Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Avenue of Sail: Thames Sailing Barges & The Shard

Avenue of Sail 2nd June 2012
Thames Sailing Barges and Jubilee Bunting in front of the Shard - from Old Billingsgate

11" x 16", pencil and coloured pencils in Large Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
We went to look at the Avenue of Sail on Saturday afternoon.  I suspected that most of the sailing ships would be in their berths for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant by late Saterday afternoon - and I was right.  That meant I was able to see them all properly without the crowds which would be present on Sunday.  It was a windy day but we had a bright day with sunshine - so, given the torrential rain on Sunday afternoon, this was by far the better day to view the Thames and its sailing ships.

The sketch however presented something of a problem.

First off, the tide was going out and it was very low tide when we got there so the boats were all sitting low in the water which created a few problems re finding a place to sit to sketch and then having a subject to sketch.

In the end I opted for the top half of the Thames Sailing Barges which were berthed outside the Old Billingsgate Market - as seen against The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe.

I'd been sketching for a few minutes when I realised that the picture in front of me had completely changed.  Which was the point at which I realised that the two barges were moving backwards and forwards completely independently.  I sketched on - and then realised they seemed to be getting a bit lower in the water too as the tide went out.  Next time I looked up the bunting had suddenly appeared while I'd been colouring the sails on the barges.

I did a quick sketch of the bunting and then decided to call it a day and to go home!  You can see my Avenue of Sail photos on Flickr.

You can also read about the plein air painters who stuck it out through the wind and rain on the Sunday to paint the flotilla of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant - see Paintings for the Diamond Jubilee on Making A Mark


  1. You have captured a part of a magnificent event. All the bunting is so colourful. Thank you for sharing

  2. AnonymousJune 06, 2012

    Love your blog and as well as this sketch. Just beautiful.

  3. you've mustered the subject in spite of the difficulties greatly! Absolutely love the composition


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