Just back from our annual hop across the pond for London Book Fair. It was a tough week in the world, but it was comforting to meet friends and colleagues. I was fortunate enough to be able to take Colin Merrin's weekend workshop "From the Sketchbook to the Finished Work" at the Bankside Gallery. The idea was to take small everyday thumbnails and drafts and turn them into something more finished without losing freshness and spontaneity. Easier said than done! His numerous well-thumbed sketchbooks were an inspiration, and he soon sent us off into the overcast outdoors to dash off sketches.
Started off with some quick ones of the Blackfriars Railway Bridge and some people sitting in front of the pub.
My eyes were then drawn to the busker in front of the Tate Modern. I wasn't the only one; he attracted quite a crowd with his slow, deliberate dance holding a glassy orb.
A few sprinkles from the sky sent me back into the gallery, where I took two of my sketches to develop further. I repainted them using only watercolor (no pencil or ink first) on Arches cold press paper.
The next day, I wandered further afield, ending up at London Bridge. I stopped at the Shard to sketch a view looking down to the street below:
And then a couple talking at Southwark Cathedral...
...and people sitting near the railway bridge.
I finished the day on the steps by the river, sketching children and their parents hunting for treasures as the Thames lapped at their feet.
A few days later, I took the Docklands Light Rail (I've been fascinated by it ever since I took it to London City Airport last year) down to Greenwich. I had hopes of straddling the prime meridian, but found that it was a bit of a walk from the train station. So I sat by the Cutty Sark and sketched the town instead; later I collaged in a few scraps from the Greenwich pages of a vintage London guidebook.
The next day, we boarded a train for York, on our way to Edinburgh. (To be continued...)