It has been snowing now for several days. Robin invited me to sketch The Charterhouse in the snow, and suggested a viewpoint from the second floor of the Infirmary.
From here I could see all three of the Barbican Towers. Someone was clearing snow in the foreground, but they moved on before I could get them in the picture.
It was a good place to sketch, warm and quiet. I could hear the muffled sounds of the nurses moving about below, and of the Brothers who were in the infirmary. Sometimes they called out.
Here is what the picture looked like before the colour went on.
This picture took about 2 hours: One hour for the pencil outline, half an hour for the pen, and half an hour for the colour – roughly. It took ages to get the proportions right. Especially in the snow, the eye sees detail in far-away objects, so the temptation is to draw them too big.
After I handed in my visitor’s badge at the gate, I went out into Charterhouse Square. I looked back at the Chapel. And did a quick pen sketch, standing in the snow.
This took about 10 minutes, coloured later on my desk at home.
Thank you to Robin, and to the Brothers, Master and staff at the Charterhouse for their hospitality.
This morning I was again sketching in The Charterhouse. I’ve wanted to sketch in Masters Court, which has a fine façade on the Great Hall. But when I got there I preferred this view of the dark North West corner. Also there was a convenient seat.
I thought this view would be simple, but it wasn’t. The angle of those two roofs was a challenge.
While I was drawing, Mark came to mend the paving. He removed a heavy section of stone, and reset it. He looked at what I was doing. I asked him whether I should put in the crane, which loomed above the roof, and whose motor was clearly audible in the quiet courtyard. “Well,” said Mark, “it’s there!”
So I put the crane in. Then I met Robin, who asked if I would put in the crane driver, who was also visible at that point. So yes, the crane driver is in there too.
Here’s the picture:
Here are some pictures of the painting in the location. You can see the colour of the stone. Also there is the picture in pen and ink before the colour went on.
Pen and ink
on the Charterhouse stones
1hour45minutes, drawn and coloured on location. Very cold (6 degrees C), but dry.
It was a very cold day. The sun threw sharp shadows of the tree on the wall. Then the sun went in and the shadows disappeared.
A Brother was smoking in the cloister, under cover. Gardeners came by.
Here is the sketch before the colour went on:
Here are three sketches done inside the Chapel at the Charterhouse.
Pencil sketch of the columns in the chapel. 22 Nov 2017, 1:45 (1hr 15)
From the Organ loft 22 Nov 2017 14:40, pen and coloured ink. 40min
Chapel pews, pen and wash, 28th November 2017 15:14
There is a quiet recording of religious songs in there. The sound makes the place calm. People speak softly.
Here is a drawing from the first floor windows of manasian&co, who are based in Pensioners Court,
Thank you to the people at manasian who gracefully accepted a stranger into their studio, and brought me cups of tea while I looked out of their window. They were all working hard at their screens.
Two hours 15minutes.
Here is a sketch from the first floor windows of manasian and co, a strategic brand consultancy with offices in Pensioners’ Court.
I like the way the newer buildings are visible above the old ones, placing The Charterhouse in its 21st Century context. Behind me in the office, people worked on large screens, making pictures, and talking gently with each other across the desks. Outside, a gardener in a red raincoat clipped at the plants, dragging a large basket behind her, for the clippings.
Here is the entrance to Preachers’ Court in The Charterhouse. The Admiral Ashmore Building is on the left.
While I was drawing this, Stanley Underhill, a Brother, came to chat. He has catalogued the Charterhouse art collection, he told me. It took him seven years. He wrote a book “Charterhouse Art” which is in the shop.
He told me the dates on the buildings. The Admiral Ashmore Building – 2000. In the background, the building with the castellations, 1840, and the ancient building on the right, 1530.
I drew this picture in a new book, which is 10 inches by 11inches.
The larger size meant that the picture took longer.
3 hours, drawn and coloured on location.