Monday, 18 June 2018

We drew Three Mills Island - May 2018

(Steven Baker writes) It turned out to be the perfect sunny day - after months of worrying we might have typical dreary English weather. We were taking a bit of a risk with this location, with limited facilities and having to hold the event on a Sunday. Thankfully we needn’t have worried - the sun shone and put on its Sunday best for us all. It made for a great day’s sketching at the historic Three Mills Island and the surrounding areas.

The group gathering under the Three Mills Clock Tower.

It was good to see such a fantastic turnout of eager Urban Sketchers.

Back at the Mill House for the lunchtime throw down and customary group photograph. It was great to hear that everyone was enjoying the location and we saw lots of superb midway sketches.

I love this photograph and had to include it - John Webb engrossed in sketching at the side of the River Lee looking towards the Olympic Park. 

We met up back at the Clock Tower again for the final throw down. As usual, everyone had produced some great work showing off the glorious blue skies.

The final group shot. Thanks to everyone who attended.

Then some of us adjourned to The Galvanisers Union pub with nice big tables for us to look through sketchbooks, hear sketchers’ tales of recent adventures, catch up with friends and share some handy tips. That’s what Urban Sketchers is all about, isn’t it?


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Brentford Community Stadium

[John Webb] Brentford Football Club – one of west London’s leading teams, mid-table in The championship – with creditable Premier League aspirations are building a new stadium. For a year or so now I have been following progress in my sketchbooks.
The club have recognised this and arranged limited site access but sufficient to get interesting viewpoints. Full PPE - hard hat, boots, hi vis and gloves (!).  There is a special page with an honourable mention for London Urban Sketchers on their website.

The series of sketches so far can be seen on my website.
Here’s my latest:


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Drawing Attention June 2018

We're pleased to bring you the June 2018 issue of Drawing Attention, the official monthly zine of the Urban Sketchers organization, with news of official USk events, USk chapters, and advice about the practice of on-location sketching. Happy reading!


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Let's draw Chiswick House and Gardens - Saturday 18 August 2018

Join us to draw at Chiswick House, a Palladian villa set in beautiful grounds. The house was designed by Lord Burlington with the aid of William Kent. Kent also designed the gardens, one of the earliest examples of the English landscape garden, with classical vistas, a lake, sculptures and an eighteenth-century wilderness.

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

Key times and meeting points

11am: Meet at the café next to Chiswick House (see photograph above)

1pm: Meet at the front of Chiswick House (see photograph below) to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet at the front of Chiswick House, as at 1pm, to look at drawings done, and take group photographs.

We could then go to the café, or the Old Station House pub, 2 Grove Park Road, on the other side of the railway line at Chiswick station.

There is one café at Chiswick House, which may get crowded, so it could be a good idea to bring food/drink.

If the weather is poor, there is scope to draw inside the house, which has an admission charge (details under Practical information below).  Admission to the grounds is free of charge. 

Options for drawing

Chiswick House was designed by Lord Burlington and William Kent, and completed in 1729.  After three Grand Tours between 1714 and 1719, Burlington had developed a passion for Italian architecture, in particular the buildings of Andrea Palladio (1508-80), based on antique Roman architecture. Burlington designed the villa with the help of William Kent, to house his art and furniture collection. Chiswick House was of great importance in bringing the influence of Andrea Palladio to English architecture – the Palladian style. We have the opportunity to draw this beautiful building.

Chiswick House is set in gardens, laid out by Lord Burlington and William Kent. The gardens  established the English landscape garden style, with planned vistas, classical style temples, ruins, a lake, designed to recreate an ideal pastoral landscape.

We can draw these views: the Classic Bridge, the lake, the cascade, the Ionic temple, the Eyecatcher.

There are lawns, statues and woodland. There is also a conservatory with a collection of camellias, although this is likely to be being used by a wedding party when we are there.  

We can also draw inside the house (admission charge) including sculptures, paintings and ornate furniture.

Practical information

Chiswick House is on Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 2RP.  The nearest station is Chiswick, which is on the national rail line from Waterloo.  The nearest underground station is Turnham Green (District Line). 

Chiswick House and Gardens are managed by English Heritage. Admission to the grounds is free of charge. Admission to the house costs:  Adult £7.50, Concession (student, over 60) £5.00; Under 18 free. It is free to members of English Heritage or holders of a National Art Pass (Art Fund).

Inside the house, there are around 12 folding stools that can be used while drawing in the house (these cannot be taken outdoors).  Because of the collection based in the house there are some rules for drawing indoors: Pencils only (no pens, charcoal, paint, crayon); Eraser use should be very minimal or preferably avoided altogether; No fixative sprays; No photography.   

There is a café and public toilets.

There is more information about the history of the house and gardens, and practical information for visitors on the Chiswick House and Gardens website

The day is run by Nicky Browne and Jo Dungey. The drawing of the Classic Bridge is by Nicky Browne, and the photographs are by Nicky Browne and Jo Dungey.



Let's draw at St Katharine Docks - Saturday 28 July 2018

We meet this month at St Katharine Docks, a marina just to the east of Tower Bridge.  This day offers the chance to draw the boats in the Docks, and the former warehouses and modern buildings which surround them.  We will also have river views towards the City and Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and across the river to the former warehouses of Shad Thames.

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

Key times and meeting points

11am: Meet at Starbucks, Cloister Walk, inside St Katharine Docks (see photograph – it is a small round building inside the Docks, there are other branches in the Tower Bridge area)

1pm: Meet in front of The Dickens Inn (see photograph below) to look at drawings done so far.  There is some cover at the entrance to the Inn if the weather is wet.

3.30pm: Meet at The Dickens Inn, as at 1pm, to look at drawings done, and take group photographs.

We can then go to a pub or café locally – we can decide on the day.

Options for drawing

St Katharine Docks is a marina with three basins.  It is mostly used by luxury yachts, although there are some older boats.  It is surrounded by restaurants, shops and residential developments, some in former warehouses, some modern.  The docks were originally designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1828.

There is a wide range of boats, walkways, bridges and nautical paraphernalia to draw in St Katharine Docks, as well as the buildings, old and new

There are views of the Thames from the riverside walk, including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and the City skyline

If the weather is wet, some cafes have seating under arcades and umbrellas

Practical information
The nearest underground station is Tower Hill (District and Circle lines) or Tower Gateway (Docklands Light Railway).  From Tower Hill station, turn left towards the river, then follow the signs through the underpass to St Katharine Docks.  Alternatively, you can walk from Aldgate (Metropolitan Line), or from London Bridge, follow the riverside walk (south bank side) and cross Tower Bridge.  St Katharine Docks are immediately beyond Tower Bridge, on the north side of the River Thames.
There is a wide range of cafes and restaurants, with indoor and outdoor seating.  There are public toilets, indicated on the maps on display at several points.

The day is run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong.  The sketch is by Gafung Wong, and the photographs are by Gafung Wong and Jo Dungey


Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Richmond: People and Places; Orleans House Gallery 2 June - 19 August

[Posted by John Webb] For those coming to the London USk day in Twickenham on 16th June there is an added option, pleasure or even shelter from the storms in The Orleans House Gallery where at least three of the works on display - possibly more - are by London Urban Sketchers. John Swanson's is on our Facebook pages, Nicky Browne's will (I hope) appear shortly.  This is mine....Boatworks, Eel Pie Island.


Monday, 28 May 2018

Drawing in The London Borough of Richmond (and nearby)

[Nicky Browne] 

I usually draw locally and make cards and minibook compilations of drawings and sketches. Chiswick House is new to me. I chose the bridge and while I was sitting I was a target for every sniffing, dribbling dog that passed.
I started on the left and worked around to the right of the paper. The railings on the right made such beautiful patterns that I started to include them. Quickly I realised that they would obscure everything already drawn. Ah. Big mistake. What to do? The blade scratched them almost out and I tried to cover the resulting mess with plants. It doesn't quite work, but nothing is perfect in this life.


Friday, 25 May 2018

Sketching inside the City churches

St Mary le Bow by Cathryn Worrell

(Cathryn Worrell writes)
As the oldest part of London, the City is a great place to sketch. With architecture dating from Roman times to the present day, and pockets of quieter green spaces all within 1 square mile, there's more than enough to keep any urban sketcher very happy (and very busy!).

At almost every turn you will come across one of the 42 City churches, most of which were built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London. Quite a few of Wren's churches were demolished in the 19th century as fewer people were living within the City, and others were damaged or destroyed during the Second World War.

St Dunstan in the East by Cathryn Worrell

Some of the City churches that were damaged still survive as single towers or ruins - one of the prettiest of these ruins being St Dunstan in the East, which is set among tranquil gardens close to the Monument to the Great Fire.

Map by Pete Scully - click to download a full size version

Over the past few years, urban sketcher, Pete Scully has organised two sketchcrawls through the City with the aim of sketching as many of Wren's churches as possible over the course of a day. He made a very useful hand-drawn map which shows the location of most of Wren's City churches.

Read more about 2014 sketchcrawl and the 2016 sketchcrawl on Pete's blog and download his map ready for the next time you're sketching in the City of London by clicking on the image above.

Of course, as great as it is to sketch the outside of the churches, sometimes it would be nice to be able to sketch the interiors. The problem with this can be that the church you choose to visit may well be closed when you arrive.

Although most of the churches (with a few exceptions) are closed at weekends, a group called The Friends of the City Churches work to make them accessible throughout the week. The Friends volunteer as 'church watchers' and work together to make sure that the City churches are preserved and kept open for visitors.

If you want to visit the City churches at a time when you'll be able to go inside, check the church watchers timetable on The Friends of the City Churches home page. Some churches will be open at other times too but this is a good general guide and may help avoid any disappointment if you're making a special journey to the area.

And make sure you have Pete's map to hand so you can find as many of Wren's churches as possible!

Thursday, 24 May 2018

East Molesey

[John Webb] Spent a pleasant if chilly few hours last week with a friend beside The River Thames in Hampton. Well actually on the other bank, East Molesey having taken the ferry over to sketch the old boatyards on Platts Eyot known as Port Hampton - once a thriving vibrant leisure boat island. Sadly very much less so now. As ever there's plans to develop it for luxury houses or apartments so it was good to get a good look and a sketch or two.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Fun in the sun in E3

[Evelyn Rowland]
Lovely afternoon near Bow flyover. I gravitated to the familiar sight of a clock tower rather than attack the algae and foliage. Tried a different method of working this time, more paint, less pencil. If I had got there earlier in the day, I probably could have managed another one.


Friday, 18 May 2018

Old and new in the City of London

(Olga Mackness)

As an architect I have always been interested in historic architecture - the City of London has plenty of wonderful buildings, churches and palaces.
I live in London since 1993 and I used to admire old City of London and the way it has been preserved over centuries. The old City of London has changed since that time, with the new iconic buildings such as The Shard, The Gherkin, The Cheese grater…

What lovely nicknames for the modern masterpieces of architecture!

I remember public resentment when first tall buildings were introduced to London’s skyline.
Frankly, I felt slightly unsure about new developments too.
But now I realise, how wonderfully it works together – old and modern.
I admire the way modern structures reflect beauty of the smaller historic buildings standing next to them. I carry on sketching old and new, famous and not very famous - hope to add to my collection with our next sketch crawl in Bromley-by Bow.


Brentford Football Club/Brentford Community Stadium

[John Webb] 

Brentford have a long and distinguished history in west London. Once in the top league, they have been through many difficult times but more recently seen huge progression upwards through League 2, League 1, and now a consistent top half finisher in the Championship – in 2015 we made a serious challenge to get to the Premier League by reaching the Championship playoffs.

This progression includes plans for a new stadium. Whilst longer in the planning than construction, at last the site has been cleared and construction is well under way.

As my son and I have been season ticket holders for a few years it was a natural instinct to draw it as it happens, documenting the progress towards what will be one of the most significant moments in the club’s history.

BFC and their development partner Be have arranged site access so I can make an artist-eye view of the journey towards our new era at Lionel Road.

Site clearance  April – July 2017

Groundworks & piling  April – June 2018