Saturday 6 July 2024

Tuesday 16 July: Island Gardens Park, Millwall, Saunders Ness Road, Docklands, Tower Hamlets E14 3EB

On Tuesday July 16 we are going to a new location, Island Gardens Park in Docklands.   The key feature of this small riverside park is the outstanding view across the river to the wonderful buildings of Greenwich.  These include the Royal Naval College (Greenwich Hospital), the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, and the Cutty Sark.   In the park there is the domed building which covers the entrance to the Greenwich Foot Tunnel.   As well as looking over to Greenwich there are options from a walkway that runs alongside the river through rather spectacular buildings/homes to a dock that looks over a more industrial landscape.

The park is not very big, but we suggest that we meet at the entrance to the tunnel at 11 o'clock as this is easily identifiable.   A map and other details can be found  here:     The park is close to the Docklands Light Railway Island Gardens station, the DLR starts at the Bank station, and you will need a train which terminates at Lewisham.  Alternatively, take the Jubilee tube line to Heron Quays  and then Island Gardens is a few stops down the DLR.  The interchange from Heron Quays is closer than the one at Canary Wharf and it is not at all clear from some of the maps. 

As this location is rather off our beaten track, Janet and Tricia have kindly done a recce for us and established that there are two cafes in the park, and a loo, and there is also a pub alongside which does food, a bit more expensive (The Waterman's Arms).  We can decide where to go when we get there and see how many people we have to accommodate.   

We particularly recommend bringing a stool on this excursion, and in view of current weather, an umbrella.  If the day is especially wet and rainy, we can walk across the river and seek shelter amongst the Greenwich buildings.

Sue's mobile number for the day is: 07975 864142.

Janet and Tricia  sent back the following sketches to inspire you:

Image above by Janet Payne

Two images above by Tricia Sharpe

Sunday 30 June 2024

Visit to the Victoria Embankment Gardens on Tuesday 25 June 2024

It was all set to be an extremely hot day when we visited the Victoria Embankment Gardens, which put off some potential attendees in advance and sent some of us home early.  Nevertheless, 13 artists met up, and we tackled many of the points of interest in this well maintained historic park.  We sketched statues (though nobody took on the camel, something for another visit), the fountain, the railway arches glimpsed beyond, the London buses, and the Duke of Buckingham's Water Gate, and of course, the trees.   It was interesting to see how far back the Water Gate was from our embanked Thames, and how much wider the Thames was when the Gate was built in the 1620s.

We had a jolly lunch in the park cafe, but almost everyone went home after lunch as the temperature moved up towards 30 degrees.  People who took the bus home got very hot.  For future reference, and being mindful of everyone's health and safety, on hot days please do your artwork in the shade.

Enjoy our images, below!

Our next sketching date will be Island Gardens in Docklands on Tuesday 16 July, further details to follow.

Image above by Gill Steiner (Robert Raikes, Advocate of Sunday Schools for Children)

Image above by Peter Colley

Image above by Tricia Sharpe (statue of Robert Burns)

Image above by Janet Payne

Image above by Sue Loder

Image above by Janet Perkins

Image above by Betty Wang

Image above by Priscilla Worley

Image above by Diana Marshall

Image above by Audrey Rapier

Image above by Diane Umemoto (The Water Gate)

Image above by Sue Lees


Tuesday 21 May 2024

Tuesday 25 June: Visit the Victoria Embankment Gardens, Villiers Street, WC2N 6DU

 We are going to make our first visit to the Victoria Embankment Gardens, which features a fine High Renaissance style watergate which was built in 1626 for the Duke of Buckingham, (the Thames has moved since this boating essential was built), and a number of statues to nineteenth century notables: Arthur Sullivan, with mourning nymph, a camel, part of the Imperial Camel Corps, Robert Burns, etc., etc.  There is also a fishpond, part of a Lutyens memorial (the Cheylemore Memorial) and bandstand.  The garden maintenance is supposed to be good.   There should be plenty to sketch, but if people want something grittier, the Embankment tube entrance is interesting, hopefully without roadworks, and over the wall and across the Embankment road is the Thames and Cleopatra's needle with attendant sphinxes. 

Meet at 11 am in the Gardens by the Villiers Street entrance, close to the Embankment tube exit

There is a cafe and loo.    If wet, we could sit in the bandstand, or underneath the railway lines going to Charing Cross.  

There will be many buses going to Charing Cross, Villiers Street is just to the east side of Charing Cross, and the Northern, Bakerloo, Circle and District lines stop at Embankment Station. 

We suggest you bring your sketching stools to help achieve the perfect composition.  There are benches, but they may be already taken or in the wrong place. 


 Sue's telephone number for the day is 07975 864 142 (but please note that due to the incompetance of O2, the mobile service provider, it may not be possible to send reply texts, and there is a problem with receiving voicemail also).

Finally, some late images from our day in the St John's Wood Churchyard, a series of line drawings by Alison Sandifer.  Enjoy!




Sunday 19 May 2024

Our Visit to St John's Wood Churchyard

 It was a wet and overcast day when 8 seasoned artists made their way to St John's Wood Churchyard, which was a bit off our usual beat. The weather continued to be damp but there was no actual rain whilst we were sketching. 

Thank you Diane Umemoto for suggesting this great venue. We loved exploring something new. The High Street was fascinating but most of us stayed in the churchyard which is now largely a park. John Sell Cotman's grave is in an area that is being rewilded but all the more intriguing for that.

We retired to a cafe at lunchtime where some us appropriately chose the 'Wild Child' bowl option.

The next outing is on Tuesday 25th June to Embankment Gardens. More to follow.

So images below. Artist's name at the top pf each image:

Diana Marshall

Diane Umemoto

Do Burgess

Janet Payne

Gill Steiner

Priscilla Worley

Sue Lees

Sue Loder

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Tuesday 14 May: St John's Wood Church Gardens, 8 Wellington Place, London NW8 9JA

Our next sketching day will be Tuesday 14 May 2024 when we are going to go to the St John's Wood Church Gardens.   This a two-hectare local nature reserve, partly wooded graveyard, (with gravestone of watercolourist John Sell Cotman), and partly ornamental garden.   The St John's Wood Church is alongside, built in the Italianate style, and with one or two (possibly) Italian cypresses in the formal garden we may be able to imagine ourselves in an Italian garden.  More details here:    Outside there is one of those green cabmens' shelters, shadowed attractively by trees, another subject for art. 

If it is wet, we may be able to sit under the Church Portico, or do some cafe sketching.  In any case, we suggest you bring your sketching stool and your umbrella.

There is a public loo at 5 Wellington Place.    Depending on the weather, we can either have lunch at one of the cafes on St John's Wood High Street (The Good Life Eatery which does salads, etc., is just across the road from the Gardens, and if we are a large group, AT Feast might be better and we can probably book ahead that morning), or get take away sandwiches and coffee from one of the cafes which does take-aways (Laurent's  is recommended) and eat lunch together in the Gardens.   The green cab shelter also serves the public.   It does not look as though we will starve. 

The nearest tube station is St John's Wood, on the Jubilee Line.    The 274 bus runs through Camden past the south side of the Church.

Hoping for a warm sunny day!

Sue's telephone number for the day is: 07975 864 142.


Sunday 21 April 2024

Our Visit to Abney Park.

On a variable and chilly day 10 artists arrived in Abney Park to draw the chapel, the trees and the graves.

Fortunately the hale storm held off until just before 1 pm, when most of us hastened to the Green Room, a cafe on Stoke Newington Church Street where we stocked up on hot drinks and smashed avocado on sourdough toast.

One key path in the cemetery was closed for maintenance. Navigation in the cemetery is always a challenge and the path closure didn't help. Fortunately no-one got lost or left behind which would have been a ghoulish experience.

In spite of the weather some great work was produced, see below.

Here is nice picture taken by Audrey Rapier of Sue Lees, determinedly carrying on in difficult weather conditions.

3 pictures below from Audrey Rapier

From Avis Dennis

From Diane Umemoto

From Doreen Burgess

From Gill Steiner

From Janet Perkins

From Janet Payne

2 pictures below from Peter Colley

From Diana Marshall

From Sue Lees

The next date is Tuesday 14th May. Venue to be confirmed.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Abney Park Cemetery on Tuesday 16th April 2024

Our next outing is to Abney Park Cemetery. 

Meet at 11am on Tuesday 16th April at the Stoke Newington Church Street entrance, not the High Street entrance. The 73, 476 and 393 buses all run along Church Street. The main entrance is on the High Street, but this is more difficult for most of us to get to. This entrance is served by the 67, 76, 106, 149, 243, 276 393 and 476 buses and is a short walk through the cemetery to the Church Street entrance. The 106 goes from Finsbury Park and the 393 from Highbury and Islington undergrounds.

The address is Abney Park Cemetery Trust, 215 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 0LH.

More about the cemetery can be found on their website including some very informative videos. The cemetery was originally an arboretum for two big houses and then became one of London's Magnificent Seven Victorian cemeteries. There are some rare trees and a lot of greenery. Stoke Newington has a tradition of non-conformism, which is reflected in the burials. One of the grandest tombs is that of General Booth of the Salvation Army. The lion tomb is that of a circus entertainer.

The cemetery has recently been 'refurbed'. The unkempt and charming undergrowth has been tamed but not obliterated. Unfortunately the chapel is not open to the public but there is often a glimpse of the interior for the determined. But plenty of ornate tombs with angels and trees.

The visitor centre is currently closed, so sorry no loos. There are plenty of cafes and pubs on Church Street.

Janet's phone number for the day is 07815 772857. Pics to for posting on the blog.

Our great little exhibition at the Roundhouse has now been taken down. Thank you to all who helped and participated. Three artists sold work. They were Sue Lees, Daniel Lloyd Morgan and Audrey Rapier, which is good as there were only 8 of us and also no formal stewarding.