Monday, 21 December 2015

New Year's sketching outing Monday 18 January

The first Art in the Park outing in 2016 is to the Canary Wharf Ice Rink for a seasonal winter trip. There is an indoor bar/café attached to the ice rink if it gets too cold to draw outside and also for warming up. Plenty of opportunity to draw the skaters outside, from the heated café patio or to retreat into one of the many cafés nearby.

We will meet at 11am in the café attached to the ice rink called The Tasting Room on Monday 18 January 2016. The address is: Ice Rink, Canary Wharf, Montgomery Street, London E14 5AB. Canary Wharf is on both the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) and the Jubilee Line. The 277 bus also goes to Canary Wharf from Highbury Corner (nearest tube Highbury & Islington). 

Do join us.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

Art in the Park first visited this Wetherspoon Pub a year ago after we had spent a few hours drawing Liverpool Street station. We'd had such a good time that it was decided this venue was worth an entire visit and we honoured that decision on Tuesday. Hamilton Hall opens around 7am in the morning so by the time we arrived at around 11am the staff were busy serving everything from breakfast to lunch and coffee to beer.

Five artists in total spent time depicting the décor and the pub's patrons. Three artists settled down in the morning at a small table on the balcony overlooking the bar and two more artists arrived later in the afternoon.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Our final outing for 2015 is on Tuesday 1 December

Our final sketching outing for 2015 is a visit to Hamilton Hall. This is a Wetherspoons pub and is named after Lord Claud Hamilton, chairman of the Great Eastern Railway Company (1893-1923) which originally built Liverpool Station. The pub is the former ballroom of the old Great Eastern Hotel.

We visited this pub on our sketching outing to Liverpool Street station in November last year and thought it was worth a return visit. We plan to meet at 11am and stay for as long as they let us. There should be a variety of subjects to choose from: groups of people, interesting architecture lavishly decorated and not to mention food and drink.

Please come and join us for our final 2015 fling.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

An autumn visit to the Geffrye museum

The Geffrye museum was built as almshouses and is now the Museum of the Home
A view from the herb garden
Seven artists from Art in the Park gathered at the Geffrye Museum for October's sketching outing. We were blessed with glorious weather and we spread ourselves out around the gardens, the café and at the front of the property where we could attempt to do justice to the long, imposing facade of these former 18th century almshouses while, at the same time, enjoying the sun.

We eventually all gravitated to the café where we took the opportunity to chat with each other and look at each others work. The café was full to bursting with parents and young children, this being half-term holiday week.

The galleries were also full of young kids being encouraged to look at how people lived in previous centuries and somewhere in the building they had enjoyed a workshop where they made wreaths from fallen leaves.

The Last Hug by Meital Tzabari
On our way out we observed some artwork in the garden that had been installed while we had been labouring away. There were three figures made from leaves embracing a couple of the trees. Titled 'The Last Hug' they were made by Meital Tzabari 'as a seasonal public sculpture'. While they look as though they have emerged from the fallen leaves on the ground these figures are cleverly held together with wire and their creator, Meital, told me that they could survive for as long as three weeks.

Interior and exterior views
We all seemed to have got a lot from our visit to this fascinating museum and will doubtless return for another visit in the future.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Visit to the Geffrye museum 27 October

Our next Art in the Park sketching outing will be to the Geffrye museum, that explores the home from 1600 to the present day, on Tuesday 27 October which is during half-term week. We have been advised by the museum staff that the museum will be very busy that day so we will have to work around the other visitors. Entrance is free but they welcome a donation of £3.

We are welcome to work in the café and, if the weather is fine, outside in the period gardens at the back plus the garden at the front of the building. The museum is set in a fine grade 1 listed, 18th century almshouse building which is a beautiful subject for sketching. We cannot work in the period galleries inside the museum as there is very little room to spread out and the exhibits are precious.

We plan to meet at 11am and the address is: 136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA. The nearest overground station is Hoxton and bus routes for numbers 67, 149, 242, 243, 394 travel along Kingsland Road.


Monday, 28 September 2015

September's sketching outing to Freightliners Farm

Six artists gathered at Freightliners Farm last Friday to try and depict the ducks, goats, sheep and cows that were constantly on the move in this working farm that began life in 1973 on waste land behind Kings Cross station. The animals were originally housed in railway goods vans so hence the name, Freightliners Farm. The farm moved to its present site near Liverpool Road in 1978 and the new purpose-built farm buildings were erected in 1988.

The weather was glorious for our last outside location of the year and we all agreed that we needed plenty of time to adjust to try and sketch the livestock. We made full use of the Strawbale Café at lunch time and later on for tea and cake and this gave us time to chat and exchange news and we agreed that this would be a great location to return to, either individually or as a group, in the future.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Our next outing is on Friday 25 September

Our September sketching outing is to Freightliner's Farm and we plan to meet at 11am. This is a small city farm in Sheringham Road, London N7 8PF. It is just off Liverpool Road and is within walking distance of both Highbury & Islington and Holloway Road stations.

We have been warmly welcomed by the good people who run the place but we have been asked to spread ourselves around the farm and not clump together so that we can avoid disturbing the general running of the farm.

The farm has a café which is very popular and often gets crowded so we may have to stagger our lunchtimes. There are public lavatories on the site and there is some seating but we advise that you bring your own sketching stool to sit on so as to move around the farm.

This may well be the last time this year that we have an outside venue to explore, due to the weather becoming chillier, and the constant movement and sounds of the animals should ensure that we have an interesting and diverting day.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Kingsland Basin, 21 August 2015

Ten artists met at the Proud Archivist for our August Art in the Park sketching outing before dispersing to find interesting locations along the Regent's canal to draw and paint. This was a return visit to this spot as Art in the Park had met here in the summer of 2014 and it was deemed successful enough for a second outing.

The day was very warm for late August and it proved to be quite a challenge at times to keep focussed but the finished results were worth the effort. We were entertained by ducks swimming in the canal, a group of teenagers canoeing towards Hackney and a small group of our artists enjoyed lunch at one of the canal side cafés.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Next Art in the Park sketching date: Friday 21 August

We are going to make a repeat visit to the Kingsland Basin as we had an enjoyable session there on the “Haggerston Riviera” last summer. There will be a selection  of barges and bridges to sketch. The Kingsland Basin is just off  Kingsland Road and very near Haggerston station (overground, accessible from Highbury and Islington station). There are several cafés with views of the canal and the basin which means that we can draw inside if it is cold. They have large windows and there are many tables.

We suggest meeting at The Proud Archivist cafe (close to the entrance to the Kingsland Road) for coffee at 11 o’clock and we look forward to seeing many sketchers. Please bring your sketching stools so that you can sit where the view is best for you.

Sunday, 19 July 2015


Nine artists assembled on the canalside terrace at Kings Place to sketch the fine collection of barges moored opposite. We had a good day in many ways, as the weather was warm and dry, though windy. Unfortunately the views were less extensive than we had anticipated as parts of the terrace were off limits having been reserved for private parties, or for the Rotunda restaurant, but some interesting views could be seen from the cafe’s section of the frontage.   

The wind caused choppy water, which was a challenge taken up by some. Two of us stayed until 5 o'clock enjoying the vista and trying to finish our work. The cafe arrangements were fine, and we were also able to look at the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait competition which was hung in the cavernous interior of the building.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Next Sketching date: Friday 17 July

We are going to King's Place at 90 York Way, London N1 9AG and we suggest meeting at 10.30am. Come in at the front door on York Way and walk straight through to the canalside exit. Sketchers should be easy to spot. King's Place is an enormous entertainment building which backs onto the Battlebridge Basin on the Regent’s Canal.

If it's raining we can sit and sketch in the vast ground floor café area, and if it's dry we can sit on the canalside terrace and paint the barges and the glassy new apartments behind them. Part of the terrace is also under cover so usable if wet. Please bring your sketching stools so that you can go where you want on the terrace.

Here is a link to the map of the area. There are multiple buses, and Kings Cross tube station is not far away. Contact mobile: 07975 864142. See you there!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Art in the Park on Tuesday 16 June

Art in the Parkers sketched in the surprisingly sylvan Priory Common Orchard, alongside Priory Road, N8, on a day which gradually developed into full sunshine. The space is a low-maintenance edible garden, and because it was a Tuesday, some of the volunteer gardeners were present, and very kindly invited us to share their lunch garnered from the plants in the garden.  

We ate lime leaves filled with leaf and flower salad, featuring salsify, campanula, saltbush, and young horseradish leaves (and other collections from the garden) with a dressing made of pounded gleanings. It was deeply delicious, and we came away much informed about the possibilities of eating  either parts of vegetable garden plants not normally eaten, or flower garden favourites, following conversation with Gemma Harris and her colleagues.

An unexpected treat for Art in the Park, we don't usually get to eat our subject-matter. Another location to which we would like to return.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Next sketching date: 16 June

The next Art in the Park sketch date is Tuesday 16 June and we are going to Priory Common Orchard, Crouch End, N8 8NB. In the hope and expectation of a sunny day, we are going to suggest meeting at 10:30 am in the garden and paint for as long as you feel like it.

The Priory Common Orchard is a strip of land which has been turned into a community garden, and further details plus a map can be found here. There is an attractive view across the garden, with its various trees, and gardening operations, leading up to the rear of a Victorian building. There is also an interesting view across Priory Road of an Edwardian parade of shops, including a pub and Syl’s café, and either of these will have refreshments and a lavatory. The garden is unfenced on two sides, so views in and out are unhindered by fences. Tuesday morning is the day when the community gardeners will be at work, so some of us may like to sketch gardening activities.

It appears that the roads around the Priory Common Orchard are not parking controlled, but they are fairly heavily parked up. Various buses come close which you can see listed on the website. We look forward to seeing lots of Islington Art Society colleagues and friends and, as always, there is no need to book, just arrive. Sue's mobile number is: 07975 864142 should you need to get in touch.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

May's sketching outing to Finsbury Park

We managed to sketch these views before the rain started

We continued sketching inside the café after lunch to avoid the downpour

"I like to join the Art in the Park sketchers because I enjoy the camaraderie, the support of other artists and the exchange of information"                        Janet Payne

Friday, 1 May 2015

Next sketching day is Tuesday 19 May

Art in the Park will be back out in the park on Tuesday 19 May when we plan to visit Finsbury Park, London N4. We will meet at the Finsbury Park Café at 10:30am, where some of us may wish to stay and sketch people at tables outside, and then we will probably meet up there at lunchtime. Some of us will probably wish to continue working on our art into the afternoon.

Finsbury Park has a lake with an island, rowing boats, large water fowl (Canada Geese) as well as parkland vistas, outdoor games areas, formal gardens and café activity and offers a variety of art subjects. We will hope for a glorious sunny day but if it is rainy the café has an external canopy and the lake is close by. You may wish to bring your sketching seat with you.

A link to a map of Finsbury Park can be found here; the café is near the southern edge of the lake. We understand there is some parking inside the park but we have not visited to confirm this. Parking outside the Park is heavily controlled with all-day Controlled Parking Zones.   

There are many buses serving this area: 29; 141; 210; 253; 254; 259; 279; 341; W3; W5 and W7 and two tube stations: Finsbury Park and Manor House.

We look forward to meeting up with regular Art in the Park participants and their guests on 19 May! Sue's mobile number is: 07975 864142 should you not be able to find us.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

April's visit to Ally Pally

The Palm Court that reminded us of Kew Gardens
On Monday 10 artists gathered at Alexandra Palace having travelled from different parts of London to enjoy the views over London and to sketch this monument to Victorian architecture. Built during the height of the British Empire Ally Pally opened as the People's Palace in 1873 and it is still used today for exhibitions and events. We pretty much had the place to ourselves the day we were there and there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere which was conducive to working. Quite a few of us were still sketching until late afternoon.

There were a lot of subjects available for drawing. Some artists wrestled with the architecture, others were taken with the palm trees and sphinxes. We didn't realise until late on in the afternoon that some of the sphinxes had masculine features and others had feminine features. For those artists who felt a bit overwhelmed by the structure the outside beckoned with the panoramic view of London in the distance and the terrace, where people were eating and drinking, closer to hand.

At lunchtime we gathered in the Bar & Kitchen to recuperate from our labours, chat about places to exhibit our art and show each other our morning's work. We have agreed that this is another venue that would be well worth revisiting in the future and it has the advantage of offering covered space inside if the weather is too inclement to work outside.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

April's outing is on Monday 20th at Alexandra Palace

Victorian extravaganza, Alexandra Palace set in its own parkland on a ridge between Muswell Hill and Crouch End, is an unmissable destination for Art in the Park.

We plan to meet at 11am in the Palm Court, which is the Palace’s western entrance hall where we will be able to sketch ensembles of palm trees, sphinxes and pyramids under the enormous curved glass roof, and any members of the public who might be wandering around in the space. 

If the weather is fair, and we so wish, we can also go outside and sketch the spectacular building and the amazing southwards view of London. For views of the interior, please have a look here. Refreshments can be bought from the Bar & Kitchen, which has full facilities. The bar has tables in the Palm Court, if we use these we should buy some drinks or food. Otherwise we suggest you bring your sketching stools.

Ally Pally has two car parks, the closest one to the front entrance is in The Grove, (if you are coming from the Crouch End direction turn to the left just after the Garden Centre entrance, and please do not park in the Garden Centre). The other car park is at the far end of the building beside the entrance to the skating rink. We are going on a non-event day so there should be no parking difficulty, no crowds, nor any entrance fee.

Alternatively, various buses go through the park. You can find a map and full travel details here. We are looking forward to another enjoyable day out with IAS artists and their guests.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Art in the Park group visits the Museum of London

On Tuesday 17 March five IAS members took their pencil cases to the Museum of London. We had a great day. It is possible to avoid the crowds and find peaceful corners of this fascinating museum in which to draw.

We particularly enjoyed the 18th century pleasure garden experience, which featured models in fashionable dress of the period (many of the costumes were the real 18th century McCoy, made for very petite ladies) as well as screenings of dramatisations of 18th century incidents located at Vauxhall and Ranelagh Gardens, all in lighting suggestive of gardens at night. 

There were other places we liked as well, which included the Victorian shopping experience, some art deco moments, and the Lord Mayor’s golden carriage. While the lighting is generally dim in the Museum, punctuated by spotlights, it is consistent – a drawing can be taken up after a break with no concerns that the sun will have gone in or moved round. 

There was much imaginative display in the Museum which is yet another Art in the Park location that is worth a return visit.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Next sketching outing: Tuesday 17 March

We have been given permission to sketch in the Museum of London's permanent collection for our March outing. We are planning to meet at 10:30am on Tuesday 17 March and the museum is well served with cafés and lavatories. There will be fold-away stools to use so we don't have to stand to work and we can spread out around the galleries according to what interests us. We cannot take photographs and we can only use pencils on this occasion so watercolours are forbidden this time. Entrance is free but there is a charge if you wish to see the temporary exhibition on Sherlock Holmes.

The nearest tube stations are Barbican which is on the Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City lines and St Paul's which is on the Central Line. This is the first time we have visited a conventional museum for a sketching outing so please post a comment in the comment box if you would like to join us.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Seven IAS members and their guests came along to the Food Market in the Barbican and had a good art day. Some of us sketched outside on the terrace, because there are very interesting circular pools off the main lake which are topped off by rather good palm trees, until the chill set in. Other people sat at the window bench in the Food Market and painted the ancient church across the lake and the unique Barbican construction shapes. We also found the diners in the café good subjects.

There was plenty of room and we were undisturbed by the staff. We also looked at the little art gallery outside the library, which could be a future venue for an Art in the Park exhibition. This was a good location for Art in the Park, and a place worth going back to in warmer weather when the many outside possibilities could be explored.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Art in the Park: February outing on Monday 16th

Our February Art in the Park will take place on Monday 16 February and we are going to the Barbican so that we can be safely indoors. We plan to meet at The Food Market which has big windows on Level G at 10.30 am and we can either sketch there (we should buy cups of coffee etc) or spread out. Hardy individuals can sketch outside but can come in to get warm. There is no set finishing time, people can stay for as long as they feel like it: some will want to paint on into the afternoon, others will do a quick hour or so. 

The Barbican plan is here. The best way to get in is via Silk Street, and go through the building to the end (the glazed area looking out over the terrace) and turn right. Alternatively there are information desks near the Silk Street entrance. The nearest tube station is Barbican, and a map of the area is here: 

Sue's mobile number is: 079758 641 42. We look forward to seeing everyone. First-timers are as welcome as more regular Art in the Parkers and members can also bring a painting guest. It is a good opportunity to get to know other IAS members.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sketching inside Union Chapel

Photograph: Graham White
We began our 2015 series of sketching outings yesterday at Union Chapel in Islington. The architecture presented the nine artists, who were scattered around the church, with numerous challenges as did the cold weather in spite of the heating being on full blast.

We happened to time our visit with the first organ recital of the year so we were able to wrestle with sketching and enjoy listening to the famous Father Willis organ at the same time. Following our visit some of us repaired to a local café to chat and enjoy lunch.

A view of our combined efforts

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Our New Year sketching trip to Union Chapel is Wednesday 21 January

©Heather James
We will be starting our year of sketching outings with a visit to Union Chapel, Compton Terrace London N1 2XD. The church is open for many and varied activities on Wednesdays and we have been invited to arrive at 10am and can continue with our work until 1pm. Anyone who wants to stay after that time is welcome although three hours is often plenty of time to complete work that has been begun.

The pews, being made of wood, can be a bit uncomfortable after a while so you might want to bring a cushion with you. Likewise, although there are many cafés and restaurants very close to Union Chapel you may also want to bring your lunch with you to avoid wasting drawing time.

On this occasion there will be an organ recital beginning at 11am so we will be able to enjoy listening to the chapel's famous Henry Willis organ while we work. Please come to the front of the chapel in Compton Terrace where the front doors will be open and we look forward to seeing you. Highbury & Islington station is just a few minutes walk away and the Angel station is a short bus ride away on Upper Street. Many bus routes also pass the chapel.