Saturday, 12 March 2016

Urban Sketching English Churches in Watercolour and My Favourite Inspiring Watercolour Architecture Book

Flicking through my urban sketching journal today I came across my pen and wash sketch of a visit to the quaint St Andrew’s Church in Greensted this summer.  A little church that purports to be the oldest wooden church in the world.  It was a very interesting visit with me managing to fit in a little bit of time to sit in the English sunshine and sketch whilst husband went to explore the interior.           

As I tackled this subject far too quickly on site, I felt I wanted to re-visit the subject using just pencil, line and tone when I got home and had more time. 

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I thought I would share a glimpse into one of my most prized watercolour books as the subject of the book ties in nicely with English churches. 

The Church Triumphant, English Churches in Watercolour by Bob Moody.  I found this book by chance on Amazon.  It was a second hand cheap give away.  When I received it I was astounded at the quality of the book-binding and the calibre of the watercolours published within it.    

Bob Moody is an American artist who was set a challenge to paint the English churches in watercolour in one trip.  He had already done a similar challenge in Alabama which is the same size as England.  He managed that challenge in just one month.  What he did not realise is that there are over 1,000 churches in England and some access to them is via narrow, single track, rural lanes with high hedgerows either side, making the trip extremely slow going.  Lots of my holidays have been spent on these rural lanes, stuck behind cows, sheep and tractors.  So I fully understand the dilemmas of attempting such a trip in England.  His challenge eventually lasted from Summer 2002 to Spring 2003 and he managed to paint 93 exterior and interior watercolours.  All are published within this beautiful book together with an entertaining description of the trip and some history about the churches. 

All original sketches remain in the private collection of the artist, Bob Moody.  Hearing that fact is actually quite refreshing for me, as I do not always want to let go of some of my own artwork either.  So I can fully understand why this artist is still holding onto his sketched memories of the English churches he visited. 


  1. Nice work on the church sketch and the pencil one too!! That was quite a task for Bob Moody to take on. I was in a Brooklyn neighborhood today and within about a 10 block radius I must have seen at least 8 churches. One block had two!

  2. Your on site sketch is wonderful and really brings the drawing you did at home to life! Great find on Amazon! It must have been quite an undertaking for him to reach the churches, amazing project! Thank you for sharing your book and sketches!!

  3. ...your sketch is delightful laura ....hope you do more in the spring ...tks for sharing bob's book really beautiful work and project


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