Wednesday 23 August 2017

We drew Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens 19 August 2017

[By Nicky Browne in London] Hyde Park had a nip of autumn in the air, but the welcome from the Urban Sketchers was friendly and warming -- and it might have been a record attendance! (Anyone want to count heads?)

Every year the Serpentine Gallery commissions a leading architect to design a new temporary summer pavilion. This year's structure was designed by Francis Kéré, the award-winning architect from Burkina Faso. They've even tucked a coffee bar inside -- what better way to start the day?

There was a wealth of material to hand. We met at the Serpentine Gallery next to the summer pavilion designed by Francis Kéré. Then off to work!

 The Italian Gardens' fountains played against the backdrop of golden grass and dark, late summer trees. The Serpentine Lake bridge, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery designed by Zaha Hadid and the Serpentine Gallery itself appeared in many drawings and paintings.

Several people challenged themselves successfully with the Royal Albert Hall and the famous Albert Memorial. Someone even stood at the traffic lights and drew the Royal Geographical Society (the view was regularly blocked by buses waiting at the lights!). 

There were several renderings of the aptly named equestrian statue Physical Energy by the Victorian painter and sculptor George Fredric Watts. (The original plaster model is located at the very drawable Watts Gallery in the Surrey village of Compton, near Guildford).

There were also sketches of the contemporary bronze sculpture Serenity by Simon Gudgeon, and one or two drawings of The Arch by Henry Moore, a stone sculpture the artist gave to the nation in 1980.

Chickens as wildlife!
Then there was interesting wild life: swans, geese, ducks and people. Someone sat too near a Great Tit's nest and was attacked several times --  and there were some lovely paintings of some rather splendid chickens! 

The day was organised by Jo Dungey with Nicky Browne


Saturday 19 August 2017

The Pavilion, but not in a cricket sort of way.

The August Sketchcrawl with Jo and Nicky was in a brilliant location. I stayed close to base, found a fence to lean against, and spent the time before lunch studying Francis Kéré's addition to Kensington Gardens.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Let’s draw Highgate - Saturday 9 September 2017

This month we visit Highgate, in north London. Options for sketching include Waterlow Park, the world-famous Highgate Cemetery, and the old houses, shops and pubs of Highgate Village.

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 at the café at Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park (see photograph above). We will then walk across the park to the entrance to Highgate Cemetery East on Swain’s Lane. Earlybirds please note: the cemetery does not open until 11am on Saturdays.

1pm: Meet near the entrance and ticket office of Highgate Cemetery East to look at drawings done so far. If the weather is wet, meet inside the ticket office or the mausoleum nearby and we will decide where to look at the work.

3.30pm: Meet at the café at Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park (as above) to look at drawings done, and take group photographs. If the weather is bad in the afternoon, we may decide to change this to a location in Highgate village – we will decide this at the earlier meet-ups.

The locations for this day don’t offer much shelter if the weather is wet, so dress suitably.

Options for drawing include:

Waterlow Park: this has a mix of formal gardens, fountains, wooded areas, a lake and children’s play areas. There are plenty of seats.

Highgate Cemetery: this is one of the ‘big seven’ Victorian cemeteries in London, and the most famous. It is in two parts, and we will visit Highgate Cemetery East. This has an admission charge of £4. Highgate Cemetery West can only be visited on a pre-booked tour. The east cemetery has a wide range of old and new graves, and their leaflet will help you find the most famous ones. The tomb of Karl Marx is probably the most well-known, but modern ones include artist Patrick Caulfield (photo below). Parts of the cemetery are overgrown and have become a refuge for wildlife.

Highgate Village: there are many pretty old houses and shops in the area around Pond Square and Highgate High Street. Highgate developed around the main coaching route from the north into London, so there are pubs which were old coaching inns – the Angel, for example has been a pub for over five hundred years. Many of the buildings in the High Street date from the 18th or 19th century or earlier.

Practical information

The nearest underground station is Archway, Zone 2 on the High Barnet branch of the Northern Line. Exit the underground station following the signs to Highgate Hill and the Whittington Hospital. Walk up Highgate Hill past the hospital (or to avoid an uphill walk, take a bus from Archway to Waterlow Park, routes 143, 210 or 271). When you reach a large Catholic church, St Joseph’s, turn left down Dartmouth Park Hill and you will see an entrance to Waterlow Park almost immediately. A map of the park is displayed just inside. We will meet at 11am at the park café, but if you arrive later and want to go directly to Highgate Cemetery, walk across the park to the Swain’s Lane entrance, which is next to the cemetery gates.

Highgate Cemetery East has an admission charge of £4. This funds the conservation of the cemetery. The ticket office will give you a map showing the location of graves of famous people of the past. A portable stool could be useful here.

From the cemetery gates, you can walk directly up Swain’s Lane into Highgate Village.

Waterlow Park has a café with food and drink at Lauderdale House, which opens at 8.30 am (see photograph above). The park also has toilets. Highgate Cemetery has toilets, but no food or drink, so it could be a good idea to bring a
packed lunch. There are plenty of cafes and pubs in Highgate Village on Highgate High Street.

The day is run by Dougie Simpson and Jo Dungey

Richmond Green

Saturday morning on Richmond Green. A return visit with another group. It's Crown Land leased to Richmond Council. Twelve acres surrounded by trees and an elegant mix of buildings. Hugely popular and charming.  It has been the venue for informal and formal games for hundreds of years, including archery tournaments in the 16th century, and now cricket, which began in the 18th century [John Webb].