Friday 22 November 2019

Let's draw at Tate Modern - Saturday 11 January 2020

Join us as we start the year with a visit to Tate Modern.  This gallery of international modern and contemporary art is housed in the former Bankside Power Station next to the River Thames in central London.  In the Turbine Hall, a major new sculpture by Kara Walker, Fons Americanus, provides a challenge to London’s more traditional monuments.  As well as the art works and gallery visitors, there are interesting interiors and views of the surrounding area to sketch.

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

Safety: Please be mindful of the safety of yourself, other sketchers and passers-by.  Be careful about your possessions when you are sketching and in crowded places.

Key times and meeting points for the day:

11am: Meet just inside the Turbine Hall entrance (see photograph above).  Expect a bag search at the entrance, and ensure your art kit does not include sharp tools such as scissors or craft knives.

1pm: Meet at the Level One bridge (photograph below), which crosses above the Turbine Hall, to look at drawings done so far.

3.30pm: Meet again at the Level One bridge to look at drawings done.  We will take group photographs either here or down a level near the Turbine Hall sculpture, depending how crowded it is.

We could then go for drinks to the Terrace Bar at Level One of the Blavatnik Building, or another nearby bar/café.

There is information about Tate Modern on their website.   

Options for drawing:

Tate Modern opened in 2000, a conversion of the Bankside Power Station by Swiss architects Hertzog and De Meuron.  The huge Turbine Hall currently has sculpture by USA artist Kara Walker (above), whose work explores historic links between Africa, Europe and America, including the impact of the transatlantic slave trade.

Opened more recently, the Blavatnik Building (above) has extended the exhibition space, built over The Tanks, display galleries which use the former power station oil tanks.  There are interesting public spaces in all areas of the building.

The collection of international art is from 1900 to the present day.  The Blavatnik Building has a focus on post-1960 art.

There are many opportunities for people sketching, inside and outside the gallery.

There are views of the surrounding area from the windows of Tate Modern, including the cafes.  For those prepared to brave the winter weather, there are views across the river to St Paul’s Cathedral and the modern City of London.  Sights near Tate Modern include the Globe Theatre, and many contemporary buildings.

Practical information

Tate Modern is on Bankside.  The nearest underground stations are Southwark (Jubilee Line) and Blackfriars (main line rail, District and Circle underground).  Admission to the gallery is free of charge, other than for special exhibitions.  On Saturdays it is open from 10 am to 10 pm. Tate has restrictions on the use of wet painting media inside the building.  There are toilets, a cloakroom, and lockers.  The gallery has cafes and bars, and there are other cafes and restaurants by the river, and food shops south of Tate Modern around Southwark Street.

This day is run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong, sketches and photographs are by Jo and Gafung.


Thursday 7 November 2019

Let's draw London in 2020: PROGRAMME SUSPENDED

Draw London with us in 2020: This programme of sketching is suspended, given the coronavirus pandemic. 

The sketch of Pitzhanger Manor (above) is by Lis Watkins

Saturday 11 January 2020

We start the new year with a visit to Tate Modern. The collection of international modern and contemporary art is housed in the former Bankside Power Station, redeveloped by Swiss architects Hertzog and De Meuron. These architects also created the new Blavatnik extension.  In the Turbine Hall, a major new sculpture by Kara Walker, Fons Americanus, provides a challenge to London’s more traditional monuments. As well as the art works and gallery visitors, there are interesting interiors and views of the surrounding area to sketch.

This day is run by Jo Dungey and Gafung Wong

Saturday 15 February 2020

We visit the Wallace Collection, a free public art collection in Manchester Square north of Oxford Street. The building, Hertford House, provides the focal point of this eighteenth century garden square. Each room in this eclectic museum is distinctively different. It houses treasures that include arms and armour, furniture, glassware and ceramics. The collection of paintings is also well known and include the racy Fragonard's Girl on a Swing and Franz Hals’ Laughing Cavalier. Manchester Square and nearby Chiltern Street have some other interesting buildings.

This day is run by Nicky Browne and Sasala Wickramasinghe

Saturday 14 March 2020: THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED

In March, we visit Elephant & Castle in South London. This is an area undergoing rapid development with new buildings and public areas, and a variety of old and new architecture. Parts of the area, including the dated shopping centre, are due for imminent regeneration, so this is a good opportunity to capture the place in urban sketches! Nearby ‘Mercato Metropolitano’ is a busy sheltered food court on an old industrial site and can offer shelter for inclement weather.

This day is run by Isabel Carmona and Lis Watkins

Saturday 25 April 2020: THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED

This month we are drawing in the area of Granary Square and Coal Drops Yard, an area of extensive redevelopment north of Kings Cross Station. Record an area of rapid change, with many new developments, as well as old buildings by the canal. Visit the House of Illustration. Lots of scope for people sketching as well.

This day is organised jointly with Urban Sketchers Cambridge, and run by Jo Dungey (Urban Sketchers London) with Yasemin Gyford of Urban Sketchers Cambridge

CANCELLED: Urban Sketchers International Symposium in Hong Kong 8-12 April 2020 

Saturday 9 May 2020: programme suspended

In May we are by the river Thames in west London.  Come along to Twickenham Riverside to sketch boats, birds and Rock and Roll’s Eel Pie Island. Contrast the famous Naked Ladies statuary with the quirky shops on Church Road. Plenty to enjoy, all minutes from Twickenham station.

This day is run by Helen Hayhoe and John Swanson

Saturday 6 June 2020 : programme suspended

We visit Little Venice this month: a district around the junction of the Grand Union and Regent’s Canals. The canals are lined with narrow boats and surrounded by white stucco-clad Regency houses and weeping willow trees. As a contrast, this area is also near the modern developments of Paddington Basin.

This day is run by Mike Whalley and Katy Evans

CANCELLED: Urban Sketchers UK event Leeds 12-14 June 2020

Saturday 25 July 2020: programme suspended

This month we visit Pitzhanger Manor, a large mansion, formerly the country home of architect Sir John Soane, near the town centre of Ealing. It has recently been restored and stands in gardens on the edge of Walpole Park. This offers opportunities for landscape views, people sketching and tree studies. The gardens and park are free of charge, but there is an entrance fee to look around the inside of the house and gallery.

This day is run by Zane Karklina and Lis Watkins

Saturday 8 August 2020: programme suspended

In August we explore Victorian Kensington. The area between High Street Kensington Station and the Royal Albert Hall has a wealth of well-maintained Victorian and Edwardian mansion blocks. Found both north and south of the road are extravaganzas of intricate brickwork, columns and decorative features. The Royal Albert Hall is an amazing circular building. Its enormous pinnacle was too heavy to be placed on the dome and is now sited across the road in Hyde Park. We visit when the BBC Proms are on and there will be queues of people to draw. West of the Albert Hall is the Royal College of Organists building, a decorated facade of what is now a private residence.

This day is run by Nicky Browne and Sasala Wickramasinghe

Saturday 12 September 2020: programme suspended

We visit Bloomsbury this month – an area of London which has been the home of many writers, artists and academic figures. It has famous garden squares including Russell Square, Bloomsbury Square, Bedford Square and Woburn Square with interesting monuments, some very ancient trees, and surrounded by fine houses. The area is home to the British Museum and many buildings of the University of London, including some smaller museums.    

This day is run by Jo Dungey and Sangeeta Bhagawati

Saturday 17 October 2020: programme suspended

We visit the area around St James’s Square in central London. There are picturesque streets such as Pall Mall, Carlton House Terrace and Jermyn Street, and arcades of traditional shops.  Historic buildings in this area include the Tudor Gatehouse of St James’s Palace built for Henry VIII, and Sir Christopher Wren’s St James’s Church. We are also near the Royal Academy on Piccadilly.

This day is run by John Swanson and Helen Hayhoe

Saturday 21 November 2020: programme suspended

November finds us in the Museum of London, in the City of London on the edge of the Barbican Estate. The museum’s permanent galleries (which are free of charge) explore the history of London, including Roman and medieval London, up to the present day. It will also be possible to draw from the Barbican High Walks and a remaining section of the Roman wall of London.

The day is run by Elizabeth Blunt and Rachel Bone

Saturday 12 December 2020: programme suspended

We end the year in central London, sketching in Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery. The square has famous monuments and buildings including St Martin in the Fields church. In December, Trafalgar Square has a large Christmas tree donated by the Norwegian government. After a short seasonal sketch outside, we can draw inside the world famous National Gallery, and possibly inside St Martin in the Fields.

This day is run by Katy Evans and Gafung Wong

Urban Sketchers London is an informal group of people who like to sketch on location. All participants have a role to play in the safety and wellbeing of others. When taking part in our sketching events, please be mindful of the safety of yourself, other sketchers and passers-by.  Be careful about your possessions when you are sketching and in crowded places.


Sunday 3 November 2019

We drew the British Library - November 2019

The weather forecast of high winds & rain plus the early start of Rugby World Cup final meant I was expecting a low turnout for the November sketchcrawl at the British Library. But I was pleasantly surprised at the numbers of people who came along, including sketchers from the West Country, Midlands, Manchester and even Melbourne, Australia. Richard Aitken joined us as part of a European trip and produced this stunning ‘urban collage’ yesterday.

Thank you to Sangeeta for organising the event and being such a useful source of information on the day. A brief selection of some of the drawings made below. Do check out the USk London Facebook page for more.

All those books! Work by Alison
Work by Tessa
Helen sketching
Sangeeta's view of the terrace
Watercolour by Robert
Very atmospheric piece by Christine.
Sketchbooks by Jimmy
Final shot of the group at the end of the day. Thanks for coming!
Next month we meet at the Natural History Museum for the final sketchcrawl of 2019.