Travel Sketchbook: London and Cambridge

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Just got back from gloriously sunny wanderings in the U.K.! Seriously, the weather could not have been better for walking about and sketching -- blue, blue sky and near-summer temps. (So rare!)

The trip was quite art-immersive: I explored several art supply stores, took in the big (if uneven) "Watercolour" exhibition at the Tate Britain, and visited the Bankside Gallery for the Royal Watercolour Society show. I'll share the art supplies I found in another post, but first, the sketches.

The day we arrived, a friend and I took the Thames Clipper from Millbank to Bankside; we had to wait quite a while for the boat, so I took the opportunity to do a quick sketch of the scene:

Waiting for Thames Clipper, London, UK

Sunday found us in Cambridge. On the way there, I sketched a bit at breakfast and on the train:

Scenes on the way to Cambridge, UK

We took in the River Cam in the traditional way -- punting on the college backs, with Scudamore's tour company. I challenged myself to sketch while we were on the boat; though it seemed to move along lazily through the water, it was tough to get all the details of a scene down before the vantage point changed!

Scenes from the college backs punting tour, Cambridge, UK

As we floated by, our guide pointed out the details of the colleges, the bridges (including the famous Bridge of Sighs), and the gardens.

Punting on the backs, Cambridge, UK

After our tour, I sat on one of the banks and attempted a more studied watercolor -- unfortunately, I hadn't used the paper before (Fabriano Satinata hot press) and it took me a while to figure out how the paint would behave on it. I used a Rotring pen to add linework later since I wasn't very happy with how it turned out.

Punting, Cambridge, UK

Our hotel in London was in Pimlico, served by the excellent bus route No. 24. Sitting in morning rush-hour traffic, on the top deck, I was able to get in quite a few little studies:

Views from Bus No. 24, London, UK

Big Ben from Bus No. 24, London, UK

On one of my excursions, I stopped in at the storied Fortnum & Mason for lunch, and sketched as I was waiting for my excellent goat-cheese and leek tart:

At Fortnum & Mason, London, UK

I'm already making a list of places to visit on the next London trip!

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  1. What a lovely view of your trip. I was thinking it was just about time for you to go to London. Glad it all went well and thank you for sharing your inspiring sketches.