Here’s a corner of Clerkenwell. Drawn from photo reference.
There was fog on the Thames.
The Houses of Parliament rose out of the mist.
I used this image to experiment with paper and brushes.
There are some wonderful railway arches near Waterloo. They are architectural marvels, with striking mathematical curves and uncountable numbers of bricks. Here is a view from underneath one such arch, on Carlisle Lane, looking North towards Waterloo.
The building on the left of the picture is “Canterbury House” on Royal Street, built 1959-1960. The greenery at the front is part of gardens and allotments, adjacent to Archbishop’s Park.
The white notice below the “No Entry” sign says “Except cycles”.
Here is a close up of the picture. The parts marked with arrows show where I lifted the wet paint off the paper to make a white mark.
The main colours are Phthalo Turquoise, Fired Red Ochre and Mars Yellow, with a bit of Transparent Pyrrol Orange for the traffic sign. This is on a sheet of Jackson’s watercolour paper, 12″ x 10″.
This is the South Bank of the Thames, near Blackfriars Bridge, seen from the North Bank.
This was part of my experimentation with Jackson’s watercolour paper. Jacksons Art Supplies sent me a pack of 50 sheets, and asked for an honest review. 50 sheets is a lot of paper, and so I’ve felt able to experiment. I’ve enjoyed using it. Here is another version of the same scene.
Jackson’s also sent a few brushes, one of which was an enormous “Raven” mop brush. This has a soft furry head. It is great fun to use as it holds so much paint.
Here is the Raven brush in action. Although it is huge, it comes to a small point, so I can make little dots, or add a small amount of colour to a wash, as here.
The paper is capable of taking “layers” of paint, as you see here. The grey and the orange overlap without becoming a muddy mess. I was painting indoors, so I could allow each layer to dry, which is important in order to avoid a mush.
Here is work in progress. I taped the paper to a piece of corrugated cardboard from a delivery box. The white strips down the edges are to give me somewhere to try out the colours.
Last year, before the first lockdown, I drew this view in a sketchbook on location:
Here’s the South Bank seen from the Victoria Embankment on the North Bank. Here you see the modern blocks, with the older wharves in front. The low red building towards the right is Oxo Tower Wharf, formerly a factory making OXO cubes, now a place with workshops for jewellers, a restaurant and various cafés. The … Continue reading “South Bank, London”
Here is Cromwell Tower, in the Barbican, with Frobisher Crescent to the right, sketched pre-lockdown, from the Podium.
This was a very cold day, and it started to sleet. That pitted effect you see on the left? That’s not a clever artistic technique, that’s ice crystals dropping on the painting from the sky!
I finished off the tower indoors. I used Daniel Smith Iridescent Moonstone watercolour paint. See how it catches the light!
For the podium tiling I used an experimental effect: scratching. I was in a bit of a hurry (it was really cold) and it was hard to get the angle right as I was holding the painting and standing up. It created an interesting effect, not quite what I intended, but I liked it.
This is one of a series of drawings on Jackson’s watercolour sheets: 10″ x 12″ cold-pressed, 300gsm. The bone implement I used for scratching is from the Vintage Paper Company and is a “bone folder”, intended for folding paper. It is good because it is not entirely sharp, and it’s nice to hold.
The colours are Daniel Smith watercolours: Prussian Blue, Perylene Maroon, and Mars Yellow, with a bit of Green Apatite Genuine for the plants, and Iridescent Moonstone mixed in, especially for the tower.
I’ve drawn in and around the Barbican before. Here’s a collection: (click “load more posts” to see more posts of the Barbican.)
From the Tower of London on the North bank of the Thames, you can see the Shard on the South Bank.
Pre-lockdown, I sketched this sitting on a stone bench on the slope to the West of the Tower of London. There were seagulls in the air. Children hurtled down the slope on bicycles, with parents jogging awkwardly behind. Young people threw their arms around each other and photographed themselves.
I worked on my drawing.
It started to rain. Then it really poured with rain. The children scuttled under the overhanging roof of the visitor centre. The young people laughed and rushed off. I had to pack up very quickly. The seagulls remained.
I had finished the pen and ink. I added the colour at home. I tried out some experimental techniques.
For the cobbles I used the wrapping of a pack of mandarin oranges.
To get the sharp edges of the Shard, I used masking tape.
I made this picture on a sheet of Jackson’s 300gsm cold-pressed watercolour paper, 12″ x 10″, using Daniel Smith and Winsor and Newton watercolours. The colours are Phthalo Turquoise (W&N), Fired Gold Ochre (DS), Perylene Maroon (DS) and Mars Yellow (DS). The cobblestones also have some Iridescent Moonstone (DS), which makes them sparkle. I made the tree with a marvellous new Tree Brush, also from Jackson’s.
It was getting dark but I’d been indoors all day. I set off into the gloom with my drawing things.
It also started raining. Or maybe it was sleet.
I continued my peregrination through the dim streets. I like this time of day. In this weather, it’s not the “violet hour” of Mediterranean sunsets, but more like an Indigo hour, as the colours fade and go into dark smudges. I enjoyed the squares of light, each a little theatre of activity.
Here’s the picture I drew. It was sketched quickly on my walk, with the colour completed at home.
Here are the buildings:
In Wyvern sketchbook, on Arches paper, using Hansa Yellow mid (DS), and Transparent Pyrrol Orange (DS), with Perylene Maroon (DS) and Phthalo Blue Turquoise (W&N) for the sky and the darker greys. Fired Gold Ochre (DS) is in the mix for the Peabody Building.
I have drawn in and around the Barbican before. Here is a collection:
Here are houses on Grove Lane, Camberwell, London SE5.
I drew this standing in the street. People passed to and fro with prams, dogs and delivery parcels. Although it was December, there were still a few roses out in the bushes behind the fences. The sky really was blue, as you see from the pictures below. It was very cold though, note the gloves. I finished the colour at home, as my hands were freezing.
Here is work in progress.
The main colours are Phthalo blue turquoise for the sky, Mars Yellow, Fired Gold Ochre, and Green Apatite Genuine. The paper is a block of Arches 300gsm Cold Pressed watercolour paper.
This was a commission! Thank you to my client for the commission, and for introducing me to this interesting area. I found a new cycle route through Elephant and Castle.
Happy New Year!
My New Year card for 2021 shows a telephone kiosk.
I am of a generation for whom the telephone kiosk was, at one time in my life, an important feature of communications. You looked for them. You found them. They were either working or not. The inside smelt of old metal, coinage, leaves and urine. The phone was heavy and cold. The thick cord was twisted. You had to have the right coins. Sometimes coins jammed in the slot, or went straight through the mechanism without registering. So if you were experienced, and organised, you had a whole series of coins of different denominations ready to put in, in case the first one didn’t work. If your call was important, or if you needed to write something down, it was helpful to have a friend with you in the telephone kiosk, standing by with the coins, poised to enter them rapidly as the pips went. There was a risk-based calculation about what denomination of coin to enter, and in what order. You might enter small change first, while you worked out if the person you wanted was in, then drop in the big money for the important conversation, so that the pips did not cut you off at a critical point. You might enter a variety of change at the beginning in the hope that some of it would be returned if the call was shorter than you expected. But your money was not always returned.
Above all, a telephone kiosk represented hope: the hope of connection. That’s my hope for 2021.
Also in the woodcut I put some people. These might be the three wise men, looking for hope and salvation in a humble building.
I based my woodcut on phone boxes I have encountered recently. It is a K2 phone box, like the one at Lower Marsh, Waterloo. You can tell, because it has six rows of windows.
Here is work in progress:
The background gold colour is, amazingly, watercolour: Daniel Smith Iridescent Gold. The red is Schmincke relief printing ink. The paper came, via friends, from “Paper Nao” in Tokyo. It is kozo paper, I think K-148, and brilliant for hand-printing. It doesn’t crinkle, it takes the colour well, and it’s really strong so it doesn’t tear when you pull it off the plate.
I like phone boxes. They appear in various of my drawings, see for example, these posts:
Some previous New Year Cards are here:
Here are my greetings for the New Year, sent as cards. They are woodcuts, two plates. The orange/red colour was printed first. The black colour is the Schminke “Aquadruck” black relief ink diluted with extender kindly lent to me by Connie at East London Printmakers. Her extender was from the Caligo range, and was slightly … Continue reading “New Year 2018”
Happy New Year! I made a woodcut. This is a greetings card, about 7″x5″. It is from two woodblocks, one orange and one blue. Here is work in progress at East London Printmakers: In the background you see the Albion press I used for printing. It is a wonderful cast-iron machine. As well as the … Continue reading “New Year 2019”
Here is Bayer House, on the Golden Lane Estate. This is the view from the South.
The building on the right is the Golden Lane Community Centre. It was in active use as I drew the picture. There is a food bank outside, and a lot of activity inside. For more information on the tree which is to the left of the picture, see this post. It was planted on the 9th December 1989.
I drew this picture from a position close to Great Arthur House. People from the Community Centre came and had a look at my drawing. One of them very kindly came and brought me a chair. If you look inside the community centre you can see those kind people behind the window.
I was a good way into the drawing when a van drew up, right in my line of sight. I finished the parts of the drawing at the top of the building, and to the sides of the building. A good hour had elapsed, but the van was still there. I really needed to draw that part of the building which was behind the van. The driver, dimly visible through the windscreen, was asleep, or may be just resting. Having carefully considered the pros and cons, and the social acceptability of asking a potentially exhausted van driver to move, and the likely consequences, I got up from my chair and walked over to the van in what I hoped was a polite and respectful manner. The van driver was awake, and immediately understood my request. “No problem!” he declared without hesitation, and with extraordinary consideration asked me “Where would you like me to park?”. I indicated an empty slot far over to the other side of the Community Centre. He climbed out of his van, and went into a door under Great Arthur House to confer with “The Office”. “The Office” having been brought onside, he jumped back into the van and made off into the middle distance waving cheerily. I wish all problems were solved so easily.
Here is work in progress:
This was a commission. For the same commission I also made a drawing of the North side of the same building.
For more information about Bayer House, including maps, see this post.
Both drawings on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper block, 12 inches by 9 inches.
Here is a collection of my drawings of the Golden Lane Estate: