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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Mall Galleries

The Mall Galleries © Peter Gander
The set-up for painting on the train  © Peter Gander
Yesterday I walked down to The Mall Galleries in The Mall, near Trafalgar Square. The gallery was showing The Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Engravers exhibition. Outside a warm sun was shining strongly, dappling through the plane trees the whole length of The Mall, opposite St James’ Park, reminding me of the avenues of France. (The London plane trees nearby in the south east corner of the park date back to the 1820s). Viewing the gallery and a 15 minute walk each way wasn't going to allow me the time to do any painting myself, so I did a quick pencil sketch, took a colour reference pic on my mobile (for colour ref) and actually painted this from scratch on the train (yes, the train) on the way home! I wouldn't recommend it and it only really works if the jogging of the train doesn't hamper your style (it wouldn't work if you like to paint ruler-straight lines - but my style is loose and impressionistic). I am no fan of having a hundred brushes to hand and there is no room for such luxuries when you only have a foot square drop-down train table to work on. Brush-wise, I used a Pro Arte Renaissance Squirrel size 2 mop, which holds a lot of water for the washes, yet has a fine tip too for the smaller areas. Also in the pic is an unused filbert travel brush (in gold). Plus my tiny Winsor & Newton Pocket Plus watercolour palette, at 12 half-pans and only 13cm x 7cm when stowed, it's ideal for such cramped conditions. (Note the well-designed clip-on palette extension which gives extra space for colour mixing). Not forgetting a couple of water wells (one with  a screw-top) decanted from an old plastic milk carton, a piece of wax candle (for those interesting wax-resist effects) and some tissue complete the equipment list. The watercolour paper was clipped to a pad for resting on, useful for angling purposes as the train table is too much of a right angle. Hopefully this shows you what is possible in confined spaces and makes good use of commuting time. Oh, and expect a few strange looks on the train! Watercolour on 150gsm paper, 178mm w x 127mm h. FOR SALE £50 inc P&P UK mainland only, email me with enquiries: petergander(at)

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