Free Range Draw – Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery

Free Range Draw edited

After spending a lot of time in front of screens and hardly moving from my desk yesterday, apart from a trip to the post office and the supermarket, I was really looking forward to Free Range Draw today – drawing outside in London, and forcing myself out of the office. I even put out my rucksack before I went to bed, packed with pencils, paper and a couple of apples to keep me going, just like a school trip. Like a school trip, I ate my apple on the journey.

I spent the first hour or so on the steps of the National Gallery, looking down on the tourists below. At the foot of the gallery there was a street performer, chatting to the crowd, balancing on platforms on top of bicycles, and squeezing himself through a tennis racquet frame. I took the opportunity to draw members of his audience, as they stayed still, watching the performance. They were all wrapped up in scarves and coats – something I should have really considered – sometimes the enormous jumper just isn’t quite enough.

Story House Trafalgar Square

Once I had chilled myself sufficiently, I moved indoors to find some people to draw inside the gallery. I even came across a group of students, sitting on stools in the gallery, also drawing. Some of them drew the art, some the people looking at art, and I drew one of them, who might have been drawing me.

The Story House National Gallery

I’d chilled myself a little too much as it happened, so it was only ten past twelve when I cracked, and made a call out for caffeine and warmth and falafel. We, myself and the lovely Susannah, headed for Gaby‘s. Gaby’s did not let us down. If informal stainless steel tables, piles of tasty salad, fresh chilli sauce full of seeds and the biggest falafel and hummus pitta I’ve ever seen, are up your alley, then Gaby’s is definitely the place for you. It’s probably the place for many, as there was a queue by the time we left.

I’m not quite in the swing of drawing outside again yet – I’m still a bit self conscious, and haven’t yet perfected the art of drawing someone without them becoming aware and the whole thing becoming a little awkward. I did have an excellent time, and lunching and chatting are always to be encouraged. The next Free Range Draw will be on 6th April, and, unless anything changes, we will be drawing at Tate Modern, and the green outside. I haven’t investigated lunch options as yet, which I know, are of vital importance. Susannah mentioned she also did some writing – if you are more lexically inclined, then do come along too.

From Gaby’s, I headed over to South Bank. I had to stop off on the way to buy some woolly socks – did I mention it was chilly?

New Socks

I met a couple of lovely people for a walk around South Bank, a very tempting selection of food at the Real Food Market and up to Tate Modern, where we spent most of our time in the shop. We walked across the wibbly wobbly bridge into the sunshine over St Paul’s. St Paul’s seems to be often bathed in sunlight when the rest of London is in cloud. A lovely outside day. I’ve used my legs and pinken-ed my cheeks so well I am considering bed at 10.15 on a Saturday night, with a good book.