Friday, 9 November 2018

Day out at the Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Canary Wharf, 6 November

The Crossrail Place Roof Garden was a totally new environment for 13 Art in the Park sketchers last Tuesday.  An up-to-the-minute architectural structure with the partially glazed roofing, no doubt having won various awards, and a very smart garden design below.   We were particularly taken by a number of structural plants, including huge black spidery plants (unfortunately your editor was unable to identify these from home), tree ferns  and a very fine japanese maple in stunning autumn colour.   "The geographic location of the site – directly north of Greenwich – places the docks virtually on the Prime Meridian, dividing the western and eastern hemispheres. This positioning inspired the planting division of the gardens into two geographic zones. Plants from the Western hemisphere such as ferns and Sweet Gum are on the west side of the Meridian line, with Asian plants such as bamboos, magnolias and maples on the east side. The semi-permeable canopy structure enclosing the garden helped to create a localised microclimate allowing the use of more sensitive and rare species of plants."   A list of the most prominent plants can be found here:   We were pleased to see a blackbird and an empty nest, indicating that some wildlife had found its way across the acres of Canary Wharf's tower blocks and general concrete into a new safe environment. 

Apart from the plants, we found other subjects of interest:  one of us sketched the extraordinary design of the  Crossrail station from outside, others some of the people visiting the garden (a surprising number of young mothers with buggies), and there was a dressed up piano, a WW1 remembrance art installation, and various pieces of statuary.

There was also a very satisfactory lunch facility, known as the Food Robot, a vast hanger with various street food stalls, including a far eastern one, to go with the theme of the garden.   The Food Robot not only had large empty tables (with unfortunately screwed down stools) but was interesting artistically itself, and makes the whole place a viable winter venue for us at another time.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Next Sketch Date: Tuesday 6 November at Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB

Our next sketch date will be Tuesday 6 November (apologies for the short notice, due to other commitments) when we will be going to the Crossrail Place Roof Garden in Canary Wharf.
We will meet at 11 o’clock (in the garden, it does not look too big).
This is a new public space above the Crossrail Station at Canary Wharf, and it is an exotic garden park several stories above the new railway, mainly enclosed by a deeply contemporary glass roof.   Entrance is free.    Lots to draw in the roof structure which is a sort of longitudinal geodesic dome,  and the plant material which includes big tree ferns.  The garden is divided into two sections, one containing plants from Australasia, and the other plants from China and Japan.   An opportunity for plant studies if you do not want to go for the garden in the sky picture.   Please have a look at this website to get an idea of the set-up:

For the geography of Canary Wharf, there is a map down the page here:


From Canary Wharf tube station (Jubilee Line)
Take the large escalator up from the ticket hall. Turn right out of the main exit and walk through Reuters Plaza past the clocks. Walk straight ahead through the set of glass doors underneath the steps,  and continue straight through until you come back outside. Walk through Adam’s Plaza and the entrance to Crossrail Place is in front of you.  Go up the escalators to the Roof Garden.

From Canary Wharf DLR
Take the exit on to the North Colonnade. Opposite One Canada Square there is a bridge leading you into the first floor of Crossrail Place. Continue up the escalators to the Roof Garden.


There is something called a giant robot next door which offers street food of various types    
Upper Level -1 Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AR   We have not checked, but feel sure that there must be loos in the Giant Robot or somewhere in the approaches to the Roof Garden, as they do performances in the Garden.

We suggest that you wrap up warmly, as there are gaps in the roof, so it may be draughty and a bit chilly.   There are benches, but you may want to bring a sketching stool.  If it turns out to be too cold, we will probably be able to sketch amongst the eateries in the Giant Robot.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Nine artists came on our first visit to Leadenhall Market, in the City of London.   Most of us had never been to it before.   We were charmed by its late Victorian splendour, and more practically, by the wide availability of tables and chairs, and the general lack of crowds due the timing of our visit early in the week, and having hit half-term by accident.

Several of us  focused on the decorative features of the Market, the very splendid City of London dragons, and the flower bas-reliefs (one person embarking on collage, helped by the convenience of a secluded cafe table).  Others were interested in the monumental architecture immediately outside the Market, including the contrast with the Market itself.   Everyone else got to grips with the ultra-complicated main structure. 
We enjoyed ourselves very much, and had a fairly private lunch upstairs in The Grapes pub, a real unreconstructed City watering hole, which Sherlock Holmes himself might  have visited.   Leadenhall Market is another place to return to in wet but not cold weather as it is "delightfully airy" as Edward Lear would have put it.  There are other subjects to paint in this Market, including the flower stall, and people in and around the many restaurants, so we will be putting Leadenhall onto our revisit list.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

October Sketch Date: Tuesday 23rd October, at Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street London EC3V 1LT

On our next sketching day we will be going to Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, in the City.   This new venue offers cover against rain, as well as monumental Victorian ironmongery, glass and arches. Parts of the market also featured in the Harry Potter films, so yet again there are possibilities for fantasy art.   More details and a map here:
We will meet at 11 o’clock under the Central glass roof lantern.  This links the various covered roads and passages, principally Central Avenue which runs from the Gracechurch Street entrance. 


We suggest you bring sketching stools as all the seats will be associated with cafes/restaurants.

Nearest Underground/DLR Stations: Monument (4 minute walk), Bank (5 minute walk), Cannon Street (7 minute walk), Aldgate (9 minute walk), Liverpool Street (9 minute walk)   Please don’t go to the Leadenhall Building nearby, because that is a different temple to mammon and not the  market building.

Sue’s phone number for the day is 07975 864142.   We look forward to seeing you all.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Sketch Day at St Dunstan in the East, 25 September 2018

Eight artists assembled on a beautiful sunny day to try to do justice to the stunning St Dunstan in the East.   This wonderful church ruin in a garden in the City was new to all of us.   Actually, what was left of the church was in very good shape, as all the glassless windows had all their masonry present and there were none of those shapeless lumps of brick and rubble frequently found in even the most prestigious ruins.   The City of London Parks and Gardens staff have created a very lovely and appropriate garden, with lots of well-chosen plants.   The most notable of these were the canna lilies, which some of us took inspiration from, but there were other choice specimens, in particular a large palm, which when viewed through the medieval arch suggested crusaders and pilgrims arriving in Jerusalem (a flight of fancy here ...).   There were huge and special vines climbing over some of the walls, and unusual big trees, all of which created a very romantic effect amongst the gothic arches...  Much food for thought here.  We also enjoyed the very eclectic visitors to the site, some of whom got included in the artwork.

We very much appreciate the City of London Parks and Gardens Department kindly allowing us to come and sketch as a group on a guest basis.   We hope for another visit to this superb location in the future.