After visiting Hockney's exhibition at Salt Mills, I was interested to see if I could duplicate his technique on my tablet. The tools I would need would be slightly different than the ones I use for my figurative work but using them would be a challenge.
Using some of the images I have collected over the last few months, I chose a few that would be suitable. The hardest part was simplifying my technique to reflect the style I wanted. I tend to keep my work fairly realistic; this was going to be a interesting!
I was pleased with my first attempt and took it to show Sue. To my surprise she thought it was one of Hockney's pictures I had downloaded.
This was a pleasing first attempt so I decided to do a few more. This style of working proved to be quite quick and I was pleased with the end results. If I wanted to continue, I would have to explore more of the effects available on the program I used, which was Sketchbook Pro. As I use an android tablet and Hockney uses an iPad, the program is slightly different. Below are my next attempts.
Although I enjoyed the experience, I feel that I am just copying his style and that it would be hard to escape his originality, as the results are dictated to by the program. It has certainly given me something to think about and I have to admit that I enjoyed the process.
Maybe, I will look to develop my own style from this in future.
Saltaire was one of the places we have always wanted to visit, but with it being quite close had never got around to going. After an enjoyable time in Leeds, we decided to stop here on the way home. I have been dabbling in drawing with my tablet for about eight years and was fascinated to see a programme on David Hockney's iPad drawings.
Directions were a little confusing but we soon arrived at the mill and fortunately weekends had free parking. The building is impressive and shows what can be done if people are prepared to pay to restore old mills. On entering, you are immediately faced with one of Hockney's paintings of the mill before entering the large impressive first gallery.
Around this large space, there are a range of Hockney's different paintings and styles. On the right wall are a selection of his portraits and as you wander further you can his progression through different techniques. Quite poignant are the three studies of his mother on the end wall.
An excellent start to the morning. There are even lots of books to buy as well as art materials and the expected souvenirs.
After stopping for some refreshment, we proceeded to the top floor where the iPad landscapes were being exhibited. As you entered, some were being shown on three changing television scenes. These showed them off as the artist would have seen them in a brighter colour palette.
On entering the gallery, the rest were seen as framed prints, It was interesting to see the way Hockney had interpreted the landscape, using a range of marks; experimenting with the digital programme. When I started using a tablet, I worried about how to show these works and eventually settled on printing them on aluminium, as a way of preserving them. Printing on paper allows them to be on a larger scale and made for a fascinating exhibition.
I was interested with this style of work and wondered if it was something I could try in future.
After leaving the Mill, we had a walk around this well preserved mill town, enjoying the old houses and local craft shops, before wandering down to the riverside for some lunch.
An enjoyable visit and a chance to see the pictures in real life that I had viewed previously on the television. A highly recommended day out!
Looking for somewhere to go, as an Anniversary treat and not being sure of the weather, we settled on Leeds. It's a long time since we visited Leeds but it always brings back memories as we both studied there.
Having settled into the hotel. we decided to have a wander around town. It was interesting to see the changes and compare it with Manchester. We found at least three, new large shopping centres and the pedestrian areas seemed so much wider than those in Manchester. We always feel that Market Street is too narrow and can be a little claustrophobic, especially when it is crowded.
I had heard about the links between the city and the nearby Sculpture park and it was impressive to see several sculptures around the area.
No visit would be complete without going to the art gallery. On entering the building, the sculptures continue with a couple of pieces by Anthony Gormley. Passing these you enter the room containing the historical paintings. Although not always my favourite style, you can't help but be impressed by the sheer skill involved in producing these. There was also work by one of my favourite artists Atkinson Grimshaw, whose nocturnal paintings really capture the atmosphere of the scenes.
Two of the other rooms contained a range of modern and traditional sculptures, sometimes next to each other, which seemed to work well. There was even one of Damien Hurst's pickled rams.
The upstairs gallery housed some of the recent acquisitions. When viewing these, I do wonder how some of them will stand the test of time and why these have been chosen from the thousands of artworks available.
One of the most notable displays, was the group of portraits at the top of the stairs. As I enjoy doing portraits myself, it was interesting to see all of the different styles that artists over the years have used.
An interesting couple of hours but unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to go in the Henry Moore gallery, as it was closing time. Something for our next visit.
On a lighter note, we decided to have a celebration meal. The menu for our hotel looked really nice so we went back to have a shower and change our clothes. Arriving at the restaurant, we sat down to order, only to be told they were only doing Pizzas at the moment as they were changing the menu. Not liking cheese, we decided to try somewhere else. The next suitable place was a carvery and you can't go wrong with that! We sat down and I went to order only to be told there was no meat left and it was still early evening.
By now we were getting hungry, so it was a matter of finding somewhere quickly. Fortunately, we came across an Italian restaurant that didn't have cheese in every dish, and had an enjoyable meal.
A nice end to an enjoyable day.
Having written a few blogs about how artists have transformed areas in towns that have been run down, or have increased tourism, it was interesting to hear about Hay on Wye. Our daughter read about the book festival there and in her usual manner researched the town. After she told us about what it had to offer, we booked our first Airbnb and set off for a few days.
Although google maps said it should take about two and a half hours, I don't think it allowed for all the winding roads and it certainly took a lot longer. After settling in to the house we had booked, we set off to walk into town for something to eat, following the instructions left by the homeowner. This proved to be a walk through a wooded area near the river and a little longer than we expected. It was interesting that someone had taken the time to spray any dog poo, not picked up with orange spray.
The town consisted of small streets with lots of quaint shops and we looked forward to going into them when they were open the next day.
Waking up to a bright morning, we soon set off to walk into town, avoiding any orange landmarks. The shops were all individually decorated; many to focus on the books they were selling. One of the more impressive shop fronts was for Murder and Mayhem, although the shop was a little smaller than we would have liked.
Inside the shops, as well as hundreds of books, many were decorated to illustrate the theme or themes of the books. Every where you walked there were shops with a wide variety of specialist books. Even small alleyways were utilised and filled with bookshelves. You would need to spend a day in each shop to see everything they had to offer. From an artist's point of view, there were lots of fascinating small details to see, such as a stairway bannisters made from old bike parts.
There were also lots of antique shops and several art galleries. Some of these had local scenes or work by more well known artists. There was a wide range of artwork although some of it was very pricey.
We were surprised by how many people were visiting the town and it certainly had found a unique way to market itself. There was something for everyone, from the collector wanting a specialist book to people who just liked reading. Our daughter bought several books, although I think she just picked the heaviest ones, as we finished up carrying them at times. I looked for art books but in this case didn't find what I was looking for. Sue eventually decided on a couple of books and found a unique card come poetry book for a birthday present.
A fascinating town that is well worth a visit.
Attending Salford Art club gives me a chance to meet other artists and once a month we have a demonstration or workshop. This year, members have volunteered to do these on occasions to reduce running costs. I myself did a demonstration of palette knife painting and this time another member Lynn ran a workshop on mono printing.
Wearing my newly acquired black and white checked apron, I looked more like a competitor for MasterChef, but it did keep my clothes clean. After a short talk, I soon inked up my plastic sheet and after placing a piece of paper on it had my first attempt. Not knowing what to pick I decided to have a go at a portrait. I was quite pleased with the end result and thought this was going to be easy.
I soon realised that many things influenced the end result, such as, putting the right amount of ink on the sheet. Sometimes, they were too dark; on other occasions not light enough. Fortunately, the technique was fairly quick so I could produce a variety of prints. I was able to experiment with adding offcuts of cloth, wallpaper or other materials to the sheet, and after inking them up some interesting abstract results were accomplished. To take this further, pastels or paints could be added at a later date. Different effects could be achieved and I could also print on coloured paper.
Before the break I prepared some sheets by painting a watercolour wash on them. When dry, I was able to use the techniques, I had practiced, to then print on top of these and try out more ideas. Again, some of these were more successful than others. I tried redrawing the portrait and this was pleasing although you have to look hard to see the image.
A really enjoyable couple of hours and a fascinating insight into one aspect of printing by a very knowledgeable member.
It often seems that art in the UK schools is being marginalised . This to me seems to be short sighted. After a few of our recent trips, we have seen how street art has benefited the local community and economy. In Funchal, Madeira, local artists had painted the doorways in an old part of town and businesses had moved in to cater for the tourists. In Kamloops, Canada, alleyways had been painted to attract people to that district and in Valencia two run down parts of town had been transformed by the street art, Because of this people were now going on organised tours to see this work and providing employment for locals as well as customers for shops and restaurants..
In the city of Penang, Malaysia, which we visited earlier this year, had even been listed as a world heritage sight because of the artwork. This is one way that art can transform areas and if you think of the UK street artist, Banksy, these artists can become famous often selling their work for premium prices.
Having enjoyed the walk around Valencia, here are more of the artworks to see and enjoy. You may even recognise some of the artists from my last post.
When going abroad our daughter always does a lot of research and one of the things she likes to do is find free walking tours. Having done a daytime one to acquaint ourselves with the city, we decided to do a street art walk.
Arriving in the square we were met by the guide, because they want a tip at the end they are often lively characters who really sell the area. The group was reasonably large and we soon set off. Learning about the history of the area proved interesting. We were told about the early social problems and how artists had moved into areas and started to produce the artwork.
The types we would see included, 'Tagging' where letters or words were used on as many surfaces as possible; the more difficult the place, the more Kudos the artist achieved. These were mainly illegal.
With Urban art, the artists have legal permission and these can have a cultural heritage. The one shown, although at first, this just appears to be a car falling; it works on a couple of other levels. On one it tells of a 1973 car bombing where a politician was killed and also tells of a scandal about someone called Casandra .
This was by Steve,one of the more famous Valencian artists and like Banksy his work is very popular
The next type is Gorilla art, which is illegal. Here no one often knows what the artist looks like. Examples of this, were the several images of a Ninja figure around the town. The artist is a man called David De Limon, who has a political or social message which can also have a global message. This artist was controversial at first but is now considered to be main stream. There are over 500 Ninjas around Valencia.
Another one of the famous artists is 'Disneylexya' who has a style reminiscent of Aztec art but at the same time, it reminds you of a painting by Picasso. These works were some of my favourites with their geometric shapes and details.
The next stop introduced us to one of the most disturbing images Fasim's "Stop Victim's of War" mural. "The origin and the meaning of the completion of this large mural is based on the unbearable reality of the day to day disasters caused by war, affecting civilians; men, women, children, and elderly people".
The piece reminds us of the famous painting by Guernica by Picasso.
Although most of the early artists were male, the guide told us now they were outnumbered by female artists. As we explored further, we met one of these, as we were stood by her painting and Barbie was good enough to pose for us . She paints pink bunnies, in this case Pippi Longstocking which was a response to Playboy bunnies, which identify women as sexual beings.
Another female artist includes flowers in her work with hope being her message in the decorative paintings.
The most respected of the Valencian artists is Deih, whose work was first seen in 1994. Other artists will not tag or deface his work, as sometimes happens, as a sign of respect. His theme is the universe, space travellers, in a universe of strangeness, with metallic symbols and an apocalyptic style.
His work was very impressive, taking about four hours and can even be seen in hotel foyers.
The final stop was to see a collaboration by several of the artists on a long wall. Although a commission, they had used the work as a protest, supporting the local community who wanted the council to develop the fenced off piece of land into a nice park for them to enjoy.
This was a fitting end to our walk. It had been fascinating even if we did suffer from an overload of information at times. Although we only saw a small portion of the artwork, it was a good introduction to the area. The only complaint was that we didn't finish back at the square where we started from. This was quite upsetting for an elderly couple who found it hard to understand the instructions given on how to get back to the square.
I would recommend these walks, although at times I personally would prefer to explore on my own particularly with the city tour and find the sights myself. Having said that, they are ideal for single travellers who would feel safer in a group, when visiting some of the side streets.
We had watched a holiday program about Valencia and were keen to experience the city. On arriving at the San Lorenzo Boutique hotel, we picked our rooms. Our daughter chose a nice one with a balcony, whilst ours was on the side of the building. It was equally as nice but without the balcony. The only problem was that it was situated next to a church bell tower which rang at 8am every morning! Still, the hotel was ideally placed and we couldn't fault it.
Leaving the hotel, and a five minute walk led us to the nearby central square, which had a fountain and the main cathedral. As we explored the city over the next few days, we were impressed with how well preserved and clean it was. The town council seemed to appreciate their heritage, preserving it and not destroying it like some of our councils. Considering we are supposed to be a wealthy country, many of our buildings are left to fall apart. In our local park there is an example of this; the Buile Hill mansion, which was once a museum and has over the past twenty years been left to deteriorate. Also, within the city, we saw a police presence in a lot of areas and even security guards had truncheons and handcuffs. We certainly felt safe and even though there were a few people begging, there was no evidence of homeless people sleeping everywhere like in the centre of Manchester.
Valencia at one time had a river running through the centre of the town, unfortunately this flooded at times, so they decided to divert the river out of town. They were then left with a long stretch of riverbed. In this country they would probably have just built houses on this but here they turned it into a park acting as a green lung for the city.
At one end of this were a group of modern buildings in an area known as the City of Arts and Sciences. These futuristic building were impressive and show what can be done with a little imagination. Walking around these you couldn't help but admire the architecture. Our daughter had bought tickets to return the next day to see the exhibitions but we were content to just enjoy the sights.
I was even inspired to sketch two views of one of them.
Walking back through the park to the hotel,there was a wide range of sports facilities and recreational areas for the locals to use. We saw people running and the area was perfect for exploring by bike. We only managed to walk half of it and further on there were other areas to explore. There was even a large sculpture of Gulliver that had numerous slides on it for people to try, although it was a little hot on the way down.
An enjoyable experience of the city's highlights, showing how the old and new can be incorporated when planned properly.
When visiting a new city we always like to visit at least one major art gallery, and in this case it was the gallery of modern art. The building was impressive with exhibition on four floors and on this occasion we decided to start on the top floor and work our way down. This featured the work of Susana Solano and was a retrospective of work she has been developing since 2000.
Some of the large metal pieces were quite interesting but I wasn't keen on the basket weave sculptures. Some of the smaller models reminded me of when a class was given scrap metal to play with and the resulting sculptures didn't always work. Some had resulted in commissions and had been more successful.
Later, we entered Gallery 2 and here as a contrast we saw the sculptures of Julio Gonzalez with several works from the 1930's. This was easier to relate to as you could see the exploration of ideas; many of which had highly successful outcomes. These impressive sculptures made me wonder that in some areas sculpture had not really progressed over the following years.
On the third floor was our most unusual find. Here the artist, Paco Roca, had done a series of paintings of a story board all around the gallery. As he painted a picture in a series of paintings, the people living in the work interacted with the images he drew. This was a fresh approach for me and reflected the links on the area above of a range of comic strips on show.
The best known artist was Fernand Leger. His paintings were in the last gallery we visited on the bottom floor. This was the highlight of the visit; seeing these impressive works in the flesh. There was a superb range of work and themes and we all had our personal favourites.
Several other works on show were from the IVAM collection and some, were not always to my taste. Some worked, others needed an explanation to be understood. But like all work, it is up to the individual to interpret them. One of my favourite finds were the two small metal figures showing where the toilets were (The male one seen in the last picture below) a nice idea for an art gallery.
An enjoyable couple of hours and some interesting discussions resulted from our visit.
After discussing in depth, the great setting for my present exhibition at The Old Parsonage Didsbury, it was just as impressive when I visited the site for my next exhibition in July; The Castle Parks Arts Centre Frodsham.
Again, this is an excellent building, housing three galleries and a café, It is used for several activities such as workshops and classes for all ages. There are also a courtyard where you can sit and enjoy your refreshments or visit some of the on-site craft workshops. In the grounds there is a large garden, children's play area and several walks.
We arrived at lunchtime for a drink and the café was busy with a group having a break from an art workshop they were participating in. It was nice to wander around the galleries for a sneak preview of the work before the preview in the evening. I wanted to go to this, as my preview was coming up on the 28th June, and I wanted to see what was involved on the night.
In gallery one was a group exhibition entitled 'Elements'
Below is a statement from them:
We are all able to conjure up one or more ideas for what a title like `The Elements` might have in store for us. Some of these might be Scientific, Philosophical, Spiritual, or Sensory based. Every artist representing themselves here will have dedicated a great deal of thought and energy to their particular interpretations of the theme.
We hope you enjoy the works on show and have fun making your own imaginative connections to the pieces you are looking at.
The Eddisbury Artists are a group of local artists who meet together to paint and develop their artistic interests. Initially meeting in a room at the rear of the Post office in Frodsham, they moved to Castle Park Arts Centre in 1996. The group held its first major exhibition at the Centre in 1997.
This was a varied exhibition from the group members and like many art groups varied in style and content. It's always pleasing to see how groups like this are thriving and producing such a variety of good artwork.
In the next gallery downstairs there was a workshop on at this time with several artists beavering away on their paintings obviously engrossed by the subject. I managed to peep in but couldn't get a look around until the evening. The work by Ann Johnson was a contrast from the other gallery and featured some excellent landscape studies in an expressive style.
Artist's statement below:
This exhibition continues to reflect Ann's passion for paint and is inspired by the landscapes that she sees locally or when on holiday. In her paintings she likes to interpret what she sees emphasising mood and colour.
In the corridor was an exhibition called Diverging and Converging by Sue Marsden and Philippa Maye. It was easy to miss this, as the works were quite small and on the preview night this was quite busy. These were interesting pieces on show showing different approaches to their inspiration 'The British landscape' where different materials were used for their interpretations.
Over a period of a year they worked independently but often they came together to discuss themes, ideas and their progress. These meetings and discussions reinforced the themes of Rhythms, Call & Response, Movement and finally Diverging and Converging as a title for this collection of artworks. The mutual feedback was used to deepen and enhance their explorations of materials and processes developed in their work. This pattern was repeated often and the resulting work makes up the body of the exhibition you see here.
The upstairs gallery, where I will have my exhibition, is titled. Towards Abstraction by Re-View Textiles.
Re-View Textile artists from the North-west are showing a vibrant selection of work on the theme of "Towards Abstraction", using felt, dye, paint, stitch, print, weave and assemblage pieces.
I always enjoy exhibitions that surprise me and this was one such show where I can appreciate artwork, that I couldn't possibly do myself. The range of textile work was impressive with everything from sculptural woollen work to intricate stitching. There was a wide range of work and talking to one of the artists in the evening, it was interesting to find out that they all come from different towns and only meet once a month at The Walker Art Gallery Liverpool, where they discuss their themes and work.
An inspiring group and fascinating exhibition, it even had my favourite piece from all the shows that must have taken many hours to produce. We often like to purchase work and this at £195 was a little more than we wanted to pay, but we could appreciate the hours and skill needed to produce it.
An enjoyable day spent at another excellent gallery that shows a wide range of work and has a great involvement in the local community.
In the end Sue bought a small piece from the last gallery to add to our collection (shown here). Maybe we should have bought the one above as to our surprise when we went back in the evening the price on this had been changed to £750 reflecting it's true worth.