Friday, 26 November 2010

Keats Garden, Hampstead: 26 November 2010

I was very excited at the prospect of drawing in the garden of Keats House. Until today I really knew nothing about him other than he was a poet who died young. I had the idea that he had drowned in the Bay of Naples but it was Shelley who drowned.

Initially I strolled around the garden while I was deciding where to work and thought this is the house of someone extremely well off. Well for a start Keats didn't own it and it turns out that he came from a humble background and had a very turbulent life with almost his entire family, including himself, dying of tuberculosis. Frankly it's amazing he managed to produce any poetry at all.

Since it was so cold today I thought I would be doing well to complete any drawing at all so for an hour I worked away with a dip pen and ink pausing occasionally to have a cup of tea from my flask. I chose to sit under an awning that provided a bit of shelter and some visual interest and here is the result.

Hampstead Heath Station: 26 November 2010

This morning I enjoyed the train ride from Homerton, my nearest station, to Hampstead and it only took about 20 minutes. It was fun looking out of the window and remembering the sketches I have made so far and reflecting on how interesting the journey has been.

Today has been lovely and sunny and very cold. Quite a lot of the country has got snow which is most unusual at this time of year for the UK. London has escaped it so far but we can still expect very cold weather for the next couple of weeks. So my aim was to draw quickly and still produce something worthwhile and for once I managed to get some people in it. The ink in my pen was reluctant to get on the paper so the result is very sketchy (that could mean the pen is either running out of ink or it was just too cold).

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Hampstead Heath: 18 November 2010

I had no idea when I got off at Gospel Oak how close I was to Hampstead Heath. According to the local map I just had to turn left out of the station and then take the first left, and there it was in front of me.

Even though I have lived in London for 30 years I've only visited the heath a couple of times so I really felt I was exploring somewhere unknown.

I walked up to the top of the heath to Parliament Hill Fields where the authorities have thoughtfully placed a number of park benches. From this vantage you can enjoy a very famous view of London's skyline. This sketch really does not do the view justice but, for what it's worth, I managed to get Canary Wharf in on the left hand side and St Paul's Cathedral on the right hand side.

Since it's November and there is not much day light around I was lucky that the sky was a lovely combination of soft billowy greys and some of the buildings on the skyline appeared ghostly and insubstantial. The air smelled lovely and clean and I could hear birdsong too. Eventually the cold drove me to search out a café.

I never did find out where the tumulus was that I'd seen indicated on the park map. Maybe that can wait for another visit.

Gospel Oak: 18 November 2010

My journey around London came to an unexpected halt a couple of weeks ago due to me catching a heavy cold. Now I have recovered I was raring to get back to my travels and continue exploring.

I gather from our friend Wikipedia that the name Gospel Oak derives from an oak tree under which parishioners gathered to hear an annual gospel when the area was still rural so that must date back at least 150 years.

This sketch, begun in the rain and completed at home, shows Gospel Oak's twin railway bridges. One leads to Richmond and other such places and the other takes you to Barking.