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London Sketchbook

February 3, 2010

After Friday’s post about contrasting old photos to new surroundings, I went on a search for vintage London pictures. I was thwarted by the Library’s local studies section ludicrious opening hours, and couldn’t find what I wanted in my own collection. I did however revisit one of my favorite London books, “London Sketchbook, A City Observed“. Good old fashioned watercolour sketches are one of those arts that one day (when fifty hour days become standard) I can improve on. After the 3rd straight holiday of packing up my itty bitty supplies and never unpacking them, I attempted last year when we were travelling through Europe…and although I completely loved  the attempt- the final result wasn’t what I had in mind.

This book is a fabulous ‘souvenir book’ of London–so much better than a picture based book because all the ugly bits are removed–and also sums up the effect I’d love to have in my sketchbook. Illustrated by Graham Byfield, the paintings have a fabulous economy of stroke and paint, something I am horrible at. Reworking something to death is pretty much my signature. Look at those fabulous bleeding trees! One swash and done? Ba-rilliant. Plus the book is printed on fantastic watercolour-esque paper and the handwriting was done so convincingly I nearly took my book back to the shop because I thought someone had written in it. Durr.

I picked these shots specifically because they all are ‘local’ to us, whether its near our current flat (images 1-3), our old flat (image 4) or near where I work (image above). I love how colourful and even dare I say, tropical, these pictures look. Which I definitely would never have imagined ‘prim and proper’ London being before I moved here. I can’t believe I had to move closer to the artic to find palm trees!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2010 10:54 pm

    I totally agree. Drawing like that is a forgotten art form. In fact drawing itself is being lost. I don’t do enough sketching myself but working on one at the moment.
    Keep it up.
    Cheers, Erin

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      February 10, 2010 10:22 pm

      Oh lovely! What is the subject/style?

  2. mutte permalink
    February 5, 2010 11:16 pm

    Don’t worry about reworking everything- it;s the learning process and is very valuable. Don’t require each sketch you do to be a finished (and good) piece. I think that is a common reaction for someone in the commercial arts. Think of it like practicing the piano ( or Flute) or training for the marathon and learn to enjoy the actual process instead of anticipating a perfect end result. After a while of just DOing it you will look back at your earlier stuff and probably see two things:
    #1- that you are getting better and didn;t realize it.
    and #2- that you now actually really like some of your early things now that you aren’t staring at them and nitpicking.

    • Pillar Box Post permalink*
      February 10, 2010 10:21 pm

      Uh huh and how is all that completely sound advice working for you?! Haha

      • mutte permalink
        February 12, 2010 9:27 pm

        It actually IS starting to work for me. But I have to remind myself daily and sometimes hourly. I have been painting every day for the last few weeks. How long is it supposed to take for something to become a habit?–21 days? I am 2/3 there.
        It is starting to sink into my brain that my work just “is what it is” and shouldn’t be some form of “perfection” that I “perceive” in someone else’s work. Soon I may be able to JUST DO things creatively the way I did before I went to art school.

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