Any urban sketcher knows that it’s almost impossible to walk past an art shop without looking inside and buying at least a new pencil. So, when I walked past Cowling and Wilcox, on Holloway Road a few years ago, I gave in to a new Daler Rowney sketch book, about A5 size.
I go to London regularly – partly family visits to our son and also to draw some of my Great North Road street drawing series, Holloway Road.
This ancient route has shown up at key points in my life: at school in York, going to University in Edinburgh and now as our son has made his home beside it. I’ve made a start drawing chunks of the buildings along the Holloway Road and the photo above is on one of the sunnier days sketching out Denmark Place preparing for the formal architectural drawing. It’s only when you stop to draw that you notice things like date stones way up the top.
Back to the sketch book. I decided to keep this one just for sketching during my London visits. Three years later, it’s full!
I’d like to share some of the content from time to time. All the sketches are made on location and most sketched in about five minutes. Less than minutes for my wobbly sketches from the top of a bus!
It’s easy enough to spot the ones made in the time taken to enjoy a brew in a cafe.
More sketches of Holloway Road to follow soon, but if you are in Highbury, pop in to The Only Place For Pictures and see a few more London streets.
Last weekend we joined up with Crohns & Colitis UK fo their annual walk around London. It’s a great way to see our capital and better still, it gets the word out about the support that’s available for anyone who has Crohn’s or Colitis.
We set off from Stoke Station in our purple tee-shirts. Once on the train, it wasn’t long before a lady offered us a donation; her sister was diagnosed 50 years ago, but back then it was something that wasn’t talked about at all. I found this a very moving gesture as I think that it is only in recent years that it is finally being brought to light and all credit to those who have worked so hard to raise its profile.
It was a day out for us and yes, I brought my sketch book! I’ve had my head down recently gettting on with my icon diploma work as it’s only four months till our end of diploma exhibition in Shoreditch.
I enjoy sketching on-the-hoof and my favourite sketching has to be the half minute bus/train stop sketches….they’re just thumbnail views of life on the go. Enough words – time for a few pictures!
I have returned to drawing Holloway Road, the Great North Road – and paused to draw Dorset House in more detail. It caught my eye as it is quite small compared with its neighbours yet with a few faded classical details, it quietly holds its own.
Here it is in context with its neighbours:
I have tried to find out a little bit of the history of the building but not got very far until today perhaps…
We have been down to London to join today’s walk in support of Crohns and Colitis UK. The walk takes place every June, and around a thousand supporters walk through the City as a fundraiser and to raise awareness of this disease.
Walking has a lot in common with drawing as it allows you the time and space to enjoy details in the landscape and architecture you might otherwise miss. In this picture, we are walking along South Bank towards Southwark Bridge and you can just make out its trident lamposts above a band of green; here’s part of the bridge in detail:
Having only just finished drawing Dorset House, I immediately recognised the balustrade detailing and couldn’t help but wonder if it is by the the same architect. looking at the plaque, I see that Sir Ernest George designed this bridge.
I love finding little details like this. If you know anything about this architect, or Dorset House, I would be delighted to hear from you.
Thanks to my Holloway twitter buddies, @RuthRobinsonLon, @TheHornseyRoad, @HollowayLife and in particular Mark Perronet @AtomGalleryN4, prints of some of my Holloway Road drawings are now up on display in the Atom Gallery, Stroud Green Road, London N4. It’s a five minute walk from Finsbury Park tube station.
The exhibition opens tonight and runs until 4th April 2015. I really wish I could be there but I am grounded with three pelvic fractures, a fractured drawing arm and a chipped elbow. All my own doing as I fell on our own doorsteps, in broad daylight and stone cold sober!
Good luck to everyone showing at the Atom Gallery and thanks Mark, for this wonderful opportunity.
Over the past year, I have been regularly posting sketches and work-in-progress photos on social media. It has been a bit of a slog understanding how it all works but it has gradually paid off as I get a real buzz when people who live or work in the buildings respond positively to my sketches and a conversation kicks off.
I was delighted when @TheHornseyRoad got in touch to ask if they could use my sketches of Bathurst Mansions on a blog post. Of course I said yes – I was intrigued to discover a little more about the building.
It turns out that on 2 Feb 1903, Bathurst Mansions was the birthplace of Hilton Edwards, who went on to direct Orson Welles in his first and last role on stage: ‘Few men of the present day theatre have sought so consistently to throw off the shackles of conventional drama as Hilton Edwards and Orson Welles have done’. There is more to read about this fascinating insight into the life of these buildings on The Hornsey Road blog post.
I draw these street scenes and sketch buildings because they mean something to me and I would miss them if they disappeared. Bathurst Mansions are quite a show stopper, standing proud on the corner of this busy crossroad. If you pause for a moment and look up, you will notice the care and skill that has gone into crafting the masonry, it really is a work of art.
Discovering insights into the life of buildings is one of the main reasons I draw streets – to record them as moments of living history; the drawings are brought to life with such nuggets of memory.Thank you @TheHornseyRoad.
Thanks for reading and keep in touch with me on Twitter @RonnieCruwys
PS Watch out for those Stokies playing Arsenal at the weekend, my husband and son will be there hopefully singing Delilahs and shouting ‘Go Stoke!’