Thursday 16 July 2015

London Sketchers in Oxford

Last Saturday's outing had exceptional weather in Oxford and the buzz of the place could be felt easily with tourists, graduates and families milling about.
After a hectic week (#oxfordworkshop2015) I enjoyed sketching around my favourite Radcliffe square, this time I  focused not on the central Camera (room) with its great Dome but on the surrounding buildings.
A couple of photos also of the group, first at lunch time and then at the Museum of Oxford where the Urban Sketching exhibition continues until 27th July.
Next month's sketchcrawl details will be published shortly - back in central London - Katherine Tyrrell will lead that one.


Tuesday 14 July 2015

Old pubs of Soho and St.Martin's

Last month I came back to London for a brief visit and set about sketching the streets of Soho. If I had the chance, I would draw all of Soho, every inch, and then I'd draw it again because it will probably have changed. It is nice to see that in this time of demolition and urban refurbishment (and the apparent culling of old pubs) that much still remains the same as ever. Above is Greek Street, drawn from the corner of Romilly Street, with the Prince's Theatre and the Palace Theatre bookending the scene. You may want to click on the image to see it in closer detail. On the left page you can see the timber-framed loveliness of the Three Greyhounds pub, on the corner of Old Compton, whose name references the old hunting grounds upon which Soho is built. The blue building in the middle is the old Maison Bertaux, a French patisserie which has served tea and cakes since 1871. On the corner is the Coach and Horses pub, also known as ‘Norman’s’ (after the infamous long-standing landlord Norman Balon, who claimed to be the rudest landlord in London). This pub has a good claim to being Soho’s most famous, a haunt of well known writers and actors such as Peter O’Toole, Jeffrey Barnard (he of ‘Unwell’ fame), it’s about as Proper an old Soho Drinker as it’s possible to get.
The Ship (interior)
My favourite Soho pub though is the Ship. I don't know what the criteria for it being my favourite is other than it's in a good Wardour Street location (nearby to the old now-closed Intrepid Fox), I used to come here a lot, it had a lot of rockers in the past and it generally doesn't change. Well, the interior this time has been cleaned up considerably and it looks a lot shinier, but essentially it is the same old Ship and I love it. Had many a fun evening here in the past. I came in here after taking my mum to afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason. I've sketched it before (see below); back in 2009 I sat outside on a freezing cold day to capture this old Soho landmark, and I had to use three different Micron pens to draw it because the ink kept choking up in the cold. I ended up coming in for a pint and some chips to warm up, and just put my pencil case on the radiator to bring the pens back to life. London is a lot colder than California...
the ship, soho
This last one isn't technically in Soho but it's not far away, on St.Martin's Lane. This is the Salisbury, a pub which dates from 1898 (actually it’s much older, and was previously called the Coach and Horses, obviously a popular pub name in these parts). The name refers to the Earls / Marquises of Salisbury, landowners in this manor, the first of whom was Robert Cecil (Cecil Court is around the corner) who was a political bigwig in Elizabethan times. Right, enough history. This pub is in the heart of Theatreland, and has long been associated with actors, though theatre-going tourists flock here too for its authentic interior. After doing the inkwork and some of the wash, I popped in for a pint and to add a little bit more paint. I chatted to an old Irish builder nursing his Guinness while I painted, while groups of tourists perused their maps.Salisbury pub
I stood next to the now boarded-up and under-redevelopment location of the Angel and Crown, right opposite. I had sketched that pub before back in 2008, on a rainy day in May (see below). I remember being so pleased to sketch in the rain, something we really don't see in Davis any more. I'll need to sketch it again when it reopens, whatever it turns out to be...
angel & crown


Monday 13 July 2015

Recycled interior

There have been lots of Arts Festivals in my part of South East London recently and I’ve been lucky to have taken part in some.  For the past two weekends I’ve had some sketches on display at a bistro in Sydenham which gave me the opportunity to do some drawing there too.

The interior design was quite fascinating as all the fixtures and fittings were recycled and put together in collections for maximum impact.  I hardly drew any people!

I did try to sketch one of the performers who did some improvised jazz tap dancing on one of the afternoons.  I had a go at doing a very simple animation of the sketches using ‘Vine’ to capture each of the images, adding clapping to try and get the feel of the tap sounds.