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.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Next Sketch Date: Tuesday 14 May at Soho Square, W1D 3QE

We are going to try another famous  Central London location, hopefully not full of noisy sporting enthusiasts.

Soho Square is another of London's historic venues, and contains a faux medieval building in the centre, used as a gardener's lock-up, and a genuine 1680s statue of Charles II, improbably clad in armour.  Either of these are good subject matter, and there are also various towers and interesting rooflines around the Square.   There will also be people nice and still having their lunches. 

We will meet at 11 o'clock at the gardener's hut in the middle.   If it rains we can sit (on our stools, please remember to bring these)  under the overhang of the gardener's cottage and sketch from there.

Details, map, and images of the Square can be found  here:

A quick internet skim has produced two nearby cafes: Govindas Pure Vegetarian Restaurant at 9-10 Soho Street, and Eat, at 16a Soho Square.   We can chose when we get there.  We might find something else we like better, but these two are very close by.  

Nearest tube station is Tottenham Court Road, just walk west down Oxford Street and Soho Street is the first turning on the left, it leads into the Square.

We look forward to seeing many of you.  Sue's number for the day is:  07975 864142.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Day out at Leicester Square 30th April

Ten of us had a very surprising time in Leicester Square:  the weather was fine, and we were just settling down to careful consideration of the horses of the Hippodrome, the statue of Shakespeare, etc., etc., when we became aware of raucus singing and crowds of men with bottles and  football supporters' gear.   We had selected the assembly and celebration point for Ajax (a Dutch football team) supporters!   They were starting the day early, and would continue in Leicester Square until it became time to move to Tottenham Hotspur's stadium in the late afternoon.

We carried on in the midst of the crowd and rather zonked by the noise, until lunchtime, incorporating the fans as necessary into our artwork.   Some of the fans actually admired our sketches and presented us with Ajax stickers, also incorporated into the work. Quite an experience, but rather disruptive for the art; despite the many fascinations of Leicester Square probably not a location to repeat.

Most of us sketched with our normal materials, but one of us completed a woven picture, created by painting two pictures of the same view down one of the streets leading from the square, cutting them into strips, and weaving them together.   A lovely mosaic-style picture emerged at the end.   We are still trying to work out how she got it to turn out so well.   We are all on a learning curve on these Art in the Park days.

We hastened away at our pre-arranged time, to a pre-selected vegetarian restaurant off Regent Street (Titbits).   The food was delicious and healthy, and we were able to find a nice large table with natural light, and plenty of space.

After lunch, only two stalwarts continued.   We went to Piccadilly Circus, which had tourists and street artists and musicians, as well as Eros in all his glory.   We found a secluded nook on the pedestrianised side of the Circus, enjoyed the guitarist-singers and felt that the standard of music was much much higher, and a bit quieter, than at Leicester Square.


Sunday, 14 April 2019

Tuesday 30th April: Leicester Square, WC2

We are trying out one of the hotspots of Central London, Leicester Square, for our next sketch-date on Tuesday 30th April.

At 11 o'clock we will assemble at the Theatre Ticket Booth (TKTS) at the South side of the Square.   In view of the number of people in the area, we suggest that artists keep together in small groups to avoid unwanted attentions.   We suggest that you minimise your cash and cards, as there are pickpockets around.

Leicester Square is a short walk away from Leicester Square tube station (Northern Line and Piccadilly Line), see map

There is a green centre to the Square, several big trees, and a fountain and statue of Shakespeare which provide a non-metropolitan alternative for people who do not want to sketch buildings.   The scruffy old square had a major redevelopment as part of a Great Outdoors scheme proposed by Boris Johnson when Mayor of London.   It cost a staggering £15.3 million and was finished in time for the Olympics.   Rather sadly four other statues were taken down as part of this, including one of Hogarth who lived at "Leicester Fields" in the mid-eighteenth century.
There is a mass of architecture to be sketched, both art deco and victorian extravaganzas, lots of lovely gables on the skyline, the crowning glory being the horses of the Hippodrome which can be seen from the square.   

Alternatively, collages of cinema/s can be made, or sketches done with neon markers.   Lots of people-sketching opportunities. 

If it rains, we may be able to find outdoor shelter under which to work, there are various projections from some of the buildings, or you can bring an umbrella  (and sketching stool).  If it rains badly, we can select a cafe and go in and sketch inside.  

We can also move on in the afternoon if we wish, to Chinatown.  We will in any case check out Chinatown for another occasion.

Sue's number for the day is 07975 864142

Monday, 8 April 2019

Early April in Brixton Market

Some twelve artists braved a very cold April day to sketch in Brixton Market. This proved to be a uniquely exciting and diverse slice of London life. The covered market is being gentrified but there is still a good range of African vegetable and textile stalls, together with cafes and craft shops. The railway runs overhead very nearby adding a Hogarthian feel to the location. There is also a David Bowie mural on the other side of the road from the station which adds to the excitement. We were glad that the market is covered which gave some protection from the elements. Case Morita, an owner run Mexican restaurant, proved a good lunch time venue to share ideas and recuperate.
In spite of the cold the artists produced an amazing amount of exciting work, which we hope you will enjoy below. I hope it is all included.
The next outing will be to Leicester Square on 30 April. More details to be published shortly on this blog