Outer Hebrides 2017

I took my sketching things on a swimming expedition to the Outer Hebrides with Swimtrek. We were on the wonderful Lady of Avenel 102ft square rigged brigantine.

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We started in Oban.IMG_1166

It was raining when I drew this picture, as you can see from the way the pen has drifted a bit, round the chimneys. I coloured it inside the café called “Kranks”.

There was a lot of weather.

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I drew pictures while balancing on the quarterdeck. The picture below was painted with sea water.

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Here is a drawing of the beach at Vatersay. We swam to this beach, and surfed in the waves on the other side. The small dots on the beach are cows.

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Here is an attempt to draw the sails.

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For more drawings of this expedition please see the “Outer Hebrides 2017” gallery.

For drawings from last year’s trip please see the “Outer Hebrides 2016” gallery.

 

Chequer Court and Braithwaite House EC2

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The drawing shows the lovely brick building, now called “Chequer Court”, with Braithwaite House behind.

I drew the picture from Whitecross Estate East, in a quiet courtyard off Chequer Street. A record three people came to talk to me. Arabella was tending her garden flowers in pots and crumbling wooden boxes, on the other side of the courtyard. She came over and told me that the brick building used to be the community centre. She had done oil painting there. Previous to that, it had been a school. She described the marvellous high windows, and large rooms. There was a café.

She said, “Do you like the buildings?”, indicating the Peabody buildings surrounding us. When I said that I did, she said they were “like prisons”. “They are all different inside, of course.” she added. She explained that there were going to be changes, they were going to build another block on top of the low-level office in front of us. “So you should come back,” she said, “This is a historic view.”

She said that underneath the square was all hollowed out, for bomb shelters. Construction work was going on behind us. “They have demolished the pram sheds”. Arabella was irritated that, in doing so, they had strewn rubble over the planted boxes.

Another woman approached me much later. She also remembered the community centre. She did yoga there. “It was only 20 years ago.” She was concerned lest I was the harbinger of “another plan”.

“No,” I said, “Not another plan. Just a drawing.” I showed her the drawing, to reassure her.

As I packed up my things, a third woman came to say hello. She wanted to see the drawing, and said it was very good. Her small white dog tugged at her and slowed her up as we walked. Eventually he stopped her altogether and I walked on.

Later, online, I found the plan to which the second woman referred. There is a plan by Islington dated March 2017 to improve the public areas of the West and East Whitecross Estates.

http://planning.islington.gov.uk/NorthgatePublicDocs/00421223.pdf

The brick building was indeed a school. It seems to have  been known as Northampton Secondary Technical School,  which was in existence in 1924, and certainly up to the early 1960s. Searching online I found references to a “Bunhill Row Chequer Street Council School” whose records, 1928-1933 are in the National Archive, Kew ref ED 21/34646, but no further details. In 1998 “negotiation was completed for the sale of the Bunhill Row site for £22 million” according to “City and Islington College, the First 20 years” by Tom Jupp and Andrew Morris. Now it is luxury flats, and is called Chequer Court.

I have sketched Braithwaite House before:
View from Chequer Street EC1
Braithwaite House from Fortune Park
It has now had all its cladding removed.

About 2hr 15min, including conversations. Drawn and coloured on location.

From the Rotunda, Kings Place N1

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I drew this from the Rotunda restaurant in Kings Place, looking across Battlebridge Basin. The low building in the middle with the pointed roof is the London Canal Museum.

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The coffee was excellent, and we were made very welcome by the restaurant manager Mark.

After this, we went for a walk around the new Kings Cross developments on the other side of York Way.

Shetland Sketchbook

Here I am on the banks of the River Dee, looking across to Aberdeen.

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I had just left the overnight sleeper train from London, and was in Aberdeen waiting for the overnight ferry to take me to Shetland. In the River Dee, I saw dolphins. I walked to the Torry Battery, built 1858-1860. In the picture on the right is the “Aberdeen Harbour Operations Centre”.

The ferry docked in Lerwick, Shetland mainland. It was raining.

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I drew this picture in Fort Charlotte, sheltering from the rain under the thick walls of a gate. The shelter was not perfect, as you see from the water splattering the picture.

Bus number 9 from the Viking Bus Station took me to the West Mainland, where I was staying in Burrastow Cottage. Here is a drawing of Burrastow House. The cottage is the small building, in the background on the left.

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I did a lot of walking.

In Lerwick I bought a landscape sketchbook. So I experimented with using both pages. There’s a lot of landscape in Shetland.

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Above, I tried to show the bright yellow flowers, very vivid, in the low light.

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The picture above shows the bay and the village of Walls.

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Above is an attempt to draw the huge cliffs near Burrastow. The peninsula is the delightfully named “Wards of Mucklure”.

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I drew the sea. Above is the view from the door of the cottage. Out there, one day, I saw an otter.

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Above is what the island of Foula looks like, viewed from Cairn 4. I numbered the Cairns.

Here is my numbering scheme:IMG_0933

I also drew the plants.

That picture of the drain hole shows iris plants above dark water. The picture on the right shows flowering sorrel, and iris leaves.

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This is a picture of “The Ned” near Westerwick. It was much more dramatic than the picture. More dark and more light. Maybe the pencil sketch catches it better:

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Here is another sketch of the sea. I tried drawing quickly. Sometimes it seems to work better that way.

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And here is a sketch on the way back to London.

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Peabody Tower from the podium

Peabody Tower, 13 floors, 52 flats, is part of the “Roscoe Street Estate”. It was completed in 1959. The architects were John Grey and Partners.

A very interesting history of the Estate was done in 2010 by Publica. Their report is here:

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In the foreground is the first-floor playground of the Prior Western Primary School. The building in red brick is Fortune House, built at the same time as Peabody Tower, although it looks very different.

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This drawing took 1hr45min. Done from the podium next to Breton House.

“Anthology” and Bridport Place N1

From our flat we can see this core against the skyline.

It is Phase 3 of Hackney Council’s redevelopment of the Colville Estate. Two towers, called “Anthology” 16 and 20 floors “solely for private sale, to help cross subsidise the construction cost of the remaining social rent buildings”.

I drew this from Shoreditch Park. It rained. I walked around a bit. The sun came out. I started again. It rained again. I got back on my bike and went home and finished the colouring on my desk at home.
12:10, 1 hour intermittent on location and half an hour at home. I’m quite pleased with the tree.

View from Chequer Street EC1

Braithwaite House, on the left, is having its cladding removed. Here’s the quote from Islington Council website (viewed today, 2 July 2017):

Cllr Diarmaid Ward, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, said:  “As a landlord, safety is our number one priority and we will do whatever it takes to ensure people are safe in our estates.
“Last night (Thurs June 22) we received results of tests on cladding on the side of Braithwaite House, and they have confirmed the presence of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM).
“We’re arranging to have the cladding, which is only on the sides of the building, removed as soon as we possibly can by a specialist contractor.
“We’re also stepping up safety measures in the block immediately, with fire safety patrols taking place day and night from today until the panels are removed.
“Our housing staff were at Braithwaite House last night to carry out fire checks and clear any obstructions in communal areas.  We’re also taking advice from London Fire Brigade and will follow all their recommendations.

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In the background, the other side of Bunhill Row is “The Featherstone”. The notice says:

“Hill are working with Southern Housing to create 65 new homes for affordable rent, shared ownership and private sale on the former Moorfields School Site.”

In the distance, the building with round windows is “White Collar Factory” on the Old Street Roundabout. No notice on the outside and a bit dark on the inside and it was unclear if you can just walk in. It was a Sunday and I didn’t feel like being challenged, so I didn’t walk in. Their website is hard to decipher. What are they exactly? The bit I understood says:

When it opens at the end of 2016, White Collar Factory will house one of London’s most exciting and diverse working communities.

So they are a shared occupancy building. It looked to me like there might be a café in there too.

Drawn and coloured on location, in the shade until the sun came around. 1hr 30min roughly. Kids playing in the paygound, trying to get a ball somewhere, perhaps in a net. They called “concrete”, or “stone” which was perhaps the intended destination of the ball. One kid called out “Hey, you hurt my eye”. The other kid said “No!”. Then he remembered himself and said, in a clear and respectful tone, “Did I? I’m sorry. Are you OK?”