Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Cally

The Cally, London 

This is Caledonian Road in north London, more commonly known as The Cally. It's been called the Cally for ever, but they felt it necessary to write it in big bold letters on the railway bridge in case people forgot. The Cally is not the area of London where I am from (I grew up in Burnt Oak), but this is where my Dad is from. He lived up the road, near the Nag's Head in Holloway. When I was a kid my dad would sometimes drive me over here when he had to visit his mates or one of my uncles, who still live locally. I was always very nervous of this area as a child, a rough place (and my own Burnt Oak was pretty rough) of villains' pubs, broken windows and dangerous alleys. It's still pretty tough, but I can appreciate the character in it now I'm grown up. Actually, I think this would be a very interesting place for a sketchcrawl (though I'd still keep my eyes open).
 HM Pentonville prison 
I sketched this area while I was back in London in June. One building I had to sketch was HM Prison Pentonville, the 'big house', which casts a imposing and gloomy shadow over Caledonian Road. Pentonville was opened in 1842 and has had many famous residents, such as Éamon de Valera, Dr. Crippen, John Christie (and Timothy Evans who was wrongly hanged for Christie's crimes), Oscar Wilde, and, um, George Michael. I sketched it from a cafe across the road called, appropriately, the Breakout. Condemned inmates were executed here at Pentonville until 1961. Prisons are horrible places.
 Blundell St, London 
From the Jail House to the Free House...this is actually at the back of the Breakout cafe, which looks like it was built in the space of a closed-down pub. This is part of the old pub signage around the corner from the Cally on Blundell Street. My dad actually went to school on this street, though the school is long gone. Funny that he grew up round the Cally, while I ended up in Cali(fornia). 
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Monday, 17 August 2015

August 2015 Sketchcrawl - Notes, photos and sketches

Despite the late change of date we had a really excellent turnout and a very good time during for the August Sketchcrawl of St James Park, HorseGuards and Trafalgar Square.

They even closed The Mall to cars so we could sit in the middle of the road and sketch!

London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
At one point there were about a dozen urban sketchers perched on stools
ON THE MALL road surface - sketching impressive architecture - with perspective!

London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
People would keep crossing the road and getting in the way of the view!

Admiralty Arch, London
Watercolour sketch of Admiralty Arch by Lis Watkins
- who was a little nearer to the Arch.

VJ Day 70th anniversary service
on the Parade Ground at Horse Guards the previous day.
The War Memorial is at the back- next to the trees.
We assembled the day after the 70th anniversary of VJ Day at the WW2 Memorial in Horse Guards opposite the Parade ground.

I'd had this in mind for morning sketches but since the structures from the VJ Day Drumhead Service were being removed from the Parade Ground I suggested people came back to this spot in the afternoon - which a number of us did.

Hence the large number of sketches of Horse Guards Parade with the London Eye in the background.

However in the morning the major recommendation was to make the most of the fact that The Mall was 'coned off' and pedestrianised - and to to sketch things from a perspective that normally would not be possible.

In general people wended  their way from Horse Guards to the Mall and then via Admiralty Arch to Trafalgar Square. There's masses to sketch and that's good because we are back in Trafalgar square in December for the huge Christmas Tree!

London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
Sketches from the morning session - some very impressive sketches of the Mall and Admiralty Arch
London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
The London Eye gets everywhere!
London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
Some impressive panoramic sketches and nice watercolours
London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
Apparently you can get the accordion panoramic sketchbook from Cass Art.
We had a very good turnout for the Lunchtime Photo Opportunity! (Although this was maybe two thirds of the people who turned up on the day - some were still intent on sketching rather than eating!)

London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
Urban sketchers taking a look at the sketches from the morning
In the afternoon we used the steps in between the National Gallery and the Sainsbury Wing to have a look at the sketches from the afternoon

London Urban Sketchers - The Mall to Trafalgar Square Sketchcrawl 16th August 2015
Looking at sketches at the end of the sketchcrawl

Then some of us retired for tea and scones in the National Dining Rooms (Any sketchcrawl I organise always involves a cup of tea at the end - and is generally scheduled to finish near to somewhere nice to sit down!)

You can see more photos that I took:
Katherine Tyrrell (Organiser)

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September 2015 Sketchcrawl 

Nathan is organising the Sketchcrawl for September.

The next Sketchcrawl is on Saturday 5th September when we will be visiting Blackheath, Blackheath Village and Greenwich Park.  Subscribe to the blog to get notification of the details automatically delivered to your inbox. Otherwise watch out for more details in:


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Friday, 14 August 2015

Wardour Street, W1


When I was in my teens, I thought this was the most exciting street on earth. Number 160 is now the Yamaha Music shop but still bears an acknowledgement to the company it was built for in 1906, Novello's Music Publishers. This was my second visit, I didn't get much done on the first visit because it was way too hot, and this afternoon it started raining. I'll be back ...
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Thursday, 13 August 2015

URGENT UPDATE: Sketchcrawl now switched to Sunday 16th August

The Sketchcrawl Let's Draw - Trafalgar Square, The Mall & St James Park - Saturday 15th August 2015 is MOVING TO SUNDAY 16TH AUGUST

We always do a search to see if there's anything coming up in an area at the time but somehow or other the VJ Day celebrations did not pop up as something happening on that day.

It's a big celebration this year because it's the 70th and consequently the last major celebration at which many people who participated in that theatre of the second world war will be able to participate.

However the important thing for our sketchcrawl is that it will take place on the same day - and in exactly the same area (see map below).

The area of our sketchcrawl on Saturday will therefore have:
  • lots of roads closed (Click on the map below to see the very large version of how the road closures work on Saturday)
  • lots of barriers up to keep people from moving across roads
  • lots of people around and about - and circulating across the area will be a lot more difficult
  • lots of security (re. the alleged bomb plots and - as you can imagine - they'll be very interested in people walking around with backpacks on!)
VJ Day Celebrations
This is the Metropolitan Police Map of the Road Closures on Saturday 16th August
So - we've decided we need to change the date. People were sounded out at short notice via the Facebook Group Event listing and we've decided to change to the Sunday.

Profuse apologies to all those who cannot now make it - but we thought a more enjoyable environment and no hassle for backpackers was more important for our sketchcrawl.

Anybody who has bought a train ticket should be able to change it or get a refund.

For those feeling intrepid and determined to brave the crowds you can find details here of what will be happening re the flypast by three historic service, the drumhead service and big screens. Please also be alert for security considerations.

If anybody knows of a listing which identifies events in specific areas by specific dates we'd like to know about it as we did check before deciding on the date!
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Monday, 3 August 2015

Let's Draw - Trafalgar Square, The Mall & St James Park - Sunday 16th August 2015

URGENT UPDATE: See Sketchcrawl now switched to Sunday 16th August

Houses of Parliament, Nelson's Column, Lions and London Buses - plus water features!
View down the Mall
Our next London Urban Sketchers sketchcrawl will be around and about The Mall, St. James's Park and Trafalgar Square in Central London.

It's FREE and there's no need to book a place - just turn up on the day!

Details of where to go are listed beneath the images and sketches below.

You are spoilt for choice in terms of places to sketch and there's something for everyone.

You can:
  • spend your time on the view down The Mall with Buckingham Palace at one end and Admiralty Arch at the other and lots of perspective challenges
  • sketch the trees, pelicans and people in St James Park - one of the Royal Parks - running alongside the Mall
St James Park Lake and fountain from Horse Guards Parade end
Pelicans in St James Park
  • draw the fantastic architecture of Horse Guards (a large grade I listed building in the Palladian style between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade in London) and Admiralty Arch (another Grade 1 listed building).
    Arco del Almirantazgo, Londres, Inglaterra, 2014-08-11, DD 186
    Trafalgar Square earlier this year

    Map of the area with Key Locations

    Where to go and what you need to know


    WHERE: Trafalgar Square, The Mall & St James Park

    WHEN: Saturday 15th August 2015  
    UPDATE - now Sunday 16th August - see Sketchcrawl now switched to Sunday 16th August

    START: 11:00am at the Guards Memorial on Horse Guards Parade - on the Park side opposite the Parade Ground  (Wet Weather: Inn the Park - the cafe restaurant next to the Lake in St James Park if wet)

    LUNCH: 1:00 the terrace between the Mall and Spring Gardens (up the steps from the Mall - next to British Council HQ and between Mall Galleries and Admiralty Arch).  (Wet Weather: Next to the Gates under Admiralty Arch). We'll share out sketches and probably do the lunchtime photo on the steps. There's also a couple of sandwich shops just round the corner.

    END: 3:30pm - in the walkway between the Sainsbury Wing and main building of the National Gallery (Wet Weather: in the lobby of the Sainsbury Wing) - share our sketches + another group photo to add to the collection! We'll probably try for one with Trafalgar Square or the National Gallery in the background.

    YOU WILL NEED: sketching materials of your choice and a stool to sit on (unless you like standing or squatting)

    WET WEATHER OPTION: There are quite a few places where you can sketch and remain dry. These include:
    • sketch St James Park from the Inn the Park
    • sketch Trafalgar Square from Pret a Manger or Cafe Nero - on south west side of Trafalgar Square
    • sketch the Mall from under Admiralty Arch
    • sketch people and paintings inside the National Gallery
    Travel:
    • District / Circle Lines: Embankment or Westminster Stations 
    • Bakerloo Line: Charing Cross 
    • Northern Line: Embankment Station
    • Rail: Charing Cross  
    • Buses: lots of buses run through Trafalgar Square (pdf file)

    Map: Check out the map of:
    • Start / Lunch / Finish Locations
    • Key Buildings
    • Great Views
    • Transport - stations

    Organiser: Katherine Tyrrell (do please leave any queries as comments on this post - or post them on the Facebook Event Page and I'll do my best to answer them)

    Tweet your sketches using the hashtag #USKLondon and/or #sketching.

    Follow live tweets from the sketchcrawl on https://twitter.com/UrbSketchLondon 
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    Saturday, 25 July 2015

    Mojoless at the museum

    The Geffrye's café. A5 Daler sketchbook
    Sketching in the café
    Today was #48th Worldwide Sketchcrawl day, so I arranged to join the Drawing London on Location group at the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton. Unfortunately, my sketching mojo didn't come too. I was ready to sketch on the train but... it was packed as the Norwich train had been offloaded onto the train I caught. I found a seat, got sketchbook and glasses out and... the man next to me proceeded to tell me all about his life as a cruise ship pianist. Arriving at the museum, it was one of those days that the scale of the building was intimidating and the gardens stunning but... nothing grabbed my attention. I decided a cup of tea was the solution, which it was as I loved the organic lamps and was lucky enough to have the people I was drawing stay as long as I sketched.

    After another wander around looking at the exhibits, I chatted to a few other sketchers, then decided to head off to look for my sketching mojo elsewhere. In hindsite, I think the problem was the lack of sleep caused by the huge storm and my dog keeping me awake most of last night. Either way, I hope it is back in time for the next Urbansketchers London meeting.
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    Sunday, 19 July 2015

    Sketching from above

    Last Sunday Carlos Olvera and James Hobbs organized a sketching session on the 32st floor of one of the London's high rises, Citypoint. Other participants included Susanne du Toit, Jane Smith and Adam Jefford. A big thank you to everyone who made it possible and took part - it was enjoyable to sketch the London's city center from such a rare and by all means challenging viewpoint!



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