Thursday 31 May 2018

Let's draw Chiswick House and Gardens - Saturday 18 August 2018

Join us to draw at Chiswick House, a Palladian villa set in beautiful grounds. The house was designed by Lord Burlington with the aid of William Kent. Kent also designed the gardens, one of the earliest examples of the English landscape garden, with classical vistas, a lake, sculptures and an eighteenth-century wilderness.

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

Key times and meeting points

11am: Meet at the café next to Chiswick House (see photograph above)

1pm: Meet at the front of Chiswick House (see photograph below) to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet at the front of Chiswick House, as at 1pm, to look at drawings done, and take group photographs.

We could then go to the café, or the Old Station House pub, 2 Grove Park Road, on the other side of the railway line at Chiswick station.

There is one café at Chiswick House, which may get crowded, so it could be a good idea to bring food/drink.

If the weather is poor, there is scope to draw inside the house, which has an admission charge (details under Practical information below).  Admission to the grounds is free of charge. 

Options for drawing

Chiswick House was designed by Lord Burlington and William Kent, and completed in 1729.  After three Grand Tours between 1714 and 1719, Burlington had developed a passion for Italian architecture, in particular the buildings of Andrea Palladio (1508-80), based on antique Roman architecture. Burlington designed the villa with the help of William Kent, to house his art and furniture collection. Chiswick House was of great importance in bringing the influence of Andrea Palladio to English architecture – the Palladian style. We have the opportunity to draw this beautiful building.

Chiswick House is set in gardens, laid out by Lord Burlington and William Kent. The gardens  established the English landscape garden style, with planned vistas, classical style temples, ruins, a lake, designed to recreate an ideal pastoral landscape.

We can draw these views: the Classic Bridge, the lake, the cascade, the Ionic temple, the Eyecatcher.

There are lawns, statues and woodland. There is also a conservatory with a collection of camellias, although this is likely to be being used by a wedding party when we are there.  

We can also draw inside the house (admission charge) including sculptures, paintings and ornate furniture.

Practical information

Chiswick House is on Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 2RP.  The nearest station is Chiswick, which is on the national rail line from Waterloo.  The nearest underground station is Turnham Green (District Line). 

Chiswick House and Gardens are managed by English Heritage. Admission to the grounds is free of charge. Admission to the house costs:  Adult £7.50, Concession (student, over 60) £5.00; Under 18 free. It is free to members of English Heritage or holders of a National Art Pass (Art Fund).

Inside the house, there are around 12 folding stools that can be used while drawing in the house (these cannot be taken outdoors).  Because of the collection based in the house there are some rules for drawing indoors: Pencils only (no pens, charcoal, paint, crayon); Eraser use should be very minimal or preferably avoided altogether; No fixative sprays; No photography.   

There is a café and public toilets.

There is more information about the history of the house and gardens, and practical information for visitors on the Chiswick House and Gardens website

The day is run by Nicky Browne and Jo Dungey. The drawing of the Classic Bridge is by Nicky Browne, and the photographs are by Nicky Browne and Jo Dungey.



Let's draw at St Katharine Docks - Saturday 28 July 2018

We meet this month at St Katharine Docks, a marina just to the east of Tower Bridge.  This day offers the chance to draw the boats in the Docks, and the former warehouses and modern buildings which surround them.  We will also have river views towards the City and Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and across the river to the former warehouses of Shad Thames.

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

Key times and meeting points

11am: Meet at Starbucks, Cloister Walk, inside St Katharine Docks (see photograph – it is a small round building inside the Docks, there are other branches in the Tower Bridge area)

1pm: Meet in front of The Dickens Inn (see photograph below) to look at drawings done so far.  There is some cover at the entrance to the Inn if the weather is wet.

3.30pm: Meet at The Dickens Inn, as at 1pm, to look at drawings done, and take group photographs.

We can then go to a pub or café locally – we can decide on the day.

Options for drawing

St Katharine Docks is a marina with three basins.  It is mostly used by luxury yachts, although there are some older boats.  It is surrounded by restaurants, shops and residential developments, some in former warehouses, some modern.  The docks were originally designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1828.

There is a wide range of boats, walkways, bridges and nautical paraphernalia to draw in St Katharine Docks, as well as the buildings, old and new

There are views of the Thames from the riverside walk, including Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and the City skyline

If the weather is wet, some cafes have seating under arcades and umbrellas

Practical information
The nearest underground station is Tower Hill (District and Circle lines) or Tower Gateway (Docklands Light Railway).  From Tower Hill station, turn left towards the river, then follow the signs through the underpass to St Katharine Docks.  Alternatively, you can walk from Aldgate (Metropolitan Line), or from London Bridge, follow the riverside walk (south bank side) and cross Tower Bridge.  St Katharine Docks are immediately beyond Tower Bridge, on the north side of the River Thames.
There is a wide range of cafes and restaurants, with indoor and outdoor seating.  There are public toilets, indicated on the maps on display at several points.

The day is run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong.  The sketch is by Gafung Wong, and the photographs are by Gafung Wong and Jo Dungey


Wednesday 30 May 2018

Richmond: People and Places; Orleans House Gallery 2 June - 19 August

[Posted by John Webb] For those coming to the London USk day in Twickenham on 16th June there is an added option, pleasure or even shelter from the storms in The Orleans House Gallery where at least three of the works on display - possibly more - are by London Urban Sketchers. John Swanson's is on our Facebook pages, Nicky Browne's will (I hope) appear shortly.  This is mine....Boatworks, Eel Pie Island.


Monday 28 May 2018

Drawing in The London Borough of Richmond (and nearby)

[Nicky Browne] 

I usually draw locally and make cards and minibook compilations of drawings and sketches. Chiswick House is new to me. I chose the bridge and while I was sitting I was a target for every sniffing, dribbling dog that passed.
I started on the left and worked around to the right of the paper. The railings on the right made such beautiful patterns that I started to include them. Quickly I realised that they would obscure everything already drawn. Ah. Big mistake. What to do? The blade scratched them almost out and I tried to cover the resulting mess with plants. It doesn't quite work, but nothing is perfect in this life.


Friday 25 May 2018

Sketching inside the City churches

St Mary le Bow by Cathryn Worrell

(Cathryn Worrell writes)
As the oldest part of London, the City is a great place to sketch. With architecture dating from Roman times to the present day, and pockets of quieter green spaces all within 1 square mile, there's more than enough to keep any urban sketcher very happy (and very busy!).

At almost every turn you will come across one of the 42 City churches, most of which were built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London. Quite a few of Wren's churches were demolished in the 19th century as fewer people were living within the City, and others were damaged or destroyed during the Second World War.

St Dunstan in the East by Cathryn Worrell

Some of the City churches that were damaged still survive as single towers or ruins - one of the prettiest of these ruins being St Dunstan in the East, which is set among tranquil gardens close to the Monument to the Great Fire.

Map by Pete Scully - click to download a full size version

Over the past few years, urban sketcher, Pete Scully has organised two sketchcrawls through the City with the aim of sketching as many of Wren's churches as possible over the course of a day. He made a very useful hand-drawn map which shows the location of most of Wren's City churches.

Read more about 2014 sketchcrawl and the 2016 sketchcrawl on Pete's blog and download his map ready for the next time you're sketching in the City of London by clicking on the image above.

Of course, as great as it is to sketch the outside of the churches, sometimes it would be nice to be able to sketch the interiors. The problem with this can be that the church you choose to visit may well be closed when you arrive.

Although most of the churches (with a few exceptions) are closed at weekends, a group called The Friends of the City Churches work to make them accessible throughout the week. The Friends volunteer as 'church watchers' and work together to make sure that the City churches are preserved and kept open for visitors.

If you want to visit the City churches at a time when you'll be able to go inside, check the church watchers timetable on The Friends of the City Churches home page. Some churches will be open at other times too but this is a good general guide and may help avoid any disappointment if you're making a special journey to the area.

And make sure you have Pete's map to hand so you can find as many of Wren's churches as possible!

Thursday 24 May 2018

East Molesey

[John Webb] Spent a pleasant if chilly few hours last week with a friend beside The River Thames in Hampton. Well actually on the other bank, East Molesey having taken the ferry over to sketch the old boatyards on Platts Eyot known as Port Hampton - once a thriving vibrant leisure boat island. Sadly very much less so now. As ever there's plans to develop it for luxury houses or apartments so it was good to get a good look and a sketch or two.

Sunday 20 May 2018

Fun in the sun in E3

[Evelyn Rowland]
Lovely afternoon near Bow flyover. I gravitated to the familiar sight of a clock tower rather than attack the algae and foliage. Tried a different method of working this time, more paint, less pencil. If I had got there earlier in the day, I probably could have managed another one.


Friday 18 May 2018

Old and new in the City of London

(Olga Mackness)

As an architect I have always been interested in historic architecture - the City of London has plenty of wonderful buildings, churches and palaces.
I live in London since 1993 and I used to admire old City of London and the way it has been preserved over centuries. The old City of London has changed since that time, with the new iconic buildings such as The Shard, The Gherkin, The Cheese grater…

What lovely nicknames for the modern masterpieces of architecture!

I remember public resentment when first tall buildings were introduced to London’s skyline.
Frankly, I felt slightly unsure about new developments too.
But now I realise, how wonderfully it works together – old and modern.
I admire the way modern structures reflect beauty of the smaller historic buildings standing next to them. I carry on sketching old and new, famous and not very famous - hope to add to my collection with our next sketch crawl in Bromley-by Bow.


Brentford Football Club/Brentford Community Stadium

[John Webb] 

Brentford have a long and distinguished history in west London. Once in the top league, they have been through many difficult times but more recently seen huge progression upwards through League 2, League 1, and now a consistent top half finisher in the Championship – in 2015 we made a serious challenge to get to the Premier League by reaching the Championship playoffs.

This progression includes plans for a new stadium. Whilst longer in the planning than construction, at last the site has been cleared and construction is well under way.

As my son and I have been season ticket holders for a few years it was a natural instinct to draw it as it happens, documenting the progress towards what will be one of the most significant moments in the club’s history.

BFC and their development partner Be have arranged site access so I can make an artist-eye view of the journey towards our new era at Lionel Road.

Site clearance  April – July 2017

Groundworks & piling  April – June 2018


Sunday 13 May 2018

Summer evening sketching 2018

Join us for some relaxed evening sketching near London’s river Thames. Explore, sketch, socialise, eat and drink, as you prefer. We have planned three evening meet-ups:

We will draw from 6pm to 8pm, then meet up again to look at the sketches done and take photos, then people have the option to eat, drink and socialise. Each evening is free of charge, no need to book, just turn up with your art kit. More information below:
Wednesday 20 June 2018

Meeting point: 6pm next to the Golden Hinde, a full-size replica of the 16th century galleon of Sir Francis Drake, next to the Old Thameside Inn, and at 8pm at the same place. 
The Golden Hinde is at St Mary Overie Dock, Cathedral Street, SE1. As well as drawing the Golden Hinde, we can draw river views, Southwark Cathedral, the ruins of Winchester Palace, and the small shops and streets around Borough Market. If it is wet, we can draw inside nearby pubs and cafes or under the canopies of Borough Market, and finish up at the Old Thameside Inn.
This event is run by Jo Dungey and Lis Watkins
Nearest station: London Bridge
Wednesday 25 July 2018
Meeting point: 6pm at Flat Iron Square, Bankside, off Union Street, and at 8pm at the same place.

Flat Iron Square is a new ‘foodie hub’ in Bankside. It is at the junction of Union Street, O’Meara Street and Southwark Street. Having redeveloped seven old railway arches, it has restaurants, bars, street food trucks and sometimes live music. Draw the people and buildings, including the old railway arches, and the nearby old shops, buildings and bridges in this mixed but historic area. If it is wet, there is plenty of cover and interior spaces at Flat Iron Square.
This evening is run by John Webb and Jo Dungey
Nearest stations: London Bridge, Southwark, Borough

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Meeting point: 6pm at Gabriel’s Wharf, near the central canopy, and at 8pm at the same place.
Gabriel’s Wharf, Upper Ground, is an open area just back from the river between the National Theatre and the OXO Tower building. It has small shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes, which we can draw.  Other options for drawing are river views from the nearby jetties, and the OXO Tower buildings. If wet, we can draw inside the National Theatre or inside pubs and cafes.   
This evening is run by Gafung Wong and John Webb
Nearest stations: Waterloo, Southwark, Blackfriars

Photographs by Lis Watkins


Wednesday 9 May 2018

Five squares in London's spring -- James Hobbs on Urban Sketchers international

Cavendish Square by James Hobbs

Are you on the international Urban Sketchers mailing list? If not, you might have missed 'Five squares in London's spring' by our very own James Hobbs, co-founder of Urban Sketchers London. It's a brilliant reminder that Urban Sketchers sketchcrawls in London aren't just about drawing, they're also about discovery.


Saturday 5 May 2018

Streets of Greenwich

Sketching every corner ...
[by Olga Mackness] Greenwich is a part of London which gives me just as much inspiration as the City of London.

Of course, the whole of London is like a universe - every corner, every step is like a different galaxy. We can only do our best to explore and draw what we find along our journey whilst discovering the great space called London.

I am very attached to Greenwich. I love wandering around through old streets, starting from High street and moving towards Greenwich Park.

Of course, everyone knows the main attractions of Greenwich – National Maritime Museums, Naval College, Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark.

But personally, I like the quiet residential areas of Old Greenwich town, with its terraces, old pubs and streets meandering up and down the hill.

Point Hill, Brand Street, Royal Hill, Crooms Hill – I often feel as if I am visiting Victorian times, checking out details like original windows, doors, hooks, tiles.

Drawing simple terraced houses and meeting with the residents, who pop out of the houses to see what’s going on, admire my sketches and sometimes buy them – this is my personal Greenwich.

In this post I included drawings from different years.

I keep drawing and finding more and more seemingly ordinary places full of history and character.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Drawing Attention - May 2018 plus links to back issues

May 2018 

The latest issue of Drawing Attention is here! 
It's the official zine of Urban Sketchers international, and it's full of information on Urban Sketchers workshops, symposiums and events across the globe.

April 2018

Each issue includes a review of sketching materials by Parka of

March 2018

Spotlight on the new Urban Sketchers chapter in Swindon and Simone Ridyard in Manchester

February 2018

In which Urban Sketchers London co-founder James Hobbs appears in NBC Nightly News

January 2018

First issue of Drawing Attention in the shiny new zine format


We Drew Walthamstow! - April 2018

It was cold. It was damp. In other words a a typical English spring day, where glorious early summer had suddenly reverted back to winter. Even so, a creditable number of sketchers ventured out to the far end of the Victoria Line, many of them discovering the hidden pleasures of Walthamstow for the first time.

Many headed first for the area's most famous monument, the William Morris Gallery, set in Lloyd Park – bow windows at the front, delicate canopied staircase at the back, and a delicate spatter of drizzle all over anything painted outside.

Watercolour by John Trotman

Watercolour by Martin Stone

This was where we met up at lunchtime for a photo opportunity on those steps, followed by the welcome discovery that there were homemade hot lunches for a fiver in the park cafe.

Meanwhile down in Walthamstow old village, Nicky Browne was getting into the mood of the graveyard....

Watercolour by Nicky Browne

Devi Narayanaswamy tackled the half-timbered Ancient House.......

Sketch by Devi Narayanaswamy

and Maria Armengol Gonzalez had fun with the Victorian post box.

Image by Maria Armengol Gonzalez

But the unexpected hit of the day turned out to be the nearby kitsch emporium specialising in vintage neon signs, God's Own Junkyard. It took a bit of finding, tucked away on a backstreet industrial estate, but inside it was glowingly warm, there were teas and scones (and avocado on sourdough); it was, as one sketcher put it, 'neon heaven'.

It was also an artistic challenge, particularly for those who had arrived with all the right kit for delicate watercolours on on a pearly grey spring day. But there were some terrific attempts at catching its lunatic vibrancy.

Sketch by Steven Baker

We all ended up in the garden of the Vestry Museum, before finishing the afternoon in the pub.

Our next sketchcrawl will take us to Three Mills Island, down in the East End, just south of the Olympic Park, on the 20th May. And yes, this time we are meeting on a SUNDAY. Don't be confused. See you all then!