A visit to #manchesterartgallery to see the winner of #landscapeartistoftheyear 2022. #lowry #valette
Waking up to a dry day, we decided to venture into Manchester as Sue was after a pair of boots. Braving the substitute bus to Salford Quays (as the tram line needs repairing already) and then catching the tram to St Peter's Square we arrived without any problems.
As we were in Manchester, I was interested to see the winning commision by Sky's Landscape Artist of the Year, Elisha Enfield.
It's not often we are completely amazed by a visit to the gallery but on entering the galleries we were soon thrown off guard. There seemed to have been a revolution of new ideas and layout of the artwork. It hasn't been that long since we were last there but everywhere we turned were unexpected surprises. Paintings of traditional artwork were intermixed with modern art and the rooms were all arranged differently. On show were several artworks we had never seen there before and we really enjoyed seeing these.
As well as the more traditional galleries, quiet contemplation rooms had been set up, where comfortable settees and chairs were provided so that visitors could study a couple of paintings in detail. Although, we did notice that these areas were used for a chat or to check items on mobile phones! However, the thought process behind this idea was a new concept and we found them to be welcoming places where art works could be enjoyed in a relaxing atmosphere.
Having wandered around the first floor looking for the winning paining, we arrived at the Lowry and Valette gallery. This is a favourite gallery of ours as we both love the works on display. It was here that we found the painting that we had been looking for. It had been placed by a huge moody painting by Valette. The winning painting by Elisha Enfield was smaller than expected and was painted in very subtle colours. It showed the valley where the Runcorn Canal had been created. It referenced a tunnel fire by her signature blaze situated in the top right of the painting. Any artist would be excited to have their work on show in this room surrounded by the works of two special artists, Valette and Lowry.
Moving to the top floor, again, we were surprised when entering the sculpture gallery, entitled, Out of the Crates. Here, the exhibition was showing sculptures from different ages but also giving the visitor an impression that some were still waiting to go on show as they were still in packing cases. An interesting concept that added to the experience. Different groups were also responsible for putting together one of the exhibitions as well.
The last room upstairs was the design gallery, and again, here things had been changed. New items were on show and there was even a shelter to sketch in. We also saw a super painting of these three ladies by an artist called James Fitton. It reminded us a little of the snug from Coronation Street from many years ago!
After browsing in the shop. we wandered through to the final gallery. Again we were shocked, as this was now a large, exciting activity room for children. In the past this space had been upstairs, but the gallery had designed a bright and airy room for children to create in, This was very impressive. One of Sue's favourite paintings of a sleeping lion had been one of the painting used to inspire art work from young artists.
So, having expected to just have a quick visit to see mainly one painting, we were inspired to spend much longer browsing the work. It's great to see a gallery adapting to encourage the public to visit more and we will certainly add it to our list more often.
On a final note, the shoe shop was closed so Sue never got her boots!
#liverpool #waltersickert #WalkerArtGallery
Walter Sickert is one of Britain’s most important artists, with a career spanning six decades. Born in Munich, Germany, he moved to Britain as a child in 1868. As a young artist, he worked as an apprentice to the American painter James Abbot McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) who, along with the French impressionist painter Edward Degas (1834-1917), greatly influenced Sickert’s early work.
After negotiating the large roadworks, building work and Storm Barra, we arrived at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool to view the Sickert exhibition. After paying our entrance fee, we entered the gallery, and the first thing that struck us about his work was how dark the paintings were, even with his later works that were described as more colourful. Images from the following photographs don't always show this as the camera adjusts the images in modern phones.
One of the first things that intrigued me was that he owed a great debt to James Whistler where he had been apprenticed. Then he was introduced to Degas where he then combined ideas from both these artists in his paintings before he found his own style in 1887 with his music hall paintings.
This made me think who could I approach nowadays as a mentor. One artist I suppose is David Hockney as he has tried several styles that appeal to me, but after that I would struggle to think of anyone else. When I started painting in the 70's Lowry was still around and several of the artists I met had worked alongside him but nowadays these opportunities aren't the same. Having said that influences are all around us with the internet. and YouTube.
Moving on around the exhibition, we followed his life as he moved to Paris, where he met Degas, then on to Venice, and later finishing in Dieppe. Paintings from all these towns were featured.
The next paintings were his most iconic and important artworks. These were described as "modern conversation pieces", where he reinvented the 18th century informal group portraits in domestic scenes, capturing the everyday drama of modern life. This I can relate to as recently I have been capturing scenes featuring local people coping with the pandemic.
Unable to spend summer in Dieppe because of World War 1, he decided to explore Britain's holiday resorts and countryside. In this painting he captures the Pierrot show in Brighton, and this particular painting, due to its composition, is considered to be a masterpiece.
An interesting theory and something worth debating. It certainly shows how important his mentors were. He also put this into practice helping other artists and working alongside them such as Sylvia Gosse. Her use of photographs as a source inspired Sickert to do the same.
Nowadays however, this can be frowned upon, but these later works of Sickert were revisited and and then recognised as an important development of modern British Art.
An enjoyable and enlightening visit and, all in all, worth the entrance fee, with his work exhibited in several galleries. To sum it up, a quote many artists can relate to.
#vangogh #salfordquays #vangoghalivemediacity #mediacity #salford
Having visited the Van Gogh immersive experience in York, it was interesting to compare this with our visit to the Salford version.
On entering, there are a series of board displays recounting significant parts of his life. For those who didn't know much about his life, these contained an interesting overview.
Next, there is a chance to sit in his bedroom taken from the famous painting, which he painted in 1888. Although, the bedroom was reproduced in the York exhibition visitors weren't allowed into the room. This time, however, it felt good to be part of the scene.
As you turned the corner you encountered an artwork, on a screen, showing how one of his flower paintings can be done by a computer. This type of art work seems to be more popular at the moment, but that is up for discussion at another time!
After watching the short video, we proceeded to the main area. Unfortunately, we hadn't been informed that the show had already started, so had to stay after the finish of the show to watch the beginning section then.
On entering it was quite busy but we soon found a spot to stand, where we could see many of the huge wall canvases. By the end of the presentation we would have appreciated more seating being available.
The large screens all around gave a superb chance to experience his artwork as the story of his life was told with the paintings and notes at the side. Seeing these paintings on such large screens really brought them to life. There were many more paintings shown than when we saw the show in York. Also, it was a more well balanced story whereas in York it seemed to focus on his later mental issues a lot more.
Young children enjoyed the images on the floor and often chased them as they moved across the area. This was at times a little distracting but it was good to see them enjoying themselves.
After viewing the show, we moved to the room with the Sunflowers in it. This was not as big as we expected but, by the use of mirrors, was a clever way of giving the impression of a big field. This was an added bonus whereas in York the extra was the use of virtual reality headsets to experience viewing his paintings, although this was an added cost.
On leaving the area, you had a chance to follow a tutorial to sketch the bedroom on an easel or buy a souvenir.
It's hard to compare these two experiences as they were so different. We preferred the chance to sit in deckchairs in York as the images of the paintings swirled all around the room and it was truly immersive as they washed over you. The downside of York was that not as many paintings were featured and the focus was different. In Salford more pictures were featured and the story was told better.
Would I recommend one over the other? Not really, but an amalgamation of the two would be perfect. However, both are well worth experiencing in their own right.
I have heard a rumour that one similar to the York experience is coming to Manchester next year.
This also helps a whole new audience experience artwork and that can only be a good thing. I have also heard that a Monet and Klimt experiences are being planned for the future.
After watching an enjoyable play at #oldhamcolluseum the night before, we decided to visit the art gallery, which is housed in a large purpose built building. On entering, we made our way upstairs to see the 'Legacies of Biafra' exhibition. It was interesting to find out about the artwork that commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Nigeria-Biafra war, a subject we knew nothing about.
The exhibition considers how one of the first civil wars in post-independence Africa has influenced the perception of the continent internationally whilst examining the legacies of war visible in the social and political structures within Nigeria.
The exhibition features works predominantly from the artistic collective Nigeria Art Society UK (NASUK),
Another interesting bonus was that an artist I met recently, at my exhibition in Saddleworth, Titus Agbara had work on show.
National Gallery Masterpiece Tour
In the next galley was the famous painting by Degas entitled Helene Rouart in her Father's Study.
This is the starting point for an exploration of the ways in which women are represented within our art collections. Gallery Oldham holds many portraits in which the woman is not named. Sometimes she is described as “wife” or “daughter”, sometimes the title completely ignores the fact there is a woman in the portrait at all. We are using this exciting National Gallery partnership as a starting point to try to uncover the identities of some of these sitters, and to find out more about those who we know little.
Another interesting exhibition that showed a wide range of paintings from Oldham galleries collection.
We always enjoy going through to the Community gallery and wish Salford Art Gallery had similar exhibition space. The first area features paintings etc. celebrating the work of local artists, landmarks and people.
The room at the end features work by groups or individuals linked to Oldham or has a subject matter relevant to the area.
In this case Adam Bromiley-Haslam's paintings show his unique strategy in coping with the challenges that life throws at him. His stunning faces in bright colours are a unique expression of his struggles.
These reminded me slightly of the work of of #Picasso and #JeanMichelBasquia
A thought provoking exhibition.
A wide range of artwork to see and well worth a visit. Also interesting to note that after almost a hundred exhibitions the Community Gallery is to be relaunched in 2022 in a new location such is it's popularity.
After a couple of weeks of cool weather, it was good to be able to go for a walk in the sunshine. I had seen the sculpture trail advertised on Facebook in #BuileHillPark and wondered what it was like. Arriving at the mansion there were lots of people on the green area and stalls in the sensory garden. A nice lady explained that they were fund raising and gave us a map to find the sculptures.
The first sculpture was situated near the mansion so after photographing that we set off to find the rest, stopping half way round for a drink and chat at the community café.
After a short rest we continued on our search for the others, walking past one without realising it was there. Eventually, we found them all.
An enjoyable walk and it was good to see so many other people doing the same thing, with children enthralled by the animals etc, which were linked to the park. The Elephant is a link to the stuffed one that used to be in the mansion when it was a museum, I think, as I can't remember seeing any in the park in previous visits!
A superb way to add interest to this park and I'm sure it will attract more visitors. What a great job these volunteers are doing in the park as well as those in Light Oaks Park. At last these are becoming hubs for local people.
Having been on a coach tour holiday before to Eastbourne, we had a rough idea of what to expect. Unfortunately, things beyond our control made the journey to Babbacombe one to forget. Possibly to save money the company had added extra pick ups at the beginning which added three hours to the start of our journey as we were the first pick-up.
Then we had three major accidents that added time. (Hopefully no one was badly injured in these.) Anyway, after twelve tiring hours we arrived at our destination. I sat on one seat which did not give me a chance to do much sketching, as there was only a limited viewpoint, but I did manage a few quick drawings.
After a quick unpack and late meal we had a short walk to the headland, before having an early night. A stunning view of the coastline, but a shame we never had a chance to go down to the beach while we were there.
After an early rise and a decent breakfast, we were back on the coach heading for Sidmouth. This proved to be a quaint seaside town with a nice seafront and several unique shops on the side streets.
As an artist I am always looking for ways to exhibit my work and here the local Samaritan's shop offered a side room where artists could display and sell their work, with the charity taking a commission. What an excellent idea and one that other charities could copy.
Our afternoon visit was to Dawlish, which proved to be more of a traditional family holiday area, although it was spoilt a little as there was a lot of improvement work on the seafront. To offset this, there was a local, annual festival in the park opposite. where lots of activities for children were in full swing.
On Wednesday, we set off for Dartmouth which had a different feel to it from the last two places. Although quite busy, we had an interesting walk around the town, enjoying the views and atmosphere. It was surprising that this seemed to be a mecca for art shops as there appeared to be one on every corner.
I wonder what the art market is like in this area?
Our last stop of the day was a short visit to Torquay, a place where we had holidayed about twenty five years ago! Needles to say, we didn't recognised any of it this time around.
Again a contrast, as this was the quintessential family resort offering all types of entertainment. After a drink it was back to the hotel and an evening meal and another walk to the headland. On the way back we stopped for some liquid refreshment and a chat with another couple from Salford, before having to leave the establishment at 10pm as they wanted to close up!
The last day was a unmitigated disaster! We had planned to visit the prehistoric cave in the morning before going into Torquay again in the afternoon with a tentative plan of maybe to catch the ferry to Brixham. Having studied the map, we walked for twenty five minutes and should have arrived at the caves. Studying google we realised we were now forty five minutes away! To our horror we realised that the paper map we had consulted at the hotel had been the wrong way up!
So. being closer to Torquay, we decided to head there and an hour later arrived. After this experience we decided to treat ourselves to a cream tea.
As we arrived at the seafront, the rain started to fall so we decided to head for the caves, not realising that from here it was all uphill! And a steep, winding one at that!
After a long walk, we finally arrived to find that the caves were now all booked up until six pm and that would have meant waiting four hours. As we sat in the café, there was a thunderstorm, which luckily had mainly passed before we set off for the hotel, which was an easy walk, and only twenty minutes away!
Fortunately, we passed a local church hall, advertising the local art club's summer exhibition.
We always enjoy these as it is a chance to compare the artwork to that of Salford Art Club's. It was also a chance to talk to a couple of the artists who had work on show. An interesting exhibition and some super work.
Friday morning arrived and we left the hotel at 9am to start our journey home. Fortunately, this proved to be a lot better, with few hold ups.
An interesting holiday, possibly not an area we would rush back to, although, we did enjoy Sidmouth and Dartmouth.
Having experienced a virtual art immersion in a gallery, in Singapore, where there were a variety of computer artworks to interact with, I was interested to visit the Van Gogh exhibition in York.
After booking on line, I arrived at our allotted time to see how the show was organised. The experience was on a loop so could be seen at any time.
After a few minutes deciding which deckchair to sit in, I sat back to enjoy the projections. At first, tiny seeds of disappointment appeared and I thought, 'Was this it?'
On the walls were a series of frames showing examples of some of Van Gogh's paintings.
But then my interest was captured as they started to merge into other paintings and so the immersion experience began!
Every wall, the ceiling and the floor were covered with moving images of Van Gogh's paintings, so I sat back and was surrounded by them.
These images led me through his early life to his later darker days, with music and prose added to the effects. A fascinating insight into his work and the way it can be experienced in a large space.
I really enjoyed my visit!
My only criticism was that I would have liked to see a few of his better known works such as the 'Café Terrance at Night' and 'Starry Night'. I also thought that a couple of the in-between sections were over-long.
Going through to the next room, I took part in a colouring session, where visitors could either draw their own pictures based on Van Gough' style or colour one of the prepared drawings. A virtual reality session was also offered at an extra coat but due to time constrictions I had to miss this.
A super time spent at this exhibition and I hope this type of experience can become a fixture in all towns, possibly alongside an actual exhibition. I can imagine, in my own city of Salford, an immersive exhibition of L S Lowry's paintings, where the people wander around the scenes would be a fantastic addition to the Lowry Art gallery.
Since visiting and doing the notes for this blog, it is interesting that I came across this advert! I look forward to going to this to compare the experience.
Hosted within a stunning, purpose-built venue at MediaCity piazza from October 22 to January 23, this Covid-safe and family-friendly experience is anticipated to become the North’s biggest visitor attraction; providing a truly world-class cultural experience in the heart of Greater Manchester’s iconic cultural hub.
Prepare to transcend time and space as you accompany Van Gogh on a journey through the Netherlands, Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, where he created many of his timeless masterpieces. Set to an evocative classical score, a thrilling display of over 3,000 inspirational images transforms every surface that surrounds you in what has been described as an “unforgettable multi-sensory experience”.
I can't wait!
After waking up to a sunny day, it seemed a suitable chance to visit Southport, having not been there for over two years.
On arrival, we took a pleasant walk along the front and then sat on a bench overlooking the water to eat our packed-lunch. We decided to visit the art gallery, as they always seem to have a good variety of work on show.
Going into the main gallery we were surprised to see a full exhibition based on the British Landscape, a subject matter close to my heart, and one that is not as popular nowadays.
Landscapes had been the mainstay of British art for centuries with the artists from the early 20th century portraying the most idealised views. Artists and the public found solace in these type of art works especially after the horrors of the wars and saw the countryside as a place of calm and security.
Britain led the way in landscape art until the development of impressionism, but it was still popular until the mid 20th century.
It was a fascinating insight into this genre, showing artwork from around the country from the early 18th century to more modern paintings of today. A subject matter that hopefully one day will return in popularity, although artists such as Damien Hurst and David Hockney are exhibiting work on this theme at the moment.
Walking through to the next gallery, a similar theme was on show. Here Paul Kenny exhibited abstract compositions on small glass plates with objects found on beaches and crystallised sea water. These plates are then scanned to produce large scale photographs and light boxes. These works focus on the often overlooked elements of the landscape.
Interestingly, Paul was born and educated in Salford but now lives in Northumberland.
These highly colourful images were impressive and were a different interpretation to the landscape theme. Unfortunately, we were a few days early for the art club exhibition being hung during our visit which was a shame, as it is always interesting to compare their work and themes with that of Salford Art Club. Another enjoyable visit and we look forward to returning some time soon.
After enjoying both TV series of the art club, we looked forward to seeing the chosen artwork in the gallery.
Through the television series Grayson and Phillipa brought people together during lockdown, celebrating the creativity of everyone. People turned to art as a way of relaxing in these troubled times and to express what they were going through. Each week Grayson chose a different theme and people could send in examples of their work on this theme. Entries were in their thousands and a limited number were chosen to show each week.
Themes included: portraits, animals, fantasy, view from the window, home and Britain. I sent off for a couple of these but unfortunately, didn't have my art work chosen. Below are some of my favourites from the ones sent in by the public, Many are very personel to the artist and all show a great level of skill.
Each episode also showed work by known artists such as Chantal Joffe, Maggi Hambling, Antony Gormley, and The Singh Twins.
Also, there were interviews with celebrities who also produced artwork during these times. These included Joe Lycett, Noel Fielding, Harry Hill, Vic Reeves, Jenny Eclair, Kevin McCloud and Lisa Tarbuck.
These often reflected the personality of the artist and enlivened the programme.
Grayson, ably supported by his wife Phillipa, produced a series of artworks each programme with Alan Measles, his protective spirit, keeping them safe.
We had only seen one example of Grayson's pottery before but were fascinated by the range and complexity of images and writing on them.
My personal favourites were the small figures created by Alex Robinson, who is on the autistic spectrum and produces four figures each week. Making these was invaluable to him, as it gave a structure to his week and helped to maintain his wellbeing and his mental health.
I would happily buy one of these and maybe he should start selling models of them because they were superb.
An interesting visit and one of these occasions when something lives up to your expectations or even surpasses it. Well worth booking a visit and what a chance Grayson provided to allow everyone to enter this exhibition without having to be a well known artist.
The same can be said of the #LowryArtGallery where the #DaysLikeThese exhibition is on, showing the reflections of Salford people during the lockdown. The next exhibition we must visit again.
After an enjoyable visit to Nottingham, we decided to stop off half way home at Trentham Gardens. Having pre booked our tickets, we parked near the garden centre. After lunch, we entered and followed the path to explore the lakeside walk, all the way around the ‘Capability’ Brown mile-long Trentham Lake.
Scattered around the lake were several sculptures and these added interest to the walk. Some were carved into trees, whilst others were free standing. As well as traditinal subject matter, one area impressed with tree stumps laid out to form an interesting abstract landscape, which created a different experience.
A trail of superb fairy sculptures, had also been created around the lakeside and gardens. These were painstakingly created from galvanised and stainless steel wire, by local artist Robin Wight.
Some of these were stunning, glistening in the sunlight, whilst others were hidden in the trees or peeping over fences. A super idea to inspire children who could have a trail sheet to help find them.
Having followed the one way system, we finished our walk at the Italian gardens, where we could acknowledge the foresight of the layout and appreciate the plants and trees. After the walk it was enjoyable to explore this area, especially the sweet smelling pink wisteria boulevard before setting off for home.
A nice break from the stress of the last few months and a chance to see a new city and visit these beautiful gardens.