Saturday, 19 September 2020

Wednesday 23 September: Alternative plan in event of bad weather, or if people prefer to stay at home

 For an alternative to our planned day out at Parliament Hill, in case of either bad weather or for those who do not wish to travel, once again we have turned to the  London Urban Sketchers for inspiration. 

We thought that their latest idea sounded rather good.   The idea is to delve into the history of your local area, and produce an image (or something 3d!) which reflects some aspect of its past times and change.  This may be a series of images on one page, possibly including collage.

For a fuller (and better) explanation of this project, please go to the Urban Sketchers themselves, here:

 Please send your images to





Friday, 18 September 2020

Wednesday 23 September: Parliament Hill: Arrangements update in view of latest Covid regulations

The government has just announced that people cannot meet in groups of more than 6 individuals. In view of this, we are going to have to be very careful to keep our sketching group in pods of 6 or less. Please would everyone go off and start painting as soon as they have reached the meeting point and made themselves known distantly to either Sue or Janet.

The cafe has trestle tables, and from the point of view of Covid safety, we should limit ourselves to four people per table, take two or more tables if necessary, or otherwise, especially if the cafe seating is crowded, bring or buy sandwiches and eat at a distance sitting on sketching stools, well distanced, in groups of max 6. 

We won't be able to have an extensive showing of everybody's work, and some people will probably not have their work photographed. In which case, please email your images to either Sue or Janet.

Looking forward to a pleasant and successful sketching day on Wednesday, despite the new rules and being extra careful. We will be sending out some thoughts for Plan B for those who would prefer to stay at home shortly.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Parliament Hill Wednesday 23 September

 Our next outing is to Parliament Hill, on the edge of Hampstead Heath. 

This will be on WEDNESDAY 23 September, a departure from our usual date but we intend to Tuesdays next time.

Meet by the Italian run cafe near the bandstand at 11 am, and again at 1 pm for lunch, or of course bring sandwiches. 

There are ponds nearby and of course the glorious view from the top of Parliament Hill.

The loos are now open after refurbishment. The overground stops at Gospel Oak. The 214 bus runs up Highgate Road and Highgate West Hill.

Your organisers are trying to come up with socially distanced venues for the autumn and winter months. Preferably somewhere that it is possible to get to without using the tube. All suggestions considered. Autumn could be a covered venue but January and February should really be indoors with social distancing.

A stay at home option for those not able to attend will follow

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Tuesday 25 August: Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, London N16 9HJ


The weather forecast for tomorrow refers to heavy rain and wind.   Dismal.  However, this may not happen (we have had recent experiences of anticipated rain not happening), and there are various sheltered spaces around Clissold House that we could use if necessary - the portico, under the portico and a verandah to one side.  The big church opposite is likely to be open, so we could go in there, and there are any number of cafes in church street.   We think the Old Church has a porch.  Alternatively, bring your sketching stool, an umbrella, and such art materials as are useable in the damp (watercolours are not good, as they won't dry), so watercolour pencils, pens, pastels.   Janet and Sue are going to give it a go unless it is pouring first thing.

If you think it is going to be too wet, then you may like to create some artwork with a bad weather theme at home.


We have decided to return to Clissold Park for our August sketch date as our earlier plan to go to Hampstead Heath has been frustrated by the loos not being open as they are waiting for new parts. Clissold Park is relatively central for our spread-out participants, and well connected with bus services, if people feel like using them.  Parking controls are in force on the Hackney sides of Clissold Park, so no chance of parking there, but Islington residents may find a place on the Islington side of Green Lanes under the Roamer scheme.   Partners can always be asked for lifts!

There are loos (open), and the cafe in Clissold House is operating a take-out service (no indoor access).   We will be maintaining our social distancing policy.

We have not been there for a few years, and as well as Clissold House, there is the Old Stoke Newington Church, the canal, two lakes, the gardens, looking good at present, and there will be people sitting about for those who wish to do figures.  Also some deer in an enclosure. Stoke Newington Church Street is close by with sandwich shops as well as offering street scenes.    Hopefully it will be sunny without being unbearably hot.

It is an opportunity to produce some work which will have local interest when the Islington Art Society holds its next exhibition in the Stoke Newington Library Gallery close by. 

Our meeting place will be outside the front of Clissold House at the base of the steps, at 11 o'clock.   We suggest you bring sketching stools.  We hope for a good day's sketching, and Sue's telephone number for the day is 07975 864142.




Sunday, 26 July 2020

21 July 2020 Caledonian Park

As we emerge from the Covid 19 pandemic thirteen brave artists went on our first outing for many months, all socially distancing of course. Another person stayed at home and made a model.

Our meeting point was the old clocktower in Caledonian Park, Islington's second largest open space. The park was previously a general market and also a cattle market. It has recently been revived as a thriving neighbourhood park complete with cafe, which was open for sandwiches which could be eaten outside.

Everyone worked very hard. It was a lovely sunny day with white clouds scudding across a blue sky, families having picnics and outdoor gym enthusiasts. Everyone was vey excited to be out again with Art in the Park.

We have had a request from Islington to use the images for their social media content for Caledonian Park. I will assume that artists are fine with this unless I hear from you

Hope I haven't missed anyone's picture out. 

The next outing is planned for late August, date and venue to be confirmed, possibly Hamsptead Heath if the building work to the toilets by the Italian cafe is finished.

Happy Sketching

Some artists who arrived at 11 am for the photo opportunity

Gill Steiner worked from home and made a model of the clocktower

Tricia Sharpe

Mark Hodge

Diane Umemoto

Priscilla Worley

Priscilla Worley

Alison Sandifer

Thursday, 9 July 2020

21 July 2020

Outing to Caledonian Park

Innings "A Better Tomorrow "

As lockdown eases we thought we would try a socially distanced outing as well as an innings for Tuesday 21 July 2020.

For those who are still shielding or would prefer not to join an outing, the innings is "A Better Tomorrow", which we hope will give people plenty of scope.

The outing is to Caledonian Park, Market Road N7 9PL. Meet at 11 am underneath the clocktower on the cafe side. 

This park is based in the old cattle market, and has a stunning clocktower, heritage railings, and thoughtful planting. There is plenty of history and it was one of the places that people marched from to support the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Info can be found by Googling Caledonian Park. 

The park is large and relatively underused, so we should have no difficulty keeping our distance. There are plenty of benches but do bring a sketching stool. The cafe is open and serves sandwiches and hot and cold drinks. Also of course you can bring a picnic, and there are several local food shops in North Road close by, if you forget. The idea is that we eat our lunch outside keeping the numbers congregating together to six or below. 

If it rains then we can all do 'A Better Tomorrow'  from home! 

The loos in the park should be open by the date of our outing but if not the Shell Petrol Station, 109-113 York Way is five minutes walk away and the loos are open. 

Islington residents who drive, can park free between 11am and 3pm in residents bays. There is also paying parking. For those prepared to use public transport the 274 bus stops on Market Road, the 390 goes along York Way and the 17, 91, 259 and 274 go along Caledonian Road. The overground stops at Caledonian Road and Barnsbury and is a short walk away. Caledonian tube station on the Piccadilly line is nearby. There are of course walking and cycling options.

Images to My number for the day is 07815 772857.

And finally a further arrival from Heather James from Tallinn.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Tuesday 30 June 2020: Virtual Sketching in Tallinn, Estonia

We have had interesting time getting to grips with virtual sketching and Tallinn, although this effort has not resulted in a vast outpouring of artworks. A fair amount of preliminary spadework was needed to get the streets of Tallinn even on the screen! We discovered that Tallinn has some art nouveau frontages (though not everyone found them in the slippery camera of google's streetview). It also turns out that Riga, along the coast, is a hotspot of art nouveau, and one of us was able to produce an image from a previous visit to Riga. (Riga's art nouveau looks like a future opportunity!) Our images reflect the historic charm of Tallinn, its old walls, watchtowers, cobbled streets, and even what appears to be a miniature St Basil's cathedral! For armchair travellers it was a pleasure to discover.

Details about our next art day will follow shortly. 

The image above is by Heather James

Images above are, left to right, by Diane Umemoto and Gafung Wong

Images above are all by Diane Umemoto

Images above are, left to right, by Peter Colley and Janet Payne

Images above are, left to right, by Diane Umemoto and Gafung Wong

Images above are, left to right, by Cathy Burkinshaw and Sue Lees

Friday, 19 June 2020

Virtual Sketching: Talinn on Tuesday 30 June

Our next art in the time of coronavirus will be on Tuesday 30 June, when we suggest that you try virtual sketching.   This has been the Urban Sketchers’ solution to the problem of how to carry on sketching contemporary life in a time of widespread home lockdown, and it has become possible  thanks to the technological marvels of those internet giants, google and facebook.   Many of you will be familiar with google’s streetmaps and aerial photographs of more or less the entire planet now; they have also driven round every road everywhere and photographed everything.   Artwork can be produced from these photographs, and the Urban Sketchers have organised a daily programme of “VirtualSketchtours” since early on in the lockdown.   As a sketching group, we thought that Art in the Park should be aware of this development, and try it out at least once. 
However, in the centre of the IAS Art in the Park we only have the barest minimum of technical capability, and are completely unable to work out our own virtual sketching tour.  We have therefore decided to join in on one of the Urban Sketchers’ Virtual Sketch Tours. 

Individual urban sketchers have taken the trouble to go through google’s photographs and select a number of places which would sketch well, and incorporate them into sreet tours.  These events are open to all, and we have decided on the Talinn tour.    Talinn is off the beaten track for most (but not all) of us, has the charm of novelty, is an attractive historic city, (in Estonia),  and has one of the better sets of photographs, google’s photos are not taken with any regard to allure.

What you need to do is this: 
1)  sign in or register with facebook – you can always unregister if your principles prevent you from contributing to Mark Zuckerberg.   It is possible that this link will let you see the relevant page on facebook without registering, but we would not bet on it:

 2)  Search within facebook for #Virtualsketch

3)  Click on Events  (in left hand column)

4)  Scroll down to Talinn, Estonia

5)   Click on See More at the end of the Talinn introduction

6)   Click on one of the location links for Talinn beauty spots

7)   A photograph appears;  move your cursor around and you will find that the view changes, it will stop moving if you stop moving your cursor

8)   Repeat until you have looked at all the locations, and found something which you would like to sketch

9)   If you are using your desktop computer, the light will almost certainly be unsatisfactory.  If this affects you,  take a photograph of your scene or scenes, and transfer it into your ipad, which you can then set up so that the light is OK

10  Then create art in the comfort of your home studio.

Certainly post your art on the #Virtualsketch facebook page if you are registered both for facebook and as a member of the Virtual Sketch group, and if you so wish. This should be done on or after Thursday 2 July, which is the date of the official Urban Sketchers sketchtour.   In any case, please send images to Sue Lees (via in the normal way and they will appear on the  blog in due course. 

Virtual sketching is much more fun than it sounds, and it does offer the opportunity to make something of a subject which almost certainly will not have the attractions of one which you have found yourself by actually padding the streets.   It also means that you are not constricted by time, changing light, weather, parked vans, and the other problems of plein air painting.

Good luck!  We look forward to seeing many interpretations of the Talinn street scene!

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Tuesday 9 June: Hopes and Dreama - or Missed Opportunites

We have received a lovely collection of people's hopes and dreams, and missed opportunities due to coronavirus. Our artists long to see family and friends, and to return to places dear to their hearts. One artist longs to go off on a companiable urban sketching trip. Some of us recreated special memories. One person looked at her neighbours' windows and thought of all the longings within sets of windows. Some of us focused on missed opportunities, and hopefully it is beneficial to identify the losses and produce these in art form. A wide selection of media were used, and beyond our normal paint-based materials we have some three-dimensional sculptural work and collage, including embroidery.

As always, despite our best efforts, we have one painting unaccountably omitted from our previous collection, and some ex-theme pieces.

Details about our next art day will follow shortly  In the meantime, thank you for sharing your lockdown thoughts and other visions with us.

Images above are, left to right, by Diane Umemoto, Gafung Wong, Janet Payne

Images above are, left to right, by Cathy Burkinshaw, Maggie Pettigrew, Jenny Ainsley

Images above are, left to right, by Helen Fuggle, Gill Steiner, Wendy Long

Images above are, left to right, by Priscilla Worley, Tricia Sharp, Sue Lees
Images above are, left to right, by Imrana Khanum, Sara Meidan, Imrana Khanum

Images above are, left to right, by Pat Castle and David Milner

Image above is by Pat Castle