Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Underneath the Arches

Borough Market
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2010

One dull February day I found myself wandering around in the colourful bustle of Borough Market, popular amongst foodies for its vast array of fruit & veg, fish, meat, unusual cheeses and other delights. Nestling under the railway arches at London Bridge station, it's due for some hopefully sympathetic redevelopment as part of the Thameslink Project. I've been meaning to paint it for some time, so I took a series of reference shots with the camera on my new mobile phone.

Initially I stuck a dozen photos on my ideas board, hoping to capture the hustle & bustle, the colour, the soaring Victorian cast iron work, and the variety of goods on offer. I realised fairly quickly that a conventional painting Would Not Do, but the snap of a girl clutching a bouquet of white roses and lilies (and a can of coke, which has become a paper cup in the painting) gave me something to anchor eight or so of the other images to.

The result is Borough Market (original title, eh?). 48 cm x 36 cm, it took me eight intense two-hour sessions over four weekends to complete, using a no. 6 brush and plenty of Viridian Green, Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine. The whole experience has been absorbing, exhausting, and ultimately tremendously rewarding!


  1. I think it's terrific! That's such a complex subject, really daunting, and you've done a great job pulling all the various elements together. I'm sot surprised it took so long.

  2. I did wonder halfway through whether I should have used a larger brush and a looser style, but it was too late by then. Probably it's using just the four colours that has helped to unify it - I did keep a careful eye on those! and staring at those photos for a few weeks before I started painting helped with the composition.

  3. I think this is a terrific painting - possibly the best you've done. I love the vivid details of the people and the market, especially (bizarrely!) that wonderful sign! You can see the hustle and bustle and smell and taste the goods on offer. A lovely warm, vibrant offering! Let's hope that, although it will soon be an historical document that it isn't TOO much of one, and that the redevelopment is indeed carried out sensitively.