Saturday, 8 September 2018

Rainy Day in Greenwich
(Olga Mackness writes)
I have had big sketching plans for Sunday 26th of August!
But the day was so very grey and rainy...
I wondered around Cutty Sark and could not resist this view! So I've found a spot next to Waterstones and done very quick watercolour sketch. It came out really as I wanted it to be, some ink details added on at home. Very pleased -  feel prepared for the rainy autumn sketching now.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Let's draw Soho - Saturday 6th October 2018

Drawing by Evelyn Rowland
Soho has a reputation as the entertainment district of London with theatres, music clubs, bars, restaurants and is home to the independent British Film industry. The coffee culture we take for granted today originated in the 1950s in Soho’s coffee bars. It’s busy and built up but there are a few green spaces, namely Soho Square, Golden Square and at the rear of St. Anne’s Church. The area is going through a period of change. The Crossrail development means there are some road closures in the north of the area and Walkers Court, where buildings date from the 1700s, is boarded up at present.
The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

The Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus
Key times and meeting points for the day

11 am - Meet in front of the Palace Theatre at Cambridge Circus (see photo above)

1 pm – Meet by the Tudor-style hut in the middle of Soho Square (see photo below)

3.30 pm – Meet in the Courtyard at the rear of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Café in the Crypt if wet (see photos at the bottom of the blog post)

We can move to the Café in the Crypt afterwards for coffee and chat.

Soho Square
Options for drawing
Lots of small shops and cafes
St. Anne's Church
The Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

The Courtyard at St. Martin-in-the-Fields

Entrance to the Cafe in the Crypt at St.Martin-in-the-Fields

Practical information

There are a huge variety of cafes, bars and restaurants and Soho is easy to reach by bus. Nearby tube stations include Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street). The nearest mainline station is Charing Cross.

The day is run by Evelyn Rowland and Lis Watkins


Monday, 20 August 2018

We drew Chiswick House and Gardens - August 2018

(Nicky Browne writes)  Lord Burlington's elegant eighteenth century Chiswick House and Gardens hosted a dry and pleasant August sketchcrawl.  The gardens are famous for their cedars and their serpentine paths through the woods.  There are sculptures, a waterfall and a temple beside a small lake with an obelisk. 
Most people challenged themselves by drawing the Palladian house with its six columns and dome, and did so impressively and magnificently!
Lord Burlington's design was influenced principally by the architecture of classical Rome, and also by its re-interpreter, Andrea Palladio.  It is said to be based on Palladio's last masterpiece, Villa Capra, known as La Rotunda, near Vicenza in Italy and there is a statue to him at the front of the building. 
Certainly Burlington followed Palladio's thesis: “form formed by the landscape and forming the landscape”.  William Kent the architect and garden designer developed the surrounding park in keeping with this concept.
Photographs by Nicky Browne


Monday, 13 August 2018

South of the river

Making the most of the light summer evenings, we ran evening sketching sessions in June, July and August.  We explored south of the river around Borough and Bankside, finishing with river views of the ever-changing City of London.

In June we met near the Golden Hinde, a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship near London Bridge.  We sketched the ship, the area round Southwark Cathedral, and the remains of Winchester Palace, with its fourteenth century rose window, contrasted with modern developments in the area.

The new ‘foodie hub’ of Flat Iron Square was our meeting point in July.  

We drew here, and in the surrounding streets, with small shops, the railway bridge and arches, and views of the Shard.

August found us by further west on the South Bank, meeting at Gabriel’s Wharf.  Some people drew the shops and cafes of Gabriel’s Wharf, others river views towards the Oxo Tower and the City.  All of these areas show the complex layers of London’s history, underpinning the arts and leisure activities now prominent on the South Bank.

We were pleased to welcome many new sketchers to our summer evening sessions, as well as familiar faces.  We hope you will all want to return to sketch and explore London with us.
Photographs by John Webb and Jo Dungey.


Friday, 10 August 2018

The London Mastaba

By Steven Baker

(Jo Dungey writes)  In June this year, London’s Hyde Park acquired a dramatic new feature.  The London Mastaba is a huge sculpture, temporarily installed to float on The Serpentine lake.

Several members of Urban Sketchers London have worked on location in Hyde Park to create works portraying the London Mastaba, which we show here.
By Andrea Deng

The sculpture is the work of Christo and Jeanne Claude, artists known for the creation of huge environmental installations.  These have involved wrapping famous buildings such as the Reichstag in Berlin, and the Pont Neuf in Paris.  They have also created huge interventions in landscape, including Running Fence in California, and Valley Curtain in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, USA. 
By Lis Watkins

The London Mastaba is made from 7,506 horizontally stacked barrels painted in red, white, blue and mauve.  Historically, a mastaba was a type of flat-topped tomb built in ancient Egypt.  This form was used to create a huge installation which floats on The Serpentine lake.

By Jo Dungey

The nearby Serpentine Gallery is presenting an exhibition: Christo and Jeanne Claude: Barrels and The Mastaba 1958-2018.  The exhibition includes sculptures, drawings, collages, scale models and photographs from the last sixty years of the two artists’ work.
From the exhibition
The exhibition runs until 9 September 2018 and the London Mastaba is installed until 23 September 2018.  Reflections glittering in the Serpentine waters, the London Mastaba is a symbol of London's long, hot summer.  See it if you can.


Sunday, 29 July 2018

We drew at St Katharine Docks

(Jo Dungey writes) What is it about sketchers and the weather? I have never run a sketchcrawl where people did not complain – too cold, too wet, too hot, too uncertain. When on Saturday 28 July 2018, we met to sketch at St Katharine Docks, near Tower Bridge, it was Too Windy. Sketches flew, pencils rolled, water bottles were tossed into the air.

I quite liked that the over-hot air which had hung over London was replaced by a cooler breeze. But I have come to see these complaints as a form of bragging. Each one of us is J M W Turner, lashed to the ship’s mast to paint the storm. We didn’t just paint the marina full of boats, the converted warehouses, the views across the River Thames. We overcame a sea of troubles and still presented an impressive range of sketches, as ever.

We don’t just have sketchbooks to show – each comes with a tale of triumph over adversity.  Congratulations all round.

Wild dogs tore my sketchbook, and it has the bite marks as proof. Did I ever tell you that story?


Let's draw Holland Park and the Design Museum - Saturday 22 September 2018

In September we draw at Holland Park and the Design Museum, off Kensington High Street.  Holland Park offers gardens in different styles including a Japanese garden, more formal gardens, wilder areas, and wandering peacocks.  The park has a range of interesting buildings.  The Design Museum is located in the former Commonwealth Institute, an innovative building redeveloped by OMA and John Pawson.  
The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

Key times and meeting points

11 am: Meet the park side of the beautiful decorated gates of Holland Park (see photograph above), next door to the Design Museum. If raining, meet under cover outside the Design Museum.

The Design Museum café is not currently open (this could change), but there is a café in Holland Park, or you could stock up on coffee and sandwiches in the area around High Street Kensington underground station.

1 pm Meet at the main gates of Holland Park, next door to the Design Museum to look at drawings and take photographs.

3.30 pm Meet again at the main gates of Holland Park to look at drawings and take final group photographs.

Afterwards, we could then go to the Britannia pub a little way down Allen Street, on the opposite side of Kensington High Street, third road on the right - also a good drawing venue: wood-panelled walls and leather arm chairs, real ale.

Options for drawing

The Design Museum is at 224-238 Kensington High Street – see map below.  The Design Museum is a Grade II* listed building and a landmark building from the 1960s previously housing the Commonwealth Institute. It had stood vacant for over a decade, before the site was redeveloped by OMA, and the building interior by John Pawson. It displays contemporary design and innovation. There is a temporary exhibition of Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, so several ballgowns to draw.
Holland Park is set back from Kensington High Street, along a path beside the Design Museum.   At the entrance are the formal Holland Park gates.  The park surrounds a Jacobean mansion, Holland House, named after its second owner, the Earl of Holland, whose wife was the first person in England to successfully grow dahlias. In the 19th century, Holland House became a hub of political and literary activity, visited by Disraeli and Lord Byron amongst others, but was largely destroyed by bombs during World War Two.
The large park has playing fields, woods and the Kyoto Japanese garden with a waterfall and Koi carp. There are also formal gardens, wandering peacocks, a small cafe, and toilets.

Kensington High Street itself has many interesting buildings. The most fascinating drawing opportunities are the buildings in the squares and streets off the high street.

Practical information

Arrive at High Street Kensington Station on the District and Circle Line.  Leaving the station, turn left on Kensington High Street.  Holland Park and the Design Museum are further along on the other side of the road (just past the Cass Art shop!)  Kensington High Street has many cafes and sandwich shops, and there is a café in Holland Park, open 8.30 am to 5.30 pm.  The Design Museum is free to enter but has a charge for some exhibitions.  There are toilets in the Design Museum and in the park.

The day is run by Nicky Browne and Olga Mackness. The drawing of the Japanese garden in Holland Park is by Olga, and the photographs are by Nicky and Olga.