Friday 30 July 2021

We Drew Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - 24th July 2021


(Helen Hayhoe writes) Hurrah, we actually met for our first face to face sketchcrawl since February 2020! Although we have never missed a month of challenges and many sketchers have been meeting in smaller local groups this was the moment we felt safe enough to gather as a whole.

Alison Gardiner

Alison Gardiner: 'So good to meet up again in person on Saturday to draw! Here are mine. Loved the wildflower wall at the Aquatic Centre and did my first drawing of a motorised scooter!'

 The plan seemed perilous up to the last minute. Sasala was the lead for the day. She had visited, mapped and planned a great mix of meet ups and places to sketch. On the Thursday she was ‘pinged’ and had to self-isolate. The weather forecast was set to rain. We reconsidered, then remembered that Urban Sketchers are ready for anything. Isabel and Helen decided to go ahead, with the Aquatic Centre as the venue for all three meeting points because of the great canopy there.

Mike Barber: 'Great to meet up again at last at The Olympic Park - another interesting location. So lucky with the weather too.'

 And what a day! The rain held off, the sketchers came, and we were delighted once again to be part of a community of side-by-side sketchers.

Eli Sugrue, age 12 “It was a great day out, I loved adding splashes of colour to my sketch.”

 The venue was fabulous. Most of us made at least one attempt at the Anish Kapoor ArcelorMittal Orbit which towers over the park, getting it out of the way. 

Sarah Correira, in the process of capturing the uniquely recognisable vista. 

There was so much variety beyond that – the river, the blooming flower beds, the people, the skyline, the building sites and the West Ham stadium improbably hosting a chicken wing festival. Our throwdowns against the reflective wall of the Aquatic Centre showed a line of sketches and a line of silhouetted legs. As ever, the mix of subject and media provoked discussion and we enjoyed sharing our sketchbooks during and afterwards over coffee. It was great to meet old friends, people we had only ‘met’ virtually and also people new to London Urban Sketching.

Cal Hoy: 'So lovely to go somewhere other than my local area and sketch and chat with real people.


 It looks as if we can go ahead with plans for face to face sketchcrawls for the rest of the year and beyond. Our August event will be at the West Reservoir on 21st  August.

The full programme will follow shortly. Watch this space.

John Swanson: 'Among all the stadia, cranes and towering sculpture, it was this little van that caught my attention at the Olympic Park.'