Friday, 27 November 2009

Old Drawings #48

Saltwell Park "Frying Pan"
(Charcoal, compressed charcoal on cartridge paper, 16.5 x 23 ins)

I've always liked this view - I've drawn it several times over the years and even started a small painting which failed to take off.

Saltwell Towers and its grounds, which lie at the heart of Saltwell Park, are surrounded by low walls and walkways and every now and then there's a little turret. These used to have nice wooden seats in them but seats always offend the loutish section of society, so they aren't there now. When I was a kid, I always called these turrets "the frying pans".

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Old Drawings #47

Steps by Saltwell Towers
(Charcoal, compressed charcoal on cartridge paper, 16.5 x 23 ins)

Walking down the path in the previous Old Drawing, you come to this set of steps next to the Towers. The Towers building at the time was hidden behind the dilapidated fence at the right, with many Danger - Keep Out - Falling Masonry signs.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Old Drawings #46

Saltwell Park - By the Towers.
(Charcoal, compressed charcoal on cartridge paper; 19 x 33 ins)

In 1998 I began to think about drawing the countryside rather than the town. I don't live in the countryside, however, so I decided the next best thing might be the local park. Saltwell Park at the time had been in decline for some years and the once splendid Saltwell Towers was nearing collapse. The Towers are that gloomy bulk at the right of the drawing.

I'm delighted to say that with a Government grant, the Park has since been restored to its former Victorian splendour and won an award as Britain's Best Park in 2005

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Oaks Nr Sawrey

Oaks Nr Sawrey (Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 ins)

Back at the Club again on Friday and good to get back into painting. It's a companion piece to Oak Citadel, which I've posted here previously. I'm really happy with the way these have turned out and am beginning to think about some further additions to this non-urban subject matter.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


The maquette is inaccessible, I'm afraid, but here are two photos, touched up with some wobbly Photoshoppery, which give some idea of how it looks.

The studio assistant with responsibility for sculpture proved her future value by saying, "You've been looking at too much sculpture, Harry." Suitably encouraged, the following year I dropped Sculpture in favour of Painting and Printmaking.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Short Interlude

More Good Press

Another nice write-up in the 9 November edition of The Courier, Newcastle University's student newspaper. This time I get compared to Hockney, rather than Thiebaud. Who am I to grumble?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Drawing for Sculpture 2

Ideas for sculpture (Two pages, A4 sketchbook)

Ideas for sculpture (Two pages, A4 sketchbook)

Some pages from my sketchbook showing work on ideas for the sculpture derived from urban drawings. The top one was based on a drawing of some fire escapes, the lower one on the drawing of part of The Swing Bridge connecting Gateshead to Newcastle, posted last time. The second drawing is more fully realised because the maquette was being made by then.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Drawing for Sculpture

High Street Fire Escape (A4 sketchbook)

Concrete Walkways (A4 sketchbook)

Swing Bridge (A4 sketchbook)

As well as the drawings on sheets of A2 paper I've been showing you, I also did a few drawings in my sketchbook.

You can see in the last one that I was starting to work on ways of adapting the drawing of the Swing Bridge for sculptural purposes. Next time I'll show how I developed these ideas further and, with luck, I may be able to find the maquette for the final sculpture.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

It's Oh So Quiet

It really is quiet on Boogie Street, isn't it? I'm sorry about that. The changes in the weather and the clocks have, as always, produced a downturn in my spirits. I'll get over it, but for now I lack the drive to get much done in the studio.

Which is not to say that I'm absolutely idle. In addition to a bit of tinkering with one or two unfinished paintings, I'm currently working on a commission. But it's a secret commission, so I'm not at liberty to say anything about it or to show its progress. Frustrating, I know, but I can't take the chance of the recipient seeing it here before its completion.

Unusually for me, I've also designed and had printed (by Moo) my Xmas cards, which puts me well ahead of the game compared with any previous year you care to name. This ought to ensure that, for once, my friends and contacts should receive a Xmas card from me before New Year's Eve.

Wait, there's more. On the reverse of the Xmas card is my contact address, of course, and also, this year I've included my domain name - - but don't go clicking on it just yet. That's the point. I don't have a website to attach the domain name to. By putting the domain name on the cards, I figured it would spur me on to create the website, so that's something else occupying my time. At the moment I'm considering a site using a Clikpic template. If anyone has any reasons why that shouldn't be a good idea, I'd be grateful for any information.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Oak Citadel

Oak Citadel (Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 ins)

I tried to post this yesterday, but I found I couldn't connect to Blogger all day. A little searching on Twitter showed that I wasn't alone in this, but that it wasn't universal. Odd.

I made an effort to get to the Art Club on Friday ... and found myself alone. Maybe it's due to the half-term holidays and all the regulars have been roped into grandfatherly duties. I suppose I could have gone home again, and the thought did cross my mind once or twice, but I felt that I needed the discipline of getting back into to some work. If I'd gone home, I might not have started on anything at all.