Saturday 25 August 2012

Edinburgh to Southampton

I've just spent a week travelling down through Great Britain, seeing places that I felt I should have seen by now, making rough sketches wherever I could.

Edinburgh:  The Albacini Collection, Scottish National Gallery
Birmingham:  Smallbrook
London:  Prommers in the gallery, Royal Albert Hall

It was quite an itinerary, by plane, train, bus, taxi, underground, coach and a lot of walking.  Here goes:

Saturday:  Southampton to Edinburgh
Sunday:  Glasgow and Edinburgh
Monday:  North Queensferry and Edinburgh
Tuesday:  Edinburgh to Berwick Upon Tweed, Morpeth, Newcastle, Durham, Darlington and New Marske (near Redcar)
Wednesday:  Darlington to Northallerton, Ripon, Harrogate, York, Wakefield and Birmingham
Thursday:  Birmingham, Coventry, Rugby, Milton Keynes and London
Friday:  London and Southampton

Some of these were very short visits.  In the case of Morpeth, a delayed train left me with only enough time to try a hat on in Green (Agriculture) Co. Country Store.  In some places I had time to visit cathedrals with the help of the 1960s Pitkin guides.  I heard the accents change and enjoyed stayed with a couple of friends.  But really, I did a lot of walking.

Here is nearly everything from the sketchbook:

North Queensferry:  The Forth rail and road bridges (3)
Edinburgh:  Scottish National Gallery (2)
Berwick-Upon-Tweed:  The Royal Border Bridge
Newcastle:  station portico
Durham:  University library and Cathedral (2)
Northallerton:  The Fleece
Ripon:  market square and town hall (2)
York:  Minster (2)
Wakefield:  Hepworth Wakefield gallery and The Black Cloud; Unity Hall / Unity House / Buzz Nightclub (3)
Birmingham:  Smallbrook (2)
Coventry:  Cathedral and Bull Yard (2)
Rugby:  St. Andrew's Church
London:  Prommers in the gallery, Royal Albert Hall (3)

I didn't get the colours out much.  Here is the train across the Forth and another view of the Proms.

Thursday 9 August 2012


Southampton feels a little separate from the county, and I spent the Spring digging deep for every historical detail about my hometown.  In the weeks since then, I've been out of town a bit more and I'm getting into a Hampshire mood.


I'm a National Trust volunteer!  Specifically, for the gallery rooms at Mottisfont.  I like the variety and the number of people involved.  At first I felt like I was in a gentle fly-on-the-wall series about daily life at a National Trust house, with problems cropping up, sudden meetings, rainy rose gardens and rounds of tea.

I've worked on hanging and taking down shows; sorting files; building dens on the children's trail; staking ropes out along the river; painting posts...
On a quiet day last week a couple of us just went on a ramble around the extensive estate (which is reached by walking across fields and down lanes). Now, though, the head curator is back from a holiday, so I was asked to research the art galleries of the country and have ideas.  Even if they weren't much use, I now have a personal list of exhibitions to see.


The Three Tuns pub wanted a new flyer for their Summer campaign.  This gave me an excuse to visit, after a gap of many years, and find details to bring into the artwork.

As requested, it's all about English things, Summer, local pubs and celebration.  I had fun drawing some of Romsey's buildings (the abbey, the corn exchange, King John's house, Broadlands and the English Court) and including flora (nettles, dock, cow parsley, lupins...) and fauna (cygnets, slugs) and the most ridiculous cake I could come up with - which I then brought into reality.

Some extra influence came from "Colourful Romsey" - a lovely compilation of film from the 1940s and 50s.  With ideas to spare, I could happily go on drawing Romsey.

I got to visit The Three Tuns and their parent pub, the very ancient Chesil Rectory in Winchester.

To top it off, I was, for the first time, on a train that stopped at Dean, where a big sign reads


I think it's about trains, but let's give it a try.