Leaving Whitby we set off for our next destination, Hull. We decided to stop at Robin Hood's Bay on the way but due to a miss calculation this didn't work out as expected. Not realizing that the village was down a long, steep hill we didn't put enough money on the parking ticket and by the time we got to the bottom it was nearly time to start back. Still a place we can now come back to.
We booked into our hotel, which wasn't an easy matter as we could see it but had to follow phone instructions through the maze of roads to find the car park. Our first day out took us along the newly paved area to the Ferens Art Gallery. To our surprise we were confronted by a pile of boulders as part of the "Offshore Artist's Explore the Sea" exhibition. After our recent discussions on seashore art possibilities, it was interesting to see the way that different artists had interpreted this theme. From photography to blackboard art and sculpture. An interesting show, which reflected on our experiences in the Whitby area.
As we toured the other rooms it was interesting to see the other themes including the "Skin" exhibition featuring Freud, Mueck and Tunick. and presenting the work of other internationally acclaimed artists. The exhibition explores the nude and in particular how the depiction of skin continues to fascinate today.
One of the main artworks from Hull were the large prints of hundreds of naked people, covered in shades of blue, photographed around the city. These were really interesting colourful images.
The sculptures, often of a large scale were memorable and made you think, although I did feel a little sorry for the member of staff, a young girl, who spent her day sat level with a certain part of the man's anatomy.
After visiting the gallery it was interesting to discuss which paintings or sculptures we remembered. Some by the more famous artists are memorable because of their familiarity from books etc as well as the skill involved. Others stand out for different reasons, possibly size or subject matter; others move your senses. An interesting activity to try after visiting a gallery.
Another thing that has started to interest me, being a people watcher, is observing people in art galleries. Partly because of their reaction to paintings and partly because they tend to be still for a while to allow me to capture their image.
As we entered one room, the young woman was completely engrossed in the audio about the art, when all around people would stop at certain works to admire or discuss them.
The Staithes group or Staithes School was an art colony of 19th Century painters based in the North Yorkshire fishing village of Staithes. It was inspired by the French impressionists and consisted of about 25 artists.
The group contained renowned artists such as Laura Knight and Harold Knight, Frederick W Jackson Edward E Anderson, Joseph R Bagshawe, Thomas Barrett and James W booth.
Another member known as the "Turner of the North" was George Weatherill.
With the coming of the railway many more British Impressionists were drawn to the town to paint its towering cliffs, wild seas, battered cottages and resilient fisher folk.
I must admit that before coming to Whitby I had never read about this group but did some research after visiting the gallery in Whitby and seeing some of their paintings there.
The Staithes art gallery continues the tradition of art in the area and there is still an art community centre and they have an annual Festival of Arts and Heritage. This year they had about 98 Galleries in cottages and other buildings around the village displaying work by over 157 artists from near and far. An impressive history and interesting information about a group I had not heard much of before.
After a look around the gallery we started our walk back. One of the topics of conversation was why this small fishing village had become the home to a famous group of artists when there are hundreds of similar villages around Britain.
We could understand why groups flourish in the big cities like London or Paris but an almost random place suddenly becomes known for a particular style or group perplexed us. Without the internet it must have been word of mouth that inspired artists to one place at a particular time and made this place world famous.
It will be interesting on our travels to look further into this phenomena.
The modern Gallery at Staithes
After a pleasant few days in Whitby we decided to get the bus to Staithes. We would have driven but didn't want to loose our parking spot.
Faced with another steep hill we descended into this pretty town. The weather was ideal with plenty of sunshine and a slight breeze. Our first stop was the outside area of The Cod and Lobster for a drink. Here we overlooked the harbour and although the sea was out there there were lots of boats tied up making it an interesting view. I particularly liked the way the ones in the sketch were all in a row.
We then walked onto the harbour wall and sat for a while watching people near the boats. A young boy was walking across and his shoes were coming off as he stuck in the mud, instead of removing them completely he would dig them out put then on again and continue. Each time the same thing happened but he continued with his endeavours. This was highly amusing to us and a small group who were also watching. Eventually after struggling for about fifteen minutes he realised the error of his ways and just carried the shoes.
Afterwards we went for a meal in the small cafe before sitting on a bench overlooking the beach. Here we watched the young families enjoying the day and not a single iPad on show. The lady resting with purple hair stood out and there were lots of children and parents building sandcastles etc. A glimpse of a traditional British holiday scene.
,Before returning to Whitby we decided to have a wander around the town and have a look around the shops before attempting the climb back up the hill to the bus stop. Unfortunately there were no Sherpa's to carry our bags or donkey rides to the top. I'm sure there is a business opportunity for someone there!
After a refreshing walk to #Sandsend we decided to go into town and worked our way to the harbour.
Our first stopping place was to view the Whalebone arch, another famous landmark in the town and another chance for a sketch.
After that we crossed the bridge and walked through the small shopping area viewing the craft shops and small galleries.
On entering the first gallery I wasn't sure what a naked sale was. It turned out to be that the pictures weren't framed not that the assistants were in a state of undress!
On a serious note it was good to see that there were some of the artists who had a distinctive style of their own that represented the area. There were also a nice range of local scenes.
On making our way to the harbour, although warm, the sea was quite rough. We walked along the harbour wall and sheltered while the sea pounded the rocks and structures around us. This was quite exhilarating and another scene to capture, although difficult to really get a feel for the force of nature.
An impressive end to our stay in Whitby and somewhere we look forward to returning to.
Opening the curtains this morning, we were greeted by a much better day; still overcast and windy but no rain. We decided to walk to Sandsend, as this had been recommended to us at the hotel as well as by some of our friends.
We set off along the clifftop and fortunately the strong wind was blowing in off the sea. After a bracing walk, the path led down to the beach and we walked the rest of the way along the sand.
Arriving at the small town we decided to have a drink in one of the small cafes overlooking the sea before exploring further. Here we came across a delightful little walkway in a small valley. The cottages on the way were my first opportunity of the day for a sketch.
Wandering on we came across a family being pursued by a large badling of ducks. Serves them right for teasing them by eating sandwiches in plain sight!
On our return, we decided to walk all the way back along the beach.
For anyone who reads my blogs, you may remember how we like to make small sculptures on beaches, as a reminder of our visit. This seems to be a new trend and a harmless way to use natural resources.
We were also impressed with the colours of the rocks and large boulders and discussed how these textures and colours could be used in paintings. In one small area we collected a full range of shapes and coloured stones.
A really enjoyable walk and on our way back the scenery was changing as the rough sea threw up a mist that affected the distant scenery. This was in contrast to the bright green rocks in front of us.
A few people braved the sea front but it was not a day for sunbathing.
A refreshing walk and another contrasting day in Whitby. However we still had time to walk into town.
After a fantastic sunset, mentioned in my first post about Whitby, we were looking forward to our second day with a chance to explore further.
There is a saying, 'Red sky at night, Shepherds delight!' Unless they like constant rain for their crops this was not very truthful!
Armed with an umbrella, we set off to find somewhere with shelter and decided to go to Pannett Park and the museum.
As you enter there is a superb display of some of the fossils they have found in the area and carvings in the local Jet stone. The size of the fossils was impressive as was the amount of skill need to carve some of the intricate pieces of Jet. I wonder if skilled craftsmen like these still exist in this country. They would probably be produced by a machine now.
We then had a look around the art exhibition by local artists and paintings from the galleries own collection. It was interesting to see how the town and surrounding area had changed over the years .
We then decided to visit the cafe for a little refreshment. This proved to be a quaint little room decorated with an Alice in Wonderland theme serving homemade cakes and food which was greatly appreciated.
After a final look around the museum and gallery, which was now getting rather crowded as it was one of the few covered places out of the rain, we ventured back outside.
Although too wet to linger very long there were some interesting sculptures on view and it was a shame that we couldn't explore more as we were getting rather water logged.
Deciding to return to the hotel we did venture out again that evening to the pavilion to see a local dramatic group perform "Tom, Dick and Harry" which proved an enjoyable experience. It reminded us a little of Fawlty Towers, as the main male lead did a very good impression of John Cleese, although I'm not sure he meant too!
Braving the wind and rain blowing in off the sea we headed back wondering if the rain would ever stop.
We had always fancied going to Whitby so when we had a spare week we booked a hotel.
Having arrived and with the weather being so good we set put to explore.
It's funny that when you mention Whitby three things come to mind. The harbour with the ruins of the Abbey in the background, having a fish and chip dinner and Dracula.
I decided to capture the first two but as it was daylight there was no sign of Dracula although he does have a museum in town; probably to help pay his tax.
After our bite to eat we decided to climb the 199 steps up to the Abbey, not the best idea on a full stomach. Anyway we made it and although the Abbey was now closed the views were impressive.
With that we decided to get back before dark and were looking forward to exploring more of the town tomorrow.
On a recent trip to Whitby for a few days we were lucky enough to see some special sights.
As we drove over the moors we were surprised to see the rich colour of the heather. This was often offset by the light coloured grass. Unfortunately there weren't many suitable spots to stop off.
Over the years I have collected several drawing and painting sets. Although it is over forty years since I used pastels I decided to have a play and try to get down my memories of these colours. This wasn't meant to be a finished piece of work just a recollection of the scenery.
On our first night it Whitby we were fortunate to be strolling along the beach and our senses were met with the most amazing sunset. As we walked along this continued to change and I was able to take a series of pictures. My wife also surpassed herself with the quality of her photographs.
There are times when I believe something as spectacular as this sunset; it is a piece of art in its own right and that trying to capture its essence in a painting wouldn't do it justice.
However I did do a couple of quick sketches from the photographs below just as a reminder.
Also I was enjoyiny playing with this medium.
i may have a go at one of them in watercolour. Who knows!
After a busy couple of weeks typing up my blog about Canada and Alaska I finally managed to get a painting done.
This was from my studies from when I visited Buxton a while ago and had an interesting walk around the park. There were several opportunities for paintings and this is the second in my series.
I started in the usual manner adding the lights before starting to work on different areas.
This painting proved to be interesting and I finished up with three different sections. The background trees etc. were quite textured. The middle water section was calm and smooth and finally the foreground, of rushing water, quite loosely painted in a rapid style to capture the movement.
I hope these have come together as a whole.
Although it seems a long time since we arrived in Canada the last day was soon upon us. We decided to explore another part of the city and see some more sights recommended by people.
We decided to look for the Victorian steam clock, a local highlight and after a few false turns we stumbled across it just as a crowd started to build up. We were fortunate to arrive on the hour just as the steam whistle sounded out. It was a promising start to the day.
To get a better view of the city, we went to the top of the Lookout Tower and wandered around the revolving floor taking in the different views.
Another interesting find was a sculpture by Salvador Dali, It's surprising what hidden gems you suddenly stumble upon.
As we moved on in this part of the city we decided to visit China Town. This proved to be a disappointment as the area became rundown.
One of the surprises about Vancouver had been the number of homeless people on every corner. Towards China Town they seemed to congregate in large groups and although we were not threatened, it was slightly intimidating.
As a sanctuary in this area, we visited a Chinese Garden created by a local businessman. This proved to be a tranquil retreat from the city; almost surreal, with the modern skyscrapers as a backdrop.
Then as we made our way back to the hotel, I spotted these two walkers striding on towards their destination. A picture I just had to capture and I suppose a reminder of the two of us setting off on our adventure.
Finally, as a summing up, we were lucky to be in Canada, as it celebrated its 150th birthday and to be part of it. A memorable trip in many ways and I was pleased to finally have a sketching diary to remind me of our holiday.