The Mitchell Library… Wonderful source of inspiration and information. A beautiful place by day or by night, as anyone who has passed by whilst it is illuminated would agree. The famous landmark dome is part of the 1904 fabric, and I did not know until today that it is rumoured to have been included after Council requests, not as part of the original design which was undertaken after a competition (heritage leaflets, another great thing within the Mitchell!).
Part of the library has a huge cafe, where one can browse the newspapers and use the wifi. There is a good selection of food, from simple snacks to more substantial mains, and some particularly tasty coffee. Adjacent to the cafe there are public computers, free to use, and really handy even if you have your own at home, because these give access to a huge range of electronic resources; I did a lot of family history research here as part of my most recent art project, you can research worldwide records at no charge. Glasgow libraries also subscribe to online magazines, so back at home you could download electronic versions of your favourite magazines; I love that I can read .net, Countryfile, Marie Claire and Olive on the move from my iPad now, Zinio is so handy!
If you are more of a paper fan, head upstairs where one can browse technical journals and magazines from a wide range of publishers. I have spent many a happy hour lost in obscure but fascinating articles.
The Glasgow room is a wonder, part book store and part archive. Have you ever wanted to see street plans for before your home was built? Photographs or postcards of Glasgow transport? Wondered what that shop looked like many years ago? This is the place to find out. You may even find original plans to a famous building, or your house! The Virtual Mitchell gives you a taste of some of the digitised resources to discover. The staff are all really knowledgeable and will help you find what you need, just ask!
The main hall of the Mitchell is home to temporary exhibitions, some of my favourites have been George Wyllie, Alasdair Gray and also a history of Loch Katrine. The Hall and some reading rooms also play host to Glasgow’s literary festival, Aye Write.
Always something to discover, a quiet place to stop and spend time browsing, a place for some serious study or just popping in for tea, happy days at this lovely landmark. This is part one of a series I intend to post about what I love about some of my favourite places, just look out for the “things I love about” category on the side of my blog. I’d love to know what you love about your favourite places too!
I had mentioned that I do enjoy cafe working every now and then… here are two sketches which I did from the window of Waterstone’s cafe in Edinburgh… it is on Princes Street and lets you look through a giant bay window towards the castle and Tollcross. Lovely stuff. These were done with a Pilot V5 pen in black ink, and a random pen I had in my bag which was very thick and not my usual choice, in a TeNeues half lines half plain workbook. This is not my usual sketchbook either, I was in the middle of freeing my brain up to do some more thinking… but it worked OK.
I have been enjoying playing with lots of different artforms recently, which has made me consider more clearly what my own creative voice actually is. Talking to friends and colleagues about how they go about “being creative” is rather interesting. Ideas come to us in so many different ways, and we all document our thoughts slightly differently… our outputs are completely different (be it specialising in mainly visual art, photography, music or writing novels) but we all share a desire to make our ideas come to fruition and to some extent to share our work with others. I think another common factor is play; we all want to enjoy our creative work (whether it is done purely as a one off piece or for a bigger paid project) and put our heart and soul into it. Exploring art forms which I am not familiar with has really helped me generate more creative ideas, as has working with others with different backgrounds as it is great for approaching a project in a different way.
I had been reading the book “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron and she suggests that creative people take themselves on an “artists date”, spending time doing only creative things for a certain period of time; personally I have been making time to visit galleries (as in my previous blog post) as this immerses me in the gallery experience, taking in both the work itself but also how it is presented and the additional materials which many exhibitions now put out (I have spent many a happy time exploring the books and publications, or web materials, accompanying my favourite exhibitions).
I love my studio but sometimes taking time away from my usual space also helps me be more creative, it is funny how an hour in a coffee shop can make me think of all sorts of ways of tackling a new piece of work. Listening to music can help too.. I read with interest a post by Jane Hannah on her blog recently where she talked about how she started her day with music (and made some great drawings). Sometimes music can really uplift us and also guide us to new places (I liked the recent Sonica festival where technology, visual art and sculpture all combined to make dramatic work in the Tramway arts space).
Do you make your own creative tune? Do you have a place to “be creative” or does it just happen naturally or when you are least expecting it?
Art based and architectural based books line my bookshelves and have given me many happy hours of inspiration. I thought I would write a review of a recent book which I acquired to share how much I enjoyed it and also invite some suggestions from others as to books which inspire and delight.
My current book of choice is “An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration from the Private Arts Journals of Travelling Artists, Illustrators and Designers” by Danny Gregory.
I’m hoping no-one minds me taking a photo of the book cover, happy to take it down if someone does! I just wanted to share the lovely detail so people who had not seen it could see what it looked like.
The book contains sketches and illustrations from a huge number of artists from around the world, each has descriptions from the artists of their creative practice and a selection of images from sketchbooks. It is a delight to read (either cover to cover or dipping in every now and then) as you can travel the world from the comfort of your own home… Italy to Uddingston, Dallas to Paris. I find it fascinating to see how little everyday details which are superbly familiar to some are utterly unusual to others; food packaging, street signs, architectural styles, words and lettering. What is “the norm” in one country becomes so interesting to the visitor; sketching makes us notice new things (and revisit our own visual landscape with fresh eyes). Each artist describes their journalling technique and their chosen “tools”, some even have photographs of their kit so that you can see how they work on location. The differences in technique are fascinating as everyone has slightly different approaches (some working in pen, others including collected ephemera from their travels, some preferring to include descriptions alongside drawings and others divulging inner thoughts) and some prefer not to set “rules” for working and just see what happens. The compilation is presented by alphabetical order of artist, and carefully chosen images line each page. This is a wonderful book for anyone who enjoys travelling and wishes to explore ways of capturing the world around them, and also for those of us who love art and architecture and seldom leave the house without a sketchbook!
I would love to hear some more book recommendations for art and architecture. How do you like to remember your travels? If you could go anywhere in the world and draw, where would that be?