I was invited to BBC Broadcasting House in central London this weekend to take part in Radio 4's Saturday Live, to talk, along with Manchester-based artist Simone Ridyard, about urban sketching and the sketchcrawl phenomenon. Tracey Thorn of Everything But the Girl fame, environmental activist Laurens de Groot and I sat around the table with the presenters Richard Coles and Aasmah Mir for 90 minutes to be gently grilled. Simone and I spoke with Aasmah about what urban sketching is all about and the joys of drawing together in sketchcrawls.After it had ended (about 15 minutes into the programme if you follow the link below), I stayed on to draw the scene in the studio. One of these drawings, of Tracey and Laurens (although you wouldn't recognise them), is shown on the programme's website as a time-lapse sequence: over in just a minute. It also includes a gallery of images by London's Urban Sketchers.
Behind the scenes
The time flashed by. It was an insight to see the presenters Richard and Aasmah put us guests at ease and keep the atmosphere light — there was lots of lively conversation around the table during prerecorded segments, to the extent you almost forgot when you were on air and when you weren't. At the end we each signed a visitors' book that will be auctioned off in aid of Children in Need, posed for a photograph together and headed back through the new building. A different BBC radio station plays in each lift. On the pavement outside, a group of autograph hunters waited for Tracey. Listen to the programme here. We're interviewed about 15 minutes in.
I filled the gap between the gallery closing and the bloggers preview starting with a cup of tea in the new Shenkman Bar in the basement of the former Keepers House.
At last - a comfy seat to sit down on and have a cup of tea - and a sketch - have returned to the RA!
I much preferred the black leather sofas in the former Friends Room but the banquettes are infinitely preferable to the hard seats in the current Friends Room. Lots of opportunities too for people sketching.
It's worth taking a sketchbook to the "Sensing Spaces" exhibition. It's quite unlike anything else I've ever seen at the RA. Ostensibly about architecture it nonetheless seems to be about very large sculptural installations. See images on my blog post on Making A Mark which follows later today.
Costa, Gt Marlborough St W1. Pencil and watercolour 149 x 210 mm The romance of intellectual artists gathering for meaningful discussion over a book and a newspaper, has been replaced by groups of laptops, all too eager to communicate their world view to anyone with a charger. But I was only there for observational reasons, and a medium latte.
I agree with Nathan: I enjoyed Sunday's sketchcrawl in Covent Garden also, and the exhibition at the new Timberyard cafe on Upper St Martin's Lane looks great. Congratulations to Adebanji, Nathan, Lis, Olha and Evelyn, and thanks to Darren for inviting us to show there.
Thanks to everyone who came out for our drawing day on Sunday, it was great to see you all!
For January we were pretty lucky with the weather, but nevertheless it was nice being inside and looking out!
The thing I enjoy most about these sketchcrawls is seeing everyone's different styles and approaches to drawing the same subjects, so if you were there and feel like sharing, you can do so in our Flickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/usklondon-grouppool/
There's already a few up there of Sunday's sketches from Lis and Evelyn, so check them out.
After downing a few coffees in Timberyard, we headed off to Neal's Yard, and there was even some sunshine to encourage us to try some outdoor sketching, before retreating into another nearby coffee shop to keep warm.
From Neal's Yard, we headed down to Trafalgar Square and finished with some sketches outside the National Gallery.
Here's my day's sketching.
Look out for another sketchcrawl around mid-March ! See you then.
We're very excited to have an exhibition of London urban sketching officially opening tomorrow as part of the launch of the brand new branch of Timberyard coffeeshop.
Work from Lis Watkins, Adebanji Alade, Evelyn Rowland, Olha Pryymak and myself (Nathan Brenville) will be on display from Friday 17th January at Timberyard Seven Dials, 7 Upper St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London. It's open til late, so if you fancy a coffee after work/dinner, pop in and check out some of our sketches!
Evelyn finishes hanging her work
As mentioned in the previous post, to celebrate the opening, we'll be meeting in Timberyard Seven Dials this coming Sunday for coffee and sketching, before working our way around a few other tea and coffee establishments in the local area. The exhibition will be up for a couple of months. Timberyard will also be hosting a 2nd exhibition of Urban Sketchers London from mid-March onwards featuring a whole new set of artists and artworks! Please go and see for yourself! Let us know what you think in the comments section or twitter: @UrbSketchLondon
Happy New Year everyone!
I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas holiday.
In two weeks time Urban Sketchers London will be launching our second group exhibition (our first was at Foyles bookshop in Summer 2012). If you're based in the Old Street/Farringdon area, you may already know Timberyard coffeeshop. Well, they have a new branch, due to open in Seven Dials, Covent Garden on January 16th, and our artwork will be adorning their walls! This will be followed by more of our works going on display later at the Old Street branch of Timberyard too.
We'll be posting more details about the shows very soon, but to celebrate the Covent Garden show, we'll be convening on Sunday 19th January at Timberyard for some coffee and sketching, and we'd love it if you could join us!
Because the end of January is usually the coldest time of year, we thought it might be a good plan to try and stay indoors as much as possible. So we'll be meeting in Timberyard at 11am on Sunday 19th January. The address is 7 Upper St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DL and we'll probably stick around for a coffee and some sketching before working our way over to the Espresso Bar inside the National Gallery.
The unpredictability of the weather means the schedule will have to be flexible - if there's rain or snow it may delay or speed up the route but the basic plan is to head along the quieter streets via a few other cafés to keep warm. Whatever happens, sketching will occur!
The end point will be the espresso bar in the National Gallery where we can hopefully do a final bit of sketching, have a look at other people's work and show off yours (if you want to!). We won't be going round the Gallery itself, unless, as I say, the weather forces us there early. If you do want to draw in the Gallery, bear in mind they only allow pencils (although you should get away with fineliners) - watercolours, oil paint, anything messy won't be looked upon kindly by the staff. Just a warning. Fingers crossed for the weather!!
If you can't find us on the day, you can give me a ring on 07796-210385