Guildhall Yard, London EC2

Here is the North West corner of the Guildhall Yard. The modern part is designed by Richard Gilbert Scott (note 1). What we are looking at, in pale concrete, is the Guildhall Library, and offices of the City of London Corporation. Behind it, you see the tops of the buildings on Wood Street.

In yellow stone, on the right of the drawing, is the old Guildhall, built in 1411 (note 2).

In the foreground you see the chairs, generously provided in the Guildhall Yard by the City of London, for public use. I commandeered a chair and a table and set myself up in a nice shady position next to the South East wall of the yard, between two gigantic plant pots.

Guildhall Yard, North West corner. 7th Sept 2021, 7″x10″ in Sketchbook 10

While I was drawing, someone took up residence the other side of the gigantic plant pot, and started a long and fascinating conversation on their phone. They were a recruitment agent, and embarked on a forceful sales pitch to a potential recruit. They were recruiting on behalf of a large bank in the City. They described the proposed future restructuring of said bank, and the nature of the forthcoming vacancy that was to be filled. They named the bank, which I will not do here. They aired details of the potential salary and work locations. After completing this gripping conversation, they immediately called a work colleague and gave an alarmingly candid opinion on the potential recruit they’d just been talking to. If you are thinking of having a conversation of this nature, the Guildhall Yard is perhaps not the most discrete place to choose!

At 3:45pm precisely, workers arrived and removed the chairs. I completed my drawing sitting on the flagstones.

This drawing took about 1½ hours, sketched and coloured on location. The main colours are Mars Yellow, Phthalo Blue Turquoise, and Transparent Brown Oxide, with some Perylene Maroon to make the greys. The chairs are Transparent Pyrrol Orange.

The screens, shown white in my drawing, advertise a performance of dance entitled “Black Victorians”, which is part of the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival.

Note 1: The obituary of Richard Gilbert Scott refers to his work on the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Guildhall West Wing. It is here: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jul/12/richard-gilbert-scott-obituary

Note 2: The original Guildhall building has a long history, and has been rebuilt and enhanced several times, most recently after bomb damage in the 1939-45 conflict. Its original completion date of 1411 is quoted in this article from 1848: https://www.british-history.ac.uk/old-new-london/vol1/pp383-396

I’ve sketched around the Guildhall often. Also I’ve sketched 65 Basinghall Street, which is another design by Richard Giles Scott.

Guildhall North Wing

From the site of the former St Mary Aldermanbury, I looked across towards the Guildhall, the offices of the City of London. It is dark and green in the former Nave of the church, whose pillars you can see on the right.…

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Guildhall from St Mary Aldermanbury EC2

At the junction of Love Lane and Aldermanbury in the City of London, there is a small park. If you are in the area, it’s well worth a visit. The parklet is on the site of St Mary Aldermanbury. A large marble…

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Gaslight in Guildhall Yard

The winter evening settles down With smell of steaks in passageways. Six o’clock. The burnt-out ends of smoky days. And now a gusty shower wraps The grimy scraps Of withered leaves about your feet And newspapers from vacant lots; The showers beat…

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65 Basinghall St EC2 from the plaza

In a previous post I presented a drawing of 65 Basinghall Street done from the bridge which is on the North side of the building. Here is the south side. 65 Basinghall Street is the building in front, with the scalloped arches.…

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65 Basinghall St EC2 from the bridge

This is a view from the bridge over Basinghall Street, looking at the back of 65 Basinghall Street. There is much of interest in this view. There are the wonderful arching shell-like structures of 65 Basinghall Street. This was built in 1966-7…

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67 Redchurch Street E2, “Jolene” bakery

Jolene bakery is on the corner of Redchurch Street and Club Row.

Jolene, 67 Redchurch Street, from across the road. 19th August 2021. 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

This is a lively corner in a street on various edges: on the edge of the City, at the boundary between a new London and an old one, at the intersection of 21st century entrepreneurial culture and 19th century housing projects.

Redchurch Street is just North and West of Brick Lane. There are restaurants, independent clothes designers, hairdressers, and various 21st century businesses I couldn’t identify but categorised in my mind as broadly “creative”. It’s a good place to walk around, and Jolene is a great place to pause for coffee. They close at 3pm, though, so best be quick.

I arrived there at about 1pm today, and sat outside on one of their benches. Here’s the view looking up Club Row.

Looking North up Club Row, from “Jolene” Redchurch St. 9 September 2021, 2:45pm 10″ x 7″ in Sketchbook 10

Further North up Club Row, to the left of my drawing, is Arnold Circus. This is the centre point of the Boundary Estate which was the London County Council’s first social housing project, completed on 1900. I have drawn there and written about it here:

Haz St Pauls EC2

Here is the restaurant “Haz St Pauls“, 34 Foster Lane, London EC2.

“Haz St Pauls” Foster Lane, EC2, sketched from across the road, in Sketchbook 10, 11th August 2021

The restaurant has created a wonderful outside seating area on a part of the pavement. This corner has modern offices, the Haz restaurant, a coffee bar (Costa), and a church, St Vedast alias Foster. I sketched it from a new stone seat near St Pauls Underground station.

I have sketched St Vedast previously:

Here are some of my sketches of St Paul’s Cathedral, which was behind me as I sketched Haz.

St Edmund the King EC3

Here is a sketch of the church of “St Edmund King and Martyr” which is on Lombard St, City of London.

St Edmund King and Martyr, Lombard Street, from George Yard, EC3. 7″ x 10″ in Sketchbook 10

George Yard is at the intersection of a number of city lanes, one of which leads West to “The George and Vulture”, and another leads North to the Jamaica Wine House.

Also in George Yard is a marvellous leafy garden. In the garden, shaded by vegetation, is the tombstone of “Sir Henry Tulse”. Below the tombstone is the inscription telling you about its incumbent:

"Sir Henry Tulse was a benefactor of the Church of St Dionis Backchurch (formerly adjoining)
He was also grocer, Alderman, and Lord Mayor of this City.
In his memory, this tombstone was restored November 1937 by
"The Ancient Society of College Youths" during the 100th year of the society's foundation.
He was also Master of the Society during his Mayoralty in 1684"

St Edmund King and Martyr is an active church. The Church is, according to the notice on Lombard Street, “The Gregory Centre for Church Multiplication”. Church Multiplication has a clear mission statement on their website: “We equip and resource the Church to reach new people, in new places, in new ways with the good news of Jesus Christ.”

The Vestry Hall is the cubical building on the right of my drawing.

Just off the drawing to the left is 2 George Yard and 20 Gracechurch Street, a modern building, where a long list of companies are registered with financial sounding names: “The Close Investment 1988 Fund “A” “, “The Greater Mekong Capital Fund”. This is the City of London, with all its contrasts and juxtapositions.

Here is work in progress on the drawing, and a view of the Church from the leafy garden.

This drawing took about 1 hour and 20 mins. The colours are Mars Yellow, Perylene Maroon, and Phthalo Blue Turquoise.

Burrastow and the bay

Here’s a view of Burrastow House, Walls, Shetland, as you enter the drive.

Burrastow and the bay, Picture 1, July 7th 2021

There was a lively wind. Those clouds looked like that, and kept changing. The small island on the right is the Holm of Burrastow. The hills behind it are the island of Vaila. Here is work in progress.

Then I drew another view, from higher up, on a mound above the road.

Burrastow and the bay, Picture 2, July 8th 2021 [SOLD]

Here is work in progress and a view of my sketching location for picture 2: a chair perched on a hill.

Both pictures on a block of Saunders Waterford 300gsm watercolour paper, “hot pressed”, 12 inches by 9inches. The yellow edging you see on the work-in-progress is masking tape. I put it round the edges for several reasons:

  • It enables me to hold the picture safely without leaving thumb-marks
  • I can write annotation on it, specifically “eye-line” and the heights of things.
  • When the picture is complete, I peel it off and it leaves a nice white border, which makes the picture easier to frame.

To see the comparison between the pen-and-ink and the colour, use the slider in the image below:

Compare the “before” and “after” on Picture 1

Lerwick Lodberries

Here is a view of houses in Lerwick known as “lodberries”. They are built into the sea. Lerwick is one of the few capital cities in the world that has a beach. The other I know is Sydney Australia. The beach in Lerwick is somewhat smaller than Bondi beach, and is over the wall to the right of my picture.

I drew this picture sitting on a bench next to the aptly named “Water Lane”. I was just thinking how peaceful it was, how few people, and how unlike London, when a car came and parked directly in my line of sight, blocking my view of the part I had yet to draw. A small family emerged out of the car. Children ran around with buckets and spades, a woman corralled them down the steps and onto the beach. A man got out of the driver’s seat and saw me. He smiled. It was a sunny day. I smiled a mixed smile. Suddenly he saw that I was drawing. “Oh!” he said, “Shall I move the car?” I said yes, that would be very kind. Without any hesitation he jumped back into the driver’s seat, fired up the engine and parked in a space up the road. He waved to me as he walked to join his family down on the beach. I waved back.

Commercial Street, Lerwick. Lodberries. July 24th 2021, in Sketchbook P1 double spread: 14″ x 10″ approx. 1½ hours on location

Here is work in progress:

Here are some maps to show the location. I have also included maps showing where Shetland is, since people have asked. It is about 100 miles off the north coast of Scotland. From Aberdeen it is some 250 miles (400km) and takes 13 hours by ferry. Shetland is at a more Northerly latitude than Oslo and Stavanger, nearer Bergen than Aberdeen and nearer Copenhagen (590 miles) than London (600 miles).

Here is a view of the North Sea approaching Aberdeen. See the wind turbines.

Abandoned Car, Shetland

Abandoned cars are a feature of the landscape in Shetland. This one is in the initial stages of decay.

Abandoned car, off the Vesquoy road, Walls, Shetland. 23rd July 2021, 5:30pm

Here is another abandoned car:

Shetland: vehicles in space

There’s a lot of empty space in Shetland. As I walked around, sometimes I encountered abandoned vehicles. Here is one. This was the last of a sequence of such car wrecks on a track.…

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Experiments on a journey

Here is another experiment with printed backgrounds. My first experiment was this drawing at Monument.

I thought the background was a bit bright, so I chose more muted colours for the next attempt.

Here are the cardboard cutouts I used for making the relief prints. I used a small square sketchbook made by “PrintUrchin” and pre-printed the pages using relief printing ink, diluted with extender and water so it wasn’t too bright (learning from last time). It still came out quite bright. Those printing inks are heavily pigmented.

I printed the pages first, then took the sketchbook with me on my journey, and made sketches on top of the prints.

Here are some of the sketches. They are done on the train, hence the rather shaky lines. It’s amazing how the printing, done in advance, seems to fit the subject.

Here is the octagonal building at Pocra Quay, drawn while on a walk round Aberdeen waiting for the ferry.

Octagonal building at Pocra Quay, Aberdeen, 25th June 2021, printed background, 20th June 2021.

This octagonal building was a Navigation Control Centre, operating up until 1966. It was built in around 1797-8, according to the leaflet from the Aberdeen Heritage trail. I sketched it from the shelter of the doorway to the “Silver Herring” restaurant, on a cold, windy and rainy day.

Grain silos at North Allerton, 25th June 2021

This is a really fun technique. I shall use it again.

Shetland 2021 -scenes from a run

I came back from a run with my head full of images. I put them into pictures.

Scenes from a run, 27th June 2021, in Sketchbook P1

I enjoyed using a new colour: Lunar Blue from Daniel Smith. This is a highly granulating blue. You can see its effect here in the sky:

And here is Lunar Blue the sea:

Patch of light on the sea

A feature of the landscape round Littleure is the inland lakes, high up on the cliffs, as shown here on the right. On the sea, the sun shines through the clouds like a spotlight, which enchants me. In that picture you also see the granulating colour in the land: this is Green Apatite Genuine.

It was a misty day.

Over the brow of a hill, I see islands. It’s the end of the run. Time for a dip, and breakfast.

Shetland 2021 – Poppies

These poppies were in the vegetable garden.

Poppies, Burrastow. 1 July 2021 on watercolour paper

These poppies were so stunning that I had to try to draw them. There and then. They are also ephemeral.

In a few days the petals had dropped making splashes of scarlet on the grass.

I drew this on special paper: handmade watercolour paper from the Vintage Paper Company. It is very heavily sized and takes the colour well. It’s also stiff, and easy to use out-doors.

The red is Transparent Pyrrol Orange waercolour from Daniel Smith.