Monday, 4 September 2017

Art in the Park: Next Sketching Day: Tuesday 26 September at the West Smithfield Rotunda Garden, EC1A 9BD

A new venue for Art in the Park, the West Smithfield Rotunda Garden is at the mid-point of West Smithfield, down the road from the Barbican tube station, and is a circular garden with trees and a central statue, and views of the Victorian Smithfield Market to the north.  

We will meet in the Garden at 11 o'clock, and can either sketch within it, or wander outside and do parts of the long Smithfield Market, which has arches and towers, or the various other Victorian buildings around.   A day for getting to grips with architecture, although the statue is also good visually.  The area is quiet, spacious, and has very little traffic.  If it is wet, we can go into St Bartholemew the Great and sketch in there, as we did in January.   It seems that St Bartholemew's cafe is shut while they do building works outside the church, but there are a number of pubs and cafes in West Smithfield.

Further details and travel notes can be found here: here

We look forward to seeing fellow artists, both newcomers and regulars.  Sue's telephone number for the day is: 07975 864142.  

Thursday, 24 August 2017

August Outing: Alexandra Palace

A select group of four artists assembled on the terrace of Ally Pally on 22 August, where we enjoyed a balmy day.   Externally, Ally Pally offers lots of artistic interest.  We focused on the architecture, both pristine and unrepaired, the expansive views of London, and the electric colours of the dragons and swans on the boating lake.  There are more subjects, not least people enjoying themselves.    Art in the Park will be sure to go again, because there are also indoor options in the Palm Court and the Phoenix Cafe (and the Boating Cafe) if the weather fails.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

July outing

Five of us met at the Eastern Curve in Dalston. This is a community garden and urban oasis currently fighting off development plans. Dalston is recently gentrified but retains its urban grit. At the Curve there is a garden, vegetables, a children's play area and a cafe. Our pictures show the space and a kind passer by took a photo of the happy band of artists.

Do join us at our next outing to Alexandra Palace on 22 August. Details are already on the blog.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Art in the Park: Next sketching day Tuesday 22 August at Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way London N22 7AY

We are going to revisit Alexandra Palace and tackle it from the outside this time on our August Art in the Park sketch-day.   There are many possibilities with the Italianate architecture, as well as the panoramic view of London and trees and parkland views.   There is also a boating lake at the back of the Palace, with Lakeside cafe. 
We will assemble at 11am on the front steps outside the main entrance at the western end of the Palace.   We hope very much that we will have a dry day, but if it is wet we can paint the Palm Court once more, or sit in the Victorian pub-restaurant (the Bar & Kitchen).

Refreshments can be bought from the Bar & Kitchen which has full facilities, and has views from the windows, and an outside terrace.  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 look forward to seeing a good number of sketchers, both newcomers and regulars. Sue's telephone number for the day is: 07975 864142.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

July Outing

The next outing is on Tuesday 25 July to the Eastern Curve Garden in Dalston, described on its website as 'a meeting place for people and plants'. Meet there at 11 am. There is a cafe and loos and undercover drawing space if it is too wet to sit in the garden itself. The address is 13 Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF. It is near to Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction Stations and buses run along Kingsland Road and Balls Pond Road. The Curve is threatened by development, so now is the time to go.
They are expecting us and more information can be found on their website

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

June Art in the Park

Our outing to the Islington Ecology Centre was on a very wet day indeed. Your intrepid organisers Janet and Sue did meet up at the venue as advertised but it was far too wet to draw outside and the forecast was not good. Much to our disappointment we were the only people from IAS to show up. So after waiting a decent interval we switched to plan B, which was to go to nearby Blighty cafe on Blackstock Road and draw inside. The Gandhi vegan breakfast was a definite winner but we did do some work as well as the pictures show. 

Our next outing will be to the Curve, a community garden in Dalston, where we hope for much better weather and to back up to our usual attendance.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Next Art in the Park sketching day: Tuesday 6 June at Gillespie Park, Islington Ecology Centre 191 Drayton Park, Highbury, N5 1PH

We have realised that we have not yet visited Islington’s flagship nature park, Gillespie Park, right on our doorstep.   There are several smallish meadows, with areas of woodland, generally varied habitat as befits a nature reserve.  We expect that the Park will be looking very floriforous in early June, in particular the lupins will be in flower in one of the meadows, and there should also be highly visible ox-eye daisies and wild carrot in bloom, as well as many other wildflowers, dog roses, etc.   The Park has several ponds, with bridges, so an opportunity to paint reflections.     Lots of details, including a map of the Park, can be found here

We will meet at 11 o’clock, when we will be greeted by a member of the Ecology Centre’s staff.   (So it would be good if we made it by 11!)  The Islington Ecology Centre is close to the Drayton Park entrance, and contains within it the all-important lavatories.    The Park has various access points:  Drayton Park, Gillespie Road, Quill Street and Seven Sisters Road.    The nearest tube station is Arsenal, but Finsbury Park is close to the northern extremity of the Park.   Drayton Park overground station is also close.    The following buses go reasonably close: 4, 19, 236.

There is no catering in the Ecology Centre, so you will need to bring your picnic lunch.   If the weather is nice, we can all eat together out in the fields somewhere.   If the weather is not good, we have decided to go on to Blighty Coffee, which is a cafe on the Blackstock Road up near Finsbury Park Station. (Address: 35-37 Blackstock Road, N4 2JF).    Its interior bristles with things to draw, with a British wartime emphasis.   A good series of photos can be seen here     It also has good reports of its coffee and catering.

We suggest that you bring your sketching stools, as there are seats around but not necessarily where you want them, and we look forward to seeing everyone.    Sue’s telephone number for the day is: 07975 864142.

Saturday, 20 May 2017


Seven artists met in the Estorick caffe in Canonbury Square for a sketching session before the splendid talk on Giacomo Balla organised for the IAS at the Estorick Gallery in the evening. We had intended to meet in Canonbury Square itself and sketch outside but it proved to be one of the wettest days of the year so far. Drought, what drought? This was a deluge, so, ever resourceful we retreated to the caffe and indulged in cups of tea. The caffe was cosy, snug and Italian (hence the two ffs in caffe) with views of the rain soaked garden through a wonderful glass conservatory extension. We all worked hard, despite the lack of the leafy square and enjoyed the talk in the evening.

The next outing is to Gillespie Park on Tuesday 6 June at 11 am, but watch this space for more details."

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Corrected date for May outing: Wednesday 17 May at Canonbury Square, followed by Estorick Collection visit

Oops:  apologies, made a mistake with the date in my original post for our May meeting.   The correct date is Wednesday 17 May at 3pm, all other details as announced in previous post.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Next Art in the Park sketching outing: Wednesday 17 May at 3 pm at Canonbury Square N1

Please note corrected date!

Our next outing is on Wednesday 17 May at 3pm to Canonbury Square N1.   The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is on the corner with New North Road (39a Canonbury Square), we suggest gathering outside initially.   We will meet at 3pm so that artists can go on seamlessly to the evening IAS-sponsored talk on Giacomo Balla at the Estorick, starting at 6pm.  The Estorick is focusing on the futurist painter Balla with a major exhibition this spring, details are here  There is a cafe and a garden in the Estorick which are open to the public.   Map and full location details can be seen here

Canonbury Square itself has been nicely landscaped and there are plenty of benches, but some of these have suffered from birds, so people may want to bring sketching stools. Canonbury Square is a good example of a typical Islington Georgian Square. George Orwell lived in one of the houses for three years. The sixth form centre for Northbridge House is just round the corner and is based around Canonbury Tower which dates back to Tudor times. The surrounding buildings used to be the Tower Theatre. Upper Street with its shops and cafes is just round the corner. So enough estate agent talk and let's get drawing!

Janet's phone for the day is 07815 772857. 

If you wish to come on to the Giacomo Ballo talk, please could you let the IAS know by 12 May preferably to otherwise tel:  020 8348 8728 (no answer please just leave a message).


Estorick Collection

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


 The end of April proved to be not quite as warm as we had hoped, but this did not deter six artists from our planned sketching trip to Goodman's Fields, which is just off Leman Street.  Goodman's Fields is now a landscaped courtyard with sensational horse sculptures by Hamish Mackie, in the midst of a new housing development by Berkeley Homes. In the eighteenth century there were two theatres here, and though they are long gone, the district still has a just out of the centre of London edginess to it. 

We braved the cold and the noise from the neighbouring building site to produce some exciting drawings and watercolour sketches and then dived into the local pastry shop for cups of hot coffee and sandwiches.

 We took a shine to the horses, and hope to return in a future summer when the building work is finished, and the horses are prancing in their rushing streams, as they were designed to do.

The next outing is to Canonbury Square. Meet at 3 pm on Wednesday 17 May and then on to to the IAS talk on Giacoma Balla at 6 pm in the Estorick in Canonbury Square. More details to follow on the blog page for May.

Monday, 17 April 2017


As we did not have sketch day in March, we have decided to have a second outing in April.
Our next Art in the Park gathering will be on Tuesday 25 April when we are going to Goodman’s Fields, Leman Street, Aldgate E1.    The attraction of this swanky new development,  which has various areas of  smart public space and architectural planting, is the half-a-dozen galloping horse sculptures: 

They offer unusual artistic possibilities, and you might produce some work which would be of interest to visitors to  the IAS’s June exhibition at the Espacio Gallery which is not a great distance away.

The nearest tube is Aldgate East, though Aldgate is walkable.   Goodman’s Fields is on the eastern side of Leman Street and the geography of the area can be seen here under the Local Area tab at the top of the page:

We will meet at 11 o’clock in the main Plaza of Goodman’s Fields, where the horses are.   We suggest that you bring sketching stools to supplement the stone benches.   There are various pubs in Leman Street where we can have lunch/find a loo, or you might prefer to bring some sandwiches.   If it is wet it will be possible to sit under various overhanging parts of the new buildings.

We look forward to seeing you there.   Sue's telephone number is 07975 864142 if you arrive and cannot find anyone!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

IAS outing to Covent Garden

On a lovely sunny spring day 12 IAS artists and friends met in Covent Garden outside St Paul's Church to sketch. Undeterred by the entertainer in Union Jack boxer shorts and nipple tassels we settled down to do some serious work. 

Diane Umemoto (an IAS guest) sold a piece, here is what she said: 'We were sitting at a café opposite the musicians so we could enjoy the music while sketching and eating. Ann chatted up the fellow sitting at the next table while I was off somewhere, and he offered to buy the chalk painting she'd just begun. Since it "wasn't ready yet," she turned him down. We all had lunch, Ann returned to her drawing. When the fellow got up to leave, he asked if he could buy my sketch. "Huh? Well, okay." [Ann's always saying, Well, that's what we do, isn't it?"] How much? "Uh, twenty?" Hmm. Ten? "Okay, fifteen." We figured out how to cut it out of the big sketchbook - and put our earnings toward lunch!'

There was a lot of activity, many tourists, entertainers including a uni-cyclist, opera singers, serious musicians and of course outdoor café culture and markets. It was great fun, very colourful, with a choice of architecture or people as subject matter, very amusing and certainly not quiet. We met up at lunch time to show our work and compare notes. 

The next outing will be to the horse sculptures in Goodman's Fields near Aldgate. Details will be posted on the blog shortly.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Next sketching outing is on Monday 3 April

Our Next Sketching Day will be on Monday 3 April, when we will be going to Covent Garden Market. We will meet at 11am outside the portico of St Paul's church, also known as 'The Actors' Church, Covent Garden, which is the big unmissable church built by Inigo Jones on the western side of the square. The nearest tube station is Covent Garden (Piccadily Line) but Leicester Square (Northern Line) is not very far away.

Some people may want to establish themselves with their stools and their sketchbooks in the area outside St Paul's drawing either the gorgeous St Paul's or the covered market place, with its lovely pillars and nineteenth century iron worked arcades. Others may want to go inside the market (particularly if wet) and find a corner to do interior market views.

We are hoping that there may be musicians in the lower parts of the market, or there may be assorted performance artists outside in the Plaza. In any case, there will be lots of people, some sitting at the restaurants both indoors and outdoors. This is a location with multiple artistic possibilities.  

We will gather at lunchtime and find a suitable café. Sue's telephone number is 07975 864142 if you arrive and cannot find anyone! We suggest you bring your sketching stool to avoid being restricted by the locations of café chairs.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Sketching outing to the Wellcome Collection

On Tuesday 21 February a select group of five artists assembled at the Wellcome Collection's premises on the Euston Road. Visitors are only allowed to use dry materials for sketching the Collection, and so we got out our pencils, oil pastels, pens, watercolour crayons, and licked fingers, and got on very well. Nobody seemed to miss paint or water, though this could be added later at home if required.   

There were all sorts of interesting human biology-type displays, and some of us got involved with these, as can be seen in the photographs. There were also some three dimensional artwork pieces with a health angle. One of us was captivated by a series of ethnic masks (possibly belonging to medicine men?). Others sat down on the comfortable sofa in the Reading Room and sketched the rather dazzling deco-cum-Hollywood staircase, complete with red carpet. These stairs are now intended to be a sitting area, and made comfortable by vast cushions, and students seem to love sitting on them. We were surprised to notice that everyone in the Reading Room held their poses amazingly well, going into interesting positions, and thereby becoming excellent youthful models for the artist.

We discovered a quiet café on the second floor, where we could spread ourselves out, which was a bonus, as the eatery near the front door was very crowded.  Taking everything together, this is a  good winter venue and very suitable for a return visit.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The next sketching outing is on Tuesday 21 February

The February outing is on Tuesday 21 February at 11am to the Wellcome Collection at 183 Euston Road NW1 2BE. It is near Euston Square and Warren Street underground stations. The Wellcome Collection describes itself as 'The free destination for the incurably curious' and has free exhibitions, scientific collections, a reading/hangout room, café and loos.

We are booked in as a group for two hours from 11am, reference number 40238. I would expect that we would be allowed to stay longer than this if we wanted, and we usually break for lunch at 1pm anyway. I'll book us in from the information desk at 11am anyway. The Wellcome Collection asks that we stick to dry materials only.

Janet's number for the day is 07815 772857. Janet has drawn there in the past and it is a good destination with lots of possibilities.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Visit to St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield on Tuesday 24 January

Eight IAS members and friends assembled in St Bartholomew the Great and those who had not visited this stunning Norman church before were astonished that such a large and superb example of Romanesque architecture could be found in London. The church was founded in 1123 as an Augustinian monastery and was duly dissolved by Henry VIII in the 1530s—however the east end, with its stunning runs of Norman arches survived as a parish church. The later medieval lady chapel also survived, plus part of the cloisters. The building survived the great fire of London because the old priory walls remaining to the south stopped the fire moving northwards.

The church is deeply atmospheric, but demanding to draw, with all its arches and perspectives, and changing light. However, when we looked at our work after lunch in the cloister café, we found that we had all done rather well with this difficult subject.

Another visit would be worthwhile, but we must remember to get to the café early, before supplies run out! A summer visit would enable people to sketch the arch of Smithfields, which is visible from the road outside the church, and a selection of interesting old pubs and houses.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

January's sketching outing is on Tuesday 24th

Our next outing is on Tuesday 24 January at 11 am to Great Saint Barthlomews Church, Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ. I have confirmed the visit with the office. There is a small entrance charge for non-worshippers but we should get the group rate so ask on the door. Oil paints are not allowed (but I don't think anyone was expecting to use them), easels are allowed but please be careful. There is a cloister café.

Barts is the oldest church in London and is absolutely stunning. It is located near to Smithfield in a quiet corner, the entrance is through an arch. Last time I was there I saw a Damien Hirst golden statue of St Bartholomew displaying his flayed skin! In spite of this challenge, Barts is a very special place.

We hope to see as many of you there as possible. Janet's mobile number for the day is 07815 772857.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

New Year's outing to the Museum of London

Ten IAS members and guests met at the Museum of London in The Barbican for an early January outing. The Museum of London is always a good venue with wonderful displays of fantastic craftsmanship and a good retreat on a cold day. We all worked hard and then met in the cafe to compare drawings and of course have a sandwich lunch. An excellent start to 2017.

For the next outing we plan to go to Saint Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield and we will confirm details and date on the blog. There is a £5 entrance fee for non-worshippers, but it should be well worth it.