Sketchy on the Detail

Draw a little every day

Tag: National Gallery

Y2D156 and delayed pressies

Today I met up with a friend who treated me to “The 39 Steps” at the Criterion Theatre, as a delayed birthday present. It was rather funny and we both enjoyed it. Prior to meeting said friend, I spent a couple of hours in the National Gallery, primarily to see the double “Sunflowers” exhibit, but also to have maybe a final wander. They have been busy rehanging, what with the new Bellows on display plus some others that I haven’t seen before. Then, of course, there were old friends, like Mr  Gainsborough’s daughters and their cat….



Y2D113 and saints

Meet Saint Luke the Evangelist, the patron saint of artists. He likes oxen and to paint the Virgin Mary and Child. This rather long and thin depiction is by a follower of Quinten Massys in the Netherlandish school, and resides in the National Gallery, where I spent a rather pleasant 45 minutes sketching back in the 16th century before dinner with a friend. I don’t normally spend time in these rooms, they are usually too crowded for my liking, but today was lovely and quiet with just a few people wandering around. On top of that, saint pictures are rather interesting as there is a great deal of symbolism and scene-setting going on, and it’s fun trying to work out which is which.


Y2D91 and found

I’m a little poorly, got too cold on yesterday’s mammoth walk and had a subsequent temperature last night, so decided to meet my friend in the National Gallery today and hand him the ice-skating tickets we were going to do together but is now not very wise for me to do (as said ice-skating is outdoors and at night and, well, on ice). Long story short,  I hid in my favourite room (Room 21, Dutch painters) hoping it had the least amount of tourists being the furthermost room in the building (no such luck). I had my trusty non-waterproof pen, and water-pen with me but only had time to get the pen bits down on paper before my friend found me. So washes happened once I was home. Probably just as well, as I suspect the room steward may have frowned upon the use of water-pens in the gallery.


This is a skewed view of a painting by Hendrick Dubbels’ elegantly titled artwork “A Dutch Yacht and Other Vessels Becalmed near the Shore” (1660-1670).

Y2D19 and revisiting

I had a second viewing of the National Gallery’s “Facing the Modern” exhibition today, this time with a couple of friends. I only saw it last night, so it was still pretty fresh in my mind as we went around. I had time for a closer look at my new favourites. I really like the ones by Richard Gerstl, who had a wonderful way of manipulating paint on a canvas, but a tragic short life. After the exhibition we walked down to the Delaunay for coffee and Viennese delicacies. This is just a memory from the train ride in. The lady had beautiful wavy blonde hair, like a 1940s film star, that she hid under a dark jacket hood. Though, it was starting to rain, so maybe not quite ‘hid’…


Day 362 and Auerbach

Not so much about Frank Auerbach himself but rather being motivated by his National Gallery-inspired sketches. There are a collection of them at the coffee nook in the gallery, that illustrates his close relationship with drawing and referencing the artistic greats that have gone before him. I think they are lovely, and they help me not to worry so much that my sketches are not precise replicas either .

Today (or rather yesterday as I am writing this on Saturday) I spent time in Room 40, at first with Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s “Rinaldo turning in Shame from the Magic Shield” and then moving on to “An Allegory with Venus and Time” before my friend came to collect me for a coffee.



Day 334 and unexpected

Went to the National Gallery tonight whilst I waited for my friend to finish work. We were trying a different Thai restaurant that turned out to be utterly disappointing, but that is another story. I caught the Vermeer & Music exhibition, which was lovely but surprisingly busy for so late in the day. Even more unexpected was the violin/lute recital that I managed to infiltrate. No photos but I tried to commit the scene to memory and managed this.


Afterwards I had fun playing with the Michael Landy “Saints Alive” exhibition. I love interactive sculpture, and wish there was more about it. Afterall, surely sculpture should be tactical.


Day 63 and victorious angels

Spent today with a friend at the National Gallery, I arrived a little early to get some sketching in. I located myself in the pre-1600 galleries, mostly in room 63, as that had the most beautiful cranes on back panelling, but I concentrated on other works, such as those by Justus of  Ghent (and workshop) or this one of the triumphant St Michael by Bartolomé Bermejo.


Day 41 and Fernweh

I learnt a new word today that sums up what I feel most of the time…Fernweh, a German word meaning the longing to travel…wanderlust, if you like…and I always want to travel.

It’s the title one of artwork by Tacita Dean that was in the “Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present”, where she images a landscape using found photographs and inscribed with quotes by Goethe. I really enjoyed this exhibition at the National Gallery. The space is quite dark and intimate, the walls are a dark chocolate-brown and the lighting low, with spot lights for the artwork, paintings and photography old and new. It was not particularly crowded so I found space to sketch the vistas that appeared as you moved from room to room.

This is looking towards my favourite room and a beautiful photograph by Richard Billingham called “Storm at Sea”.

“Fernweh” was also in this room but around the corner. It filled one wall.

After this short visit to the NG, I wandered down to the Courtauld to the see the Peter Lely exhibition. Then, when I finished there, I wandered down to Cannon Street Station via a spot of photography at the Lord Mayor’s Parade, so much travelling today for me, if only on foot.

Day 28 and inspiration

A slightly more arty day than the preceding ones. I managed to get out the house early enough to visit the National Gallery ( for a mosey before I meet some friends to see the new Bond film, Skyfall.

I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing if you can walk through a gallery and spot the room changes at a glance, but the NG certainly have been doing just that. Some of my favoured painting are probably in storage and some have just been moved around to make way for displaying new loans and the temporary photographic pieces that are an add-on for the ‘Seduced by Art’ exhibition that starts on Wednesday. It’s about photography, old and new, and how it has been inspired by paintings, Old Masters and new. I’ll probably see it later on.

Unfortunately, being a wet day, these rooms in the NG are particularly crowded so I ducked into the free Richard Hamilton exhibit, which are paintings inspired by those in the NG. It was small but intriguing.

Finally I decided to escape into the Sainsbury Wing, hoping that the rooms filled with paintings by those really dead guys would be quieter but to no avail. Eventually I found myself a couple of places where I could sketch visitors in relative peace. I find people rather interesting, I suppose they are my inspiration as there is so much variety…in look, style, temperament, attitude…how can people-watching being anything other than interesting?

buildings don't move

Buildings don't move, people do. Urban art from Stephen Dale

Sarah Masters

Drawings + Words


Creating things


I ain't got a dime

Jennifer Edwards

Learning to See through the Lens of Creativity

brushes and papers

my learning journey


Illustration by Olivia Palmer

London Is Ace

A collection of drawings capturing a little bit of London. Just because it's ace.

Ink & Paint

Drawings and illustrations

Alison Sye

Hand-stitched collage from conked-out stuff.


mixed media from teenytinytablestudio

Art for Tiny Houses

"I wish to do nothing for profit. I wish to live for art. I want nothing whatever. I am quite happy." —William Blake

Anna Williamson

the sketchbook of Anna Williamson

Message in a bottle...

Drawings by Sally Parnis, Artist

Michelle Templeton Art

Certain Afternoons

Evelyn Yee

Artist, Watercolour and mixed media

Stafford ArtWorks

Tips and Techniques About Drawing/Painting