From Manchester to London

August 4, 2016 | 7 Comments

Today I arrived at my last destination of this (big) trip – London – and have gone a little crazy with some solo sketching and lots of walking! But first let’s quickly catch up on the last few days in Manchester.

I had a wonderful Sunday with some new friends from a local church and then on Monday and Tuesday did a little sketching with some of the remaining sketchers – mostly Marc Holmes and Suhita but various other sketchers joined us as well. This year we were all exhausted and I didn’t push myself as I needed to rest (a little) in order to have the energy for London. However I started Monday feeling inspired, doing my last sketch with Eza at Castlefields under the railway bridges.

I then ran into Gerard Michel (the legend!) and he showed me his sketch from the same spot.

I wrote at the time:
My 30 minute sketch of castlefield under the railway bridge with a tiny thumbnail of the intersection of the four railway lines and Gerard Michel’s 6 hour masterpiece that he did the day before. Ah! Always so inspiring to catch up with Gerard – no one can match his experience and precision but there is so much to learn from looking at his work. Hope next year to sketch alongside him somewhere somehow – it was just hugs and laughs this year. See you soon Gerard!

I next headed to the northern quarter with Marc and Laurel Holmes and it started raining again. I did a half heartened sketch while having a ‘full on’ conversation with Marc and the right sketch was a quick one on my walk back to the hotel.

I popped into the John Rylands Library to see and sketch the oldest fragment of the New Testament – from John 18:37-38.

It was time to admit defeat (from pushing through my tiredness) and return to my hotel room (and spend three hours doing the last two blog posts!)

We had a fun dinner with Chris and Angela (Aussies). Angela suggested we have a portrait challenge and the professionals in the group took it seriously!

On the final day we meet up with local sketcher Liz Ackerley (correspondent for the symposium) who showed us her exhibition of sketches of wall murals in the northern quarter – part of an event called cities of hope. It was great – thanks Liz!

Liz then gave us a tour of the buildings so we could see the art in context.

Time for a quick coffee (much needed), a wander around the mills at Ancoats and another quick sketch.

It started raining again so we headed to the Museum of Science and Industry and I enjoyed sketching the mill equipment – humming (softly) to myself the soundtrack from the BBC adaption of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. BTW the wrist brace is for support and not because I have an injury!

My final Manchester sketch was from the cafe of the other half of the museum.

I really enjoyed getting to know and sketch Manchester… but the time had come to head south!


I arrived in London late morning and headed out sketching at 1pm. I couldn’t pass Hawksmoor’s St Mary Woolnoth without a sketch – could I?

But I was really heading for my favourite place in London – St Stephens Walbrook by Wren. Doesn’t look much on the outside but inside…


I think it is his best building and it’s even more special because Thomas Watson preached in this spot (the old St Stephens before the great fire).

My first view of St Paul’s this visit!

Next I walked to Covent Garden looking for afternoon tea… but instead I sat on a gutter and sketched.

Then I had an early dinner and sketched the view.

I somehow finished up at Trafalgar Square (National Gallery and St Martin-in-the-fields) and did one final sketch. What a crazy afternoon!

I don’t find sketching tiring, but walking around with my bags over my shoulders (just like any other traveller) is the exhausting part. When I am on my own and I start to think ‘this is sketchable’ I immediately act and open up the sketchbook.

It is this decisiveness that makes all the difference. It is easy to think that it will be too hard, that there isn’t a comfortable spot to stop, but to get a sketchbook filled you need to take risks all the time. The risks are not just in the drawing part – the biggest risk of all is just starting and overcoming your fear of being a spectacle sketching on the streets. But it’s worth it!

Now what shall I do tomorrow?


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  • Patricia Wafer says:

    What a wonderful trip!! I have spent time in Ireland but not in England or Scotland but they are on my bucket list. Esp. London and all the wonderful art and buildings. I thoroughly enjoy seeing your sketches and photos! I had taken a long break from Foundations but am back at it now and enjoying it very much. I’m having a spot of bother with posting on Flicker but I will figure it out! Have a great day tomorrow!

  • Diane says:

    Have been loving your posts and the story of your trip and admiring all the energy you have. I am afraid I have not gotten over the “making a spectacle of myself” part but am better about this than when I was younger. Rest up and enjoy the rest of the journey!

  • Lizzie says:

    Liz, I love your blogs anyway but it’s so interesting for me, brought up in the Manchester area though now living near to London, to see places I know well through your eyes. So sorry you’ve had a dose of our unpredictable weather.! Thank you for putting out this enjoyable blog while on the go – you must be so tired, and it is appreciated. If you go to the British Museum, try Cornelissen’s marvellous art shop at 105A Great Russell St. nearby, I think it’s the oldest in London. Also, have a listen to TMS (Test Match Special) while the cricket is on – a great BBC institution.

  • jean Mackay says:

    I marvel at your ability to do marathon sketching! Great stuff.

  • sandra de says:

    Wonderful sketches of what looks like a very enjoyable sketching trip. Looking forward to your new online course. If I can learn a touch of your skill I will be happy.

  • Great sketches. Some times sketching can make you forget your tiredness but sometimes it works the other way. I’ve enjoyed seeing your posts and reading your comments. I’ll be heading out to Venice soon and will be trying to take some risks there too. Happy sketching!

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