Saturday, July 07, 2007
London views and shops
I wasn't born within the sound of Bow Bells but I did spend much of my childhood within sight of Battersea Power Station. I love this crumbling old landmark and I feel proud that Pink Floyd have honoured it! I took this shot out of the window of a train which accounts for the grey tinge.
On one aborted bus journey I took the opportunity to take this shot of Chelsea Bridge. I discovered, after hopping on a number 19 bus from King's Road, that one shouldn't rely on the bus route to remain unchanged. Now it terminates at Battersea Bridge, so I had to hang around for another bus to finish the journey! I can never remember the names of the bridges but I'm sure that's Chelsea Bridge and I was standing on Battersea Bridge.
We were lucky to avoid the freak hail that made the news. We were just walking home when we saw the strangest, darkest clouds looming overhead. We got inside just seconds before some very large raindrops came down. Within minutes they turned to hail, above.
Suddenly it turned very violent and the noise, the wind and the cold were incredible! It was warm and sunny just moments before, and when I opened the front door to take this shot, it looked like a blizzard on Antarctica!
Afterwards, it was so cold you could see your own breath - it was really eerie. Avalanches of hail were crashing from roofs and drains were blocked with the huge volumes of water running down the streets. Is this really freak weather or further evidence of global warming, I wonder?
But to more important things - shopping! Cass Arts was a disappointment, but Green & Stone always remains the same, I just love going in there. It's as if you step back in time and into a time when art was important. I've never found it to be stuffy or unfriendly as some say, just the opposite. I've only ever gone in for pencils and paper but this time I had more excuse to look around and discovered for the first time that they have a basement. Unfortunately they no longer sell the Berol Venus pencils I prefer but they had a good range of papers and pads.
I know how much EDMers love their art supplies so here is a photo of some of mine! I bought mainly brushes in Green & Stone, not shown here, and the Daler Rowney Lyndhurst pad because it's just the size I like to carry in my bag but the pad I have now and the sketches I did in London were done on very soft paper. It's almost like blotting paper and it seems to absorb the graphite making the values look muted. So the size was perfect but I want to go back to cartridge paper. The little blue sketchbook is intended to be carried around too but I'll see how I fare with the square format.
The little blue field box was a bargain at Cass Arts where I also found the Nija waterbrush and the masquepen. The tube of watercolour in the light brown packaging was a free gift of a Winsor & Newton Smalt or Dumont's Blue, a colour no longer made. It's an anniversary edition celebrating 175 years.
I can never resist a book and since it was my birthday during the visit, I may have gone a little overboard! The Margaret Steven's book, The Art of Botanical Painting, was recommended and it was every bit as good as I expected. I found another gem at Green & Stones, Drawing and Painting Plants by Christina Brodie.
I haven't read Making Color Sing yet but it was a surprise to flick through it and see how muted the colours were! In contrast, I nearly didn't buy Shirley Trevena's Taking Risk with Watercolour but it's my favourite so far. David Hockney's Dog Days was on my list to buy and I love the pencil drawings especially but coincidentally Shirley Trevena mentions him in her book as her reason for taking up watercolour. She says he was 'not only using photographs but projecting them onto his canvas so that he could draw round them. David Hockney gave me permission to paint however and whatever I wanted'. I've been mulling over those words since. Much of her book is food for thought but I also liked a technique of hers using texture medium and watercolour pencil shavings so I decided I wanted to give that a go.
Well now the summer holidays have started, this seems like a good time to slow down and spend more time painting and drawing rather than blogging. I'll still be posting but perhaps less frequently. Happy Holidays!