Simon Hodges PS on the works he is exhibiting at The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021.
For his collection of work in this year's exhibition, Simon found inspiration from his visit to Mall Galleries during last year's Pastel Society exhibition and sketching scenes around London prior to the Lockdown in March 2020 with a focus on Battersea and Tower Bridge areas.
During the two weeks of the Society's exhibition in 2020, I would spend at least half a day walking around London recording with sketchbook and camera, both the atmosphere and in particular the new building going on.
Landscape to me is about both capturing the essence of a place and a narrative. In other words, the world changes and I wish to record a little bit of this change.
London changes so fast that each year presents new possibilities and Battersea at night is currently a highlight of this fact.
Walking around London in February 2020, the Thames was always the starting point for walks I had planned in various directions to different parts of London. Here walking back from Tower Bridge in late afternoon/evening, I love the view under The Millenium Bridge towards Blackfriars Railway Bridge with its wonderful new station roof.
The mixture of sun and haze is something that reminded me of the wonderful paintings by Monet capturing different weather on The Thames during his time and whilst I couldn't have done this work on the spot, I took away sketches to work with when back at the studio.
It took some time to decide that I was happy with the results but it is a subject I may well return to.
On returning from Thames Barrier I stopped off again at Tower Bridge as I just love what goes on around this area.
If you walk across the bridge from the station and turn left walking through Bermondsey you come across barges and boats turned into homes and gardens.
Looking back from what is a private car park, you get this wonderful view of Tower Bridge and this floating community along with a mixture of built statements.
To play down the many details of this scene I have used late evening just before artificial lighting takes over.
This is a view I will revisit in the future. I worked on this image up to the last moment before submitting works for the exhibition as sometimes the vision you see struggles to get down on paper successfully.
I am as happy as I can be for now.
When people were visiting exhibitions just before the first lockdown, I sat in the Main Gallery during The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2020 and sketched the scene.
This is from a demonstration done by John Tookey PS and the subject that caught my eye was the light that highlighted someone looking at a picture on the wall behind whilst others admired the finished work by John and his sketchbook in the foreground.
Simon Hodges PS Pastel Exhibition at The Mall 2020 £595
Once John had just finished his demonstration a line formed to look at the finished work. When sketching, I tended to use oil and new waterbased pastels that did not shed themselves all over me, the sketchbook and the gallery.
After almost a year of isolation working in my studio in Bath and walking mainly locally, I am so glad I took advantage of this time and hope to see people again in the gallery soon.
Beware, you may be being watched and sketched.