Saturday 30 August 2014

joining the circus

Piccadilly Circus
Hello London!
I am now home from my recent jaunt back to my native city, armed with a massive pile of sketches to scan. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting many other sketchers on the Sketching Wren's City seems so long ago now, but what an amazing day of exploration! I'll post my results very soon. For now, I will post this sketch of a well-known London tourist attraction. I am officially a tourist now, and I love it.
On my first morning back, still dizzy with the transatlantic jetlag, the promise of sketching on the streets of London again proved too much for a morning cup of tea to satiate, so I took an early train down to what is usually one of my least favourite parts of the city: Piccadilly Circus, least loved because it is usually jam-packed with people and traffic and noise and nonsense. However, in the earlier pre-9am hours it is a calmer more respectable place, and I was waiting for Lillywhites to open anyway so I sat outside that large sports store and sketched the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, also known as the Angel of Christian Charity, but known to Londoners and signposts alike as 'Eros'. I sketched in a large spiral-bound Stillman and Birn Alpha book, and stood looking towards Regent St and Shaftesbury Avenue. After a while, some police officers showed up, dressed in bright yellow overcoats. They were just hanging around, and then more came. Some photographers also started gathering, and then more police, and then two officers mounted on horseback, all in a jovial mood, all happy to pose with tourists. There must have been over forty police officers there, apparently there to launch a new initiative, and they all stood together and said “cheese, guv” and had their photo taken in front of the statue (“Ello, ello, ello, what’s goin’ on Eros then?”). A young woman from Germany, holidaying in London, stopped and watched me sketch for a while, sitting down when I crouched over to add the paint, and told me how she also liked to draw. I was in a good mood for my first out-and-about sketch in London, and when I was done I said goodbye to the circus, popped into Lillywhites to look at all the new football shirts, and set off to sketch the narrow dusty streets of Soho. It was good to be back.
by Pete Scully