Thursday, 16 June 2016

Double Decker

The Big Dance bus arrived in Croydon a couple of weeks ago for a Family Fun Day in Park Hill Park.  A wide variety of dancers took to the checkerboard stage including street dancers, belly dancers and traditional Indian dancers whilst in the community garden, volunteers helped build bug hotels using pallets, recycled wood and paper.


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Let's Draw Richmond

Saturday 18 June 2016, 11am-4pm

Join us for a tour of sketchspots in this beautiful town. On the map are the historic Richmond Green and theatre, the ancient Old Palace Yard, the spectacle of Richmond Riverside, a farmers market and options to climb Richmond Hill to sketch the only view protected by an Act of Parliament. You also have the chance to sketch from a boat (£6 charge, email John to book a place before noon on Thursday 16 June at, more info below). Several great places to meet and share approaches and coffee are included.

The Boat Arches, Richmond Riverside by John Webb

Summary of the day: websites, details, travel information and map are below

Meet 11am, One Kew Road café for coffee, departing 11.15am
Lunch 1.00pm
• If dry: meet by the large tree at the corner of Water Lane on the River Front outside the Slug and Lettuce pub for a show and tell. TW9 1TJ
• If wet: meet in the arch from the Riverside Gardens into Heron Square
• Lunch is available at several pubs near to the meeting places.
Option to paint from a boat 2.00pm
• Richmond boathouses (reservation required, see below)
Finish 4.00pm
• If dry, meet at: Tide Tables café
• If wet, at Pitcher and Piano
Afterwards Pitcher and Piano

About Richmond:
Travel details:
Located in zone 4, Richmond Station is served by the District Line and is also part of the London Overground network with regular trains from London Waterloo taking approximately 25 minutes.
Buses 33, 190, 337, 371, 391, 419, 490, 493, 969, H22, H37, R68, R70, N22
Physical access: all of the venues are wheelchair friendly, if you don’t mind a few cobbles. For details about access, visit:

Let's Draw Richmond: all the details


START Time: Meet for coffee, 11am, leaving at 11.15am
Venue: One Kew Road, opposite Richmond Station
• 1 Kew Road, London, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 2NQ

Here are some suggestions for a route with varied sketching in this beautiful town. Choose one spot for a focused study or come with us for a tour with 20-minute sketchspots. The footpath next to One Kew Road leads to the first stop:

Richmond Green

Richmond Green has been an important open space since the Middle Ages when it hosted jousting competitions. Many fine old houses, the central library and the famous Richmond Theatre flank the Green.

Narrow streets border the green, with possibilities for sketching and coffee.

Old Palace Yard 

Richmond Palace was a royal residence on the River Thames in England that stood in the 16th and 17th centuries. Only vestigial traces now survive, notably the Gate House. The site of the former palace is the area between Richmond Green and the River Thames, and some local street names provide echoes of the former Palace, including Old Palace Lane, Old Palace Yard and The Wardrobe.

Richmond Riverside 

A grassy terrace provides an ideal spot to capture the river, the people, the bridge and the architecture.

Old boatyard arches
LUNCH and show and tell at 1.00pm
If dry: meet by the large tree at the corner of Water Lane on the River Front outside the Slug and Lettuce, TW9 1TJ
If wet: meet in the arch from the Riverside Gardens into Heron Square

Richmond riverside is a popular place, and we can’t be sure of finding one spot for lunch for all of us, but eating venues next to the meeting place include the Slug and Lettuce and The White Cross Pub.

• Slug and Lettuce Riverside House, Water Lane, Richmond, TW9 1TJ

• The White Cross, Riverside (off Water Lane), Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1TH

Richmond Farmers' Market is an alternative source of food and artistic inspiration.

• Richmond Farmers Market, Heron Square, Richmond, TW9 1EJ (just by Richmond Bridge) 
The market is open on Saturdays from 11am to 3pm. Aside the normal meats, fruit and vegetables, you can often find honey, cakes and pastries.


Stay where you are, or consider the following options:

2.00pm Painting from a boat from Richmond Riverside: an opportunity for a duck’s eye view of the river. As the tide is favourable we have arranged with Mark Edwards/Richmond Boathouses who built The Glorianna, as an optional extra for any who want to emulate the Newlyn School or Turner in Venice and sketch the Riverside from boats near the opposite bank. The cost for this will be £6 per person for about 2 hours from 2.00pm.
If you want to join this, please email John to book a place before noon on Thursday 16 June:

Richmond Hill: a 10-minute walk

This renowned hill offers the only view in England to be safeguarded by an Act of Parliament to protect the land on and below Richmond Hill and thus safeguard the fine foreground views to the west and south. Immortalised in paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds and JMW Turner, it was described by Sir Walter Scott as "an unrivalled landscape".

The scenic panorama may be viewed from Terrace Walk, laid out near the top of the hill in the 18th century. This promenade surmounts the Terrace Gardens and both are Grade II* listed . Terrace Walk is an ideal spot for sketching. To reach it, walk up the picturesque Hill Rise, with its little shops and handsome houses, or walk along the riverside and climb up through Terrace Gardens, past pretty Hollyhock Cafe.

4.00pm FINISH 
If dry: Tide Tables café. Meet on the café terrace, on the south side of the Bridge.
• 2 The Arches, Richmond

This café is in a converted arch beneath Richmond Bridge and has a large garden with majestic plane trees. Great coffee, great food, warm and friendly atmosphere and a huge terrace to sit outside, with steps to show off our work.

If wet: Pitcher and Piano
• 11 Bridge Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1TQ

Just up the steps by Richmond Bridge, by night this bar is a favourite with Richmond’s young, and a great place to relax by day. It has a fabulous terrace overlooking the river.

Stay on at the Pitcher and Piano for a drink before departing.

The Richmond sketch crawl is organised by Helen Hayhoe and John Webb. Our thanks to them!


Saturday, 4 June 2016

Let's draw Greenwich

Join the London Urban Sketchers for a sketchcrawl in and around Greenwich on Saturday 20th August.  Meet at 11.00 am under the bows of the Cutty Sark.  We'll meet up again there at 1.00pm, when, if you are feeling intrepid, you can join a group and walk under the Thames via the foot tunnel to sketch the view of Greenwich from Island Gardens.  The final meet up is at 3.30pm, under the bows of the Cutty Sark again, to take a look at the sketches from the day and take a group photograph.

Maritime Greenwich is a World Heritage Site so lots of great architecture to draw including the Old Naval College and the Queen's House.  Also great views of the Thames in both directions and as it's a busy spot for tourists, lots of people too.  It's worth walking up the hill to the Royal Observatory for a fantastic view over London.  There is free entry to the Maritime Museum which also has a cafe and toilets.

Free event, all abilities welcome, just bring your own art materials.

For more information, visit the London Urban Sketchers blog, Facebook page or follow on Twitter @UrbSketchLondon.

The meeting point throughout the day is under the bows of the Cutty Sark.
 Starting at 11 am, then 1 pm and finally at 3.30 pm.


Let's draw Trafalgar Square

Join the London Urban Sketchers for a sketchcrawl in and around the Trafalgar Square area on Saturday 23rd July.  Meet at 11.00 am under the statue on the Fourth Plinth, on the top level of the Square.  We'll meet up again at 1.00pm under the Duke of York Column, which is just off The Mall, near the ICA. Finally at 3.30pm, on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields to take a look at the sketches from the day and take a group photograph.  For those who have time to stay longer, we can move on the Crypt Cafe for coffee and chat.

This is an unashamedly 'London' sketchcrawl in the heart of the city!  Lots of iconic buildings including Nelson's Column, Admiralty Arch, the National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, views of Big Ben and Whitehall.  Lots of red buses taxis and tourists too.  For those wanting something a little more tranquil, there is St. James Park, which if the weather is fine, would be great place for a picnic.

Being a central location there are plenty of cafes and places to eat.  There are toilets in the Square itself, and also in the National Gallery and Portrait Gallery, both of which have free entry.

Free event, all abilities welcome, just bring your own art materials.

For more information, visit the London Urban Sketchers blog, Facebook page or follow on Twitter @UrbSketchLondon.

11 am - Start under the statue on the Fourth Plinth

1 pm - Meet under the Duke of York Column, just off the Mall

3.30 pm - Finish on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields

The Crypt Cafe, St. Martin-in-the-Fields


Thursday, 12 May 2016

Urban painting

Street Art pieces have been popping up on walls and shutters near where I live in South East London and last weekend I had a chance to sketch while one was being painted.  The artist doing the work was called Artista and she was being helped by one of the team from the London Calling Blog.  I drew whilst the emulsion coat was being added which would act as an undercoat to the spray paint layer. 

I thought I carried too much kit around sometimes but it’s small in comparison with the street artists’ materials which include a work box of spray paint, tins of emulsion, paint rollers, tape and ladders.  You also need a good head for heights!

The finished artwork

See more work by Artista at


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Pizza Chicken Fry-up

Old skool restaurant in Mile End Road, just past the yellow bridge (forerunner of the Garden Bridge scheme). I just love the black and white tiles and the orange. And the fact that it's ordinary. The Happy Chippy round the corner in Grove Road is now a pizza place in dark matt grey paint. I never thought I'd get nostalgic about tacky photos on acrylic signage, but I have.


Monday, 2 May 2016

Let's draw Westminster: Houses of Parliament and River Thames

Date: Saturday 14 May 2016
Led by Jo Dungey

This is an extremely famous area and consequently very crowded. We propose two locations which are most practical for drawing:

• Victoria Tower Gardens, Millbank, the green area along the river, south of the Houses of Parliament

• the riverside walk on the opposite side of the river from the Houses of Parliament

For the afternoon session, and to finish the day, note there are two options given below, which we may choose, depending on the weather.

Nearest tube: Westminster

Outline timetable:
Start: 11am — Meet at Victoria Tower Gardens, near the Burghers of Calais statue by Auguste Rodin (above) at the southern end of the Houses of Parliament. View the location on this map. There is a sliver of shelter at the entrance to the nearby Parliamentary Education Centre.

You can choose to draw here, or cross Westminster Bridge to draw from the riverside walk opposite the Houses of Parliament. This has seats and good views of the Houses of Parliament (above), and of Westminster and Lambeth Bridges.

Lunch: 1pm — Photos and meet-up, again near the Burghers of Calais statue in Victoria Tower Gardens.

In the afternoon, you could move to a different side of the river, or towards Parliament Square and Westminster Abbey.

End: 3.30pm — Meet for photos and review of work. There are two possible venues, depending upon the weather.
If dry: at the southern end of Victoria Tower Gardens near the refreshment kiosk and children’s playground. We will then decide where to move for refreshments.
If wet: at Tate Britain inside the Manton entrance on Atterbury Street, and then in the Djanogly Café downstairs in Tate Britain.

What to draw:
The Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey need no introduction. On the other side of the river is Lambeth Palace, originating in the thirteenth century. There are also smaller buildings, such as the Jewel Tower, monuments, statues, views of the river’s boats and bridges, and lots of opportunities to sketch people. Don’t feel you have to tackle a whole building; a single arch, window or doorway can often capture the essence of a historic building.

Victoria Tower Gardens has public toilets and a refreshment kiosk at the southern end. There are also toilets near Westminster Pier, in the underground station, in the Methodist Central Hall near Parliament Square, and other cafes. Food can be bought near the tube station, there are cafes on Millbank and Horseferry Road, and pubs on Whitehall.

There are no real indoor drawing locations in this area other than cafes, and a few crowded doorways and archways. So check the weather forecast, dress suitably and if necessary bring a brolly. If the weather is bad we will end at Tate Britain, further down Millbank at 3.30pm, and also visit their café. If it is cold or wet, you may choose to move on there earlier. The nearest tube station for Tate Britain is Pimlico.