Sunday 30 December 2018

An Urban Sketchers year in review - We drew London in 2018

Happy New Year from Urban Sketchers London

Thank you for making this such a brilliant year.  See you in 2019! 

Let's draw London in 2019

We drew London in 2018 

January - The Wellcome Collection
Led by Jo Dungey and Cathryn Worrell

February - Tate Britain
Led by Lis Watkins and Gafung Wong

March - Leadenhall Market
Led by Olga Mackness and Cathryn Worrell

April - Walthamstow
Led by Elizabeth Blunt and Philip Stones

May - Three Mills Island
Led by Martin Stone and Steven Baker

June - Twickenham
Led by Helen Hayhoe, John Webb and John Swanson

July - St Katharine Docks
Led by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong

Summer evening sketching south of the River Thames
June - The Golden Hinde and Southark Cathedral led by Jo Dungey and Lis Watkins
July - Flat Iron Square led by John Webb and Jo Dungey
August - Gabriel's Wharf led by Gafung Wong and John Webb

August - Chiswick House and Garden
Led by Nicky Browne and Jo Dungey

September - Holland Park and the Design Museum
Led by Nicky Browne and Olga Mackness

October - Soho
Led by Lis Watkins and Evelyn Rowland 

November - National Army Museum and Chelsea
Led by Olga Mackness and John Swanson

December - Bloomsbury and the British Museum
Led by Jo Dungey and Isabel Carmona

Let's draw London in 2019!


Monday 17 December 2018

Christmas 2017/18

John Webb writes: I make two cakes each year - one for us, one for my wife's cousin.  Each year decoration is a challenge but last Christmas' USk London at the V&A looking down to the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum has come to the rescue.

Thank you Urban Sketchers - and Happy Christmas everyone!


Let's draw at the RAF Museum, Hendon - Saturday 16 February 2019

Our venue this month is the Royal Air Force Museum, in Hendon. The museum tells the history of military aviation from before the RAF was founded in 1918 through to modern times, with a look forward into the uncertain future needs. It provides the opportunity to draw the buildings (both new and some of the original Hendon Aerodrome buildings) exhibits and visitors.

There is no charge for the event, and no need to book, just turn up with your drawing gear.

Meeting points and times
11 am:  We will meet in the museum’s main entrance area which is in Hangar H1 under the starboard (right) wing of the Sunderland flying boat (picture below). This is to the left as you enter.
1 pm:  We will meet there again at lunch at 1pm and look at sketches done so far. There is a café there too.
3.30 pm:  Finally, we will meet there again to look at sketches done and take photographs.
Thence using the café for post sketching conviviality and sketchbook sharing.

Options for sketching
The museum is on part of the old Hendon Aerodrome.  It is a large area with the exhibits in six hangars (3, 4 and 5 in the old main building, pictured above). Whilst the exhibits which dominate are the aircraft, there is a huge variety of other items from small models, medals, uniforms, cars to a couple of boats.

Hangar 1 - the first 100 years

Hangar 2 - The First World War
Hangars 3, 4, 5 - War in the air including all the iconic fighters and bombers (Spitfire, Lancaster, Vulcan) and lots more

Hangar 6 - The RAF in an age of uncertainty

Practical information
Entry to the museum is free. Expect a bag search on entry where you can collect a useful map (suggested donation of £1 or print from their web site free). The museum has not given us any rules about art materials which can be used, but please be cautious when using anything that might spill, splash or crumble. Be aware also that you will be drawing among many visitors, so try not to cause an obstruction.
Getting to the museum is quick and easy - just 30 minutes from Central London by Tube, and a seven minute 303 bus ride from Colindale Underground Station.
By road the museum is only 30 minutes from Central London. Follow the brown and white tourist signs from M25, M1 (Junction 4 Southbound), A41, A5 and North Circular (A406) roads.

There is parking on site, parking charges apply (£3 for 3 hours, £4 for 3 – 6 hours).  The postcode NW9 5QW will direct you to the small industrial estate that is located next to the Museum.  Their web site notes that during periods of high demand such as the school holidays and weekends this can fill up very quickly. We would therefore suggest that during such times that you leave your car at home and use public transport.
There are toilets and several cafés in the museum buildings.
The museum’s website has further information. 

The day is run by John Webb and Philip Stones.  The photographs and sketch of the Blériot are by John Webb.


Sunday 16 December 2018

We drew at the British Museum - December 2018

Urban Sketchers London drew at the British Museum on Saturday 15 December 2018.  We explored the museum collections, tackled the challenge of drawing the museum's spectacular glass roof, and sketched some of the many visitors.  On a cold, wet day, we also discovered urban sketching luxury - the museum's Great Court has underfloor heating!

In the afternoon, some of the group also visited the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in nearby Malet Place; the sketch below is by Isabel Carmona.
Our next meet-up is Sunday 27 January 2019, when we will draw at the Barbican.  We hope to see you there.

Photographs are by Isabel Carmona, Nicky Browne and Jo Dungey.

Friday 7 December 2018

Let's Draw the Barbican - Sunday 27 January 2019

Sketch of Gilbert House, Barbican by Cathryn Worrell

We start 2019 with a visit to the Barbican in the City of London, which is one of the most remarkable examples of Brutalist architecture in the country.

Please note that unlike most of our sketchcrawls, this one will take place on a Sunday. This is because Sunday is the only day of the week that the Barbican Conservatory is usually open.

The day is free of charge, and there's no need to book. Just turn up with your own art kit.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11am Meet inside main entrance on Silk Street

1pm Meet on Lakeside Terrace to share sketches and take a group photo

3.30pm Meet on Lakeside Terrace (or just inside if wet) to share sketches and take an end of day photograph.


Options for Sketching 


Sketch of St Giles' Church by Gafung Wong

We can sketch the residential buildings, inside and outside the Arts Centre, the Museum of London, St Giles' Church and the St Alphage gardens and highwalks.

Illustrated Map of the Barbican Estate by Cathryn Worrell

Since it is a Sunday the Barbican Conservatory may also be open. This is the second largest conservatory in London and can be found on level 3 of the Barbican Centre, although there is a possibility that it will be closed for a private function. More information about that should be available on the day.

Practical Information

The Barbican Centre is open from 9am - 11pm and this floor plan shows the layout of the Arts Centre.

There are cafes, toilets and lots of seating throughout the Barbican Centre. There is also a cafe attached to the Barbican cinemas on Beech street, as well as a Waitrose and Pret a Manger on nearby Whitecross Street.

The nearest underground stations are Barbican and Moorgate. Old Street, St Paul's and Liverpool Street stations are a short walk away.

Bus 153 also runs right past the Barbican Centre along Chiswell Street, and other buses stop nearby. See the TFL website for more information.

Access maps on the Barbican wesbite show the route to the Barbican centre (with photos) from nearby stations.

For more information see the Barbican website.

The day is run by Cathryn Worrell and Gafung Wong.

Friday 23 November 2018

Chelsea streets and small walks on Saturday 17th November with Urban Sketchers London

 Olga Mackness writes

My own findings in Chelsea Saturday

Our very interesting outing to The National Army Museum resulted in many wonderful sketches of the museum's exhibits and Royal Chelsea Hospital area around...I have opted to walk and explore, doing this sketch just standing on the street. After finishing it in pencil and some ink lines I walked a bit further towards the river and discovered very interesting building...
The London Sketch Club- founded in 1883! 
They used to call themselves "black and white artists", drawing from life in the studio and on location and exhibiting at their club.
I feel very curious and inspired, hope to visit their open exhibition one day.
My own sketch I had to improve later with some watercolour, adding details and full street address. The London sketch club is also in the picture, just a fragment of the building.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Let's draw London in 2019

Draw London with us in 2019. This programme of events is provisional - each month details will be posted on this blog about the next month’s event. This will give information about the location, including where and when to meet. These events are free of charge and there is no need to book.  Just turn up and bring your own drawing kit. The Urban Sketchers London sketchcrawl programme is co-ordinated by Jo Dungey and Lis Watkins.
Sunday 27 January 2019
We start 2019 with a visit to the Barbican. A cultural hub within the City of London, the Barbican estate is one of the most remarkable examples of Brutalist architecture in the country. Sketch the residential buildings, St Giles Church, the interior of the arts centre, the Museum of London and St Alphage high walks and gardens. Note we are meeting on a Sunday this month.
This day is run by Cathryn Worrell and Gafung Wong
Saturday 16 February 2019
Our venue this month is the RAF Museum, in Hendon. The museum tells the history of military aviation from before the RAF was founded in 1918 through to modern times, with a look forward into uncertain future needs. It provides the opportunity to draw the buildings, both the new ones and some of the original Hendon Aerodrome buildings, the exhibits and the visitors.
This day is run by John Webb and Philip Stones
Saturday 30 March 2019
In March we meet to sketch in and around Spitalfields. Spitalfields has a wide range of subjects to draw.  It has some of London's most complete Georgian streets. There is an interesting market surrounded by shops and cafes, and a modern pedestrianised area with sculptures. An important landmark in the area is Christchurch, designed by architect Nicolas Hawksmoor.
This day is run by Nicky Browne and Helen Hayhoe
Saturday 27 April 2019
We visit Croydon in April, which has a wealth of different styles of architecture and lots of interesting people to draw. From Brutalist buildings and tall tower blocks near East Croydon station to the old town where there are old alms-houses, a castellated water pumping station and the historic Minster. A busy town centre has lots of shoppers on a Saturday too.
This day is run by Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey
Saturday 11 May 2019
In May we explore Dulwich Village in South London. Dulwich Picture Gallery was founded in 1811, as England’s first purpose-built public picture gallery, designed by Sir John Soane.  There are many other interesting buildings - some beautiful Georgian houses, the Old Grammar School, churches, a big old pub, some alms houses - set in a leafy environment. Dulwich Park offers other sketching opportunities. Our visit coincides with the opening weekend of the Dulwich Festival which includes many Artists’ Open Houses.
This day is run by Jo Dungey and Rachel Bone
7-9 June 2019: UK-wide Urban Sketchers event in Stoke-on-Trent
Saturday 15 June 2019
This month we return to Richmond, a town full of interest, with its riverside, boats and bridges.  Or, if you prefer buildings, you could draw the remains of Richmond Palace, built by Henry VII, or the town's 20th Century version of Venetian Gothic on Bridge Street. And if we are lucky there will be a farmers’ market too. Richmond has good transport links, with the District Line, and frequent trains from Waterloo.
This day is run by Helen Hayhoe and John Swanson

Wednesday 19 June 2019: evening

Join us for an evening of sketching: 6pm-8pm.  Draw at the Southbank Centre including the new roof garden, the river, and surrounding buildings including the Festival Hall.

This event is run by Jo Dungey and Zane Karklina

Friday 12th July 2019: evening

Join us for 'drink and draw' sketching at the Royal Festival Hall, 6 - 8 pm. We'll find a table on the terrace if fine, inside if it is wet.

This event is run by Lis Watkins

Wednesday 17 July 2019: evening

Join us for an evening of sketching: 6pm-8pm.  Draw the Embankment area including Victoria Embankment Gardens, Whitehall Gardens, views from the Hungerford Bridge/Golden Jubilee Footbridges and Charing Cross Station.  
This event is run by John Webb and Gafung Wong
Saturday 20 July 2019
This month we draw the South side of Regent’s Park, it’s gardens and parkland. This offers the opportunity of many colourful subjects, including the fountains and formal flower beds of the Avenue Gardens. Nearby, the fragrant Queen Mary’s Gardens have approximately 12,000 roses, which we hope will be in full bloom for us. The park also has a boating lake, many open green spaces, trees and people at play, sport and leisure. 
This day is run by Steven Baker and Elwyn Edwards
24-27 July 2019: Urban Sketchers international symposium in Amsterdam
Wednesday 7 August 2019: evening
Join us for an evening of sketching: 6pm-8pm.  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. 

This event is run by Lis Watkins and Jo Dungey
Saturday 17 August 2019
In August we spend time drawing in Greenwich and Island Gardens. Historic Greenwich offers endless drawing opportunities: old pubs, Greenwich Market, the Old Royal Naval College, St Alfege Church (architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, completed 1714) and the National Maritime Museum.  Greenwich is also a great location to draw the changing skyline of Canary Wharf. An alternative view of Greenwich is offered, drawing from Island Gardens, across the river. The Greenwich Foot Tunnel, opened in 1902, runs beneath the river Thames between Island Gardens, on the Isle of Dogs, and Greenwich, with an entrance next to the Cutty Sark.
This day is run by Olga Mackness and Mike Whalley
This event was previously programmed for Saturday 14 September 2019
We visit Trinity Buoy Wharf is on the north bank of the Thames, across the river from the O2 in North Greenwich. It has spectacular river views of the eastern part of the Thames. Trinity Buoy Wharf was established in 1803 as a Thames-side workshop for Trinity House, responsible for buoys, lighthouses and lightships. It now preserves some of its old buildings as homes for creative industries including The Big Draw, and has outdoor sculpture displays, studios, schools, cafes, a pier, and London’s only lighthouse. These old industrial buildings contrast with contemporary housing developments.
This day is run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong
Saturday 5 October 2019
In October 2019 we meet to draw in the City of London, a location combining old and new architecture in different styles. We can draw some of the major City buildings: the Mansion House, the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange, and nearby modern buildings such as No 1 Poultry. There will be a chance to sketch outside and inside the Guildhall Museum, the Guildhall Great Hall and Guildhall Yard. In the same area there are fine examples of Wren’s architecture: St Lawrence Jewry, St Stephen Walbrook (which has a Henry Moore altar) and St Mary-le-Bow. 
This day is run by Olga Mackness and Katy Evans
Saturday 2 November 2019
Join us in November 2019 at St Pancras to sketch the British Library and the Francis Crick Institute. The British Library's St Pancras building - grade I listed, and the largest public building constructed in the UK in the 20th century - is a delight for any artist to sketch. It's a busy hub for students, researchers and readers and it has many significant things to draw. In the middle of the building is a six-storey glass tower containing the King’s Library, with 65,000 printed volumes collected by King George III and given to the nation, a very spacious and visually pleasing atrium, reading rooms on different floors, and the Centre for Conservation. There are exhibitions, some free, some ticketed.  Outside, the entry gate is designed by Lida and David Kindersley and the piazza has large sculptures by Eduardo Paolozzi (a bronze statue based on William Blake’s study of Isaac Newton) and Antony Gormley. Nearby buildings include St Pancras Station and the new Frances Crick Institute which has a public gallery. 
This day is run by Lis Watkins and Sangeeta Bhagawati
Saturday 14 December 2019
December finds us warm and dry, drawing at the Natural History Museum in Kensington. This spectacular Victorian building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and has ornate terracotta facades inside and out. A sculpture of Charles Darwin presides over the main hall, which now features a skeleton of the blue whale. The collections include 80 million specimens including wildlife and geology in an extraordinary “cathedral of nature”. In December the museum's front garden is transformed into a magical outdoor ice rink. 
This day is run by Nicky Browne and Elizabeth Blunt 

The watercolour of Greenwich is by Lis Watkins


Sunday 4 November 2018

Let’s draw the British Museum and Bloomsbury - Saturday 15 December 2018

We visit Bloomsbury and the British Museum this month.  We can draw aspects of the British Museum building, including the Great Court.  The treasures of the British Museum are unrivalled, and we can also sketch visitors and the life of the museum.  Bloomsbury is also home to several smaller museums, and in the afternoon there is an option to draw at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.  There is also the possibility to explore the historic squares and streets of Bloomsbury.
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 Group Welcome Desk inside the entrance on Montague Place at the rear of the British Museum (see photograph above)

1pm: Meet in the Great Court near the Information Desk to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet at the same place to look at drawings done and take group photographs.

Options for drawing 
The British Museum building was designed by Robert Smirke in 1823, and originally housed the British Library as well as the British Museum collections.

The Great Court – the largest covered square in Europe – opened in 2000, architects Foster and Partners.  At its centre is the Reading Room, dating from when this building was also the British Library.

The galleries display a vast collection of antiquities and art works from all over the world.

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology is part of the University of London.  It is on Malet Place and open from 1pm to 5pm.  It has an extensive collection, displayed in a traditional style and a quiet environment.  The museum has suggested it would be suitable for about ten sketchers to visit to draw at any time. 
Inside the Petrie Museum
The area also offers outdoor sketching opportunities, for example in nearby Bedford Square and Russell Square.
Practical information
The main entrance to the British Museum is on Great Russell Street, but we are meeting at the Groups Welcome Desk inside the rear entrance on Montague Place.  Expect a bag search at either entrance.  The nearest underground station is Tottenham Court Road (Northern Line and Central Line) or Russell Square (Piccadilly line). 
The British Museum galleries are open from 10am to 5.30 pm, and the Great Court opens from 9am to 6pm.  There are cafes both inside the British Museum and nearby, and public toilets, and cloakrooms, all of which are signposted.  Admission is free of charge, other than for special exhibitions.
Petrie Museum, Malet Place
The Petrie Museum is on Malet Place, a pedestrianised road running north/south, opposite the Waterstones bookshop on Torrington Place.  The Petrie Museum is only open in the afternoon: 1pm to 5pm.  It is free of charge.  It has toilets but no other facilities.
Both museums have restrictions on art materials which can be used: pens and pencils can be used, but not paint or dusty materials such as charcoal.    
This day is run by Jo Dungey and Isabel Carmona


Thursday 1 November 2018

Brentford Community Stadium

24 October 2018

[John Webb] Brentford Football Club have just lost their reasonably effective Head Coach to rivals Aston Villa, replaced by his assistant.  Result, a plummet down the Championship table. However our new stadium rises up spectacularly just north of Kew Bridge. The steel frame for the South Stand is complete and work has started for the terraces of the east and west stands. It will soon be revealing the skeleton shape of a stadium.

I have just completed 4 more progress sketches - other 3 on Facebook - this one a couple of cherry pickers/steel fixers at the corner of the South Stand where it abuts the road. It is close! I had just finished and was leaving when I saw this 'stop me in my tracks' geometric contre-jour. Watercolour wash; marker pen/brush drawing.