Above, sketching with my friend Lis at Horniman Gardens, below, a day at Kew Gardens:
A group of my small watercolours done at Kew Gardens also hang in the home of a friend:
Some quick sketches done on location in East London – three at Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, and the final one at Victoria Park.
As a consequence of the pandemic lockdown, I did not visit central London between mid March and early August. More recently, I have taken some sketching trips with friends, sometimes visiting places like the Tower of London, which are unusually quiet now. Here are some recent location sketches of Butlers Wharf, the City skyline, the gates of Lincoln’s Inn, and the Temple Church.
I have been sketching again at Kew Gardens, in the Temperate House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory, as it was a day of heavy rain. I experimented with water soluble coloured pencils, on backgrounds of random watercolour.
Yesterday, I was painting at Kew Gardens, in London, with friends. We also visited on a very hot day last week, shown above. Kew has a famous gallery of botanical art, superbly skilled work in the very precise style, originally developed as a method of scientific recording. I was trying to paint watercolour sketches in a freer, more painterly style, more about atmosphere than precision. Well, that is the idea, here are some sketches from yesterday, painted on location.
And here is a scan of the painting which is in the photograph at the top of this post.
Today I have been at the Horniman Museum gardens in South London. I had a small pack of cards and envelopes made of Khadi paper, a handmade watercolour paper from India. I found a quiet place to sit overlooking the formal gardens, seen above. Without much plan of what I would do, I started with a very conventional view of the flowers. I then decided to simplify and enlarge the images, and to start with backgrounds based on the formality of the rows and angles of the flower beds, adding flowers to these backgrounds, working quite quickly.
As a consequence of the pandemic and the lockdown, I went several months without sketching on location in London or elsewhere. However, cautiously, I and my friend Lis Watkins have returned to sketching outdoors near our homes in south London. We are fortunate to have some beautiful parks and gardens which provide safe and reasonably quiet places to draw and paint. Some of Lis’s beautiful work can be seen on her website which has links to her Instagram page and twitter account where her sketches are posted. The locations of my sketches here are, from top to bottom:
- Horniman Gardens (above)
- Walled garden, Horniman Gardens
- Belair House, Dulwich
- Olive tree, Belair House
- Dry Garden, Dulwich Park
- Bell House, Dulwich