Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Drawing a house and visiting it a year later

(Olga Mackness writes)
I like Greenwich and I think this is one of the best areas in London for drawing Victorian architecture. I have sketched this view near Greenwich station - and did not even know the name of the road in my sketch. I just liked this street because it looks almost exactly like 100 years ago. Small terraced cottages - together with some bigger 3 storey houses, old chimneys, old roof tiles.
Since drawing this street, few month later I have met a new friend - and she invited me for Easter lunch in her house.
She has given me her address - and only on approaching I realised that this is the same street!
The one I liked so much!
And now I am able to visit one of the houses, meet the people, who live there.
How lucky and how interesting.
This is the photo of the street taken on Easter Day
Different weather and different light.
Hope to return for more sketching there - spotted interesting looking pub and some old school buildings.


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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Let's draw Dulwich Village - Saturday 11 May 2019


In May we explore Dulwich Village in South London.  Dulwich Picture Gallery was founded in 1811, as England’s first purpose-built public picture gallery, designed by Sir John Soane.  There are many other interesting buildings – some beautiful Georgian houses, the Old Grammar School, churches, a big old pub, some alms houses - set in a leafy environment.  Dulwich Park offers other sketching opportunities. 

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.  A portable stool could be useful at this location.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11am: Meet at Dulwich Picture Gallery, in or near the café (see photograph above)

1pm: Meet at the same place at Dulwich Picture Gallery to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet at the Crown and Greyhound pub, Dulwich Village (see photograph below) to look at drawings done, and take group photographs.  We may use the tables in front of the pub, or inside if the weather is not good.

Options for drawing include:

Dulwich Picture Gallery: Dulwich Picture Gallery was founded in 1811, as England’s first purpose-built public picture gallery, designed by Sir John Soane.  Normally there is an admission charge, but on this date it is free of charge to mark the opening of the Dulwich Festival.  The Dulwich Picture Gallery collection includes works by Rembrandt, Poussin, Rubens and Canaletto.  There will be on temporary display at the Gallery, Camille Pissarro’s 1871 painting of Dulwich College.  The college is a private school about twenty minutes’ walk away.

Adjoining Dulwich Picture Gallery are old almshouses, a church Christ’s Chapel of God’s Gift, and across Gallery Road, the Old Grammar School.


Dulwich Park is an extensive park with a lake, and a variety of planting styles and trees, a café and sports activities.  Rhododendrons in the American gardens offer bold colour at this time of year.  There are large maps of the park displayed inside each entrance.
Dulwich Village has attractive street scenes, small shops, houses, and schools. 
There are some notable Georgian houses including Bell House, College Road, which is a community owned building likely to be holding a public exhibition.
Our visit coincides with the opening weekend of the Dulwich Festival, which runs from 10 to 19 May 2019.  There will be a programme of events which includes many Artists’ Open Houses; more information on their website.
If the weather is wet, options include drawing inside Dulwich Picture Gallery, the extensive traditional interiors of the Crown and Greyhound pub, and inside cafes.  The Artists’ Open Houses of the Dulwich Festival offer other indoor opportunities.
Practical information
Nearest stations are North Dulwich (on a line from London Bridge) and West Dulwich (on a line from Victoria).  Both are national rail, Zone 3.  Alternatively, take the Victoria line to Brixton and catch the P4 bus which stops near Dulwich Picture Gallery.  There is useful information about transport on the Dulwich Picture Gallery website, and the Transport for London website.  Dulwich Village has a variety of cafes and pubs.  Other food shops are 20-30 minutes away; those on a restricted budget could bring a packed lunch.  There are toilets in the Gallery, the park and the cafes.
This day is run by Jo Dungey and Rachel Bone.  The photographs and the watercolour of Dulwich Park are by Jo Dungey.






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Call for applications: Sky Landscape Artist of the Year 2019



A message from Helen Scholes, producer

Sky Landscape Artist of the Year


I am part of the production team of Sky Arts’ Landscape Artist of the Year 2019 competition. We are currently looking for artists to take part in the new series. I am hoping this will be of interest to your community of artists.

Every year we try and reach out to as many artists and art students as possible to encourage people to apply. I’m getting in touch as we would be extremely grateful if you could let people know about the competition (and encourage them to enter).

Artists enter with a landscape artwork they have created within the last five years, via our website. If selected to take part in the competition they will then be given the opportunity to paint a specially chosen, stunning landscape within the UK.

The prize on offer is a £10,000 commission for a major British institution plus £500 worth of art materials from Cass Art.

The deadline for applying to the competition is 11th May 2019.

Our sister series Portrait Artist of the Year is currently airing on Tuesday evenings on Sky Arts.

I hope this will be of interest this year!

Helen Scholes
Producer | Landscape Artist of the Year
Storyvault Films Limited
Bridge Studios | 107a Hammersmith Bridge Road | London |W6 9DA
Tel: 020 8741 3929
Mob: 07774013617


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Wednesday, 3 April 2019

We drew Spitalfields - March 2019



(Nicky Browne writes) The warm Spring sunshine shone on a very large crowd of Urban Sketchers when we met in Spitalfields to sketch on Saturday 30 March 2019.  Spitalfields is an area bursting with a wide range of subjects to draw.  These range from Nicholas Hawksmoor's Christ Church to the late Victorian Old Spitalfields Market, to the Georgian streets surrounding the area.  

Artists Tracy Emin and Gilbert & George have houses in Georgian Fournier Street, which leads down to Brick Lane. Tracy is reputed to drink at the exquisite Ten Bells on the corner of her street, but she stayed indoors while we were there. 

The market itself is wonderful for people watching on a Saturday. It is a vast warehouse of stalls selling food, clothes, jewellery, accessories and a wonderful hat stall presided over by a man in a top hat and a gold earring.

Sketchers produced a great range of portrayals of this fascinating area:


Our next meet-up will be on Saturday 27 April when we sketch in Croydon – details are elsewhere on this blog and we hope you will join us.

Photographs are by Nicky Browne and Helen Hayhoe.

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Monday, 18 March 2019

Let's draw Croydon - Saturday 27th April 2019



In April we meet to sketch in Croydon. We’ll start near the main entrance to East Croydon station, where there are lots of new developments and some great examples of Brutalist architecture. In the afternoon we will walk along to the shopping area, looking at some of the older buildings in the town. Matthews Yard, a café in the street of the same name, have kindly offered to host us at the end of the day so we have a good place to spread out our sketchbooks.

The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit. If you have one, a sketching stool could be handy for some of the locations.

The entrance to Boxpark next to East Croydon station

Key times and meeting points for the day


11 am: Meet at the entrance to Boxpark, next to the main entrance of East Croydon Station on George Street.

1 pm: Meet back at the Boxpark entrance to look at sketches made so far. (We can move inside if there is rain)

3.30pm: Meet at the Matthews Yard cafe, on Matthews Yard, about halfway along Surrey Street.

Anyone who has time is welcome to have coffee and chat at the café afterwards. There is also a pub, The Dog and Bull, close by in Surrey Street. 

Matthews Yard is just off Surrey Street in the Old Town
Options for drawing

One Croydon
Croydon has a wealth of architectural heritage, ranging from old Almshouses to many examples of Brutalist buildings, including the landmark 'One Croydon' designed by Richard Seifert. Currently there are a large number of building developments so lots of concrete and cranes.  

Croydon Town Hall and Clocktower
The Victorian Town Hall stands beside the Clocktower, an arts and museum complex.The museum contains a drawing by Malcolm McClaren who attended the art college in the town.

Surrey Street Market
The bustling market in Surrey Street is a great place to draw people.

The Whitgift Almshouses
The view along Wellesley Road
The Old Water Pumping Station, Matthews Yard, off Surrey Street Market.

Wet weather options include Croydon Museum at the Clocktower and inside the shopping centres. There is an interesting Contemporary Art Galley called ‘Turf Projects’ in the Whitgift Shopping Centre.

Practical Information
The nearest station is East Croydon which has good transport links including frequent services to Victoria and London Bridge plus a number of Thameslink services. This is the link to the National Rail website for more information -  National Rail

There are plenty of places to eat at Boxpark and in the town centre. Toilets at Boxpark and in the shopping centres.

The day is run by Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey.



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Sunday, 17 March 2019

British Museum USk workshop review


Demo sketch by Oliver
[by Oliver Hoeller] I had not been to London in 10 years and was very excited when the opportunity arose to come back for a few days in December 2018. Last but not least, I was to hold London’s first official Urban Sketching workshop! In the British Museum of all places!


The 4 hour class “ 10 tools: How to combine weak elements into a strong sketch” was sold out – attracting participants from as far away as Oxford and Brighton – and, I tried my best to  provide a lot of useful information and “tools” for the sketchers. The workshop focused on ways to combine disparate elements into a coherent sketch and the Museum’s artifacts were more than suitable to choose from. The atmosphere was light hearted, yet the structured exercises gave everybody a chance to practice the approaches. In the second part participants assembled larger and self guided sketches in the museum. I gave feedback throughout as best as I could and once again was happy about the handout I had prepared ahead of time. It makes teaching much easier for me and provides the participants with a useful resource for future reference. Truly a win-win situation.


Group shots from the Great Court


 I am grateful for the feedback I received:
“Thanks for a great session. Well structured with perceptive and useful observations.”
The day whizzed by and the venue with the big tables was excellent. Loads of subject matter there. It was fun and educational.” 

Work by Michael Moran
Work by Peng Lee
Looking at the results of the workshop
All in all the workshop proved to be an excellent break from the pre-Christmas madness for Urban sketchers. And if you could not make it this time, I have a little sketching tip from the workshop for you:

“Don’t be stuck with your view, if you only like one particular element in front of you. Turn your head and look for other elements you like. Combine them in your sketch by overlapping and connecting. This way you will create your personal spread of a place.”


I’d love to see you (again?) soon at a sketching gathering! Oh, and If you are interested in information about any upcoming workshops, get in touch via hoelleroliver@gmail.com and I’ll keep you in the loop!

Happy sketching in 2019,
Oliver Hoeller


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Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Finally Sketching RAF Hendon

RAF Hendon Kitty Hawk When I heard that USk London's latest sketchcrawl was going to be at the RAF Museum Hendon, I couldn't resist. I was planning a quick trip to England anyway to see family and go to a wedding, so I just came a few days earlier. I am from Burnt Oak, which is very close to RAF Hendon (which is in Colindale), in the northern edges of London, and my family are still there. Yet the thing is, I've never been inside RAF Hendon (I know, right? Not even with school! We just never went). I was blown away by just how big it was - so many planes! I was joined by my nephew and budding apprentice urban sketcher, Sonny, who produced an impressive amount of sketches, and happily chatted away with the other sketchers he met. RAF Hendon Sonny sketching The first plane we both sketched was the Curtiss KITTY HAWK III, at the top of this post. With its painted mouth, this was an obvious favourite. We then moved on to draw a couple of others, the small red CHIPMUNK plane which is post-WWII, and had cool black and white striped propellers, which must have created a great effect while spinning. Ohhhh, like the stripes on a chipmunk's back, I get it. Next to it was the golden yellow HARVARD, but I didn't catch the name of the plane behind it.  RAF Hendon Chipmunk and Harvard
Below is the TORNADO, which is one of my absolute favourite planes. Back in the 1980s when I was in primary school (which is not far from here, at Goldbeaters), pupils were divided into four houses, which were if memory serves 'Phantoms' (green), 'Jaguars' (blue), Harriers (red, I think?) and 'Tornadoes' (yellow). I was in the Tornadoes. We would get House Points for all sorts of things, sometimes for sporting achievements (we would be split into our houses on sports day), but also good behaviour, good academic work, and other such things. If I recall I got us a few House Points for drawing, but not as many for sporting prowess (I was good at chess though). Anyway, that's why I like Tornadoes. Also, just look at it. It looks like a Transformer (yep, I was a child of the 80s).RAF Hendon Tornado Quick five-minute sketch of the enormous LANCASTER bomber, which I will definitely attempt again some time, it is an enormous flying fortress. It brought to mind the great flying battleships of Castle In The Sky, one of my favourite Miyazaki films. Also, the first part I drew was the round bit at the front, the one with the strange screaming emoji face on it. RAF Hendon Lancaster When I was a kid my older sister went out with a bloke called Neil, who worked at British Aerospace. When he came to visit once he brought me all these posters of modern British fighter planes, which I hung on my wall, and I tried to design new, faster, more weapon-filled versions. I was a little bit into jet fighter planes. Yet I still didn't visit RAF Hendon. The magnificent flying machines were very much part of our local lore - RAF Hendon is at the site of the great Hendon Aerodrome, which spanned the area now covered by Grahame Park Estate (where many of my school friends lived, and my sister lives on the adjacent Douglas Bader section), named after flying legend Claude Grahame-White. He had established a flying school here in 1911. Of course, two of the most famous of all RAF planes were the heroic fighter planes of the Battle of Britain, the HAWKER HURRICANE, and the forever popular SPITFIRE. So my last two sketches are of those beauties.RAF Hendon Hawker Hurricane RAF Hendon Spitfire And here are some of the sketches my nephew Sonny did. Newest urban sketcher! A fun time was had by all. Thanks for organizing, and hope to see you all on a future sketchcrawl!



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Monday, 18 February 2019

We drew at the RAF Museum, Hendon - February 2019


A very different location this month for us; over 40 Urban Sketchers faced the challenge of drawing aircraft with satisfyingly good results. See our Facebook page – they are worth the time.



The age range was as wide as the distances travelled. Pete Sculley came from California to bring his nephew from near Hendon. Spain, Hertfordshire and Leeds were also represented. 



Some sat on the floor….



….others opted for café comfort.




Museum visitors were intrigued, interested or just stood static and watched (Steven Baker) intently....



....whilst others were treated to an informal tutorial.




Concentration was high……





.....almost airborne.



Our next meet up is at Spitalfields on Saturday 30th March. It’s an ideal and varied location.



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