Later in July, I am travelling to Amsterdam, to take part in the annual Urban Sketchers international meet-up. Of course, I am very excited to meet with hundreds of other sketchers and to draw scenes of Amsterdam. And when an English visitor thinks of Holland – tourist cliché alert – that includes windmills, doesn’t it? So, maybe some practice is in order.
Did you know we have windmills in London? My fellow sketcher, Lis Watkins (both of us are admins for Urban Sketchers London) and I set off to explore. We found and sketched three in South London, from left to right: in Wimbledon, Brixton, and Shirley, near Croydon.
The wonderful windmill sketches of Lis Watkins can be found on the international website of Urban Sketchers, where she is one of the London correspondents.
This week I had the challenge of drawing two Hindu temples, or mandirs, in North London, both of them buildings with extremely complex stone carvings. I needed to find ways of drawing these buildings in a fairly short space of time. The drawing above, and the photograph on the left, is the Shri Sanatan Mandir at Alperton, near Wembley.
The photograph on the right is of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden. Here is a second drawing of the Shri Sanatan Mandir, and one of the entrance to the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir.
Yesterday, I ran a sketchcrawl in Dulwich Village with Urban Sketchers London. I also found time to draw across four pages of my concertina sketchbook, and the results are shown below. The paper was initially prepared with torn paper collage, acrylic gesso and random marks with diluted indian ink. Then I drew on location with chinagraph pencil, which is a waxy, quite thick black pencil which encourages a bold approach. I am finding that the concertina format encourages a more flexible use of different images across the spread, developing a portrait of the place, in this case Dulwich Picture Gallery and its surrounds.
Yesterday I was drawing birds in the galleries of the Natural History Museum in London. Once again, I had prepared pages of my sketchbook, this time with acrylic gesso and watercolour. The birds are drawn in coloured pencil, with no attempt at realism or scale. Here is an imaginary Bird World.
These two drawings were done in Dulwich Park, near my home. Before setting out, I prepared the pages with diluted Indian ink, acrylic gesso and watercolour. Then I drew in pencil onto this ground, from observation at a couple of different locations in the park.
The second drawing also includes some text. I had been on a birdwatching walk in the park a few days earlier, and I included the list of birds we had seen in the park.
With my tree identification group, I have drawn leaves, pinecones, seedpods – but in winter sometimes these are not available. So today we met in Peckham Rye Park to investigate how to identify trees from the pattern of their bark. We also did some rubbings, using wax crayon on paper. Later, at home, I added some watercolour washes. I liked the patterns, so here are some images:
From top to bottom, left to right: Oak, Turkish Hazel, Japanese Cherry, Copper Beech, Dawn Redwood.
Recently, I have been experimenting with a new, mixed media approach to my drawing. Using a concertina sketchbook, I first prepare backgrounds with ink or watercolour, collage, and acrylic gesso. Then, on location, I add drawing, and I have been experimenting with different pens and pencils. Here are some examples, drawn in Dulwich Park, at the British Museum, at Kew Gardens, and on a recent meet-up of Urban Sketchers London, at the Barbican.