Watercolour and acrylic painting of the Embankment.

Thames Embankment Meditation

Thames Embankment.

Would you believe this is a view of London’s centre? The busy city’s heart and the home of commerce and business.

I’ve mentioned London’s trees before, but this dense foliage is more intense than in any of my previous creations. Arboreal delight overtakes two thirds or perhaps even four fifths of the painting. Green. Blue. Yellow and red with umber trunks. The colour abounds. A mere half dozen cars and a scattering of people hint at a city.

Embankment - A Decorative Bonus

At first glance, it gives the impression of a country house park with grand lighting – but this is London’s Embankment. The decorative bonus to a massive engineering feat that solved a very necessary and perhaps unsavoury urban problem: keeping the river clean and managing a vast and ever-growing population’s waste.

Bazalgette’s brainchild was London’s first super-sewer that transformed the city after the “Great Stink” of 1858. The Embankment was its crowning glory.
We are right next to the Thames, although you’d never guess from the painting. The dark black splodge in the extreme lower left is the embankment wall over which the Thames flows, rising and falling with the tides.

The lamppost is one of many illuminating the footpath and river, all equally magnificent. A pair of giant fish guard each pole – mouths open, staring intently and with their tails intertwined up the pole. The details are lost on this image. A black cage, topped with a black cat, encases each globe light. The foliage hides a string of lights festooned between the poles, but the lone black post blocks our view.

The urban scene over taken by the foliage. Brake lights and a few outlines indicate the cars in the busy street, stopped at traffic lights. The few pedestrians walk along the river or sit on a bench, watching the world go by.

Watercolour and acrylic painting of the Embankment.

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