Sunday, 12 January 2020

We drew at Tate Modern - January 2020

Our first sketchcrawl of 2020 (Jo Dungey writes), and we met at Tate Modern on Bankside, on Saturday 11 January 2020.  It must have been one of our biggest meet-ups, as more than eighty people joined us for all or part of the day.  The photograph above shows us with our morning sketches, and below you can see the group at the end of the day, in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, next to the smaller of Kara Walker's sculptures.
Currently installed in the Turbine Hall is Kara Walker's major sculpture, Fons Americanus, and that was a popular choice of subject for sketchers.  Others chose views of the building, visitors, and artworks.  Views of the surrounding area from the gallery windows were also sketched, and quite a few people drew outside, despite the mid-winter weather.
Visit the Urban Sketchers London Facebook page to see more sketches and photographs.  The day was run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong, and the photographs are by Jo and Gafung.  

Our next meet-up is on Saturday 15 February 2020, when we will have an opportunity to draw at the Wallace Collection and nearby St James RC Church - details are on this blog, here.


Friday, 20 December 2019

An Urban Sketchers year in review - We drew London in 2019

Best wishes from Urban Sketchers London 
for a celebratory end of the year!

The skating rink at the Natural History Museum by James Hobbs    December 2019
With many thanks to Jo Dungey and Lis Watkins for leading us through another outstanding year.

Didn't we do well in 2019?

Thank you organisers one and all for making it happen

January 2019 Barbican Centre
Organisers Cathryn Worrell and Gafung Wong

February 2019 RAF Museum in Hendon
Organisers John Webb and Philip Stones

March 2019 Spitalfields
Organisers Nicky Browne and Helen Hayhoe

April 2019 Croydon
Organisers Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey

May 2019 Dulwich Village
Organisers Jo Dungey and Rachel Bone

June 2019 Richmond
Organisers Helen Hayhoe and John Swanson

A summer evening 19 June 2019  Southbank Centre
Organisers Jo Dungey and Zane Karklina

July 2019 Regent's Park
Organisers Steven Baker and Elwyn Edwards

A summer evening 'drink and draw' 12 July 2019 Royal Festival Hall
Organiser Lis Watkins

A summer evening 17 July 2019 Victoria Embankment Gardens
Organisers John Webb and Gafung Wong

August 2019 Greenwich and Island Gardens
Organisers Olga Mackness and Mike Whalley

A summer evening 7 August 2019 Tower Bridge
Organisers Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey

September 2019 Trinity Buoy Wharf
Organisers Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong
October 2019 City of London
Organisers Olga Mackness and Katy Evans

November 2019 British Library
Organisers Lis Watkins and Sangeeta Bhagawati

December 2019 Natural History Museum
Organisers Nicky Browne and Elizabeth Blunt

Best wishes from Urban Sketchers London

Let's Draw London in 2020!


Monday, 16 December 2019

Let's draw the Wallace Collection - Saturday 15 February 2020

We visit the Wallace Collection, a free public art collection in Manchester Square north of Oxford Street.  The building, Hertford House, provides the focal point of this eighteenth century garden square. Each room in this eclectic museum is distinctively different. It houses treasures that include arms and armour, furniture, glassware and ceramics. Other interesting buildings in the area include St James RC Church, and the Chiltern Firehouse. 

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

The Wallace Collection ask that drawing should be done with the following dry materials only: pencils, coloured pencils and graphite sticks.

Wallace Collection (exterior) at the head of the post, by Sasala Wickramasinghe, and Wallace Collection (interior) above, by Nicky Browne.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11 am: Meet inside the Wallace Collection building in Porphyry Court on the lower ground floor.  Please ensure your art kit does not include sharp tools such as scissors or craft knives.  Allow time to check in bulky coats and bags in the cloakroom. 

A floorplan of the Wallace Collection can be downloaded from their website.

1 pm: Meet again at the Porphyry Court to look at drawings done so far.

3.30 pm: Meet again at the Porphyry Court.  We will look at drawings done, and take group photographs either there or nearby, depending how crowded it is.

Options for drawing:

The Wallace Collection is housed in Hertford House in Manchester Square W1. It was built as a family house for the Marquesses of Hertford. The last owner bequeathed it on condition that the collection would stay intact; no items in the collection could be sold or loaned.

It is a large collection of decorative arts, old masters, arms and armour collected in 30 galleries. The fall of the French monarchy enabled the family to buy many significant treasures of many sorts including porcelain. There are several well known works of art in the collection: Franz Hals' Laughing Cavalier is one surprise. Another is Fragonard's Girl on a Swing.

The State Rooms have been restored to their near original décor. The open courtyard is now a roofed coffee bar and restaurant, called Cafe Bagatelle after one of the Marquises’ Chateau Bagatelle (shown above, sketch by Sasala Wickramasinghe).

There is a free tour of highlights of the collection at 2.30 pm.

Immediately behind the Wallace Collection, in Spanish Place, is the Neo-Gothic St James RC Church (photograph above). Designed by Edward Goldie, completed in 1890, we are welcome to draw the complex and stunning interior.

Weather permitting, nearby Chiltern Street has the extraordinary Manchester Square Fire Station designed by Robert Pearsall and completed in 1889 (photograph above, drawing below, by Nicky Browne).  Known now as The Chiltern Firehouse, it is a luxury hotel and restaurant. As there is a waiting list for the waiting list, don't expect to pop in for lunch.  The Chiltern Firehouse is too closely furnished and busy to be an interior drawing option, but the outside is stunning.

Practical information:

The Wallace Collection is at Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN.  It is a national museum with free admission to the permanent collection.  The opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm.   There is a cloakroom, café, toilets and a shop.  The Wallace Collection website is informative.  Manchester Square is located near Oxford Street and the nearest station is Bond Street. Also close are Marble Arch or Baker Street.

There are several cafes, interesting pubs and independent shops nearby.  It is also close to the busy local shopping street: Marylebone High Street.

This day is run by Nicky Browne and Sasala Wickramasinghe, sketches and photographs are also by them.


Saturday, 14 December 2019

We drew at the Natural History Museum - December 2019

(Jo Dungey writes) We met to draw at London's Natural History Museum on Saturday 14 December 2019. I always find it fascinating the different subjects people choose, although meeting at the same location. Some people tackled the ornate Victorian building,  including the dramatic Hintze Hall, which now has the vast skeleton of a Blue Whale installed. Others drew exhibits including animals, birds, skeletons, rocks and minerals. A few braved the outdoors, and sketched the exterior of the museum and the ice skaters outside.

This is our last meet-up of 2019. I hope everyone has enjoyed sketching with our group. Our new year programme starts at Tate Modern on Saturday 11 January 2020.


Friday, 22 November 2019

Let's draw at Tate Modern - Saturday 11 January 2020

Join us as we start the year with a visit to Tate Modern.  This gallery of international modern and contemporary art is housed in the former Bankside Power Station next to the River Thames in central London.  In the Turbine Hall, a major new sculpture by Kara Walker, Fons Americanus, provides a challenge to London’s more traditional monuments.  As well as the art works and gallery visitors, there are interesting interiors and views of the surrounding area to sketch.

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

Safety: Please be mindful of the safety of yourself, other sketchers and passers-by.  Be careful about your possessions when you are sketching and in crowded places.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11am: Meet just inside the Turbine Hall entrance (see photograph above).  Expect a bag search at the entrance, and ensure your art kit does not include sharp tools such as scissors or craft knives.

1pm: Meet at the Level One bridge (photograph below), which crosses above the Turbine Hall, to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet again at the Level One bridge to look at drawings done.  We will take group photographs either here or down a level near the Turbine Hall sculpture, depending how crowded it is.

We could then go for drinks to the Terrace Bar at Level One of the Blavatnik Building, or another nearby bar/café.

There is information about Tate Modern on their website.   

Options for drawing:

Tate Modern opened in 2000, a conversion of the Bankside Power Station by Swiss architects Hertzog and De Meuron.  The huge Turbine Hall currently has sculpture by USA artist Kara Walker (above), whose work explores historic links between Africa, Europe and America, including the impact of the transatlantic slave trade.

Opened more recently, the Blavatnik Building (above) has extended the exhibition space, built over The Tanks, display galleries which use the former power station oil tanks.  There are interesting public spaces in all areas of the building.

The collection of international art is from 1900 to the present day.  The Blavatnik Building has a focus on post-1960 art.

There are many opportunities for people sketching, inside and outside the gallery.

There are views of the surrounding area from the windows of Tate Modern, including the cafes.  For those prepared to brave the winter weather, there are views across the river to St Paul’s Cathedral and the modern City of London.  Sights near Tate Modern include the Globe Theatre, and many contemporary buildings.

Practical information

Tate Modern is on Bankside.  The nearest underground stations are Southwark (Jubilee Line) and Blackfriars (main line rail, District and Circle underground).  Admission to the gallery is free of charge, other than for special exhibitions.  On Saturdays it is open from 10 am to 10 pm. Tate has restrictions on the use of wet painting media inside the building.  There are toilets, a cloakroom, and lockers.  The gallery has cafes and bars, and there are other cafes and restaurants by the river, and food shops south of Tate Modern around Southwark Street.

This day is run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong, sketches and photographs are by Jo and Gafung.