At the corner of Filbert and Webster in San Francisco’s Cow hollow neighbourhood is a very peculiar looking building. I noticed it on a previous trip to the city and wanted to go back and draw it. This building is the Old Vendanta Temple, topped with exotic domes and adorned with fanciful windows, yet still retaining that sense of old San Francisco. Well, this is old San Francisco – built more than a century ago, it was said to be the first Hindu temple in the Western hemisphere (according to this interesting piece on sfcityguides.org). I sat acros the street behind a telegraph pole (my only shade) and sketched from the domes down, which was fun, but by the time I was messing about with the windows I was getting a bit antsy and wanted to stop. I prefer the unfinished look of the sketch though, it tells more of a story and leaves details to be filled in by the brain. Plus it gave me time to go looking around the shops on Union Street. After the morning at the Tenderloin, Cow Hollow with its flash cars and fine heels and fancy bistros where it is brunch all day is the exact direct opposite.
After everybody had dispersed to sketch this and that, I sat by the Thames catching up with my cousins and drawing the view from the Embankment. The big pointy building in the distance is the Shard, Europe’s brand-new tallest building, ingeniously designed to burst any incoming alien balloon. That’ll show ’em.
Here are a couple of sketches I did after that, the one on the right being up a quiet street in the Temple, and the other being on the less quiet Fleet Street, the Prince Henry Room. The gateway around it is actually a feature of the building, around the gate which on weekdays is open and leads to Temple Church, but on this day was shut to the public. I really should have known. So I sketched the building itself in my beloved brown pen. The London 2012 stamp is one I picked up at Paperchase.
This one above, a smaller quicker sketch of the famous view down Fleet Street, was done at the end of the ‘crawl on the way down to the meeting point. My scanner broke before I could scan it however so I can only post the photo.
And this last one, this was of the Cheshire Cheese pub – no, not that one, a different one on Milford Lane near the Temple. When I heard about it I just had to draw it. Old pub drawing – check. It took a bit of a while, about an hour and a half, and I had to add the colour later on, but it was a fun one to draw.
That really was a great sketchcrawl. I still have plenty more London (and Paris) sketches to post…I just need to get a new scanner!
A couple of weeks ago I organized a sketchcrawl in London (“Let’s Draw London!”) around the Temple and Fleet Street parts of London, one of my favourite areas. It was organized alongside the recently launched Urban Sketchers London, and was also picked up by members of the Meetup group ‘Drawing London on Location’. My hope was that a fair few London sketchers would come out and come together, and boy did that happen!
Above is part of the group that met at 10:30 outside Temple station. I passed around sign-in sheets, and all in all we had more than 50 sketchers on this sketchcrawl, and we all set off in groups or individually to draw London. What a sunny day it was too! I met several of the London Urban Sketchers, including Katherine Tyrell who thankfully took some great photos to record the day – you can see them on this post on USk London.
I printed out fliers for everyone (I had just enough!), and provided a little hand-drawn map with interesting sketchable spots, though really anywhere is interesting. Here it is:
It was great to walk around and see so many Londoners out sketching, and also to identify each other by those carrying the little fliers I made. Below are some of my photos, taken at the end meeting at Gough Square. I wanted to meet up at the statue of Dr.Johnson’s (Samuel not Boris) cat, Hodge. We decided to do the now common laying-down of the sketchbooks on the ground, all around the cat, for everyone to admire. I found this common at the USk Symposia, and while it’s a good and fun way to display them all, it’s also very humbling (and a little scary) seeing my little drawings beside so many great pieces of art! I still prefer the one on one sketchbook exchanges at the end of a sketchcrawl, and it was nice to do some of that with people. Many of us reconvened into the Olde Cheshire Cheese for a pint, some sketchbook viewing and lots of sketching talk! I’ll post my sketches in the next post, but in the meantime…
To all who came, THANKS for coming! I did meet some truly fantastic London sketchers whose work I have followed for years (especially nice to meet Olha Pryymak, her work is beautiful), met many more whose work I will now eagerly follow, but missed meeting some others whose work I love. Not enough time! Even an old schoolfriend, Joan, from my art class 20 years ago came – I had only seen her once since leaving school so it was nice to catch up. And excitingly, I was joined by my two long-lost (and Facebook-found) cousins Claire and Dawn, who are both superb artists. We haven’t seen each other since we were kids but have grown up with an avid love of drawing, so what a great way to reconnect at last. Everyone I spoke to had a great day, and some others on the sketchcrawl are returning this Saturday to follow the same route again (wish I could join them!). In the meantime, if you’re London based or nearby, you may wish to keep an eye on the regular meetings of…
- Drawing London on Location on Meetup.com
- Urban Sketchers London : Sketchcrawls page
- Worldwide Sketchcrawls (the sketchcrawl.com forum, next one on July 14)
And finally, check out the newly set-up Urban Sketchers London flickr group, which any London based sketcher can join and where many great sketches and photos from the sketchcrawl are posted.
…I really must do this again!
Next month I will be back in my home town of London, to see the people I miss so much, and also to do a bit of drawing. I will be a guest blogger on the recently launched Urban Sketchers London website, and so I am pleased to be organizing a sketchcrawl on Saturday May 26 around the historic Temple and Fleet Street areas. Why not join in? Let’s draw London!
The sketchcrawl will begin at 10:30am, meeting outside Temple tube station. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on, and this event is free and open to everyone, artists and sketchers of all levels. What better way to explore the hidden nooks of your city than with a sketchbook? It’s only half about the drawing, it’s also about the looking, the act of observation through which you build a relationship with your surroundings. Plus it’s great fun to sketch with others!
There will be a midway point at 1:00pm outside Temple Church for those who come late or leave early, and the sketchcrawl will finish at 4:00pm in Gough Square, by the statue of Dr.Johnson’s cat. It’s just off of Fleet Street, but like a scavenger hunt you’ll enjoy finding it! There we will look at each others’ sketchbooks, and then maybe pop into the old Cheshire Cheese for a pint.
I hope to see you there!