National Theatre in lockdown

The National Theatre is on the South Bank of the Thames. Here is a view, looking East from Waterloo Bridge.

National Theatre, 9th September 2020, 3:20pm

As you see, there are gates across the walkway. The Theatre is closed, and the walkways are closed.

My drawing shows the empty theatre, and the empty walkways. The theatre restaurant, which is on the left of the drawing, is also closed and empty.

The walkways, in true 1960s style, are at “podium” level, above the traffic. Below me as a drew, people walked and cycled, and traffic passed on the nearby road, Upper Ground. Grass and buddleia grow in the cracks. Life continues, but at a different level.

This drawing is 25cm by 16cm, 10 inches by 6½ inches on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper. It took 1½ hours. I did a preliminary sketch first, shown in the work-in-progress photos below. The colours are Buff Titanium, Neutral Tint, and Lunar Earth, all Daniel Smith watercolours, over De Atramentis document black ink.

I’ve drawn the South Bank before:

2 thoughts on “National Theatre in lockdown”

  1. You are really making that buff titanium work for you 😀 I need to try it one day.
    Love your lines as well.
    Hoping to be back in London this week, depending if further restrictions are introduced. Meanwhile, I have your paintings.


    1. Hello CyBaea Its good to hear from you. I’m glad to know you are considering a return to the capital.
      Yes, buff titanium is a useful colour. It’s surprisingly opaque, so excellent for concrete and masonry. Also it is a warm sort of a colour. I often find myself trying to depict concrete. Concrete is rarely grey. On the National Gallery, as on the Barbican, the concrete is now inhabited by yellow algae. The white salts from the concrete have leached out. There’s a line of green mould under a ridge. The afternoon sun lights it up orange. So there are all sorts of colours in there.
      Meanwhile on this side of the river it is really quiet. Barbie Green is open again, you’ll be pleased to hear – but you need to book.


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