Posts Tagged: urban sketches

Locking down: March to August 2020

COVID 19, Sketchbook 62

This sketchbook was all about lockdown one and the easing we had after it. I stopped updating sandysdrawingroom during that time: there was a lot on I think, and the website stopped working. I’ve fixed that, and for the sake of continuity I’ll add them all here. I’m writing this in October 21, now on sketchbook 67, so there’s a lot to catch up on.

The sketch above is on Leith Walk, a couple of days before lockdown one was announced. I’d just been on the phone to my partners discussing what might happen and looking at the sketch brings back all the feelings of uncertainty.

The next day: people are working from home and the pubs are shut.

24th March. The remaining food rescued from the HTA fridge and the first day in fifty years that HTA hadn’t made lunch for everyone who was in the office.

Time to get used to working from home: straightforward enough as it turned out. The sketch shows our first go at producing face shields for the NHS, the government having found itself short of suitable PPE. Eventually this grew into quite a collaborative effort and my colleague Richard Foxley won the British Empire Medal for his work.
Time to be at home. There was a lot less time than I’d imagined, but the weather was fantastic and I broke the days up sketching the following from my surroundings.
Paying attention to the garden, in this case one of the rocks that sits to the north of the house.
The sketch below is annotated to show where the above plants are located in my garden.
It was a period of being outdoors when ever possible.
Fixing the bike.
Eventually we were allowed some visitors again, outside.

In the house, it was like this:

My workspace.
The hall.
The garage.
Hanging out with the family. We were aware that we were lucky to have company.
The boys doing Scouts and Cubs on line.
Isla, in a mask our neighbours were nice enough to make for us.
The new way to visit the shops.
Lots of time working at home, and drinking coffee.
Keeping up with colleagues online.
The end of the day. After a while we were allowed out again. I’ll cover that in the next one.

V&A – 25 November 2014

Round the Constable exhibition at the V&A with the Our Enterprise team after hearing from Sandy Richardson about the new V&A in Dundee.

V&A - 25 November 2014

No sketching allowed, no explanation given.

Brunswick & Citizen M 25 November 2014Sketching at the Brunswick Centre. I was going slowly so later filled the page with scenes from the Citizen M lobby, still busy around midnight.

Citizen M 26 November 2014

Good foyer spaces, small but well designed bedrooms.

Giraffe - 25 November 2014

Watching people eating, at Kings Cross. Do you take the food to your mouth or your mouth to the food?


Citizen M 15 January 2014

Citizen M in Southwark: contemporary modular hotel. Nice lobby, nice people. Stay there next time.

140114 Citizen MThe friendly barman is also a clothes designer.

140114 Citizen M

HTA Sketch Club November 2013

Poetry Library 22 November 2013This is from the steps of Malcolm Fraser’s Poetry Library, from the lottery era. The steps are for listening to outdoor poetry readings I think, but there’s not much call for that in November. It makes for an interesting raised view point.

St Pancras 27 November 2013This is pretty much my favourite place in London: the platform level of St Pancras. The platform is raised up to let the railway pass over the adjacent canal and the columns on the ground floor were set out to suit beer barrel dimensions. It was built as a proud little but of the Midlands in central London. We went with HTA’s sketch club and Peter Ctori talked us through some of the history, from an engineer’s perspective. My colleagues sketches are on


Lastly some houses in Combe Down, near Bath.

Working & Drawing 27 August 2013

spitalfields 27 August 2013Sketching in Spitalfields with the HTA London. A good turn out, a lovely evening and someone saw Gilbert & George. This always seems to happen round here. London is turning into Monaco: a safe haven for world money. The banks that process the cash eat up a little bit of historic character every few years, so we headed further east to review each other’s drawings.

Hargreaves Foundry 28 August 2013The redevelopment of Kings Cross is much more successful. Less is lost. I’ve been watching this building going up for a year or so now. It’s by Chipperfield and has beautiful, textured, columns from Hargreaves Foundry.

John GrayJohn Gray, our Head of Production Information, came up from London to update our working drawings processes but before he got started we took him to the Whisky Society. A 19 year old Laphroaig was his preference.


The Invisible Man at the Festival – August 2013

Invisible Man 19 August 2013Each year, Edinburgh has about 13 festivals and about 4million people turn up to watch what’s going on. Just now it’s full.  As in most things, it’s the mediocre that predominates, whether it’s dull stand ups from dull BBC panel shows or formulaic street performers. There’s always good stuff too and the whole office went to Kazakoshi, Japanese drumming by these guys:

This was pretty ecstatic.

Taiko Drumming 18 August 2013Whilst it’s hard to capture the transformation in the streets, it’s fun to try. From an attractive, temporary (“pop up”?!) cafe the street performers don’t seem so bad.

George Street 14 August 2013


Edinburgh Festival 16 August 2013

The State of BritainIn a house on York Place watching ‘Look at the State of Britain’ in a room about the size of a bedroom. It was in a house along here that Henry Raeburn painted his amazing portraits.

Blind Poet 16 August 2013We watched Ash (from the train the other) day with his reggae/ ska band at the Blind Poet after. Another intimate venue and more performers who can fill the space.

Maybe an unconventional tenth anniversary but fun none the less.

Cowes Week 7 August 2013

Cowes Week 7 August 2013Watching some determined and competitive sailors in the Solent, some fishing and some swimming: a pretty good way to spend a day.  I know next to nothing about nautical pursuits, but was made to feel very welcome by those that did. You don’t need much knowledge to appreciate the combination of technology and performance that results in beautifully elegant sailing boats, old and new. We had a great vantage point courtesy of Harry Downes at Fizzy.

Swanick Marina 7 August 2013This is the marina at Swanick which I arrived at a bit early, as Southampton is pretty handy for Edinburgh. It takes 15 minutes to sail past all the moorings between here and the Solent, an impressive spectacle in itself and a pleasant start and finish to the day.

Eastwood House, Dunkeld. 27 July – 3 August

A privilege to stay at Eastwood House, Dunkeld for a week. It was the shooting lodge for Blair Castle, and is strung out along a river bank looking south over the Tay.

Eastwood 01-08-13We spent a week playing by the river and enjoying local tourist attractions from Osprey watching (I missed the highlight as I was trying to stop Innes singing in the bird hide: bad form apparently) to the Perth Show.

The house has been superbly, sensitively, renovated by Alex and Cat.

Everything is beautifully chosen, whether it’s colour, art, or the degree of renovation. A small example is the chairs, so I drew a simple one every day.

Eastwood Chairs 01-08-13 no textThe house is also where Beatrix Potter wrote an illustrated letter about a little rabbit, and this was the basis of her subsequent books about Peter Rabbit and others. She could draw a bit and had a scientific mind, so a different career may have lain before her had she not been a woman. Science’s loss, illustrated children’s story’s gain.

She said: “It’s all the same, drawing, painting, modelling, the irresistible desire to copy any beautiful object that strikes the eye…”

Eastwood 30-07-13She wrote the letter in 1893. 120 years later, we occupied the same spaces she had, and passed a very pleasant family holiday.

A few days in Port de Soller 19-22 July 2013

We went to Port de Soller for a few days.

jet 2 to Mallorca 19 July 2013 Julie in Mallorca 19 July 2013    Palma and the terrace at night  Porto Soller Pool 20 July 2013 The pool at Porto Soller hotel

Torre de Ancora 20 July 2013Notes on the house opposite the terrace.

Port de Soller 20 July 2013Down in the port before dinner.

Lunch in Soller 21 July 2013Lunch in Soller

People by the Pool 21 July 2013People by the pool.

Port de Soller 21 July 2013The view across the bay.

Palma Airport 22 July 2013Going home.