Urban Sketchers (London) Group has a good size membership of keen sketchers now. It has been going just over a year.

I try to attend the ‘sketch crawls’ as much as I can.  In the past year I was able to go to draw with the Group in The City of London near St Paul’s Cathedral, to The Mall and St James’s Park, Westminster and with another sketching group called Drawing London on Location, in Regent’s Park, London.

REgent's Park

The childrens’ Boating Lake in Regent’s Park London, with pedaloes and geese.

St James's Park

St James’s Park, near The Mall, London during the VE Day parade and march past of the Veterans (1940-1945)

st Martin's in the Fields

St Martin’s in the Fields Church porch, in Trafalgar Square when HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a servicee

Tank in The Mall

This Second World War tank replica was on display in The Mall, London on the VE Day Commemorations, 2015

Regent's Park

Regent’s Park London, the Boathouse Cafe, Spring 2015

London Fire Fighters

Statue commemorating the London Fire Brigade and their work during the London Blitz during the 1940-1945 war

Shaun the Sheep

One of the many Shaun the Sheep statues in the City of London, near St Paul’s Cathedral. A charity event 2015, during the winter time

Millennium Bridge, River Thames

Near St Paul’s Cathedral there is the Millennium bridge over the River Thames, it is called the Wobbly Bridge ( by us Londoners). The Blackfriars bridge is in the background.

Briths Museum

The British Museum had an exhibition with a Napoleonic theme last winter, 2015

Mitsubishi gallery

The Mitsubishi Gallery in the British Museum, the Urban Sketchers went there in winter 2015

Festival Hall London

London’s South Bank, visited by the group Drawing London on Location. This is a view from the Festival Hall

Festival Hall view

The South Bank of River Thames, another view from the Royal Festival Hall

British Museum

British Museum, London, the Mitsubishi Gallery with permanent exhibition of Japanese statues, armour, ceramics and other works of art

Waterloo bridge

View of Waterloo Bridge, over the River Thames from the South Bank, January 2015



I went to see the Daumier exhibition on Sunday, as I was in the West End of London.  I am very glad I made it just before the exhibition closed.  It was called


An interesting piece of information from the exhibition was that  ‘Daumier did not draw from life or employ models in his studio.  Instead he worked from memory, reworking many images ‘twenty times over’ and then completing them in just a few hours”

I noticed that there were quite a few oil paintings, and small sketch-like works, which surprised me as I have always thought of Daumier as a print maker.  Yes, his main income was from satirical lithography, provided for the press in Paris, but he also worked on painting in oils, and ink or watercolour, and sculpture.

From the leaflet I learned that ‘only a handful of his paintings and drawings can be dated with certainty as they were rarely exhibited, published or sold’.

The small works were so interesting, as they seemed very modern in their subject matter and the atmosphere seemed sometimes sad and wistful, a wistfulness which he conveyed brilliantly.  I am thinking of the series of paintings of clowns,  Les saltimbanques

The Sideshow,

Parade de saltimbanques, by Honore Daumier, 43cm x 33cm


Daumier, the Burden

The Burden, oil, Honore Daumier c.1850

The images of working women, with children in tow, were what caught my eye. Above is The Burden, painted in oil on paper, 47cm x 27cm.  These images are small. Apparently Daumier used to live on Isle Saint Louis, and watched the laundresses with their burdens coming up from the Laundry Boats on the River Seine.  This painting is usually in Dijon.

Some of the works were made  with an interesting mix of media, for instance, charcoal, gouache, black ink, pencil, conte, wash, watercolour.  The results were beautiful, i thought, and very rich.  They inspired me to use gouache and conte crayon on my drawings of London, as well as what I usually employ which is black pen, pencil or soft black crayon.  I am now a member of Urban Sketchers London!

Van Gogh wrote at length of Daumier in his letters, he was friends with Corot and Victor Hugo, and apparently some of the modern artists in particular  who admire him include Paula Rego, Quentin Blake and Gerald Scarfe.

I was reminded of the work of Edward Ardizzone, the author and illustrator, too. Here is a link to some Ardizzone pictures on The Tate website. Do have a look in particular at The Bedroom

I think my favourite image was the small Hunters by the Fire, of which I could not find a postcard.  It  three men and their dog, looking into the smoky fireplace, and it is in atmospheric greys and blacks.  The list of media is:  charcoal, pen and ink, watercolour heightened with gouache.  Very lovely.  Here is a link to the image which I found in the Art Print Collection  http://bit.ly/1esvTp3

I shall look out for more Daumier works now, not only are the works he produced interesting but the story of his life is also the story of a modern man, who stuck to his beliefs and did not follow the temptation to produce large fashionable works  just to make lots of money.

The works were on show in the Sackler Wing of the RA, right on the top so we have to get there in the lift.  The first of the rooms is always crowded – I usually walk through to the following rooms where there is more space, then maybe reverse my walk when the crowds have lessened.




This is a problem for a lot of artists. Frames are expensive. Make your own? Not for me. I am no carpenter.

To make frames I think you need the space to work, a workbench, measuring stuff, hammering stuff – all that ‘man’ kind of thing!

Over the years I have always got my watercolours and prints framed.
My art work in oils on board and canvas can look after themselves.

If you want to know my current position, I have just been up to the Royal Academy Framers, behind the Royal Academy in Piccadilly.
The oil painting I took with me is destined for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy this year, 2011.
Its difficult to find the entrance. I was told it is near the Academy Schools entrance, and so it is, but it is disguised as the entrance to the entrails of the Academy, a big doorway with a view of various – what look like – screens or flats from a theatre.
The framers entrance is a little door on the right here, easy to miss. There is no sign.
My painting will be ready in about three weeks time.
The other oil painting for the Summer Exhibition is to be framed by a local small business, which I have used once before.
They seem excellent.
I thought I would see if the chance of my work being accepted had any relationship to what kind of frame it is in.

Another framer I use regularly is Gleeson Framers, in Coombe Lane, Raynes Park. Lisa Gleeson has been a framer for years, and I have used her for my art work for a long time, since before she moved to smart new premises in Coombe Lane.

Gleeson Framers