when i first saw your gallery

trafalgar square

The National Gallery, and the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square. I ksetched there while there was still daylight to draw in – the Sun goes down so early in London, earlier than in California (by about eight hours or so). It was bitterly cold of course, but I braved it, and not only because I happened to see other sketchers out doing the same. One artist did stop and chat with me, asked if I was part of the group of people out sketching the square for some drawing day; I said no, but wish I’d known! Someone else asked if I was an architect.

I love that the north side of Trafalgar Square is pedestrianized, it will never cease to be a novelty to me. I remember when the very idea was deemed unthinkable, back when traffic ploughed endlessly through this very spot, but when they paved it over they turned it into an incredible open space, a public plaza that was actually worth visiting (cheers Ken!). I used to work on the open-top tour buses that would stop right outside the National Gallery – which by the way is one of the wonders of the art world, and like so many such places in London is completely free; I used to joke that my favourite room was the shop, because it had all the artwork in mini postcard form and took a fraction of the time to see them all. But for me, this spot will always be where I used to catch the Night Bus in the wee hours (that is quite literally the wee hours, with drunken people peeing all over the place). Along with the rest of London. I would stand here, sometimes for hours, waiting for my elusive N5 (they are far more frequent these days – cheers Ken!), to take my tired self home. You had to catch it from here to be sure of a seat in those days. Oh the memories. I’m glad they paved it over.

sketching trafalgar square