Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How to sketch The Shard

I've been having difficulties with The Shard - in terms of finding a way to draw it which makes for an interesting sketch as opposed to here is a VERY BIG building and here are tiny little buildings next to it down the bottom of the page.

Last week I discovered the trick is to get away from it and to draw it from the riverside.  Mind you I'm not entirely sure I got the scale right - but "I'm getting there".

Here's a panorama I did last Friday of the River Thames and the South Bank of the Thames at Bankside and is that rare thing - an annotated sketch by me.  As a result I've loaded a large image which you can only see if you click the sketch and then open in a new tab

Panorama of the Thames and the South Bank at Banksideright click to see big version
8 x 10*, pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Featured in the sketch from left to right are: Tower Bridge, Millennium Bridge, No. 1 London Bridge (the building with a bit missing - home of PWC), a riverboat stop (at Bankside Pier), City Hall - headquarters of the Great London Authority, The Shard, Guy's Hospital Tower (I've stood literally on the top of that building!) and Shakespeare's Globe.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Leaning Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral

It wasn't until I got home that I realised that I'd drawn that well known new tourist attraction The Leaning Dome of St Paul's Cathedral while sketching the spectacular views from the roof terrace of One New Change on Friday.

The "Leaning" Dome of St Paul's Cathedral
11" x 8", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I really should learn to repeatedly check my verticals because I know I've got a tendency to lean one way when it comes to verticals!

I used to draw the interior of St Paul's Cathedral and always started by drawing a vertical line right down the centre of my page so I could keep track of the verticals as I looked up and down!

See my website for more drawings of the interior of St Paul's and the view of St Paul's from the South Bank of the River Thames

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pavilion Cafe, Victoria Park

This is quickie " cup of tea" sketch - on my way back from yesterday afternoon's appointment with the Osteopath.

Pavilion Cafe, Victoria Park - August 2012
8" x 10" pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This is the Pavilion Cafe in Victoria Park just to the west of the Olympic Park.  A lot of my sketches of this lake are done from the jetty which sticks out into the lake which has high stools and a ledge just big enough for a cup of tea and a sketchbook.  In the summer, the awnings go up and the tables and benches all come outside.

Just as I was about to sit down on the park bench with my cup of "Builder's Tea" (£1), the Coots did what I always think of "playing jets landing on an aircraft carrier" - landing and skidded to a halt on the surface of the lake.

I held the image in my head until I could get my sketchy birds and their wake down in the sketchbook.

Sketches of the Pavlion Cafe: 
Sketches from the Pavilion Cafe:
Pavilion Cafe: Crown Gate West, Victoria Park, Old Ford Road, London E3

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mansion Pond at Wakehurst Place

Wakehurst Place is Kew Gardens in the country - down in Sussex.  We visited recently and this is my sketch of the Mansion Pond.

Mansion Pond, Wakehurst Place, West Sussex
pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell - all rights reserved
We have a new sketching routine - he does his crossword while I sketch.  Periodically "he who must not be bored while I sketch" asks me for answers to clues.  So far it's working well and I'm getting longer periods of sketching!

About Sketching Trees

I find I have a tendency when sketching plein air to do the big shapes and I sometimes end up losing the sky holes in the trees - plus the edges which indicate the depth and recession.  Plus the changing sky behind the trees does tend to mix things up a bit - first it's white cloud and then it's blue sky!

This is where photography does come in handy for restating those sky holes!  I go round with my battery powered eraser when I get home and pick out the holes again.

Plus my photos help to remind me what was in front of what in places where there's just a big morass of mixed up greens.  Mostly I don't need to be too specific but in this sketch there were a couple of areas where restating the relative values of the foreground and the background helped with the overall structure of the greenery.

I've also started using a Rembrandt Carbon 308/3 Pencil to reinforce darks and I find this very useful for the dark values which you can get with very large pines!

About Wakehurst Place

Interestingly I've got two passes for free admission as I'm a Friend of Kew and a member of the National Trust and Wakehurst allows free access to members of the National Trust within the UK.

The garden has 465 acres of ornamental gardens and woodland comprising temperate zone trees.  There are ponds, lakes and streams in the garden plus lots of shrubs and trees and not a lot of flowers - although it does have a magnificent iris garden and a heather garden.

It is wheelchair accessible in part but also has some very steep inclines which limits the scope for walking for people with limited mobility.  That includes me because when my dodgy feet start to rebel and give up I have to hold on to somebody to walk up steep slopes.

The different status of the paths are usefully indicated on a map when you get there - but this is not obvious from the websites of both Kew Gardens and the National Trust.  However the Kew Gardens/Wakehurst Place does have a downloadable pdf file of a map of the garden at Wakehurst Place - if you spot it.  In my opinion, it's very good - and the paths are well waymarked as per the map - however the map could do with being in a much more prominent place on the website so that people can check out the nature of the garden and its suitability for visitors before visiting.

Map of garden at Wakehurst Place - available as a pdf file
Red marks the very steep paths, yellow marks flattish paths suitable for wheelchairs
Wakehurst Place is also the home of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank which I have still to visit.  The botanical/nature fans will probably like their Seed Bank Blog
The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is the largest ex situ plant conservation project in the world. Our focus is on global plant life faced with the threat of extinction and plants of most use for the future. The seeds we save are conserved outside their native habitat.
Address: The address for Wakehurst Place is: Ardingly, West Sussex, RH17 6TN.

Opening Times: From 10am every day except Christmas Eve Christmas Day.  Closing times vary with the season.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Two views across the Millennium Bridge & 'Tales from the Bridge' Soundscape

Yesterday I sat adjacent to the Millennium Bridge and its new soundscape and created two pen and ink sketches of the view looking across the Thames from opposite viewpoints - before and after visiting the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern

The first one was done while sat on the Thames Pathway in the City of London - facing Tate Modern and adjacent to the Millennium Bridge.  Office workers sat next to me eating their lunch and telling stories of how to get on in the City.  People ran up and down the Thames Pathway during their lunch hour and I enjoyed the warmth of the sun while I sketched

Sketch of Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge in pen and ink
Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge from the Thames Pathway
11.5" x 16", pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
The interesting thing about this sketch is I drew to the sound of Tales from the Bridge -  a sound installation on the Millennium Bridge.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'From Saxon times to Londinium and Shakespeare's city to our present day metropolis, London's story is one of dynamic change. With the magnificent Thames as the constant that flows through that great history, Tales from the Bridge provides an evocative soundtrack to the sights, the sounds and the people that have passed through these streets. With a wonderful poem and amazing invisible choir, it will be an inspirational part of the celebrations we are hosting across the city throughout the summer.'
It's both interesting and soothing - particularly when the chorus starts singing - click the link to see a video about it.
London’s Millennium Bridge (has been transformed) into a giant 3D soundscape. Tales From The Bridge went live the morning of the opening ceremony, and will run daily from 8am to 10pm during the Olympics.

It is the largest 3D soundscape in the world, using 3DAudioScape software (developed by Ware’s company Future of Sound, in collaboration with Vince Clarke) to position spoken elements written by poet Mario Petrucci and voiced by Mia Austen and Steven Alexander within a soundfield that runs the entire length of the bridge. In addition, at the start of each hour, an astounding invisible 3,746-voice strong choir from 73 countries – Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir – will perform Water Night, written by Grammy-winning composer, Eric Whitacre.

Largest 3D soundfield on Millennium Bridge during Olympics
The other sketch is of the City of London - including St Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge  - done while sat having a pot of Lemongrass and Ginger tea in the Members Room on the sixth floor of Tate Modern.  It's a great place to take a break and avoid the hordes in the museum cafes.

Click this link for a virtual tour of the Members Room and see its wonderful view.

Sketch of City of London, St Paul's cathedral andMillennium Bridge in pen and ink
The City of London, St Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge from the Members Room, Tate Modern
11.5" x 16", pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This is what was behind me while I sat and sketched Tate Modern!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rowing Frenzy in Victoria Park

Ever since GB Rowing Team won their medals, something of a "Rowing Frenzy" seems to have erupted on the West Lake in Victoria Park in East London - located across the River Lea  to the west of the Olympic Stadium in the Olympic Park

Rowing boats in Victoria Park
pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
I sat sketching this scene on Wednesday while drinking a cup of tea on the deck extension at the Pavilion Cafe next to the West Lake, following my visit for treatment at the Osteopath.

There were an awful lot of teenage boys and families keen to get on to the lake and demonstrate their rowing ability - although precious few demonstrated any ability at all!  I think rather a lot people underestimated how much skill is needed to row a boat - and to row one fast!

The only one who seemed to be any good was a small girl who actually understood that the blade of the oar actually needs to be pulled through the water as opposed to dabbed in and out and splashed around!  Various boats were going round and round in circles with varying degrees of shouts and screams from their occupants!  The pedalos looked to be a much safer option!

I've never visited an Osteopath before but I have to say the problems in my neck and shoulder did feel very much better the next day.  It's still not solved the horrendous pains and pins and needles in my arm - but they definitely seem to be linked to this area.  I'm becoming quite an expert on the anatomy of the radial nerve and how it malfunctions!


Sunday, August 05, 2012

Tea at the Orangery, Kew Gardens

We visited Kew Gardens at the end of July.  It's a great option when we don't want to drive but do fancy a long walk.

Given my current problem with my pinched radial nerve, driving any significant distance isn't to be contemplated as 'himself' has to drive both ways.  Instead we had fun when the new NSAID medication I'm taking for the nerve failed to deal with my dysfunctional feet and the right one decided to throw a full-on diva tantrum at the far end of the gardens and demanded both a lie down (as in elevate and take up a whole seat!) and a long rest before I could walk!  If I could trade in all my limbs for newer models I'd do it like a shot!  In the meantime next week I investigate the delights of Osteopathy to see if a mechanical solution will help with the pinched nerve!

Anyway, the right hand was still working and I did this sketch when we had tea on the terrace at the Orangery.  We didn't want to miss any sun or blue sky after the dismal summer we'd had up until that point!

Tea at the Orangery, Kew Gardens 26 July 2012
8" x 10", pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
© Katherine Tyrrell
I've gone back to using my smaller Moleskine Sketchbook - which still delivers an 8 x 10 inches sketch across the double page spread.

I've drawn people having tea on the terrace a few times previously. Previous posts and sketches about taking tea at the Orangery include the following - which also record the progression of the sunshades on the terrace.