Rugby Players

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Woodcut is such a great medium. It’s satisfying to cut the wood with the sharp tools. The character of woodcut allows approximation, and fast working. There’s lots that’s not quite right about this image, but I am reluctant to mess around with the blocks. I feel that the woodcut has its own language and I let it be.

Two blocks, postcard size  about 6inches by 4inches, printed with Schminke Aqua Liniprint ink using the ancient Albion Press at East London Printmakers.

After an original photograph in the Guardian newspaper 19 December 2015, by David Davies, under the headline:
“Carter’s precision thwarts Saints’ revenge bid”.

Northampton 9
Racing 92        9

The caption to the photograph reads:
“Racing’s Dan Carter attempts to flick a pass out of the back of his hand before Northampton’s Mike Hayward can drag the New Zealander to the ground”

Woodcut: “Contact”

This is a woodcut, inspired by a huge stone sculpture in the Berlin Tiergarten.

The sculpture was made in limestone  in 1961 by Pierre Szekely (1923-2001), a Hungarian sculptor. It stands about 7 ft tall and has depth, about a foot thick. Wikipedia gives the name of the sculpture as “Contact”. I don’t know if it is still there. I saw in in 2012, in the snow, and it looked like an amulet, or sacred object. The shape is both anthropomorphic, and other-worldly. I like the fact that it has feet. I find the shape is satisfying. If I had an amulet, it would be shaped like that.

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Woodcut with prussian blue Schminke Aqua Linoprinting ink. Size of woodcut, 2 inches by 3 inches, approx. Done yesterday at East London Printmakers.

Buildings on Cowper St EC2

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I liked the contrast between the warm, human-scale buildings in the foreground and the futuristic towers in the background.

At the back, the building with the curved side is “Bézier”, a residential development.

“Bézier Apartments were designed by TP Bennett and developed by the Tudorvale Properties Group in 2008, and completed in 2010”, according to http://www.baseps.co.uk

Its swanky entrance is on City Road, in between an “EAT” and a “pod”. These are both eating places. EAT is all upper-case, and “pod” is all lower-case. A “bézier” is a particular sort of mathementical curve, much used in computer graphics.

The brick building is the “Central Foundation Boys School”, Sixth Form Centre. I could hear the boys on their break for some of the time when I was drawing. It is a state school, as far as I can understand from their website, run by Islington. Founded 1866. Their website has an interesting feature: “Show My Homework”. You can look up your homework assignment by year and subject. No more excuses.

I drew this standing at the side of Tabernacle Street. A shiny black car drew up, with black tinted windows. The window scrolled down, so I could see the driver, who was also black. He asked me if I could direct him to 69 Tabernacle Street. I could not. None of the blocks round here have numbers. But I know the area. “What is it?” I asked.

“69 Tablernacle Street,” he said again.

“No,” I said, “what is at 69 Tabernacle Street?”

He turned round awkwardly, to his passenger, invisible in the back seat. A pause for an inaudible conversation.

“A fancy dress shop,” he informed me. But I still couldn’t direct them.

I can now see that they were looking for: Mad World Fancy Dress, “one of the UK’s largest stockists of Venetian masks”, amongst other things. It was just north of where I was standing, entrance in Singer Street. I wonder if they found it.

St Mary Aldermary, and Albert Buildings EC4

Drawn from outside the Pret on Queen St, about 1hr 30.

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The building in the centre is “Albert Buildings”, a thin triangular building on the corner of Cannon St and Queen Victoria St. It is incredibly complicated, with many pillars and arches and different window shapes.

Now it is inhabited by a number of small businesses. I saw a dental surgeon, Shoe Care, and “Traditional Pure” lebanese food. It is now managed by “First Base” as “Cannon St Serviced Office and Business Centre” who describe it as a “listed turn of the century building with quirky Victorian features”. They don’t specify which turn of which century, but evidently it’s not the most recent one.

Pevsner says:
“Albert Buildings, the grandest surviving 1870s block, built 1871. By F.J. Ward, whose office was here. Arcaded Gothic, mixed English and Early French, with a remarkable assortment of window heads”
The Buildings of England, London 1 by Simon Bradley and Nicholas Pevsner

St Mary Aldermary is one of my favourite London churches. Inside is the friendly Host Café, and welcoming tables and chairs, and a stunning fan-vaulted ceiling. The church is on Bow Lane, near Watling Street, and the current building was built after the fire, in 1666.

 

Henry Moore: Mother and Child


Sketch in pencil at Two Temple Place, Sussex Modernisn exhibition, about 40 minutes. 

Statue by Henry Moore in Green Horton Stone, 1936-7, now in Leeds Museums and Galleries.  It was originally in the garden of Farley Farm, Sussex. Curation states: 

This symbol of enduring fertility attracted protests from his neighbours’

From Old Fish Street Hill EC4

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I was keen to draw this view of St Paul’s before it vanished behind the new building on 2-4 Cannon Street.

“PLP’s scheme, for global property firm Pembroke Real Estate, will replace a 1959 modernist office building by Theo Birks called Scandinavian House. The north facade, facing the cathedral, is the most orthogonally formal, with red sandstone cladding and a 3m window grid with anodised aluminium frames.
The south-western elevation tapers to create a public garden which will provide a new home for Michael Ayrton’s sculpture of Icarus.”
From Building Design Online  22 September 2014 | By Elizabeth Hopkirk

While I was drawing this, the traffic marshall of the building site came by, looked up at St Paul’s, and remarked that it was a “fine building”.

img_9519It was extremely cold, about 2degreesC, and I was wrapped up in my Loden coat and furry boots. You’ll notice I invented a new watercolour technique. It’s called “greasy fingers marbling effect”. See the extreme right of the picture. Before I went out, I put a LOT of hand cream on my hands, because this cold weather makes my skin crack. But then after I had been gripping the sketchbook, I found the paint didn’t stick. But it’s quite a good effect, I think.

I managed to complete the pen and ink drawing, and do most of the watercolour before the cold got to me. Then I retreated to the warmth of the Wren café in St Nicholas Cole Abbey Church.

There I met Amy Marsh @harshmissmarsh who posted my work-in-progress on her Instagram. In the café I painted the red cranes.

Coffee and a small and delicious Marmalade Cake, £6. They were just bringing out some delicious-looking lunchtime food. But I had places to go and work to do, so I exerted willpower and moved on.