Life From A Window : Our London

Keira’s school recently had a ‘Take Your Daughter To Work’ day, which we managed to coincide with an experimental day of live painting at the London offices of AECOM. We were invited to explore the theme of ‘Our London’ for the day, and we duly headed into town on the Overground train during rush hour (I was keen to give Keira the full commuting experience!) to get to work.

We set up in the main reception area on the 16th floor, overlooking the city of London. The view from the window is spectacular – even on a wet cloudy day like the one we had. Keira and I were keen to contrast the wide panoramic view of a wealthy city as seen from the window, with a more close up view of the streets immediately surrounding the building we worked in. We also wanted to involve other people in our work.

People began to show curiosity in what we were doing, so we engaged them in conversations about the view, and about their experiences of London and the local area. We spoke about how the view changes according to time of day, seasons, weather etc. Several folk suggested a series of works to reflect these changes. The view at night came up a few times, and we sought to represent that in a painting. We also invited people to take photographs out of the window, without being any more specific than that.

People also spoke with us about the streets of London, and transport came up a fair bit so we made a street scene using paint for the ‘map’ and polaroids taken by Keira at street level, to represent some of what we heard in the conversations.

We made some geometric abstractions of buildings/cityscape – and experimented with some tracing overlays too, as a way of acknowledging the different ways people described ‘Our London’.

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We had planned to turn everyone’s photographs into a collage cityscape, and we ran into some technical printing difficulties on the day, so that part of the project remains a work in progress.

Life From A Window

The idea was to invite people to engage, thank you to the many people who responded to that invitation. We used what we learned to inform and conduct some small experiments, and we observed how we and others responded to what was going on.

We had a really interesting time. There was no grand plan at this stage, just an opportunity to drop something different into the working day, a small stone which set off a series of ripples.


This work would not have been possible without Keira, and the support of Malcolm, Hilary, and Sharon at AECOM, thank you all. The team at reception supported us well, and encouraged folk to interact with us, thank you. Thanks to everyone who took time to speak with us, suggest ideas, and take photographs.

In Motion

Last Friday was a very special night. I was at an event at the famous revolving restaurant on the 34th floor of the BT Tower. After enjoying an excellent dinner, we had the opportunity to make art while the restaurant obligingly did its thing, offering us an ever changing view of London. I couldn’t resist the opportunity and took a wide panoramic canvas (80cm x 30cm) and started work.

I painted what I saw, as it appeared in front of me, and as the view moved, so did what appeared in the painting. I ended up with an abstraction of the view over London at night. This is the painting in situ, just after the restaurant stopped moving.


Here’s another view, looking straight at the canvas. I really enjoyed making this art work, it has real pace and movement to it, and I quickly realised I had to go with the flow, and let London appear, and appear, and appear. I am really enjoying scaling up my work.


A Visit To Anna Laurini’s Studio

I’ve been a fan of Anna Laurini’s street art since I first spotted it in London around 18 months ago. I admire her work, it feels really vibrant, alive. I love how Anna has developed a seemingly simple idea into such a wide range of representations. Her work is unmistakeable too – that’s neat.


Anna has always struck me as accessible. Since I began following her on Instagram – I have observed that she regularly responds generously to comments on her work. Recently Anna has been offering some of her paste up art for sale, so I asked to buy one and the next thing I know, I am invited to visit her studio.

I find myself among a huge number of large canvases, both finished, and works in progress. Anna has a show starting in London at Lights of Soho later this month and she’s busy making final preparations. It’s a pleasure to see so many of her works in one place, and to get a sense of how Anna works too. Although she is clearly busy, Anna makes me a lovely strong coffee, and talks at length with me about her work, and about creativity in general. ‘You’re the only person who can do what you do’, is probably my favourite snippet from our conversation.



Before I go, I’m invited to purchase a paste up from a neatly organised folder. I pick a recently finished one made using a page from The New Yorker.


As a parting gift, Anna surprises me with this lovely piece for me to give to Keira. Thank you Anna, for this gift, and for the chance to learn more about you and your work.


You can see and buy some of Anna’s work here, and her solo show ‘Profiles’ is at Lights of Soho from January 25th to March 11th. I leave Anna to her work and head back into London. As I wander down the Charing Cross Road, I find this.