Swindon Artist
Swindon Artist

Down the underground


Sun breaking through a chalky damp dawn,
A particular smell, a certain greyish colour.
Feeling lifted by the grandeur and perspective of heavyweight capital-city  buildings.

The warmth of the Underground,
Welcome on a cold day after the midday sun has faded.
The clatter of carriages pulling in to the platform,
The beep, then the draw of doors welcoming us in promptly, no dawdling.
After the first stop, several seats are vacated, and those standing take their places.
We sit facing each other,
Travellers of all backgrounds, in distant intimacy, as we rattle along together.

Depending on how full the carriage is,
I choose one of my sketchbooks and start drawing whoever comes in to view.
People sleeping, reading, working through their thoughts;
Every face and pose is of interest during our brief acquaintance on the line.
Economy of line is in my thoughts as I vary the pressure on the pencil lead.
Hair can be so expressive –
The way a fringe is combed, or the swish of a curl, flowing in to a ponytail.

Remarkably few lose their way on the Underground,
The signage from platform to barrier is admirably clear.
Colour and consistency of font guide our way along the great spaghetti map of London.