After having an exhibition in the gallery last year, I was interested to see that the annual open exhibition was taking place at the moment. Awaking early to a sunny day, last Wednesday, I was surprised when Sue suggested it would be a good chance to visit the exhibition before lockdown started on the next day. It is something I had been meaning to do but had never gotten around to.
Upon arrival, we parked in the main car park which was surprisingly quite full. Although relatively small, the park does have some excellent facilities for families as well as artists. Making our way to the gallery we entered through the front door and having donned our masks and cleaned our hands started to follow the one way system. The first display was in the now empty café, as food is only served outside, and the we entered the main gallery to the left where there was a good variety of paintings in several themes. It's always fascinating to see the range of styles and materials used by both professional and amateur artists in these exhibitions.
Following the arrows around the room, we then moved through to the corridor. The upstairs gallery, where I had my exhibition wasn't open, possibly to stop crowding on the stairway.
Walking along the corridor, there was plenty to look, with a wide range of work on show.
When the art gallery is fully open, the final gallery holds art and craft classes. Again, we were interested to see a mixed range of paintings, jewellery and sculptures all of which were for sale. In fact, while we were there, someone purchased a painting of Jurgen Klopp, hopefully as a present for a Liverpool supporter otherwise they are in for a shock!
As we wandered around, we always discuss which ones we like the best and at times which one we would buy. There are always favourites and I tend to pick ones in styles unlike my own or ones that explore similar topics in a different way. There is a superb range of work and something for everyone in exhibitions like this and they are always worth a visit. Shortly after our visit, several prizewinners were listed on the gallery website. It was a shame that these weren't known at the time of our visit as it would have been something else to debate with Sue.
As well as being an impressive park and gallery, it was also interesting how they were coping with the present pandemic and rules. The café was serving food and drink to small isolated groups on benches outside and a large marquee had been put up for shelter. To add incentive to visit, a musician provided background music as people enjoyed their food and drink. An excellent idea which could be copied in other venues.
A nice day out and a chance to escape the present situation for a while, as well as our third visit to galleries in a short time.
After not visiting an art gallery to see an exhibition for some time, we managed to get to three before the latest lockdown, I have already mentioned my visit to #TheLowry which was very enjoyable.
Deciding to venture into #Bury for our first visit, and were interested to see how the gallery had coped with social distancing etc. We first had to find our way in which was now down one side of the main entrance through the basement. On arrival, we donned our obligatory face masks and signed in. After a refreshing coffee in their super café, where we sat and viewed some cat prints which we were tempted by but they seemed a little dear, we proceeded through to the first gallery.
Here we viewed the exhibition by Bury Photographic Society. I always enjoy looking at these as they often have a different perspective on capturing images than an artist. The photographs are always stunning and show the level of commitment in a range of subject matters from the members.
Wandering through to the next room, we saw an interesting exhibition by the gallery's art group. It's important and refreshing to find that the gallery has groups like these and supports the local community.
The last room is always interesting, as normally, galleries show examples from their collection in a themed room with paintings and sculptures from the same era grouped together. However, in this gallery, you see a modern sculpture next to a traditional one, a contemporary landscape next to one by Constable and the same applies to traditional figurative work as well. An eclectic mix which made for an interesting visit.
One of our favourite works, Spring Morning ; Haverstock Hill by George Clausen, is also on show and we always stop to discuss this one. The mother and daughter walking towards you and the interesting figures in the background always fascinate us.
As you leave the gallery, there are a set of paintings by Maurice Mumpasi showing support for BLM.
The last room always has an interesting range of work by local artists and crafts people for sale. Again, another good idea by the gallery to support the local arts scene.
An enjoyable visit in a safe environment. The one way system takes you through the galleries and it's a shame that galleries such as this are continually hit with closures when they are making such an effort during these times.
At the moment I seem to be jinxing exhibitions. After the disappointment of not being able to visit the Tŷ Pawb Exhibition in #Wrexham I was looking forward to the 'Days Like These' exhibition taking place at the Lowry art gallery until the latest lockdown was announced. Fortunately, this time I did manage to view the exhibition before it closes for a month.
The safety at the Lowry was excellent and we were kept informed as we made our way through the one way system. Not surprisingly, as visits have to be booked now, it was fairly quiet which gave us a chance to chat to the attendants as we walked around. The first room introduces the theme and local people's work is linked to that of L S Lowry's. Poetry, prose and art are all on show completed during lockdown and showing Salford residents' reaction to the circumstances they find themselves in.
Entering the second room I was pleased to see my four paintings in prominent position along side other artists work from the area. I focussed on the effects on the people in the area others reflected on the local cityscapes.
It's good that artists can still get out to paint these images and it is noticeable that the streets and roads were a lot quieter in the first few weeks.
#salfordartclub hasn't met now since March and the only links we have had is through the internet. Members have been busy producing work and it was good to see that six of us had work in the exhibition. A few members have been doing a 'One Inch' challenge, painting an object in a one inch square every day. Susan Leech has kept this up since the beginning and I think now is on the sixth sheet. In this exhibition Kathy Bowers has hers shown on the TV screen, Carol Parkes submitted a satirical painting showing Colonel Tom and the Prime Minister, which also can be seen on the screen. During, the first lockdown we also had to social distance during VE Day and my image of that is on the screen as well.
Other art club members focussed on different themes such as. Lynn Ann Kirkley who paid tribute to a nurse with her painting, whereas Liang Sun and Gill Nicolas were moved by darker thoughts and their work reflects that.
An enjoyable visit that showed the true spirit of many #salford people in these difficult times. Through the arts people are able to pass the days creatively and hopefully this is an uplifting experience as is this exhibition.
As a bonus some of Lowry's artwork have been re-hung with many unseen works added and every time I visit, I am enthralled by the way he saw the world and as he says, life can be difficult. A super exhibition and I look forward to going again when it reopens, hopefully next month.
After several online exhibitions, I was pleased that the Tŷ Pawb open exhibition in Wrexham, North Wales, was having a proper exhibition in the gallery. I was due to visit today and had booked a timeslot to see my painting amongst the works selected.
Then, last Thursday, the government announced new restrictions for Wales and the opening was postponed, you can imagine my disappointment.
After a few quite successful months selling paintings and having work and articles published, there now seems to be a general feeling of malaise in the art world as there appears to be no end to the pandemic.
Having said that, I was impressed with the way a couple of young artists locally were showing their work. I had seen it advertised on Facebook and it looked interesting.
Jen and Amelia, who live near me in Eccles, were holding an 'Art in The Garden' exhibition. On a horrible wet day I wasn't sure that this would go ahead but went to check it out.
Under a very wet awning, they had displayed their paintings and were keen to discuss the work with people who came to view it.
A shame the weather spoilt the number of visitors but a super idea in the present climate where a lot of local galleries are closed. An admirable effort from two young artists who wanted to exhibit their work. I hope they do very well in this venture and look forward to future shows.
Who knows, this could be the way forward for other artists in these restricted times.
Certainly something to think about!
I read about the open exhibition at Warrington a few months ago and applied but didn't get accepted. What I hadn't looked at was the title of the exhibition, 'A contemporary Arts Festival'. With selectors you are always being judged by the theme of the exhibition as well as their personal tastes. Also my larger work doesn't look it's best when looked at on a small screen as the textures etc don't show it off properly. Like most things in life you win some and loose some.
We decided to have a look at the exhibition to see what had been selected for the show. Before going we had to download a ticket for a selected time slot as a result of the present situation.
After arriving early, we had something to eat and then went to the gallery to sign in. Considering how busy the town was there was only one other person in the gallery, a complete change from when we last visited. The gallery then was crowded with people looking at the work of a traditional representational artist. This could have been because of the pandemic or could it be the subject matter?
We always find contemporary exhibitions a mixture of work we like or dislike or we even have trouble understanding.
Some of the work really appeals and when you can see what the artist is trying to achieve, this is when I think it is more successful. I prefer work where I can see some meaning to or a starting point from which the artist has developed such as the ones below.
I do find it hard sometimes to relate to work as in the case of the three blanket like artworks around the gallery, where even the title by the artist leaves me confused. The other two were behind cabinets so I couldn't see the titles.
Throughout the show there were only a couple of more traditional pieces such as the ones below.
The lack of what I would call traditional art reflects the overall content of the exhibition, although some pieces made us smile, a few made us think that as a whole this type of exhibition often disappoints with clever titles being the norm whereas the talent isn't always obvious.
A nice surprise was the work entitled 'Brand Spanking Neon' by students from Priestley college. They had been inspired by the Botany and Geology galleries to produce ceramics and textile works. Along side their brightly coloured finished pieces were the sketches they used to inspire their final work, which helped the viewer to understand more easily their vision.
When viewing a modern exhibition like this, it is always a joy to visit the gallery holding the historical pieces of art. Here the talent and hard work is there to see and appreciate.
The museum itself, set out on three floors is also worth a visit on its own. It has interesting and eclectic exhibits and we spent some time following the one way system around the empty rooms. It seems such a shame, that due to the present circumstances, places like Warrington Museum are suffering from lack of visitors.
An interesting visit and at least I can see why my paintings weren't selected and I can move on to Wrexham next week where I have a painting in the open exhibition there.
A nice touch by the gallery were the facemasks on sale, featuring paintings from their collection. A nice idea that other galleries could use to raise funds at the moment.
With a sudden improvement in the weather, we decided to venture out to Lytham for the day, away from the local area. Our first stop was Lowther Park where we went for a coffee. This was quite busy but we found somewhere to sit on a bench outside.
After the drink, we decided to walk along the seafront into town. As an artist I appreciate certain scenes and this lone boat on the estuary was impressive. I'm not sure it would work as a painting but who knows!
With the present situation and schools etc. being reopened, we didn't expect it to be too busy. To our surprise the shopping area was crowded and bars and restaurants full. Social distancing was hard and masks were only required in shops.
A couple of years ago I was involved in the Lytham arts festival and I was interested to see how the art scene had progressed in the area.
The only artwork on show on the main street was upstairs in a gift shop. Here, there were a range of original artwork from local artists, some prints from a northern artist and some generic work from other artists. The other gallery off a side street had been turned into a hairdressers and the local art shop had disappeared. This was a shame, as we had had a lovely talk, on a previous visit, with the owner who was trying hard to make a go of it.
Moving on to St Anne's, we parked near Ashton Gardens. The reason for this was two fold. As well as being a pretty park, there was an exhibition in the Pavilion Café by #StevieBruce. He is a local artist I follow on Facebook. His paintings really capture the local area, some of a bygone age and are always worth viewing.
Being a very hot day, the queue to get into the Pavilion Café, was slow moving as people tended to linger over their drinks. Whilst waiting in the queue, there was a medical problem where an old gentleman was overcome with the heat and a local lifeguard volunteer had to look after him. I did get a chair for the gentleman though!
After refreshments, we decided to have a walk along the seafront. Again, this was quite busy with nearly every bench being taken. Everyone was social distancing on the beach, although that wasn't hard as the sea is so far out!
Eventually, the heat got to us and we drove back to Lytham for a fish and chip evening meal.
A really nice day with a little respite from the problems and stresses in the world today. At times, you wouldn't have known that there was a pandemic, as people were enjoying the sudden hot spell, and life was carrying on.
A few weeks ago I read an article where a restaurant abroad had lined up a series of greenhouses along the canal side so that people could have a meal whilst social distancing. I thought that this was a great idea and then to my surprise on a recent trip to Salford Quays, on a day far removed from the stormy weather we are experiencing at the moment, I discovered that the idea had reached Media City!
The sheds and greenhouses are spread out on the area adjacent to where The Blue Peter Garden is situated. Meals are ordered online from the participating restaurants and you can book a box to eat in. A novel idea which I'm sure in the evenings are popular, however on a hot afternoon. they were empty. People were taking advantage of the deckchairs and picnic tables, relaxing and chilling in the sunshine.
As I wandered around, one of the main things that impressed me was that local artists had decorated them. I thought that this was an excellent idea. As well as making the pods and greenhouses more attractive, it also enabled artists to display their work and share their talents.
In these difficult times, with art galleries closed and exhibition space limited, many artists are struggling, and taking part in this innovative venue, will have helped them out.
It also publicizes the importance of art in modern life, creating something special, bright and beautiful, in what could have been quite a sterile environment.
A unique outdoor dining experience. A piece of impactful public art.
30 ‘boxes’ outside of Media City’s restaurants. Winding through the gardens and along the waterfront. Self-contained dining pods taking the form of sheds and greenhouses, decorated by Salford-based artists and creatives.
After walking around the area, I did have couple of worries though.
On the day ! was there, it was very hot and the idea of sitting in a glass greenhouse would not have appealed.
On a day like today, it could be quite enjoyable watching the heavy rain outside but I do wonder about the food arriving from some of the restaurants that are a distance away.
Anyway, it is a super idea and I would love to hear from someone who has had a meal in one of these pods.
On our last day in Oxford, we decided to have a drive out to Blenheim Palace and like a lot of places nowadays, we had to book a time slot before going. It was quite busy when we arrived, as the weather was nice, but possibly because of the lack of overseas visitors not too crowded.
As it was supposed to get hotter later in the day, we decided to visit the palace first, although having booked a time slot, we still had to queue for over half an hour. On entering, we listened to a guide who gave us a short introduction to the palace and new restrictions. We then headed for the Winston Churchill exhibition, Unfortunately, the queue for this was quite long so we decided to tour the rooms first.
All the rooms were very impressive with with large portraits of family members and royalty. Although, not all to my taste, one can only appreciate the skill going into painting these.
The first paintings I really liked were a series done of the palace and grounds by John Piper, a very under appreciated artist in my view. I really like the looseness of his work.
The tour takes you from one impressive room to another and none of them were too crowded by visitors. Unfortunately, you don't get to see any of the upstairs rooms, which would give you a more complete picture of the living quarters.
Outside we walked around the extensive grounds, seeing the impressive water features and sculptures, before continuing to see the place Winston Churchill proposed to his future wife and the rose gardens they would sit in.
The whole area is undergoing a 40 million pound makeover and the cascade water feature and lakes are being improved and many repairs taking place,. When finished, the grounds will be even more impressive.
After a pleasant walk, we decided to go back to the palace and see the Churchill exhibition as it was now a lot quieter. As well as learning about his life, I was interested to see the exhibition of his paintings. These were more impressive than I had expected, although I wouldn't have minded having the support he had from several prominent artists of the time, including Walter Sickert amongst them.
A pleasant day out and a change from city life. We even became members for a year, as part of the entrance fee. which means if we visit again we can get in for free. As a short break Oxford has a lot to offer and as more places open up, there will be plenty to keep you occupied.
I leave you with this quote from Winston Churchill that sums up the importance of art in these troubled times. He only had the war to think about!
Deciding to try our luck with a short break in this country, we booked a stay in Oxford, and were interested to see how the changes would effect our stay. Arriving at the hotel there were safety signs everywhere, telling us to wear masks and to use the hand sanitizer. We were greeted by a friendly receptionist who was situated behind a screen also wearing a mask.
After filling in a couple of forms and having our temperature taken, we were given the room key. The room was as normal, with a sign telling us that it had been thoroughly cleaned and that this would be done each day if we wanted. The only big difference was that there was no longer a breakfast buffet. The hotel would provide us with a continental breakfast in a 'grab and go' paper bag. However, the next morning we were also offered cereal and toast which was very much appreciated.
On our visits, we like to see the sights as well as the local art galleries, unfortunately we were a week to early to see the galleries and most of the colleges had closed months ago and were undergoing renovation work.
We did manage to visit the grounds of Magdalene college and were surprised by the size of the grounds, which included a Deer park.
The buildings in the city were very impressive and they had kept the old buildings and not added huge modern that ruined the skyline, which has happened in a lot of cities.
As well as the city centre, we visited the parks, which were superb open spaces, and strolled along the waterways, often stopping to watch the boats and at times admire the people using the punts, although a couple of them looked like they were going to give themselves heart attacks!
One thing that surprised us was the lack of sculptures. In Queen's park there was one that incorporated nesting boxes for Swifts, which seemed to be a good idea. It seems a shame that artworks weren't added into the landscape. especially in a city of educational excellence. It surprised us that the arts weren't celebrated in this way.
Maybe the abundance of figures etc. on the old buildings made up for this, or we weren't looking in the right places! The only time we came across modern artwork was in the new shopping centre, but after a couple of visits we failed to notice any, until on our way out, where one was situated and a sign mentioned the others.
For the last month, during lockdown, I haven't managed to get out to do any sketching, and my favourite haunts, the local cafes have been closed. Also, the weather hasn't been good so I've not been able to visit local beauty spots and I have found that I need more practice on my sketching. This break had allowed me to recapture some of my skill and I enjoyed putting pen to paper so to speak!
Oxford is a beautiful city and a great place for a short stay, with superb architecture, open spaces and other places to visit nearby. People's reaction to the virus was evident although face masks in several places aren't compulsory there yet. The half price meals helped keep our food bill down and we had some enjoyable meals.
Having experienced this type of short holiday, in this country during the present problems, we may well look for another one in a few weeks.
It seems odd writing this now with all that is going on in the world.
In January, looking for some winter sun we managed to book a two week break in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, flying out in February and arriving back mid March. It was lovely place, perfect for a holiday to get away from the greyness of the UK.
As the days passed by, more and more upsetting news arrived via WhatsApp and BBC online news about the severity of the Corona Virus. Obviously, making sure our families were okay, we stayed safe in an area which had not yet been affected. it was a lovey friendly place with a lot to offer holidaymakers and we enjoyed our time there.
I've just read that 7 cruise ships have been allowed to dock there for humanitarian reasons as they have been blocked by USA ports. I fear that this isolation will not last for much longer.
However, back to the reason for my blog.
One of the highlights of the holiday was walking along the Malecon; the coastal promenade and enjoying the artwork, which was on display there.
Located right in the heart of Puerto Vallarta is a place where large scuptures can be found. Puerto Vallarta’s Boardwalk, the Malecon, is a seaside walk of 875 yds. where tradition converges with modernity, creating a magical atmosphere full of culture, art, entertainment and history.
This open space collection of sculptures etc started with the collaboration of talented artists in 1960 and has been added to over the years. It shows how with a little planning resorts can create an area that promotes artwork and helps generate an area. Along with this restaurants and shops thrive as tourists enjoy the walk.
,Also along the walk, were a series of Hearts commissioned and painted by local artists. Again an example of the commitment to the arts and several with important messages about the area or pictures of local people or places.
Although, we went for some Winter sun, we are not sunbathers and enjoyed several trips to the area. Each time we found different areas to explore and different artwork to enjoy.