceous and traditional cottage garden plants, showing the influence of both Gertrude Jekyll and the garden designers and architects working with Arts and Crafts motifs. A pergola covered with wisteria and roses marks the entrance to this space.
Geffreye Museum: 20th century - Edwardian Garden
That funny dark pyramid structure in the middle is a Pelargonium Pyramid which is completely bare at the moment.  I spotted all the pelargoniums in the Victorian Greenhouse ready to plant into the structure.

The Herb Garden

Geffreye Museum Herb Garden - April 2012
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Large Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
The Herb Garden is a walled Garden with a beds devoted to different aspects of a Herb Garden.

There are beds for cosmetic, medicinal, culinary, household, aromatic and dye plants.Geffreye Museum - Herb Garden
Hoxton used to be an area of market gardens and nurseries at the time the almshouses were built.
Hoxton, just across Kingsland Road in the parish of Shoreditch, was home to a group of extremely influential nurseries in the 17th and 18th centuries.Geffreye Museum
About the Geffreye Museum

Geffreye Museum - April 2012
The Geffreye Museum is located in almshouses which were in built in 1714 by The Worshipful Company of Ironmongers with a bequest from Sir Robert Geffrye, twice Master of the Company and former Lord Mayor of London.  The almshouses provided a home for c.50 pensioners for almost two hundred years.

Over time Hoxton became one of the most overcrowded and deprived areas of London and the Company decided to move the almshouses to better location.  The premises and the open space were initially sold to the Peabody Trust and afterwards to the London County Council - with a view to both preserving the buildings but also access to one of the few open areas of green space in the area.

The almshouses became a furniture museum - the local area being a centre for furniture-making.

The buildings are now Grade 1 Listed and the furniture museum has become a museum of the domestic home and garden.

Visiting the Geffreye Museum

Although I've visited the Geffreye Museum before it's always been by car at times when the Hackney parking wardens aren't stalking the streets!

I'd not realised before how easy and quick it now is to reach the Museum via public transport from where I live.  The opening of the new Hoxton Station and the connection of the East London Line to the rest of the London Overground network now makes it much easier to visit from places across London.  This is a map (pdf file) of the London Overground Network and all the stations across London which can now be used to reach Hoxton.

I shall certainly now visit more often - because of the plants in the gardens at the rear and the scope for peaceful sketching of gardens!


The Ironmongers Company and the Almshouses

The Geffreye Museum

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Brushes iPad video to Blogger via YouTube - April garden in Cheshire

You can compare this video of a sketch done using a stylus and the Brushes app on my iPad with my last post about my pen and ink and coloured pencil sketch of The magnolia in April.

April Garden In Cheshire
April Garden in Cheshire
sketch created on iPad using Brushes app and Griffin stylus
copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
This time I developed the sketches alongside one another (they were developed over a couple of mornings because of the way light moves in the early morning).

This time I was making a conscious effort to use the stylus more like I use a pen or pencil rather than pastels.  At the moment I think I prefer the pastels mode - but suspect this is probably more about me needing to get to grips with the different brushes and ways in which these can be adjusted!

You'll be able to tell from the video below that I do tend to take the "wprk all over" approach to a bit of an extreme!

How I got my Brushes actions movie from the iPad to YouTube to Blogger

I'm going to write down how I got my the sketching actions in the Brushes app off my iPad and to this blog post via YouTube
  1. Apple iPad - Click share icon in gallery view
  2. Apple iPad - Mail actions to one of my email addresses
  3. Googlemail - save the gz file associated with the "Brushes Painting Actions" email to my Brushes folder in my Movies folder on my iMac (Note: .gz is the file extension for gzip files created using GNU zip, an open source file compression program)
  4. Open the 'gzip' file on my Apple iMac and save the gz file to the same folder
  5. After forgetting that gz files can't be read by just any old video software, open Brushes Viewer (previously downloaded to my Apple iMac)
  6. check that the file works in animated form in Brushes Viewer
  7. export the file to from gz to my hard disc on my my Apple iMac
  8. try to upload the file to Flickr (except it's too long and the .mov extension is not recognised!)
  9. export the file again(!) - this time saving it as MPEG-4 video and giving it a real name (this one was saved at 1024x768 pixels at medium quality)
  10. I now have a file called which is 354.1 MB
  11. Flickr limits movies to 90 seconds so this one needs to be uploaded to YouTube
  12. Open YouTube account and upload file - it takes about 50 minutes on a good connection
  13. Wait for the file to be processed - another few minutes
  14. Go to unique URL for video
  15. Create the share code for the the video via embed mode 
  16. Post embed code to this blog post!
If anybody has an improved way of getting videos of iPad sketches on to a blog post I'd love for you to share!

Something else I learned from the manual.  Worth keeping in mind for the future!
If your painting has many strokes, exporting a movie may take some time, and the resulting file may be quite large (depending on the settings).

Friday, April 20, 2012

The magnolia in April

The Magnolia in April
pen and ink and coloured pencils on Arches HP block
copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
When I visit my mother in Cheshire I draw the garden.  This time, to avoid the fold down the middle of a double page spread of my large Moleskine, I sketched on a block of Arches HP which I've used a lot in the past for both plein air sketches and developing work after sketching.

I didn't quite finish all of the tree branches on the left lots of finer ones need to be added in.

There's another sketch as well - but that one is a step by step video on the iPad and I've not got it off as yet.

Links: Fine Art Paper and Non-Canvas Supports for Artists

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Three trees at Wisley

Three Trees, Seven Acres, Wisley
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
11" x 16"
© Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved

I sketched these trees in the garden at RHS Wisley on 29th March 2012 - while sat in a sleeveless shirt with sunglasses on because the sun was so strong!

The thing is I can't work out what the trees are and so I've currently got my nose in my tree books.

  • Has anybody noticed how they're very keen that you identify tree by their leaves and fruit?
  • Has anybody noticed how deciduous trees don't have any leaves at all for a large part of the year.

Just saying......

Anybody recognise what they are from their shape.  I don't know why but "lime" keeps coming into my mind.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Sketching people at the Picasso exhibition at Tate Britain

The Draw London Group visited the environment around Tate Britain recently. I was suffering from sun dazzle and no visor - after lots of sketching on very sunny days - and decided to opt for the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition at Tate Britain.

These are sketches of people viewing the exhibition.  As always they are composites of people coming and going in the exhibition and I assemble the drawing one person at a time.

Visitors to the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition at Tate Britain #1
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook, 11" x 16"
© Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
I've just noticed that the perspective lines are not all in alignment in the sketch above.  But that's what happen's when you're focused on the people rather than the perspective!

The one below involved sitting the other side of a door with glass panels and looking through at the people in the next gallery.  It's an excellent way to sketch without being "in your face".

Visitors to the Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition at Tate Britain #1
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook, 11" x 16"
© Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
Plus a sketch of one of Picasso's paintings which I've always liked a lot.

As always I learned a tremendous amount just trying to get a sense of the forum and the colour using pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils.

Sketch of " Child with a Dove" (1901) by Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973)
 oil on canvas, 73cm by 54cm

pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
sketch and photograph © Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
The painting is one of Picasso's earliest works.

It was painted when he was just 19 and sold to Mrs. R. A. Workman, 1924. Samuel Courtauld purchased it from her in 1928 and then it was bequeathed by him to Christabel McLaren, Lady Aberconway on his death in 1947. It remains in the Aberconwy family and has been loaned out to different galleries in London.  When it's not in the current exhibition it can normally be seen at the The Courtauld Gallery.

However I gather there is an inheritance tax bill and the Arts Council has been notified of an Intention to Sell this work which it's thought might be valued at around £50 million.

It's unlikely that any UK gallery can afford this sum and it was announced last month that the painting may leave the UK.  So if you want to see it before it disappears make a point of visiting the Picasso exhibition soon!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A host of golden daffodils - at Kew Gardens

A host of golden daffodils - Broad Walk, Kew Gardens copyright Katherine Tyrrell
A host of golden daffodils - Broad Walk, Kew Gardens (12 March 2012)
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook, 11" x 16"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
I started to post sketches from last week and realised I'd forgotten to post this sketch from one of our trips to Kew Gardens in the middle of March.

I guess the daffodils will be coming to an end now - but the Broad Walk at Kew Gardens is an amazing sight when they are all in full bloom.  They seem to have batches staged so they start at different times.

I sketched the Broad Walk from the end of the terrace outside the Orangery while sat having a cup of tea.  It's very difficult working out how best to sketch daffodils planted like this.  Too fussy and it looks completely unreal. In the end I decided to go for large abstracted shapes of colour and then to cut in some negative shapes with darker greens

Also the title is slightly facetious.  Has anybody ever noticed the variation in the colour of daffodils and how so very often. although we might think of them all as buttery yellow, some of them actually seem to be leaning towards a lime green tinge to the yellow while others are heading towards white in colour.

This is the view from the Broad Walk from the lake end.  You can just see the Orangery - the white building - at the other end where I was sitting to sketch.

Daffodils along the Broad Walk, Kew Gardens
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved

The Broad Walk, Kew Gardens

The Broad Walk was laid out by Decimus Burton in 1845-1846 as part of his entrance design for the new Royal Botanic Gardens.
The Broad Walk at Kew Gardens runs from the lake next to the Palm House to the Eastern end of the Orangery and the lawn outside Kew Palace.  It's a major axis within the overall design of the layout of Kew Gardens.

In the Spring the Broad Walk plays host to the Daffodil Walk. The following os an extract from the Kew Gardens website - and includes two podcasts talking about the daffodils
In the autumn of 2000, 70,000 daffodil bulbs were planted on either side of the Broad Walk.

Kew Gardens - Spring Bulbs - Daffodil Walk
You can find out more about the other Spring Bulb displays at Kew Gardens via the following links

Spring bulbs
PS  According to the Kew Gardens website, Bluebells have already started flowering, beating all previously recorded opening dates at Kew Gardens.  They started flowering on 29 March. This is presumably due to the very warm March we have just had - the third warmest since records began!  The Bluebell walk is in the south west section of the garden - near the River Thames - just past this view The Thames at Kew - looking towards Richmond 12 and 15 March 2012


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sissinghurst Moat and Orchard in Spring sunshine

Sissinghurst Moat and Orchard in Spring sunshine
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook, 11" x 16"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
I love that short period in Spring when the greens are vivid.  This last week we've been enjoying the third hottest March since records began and I've been in sunglasses all week enjoying the warmth, the intense blue skies, the vivid colours and the fresh new shoots of Spring - and lots of daffodils in two gardens in Kent and Surrey.

We went to Sissinghurst Castle Gardens on Tuesday last week and RHS Wisley on Friday (post to follow re Wisley).

The view of the Moat and Orchard in the Spring Sunshine

At Sissinghurst I sat on the step of the gazebo that Sir Harold Nicholson used to use as his writing room - and sketched the moat.  It's a nice sheltered spot located in the corner of the orchard and right next to the Moat.  It has the distinct advantage that nobody can look over your shoulder while you're sketching.  (Sissinghurst is one of those places where rather more middle class ladies than usual would like to tell you what they think of your sketching and how they wished they could draw...)

[I had a very odd image up earlier - the colour was completely off - I think the Derwent Inktense I used is proving to be rather too bright!]

Here are the photos of the gazebo

Gazebo at Sissinghurst
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
and the step where I sat

My sketchbooks and pencils
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
and the alternative view to the right of where I was sat - of the forsythia in "full on" mode

Full On Forsythia at Sissinghurst
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
We went for a walk round the estate in the afternoon - it was lovely to be tramping over fields and along bridleways in sunshine but the extent of the drought in this corner of England is quite shocking.

If you'd like to see more of my sketches of Sissinghurst - click this Sissinghurst label link

I also have a website which provides more information about the garden - check out Sissinghurst Castle Garden - a great garden.  It's a wonderful garden to visit between April and the end of September.

An aside:  I learned while writing this post that, there's an arty connection to the Nicholasons -  Benedict Nicholson, the elder son of Harold Nicholason and Vita sackville-West was appointed Deputy Surveyor of the King's Pictures under Kenneth Clark in 1939.