‘STICKS IN THE SMOKE’
(A visual celebration of London’s public green spaces)
I‘m a practising landscape painter, living in rural Wiltshire, but have had a passion for London’s green spaces for most of my working life.
I started my ‘Sticks in the Smoke’ project in January 2016, visiting different London public parks and gardens each week to draw and explore. From the huge acreage of Regent’s Park (image below) to pocket handkerchiefs, such as Drury Lane Gardens (image above). I’m now on my 65th garden and 4th sketchbook. I research the history and, while drawing, I note down my observations of how the park is used today, often talking with regular users to gain local insight. I document each visit in my regular ‘Sticks in the Smoke’ blog.
Every green space has something compelling to offer visually, historically and currently. Each one a unique chapter in the story of London’s fascinating origins and rich social histories. For example, Drury Lane Garden which I drew in July 2016, was formerly a grim Victorian burial ground in an over populated slum district, mentioned by Dickens in ‘Bleak House’. Today a calm oasis in the bustling west end.
The drawing from Upper Grosvenor Gardens (see image below) shows the dynamic sculpture of a lioness stalking an antelope, commissioned in 1998 by the Duke of Westminster, overlooked by the palatial terraces built by his Victorian forebears.
I see this material forming the basis of a book, featuring the drawings, photos and writing. Part sketchbook, part journal, part history and part travelogue.
The text, edited from my blog posts would form the content of each chapter, telling the story of a different garden, or perhaps a group of gardens which might link together to create a narrative. Maps, directions, public transport options and opening times would be at the end of each chapter.
I envisage double page spreads at 30cm deep x 60cm wide.
Approx 40 chapters (average 5 pages per chapter)
Contents, Introduction, Index.
Total pages: 224
Please see sample page spreads below
Spreads 1 – 4 form a chapter based on visits in August 2016 to three city gardens which are all laid out on the footprints of churches destroyed in the Great Fire of London 350 years ago.
Spreads 5 – 6 include two drawings made at Brunswick Square gardens in Bloomsbury, the site of the Foundling Hospital
Spreads 7 – 8 tell the story of the transformation from King’s Cross coal yard into the Camley Street Natural Park, a haven for wildlife in the midst of the city
Please contact me or call 07730 400784 for more information or to discuss this proposal.
With many thanks