Tower 42 from Undershaft

This is looking West from “Undershaft”, which is the small road going west from the Gherkin. Appropriately enough, perhaps, it now disappears down into an underground car-park.

Tower 42 (formerly the “NatWest Tower”) is in the back centre, and the new tower “TwentyTwo”, 62 storeys, at 22 Bishopsgate, is on the left.

In the foreground is Great St Helen’s Church. The roof really was at this wonky angle. The East window has plain glass. All the medieval stained glass was shattered in an IRA bombs in 1992 and 1993.

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The Eastern Cluster from the Barbican Podium

From the Barbican Podium underneath Willoughby House you can look East across the Crossrail site. Soon this view will be obliterated by the tall building on top of the Moorgate Crossrail station. But just now, this is what you can see:

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I drew this picture with just three colours:

  • IMG_1990Cadmium Red (Rembrandt)
  • Cobalt Blue (Jacksons)
  • Indian Yellow (Jacksons)

This was following the advice of Teoh Yi Chie of Parkablogs, in one of his Youtube posts, called “How I choose which colours to use”. He advises limiting the number of colours, and choosing just one red, one yellow and one blue for a picture. As you see, it is possible to create a wide range of colours from just three, including all the greys you see in the picture.

I was particularly pleased with the sheen on The Gherkin, which happened as the colours granulated and dried out.

The Towers in the picture are part of the emerging “Eastern Cluster”. This is a region of skyscrapers in the City of London. More will be added, according to the Eastern Cluster Strategy (try this link: City of London Eastern Cluster Strategy).

Here are the ones I could identify:

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Here are photos of the picture being drawn:

 

About 1½ hours, drawn and coloured standing on the podium, leaning the sketchbook on the concrete of the podium. Warm breeze. Sun. I needed the sunhat.

 

A short walk in the City

Here is the stunning view looking east from outside 12 Throgmorton Ave.

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TwentyTwo Bishopsgate now rises above Tower 42. I have previously drawn both these towers as part of a skyline from Lauderdale Place: From Lauderdale Place: Eastern Cluster.

This was a quick sketch, perhaps 25 minutes. The moon hung just above Tower 42, as you can just see in the picture, and in this short time, it moved until it was over TwentyTwo.

I was on my way to see if the new rooftop garden on 120 Fenchurch Street was open to the public as advertised. With very low expectations I found my way between the immense towers of the insurance district, and presented myself, in my anorak with my rucksack, at what I deemed was the correct entrance. It looked like a corporate reception area, with a person in uniform with a label round their neck. Expecting to be asked my business and turned away, I asked politely if I could go up. “Yes of course,” said the uniformed individual, smiling broadly, “Just put your bag through the scanner.” It was as easy as that. I was amazed. More uniformed people were on hand to welcome me into the lift and out when I reached the 15th floor.

This roof garden is stunning. The sun was shining, and a estuarine wind ruffled the heads of the tulips. People were standing about on the clean concrete areas as though in an architectural layout. 120 Fenchurch Street is not particularly high, on the grand overall scale of things, but the view is spectacular because it is embedded within other towers, so it’s like being in a sculpture park. The Gherkin, the Scalpel, and TwentyTwo Bishopsgate are all round it, and there’s the Lloyds Building, and a distant view of St Pauls, and the glint of the Thames.

I decided I would be selective, and not try to draw a wide view. So I settled out of the wind, on the West side, and drew this.

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I enjoyed the chasm, and the roof paraphernalia. The drain pipes were much in the steampunk tradition. They took flamboyant routes over the brick, with far more right angles than is strictly necessary. See also the iron staircases and platforms, more like the set of “Streetcar Named Desire” than office blocks in the financial district.

Here is work in progress, and the sketchbook on the paving of the roof garden.

The drawing took 1hour 15 minutes.

Here are maps showing where I was.

From Lauderdale Place: Eastern Cluster

It is amazing how many buildings you can see from Lauderdale Place. Lauderdale is the Westernmost of the three Barbican Towers. I am standing beside it, looking South-East, over Lambert Jones Mews.

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The towers are members of the so-called “Eastern Cluster”. The new building, 22 Bishopsgate, with its 60 floors, makes the former “NatWest Tower” look small. The NatWest Tower used to be the tallest tower block in the City. It is a mere 42 floors, and is now called “Tower 42”. Perhaps that is because of the number of floors. I never thought of that before.

You can just glimpse “the Scalpel”, the pointed crystalline building on Lime St, near the Lloyds building. In the picture it is between 22 Bishopsgate and St Giles’ Church.

I have annotated all the buildings here:

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Here is work in progress:

We think of the Barbican as concrete, but in fact there is quite a lot of brick. I studied the brickwork on Lambert Jones Mews carefully, and then found it was more difficult to draw than I expected. The pattern is very particular: long-short-long-short.

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The drawing took 1hr45min, drawn in bright sunlight and a light breeze. I finished it at 12:15pm. Then I went home and had a Hot Cross Bun which I had bought from St John’s Bakery. The bag was standing beside me while I was drawing, smelling spicy.

 

88 Golden Lane

Today was a glorious sunny day. I walked out into the sun and everywhere was worthy of a sketch.

Here is 88 Golden Lane, a strange thin building. It is an architects’ practice: Blair Architecture.

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I sketched this standing on the side of the road in the sun, then retreated to sit on my case by a nearby wall to add the colour.

It must have looked as though I was sitting on the pavement. An elderly woman, pushing a shopping basket on wheels, stopped and asked me if I was alright. I said I was, and explained that I was drawing a picture. “Oh,” she said, “because I was going to say that if you needed a sit down, there a bench just around the corner here.”

I gestured to the building I was drawing. “Ah yes, you wouldn’t be able to see that if you went round the corner.” She told me she had wanted to be an artist. She always got the art prize at school. But then the schools closed. “We were blocked,” she said. I didn’t know what she meant. “I’m old,” she said, smiling at my blank expression, “the war.”

Because the school closed, she left at 14. “I wanted to go to the art school, St Martins, but that was closed because of the war.” So, she said she’d be a typist. Then the firm she worked for closed down because of the war. “So I went on War Work,” she declared. “Oh, I’ve had a good life. I’m 93. Although people say I don’t look it.” She certainly didn’t look it.

I suggested she take up art now.

“I can’t,” she said, “it’s the hands.” She held up her arms. Her hands were balls, in gloves. “Arthritis,” she said. “But I’m alright. I was ill. And I recovered. So now I think, well, I’ve got a new life. Get on with it.”

She waved her balled hands cheerfully and pushed her trolley on. She turned round. “I hope to see you again,” she said.

 

 

Barbican Towers in winter

Here is a sketch I made yesterday showing Shakespeare Tower, the middle one of the Barbican Towers.

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I drew it sitting on a bench in Fortune Park.

fullsizeoutput_329aWhen I sat down, there was an agitated rustle under the bench, and a blackbird emerged onto the grass, looking rumpled. Another squawked among the leaves. I had the distinct impression that I had disturbed the creation of the next generation of blackbird. He, on the grass, squawked his annoyance at me.

I offered crumbs from the rock cake which I had bought from Big John on Whitecross Street market. The blackbird accepted the crumbs, fluttered a little way away to enjoy them, but was not appeased. His mate, having adjusted her make-up, hopped out, and asked for some rock cake too.

This picture took 1hr 15, drawn and coloured on location.


Here is a picture I’d done 2 days before, from an extremely cold and windy position on Chiswell Street. From left to right, Cromwell, Shakespeare, Lauderdale.

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You see the infamous “Beech Street Tunnel”. This is an area of illegally high pollution levels, as the street is usually full of vehicles, and is covered. I haven’t shown the vehicles. Or the numerous pedestrians.

The odd circular tower type thing on the left of the tunnel is the vent to the car parks below. It is an architectural feature.

This was a much quicker picture as I was very cold and the location was busy and difficult to work in. 15 min on location and 15 min to do the colour at my desk.

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