Last week I wrote about the arts scene in Salisbury.
This week I'm focusing on why it's such an inspirational place.
Salisbury is an extraordinary and unique city. It's medieval city centre is build on a grid system during the 1300s. There are some fascinating little buildings all around the city that will delight anyone one who studies them.
The Cathedral is set in a beautiful close, it is such a luxury to be able to stand back from the building and admire it in all its glory. I still get a thrill out of hearing tourists gasp "wow" once they’ve walked through North gate and get their first real view of the Cathedral.
Inside the Cathedral there's enough inspiration to keep any artist going for an age. The architecture alone takes your breath away.
If you have a head for heights the tower tour is simply brilliant, the views inside the tower almost as amazing as the views looking outside.
Head further away from the close and you have the views across the water meadows, made famous by Constable and Turner and still hugely inspirational for local artists like me.
Out towards the city limits is the site of the original settlement Old Sarum, my studio overlooks the valley over to Old Sarum. Walking around its ancient ramparts offer yet more great views for landscape artists. The light across the Plain is incredible.
Head just a few miles from Salisbury and the world famous Stonehenge sits waiting for you. All weathers and lights provide a backdrop for this most beautiful of ancient monuments.
Most recently, in addition to landscape painting, I've been focusing on what is in the landscape! This rural part of England is home to sheep, pigs, and cattle, an I’ve been delighting in the faces of these beautiful animals. Inspiration from the landscape and the animals that live there, will form my next, newest collection. All will be revealed soon, on my website, but here's a sneak preview of what I've been up to.
How can I fail to be inspired when I'm surrounded by beauty?
There have been some nice developments during March which I'm delighted to tell you about.
I have had work accepted into the ArtCare Annual open exhibition. It is open today in Salisbury district hospital. We had the Private View and presentation evening last night which was great fun. Work is for sale and there is a great variety of subjects and themes. The quality of work is excellent. My work is on level 3, on the plastic surgery corridor.
I am also thrilled to be working with Salisbury museum this year delivering a workshop based on the their new exhibition on JWM Turner.
Turner is a huge influence on me. I remember so clearly haunting the Turner wing of the Tate in London when I was an art student. Many art students dismissed him, favouring the more edgy work of Bacon and Rothko. However, I used to slope off to see Turner, and quietly filled my sketchbooks observing his work.
At the end of the last year the Tate mounted the hugely popular exhibition "Late Turner". It was stunning. As I wondered though the exhibition, I found that I understood so much more, now that most of my days are spent painting. His processes no longer mystified me. I recognised every colour from my own palette and every sketch as if from my own sketchbook! I came away inspired and ready to paint. Little did I know that I was preparing myself for a workshop that didn't yet exist!
Salisbury Museum are curating an exhibition on Turner that begins on 22nd May.
It will focus on drawings and paintings of Salisbury Cathedral, the city and its surroundings. Salisbury museum is directly opposite the Cathedral's west front, and is ideally placed to explore Turner’s relationship with Salisbury and the Cathedral.
The Museum states "Working with the Turner scholar Ian Warrell, the museum will explore Turner's work throughout Wessex.
It promises to be a unique and exciting exhibition, which will be supported by a programme of events including lectures by Turner scholars, artist workshops, trails around the Close."
I'm one of the artists delivering a workshop.
Mine will be an all day workshop on 1st September, entitled "Looking Through"
Why “Looking through”?
I wanted to create a drawing workshop that embraced the complexity of the Architecture surrounding the cathedral close in addition to Turner’s own approach.
Based on the premise that Turner builds up layers of paint to create mood and atmosphere, I discovered that looking through the layers of architecture around the Cathedral can help us understand the same approach.I drew this from the south transept. The yellow shape marks the first shape I drew.
Whilst drawing; a number of visitors to the cathedral stopped to have a look. The most common statement I heard all through the day was “I’d love to do something like that, but I wouldn't know where to start”. This comment has informed my entire workshop; we will find out where to begin.
I have some alternative plans if all this complex architecture is too intimidating. We'll also be creating watercolour postcards in Turner's style too.
It promises to be a great day
I've got a Baron!Let me explain...
My most recent piece of exciting news came yesterday evening.To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carter, Salisbury is hosting The Baron's Charter.
Twenty five life size Baron sculptures will be placed around the city, each hand painted by an artist.
I am delighted to discover that I'm one of the artists.
Artists were invited to submit their designs last year, which had to be short listed and then in turn selected by one of the sponsors.
My Baron is the Stained glass Baron! He will be painted in the style of a stained glass window, depicting various plants and flowers which hold significance in British folklore.
Some of us have elected to paint in a public space so that people can come and have a look at what we're up to and generate a buzz about the project. We will be based in Cross Keys Mall from Easter. The Baron's trail goes on display in the Summer, when I'll give you more updates.
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