Fife, Scotland

 
The Bass Rock and Berwick Law in the distance from Elie, Fife.

The Bass Rock and Berwick Law in the distance from Elie, Fife.

In late October I stayed in Fife for a family get together. It was a great time, and I also got the chance to do a few paintings.  These experiment more with iridescent oil pastels and wax. I really like the possibilities these both give when used with watercolour - the wax rejects the paint which makes interesting shapes, and the oil pastel has a rough texture which is really helpful for describing certain things.

Harbour at Crail, Fife.

Harbour at Crail, Fife.

I really enjoyed painting the fishing villages on the East Neuk of Fife - Crail and Pittenweem. There's just something appealing about drawing boats!

Pittenweem, Fife.

Pittenweem, Fife.

Art materials and much needed flask of tea!

Art materials and much needed flask of tea!

Elie, Fife.

Elie, Fife.

 

180 The Strand

 
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I took a trip to the last day of the 'Everything at Once' art exhibition at 180 The Strand over the weekend. I brought my painting things as a friend had told me there was a great view from the 2nd floor.

After seeing someone being told off for attempting to do an impromptu fashion shoot in one of the rooms downstairs, I somewhat slowly got my art things out and waited to be told to stop whatever it was I was hoping to do. Fortunately no one seemed to mind.

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It was an unusual angle featuring the Southbank on the Thames, and a view looking straight down into an adjacent building site. I was a bit strapped for daylight (the gallery opened in the afternoon) so I had to work quite quickly and narrow my focus as to a view.

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I painted the abstract shapes of the building site first, the sleet and rain during the day had made many surfaces reflective so I worked with iridescent pastels to try and bring this out.

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As it started getting darker I changed my focus to the Thames - using gouache to light up the windows of the buildings and the neon sign of the OXO Tower.

 

Illustrating London's oldest botanic garden

 
A close up from the map. The design features elements of the Garden which I sketched first on location and then worked into the finished art.

A close up from the map.

The design features elements of the Garden which I sketched first on location and then worked into the finished art.

Recently I was commissioned by the Chelsea Physic Garden to illustrate a pen and ink map featuring my sketches. I was thrilled to be asked as the Garden is somewhere I've enjoyed painting and sketching in the past. As someone who loves drawing interesting places in London, the Garden also has a lot of history.

The Pond Rockery at the Garden - one of the oldest in Europe.

The Pond Rockery at the Garden - one of the oldest in Europe.

Established in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, the Garden has long been about the growth and study of medicinal and useful plants. This is still very much apparent today - the volunteers give free tours explaining the many different types of plants on site and their uses.

Chelsea Physic Garden - Sloane statue. A picture I painted on location last year.  One of the volunteers at the Garden very kindly bought the original artwork after seeing me drawing by the Sloane statue. A print is available here.

Chelsea Physic Garden - Sloane statue.

A picture I painted on location last year.  One of the volunteers at the Garden very kindly bought the original artwork after seeing me drawing by the Sloane statue. A print is available here.

Sketchbook drawings I made on site. This was helpful in gathering reference material for the map, and gave me ideas as to what to include in the final artwork.

  Initial draft sketch in pencil.

 

Initial draft sketch in pencil.

A pencil rough based on sketches. The gardening gloves for the entrance/exit signs was an idea I included in the last stages before getting the OK for the final artwork.

The finished dip pen and ink drawing.

The finished dip pen and ink drawing.

The lettering was particularly fun to do, although I did end up doing a lot of spell checks with some of the longer names before inking... Looking at you 'Monocotyledon Order Beds'.

It was nice to see these available in the Garden shop recently - one of the uses of the map was for a set of high quality bone china mugs. Its really satisfying to see these are now hopefully going to be filled with tea and coffee! Two designs are available and both feature a section of the map and a motif on the inside - the wheelbarrow from my sketchbook ended up being one of the inside pictures.

Atlantic Islands Glasshouse.

Atlantic Islands Glasshouse.

A painting I did at the Garden's Xmas Fair recently. I decided to focus on one of their Foster & Pearson designed glasshouses which date back over 100 years.

 

Greenwich Park

 
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Painting of Greenwich Park I finished the other day featuring Canary Wharf and the University of Greenwich.

I'm in Scotland next week but the picture is available now as a signed print if you would like one. Any orders will be shipped asap from the 28th: https://www.etsy.com/…/greenwich-park-a2-limited-edition-si…

Also, the original picture is for sale. Just get in touch with me at mail@jamesoses.co.uk if you are interested!

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Wind in the Willows

 
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I was commissioned by Jamie Hendry Entertainment recently to draw the front of house at the London Palladium for their production of The Wind in the Willows. The original artwork was purchased by the team, as well as a run of signed prints which were given to cast and crew involved in the show.

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I actually drew the Palladium for a similar commission last year - although it was really nice to be asked again, as the architecture is such a joy to draw. There's a lot of history too - the theatre was designed by Frank Matcham who also designed the nearby Coliseum and Leicester Square Hippodrome theatres, in addition to many others.

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Many musicians and performers have also been on the stage there including Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Judy Garland, and Marvin Gaye. The theatre was even the setting for the final scene of Hitchcock's The 39 Steps... so there's a lot that makes it an inspiring place to paint!

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Illustration for the Poetry Society

 
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Catching up on a few things I've been up to recently - here's a spot illustration I did for the Poetry Society's member's paper Poetry News.

 

SPAB bags!

 
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Tote bag for The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. The illustration features their Georgian HQ in Spital Square, East London. Was really nice to be asked to work on this project.

These bags are available from the SPAB. Find out more about what they do at www.spab.org.uk.

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Drawing the SPAB

I was commissioned by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings - SPAB for short - to illustrate their beautiful Georgian headquarters, on location, in Spitalfields.

The SPAB was co-founded by William Morris and Philip Webb in 1877, and has since been devoted to the protection of historic buildings in the UK and elsewhere.

It was really nice to be asked, as I admire their cause as a charitable organisation - and also because I love drawing interesting buildings, many of which they aim to preserve.

The black and white line illustration is going to be used on a run of canvas bags and postcards - the second of which have been produced already. Will update when the bags come in!

As a side note - this was drawn on a chilly day in February. I was only kept warm by several cups of tea and ample jammie dodger supplies courtesy of the SPAB...

You can find out more about SPAB and what they do here: www.spab.org.uk

Drawing the Ritzy Cinema


Opened in 1911 as the Electric Pavilion, the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton is one of London's earliest purpose-built cinemas. I've had a bit of a fascination with drawing the front of the building in recent years, having painted it a couple of times since their 100th anniversary in 2011. On a bright day recently, it seemed like a good place to start a new set of Brixton related pictures.

I think my favourite aspect of drawing the Ritzy might be the tangled web of chained up bicycles always in front of the Cinema. I'm a recent convert to cycling in London myself and have been devising ways of strapping a large portfolio to my back along with carrying a stool and all my art materials. As I was leaving, someone unlocking their bicycle noticed my set-up and worryingly said, "that's almost as bad as the time I cycled home with an ironing board!"

I've just made the picture available as a professionally produced giclée print which you can get from my Etsy shop here.

The original drawing is also available to purchase. If you are interested please email me at mail@jamesoses.co.uk to get in touch.