Today was a beautiful day. It was a day to go for a walk.
I went to the river. Near Old Billingsgate I looked under London Bridge and saw Tower Bridge and HMS Belfast. This is a 15 minute sketch, watercolour-only, no pen.
Onwards towards the East, I stood on Sugar Quay, which has only just re-opened after years of being closed while the nearby hotel is built.
Here is the Shard, in context, from a wooden bench on Sugar Quay.
This map shows my walk:
Tourists congregate around Tower Bridge. East of Tower Bridge, after St Katherines Dock, there are no tourists at all. It was suddenly very quiet. I went down “Alderman Steps”. There was this great view. The wind was fierce, and my eyes were streaming. I had a go anyway. Two mallards bobbed around amongst the floating quays, chatting away, looking around as if searching for something lost.
Then I went on East. I had lunch in a hipster café called “Urban Baristas” on Wapping High Street.
A man at the next table discussed flats on his mobile phone. He said Shoreditch was too expensive, so he was looking in Wapping. He’d found a good place, a view of the river, open plan, lots of space. Maybe it was offices he was describing, not flats.
Then I went on East. The river opens out here, it starts to feel more like an estuary. There are 1980s flats, brick-built, but in the river shores are the remains of the old trade: the old chains, the stanchions, huge shafts of timber, rotting piers.
Then the river bends again, and there’s a magnificent view of Canary Wharf.
I drew this in about an hour, sitting in sunlight spiked with the smell of someone else’s fish and chips.
Here is work in progress: