Saturday 29 January 2022

FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2022: 1 - 4.30PM Visit to the Museum of the Order of St John, St John's Gate, 26 St John's Lane, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4DA

 Please note new day and timing !

As London's Covid cases are declining from the peak and most people are boosted, we have decided that a quiet indoor venue will be safe, so on Friday February 18 we are going to sketch in the Museum of the Order of St John. This is another of London's hidden historic gems.  They are very kindly allowing us to sketch (dry materials only) from 1pm to 4.30pm  (they have guided tours in the morning).

The Order of St John is, of course, the descendant, through many vicissitudes, of the Knights Hospitallers of Crusades' incarnation, via Malta, and most recently founding and running the St John's Ambulance Brigade and St John's Eye Hospital Group.   The Knights Hospitallers were (like the Templars) one of the groups of fighting monks who were set up to hold Jerusalem for Christianity, and were forced to move first to Rhodes, and then to Malta, as the Saracens and Ottomans pushed westerners out of the eastern Mediterranean.  Their finest moment was during the great siege of Malta in 1565 when they fought off the navy of the Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent.  If anyone is interested, Ernle Bradford's book The Great Siege is a wonderful read of those days when men were men. 

So a truly romantic venue, and the rooms are full of portraits of the Grand Masters, etc., and there are two effigies of knights in the crypt.

The building is partly medieval, having belonged to the Knights before the dissolution of the monasteries, and has a series of panelled rooms which offer us an exciting artistic challenge, with many interior and cameo possibilities.  The Museum will provide a guide who will take us round, and we will then select a room to sketch.  They would like us all to stay together with the guide.  Halfway through we will move across the road to the Priory Church and crypt, and sketch over there.   The crypt has nice stained glass, and two effigies of knights.

The Museum can lend us their portable stools.   We suggest you have a look at the Museum's video in advance.   This may be an occasion when it would be helpful to bring some pre-prepared paper bearing in mind the fact that we cannot use paint. 

For more information and map, please go to:

There are loos, and a museum shop, but no cafe.   We suggest that you have lunch in advance.  Hardy souls who would like to sketch the exterior (stunning) are welcome. There is a pretty garden, and it is also possible to go into the public gallery before 1pm.

The nearest tube is Farringdon, then it is a five minute walk through various backstreets.   Buses 55, 243, 153, 63 run close by. 

It would be nice to put some money in their donations box as there are no charges for our day in the Museum!   

We also suggest that people wear masks when indoors (the antique windows may not open!).

Looking forward to a fascinating visit.

Sue's telephone number for the day is 07975 864142.

Saturday 22 January 2022

Winter Atmospherics 2: January 18 (approximately)

This January, with Covid variety omicron cruising the country, we asked our artists to go out separately and create art reflecting winter weather and winter life.  We are surprised to find how far people have travelled!   We have images from Yorkshire, Norfolk, and Sussex Beaches, as well as various London outdoor spaces.   Our artists have produced their customary varied interpretations of the winter scene, please enjoy!

Vanessa Whinney, image below, Sunrise at Ellingham, Norfolk

Vanessa Whinney, image below, Garden in Winter

Tricia Sharpe, image below, In Calderdale, Yorkshire

Maggie Pettigrew, image below, Winter Walk, Sussex Beach

Maggie Pettigrew, image below, Hampstead Heath photograph

Avis Dennis, image below, Winter Tree, Kew

Feroze Antia, three images below, Trent Park and its Golf Course - briskly sketched 6 inch square oils

Diane Umemoto, image below, Regent's Park

Gill Steiner, image below, Football in Winter 

Diane Umemoto, image below, Moon at Sunrise on a Frozen Morning

Janet Payne, image below, Morning Chill

Sue Lees, image below, Upon Reflection (newly reinstalled statue in the Philip Noel-Baker Peace Garden, Elthorne Park, N19)


It was also pointed out to us that Sky Arts have started a new series of Landscape Artist of the Year and Channel 5 a new 20 episode series of Watercolour Challenge, and we thought that many of our artists would like to know of these painterly - and sometimes pleinair - programmes which they can watch from the comfort of their homes.

Details of our February activity will follow before long.  

Tuesday 4 January 2022

January 2022: Winter Atmospherics (2)

With the uncertainties of omicron and the cold weather. we have decided that our January session should be done at home, or in your local park.   Much safer and more comfortable.  We suggest Tuesday Jan 18 as the focus date when you might like to go out to your local park/into the garden to catch signs of winter, including winter flowers, people bundled up in coats and scarves, possible snow scenes, snowmen, frost,  birds in snow, icy ponds, generally anything to do with winter weather.  Also cosy life indoors, with blazing fire, your partners asleep on the sofa as they do.   Many possibilities!   Any media, of course.  Or a series of vignettes from a stroll round the park on one sheet, and if you want to take photos and work up afterwards, we are happy with this too.

Hopefully the omicron situation will have peaked and the situation will be clearer - and better - by February.

Please send your images to Sue at:  by the end of that week, by the end of Friday 21st.  Thank you and happy creativity!