Category Archives: 30 Painting Tour of London

Contemporary Art Tour of London in 30 Days

Tour London through Contemporary Art

Hi! I’m Cathy Read, a professional contemporary artist who draws with masking fluid to create art like this.

©2015 - Cathy Read - Bobbies on Bicycles - Watercolour and Acrylic - 61x45 cm
©2015 – Cathy Read – Bobbies on Bicycles – Watercolour and Acrylic – 61×45 cm

You’ve heard of virtual tours, I’m sure. well, I’m going to give you

An Abstract Tour of the City of London!

Or rather an Abstract, virtual Tour of London.


Well, here’s how it works. You sign up for the tour and over the following 30 days I will send you a email featuring one of my paintings with a story or reflection attached. Quite simple really.

Join me on a virtual tour of London as we explore the city using 30 paintings inspired by its streets and architecture?Yes, I want to come

This is for you if you: –

  • love art
  • love London
  • Love contemporary art
  • Want to hear the stories behind paintings and not just look at the paintings
  • Want to see an artists perspective on the everyday and iconic

I’ve selected 30 of my paintings inspired by London and its architecture to create this Virtual Tour.

Over 30 days I will reveal these to you in a daily email. During the tour you will see my view of the city, created in watercolour and ink. I’ll also be including stories behind the creation of the paintings.

©2014 - Cathy Read - Routemaster selfie - Watercolour and Acrylic on canvas - 20 x 20cm - (SOLD)
©2014 – Cathy Read – Routemaster selfie – Watercolour and Acrylic on canvas – 20 x 20cm – (SOLD)

What’s in it for me?

  • You get to see some cool art, for free! You also get to see the thinking behind the pictures and how they are created.
  • It’s educational, you might discover something new and exciting.
  • It’s unique

How much will it cost?

I won’t lie to you, there is a price, your precious time, but I will only share content you’ll love. The tour itself is free, I just need your name and email address so I know where to send it.

What’s the catch?

Well, I say the tour is free, and it is.

It is free unless you decide to stop for souvenirs that is?

I can’t promise it will be cheap then, but I can promise that, if you do want a souvenir, you will be getting something you will treasure.

You will have a distinctive print or an original piece of art like this by an award winning artist

London architecture ©2015 - Cathy Read - Battersea Reborn- Watercolour and Acrylic - 55 x 75 cm
©2015 – Cathy Read – Battersea Reborn- Watercolour and Acrylic – 55 x 75 cm – £810 unframed

but I promise I won’t force you into buying anything you don’t want to. Deal?


What if I change my mind?

No problem! Unlike a real tour, you can hop off any time, It’s perfectly safe. Just hit the unsubscribe button. It’s that simple.

What happens when the tour is over?

When the tour is finished you will be given the option to be added to my newsletter list. In the unlikely event you get sent the next newsletter in error, just click unsubscribe and poof they will vanish!.

So come and take the tour, see art inspired by the great city of London. Without the need to travel anywhere

Yes, I want to come

As I sit here writing this, the rain is pouring down outside.

Not the type of weather that inspires you to take a conventional tour, is it? Well, here’s the beauty of an Abstract tour, you don’t need to leave the house, or even your computer!

Just sit back and enjoy the art. And, unlike a regular tour, it won’t cost you a penny!



Care to join me?Yes, I want to come









Goodnight Thames – all things come to an end…

Time to say Goodnight Thames!

We have reached Day 30, the final day of our tour. Time to say a final farewell! Over the last 30 days we’ve wandered around this great city and the Thames has been close by. The Thames is the heart of London. Its source and reason for existance, the river both divides and unites the city.

We could carry on, I have more paintings to share…

but the challenge was 30 paintings over the 30 days, so here we must end. All things will end eventually, it’s a sobering thought and can easily bring you to dispair but endings are also beginnings.

For when one thing ends, something new takes its place.

Goodnight Thames is a painting based on a photograph I took on my way home from a Private View at Bankside Gallery. It was late enough to be dark but the night was still young. I’d had a wonderful evening at a significant event in my art career, my first exhibition with the Royal Watercolour Society. Whilst it was the end to my evening as I headed home on this occasion, it was also the beginning of something else.

The start of the exhibition!

I could have continued celebrating my success. London is alive at night so there were many options. I chose it to be the end, but it needn’t have been. I marked the moment by enjoying the way the Thames was lit at night, and taking some blurry photographs. (It’s a good job I don’t need sharp images to paint from.)

©2014 - Cathy Read - Goodnight Thames - Watercolour and Acrylic - 54x74 cm
©2014 – Cathy Read – Goodnight Thames – Watercolour and Acrylic – 54×74 cm

Endings are emotional times, but the simple truth is that endings are what we make of them.

We may have no control over when they happen but we can choose how we respond. They can be the end of something wonderful that we long to return to. We may need time to grieve a loss, lets face it some endings are devastating. We can get stuck in wishing things would return to how they were but ultimately there is nothing we can do to bring back what has ended.

Or we can see endings as the turning point where we begin a new adventure.

That’s not to say we won’t feel pain and have scars to show, I know some endings can nearly destroy us emotionally but ultimately the choice to keep going is up to us.It is a conscious choice that we may need to keep repeating. Like deciding to keep writing these posts even though they have been hard at times.

We will reap the rewards in time.

For me the 30 painting tour of London has ended. I intend to collate these images and the stories that go with them and create my second book. It will be a while before it’s finished as I haven’t decided whether to extend the tour yet. There are gaps…

If you want to keep up to date with my progress or see more of my work then…

Please sign up for my newsletter here.

And thank you for joining me!

City Hall – can you beat it?

You can’t fight City Hall!

Or so the saying goes. Although I don’t think they were referring to London’s City Hall, just the notion of the powerful bureaucracy of a nameless city.

City Hall’s a distinctive building on the south bank of the Thames.

It represents the centre of local government for the London area. They built it further downstream from the original County hall. I can’t help wondering whether permission for the new building was influenced by a desire to move local government further from the Houses of Parliament. Possibly inspired by Ken Livingston’s term as Mayor of London and his public displaying of current unemployment figures on the front of the old county hall.

I like to think it made them feel uncomfortable at least. People are our most valuable resource and we should be finding work for them although I agree we should support them if there is none available. There’s enough on that to fill another post or 3.

Politicians are a funny crowd aren’t they?

Like the colour in the painting, colourful characters make politics interesting. We may love/hate them for it but often radical ideas are what’s needed. Of course, there can be a fine line between colourful and insane and some of them do make you wonder whether they’re “all there”.

There are few roles in life that are under such public scrutiny and require equal measures of performance and ability. We want politicians to do the job well but we won’t employ them if we don’t like them. So public image is everything.

We need the colourful politicians, to grab our attention

and upset the status quo where it needs upsetting but we also need the skilled to run the country. They should come from all walks of life, if they are to understand the people they serve. Too often those in power have come from positions of privilge and wealth and, whilst that in itself is not a bad thing, there should be variety. It is not easy for someone from a low income family, reliant on state education to rise above it. Yes they can succeed, but it requires exceptional qualities.

I’ve always been aware of the opportunities I was given to have my further education paid for.

I have more than repaid that debt in taxes. So I find it incredible that young people today aren’t given the same opportunities. Now, more than ever we have to make the way more open to those with the right skillsets to take us out of debt, deal with terrorist threats, mismanagement of public facilites etc. The people we need may not have had the opportunity to go to Eton or Harrow. Which is why we must open the doors to allow every person to become what we need them to be.

©2013 - Cathy Read - City Hall, London - Watercolour and Acrylic - 55 x 75 cm
©2013 – Cathy Read – City Hall, London – Watercolour and Acrylic – 55 x 75 cm £900 framed


If only we could see the potential value of people the right education we’d invest in it instead of placing more obstacles in the way of those already struggling. If we carry on in the same way we will get what we always got. Perhaps it’s time to mix things up, get some colour back.

Maybe then we won’t have to fight City Hall because it will work for us?

London Taxi Marathon

Taxis are everywhere you look in London.

Unless you want one that is. Then you can wait ages before three turn up at once! Occasionally you may be in the enviable position of having a few vie for your trade but that’s as rare as hen’s teeth.

Yet, people love London Taxis!

London has plenty of transport options but Taxis are popular. To many London visitors, the idea of driving around fills them with dread, so London taxis are the next best thing. It’s a personal form of transport with a chauffeur.

The fact they have to learn “The Knowledge” is especially useful if you don’t know where your destination is and are in a hurry. Or when it’s raining!

The London cabbie has a reputation for being friendly and chatty.

These three are heading to their various destinations, but perhaps there was some competition going on after they spied fellow drivers? Fastest to the lights?  Or maybe first over the bridge?

I imagine they often hold contests with each other, especially during the quiet times. Although it’s difficult to know when is a quiet time as London always seems to be busy. Well, except for Sundays in the business areas.


When taking the reference photograph for the painting, the idea of running a Marathon came to me.  With the red taxi standing out so that maybe he’s the pacemaker or the taxi equivalent of a yellow jersey?

I wonder which one won the race?




Chelsea Bridge, a Class Divide?

Chelsea bridge spans the Thames.

Is there anything as devisive as a  bridge? Or maybe they’re a means of joining two halves together. It’s not always possible to determine which since Bridges can be seen in two ways.

Bridges connect people or keep them apart.

Looking at Chelsea Bridge you see an impressive suspension bridge, built to last with broad footpaths and elegant supports. It connects the North bank with the South bank of the Thames. But there was once a time when crossing the bridge would take you into a different world than that found on the North side. The Power station pumping out its noxious gases.

The south bank was once the poorer end of town but with the increasing search for new homes and the development of old industrial buildings into luxury apartments, times are changing. Chelsea may be seen as the more desirable address but Battersea is rapidly becoming an attractive alternative. So whilst it could once  have been seen as a means to keep a rich elite apart from the unwashed masses? The lines are so blurred now it hardly matters.

©2015 - Cathy Read - Chelsea Bridge- Watercolour and Acrylic - 50 x 40 cm HRConquering The Thames divide

With a large river passing through its Centre London has to find a way of crossing it. Boats can be used but are risky and reliant upon being manned. A bridge is infinitely preferable, once constructed becomes like the land and therefore possible to travel without a licence or payment.

With the width of the Thames and the vastness of London many are required to cope with the volume of traffic both vehicular and pedestrian.

And being connected is a good thing. As any commuter trying to get to work or supplier delivering goods.