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Friday, 5 August 2016

Sketching London - Grenich

This year I was unable to go to the USk symposium again, but I still wanted to get a little bit of the symposium vibes and meet up with some sketchers I don't usually see, so I spent one week in London with Stephanie Bower, Anne Percival and Gail Wong.

I haven't been very prolific these last few months and this was just the thing to get me sketching again.

It was my first real visit to London and I couldn't have had better company or better weather (up to over 30 °C!!).

My journey started with the usual plane sketch, nothing out of the ordinary. I gave up trying to make the perspective look accurate when I noticed that the left seat was way too narrow, so I just continued adding watercolour pencil lines and colour.

According to this sketch, the girl sitting next to me had a really long neck
After landing, I immediately went to the area where the apartment I shared with Stephanie, Anne and Gail was located and sat down at a Costa cafe while waiting for the ladies. Plenty of time to sketch the street outside and to realize that we were staying right next to Chinatown. The first "Chinatown" I have ever been to. There is no such thing in Luxembourg.

The lion on the wall should have tipped me off
The next day, Stephanie, Anne and I (Gail arrived a few days later) headed out to sketch the city first thing in the morning. We didn't need to get very far, in fact we walked about 20 metres before we stopped to sketch the pub across the street, the St. James Tavern.

To be honest, I had absolutely no plan with this sketch - but then again, I rarely do - and I just whipped out my watercolours. Then getting a bit frustrated with that, I continued in watercolour pencil and ballpoint pen. 

The buses just wouldn't stand still!
Anne, who knows London quite a bit, guided us through the city and at some point we arrived at Westminster palace. I had an "OMG I'm in London" moment when Big Ben started chiming as we were sketching the palace. Coincidentally, did you know that Big Ben is the name of the bell, not of the tower itself, which is called Elisabeth Tower.

I saw the beautiful Michelle Yeoh here! Got completely starstruck
After lunch, we took the boat to Greenwich (pronounced "Grenich", as I learned), where we stumbled upon a graduation, which I just had to sketch.

It was very interesting to see all the capes and catch glimpses of what the graduates were wearing under them. The women in particular were dressed from proper to fancy to pretty slutty. Interesting mixture of genres.

It was a beautiful day for such an occasion
I caught Stephanie and Anne in action after I finished gawking at the graduates.

Masterpieces being created
Finally, before leaving we walked up the hill to see the Greenwich line. Unfortunately the site was already closed, but we could see the famous time line from afar. The view over London from there was stunning. Stephanie started sketching it, so I tried my hand at it as well. Though for me it was all done in line work - no time or energy for more.

Panoramic views, always challenging
We headed back to Piccadilly after this, with a few sketches and quite a sunburn to show for it.