Tag Archives: architecture

Saint, Sunlight And Scabby Exterior

28 Nov


St Christopher b

I did more sketching towards the end of my recent holiday in Italy, in Bologna, than earlier in Florence, mainly, I think, because making art is my profession and drawing while I’m on vacation feels like work. But after a few days I had itchy fingers and started to scribble in my sketchbook again. We visited some magnificent churches and cathedrals; this one below is the Basilica of San Petronio. The outside façade was left unfinished and in quite a rough state, which is in complete contrast to the fascinating interior, allegedly because the architect wanted to rival St. Peter’s in Rome and once the Pope got wind of it, he put pressure on to stop the project from being completed.


church b

One of the many beautiful things inside is a gorgeous painting of Saint Christopher. I managed a very quick sketch which doesn’t do it justice at all. Another fascinating thing is the longest meridian line in the world, marking out a calendar on the marble floor. We stayed and watched it in action just after noon, where a large dot of sunlight appeared alongside the date shown on the floor. It was very exciting!


The holiday was arranged by New Scientist magazine and focused on Renaissance art, architecture and science, expertly led by Andrew Spira.


Viennese Stroll And A Bit More Egon

17 Jun


I stopped for some time in front of this self portrait by Egon Shiele at The Leopold Museum in Vienna. I have seen it many times in books but was fascinated when I came face to face with it. The brushwork is so fluid and he creates light and dark and the flow of the material on the clothes by simply using brushstrokes. I made a lot of notes around the quick sketch.

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Viennese architecture is spectacular and it was a joy just strolling around the city. We hung out a while at Café Museum, where Shiele and Klimt used to eat.

It’s FAB

30 May

wordpress 30 may

I’m in Bath, invigilating an exhibition that I have some work in. It’s the 12:34 group show at FAB 3 in York Street, part of Fringe Arts Bath. I took a small easel and drawing materials to draw to pass the time. I don’t like drawing buildings, inside or out, but there wasn’t much else to do. I’ve been looking out of the window onto the Georgian rooftops of the baths, amazing architecture.It’s a good exercise in drawing what you actually see, rather than what you think you see. Common sense suggests that the white gallery walls are lighter than the view outside the window, but squinting my eyes showed that the opposite is true. I used black and white conte crayons, a traditional dip pen with Indian ink and some Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens onto a piece of recycled Bockingford paper, about size A3.

That’s one of my maniere noire drawings on the wall and I’ve included it in the drawing.

A Lovely Bit Of Gothic

14 Oct

Ink drawing: The Gothic Station in Copenhagen.

We visited friends in Copenhagen last winter – lovely city – amazing towers everywhere. We climbed one of them – The Church of our Saviour, a twisty one that went up 300 feet or so. Not a good idea, not a good idea at all when you’re terrified of heights! I’d intended to draw from the top, but ended up clutching the wall and handrail, whimpering in terror while small children skipped merrily past, oblivious to the hideous life threatening danger. I stayed at ground level from then on.

Although I normally draw people [and cats], it’s nice to draw the places I visit because it’s more memorable than taking photos. It’s easy to rattle off thousands of digital images but what are you going to do with them all when you get back home? I prefer to look critically around me for something interesting and memorable to draw [and if I’m honest, something that I’m capable of drawing lol].

We’d been on our feet for hours and wandered into Copenhagen’s magnificent train station. We sat down for a coffee and a rest and I drew the scene in front of me. It’s a gorgeous mess of stone, cast iron and wood, cathedral-like in places, soaring high above modern bland, mass produced kiosks. It’s a challenge drawing architecture so that it doesn’t end up looking like an architectural drawing. There’s no point in that – the architect did it better!


The drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt pens into an A6 Cotman watercolour sketchbook.


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