It’s been too hectic to post much over the last couple of days, I was getting ready for out makers market at Spode. …I only sold a couple of things, ah well there is always next time.
But yesterday morning I went out with Stoke Urban sketchers to draw the old colliery buildings at Chatterly and Whitfield enterprise zone. A former colliery closed in the 1980’s, I remember visiting when there was a mining museum there. You could walk through some of the old mine workings and he a feeling of what it was like to work underground.
Sadly the museum closed down due to lack of visitors, but I have heard that volunteers are trying to bring something back to the site.
We were outside the perimeter fence, somewhere on the path in the nature reserve that now surrounds the site.
The buildings are very big, there are many stories to them, with arches and windows in the side of the buildings. Huge winding wheels look miniscule where they sit at the top of the building, and guard rails are placed on either side if them. The main building is starting to get covered in foliage, eventually it could end up looking like an ancient relic or monument.
Metal frames and wheels also dotted the horizon, I did a pen drawing, a couple of pencil sketches, and a pastel and ink picture.
Being surrounded by other skilled artists really encouraged me to try and capture the architecture of the landscape. Drawing in a group can help your confidence. Even my partner had a go!
I saw Adam from Hulton Art pottery today, which is based at the Spode pottery site. I bought a wall mounted bracket (which is still wrapped in bubble wrap) but along with it he gave me a terracotta tile of what looks like a cheeky little devil..
I can’t help liking his wide smile, the twinkle in his eyes, his spikey, possibly flaming coat, (the tile, not Adam!).
I asked if it was OK to paint this little guy, because he made me chuckle with laughter. It looks like something mediaeval that could have been a gargoyle on an old building. Adam told me it was made in about 1997, soon after he had completed his training in pottery, so it seems really special. I feel privileged to have something that has age and character. This cheeky little devil is probably going to find a home on a window ledge somewhere.
I feel like he is related to the green men I have been painting over the last few years. Maybe they all have a feeling of spirit of the Earth in them. An old hidden life that we have lost as the world becomes ever more urban around us. I like the idea of faeries and little people getting up to mischief.
I remember one if my favourite paintings when I was a teenager was Richard Dadds’ the Faeiry Fellers masterstroke. He was put into a mental asylum because of ‘madness’ but I don’t know his history apart from that. Dadds’ painting has amazing tiny details. If you can try looking it up on the net.
Anyway I might post a follow up picture of the little devil if I ever finish it.
Sunday, a nice warm day. I have been feeling a bit down, I want to paint and be creative, but I needed steering towards something.
Then up popped an invite on my Facebook page, come along to a friend’s workshop to create panels for a flag about Philip Astley. Inventor of the modern circus.
Astley was born in 1742 in Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire. His wife would be known for wearing bees on her hands..a bit like mittens. It’s funny what sticks in your mind when you are doing something new.
I’m not a good needlewoman, I can’t use a sewing machine. But I can stitch. I was trying to think what to represent and the answer came to me….horses. They were the first animals to appear in the circus. I’m pretty good at drawing them so I chose a green and white background panel and a pale brown material for the horse.
We used adhesive webbing to stick down the cutouts. Other people had done horses, letters in a circus font, and things like clowns etc. Then basically I just stitched round the outline and added coloured silk edging to enhance the panel…..
Well that took 2 and a half hours…in a 3 hour workshop! So I cut out a figure and added stars and other decorations to my second panel….bits of ribbon for the edges of his clothes, a dark bit of material for his hair. I glued on a few pompoms for him to be juggling. Finally a few stiches for his face. Done….
OK so why blog about this? Because being creative does not mean you have to stick to one sort of art. You can play with anything. Sewing and embroidery use drawing skills. It’s all about hand eye coordination. And its about having fun..letting yourself relax. Even making new friends.
There are apparently lots of Urban sketchers groups around the world. I am a member of Stoke Urban Sketchers (USK). We meet every few weekends to draw interesting places in the Towns and Cities around us.
Today we had a stall at Burslem, and members sat and drew the view and also were scattered around the town trying to draw some of the old buildings and crowds. There was also a classic car rally so these became the subject of drawings too!
I made the mistake of just taking a sketchpad and a HB pencil and a broad black marker pen. I had to borrow some coloured pencil but I think my initial sketch was not that good.
I did get into trying to draw the crowds of people, including a man with a cup of tea or coffee who kindly stood still while I drew him. I finished by drawing the old roofs across the square. I could have done more..but I was too hot and bothered. I think it got to about 28 degrees Celsius. ..thats about 10 degrees hotter than normal. Phew!
Leaves unfurl and block the view, the sky is shaded out, green and orange, and yellow too, they cast their shade about.
Atop a hill, those huge trees grew, their roots spread wide no doubt, and round their branches… true delight I see the fields sprout.
Now came old autumn, when leaves flew, they were madly strewn about, the world is seen as if anew, and “slumber trees!” I shout.
I’m not good at rhyming. I prefer blank verse, but I thought I would have a go at making a more traditional poem.
“View” and “Out” are such simple words…you can probably think of far more rhymes for them than I can. The poem is based on a visit to the Dorothy Clive Garden today. The leaves are starting to fill in the gaps between the branches and twigs, and some views will disappear until the leaves fall again in October or November, when the world beyond them will be revealed again. I think you can see three counties, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire can be seen from the top of the quarry garden there.
It’s a beautiful place if you feel like visiting it.
A group of like minded artists.
I go to an art group occasionally and either paint or draw. They meet on Saturdays and sometimes we do a group activity but today we did our own thing.
This portrait is of an old friend who has a tattooed face. I am doing two pictures, one for him and one for me. It is a challenge to try and get an accurate representation but I think I am getting there. I look into his gentle eyes and see how interesting he is.
I only spent about 3 hours on this so far. It is acrylic on canvas, about 10 inches by 14 . I took a photo of a detail of the chin because I liked the simple marks I had used.
Anyway, hope you like it.