I’ve been keeping my eyes out for terracotta tiles which jazz up the fronts of late Victorian buildings and have begun to sketch and record them – their patterns and dates if provided. I had a hunch that they might give me a means to map connections with times and places.
Yesterday I was sketching in Islington, first along the Hornsey Road and then along Upper Street when I looked up and saw the very same tiles that I had sketched on a primary school in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Yes, I’ve turned into a tile anorak…
Terracotta tiles on Upper St. Islington
terracotta tiles on Upper St Islington
However, the above sketches are the tiles which I drew from Hassell St School:
I’d love to know where these tiles were made. One source could be Blashfield’s
Been thinking ahead to drawing another stretch of the Great North Road later this year. I like to sketch from the street first to get a good look at some of the details so pitched my perch opposite the Fig and Olive on Upper Steet, Islington.
I use a handy portable camping stool – it’s lightweight and fits easily into a bag and I tucked myself into a corner, well clear of the fire station.
Stating the obvious, it was pretty cold and so on the fist day of the Chinese New Year (Rooster), I chickened out after one sketch and went for an indoor brew nearby. Couldn’t see a Shirker’s Cafe, but this place, the Workers Cafe looked like I could sketch from the empty seat in the front window.
Back home again next day via a catch-up with a dear old pal, meeting up in Milton Keynes.
Thought I would share a few pics of the couple of days spent sketching another stretch of the Holloway Road. This time I brought along a length of cartridge paper which I had prepared at home with a wash of gum arabic and French and English Ochre pigments, to give the paper a bit of warmth.
Note the colourful tote bag by the French American artist Gwenn Seemel – I admire her outlook on copyright as well as her colourful artwork.
I’d packed half a dozen clothes pegs to clip the paper to a folder which seemed to work quite well. Even though it’s non-stop busy along this road, several people stopped to pass the time of day with me and thanks to Sean for taking this photo and sending it to me.
The drawing is now complete, scanned and can be seen in full on my website. Limited edition prints are now available to buy.
Over the summer, I spent some time down in London, with our son. I was in the middle of Sketch Book Skool drawing frenzy, making the most of every moment I could to draw – even on the top of a London bus!
Once you start sketching, you can’t help but notice how much more you want to draw and it was during this time that I made the rash promise to myself that I would draw the Holloway Road.
After a few months preparation I have begun to work on the first of what I hope will be many more drawings, but thought you would like a flavour of what’s to come with some of my summer sketches.