After a quiet few months I have a busy few weeks ahead. As well as a couple of pictures in Eccles Community Art Gallery, along with other members of Salford art club, I was invited to show a couple of my paintings in the Summer show at the Legacy Art Gallery in Todmorden.
We dropped off the paintings a couple of weeks ago and didn't really have a chance to look around the town. This time we planned a full afternoon's visit.
As we arrived there was already a nice buzz in the gallery. As you entered through the front door, my two paintings were on the far wall and I was pleased how good they looked. After viewing the exhibits and chatting with Stella Hill, the owner, we went to a nearby café for a hot drink.
After the drink, we decided to explore a little further. Across the road there was an interesting antiques and collectors market, which seems to be on quite often.
As we wandered around town, we came across a couple more galleries and some interesting shops, the types you don't find in many larger towns.
Being a Sunday some of these weren't open and we certainly plan another visit to explore further.
As we wandered we even came across a couple of surprise sculptures that certainly livened up the place.
As we arrived back at the gallery for a final look, it was pleasing to see that the rooms were now full of people enjoying the artwork and excellent buffet.
An enjoyable afternoon, I now have to hope that someone likes one of my paintings enough to buy it.
I am always interested in seeing the work coming out of Universities. Sue and I have been following the progress of a friend of ours from the art club, George Lee and were invited to his final exhibition.
It has been interesting talking to him about his course and seeing the work he has been doing.
The course has involved various areas of study including photography, printing and sculpture, as well as being taught about organising and publicising an exhibition. For his final work George had focused on the decline of the local public houses and the changes in society related to this.
His exhibition featured a Warhol inspired wallpaper, several photographs and sketches as well as a large Resin sculpture containing items from a pub. His area was distinguished by a large Flemish Weaver pub sign.
It was really pleasing to see his work and we wish him all the best with his future endeavours in the artistic field.
It was then interesting touring the other students exhibitions. Like in a lot of these shows you see a wide range of work. There were a few with a political or moral message, some traditional art and a range of abstract work. Many students were at different levels of development and still experimenting with ideas.You could see that a few had decided upon a theme and one stood out. This was because they already had the language to go with their work as well as an accomplished style.
An enjoyable evening and we look forward to next years when another member of the art club will be on show.
Fancying some fresh air, we decided to go to the Quays and this gave us the chance to see the latest exhibition by Chantal Joffe. at the Lowry Centre.
On entering the rooms, the first impression is that these are in quite a naïve style, with loosely painted images. The paintings explore motherhood and show Esme, Joffe's daughter, as she grows up. These images are enhanced by the juxtapositioning of mother and daughter within the canvas.
As you become immersed in the paintings, the images start to convey messages of the interactions between groups or feelings of awkwardness in adolescence. Joffe has played around with different viewpoints and we found the way that she hadn't always painted the full heads of her subjects unusual and interesting.
The artist also pays homage to Paula Modersohn Becker, who was a key figure in the development of Modernism in the early 20th century and is probably the first Western woman artist, to paint herself naked. The information said, 'Her frank, but intimate approach defied expectations of how the female body should be painted, as defined by her male counterparts'.
You can see several pictures that represent similar poses from both artists.
So, to sum up, an exhibition that surprises you; at first you see a picture and think the eyes are painted wrong or that is not a natural pose but this is where an artist can convey more than a photograph. Well worth a visit.
During our trip to Vancouver last year, we walked along the seafront and after a while sat down for a rest. We shared a bench with a local man and after a while, he enquired about our accent. As we talked he said that he had visited England and his highlight was a visit to the Beatle experience in Liverpool. When we told him we only lived thirty minutes away, he was surprised that we had never been to the exhibition. At this point we were a little embarrassed and vowed to go some time in the future.
Having booked it several weeks ago, we arrived in Liverpool to some excellent weather, although there was a cold wind from the river. The experience was impressive and we spent a couple of hours reliving memories of that time in music's history, before coming out into the dock area.
After meeting our daughter and enjoying a drink in a café, we entered the Tate Liverpool. We started at the top floor, where there was an exhibition that was designed to help you to relax. There was a section for making herbal teas and a row of hammocks on display. Although they were meant for numerous people to lie down in them, unfortunately, at the time of our visit, the display was not open for use and as we didn't like the teas on offer, we soon left this floor and continued to explore the rest of the gallery.
We went down to the next floor and into the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition, expecting to see the pop art paintings he is famous for.
It was a great surprise to see a range of his landscape pictures. Apparently, these sea and landscape scenes were a recurring subject matter from 1964 onwards. He had a very experimental approach using synthetic materials in his quest to create illusionistic optical effects. In these works he used Rowlux and other plastics to convey the effects, such as water reflecting sunlight. You can still see the influence of his pop art paintings but these were a completely different genre.
It just shows that you think you know an artist and then an exhibition, such as this, throws up surprises.
On the next floor down, we visited the modern art gallery. After the busy gallery above, the lack of people in here, I believe, sums up some of these exhibits, as we have discussed in previous blogs.
In the next gallery was the Constellations exhibition. This was to encourage the exploration of connections between major modern and contemporary artists. These were arranged in constellations over two floors and offered an imaginative way of viewing and understanding the artworks through how they relate to each other rather than chronological sequence.
Although, I didn't always see the link it was interesting to see this range of paintings side by side.
After a busy day, it was back to the hotel for a meal and as it had been such an artistic day, it was a chance for me to do a couple of sketches in the bar; as we relaxed ready for the next day.
couple of years ago I read an article about the ten most popular pastimes and hobbies of the present day. It was no surprise that nine out of ten of these featured computers and mobile devices. The only one that was different was Geocaching; where people go out into the countryside or around town, armed with a GPS unit looking for hidden caches. Once found, these are logged and the person can continue.
Since this list was published, it wouldn't surprise me if Urban Sketching could now be added to this list, as this seems to be one of the biggest growing pastimes in the world. I have seen various groups spring up and my local town, Eccles, even has a small group now. Whenever I go out, I often see people sat sketching, quite happily taking in the environment.
This leads me onto my visit to the Lady Lever Art gallery. Arriving on a sunny day, the first room we entered was an exhibition featuring etchings by Whistler and Pennell, called 'Etching the City'.
I couldn't help but notice that these works were very similar to some of the sketches I had seen recently at Salford Art Gallery, in an exhibition there by the Manchester Urban Sketchers. Although not coloured, the etchings captured images of the city in their time. Some captured the idea of a quick sketch, as people went about their everyday work; others were more detailed and were careful studies of the buildings.
I have researched the Etching process but there is no mention of whether studies were done for these on site and then worked on in the studio, or if they had some work do on the etching plate at the viewpoint.
These pictures of London and Manchester certainly capture the city, much as the present Urban Sketchers are doing nowadays. Hopefully, the movement will continue to flourish and as a hobby, enables people to enjoy the world around them rather than sitting in a room on an internet device.
With the weather being so nice over the last few days, we have had a chance to get out and do some walks.
Many years ago I was fortunate to catch the attention of Lord Rhodes and his daughter with my paintings and after visiting him at his home and selling one of my paintings to his collector daughter, I was offered an exhibition at Saddleworth Museum in Uppermill. It was nice to return and wander around the gallery and the town again.
The first time we visited was at weekend. Unfortunately, parking can be a problem, especial;;y on a Bank Holiday so we finished up parking quite far out. On this occasion we just wandered around town and enjoyed the shops and cafes before returning home.
Today, as we were in the area to get some of my paintings framed, we decided to go for a walk along the canal.
This also gave me a chance to try out my travelling art kit; although I decided not to take my folding stool. This meant that to sketch I had to sit on walls. Sue, who sat beside me writing in her notebook, forgot about nettles and brushed against one when getting down. Sadly, we couldn't remember what dock leaves looked like and didn't think it was a good idea to rub random plants on her arm!
The first sketch was of lock 22W, where the rushing overflow was at the side. The second thing that interested me was a couple tending their allotment. The woman was working busily away whilst the man sat and watched. No comment needed here!
Walks like this are also a great inspiration for my oil paintings or just a chance to admire the beauty of nature or the ingenuity of the people who constructed these waterways and bridges.
On an interesting note, last time we were here we did a trip on a canal boat and when we were in one of the locks the boat became wedged against a wall and started to turn sideways, as the water went down. This was quite scary and the people in charge had to climb on the roof to free it. A memorable adventure!
Having seen the impressive structure during the day and the light show put on there in the evenings, we were looking forward to visiting the museum. Also around town we had seen posters for an Urban Art Exhibition there.
As we entered the building there were tables with small projects on them for children. This was a good idea as it meant they were already involved in the themes on show in the gallery. As we looked at the different exhibitions offered, we realised you had to pay separately for each of them. As this could become quite costly, we had to pick the one that interested us the most. Although we came for the Urban Art exhibition, the Digital Immersive Experiences; Future World -Where Art Meets Science. intrigued us more, so we decided on that.
The first room we entered was dark and as we sat on the floor the walls and floor were used for a video showing flight. This was quite disorientating but we sat and enjoyed the experience.
As we left this room, we were not sure what to expect but as we entered the next hall, it was a hive of activity. Adults and children sat colouring in pictures of fish and sea creatures. I did a fish and Sue did a sea turtle and a lizard. These were then scanned into a computer terminal and my fish appeared on the wall amongst others and Sue's turtle swam along the floor.
As we moved on, the next area featured a cityscape. Here you could deign buildings or spaceships. I did a spaceship and a rocket. Once on the screen you could interact with them.
Moving on there was a slide that you could come down and as you passed over shapes they changed colour and pattern. In another area, you could move buildings etc. around and interact with the layout of the town.
We spent a great deal of time in this large room, as there was so much of interest. All around families were joining in with the activities and enjoying their time in the gallery. There were large coloured balls to move and giant squares that changed colour when moved around. There was also a fantasy wall where, when you touched the symbols moving around, they changed into animals or mystical beasts. In another room, the walls were filled with crashing waves that were reflected on the walls.
A thoroughly enjoyable time spent in this fun gallery. Maybe, we didn't see any paintings but as a means to involve families and get people into these places, it was excellent. I imagined my landscapes done here, where people could walk through the painting, interacting with nature possibly even smelling the flowers etc. Or in one of my cityscapes meeting the people I have painted. How this would add to the experience of seeing the painting and then experiencing it.
Admittedly, in this instance, there weren't any paintings on show but if this type of experience encourages people into galleries then an appreciation of art will hopefully follow on.
Galleries are already trying this type of experience.
In London the Monet and Architecture exhibition gives 3D representations of his work: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/the-credit-suisse-exhibition-monet-architecture?gclid=CjwKCAjwlcXXBRBhEiwApfHGTYfGtQSED3qtqH2ObALU37IDkN1AYq9OKuK3KZCGPwRvFgyx3vIg0xoC_t0QAvD_BwE
A digital gallery in Paris is making art an immersive experience for visitors who can walk into and over paintings projected around a warehouse.
The Atelier des Lumieres, or Studio of Lights, opened this month with an inaugural exhibit featuring Austrian painter Gustav Klimt's work not hanging on walls, but lighting up floors, ceilings and walls in a colorful, 35-minute moving sequence.
Gallery director Michael Couzigou says: "We use photos scanned in high definition to make this digital exhibition a universe of music and sound."
The show, set to classical music, attracted 60,000 visitors in its first 10 days.
Organizers say the gallery is the biggest of its kind in the world. It has 140 fixed video projectors installed across the 3,300-square-meter (35,521-square-foot) space.
Although some people don't like Facebook, for various reasons, it does have several advantages. I have made new friends and am able to follow the progress of other artists I like the work of.
One of these is Liz Ackerley, who I corresponded with on Facebook and she joined my local art club. She has now moved out of the area and has a studio at Woodend Mill in Mossley. Although known as an Urban Sketcher, it is interesting to see her work develop as she experiments with new media.
At the moment, she has an exhibition at The World Peace Café in Chorlton. Sue and I attended her preview last night and were impressed with her range of work. On show are sketches of the Chorlton area, as well as some preview some new work. These are cityscapes using textured collage, inks and paint. This is a new style for her and it will be interesting to see how it develops, particularly as she is looking to work on a larger scale.
An interesting place and a fascinating exhibition, which is well worth a visit before it ends on 29th July.
Liz's excellent blogs can be seen at: http://lizsscribbles.com/about/
The one place that we had been looking forward to the most, was visiting the Gardens in the Bay. We still had use of our bus pass and used this to take us there. As you arrive it seems like any other park but as you get closer, you can see the first of several of the large plant like sculptures.
We decided to walk to the aerial walkway, which joins together some of these fantasy- based structures. When we arrived, we were disappointed to find that it was closed due to the threat of rain but as we waited the sky seemed to brighten up and fortunately it soon opened. The views of the cityscape were impressive; you could see the skyscrapers of the city in one direction and the rest of the park in the other. We spent an enjoyable hour wandering along the skyway walk, before descending at the other end.
As we wandered towards the large domed structures that held the inside gardens, we realised that there was a great variety of other things to see. We wandered through a sculpture trail and ended up at a play area for children. Here, they could run in and out of sprays of water, which sprang up around them; a fun way to cool off in the heat!
We arrived at the large dome structures and purchased a ticket for both of them . As we entered the first one, The Cloud Forest, we were greeted by a large indoor waterfall, and realised that we had to work our way to the top of the large structure. This consisted of walkways and elevators. As we rose through the different walkways, the flowers and vegetation changed and there was something to see around every corner. When we reached the top we could look down over the city and the cascading waterfall. There were sculptures that enhanced the flowers and at intervals as we descended along the walkways, a mist was released, to give us the experience of a tropical landscape.
Next, was the Flower Dome. The sun was setting as we entered the dome. Here we were greeted by an Alice in Wonderland theme, with figures interspersed with the plants. Further on, we came across other sculptures amongst the vegetation. The large Boab trees reminded me of the Day of the Triffids, standing brightly lit against a darkening skyline.
As we wandered around we saw examples of gardens from different countries and the plants found there. An enjoyable couple of hours wandering around these two conservatories.
However, we were looking forward to the evening show and after covering ourselves with mosquito repellent, we stood waiting for the light show to begin. A large crowd stood in anticipation and as it started we weren't disappointed. The experience of synchronising music and lighting on the giant structures was impressive and will live long in our memories.
We have visited lots of different Gardens on our travels but this was by far the most impressive. A fantastic tourist attraction has been created by a great deal of imagination and reading recently in a newspaper, Singapore are looking to build a similar experience in their airport; that will be something to look forward to!
One place we did get to visit, as we fancied a change of scenery was Sentosa Island. Here, there are several tourist attractions as well as being the home for the Universal Studios franchise; although we didn't have time to visit this time.
As we arrived at the terminal, to go over to the Island, we decided to go on the cable car and were talked into buying tickets from a concession. Arriving at the terminal, there was a long queue, however, feeling confident, as we had already purchased tickets, we took the lift straight away to the cable car boarding station, only to be deflated, as the tickets that we had bought only entitled us to a cheaper ticket at the ticket office. Humbly, we joined the long line to get our tickets.
The view was impressive and we were soon on the island, where there were a full range of activities. Having enjoyed the luge in the past, we chose the more difficult route and raced down that to the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately for Sue, a large school party of young children, was also going down and as is often the case the one pupil with no common sense or fear decided to race her!This proved quite a scary experience watching him tear around the corners and she arrived at the bottom quite shaken up.
As we explored further, we found the beach area and there was a wide range of other activities on offer such as bungee jumping and an aerial walkway, as well as some impressive gardens. These reminded us of the Gaudi mosaics in Barcelona. At the end of the garden was a large Merlion sculpture overlooking the park.
An enjoyable day and with a longer time, a place where we could return as there was a lot more to see and do.
Singapore at night
The views by night, as we explored the city, were just as impressive. We crossed the Helix bridge, one night and went to the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. From here we were treated to a colourful light show and views of the city from all sides.
We also had a fantastic view of the city by night from our hotel room, that gave us a different perspective of the area.
Several times on these excursions around the city we used the underground system Once we understood the layout this proved to be very reliable and cheap, and something we would highly recommend.
The only observation was that it's strange seeing young people riding these trains, as they seem oblivious to their surroundings; too busy looking at their phones!
One young man was sat next to a young lady, in the past they may have chatted and who knows what may have followed!
These are just some of the sights, in the next blog I will talk about the one we were most looking forward to.