Tagged: sketching

Pondering history and getting to know your environment

Today I went to three museums… the Architecture Centre (well, I would, wouldn’t I.. the planner and conservation-ist in me can’t help it!), Arnolfini and M-Shed.  I also wandered along the river and took lots of photographs.

Bristol (on a bus in M-Shed)

Bristol (on a bus in M-Shed)

At The Architecture Centre they have an ever changing programme of events and exhibitions, sited in a harbourside building.  The current exhibition focuses on what the future of the city could look like, and invites lots and lots of post it note contributions to add ideas to the city map.  There are showcases of successful environmental schemes and projects, I was amused and intrigued to see “The Bristol pound”, first of all it looks really aesthetically pleasing, but secondly it is run on the basis of community good and helps support local businesses.  Great idea!  A small display on “Bristol Opening Doors” was really interesting as it invited people to contribute stories and “favourite buildings”, and also showcased a new app which is a walking trail (available on www.bristolopeningdoors.org ).  I enjoyed the illustrations and design of this, and of course the wonderful buildings!  I am starting to recognise more and more of the streetscape and landmarks here, and this will help discover more.  Chatting briefly to the friendly staff there I also was given a flyer for a website called “Know Your Place: Learning and Sharing Information about Historic Bristol”, run by English Heritage and Bristol City Council.  I am looking forward to exploring this properly, as yesterday (on my visit to the City Art Gallery and Museum) I was fascinated with the historic maps… this site lets you overlay and integrate different maps from various eras.  Oooh!  Just what I am after, as I can spot the places where my ancestors lived. Ideal for “Are You Here” research!

This was my first visit to Arnolfini, I have walked past it many times but always en route to somewhere else or whizzing past on my bike.  I enjoyed the Susanne Kriemann’s Modelling (Construction School) exhibition, it brings a little of an “art- planning- environment” discussion into a contemporary art environment.  The photographs of quarries were quite spectacular, many of the works are designed to provoke discussion on archives, and also problem solving in design education.

M-Shed could keep me amused for hours, it is full of all sorts of historical bits and pieces, I really did get lost in history.  Interestingly for me, there was a whole section on Bristol people and families, saying “it’s important to know where you’ve come from so that you know where you’re going”… the question was posed “why did you leave?”.

M-Shed Family History Information Panel

M-Shed Family History Information Panel

In the case of my family I suspect it was for work as it would have to be a fairly major reason such as this to move to the opposite end of the country.  There are themed galleries at M-Shed, Bristol people, Bristol life, Bristol places (and a special exhibition, currently on chocolate!), all of them have real objects to explore, some thought provoking interactive displays (I loved the one on “what makes a Bristolian”.. very funny mixtures of answers come out of that!), video and multimedia and also lots of transport to explore.  No “please keep off” signs here.  I am even starting to recognise the different Bristol districts, having passed through them by bike or bus at various points of my several visits over the years, it is nice to recognise things in a “technically not home” city!  M-shed cafe is worth a visit, local produce, family friendly, vegan friendly and lovely views.

Oh, and did I mention the view from the roof terrace….

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Time to unwrap the bike!

I think it is time to go off on some cycling explorations, camera and sketchbook in pannier 🙂

I took these photos in Bristol and London, I am not entirely sure what the wrapped bike is for (perhaps an advert) but now that the sun is ever so slightly peeking over the horizon it’s definitely time to metaphorically unwrap it and get back on my bike on a more regular basis. I love it in Bristol as there are so many cyclists, it is a great way to see the city and I feel like a proper Bristolian when I am out on my bike.

Cafe creativity

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.

Sketching the castle- cafe view

Sketching the  cafe view

Arty-archi books

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.

illustrated journey

 

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?