Monday, 15 July 2019

BAFTA Piccadilly

[John Webb writes] BAFTA (British Acadamy of Film and Television Arts) has just opened a great cafe at 195 Piccadilly.  Its open to the public and well worth a visit. This coincides with the start of its latest refurbishment project.  As BAFTA occupies what was The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour I felt bound to apply some to my sketchbook.


Monday, 1 July 2019

Let's draw Greenwich - Saturday 17 August 2019

Join us in August to draw Maritime Greenwich.  Greenwich offers a wonderful range of subjects for sketchers, including historical and modern architecture.  There are important buildings by Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren and a lively modern environment.  There are opportunities to draw from both sides of the River Thames, as a foot tunnel runs under the river here to Island Gardens.  

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

Key times and meeting points for the day 

11 am: Meet near the entrance to the Visitor Centre of the Old Royal Naval College (see photograph above).  The Visitor Centre, formerly called Discover Greenwich, provides information on the area.  We can meet just inside if the weather is wet.  It is just to the east of the Cutty Sark. 
1 pm: Meet at the same place for a sketchbook throw down to see each other’s work and chat before lunch. 
3.30 pm: Meet at the same place to look at drawings done and take group photographs.

Options for drawing 

This location is absolutely packed with sketching opportunities.  The river, people and buildings in the area offer great subjects for drawing.  

The Cutty Sark ship is near the river. 

Along the river is the Old Royal Naval College (now part of the University of Greenwich) a masterpiece by Sir Christopher Wren.  The famous Painted Hall is part of the college.  Between the domes of the college can be seen the Queen’s House and colonnade designed by Inigo Jones. 

A wonderful view of Greenwich is available across the river from Island Gardens – cross under the river using the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which is free of charge.  The entrance on each side is marked by a glass dome (see photo below).

From Greenwich there are views of the dramatic contemporary buildings of the Canary Wharf area. 

Historic Greenwich town centre has old shops, pubs, and Greenwich Market.  St Alfege church was designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor from 1712-1714.  It is undergoing renovation at the moment but the building is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. 

There is an interesting area around Royal Hill, a short walk from Greenwich Market which has lots of examples of Victorian pubs and other buildings. 

Further from the river are the Maritime Museum (free admission), Greenwich Park and on the hill the Royal Observatory which stands on the Prime Meridian, the basis for Greenwich Mean Time.

A quiet spot to draw is De Vere Devonport House on King William Walk near the foot of Greenwich Park. 

If the weather is wet, options include the Painted Hall and Chapel of the Old Royal Naval College, inside St Alfege church, inside Greenwich Market, and the Maritime Museum.

Practical information 

The nearest station to the meeting point is Cutty Sark, on the Docklands Light Railway.  Greenwich station (National Rail) is also nearby.  There are plenty of places to get food and drink in Greenwich.  Greenwich Market opens every day 10 am to 5.30 pm and offers a variety of food stalls.  The Gypsy Moth is an excellent pub with a large outdoor seating area.  There are public toilets inside the visitor centre, also by the Cutty Sark, in the Maritime Museum and in the park (King William Walk).

The day is run by Mike Whalley and Olga Mackness.  The drawings of the Cutty Sark and of ship figureheads in the Maritime Museum are by Mike Whalley.


Friday, 28 June 2019

We drew Richmond

(Helen Hayhoe writes) On Saturday 15 June 2019, we visited Richmond, by the river in south-west London.  We were worried about the rising of the river and the falling of the rain, but a pleasing crowd turned out and stayed to produce some wonderful work.  We welcomed sketchers from around the world.

We met each time at the Paved Court to catch up with the throw downs.  Represented among the sketches are the riverside, Richmond Green, Richmond Theatre, the famous view of the Thames painted by JMW Turner, and the Royal Wardrobe.  Sketches below are, in order, by Mike Whalley, Martin Stone, and Zane Karklina.


Thursday, 27 June 2019

An evening on the South Bank

London's South Bank has a new roof garden above the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and that is where we met for an evening of sketching on 19 June 2019.  Despite uncertain weather, we had a good evening with great views over London.
We started to assemble the group for a photograph, but only some of the group had arrived (photo below) before the clouds opened.  So we all headed inside the Royal Festival Hall to look at each others drawings.  Well done, all.

The evening was run by Jo Dungey and Zane Karklina and the photographs are by Zane Karklina. 


Monday, 10 June 2019

Let's draw Regent's Park - Saturday 20 July 2019

This month we draw the south side of Regent’s Park, its gardens and parkland.  This offers the opportunity of many colourful subjects.  We start in the fragrant Queen Mary’s Gardens which have over twelve thousand rose plants which will be in full bloom, and the dramatic Triton Fountain.  We can also sketch the fountains and flower beds of the Avenue Gardens, and St John’s Lodge with its classical layout and English flower beds.  Finally, the bandstand, boating lake and the park’s open spaces.  There are views of the grand mansions of the Outer Circle, and people at play and leisure activities.
The day is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit.

Key times and meeting points for the day
11am: Meet just inside the Jubilee Gates (see photograph above) on the south side of the Inner Circle road/Queen Mary’s Gardens
1pm: Meet around the Triton Fountain (see photograph below) in Queen Mary’s Gardens to look at sketches done so far
3.30pm: Meet at the Jubilee Gates again to look at sketches and to take group photographs.
After the final throw down of sketchbooks, we have a few suggestions for places to meet and catch up.  The Garden Café in the park has a selection of food, wine and refreshments.  Alternatively, the Volunteer pub is a short walk away at 245-247 Baker Street. 

Options for drawing
Options include: Queen Mary’s Gardens including the Triton Fountain and the famous rose garden:

The Avenue Gardens which have formal flower beds, fountains and planted urns:

The little known and beautiful St John’s Lodge garden:
The bandstand, waterfall, views of the Outer Circle and lake:
If the weather is wet, these are a few suggestions: the Garden Café inside the park; the Museum of the Royal Academy of Music on Marylebone Road (free admission, open 12 noon until 4 pm); St Marylebone Church at 17 Marylebone Road (open 8 am until 4 pm). There are also cafes and bars along Marylebone High Road.      
Practical information
The nearest underground stations are Baker Street and Regent’s Park, and Great Portland Street is not far away.
The website of Regent’s Park has detailed information about the facilities and history of the park, including a map and photographs.  There are also maps on information boards at several points in the park.  The park has several cafes including the Garden Café and Expresso Bar, and there are public toilets (locations indicated on the information board maps in the park).  Admission to the park is free of charge. 
This day is run by Steven Baker and Elwyn Edwards, and photographs are by Steven Baker.


Evening sketching at Hay's Galleria - Wednesday 7th August

Join us to draw on the south bank of the River Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, including views of the Tower of London, the City skyline, City Hall, and Hay’s Galleria.

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

Where and when to meet
The sculpture in the centre of Hay's Galleria

6pm - Meet by the sculpture in the centre of Hay's Galleria 

8pm – Meet outside City Hall on the riverside to look through sketchbooks and take a group photo. (At the Hay's Galleria sculpture if wet)

City Hall and Tower Bridge

What to draw

HMS Belfast
The Tower of London
More London

Practical information - Nearest station is London Bridge. A number of local pubs and restaurants for refreshments. Toilets at Hay’s Galleria.

Run by Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey


Drink and Draw at the Royal Festival Hall - Friday 12th July 6 - 8pm

Join us at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday 12th July for an early evening ‘Drink and Draw’ session, from 6 – 8 pm. 

James Richards, Urban Sketcher from Florida is visiting so this is a chance to chat and draw with one of our international friends. An urban designer, travel artist, author and former professor whose work explores great places and placemaking around the globe, his website is at if you’d like to find out more.

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

We can meet near the front entrance on the riverside at 6pm and, depending on the weather, draw outside on the terrace or inside in one of the seated areas.

Organised by Lis Watkins. Hope to see you there!