Thursday, 27 December 2012

Albert's Chop House, Manchester

This is my final urban sketch from our group sessions this year. It's of the Memorial Hall, Albert Square, Manchester - remembered by Mancunians more fondly as the Square Albert (pub). Recently and beautifully refurbished by architects Ombler Iwanowski, and now Albert's Chop House - companion to the celebrated Sam's and Mr Thomas' Chop Houses. A welcome addition to Manchester hostelries, but I digress! Because it was so bitterly cold, I sat indoors, in the adjacent Slug and Lettuce and drew what I could see through the window. The sketch took about an hour, maybe just over. I wanted to make it quite jolly with splashes of bright watercolour - Tampopo's red signage and blue signposts. You can see the window frames and brick arches I am looking through.

In case this is my last post of 2012, and that depends very much on wi-fi in Cornwall...I make the long trip south tomorrow to Rock, near Padstow. To anyone reading this, I wish you all the very best for the new year, and hope you are having a lovely festive break.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Couple of quick Manchester views

Drawn quickly whilst out urban sketching. Both took about 20 minutes including watercolour. Any Manchester people reading this, hopefully should recognise the views..?

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Albert Square 2, German Market

And another Venice sketch

This sketch was completed in two sessions, in the morning enroute to the Venice Architecture Biennale and then finished in the late afternoon. It is a view taken from the Riva Degli Schiavoni looking towards the island of San Giorgio. You can see glimpses of sunset through the bridge, which I've tried to capture in the sketch. The light faded fast and I could have done with more painting time before dusk! It seems a little unfinished.

Here is a photograph and the sketch taken from approximately the same viewpoint.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Another Venice sketch...

Venice 3 by simoneridyard
Venice 3, a photo by simoneridyard on Flickr.

'The Art of Urban Sketching' a book review

Here is a link to a well-written book review by my twitter friend Anna Gibb of the Scottish architectural practice Paper+Architects. The book is 'The Art of Urban Sketching (drawing on location around the world)' by Urban Sketchers founder, Gabi Campanario. After various twitter conversations...tweets and retweets, Anna asked if I would say a few words about my experiences of urban sketching, bearing in mind I am fairly new to it, and have recently set up an informal Manchester group.

Anna kindly included some of my comments in the article:

If you are interested in joining us, do visit our facebook group and flickr pages:

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Urban Sketching Venice

Venice 2 by simoneridyard
Venice 2, a photo by simoneridyard on Flickr.

I'm just back from the Venice Architecture Biennale with my students. It was a pretty full on study trip but I managed to take time out to do a few urban sketches....of which this is one.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

St Ann's Sq. Manchester

Both St Ann's Sq. views by simoneridyard
Both St Ann's Sq. views, a photo by simoneridyard on Flickr.

My drawings from Wednesday's urban sketching afternoon. A good afternoon's work I think?

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pier Arts Centre, Orkney

I thought these images might be of interest. The building is the award-winning Pier Arts Centre in Orkney by celebrated Scottish architects Reiach and Hall and the photograph is by Gavin Fraser which was reproduced in the Guardian and architectural magazine RIBA Journal. I am really drawn to it....maybe it's the fading light contrasting with the illuminated gallery, or the highlighted pink of the buoys and adjacent red building - and look at the colour of that water...all with a backdrop of rather dour Scottish granite and pebbledash - I hope I won't upset anyone by saying that, but it's a wonderfully juxtaposed colour palette for the aspiring watercolour painter!

A very close architect friend of mine spent the best part of a couple of years working with the Orkney Council Architects' Department, and I hoped to visit her whilst she was there. I particularly wanted to visit Pier Arts Centre, and enjoy this view for myself, but sadly, didn't make it in the end - however Orkney remains on my wish-list of places to visit! The original painting was completed about 2 years ago, directly inspired by the photograph. It's since been sold although I do have a rather low res digital it isn't lost to me forever. I am thankfully much better these days at keeping a record of my work.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Recent Society of Architectural Illustration meeting

I have been meaning to write this post for a few days after I returned from a meeting of the Society of Architectural Illustration at Solent University School of Art in Southampton last Friday. It was a long day, flight down and long very busy train back...being a Friday and rush hour...and half term. It was the first time I had met my fellow Society of Architectural Illustration members, and very good to meet some of them at last! I arrived late into a packed seminar room full of staff, students and practioners, just as Don Coe (FSAI) and ex president, had started an illustrated talk - and how fabulous his speedy, evocative sketches were! Good to see a professional illustrator working at the top of his game, the students must have been so delighted. Then followed a series of presentations and demonstrations, highlights for me included Keith Hornblower's stunning live watercolour demonstration, I am such a fan of his loose and expressive watercolour style. Also Shona (I'm not sure her surname), did an excellent 'how to set up a perspective exercise' from a plan and elevations. I sort of know how to do this intuitively, but how good to have it explained so clearly. I will definitely be repeating this with my students and also Pete's (again not sure of his surname) very clever 'draw a peg' exercise. Great also to hear from Joe Robson, our current president talking about his CGI work and inspiration for it. So...a whole series of excellent talks, quick lunch, a few introductions then straight into a workshop session at which the students could choose to work alongside one of the illustrators and attempt one of the earlier demonstrations...with the added incentive of good prizes! Students were interestingly from both interior design and illustration courses, this is something I am keen to feedback to my fellow tutors at Manchester School of Art. Because of the long journey north I had to leave them to this session, but was delighted to have made the trip and I am sure the students will remember this day for a long time. I for one was very inspired, came away more enthused about my teaching practice and involvement in architectural illustration...and hopefully have made some new friends! Big well done to all involved.

Here are a couple of photos from the afternoon:

One of the student groups working in the afternoon

Another group working with Keith Hornblower

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Manchester Urban Sketching Group

Manchester Urban Sketching event No1Manchester Urban Sketching event No1Manchester urban Sketching event No1Lecture at 2022NQ, ManchesterPiccadilly gardens, Manchester, England.Cornerhouse Restaurant, Manchester
Otto plays and SingsCornerhouse, Manchester.Cornerhouse Manchester with Fop-haired Youth Manchester Art Gallery CaféThe Big Room 1, Blueprint Studios, SalfordOxford Road, Manchester
All Saints Gardens 1, ManchesterDidsbury Village, Manchester

Well our Manchester (School of Art) Urban Sketching group is really up and running now...this is our flickr site.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Urban sketching in Didsbury Village, Manchester

Last Friday I wasn't at work, so in the afternoon walked down to the village to do a bit of 'urban sketching'. It was a particularly mild autumn afternoon so I based myself outside Cafe Nero with a large americano coffee to keep me warm. This is the sketch I produced over an hour and a half. I am quite pleased with it but think I need to draw quicker and be less fussy with some of the detail. A combination of approaching dusk and a sudden chill in the air, bought my enthusiastic sketching to an end for the day!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Sketches from our first urban Sketching event

For a couple of hours on Wednesday afternoon, I completed the following views. The first took about an hour and 15 minutes and the second view, slightly unfinished, just over half an hour. I was pleased with my progress and my ability for the first time in ages, to completely absorb myself in simply drawing...or urban sketching, I should say.

The first first view is from All Saints Gardens looking towards the Manchester School of Art with Chatham Tower behind and the second view is also from All Saints looking towards St. Augustine's Catholic church with the new MMU Business School behind.

All Saints looking towards Manchester School of Art with Chatham Tower behind

All Saints Gardens looking towards St Augustine's Church

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Manchester School of Art Urban Sketching Group Event No1

Yesterday we had our first Manchester School of Art Urban Sketching Group outing and I am delighted to say about 30 people (or more),'s a really exciting initiative and everyone seemed very engaged by the concept of 'urban sketching'. Also because it was such a mild autumn afternoon, a number of us spent the couple of hours sketching outdoors in the All Saints Gardens. I can't believe how relaxing it was to concentrate fully on drawing! Sketches will be uploaded tomorrow, but in the meantime here are a couple of group photographs from the 'show and tell' at the end of the session.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Manchester School of Art Urban Sketching Group

We're on our way! Our first sketching afternoon is arranged for next Wednesday afternoon in the new MMU Business School building and I am delighted Caroline Johnson USK correspondent for Manchester and Rennes is joining us for the afternoon. I am really looking forward to meeting her...I think we will all be very inspired!

We now have a facebook group and over 50 people have signed up join us. The intention is to apply for official Urban Sketching Group status early 2013 and then we'd be a Manchester, not just School of Art group.

Here is a link to Caroline's work:

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

INTERIOR INTERN: London Skyline - July/August 2012

INTERIOR INTERN: London Skyline - July/August 2012: London Skyline, Which has taken a couple of weeks to get the perspective all in line. But im chuffed with it.  Now i need to learn how to...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Cornish watercolour 1

This watercolour was painted last time I was in Cornwall, in the height of the summer. Bright colours, pretty flowers and blue skies. I usually paint by the Camel estuary but this is inland, looking across from Trebetherwick towards Polzeath. The paint flows more freely out in the sunshine. My next visit to Cornwall will be in a couple of weeks time and I am sure my paintings will be all moody skies and wild autumnal weather.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Mann Island, Liverpool

As part of a visit to Liverpool Biennial with our students on Wednesday, we walked down to the Tate at the Albert Dock, and it was really interesting to revisit the view I had painted last year from unfinished photographs of Mann Island - a new commercial development by architects Broadway Malyan. I was quite surprised, and rather pleased, at how similar the painting and photograph were. 

The reason I am so drawn to this view, is the complexity and layering of the city...dock, ferry, Victorian building, modern architecture at its most inscrutable (as an architect I really like it, but can appreciate it has had a mixed reaction from the general public) - and the stunning backdrop of Liverpool's Three Graces. I actually have quite an emotional response to this view and would really like to do some more paintings in this area. If our Urban Sketchers group gets off the ground, I'll definitely organise a Liverpool day-out!

Mann Island, Liverpool October 2012
Liverpool skyline, painted 2011

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Urban Sketchers 1

I am a big fan of Urban Sketchers and have been plotting over the last few months about trying to establish a Manchester group. This really started to take shape whilst in Singapore over the summer when I met Mdm Tia Boon Sim, one of the group's founding directors. I was invited to a private view which displayed work from a recent sketching weekend in Penang, Malyasia, and I was delighted to meet a number of Singapore Urban Sketchers. Needless to say their work was beautiful and made me even more determind to get involved with something similar back home. London recently started a group and so far Manchester doesn't appear to have one, but watch this space...

One of Mdm Tia's urban sketches

At the private view in a Singapore Tea House
Some of the work on display