Monday, 19 August 2019

Next Sketch Date: Tuesday 17 September at Bonnington Square, Nr Vauxhall, SW8 1TO

Our next sketch day will be on Tuesday 17 September when we will be meeting at Bonnington Square, Kennington, SW8 1TO. We will meet at our usual time of 11 o'clock at the cafe, Italo, opposite the entrance to the Pleasure Garden in the Square. (There is nothing to stop enthusiasts starting earlier!) Bonnington Square is a true green oasis in the city, complete with actual palm trees. It is a charming Victorian Square with an exotic community garden, and the planting also encompasses part of the pavements. Trees and herbiage fill the square, producing lovely shadows on some of the rather pretty Victorian terrace houses. There is also the Harleyford Rd Garden which can be reached through an alley between the houses. More details here

The cafe has a loo!

The nearest tube station is Vauxhall, on the Victoria Line, and Bonnington Sq is about 3 mins walk from the station. You have to cross some of the vast roads around the station. Bonnington Sq can either be reached via the South Lambeth Road and Langley Lane or Harleyford Road, cut through the Harleyford Road Gardens.

Various photographs below were taken by your personal representative who went sketching there in June with the Cafe Sketchers, and was captivated by this unique garden Square, also a painting. The place is a delight with all the shadows thrown by the trees. There are quite a lot of seats around and opposite the cafe, and in the Pleasure Garden, but as always, we suggest you bring your own sketching stool so that you are free to paint wherever your muse suggests.

There is very little rain shelter in the square - we would survive a short light drizzle, but nothing more. So if the day turns out looking tempestuous, we will go to Brixton Village, two stops down the Victoria Line. Regular attendees will recall that Brixton Village was the second covered market we painted in when we went to Brixton Market last autumn, generally golden yellow in hue, and very paintable. Map is here  .  If the forecast for that week in September is generally bad, we will post an update on the blog a day or two before. If it suddenly looks bad on the day, ring us, tel number at the end of this post. If it starts to pour when we are set up in Bonnington Square, we will decamp.

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


Friday, 16 August 2019

August Outing to Walton on the Naze

In the end four of us braved the early train from Liverpool Street for our seaside outing to Walton-on-the-Naze. The weather was perfect, no rain, not too hot, lovely sunshine and amazing cloud formations over the sea and the Essex flatlands. The train on the branch line to Walton was full of families with buckets and spades, sunscreen and wind breaks. We felt like the Famous Five but lacked Timmy the Dog.

The views from the top of the Naze Tower were stunning, right across to Harwich and Felixstowe. There were second world war fortifications that had found their way down to sea level from the top of the cliff, plenty of dog walkers, sea bathers, and great seascapes. We had an excellent picnic lunch underneath the Tower together with a celebratory seaside ice-cream. The home made buns were excellent.

We even did some work, see below.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Walton on the Naze

Don't forget our summer outing to Walton on the Naze on Tuesday 13 August. Details further down the page on this blog.
Hope to see as many as possible there, and the weather should improve

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

One more picture for Woodberry Wetlands

One more splendid picture for our outing, unjustly overlooked last time by the blogger (me)

Monday, 22 July 2019

Our July outing was to the Woodberry Wetlands Centre near Manor Park. This is a wildlife centre and ex-reservoir, where there are plenty of birds, reeds, huge lake and great skies. Seven artists arrived at the Wetlands Centre and a further two (no names) were delayed by some other great locations on the way from the tube.

It was a lovely sunny day, perfect plein air weather and the waterside cafe provided a shady area under awnings with tables and chairs.

Don't forget Walton on the Naze on Tuesday 13 August



Monday, 1 July 2019

August outing to Walton on the Naze

We thought we should have a day at the seaside in August. An ambitious new venture, which should be great fun.
So Walton-on-the Naze it is, on Tuesday 13 August. The town's website is walton-on-the A Google search for images brings up some good pictures and there is of course a Wikipedia website.

Meet at the Naze Tower as it has good views. It is a 30 minute walk from the station along the sea front. There are also buses or the option of joining up to take a taxi.
Naze Tower, The Naze, Old Hall Lane, Walton-on-the Naze, Essex CO14 8LE. The Tower also has art exhibitions.
As the walk to the Tower is 30 mins it is probably best to meet at 1 pm for lunch at the Tower, this allows for artists to stop and sketch subjects along the way. There are obviously meet up opportunities on the train or on the platform on arrival.

Bring sketching stools and a packed lunch. We thought a lunchtime picnic under the Tower would be great, the Tower has a cafe providing teas but probably not lunch. Bring food to share, if you are feeling generous!!

For the very intrepid, bring bathing kit for a sea dip.

Aim for the 9:18 train from Liverpool Street, arriving 10:50, with one change at Frinton. The next train is 10:18. Return trains are about one an hour. A return ticket should cost about £20 less any discounts for railcards or Freedom passes, which enable the holder to travel free to the last Zone 6 station on the route to Walton-on-the Naze. Booking in advance is very possible. Please check the trains before travelling.

There is a useful map of Walton-on-the-Naze below. It shows the Tower and the Station in opposite corners.

Janet's number for the day is 07815 772857

Don't forget Woodberry Wetlands Tuesday 16 July, meet at 11 am. See previous post for July.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

July outing to Woodberry Wetlands

Our July outing is on Tuesday 16 July to Woodberry Wetlands, a nature reserve between Stoke Newington and Manor House. The canal towpath passes adjacent to the old East Reservoir which has been reinvented as Woodberry Wetlands.

The website is

Meet at the West and Coal House entrance on Lordship Road N16 5HQ at 11 am. Janet's number for the day is 07815 772857. There is a cafe and loos but not too much cover if it really rains! Sketching stools will make it easier to find a good location.

The West Reservoir, home of little sailing boats and early morning wetsuit swimmers is easily accessible and provides an alternative sketching opportunity.

Woodberry Wetlands are a 10 minute walk from Manor House tube or Stamford Hill railway station, and the 253 and 254 buses stop on Seven Sisters Road and can be caught by Manor House tube.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Visit to the Beech Garden, Barbican, on 11 June 2019

In contrast to our recent sketching days out, we had a deliciously peaceful day in the Barbican's upper storey Beech Garden on 11 June. Miraculously dry between days of heavy rain, we enjoyed light sunshine, and astonishingly, Nigel Dunnett's steppe planting design had not been flattened by the downpour the night before. The spring display was over, and the principal flowers were purple alliums, red hot pokers, poppies, and tawny euphorbias, making good shapes amongst various grasses and less noticeable plants. We were very pleased to see a blackbird, a few sparrows and a pair of goldfinches nipping in and out of the main "steppe border", clearly finding good things to eat, and no predators.

Nine artists presented themselves, and we all had a go at the plants one way or another, the soft prairie planting was something completely different from our normal sketching subject matter. Most of our work shows the garden within its Barbican surroundings. Our collage specialist arrived with papers, fabric, and glue, and produced a successful interpretation. There was an opportunity to sketch people drifting around the garden, but only one figure appealed.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Directions for June Outing to the Barbican Beech Gardens

A Regular Art in the Park sketcher and Barbican resident has kindly sent the following more detailed directions, for which many thanks. In her words:

"Below is a map showing the Beech Street Gardens indicating how to get there and 2 routes from the gardens into the Barbican Centre.  The map is based on a photo of the user unfriendly map posted round the Barbican Centre, so I hope it is clear.

The best route in is via the steps from  Barbican station leading up to the pedestrian bridge over Aldersgate Street. Anyone wanting to go to Moorgate Station on the Northern line is best advised to change at Moorgate on to a train to Barbican station as the route from Moorgate is tortuous..

I have shown a set of arrows leading along the level of the gardens,  turning right under  Frobisher Crescent, across the Sculpture Court which includes some unusual planting providing a vista for the redeveloped flats in Frobisher Court. Turning right before the conservatory (which unfortunately will be closed), there is an entrance to the 3rd floor of the Barbican Centre. Straight across from the entrance there are stairs and lifts to the ground floor of the Barbican Centre for the ground floor cafe and terrace. Alternatively, turning right towards the art gallery and then right again, there are toilets on the 3rd floor level. The gallery is currently showing an exhibition by Lee Krasner, but there is a charge. 

The other set of arrows lead from the route from the pedestrian bridge  to steps just before Defoe House. The steps split, the left hand side steps leading to the lower level Defoe Place, along the length of Defoe House to a set of steps leading down to the Barbican Centre Terrace and ground floor cafe.  There are further toilets off the cafe."

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

June Outing

Our next outing is on Tuesday 11 June to the Barbican's new Beech Gardens. Meet at 11 am at Beech Gardens.

This is a new garden in the Barbican and yesterday 22 May was full of aliums. A good contrast between the Barbican's Brutalist architecture and the greenery of the gardens. Images are available on line by Googling Beech Gardens Barbican. 

Beech Gardens are at high level basically above Beech Street. The easiest way to find the Gardens for those not familiar with the Barbican's maze of walkways and dead ends is probably to go to Barbican Station, ascend the stairs to the pedestrian bridge to cross over Goswell Road and voila, you have arrived!

We aim to post a map later. 

Janet's number for the day is 07815 772857 and Sue's is 07975 864142.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Soho Square on 11 May

Soho Square on a sunny day in May should have been an oasis of quiet, and it was very green and luscious, but unfortunately at both ends of the square there were very noisy roadworks going on. It was rather wearying. Nevertheless the quirky little cottage was very charming, King Charles was bright in the sun, and there were people to sketch (some smoking illicit substances which wafted around and added to the off-the-wall feeling brought on by the need to mentally screen out the road drilling racket). Eleven sketchers presented themselves, and most of us found the black and white wonky psuedo-tudor cottage in the middle irresistible, and this is clearly the favourite subject. We had a good vegetarian lunch at the famous Hari Krishna cafe in Soho Street.

Welcome ...

... to the sketching group of the Islington Art Society. This group has attracted quite a lot of interest since it began in April 2014 and we have had various numbers of artists joining in at the different venues. Initially we chose to meet once a month until September but now we feel it has become a regular fixture we are aiming to continue every month excluding December. We have ideas for indoor venues over the next few months and will keep you posted as we organise them. So keep sketching!

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