It was Tuesday morning and instead of setting off for a ‘Walk & Draw’ session we went by train to Birmingham for a visit to its main Art Gallery.
New Street Station has been re-vamped but we found our way out on to the street and in the correct direction without the aid of our Christmas cracker compass!
Victoria Square, less than half a mile from the train station, is impressive with its ornate Victorian buildings including the Council House and to its rear in Chamberlain Square the Museum and Art Gallery. It was free entry to the Art Gallery which housed some magnificent pictures – the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in Europe plus many modern paintings by top artists. Although appreciative of these paintings our main objective was to view the visiting exhibition by Grayson Perry of ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ which was housed in a separate area with an adjacent film room showing the research done on the project.
You are sure to know of Grayson Perry, a Turner Prize winner, Reith lecturer and with an unusual taste in dress sense which includes, on occasion, wearing lady’s clothes and high-heeled shoes!
The exhibition itself was stunning – consisting of six tapestries each 12 ft x 6 ft displayed around the walls of the Gallery. The colours and artistry in each tapestry were outstanding and depicted the life of Tim Rakewell from birth to demise. Grayson has a fascination with social taste and class mobility depicted in the tapestries. He based them on William Hogarth’s ‘Pilgrims Progress’ and each tapestry, as well as depicting the rapid growth of Tim Rakewell up the social ladder to the super rich computer king, depicts changes in society and its tastes.
The titles of the tapestries are –
Adoration of the Cage Fighters
The Agony in the Car Park
Expulsion from No. 8 Eden Close
The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal
The Upper Class at Bay
I’ll briefly describe the first tapestry which shows Tim the new born baby in his mother’s arms grasping for her mobile phone. Alongside in the room is an array of people and domestic objects. Mother looks admiringly across the room to her four girl friends all dressed in their ‘glad rags’ and off for a night on the town – how she wishes she could join them! Kneeling at her feet are two martial arts enthusiasts offering gifts to the baby – a small size Sunderland football shirt and a miner’s lamp. What future for Tim the baby? Tucked away in the corner of the tapestry, following the pattern of many religious paintings, is a small image of Tim some three years hence alone in the house and gazing at a TV screen. This tapestry holds the attention and leads to many discoveries each having a subtle inference.
These observations continue throughout the remaining tapestries through to the final ‘Lamentation’. This shows our rich computer mogul dead in the gutter of the city in the arms of a passing girl
nurse. Behind him – crashed into a lamp post is his wrecked Ferrari sports car – wearing no seat belt his demise was certain.
What an exhibition! You must see it and it is still at Birmingham until early May.
I mentioned the film show in the next room to the Gallery. This shows the research done by Grayson Perry for the project. He spent a considerable time in the Sunderland area meeting different people to assimilate their views and tastes. This included a night out with the girls and he dressed in a very fetching dress and wore high-heeled shoes!
Grayson explains why he chose tapestries rather than his usual traditional media. Tapestries are associated with grand stately homes and the idea of using this costly and ancient medium to show common place dramas of British life really appealed. Grayson had to learn how to draw on a computer and he used Photoshop to transfer his drawings on to the tapestries. The tapestries were woven in Flanders on a computer controlled loom. The preparation and arrangement of threads for the loom took months, the actual weaving four hours for each tapestry.
It’s a new year and we’re back in Ashby but groundhog day this is not. This time we go – wait for it – anti clockwise. So, out of the carpark and up towards the church.
1st sketch of lane corner and arch. Flags flap. Wind chills. Hard to get buildings upright, rooftop angles and chimneys. Into churchyard for 2nd sketch of decorated doorway. Fancy strapwork, heraldic shields, carved frogs (why?), stone heads. Glimpse castle ruins over wall beyond headstones. Drift by mossy wall, note upside down remains of large painted sundial on tower wall. How old? Find wall gap on road with view of castle bits, fishponds and earth mounds for sketch 3. Sharp wind. Work fast. Ask for directions and find lane down to open field with castle view.
Sketch 4. Dog walker crosses field towards winter trees. Ruins still masked by branches. Try to make some sense of it all. Shading difficult with a pen. Better results for those with water pens. Unused Conte pencil remains in pocket – mistake. Round by park and back onto noisy main road.
Search for alleyway to draw. End up back on hilltop where we started for 5th sketch of lane back the other way. Disappear into an inn and warmth. A good new year start. January 14th 2014
To Birmingham’s Barber Institute by train. Sunny crisp morning. Wander round campus, mighty clock tower, dodging students, waiting for refractory to open and lunch. Fortified we get to the gallery. Up the sweeping Arte Deco stairs and WHOOSH, full wall of a breathtaking huge John Monks oil painting of large empty ballroom – 7 ft drop, three joined panels sideways fill the wall.
Colour, texture, clever, clever paint, mighty wallops plastered on with verve and excitement. Pause for short talk in side-room on 4 Hogarth prints, then back out into the colour shock. Three others companion works hang in the room. Stay – just looking. Finally wander through old masters collection which somehow seemed a bit dull. Back into Monk’s room. Take provided stool and just stare. People sit in the middle of the room, spellbound. Go home well happy, talking of vats of paint and palette knives. January 21st 2014
Frosty meet at Sockman and head for Queen’s Park, Loughborough for 1st sketch. Cold without gloves. (Can’t work in them.) Set off towards Burton Walk. 2nd sketch of corner white house with exotic foliage in garden. Recess at Grammar School – dodge tide of young uniforms all munching. Rich smell of sugar and food in the air.
3rd sketch of hall and quad. On down narrow alley, past stacked sleeping kayaks, old tennis courts to 4th sketch of corner house with very tall chimneys. Cricket ground beyond thaws in weak sun. Quiet stop at Albert St corner for 5th sketch. Brickwork, bow windows, parked cars. We try. Back to Town Hall for review, cuppa and trip round Sock Gallery’s current show which includes framed flattened frogs – road kill? February 4th 2014
Trapped in town road-works maze. Finally break free and head for Wymeswold – late. Bright, clear, cold. A good Feb. day. Quick crit of earlier work then up thin path by churchyard. 1st sketch of wooden door in brick wall. Good to start small. Out into the sun – warm against wall – for 2nd sketch of church gate and corner cottages.
Discuss pens v pencils, and shading on white walls. Postman busy as we head down to Brook St. Flood debris visible. 3rd sketch of willows, brook, cottages. Snowdrops are out. Verges squelch. Excite small dog at end of street and turn back past hurrying postman to the green. Discuss new build village design. 4th sketch on corner. Church clock chimes the half hour. Up to heavy traffic and main road.
Find old barn door and buildings for 5th sketch. Back into the warmth with a drink and talk of Bourbon Street and parsnips. February 11th 2014
Silly weather stopped play. February 18th 2014
Boot up -most of us – (no, not me this time) in Badger’s Sett carpark. Take hard surface route along noisy road to Hall Gates. 1st Sketch across Cropston water in thin rain. Grebes dive. Walk across bridge talking of giant carp. Reach park gates – half term busy. 2nd sketch of Rangers house – unusual chimneys. Silent bikes and colourful scooters whiz by. Deer shelter far off along walls. Go off-piste for unusual café coffee break on pretext of ‘still life’ opportunities.
Actually do 3rd sketches inside and through windows over warming drink. Very civilised. Out again to pile of rocks and sketch 4. Good sloped hard strata lines against bare trees. Squish back in sunshine over styles and follow hedges back to road. Stop to admire Bradgate colour from high point. Back at the pub review work and talk of holidays and left-handedness.
March 11th 2014
Melbourne in blossom. Carpark meet and 1st sketch of houses by church wall opposite. Good start. 2nd sketch along lake edge. Geese honk, swans, cloud hedges, dog walkers. Keen breeze. Admire Bakewell’s wrought iron.
Retrace steps, cut up alley, up hill towards old school house for 3rd sketch. Tricky rooflines – as usual. Discuss starting point – establish main feature first versus simple top left down to bottom right. Jury out. Some go for chimneys. Carry on up to Cook memorial and bench for 4th sketch. Warmer in the sun. Back downhill by thatched cottage, old enamelled Rinso signs [‘saves coal every washday’], old stable and forge entrances, now residential, snoop in doorway of sympathetic shop conversion [original ceilings] to Butter Cross .
Avoid getting skittled on corner for 5th sketch of nightmare angles. Some go smaller and dodge the architecture. Along to Potter’s Lane and through, for 6th sketch. Old walls, sundial in yard. Warm by bricks in the sun. Back to the inn, swap books and set task of 2-colour work from morning’s collection. March 18th
Park outside Swithland church. Quick crit of last week and then off up the path. Colder out on field track – exposed. 1st sketch of large tree overhanging path. Red ploughed fields either side. Breeze ruffles pages. Stop by water board notice of footpath disruption and into the woods for 2nd sketch. Trees looking not quite spring. Up slope and down to very small rill.
3rd sketch. Talk of horses, cyclists, & horse track v bridle way. Difference? Don’t know. Both signs clearly shown. Down old workers path to outbuildings for 4th sketch. Hard to get joggled stonework looking reasonable. Back onto road with cherry blossom and start of light shower. Duck into pub, open fire, a swift half and admire holiday sketch book recently filled in a warmer clime. Can almost feel the sunshine. Home happily for lunch.
April 1st 2014
Set off up Woodhouse Eaves main street, left at waymarker, wave to Club members in Annexe and disappear down alongside blackthorn blossom to covered stream and 1st sketch. Out across field by circles of wood anemone circles to thatched cottage for 2nd sketch. Daffodils on roadside. Up hill beyond church and worry a resident outside almshouses who mistakes our sketching for ‘another awful survey’. She tells us the houses were set up by the Herrick estate for Crimean veterans. Oddly apt today.
Try to capture full bloomed magnolias against curious chimneys and architecture. Turn down lane, turn right and along to flock of sheep for 4th sketch. Sheep not too sure. Can’t blame them. Climb fence to avoid bog at style and cross two fields. Suddenly measure my length on path by new crops. No harm done. Wipe down, look reasonably respectable again and over refreshments discuss coming summer programme. April 8th
Park at Zouch and review some latest work. Interesting! Head off over bridge to towpath for 1st sketch. Keen wind, water reflections, roof lines. Tricky. Carry on under changing skies to bridge for 2nd sketch. Find unexpected vivid pink narrowboat moored on other side. Conventional boat glides by heading for lock. Beyond, stop for 3rd sketch of small fishing platform on far bank – trying to capture reflections. Pause at field gate for 4th sketch, river bend, old tree, tiny church on horizon. A buzzard hangs overhead. Meet a puppy. Discuss composition problems, and swiftly changing light (not with the dog).
Discover new Notts.Uni. plantation complete with path, noticeboard and benches. Take new path and reach original track to Sutton Bonington. Stop for 5th sketch and meet up with returning puppy. Head off back towards river – skylarks. Pause on bridge in the sun, then back to Zouch for 6th sketch from reverse angle. Back in the warm, finalise summer venues. Dorothy Whetnall
For a two month taster followed by possibly making this a permanent fixture for the club, we are starting a daytime once a month (2nd Monday) painting session. This is to be held at Barrow upon Soar’s Bishop Beverage Club which is on the Kinch number 2 bus service to Leicester from Loughborough.
For a start we have booked July 14th and August 11th 12:30 to 14:30 (hopefully extending this as soon as we can)
Reasons for this trial:-
Recent BUSCA event held in Barrow showed a need for this activity
The time has been chosen to help younger people with children and school runs to do, so they can have the chance of coming.
Members have raised the issue that nothing happens on this side of the river.
To appeal to new members
To get a venue on a bus route where you can use your bus pass to attend for the non-drivers.
To introduce as many non-painters to the joys of painting/drawing.
To find any semi-professional, professional or skilled amateur painters out there who wish to share their knowledge.
Map for Bishop Beverage Club, Barrow upon Soar painting session.
Our summer art exhibition is on this weekend (June 7-8th) at Woodhouse Eaves Village Hall Annex.
Do come along to view a wide range of paintings and drawings from our members. It’s one of our favourites! We shall be updating with pics over the course of the weekend. Refreshments and a cake stall will be available.
This also runs along side the villages open gardens weekend, so do come along for the day.
Welcome to our new Charnwood Drawing and Painting website!
We hope you enjoy browsing this site, here you will find news of up and coming events, past demonstrations, and galleries of artwork from our members. New content will be added daily so look out for new features!