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.)
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:
On a glorious sunny Sunday, the sun lit up the roof of the Welsh Church.
This is the view from the Golden Lane Estate. Here is a map, and an annotated image to show which building is which. The arrow on the map shows the direction I was looking.
I was sitting next to a beech tree, Fagus Sylvatica Dawyck. A small notice at the base of the tree informed me that it has been planted on the 9th December 1989, to commemorate 800 years of the Lord Mayoralty. By co-incidence, this is the same anniversary that was commemorated by the bollard in my previous post. Here is a picture of the planting ceremony, kindly provided by Billy Mann from his Golden Lane Archive.
The tree has grown strongly in the last 30 years. It surges out of its metal hoops, and pushes the notice aside.
The Golden Lane Estate is a busy place. Many people passed by on the nearby paths. The tree and I were on a raised area, above parked cars. Some people were on foot, one was in a wheelchair, and there were several groups of cyclists. One person had a dog. This was a small dog, the same size as my sketchbook. I can say that with certainty, because, while the person was occupied on their mobile phone, the dog dashed onto my dais and plonked itself foursquare on my sketchbook. What to do?
I must have shouted out, because the person looked up briefly from their phone. I glared at the person, and shooed the dog away. The person uttered a perfunctory ‘sorry’ and continued their conversation. “No, no, it’s alright,” they said into the phone, “it’s just that Tabatha…”. They didn’t ask me if it was alright. I looked down at my drawing. It was alright.
I have drawn this church before. It was built in the 1960s. More information about this interesting building is on my previous posts:
The building which was Bernard Morgan House has now been pulled down. This is sad. It had a calm 1960s look, and ceramic tiles on the side. I looked across the gap and could see the Welsh Church: Eglwys Jewin. The church is the building with the green roofed turret and the long windows. It … Continue reading “Eglwys Jewin from Fortune Park”
Here is the Welsh Jewin Church seen from Brackley Street. This is one of those ephemeral views: a huge new building is about to go up behind the hoarding, and this view will be completely obscured. The church is Eglwys Jewin, the Welsh Church. I have drawn it before, from Fortune Park. Here’s the link … Continue reading “Welsh Church and Great Arthur House”
This drawing took two hours. It is 25cm by 16cm, 10 inches by 6½ inches on Arches 300gsm watercolour paper. The main colours are Fired Gold Ochre, Mars Yellow, Phthalo Turquoise, and Perylene Maroon, with some Prussian Blue for the shadows.
Sketching from the window, here is Ben Jonson, part of the Barbican estate.
The people who live on the top floor of Ben Jonson have sunlit roof gardens. You can see one person enjoying his garden. He sits just at the bottom of the blue fire escape ladder.
There is also an interesting void space shown in the lower right of the picture. It was empty when I was drawing, but sometimes someone’s legs are visible, using the space for sunbathing. Sometimes they set up a table and chairs there.
Here is work in progress. I used colours: Mars Yellow, Burnt Umber, Prussian Blue and a bit of Perinine Orange.
The building in the background is the Heron Building, luxury flats above the Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music and Dance. This building opened in September 2013. It replaced a public building, which was in the brutalist design of the Barbican and designed by Chamberlain Powell and Bon, It housed a fire station, Coroner’s Court, mortuary, office of weights and measures and a civil defence school, and was connected to the Barbican by a bridge at Podium level. This building was demolished in 2008, in the face of opposition from the Twentieth Century Society amongst others, and was replaced by the steel and glass tower. This new building has no bridge to the Barbican, which is a pity, in my view.
At the extreme right is City Point.
Here is work in progress:
This drawing took ages. I couldn’t get the steps right. After 30 minutes of drawing and rubbing out I restarted at 12:10 and finished 1hour30mins later.
I hastened to draw the magnificent Bastion House, on London Wall. It is due for demolition.
In the foreground you see the balcony and privacy screen of the flat in Andrewes, whose leaseholder had kindly hosted me.
The line of red brick, and what looks like chimneys, in the foreground are the rooftops of a part of the Barbican, “The Postern”. Behind them is the Barber-Surgeons’ Hall on Monkwell Square, where I have been to give blood. The curved green building on the left is on the other side of London Wall. It is “One London Wall” near the Museum of London Rotunda: multi-use office space.
Bastion House is the huge monolith in the centre of the drawing. It reminds me of the monolith in the 1968 film “2001 – A Space Odyssey”, and indeed it dates from that period. It was proposed in 1955, and started in 1972, completed in 1976. The architect was Philip Powell of Powell and Moya. This practice also designed the Skylon for the 1951 South Bank Festival of Britain, and Churchill Gardens in Pimlico.
Here is drawing work in progress.
This drawing took me about 2 hours. This is my first drawing in a new sketchbook: the “Perfect Sketchbook” from Etchr. This will be Urban Sketching sketchbook number 6.
Bastion House aka 140 London Wall is a huge modernist monolith, reminiscent of the monolith in “2001 – A Space Odyssey”. I couldn’t find a site to draw the monolith part today, so here is a view at Podium Level, looking West towards the Museum of London. You see the dark undercroft, walkways and a … Continue reading “Bastion House from Podium Level”
Today Urban Sketchers London held a “sketch crawl” in the Barbican. So I joined them. An astonishing number and diversity of people assembled inside the entrance of the Barbican Centre at the appointed time of 11am. I counted about 35 and then another dozen or so joined. All shapes and sizes of people, tall, short, … Continue reading “St Giles and Bastion House”
Here is a view from the Australian café, “Barbie Green” on London Wall. In this picture you see:
a vestige of the old roman London Wall, red-bricked. It has a modern fence on top of it because there is a 20ft drop on the other side. Built around 200-300AD.
Salters Hall, the white building on the left, and the square building in the middle. Built in 1976 to the designs of Sir Basil Spence, and extensively redeveloped in 2019.
Willoughby House in the Barbican Estate, behind Salters Hall, built 1965-76 to the designs of Chamberlain, Powell and Bon
CityPoint, in the middle background, built 1967 to the designs of F. Milton Cashmore and H. N. W. Grosvenor. It was refurbished in 2000 and that top structure added.
London Wall Place on the right of the picture, just finished in 2019 and now becoming occupied. The architects were “make architects”
the crane, high up to the right, is on the Crossrail site at Moorgate.
Barbie Green is a new cafe which has appeared as part of the new London Wall Place development. Its huge windows have great views out over St Alphege Church and the surrounding buildings. They have very friendly staff who don’t seem to mind atall that I used their table as a vantage point for sketching. I had great food and great coffee too. Thank you Barbie Green.
This drawing took about an hour and a half. It is almost all Prussian Blue and Perinone Orange, Daniel Smith Watercolours, over pen and ink. The ink is “De Atramentis Document Ink Black”, which is waterproof.
Here is work in progress. As you see, it was getting dark!