Posts Tagged ‘London’

Shad Thames Meetup

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

It’s been a while since I have done any location sketching and it seems I am a little rusty. When I met up with Drawing London on Location a few weeks ago I spent most of the day struggling with the perspective on Shad Thames. I didn’t manage to complete the drawing but while my friend Jon and I were sat on the floor sketching we did get to learn a little of the history of the area. A young lady passing by stopped to chat to us and asked if we knew anything about the area. We thought she was asking as she wanted to know for herself but it turned out that she has lived in the area all her life and thought that as we were interested enough to sketch the buildings she loved, we would probably like to know more about them.

Shad Thames, completed in the 1870s, was apparently the spice district of London and the warehouse buildings that we were sitting amongst were originally used to store spices shipped in via the Thames. She pointed out that the building we were sitting next to was used to store salt and that the walls were so inpregnated with salt that they would never hold a coat of paint. She also pointed out the spices stored in several of the other buildings and explained that the building opposite us was used to store Cardamom and apparently still smells of Cardamom whenever it rains. Though less so since the area was renovated by Terance Conran and all of the buildings were cleared out and converted into up market housing and restaurants etc. Before this, the area had sat empty and unused for some time but when it was at it’s industrial height and the warehouses in Shad Thames were being built, the area had captured the imagination of Charles Dickens who based the story Oliver Twist around an inlet just a little further down the river. Hopefully I have remembered and recounted what she said faithfully.

I think I have mentioned before how sitting and sketching in public makes you fair game and available for conversation. Even in a place like London where people tend to be anonymous and insular. Sometimes this is a pain especially if you feel self-conscious about drawing in public. But every now and then you meet someone who has something very interesting to say and has obvious passion for their subject matter and I feel very glad that I have this chance to open myself up to Londoners who I would not normally have the chance to speak with.

As the day drew on I realised I was not going to get much further with my drawing of Shad Thames and I was craving putting some colour to paper so I moved on to do a quick 40 min landscape watercolour sketch of Tower Bridge from the Waterfront near the Design Museum. I may go back to finish the Shad Thames sketch but Mat convinced me to scan it as it is. For some reason he really likes it as it is.

East End Meetup

Monday, June 6th, 2011

A few weekends ago Drawing London on Location met up at Liverpool St Station for a sketch walk in Spitalfields, up Brick Lane towards Hoxton Square.

I started off with this very rushed 40 minute sketch of Spitalfields Market.

We then walked up to the top of Brick Lane. I had seen a couple of things that I fancied sketching but they were further back down the road. As we only had about 30 to 40 minutes and I was feeling too lazy to walk back, I twisted a couple of arms to get a few people to join me in a local bar to sketch a couple of quick portraits and so that I could drink a refreshing pint of cider ;).

The first is of Tom, The second is Andrew. This was the last spread in my Large Moleskine, finished around a year after I started drawing again.

After Brick Lane we walked over to Hoxton Square. We had planned to sit in the park there but it was closed for refurbishment so we headed over to the churchyard in Shoreditch. Most people chose to sketch each other (Adam’s sketch of me and a few others here) I chose to do this final sketch of the day of Boundry Rd in a new pocket Moleskine I have started, with the intention to keep it in my bag everyday in case I get the urge to sketch.

Hyde Park Meetup

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

The weekend before the Easter weekend I met again with Drawing London on Location. This trip was to Hyde Park and Holland Park, again it was lovely weather for sketching outside.

We started off in the gardens opposite Lancaster gate…

Then moved on to the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall…

And finished off the day in Holland Park…

Goodbye Jon

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

A couple of weekends ago Mat and I took a trip out to Bankside to meet a friend. I had a terrible cold but this trip had to be made as this was our last opportunity to see Jon before he flew halfway around the world to live with his partner Jo and their new baby daughter in New Zealand. Jon was one of our housemates and one of my best friends at university, he was also one of my bridesmaids at our wedding (don’t worry I didn’t make him wear a dress).

As I wasn’t feeling well I decided to keep my hands busy by sketching while we talked (so I wouldn’t be tempted to drink too much beer). I’m not good at concentrating on two things at once. I managed to keep up with the conversation OK but had to keep stopping. It feels so rude to talk to someone without giving them eye contact.

It was the last warm weather of the year so we were able to sit outside in the sun quite comfortably. I decided to draw Jon into the sketch to help me remember the day. (You can also see Mat’s Lap on the right, I think he is happier when I don’t draw him in).

I am very sad to be saying goodbye to Jon. Seeing him to say goodbye made me realise how little we had seen of him and Jo over the past few years and now we will probably not have the chance to see them again for some time. But I am also very excited for them starting this new chapter of their life together as a family.

Jon I’ll miss you! I wish you all the best and really hope we keep in touch!

Check Out the Angry Sky Over London

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

I had to work this morning so after I finished I decided to pop into the Tate Modern as it was close by. Check out the photo of the angry sky over the city. I took this as 2 photos on my iPhone then stitched them together using the Autostitch App.

It is very busy here today and everyone seems to be taking photos of the artwork. Quite annoying as I have to keep dodging out of photos while I try to look at work on the walls. I might sit and sketch for a bit before I head home as the heavens have now opened, as Terry Pratchett puts it – the rain is like the sea cut into strips.

View From Tower Pier

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

13th June was a Sunday and as we hadn’t planned anything else I thought I would take a little trip out to sketch. I couldn’t decide where to go, Mat suggested the Tower of London (I can get in for a quid as I live in the same borough). Seemed like a good idea but when I got there it was due to shut in half an hour and I knew that would not give me enough time. I had a little wander round and everywhere was looking a little too crowded for my liking. But then I saw the pier.

I walked on and asked the guy collecting tickets if I could just sit down to draw. He looked at me like I was crazy but pointed to the row of seats.

Apart from the odd river cruise boat mooring up in front of me for a few mins and the queues of tourists, who seem too busy looking at everything around them to notice that they don’t make good windows for the strange girl with the pad and paints who they are standing directly in front of, all went well… Until I had just started to add the colour, when the Dixie Queen (a huge replica paddle steamer, which seems to neither paddle nor steam) moored up in front of me and looked set to stay for some time. I had to move to one side which meant that all of the reflections off the glass buildings were at the wrong angle. But I was still very pleased with the result and had really enjoyed myself.

St James’ Park

Monday, July 5th, 2010

On 11th June I had to do some work over at one of the buildings I look after near parliament so I decided to go for a walk and do a little sketching in St James’ Park when I finished work.

I love the long summer evenings. It’s great to be able to do something like this for a couple of hours and still feel like you have plenty of evening left afterwards. Having said that this did get me in a little trouble as I lost track of time and I should have been home earlier to go new fridge shopping.

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Amy Stace published on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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