Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sailing ships and the City of London from Greenwich Park

This is the first of the sketches from the Greenwich Park Panorama - my 48 inch wide panoramic sketch of the view from the top of the hill in Greenwich Park.

The City of London and the River Thames from Greenwich Park
11 x 16" pen and ink and coloured pencils
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Sailing Ships and Maritime History

While people looking at this view typically pick out all the tall buildings around and about the City of London, few realise that they are also looking at a place which has played a huge part in British Maritime History.

Here are the site of the Prime Meridian - which helped sailors navigate; the place where the Royal Dockyards were located for 350 years; the place were Brunel built enormous steam sailing ships in the ninteenth century and finally the home of the Cutty Sark - one of the fastest tea clippers ever built,

What's in the sketch

Looking left from the hill - past the trees and bushes which populate the slope below the Royal Observatory at Greenwich you can see a variety of buildings which I've annotated on the Flickr version of this sketch.  Hold your cursor over the image in Flickr to see where all the places and buildings are located.

You can see - from left to right
  • The path up to the Royal Observatory and the marker site for the Prime Meridian zero degrees longitude aka the Greenwich Meridian (just off to the left and out of frame)
  • The 34 storey tower at Guy's Hospital - the tallest hospital building in the world
  • The Shard - the tallest building in the UK and Europe at 309.6 metres / 1,016 feet high
  • the area in Deptford which used to be the Royal Naval Dockyards - building sailing ships for war and exploration for 350 years - after it was commissioned by King Henry VIII in 1513 (see image below).  It built and refitted many famous ships in British maritime history.
Deptford Dockyards by Joseph Farrington
  • St Paul's Cathedral - now a rather smaller landmark in the City of London when compared to......
  • Three tall buildings in the City of London
    • the former NatWest Tower
    • the Gherkin at 30 St Mary Axe
    • Heron Tower - now the tallest building in the City of London
  • In front of these is the Wharf in Millwall on the western shoreline of the Isle of Dogs where Isambard Kingdon Brunel built the steam sailing ship the SS Great Eastern which was the largest ship in the world when it was launched from Millwall in 1853.  This is also where the famous photo of Brunel was taken - against the background of the chains used to launch the Great Eastern
  • Peeping above the trees in the middle ground are the two masts of the Cutty Sark - the tea clipper which has recently reopened after the massive refurbishment project
  • On the right and in the foreground are the Equestrian Arena and other buildings built for the  London 2012 Olympics
The sketch was the first to be drawn on 15th September when I drew the panorama of the view from the top of Greenwich Hill during the course of the 2nd Sketchcrawl hosted by Urban Sketchers London.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Greenwich Park Panorama

This is my very big sketch of the panoramic view from the top of the hill in Greenwich Park on the day of the Urban Sketchers had their 2nd Sketchcrawl.

The panoramic view from the top of the hill in Greenwich Park
- complete with Equestrian Arena for the Olympics 2012
pen and ink and coloured pencils,
11" x 48" (3 double page spreads in Moleskine Sketchboook)
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
It was sketched in three double page spreads.  I'll start unpicking the panorama tomorrow and then  I can show you the constituent parts!  It includes:
  • the Shard, St Paul's Cathedral and the City of London
  • Canary Wharf, the Old Royal Naval College and the Equestrian Event Arena used for the Olympics and Paralympics
  • the O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome)
For the record I was also sat about 30 feet east of the Prime Meridian ie 0 degrees longitude!

I got it all drawn out while I was there and most of the colour down.  However as always it takes a little longer to get the dark values reinforced which I've been picking away at last week when i had a moment.

I only saw this for the first time myself about 10 minutes ago!  Up to now I've been hoping three double page spreads would join up!

I'm thinking I maybe need to return with a roll of drawing paper so I can draw the landscape the way they used to be drawn in the past.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Urban Sketchers London SKETCHCRAWL in Greenwich tomorrow

Many of you will have seen Greenwich Park and some of the heritage and very historic buildings to be found in Royal Greenwich while watching the Olympics and Paralympics.

Tomorrow you can sketch them with Urban Sketchers London.  You are invited to join us in Greenwich for a day of sketching around and about.

This is a link to the Cutty Sark DLR Station where people will be meeting up.  Use the TfL Journey Planner to get to the station - and remember to make sure that the DLR option is enabled.

What to sketch in Greenwich

There are masses of places to sketch in Greenwich.  The problem is working out where to start and how much you can fit in on the day!

Below are details about some of the things you can see.  (Why not bookmark this post for tomorrow?)

  • Links in the address are to a map of where this is located. The aerial view on the Royal Museums website for Greenwich gives an excellent view of the location of the different museums and what Greenwich has to offer.
  • Links in the names of the places are to the website for that place

The Cutty Sark

  • Address: Cutty Sark Clipper Ship, King William Walk, Greenwich, London SE10 9HT - 
  • Opening hours: Monday–Sunday 10.00–17.00, last admission 16.00.  Note that entry to the ship is by time ticket only
  • Did you know that you can now go on board and go beneath the vessel? The rehabilitation of this very famous tea clipper has resulted in vastly improved viewing facilities
The Royal Observatory 

  • Address: Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ
  • Transport: road | tube & rail | cycle | busriver
  • open daily between 10.00–17.00, last admission 16.30 
  • This is at right at the top of the hill in Greenwich Park.  This is also.....
  • ... the home of the Prime Meridian aka the Greenwich Meridian
Greenwich Park
  • this was used for the equestrian events in the Olympics.  
  • There's a stunning view of London from the hill.   
  • You can download a detailed map of the Park
  • Public access to Greenwich Park this summer is the official statement about which parts of the Park will have been reopened by 15th September. 
    • From 14 September the areas of the park which will not be immediately accessible to the public include area in front and to the west of the Queen's Field and an area behind The Children's Playground, near Maze Hill Gate.
    • Public vehicles will be permitted in the park from 14 September with vehicle access to Blackheath Avenue and parking possible from this date.
The National Maritime Museum

  • Address: Park Row, Greenwich London SE10 9NF Located at the bottom of the hill and south of Romney Road.
  • Transport: road | tube & rail | cycle | busriver
  • open daily between 10.00–17.00, last admission 16.30 

  • This is a site map
  • Painted Hall - a good place to go if it's wet - but always worth seeing whatever the weather.
  • this provides the classic Canaletto view - but you have to go north of the river to see this! (Or to my blog post - A Canaletto View).  This is not impossible as you can use the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to walk under the Thames.  I've not done this for years but my recollection is that this is only for those who like steps.  To check the current status of the foot tunnel, you can call 020 8921 8334 during office hours or 020 8854 8888 after hours. However the website says this 
The Greenwich Foot Tunnel is now accessible on both sides by stairs and lift 24 hours a day. The stairs in the Greenwich tunnel may need to be closed on a short-term basis during parts of the works, but the lifts will remain open.
A Canaletto View (2nd June 2007)
(the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich from Island Gardens on the Isle of Dogs)
8" x 10", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencil in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
The Queen's House is closed until 22 September.

Greenwich Market provides lots of opportunities for sketching for those who like markets - but can get a bit crowded

Views of the River Thames - from the walkway next to the Thames.
NOTE:  This is the Meetup page for this Sketchcrawl.  You can register if you intend to come on this Sketchcrawl

Monday, September 10, 2012

View from the Chartwell swimming pool

On Sunday we went to Sir Winston Churchill's home at Chartwell and I did a sketch I've been meaning to do for some time.

It's of Sir Winston Churchill's swimming pool - and the pool and wood beyond.  I gather Sir Winston was rather fond of damning and channeling water to create streams and pools.  I certainly did this one listening to the water running down the hillside beside me

View from Chartwell swmming pool
View from Chartwell Swimming Pool
11" x 16" pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The view from Standen

Standen is a Arts and Crafts National Trust property in Sussex with interiors influenced by architect Phillip Webb and designer William Morris.  It's immaculate.

We visited when thwarted by the M25 gridlock from getting to where we planned to go and we looked around for another place to visit instead.  We were very pleasantly surprised by our choice and plan to go back again soon!

This is the view from the long grass terrace which overlooks the view down to the High Weald and the Weir Wood Reservoir (the light blue strip in the middle).

The view from the long terrace at Standen
11" x 16", pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
If you'd like to see some of the Arts and Crafts gems which are inside the house you can browse the database for the collection online - highlights from the Standen Collection - then click the link on the page to see more

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Vita Sackville West's Tower at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

We went to Sissinghurst Castle Garden last month and I had a second attempt at sketching the tower where Vita Sackville West used to write her novels and gardening columns.  I love it!

Vita Sackville West's Tower at Sissinghurst Castle Garden copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Vita Sackville West's Tower at Sissinghurst Castle Garden
pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook, 11" x 14"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Here's my photo of the sketch at the point at which I was umming and aahing about adding in garden to the right - which in the end I decided to do as the sun came out!

Time out to have an internal debate as to whether to use two pages!
My second sketch was actually done first - and while we had eat our sandwiches and completed the crossword of "he who must not be bored".  I'm allowed to have a go at the clues he can't get!

In front is the great grass lawn which we had learned earlier this year actually covers the remains of the French soldiers who were buried there when the Castle was used as a prisoner of war camp during the Seven Years' War.

The main challenge with this one was not so much the drawing as the very dark values which inevitably had to be worked on when I got home.  It takes time to get a good intense dark! Here's where I got to on site

I then spent a very long time when I got home developing the intense dark greens which you get when looking at a big tree on a sunny day.  There is a huge amount of crimson in that tree!  It's started to make me think about developing some swatches for tree colours which I can carry round with me when drawing trees.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden - The Front from the former French Graveyard
pen and ink and coloured pencils in Moleskine Sketchbook, 11" x 16"
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
Sissinghurst is a wondeful garden to visit between March and October - it changes all the time and the compartment gardens are always fascinating.  If you'd like to know more about the garden check out Sissinghurst Castle Garden - a great garden