Last week involved several museum and gallery visits around the centre of Bristol. My first stop was Hamilton House to see Camilla Cacciari‘s exhibition, A Wild World. I like the way she blended real and imaginary travels, drawing on the art of tribal communities, Middle Eastern folk art and textile patterns.
On a day in between some of these visits, I read the August edition of The Simple Things and came across the work of Alice Stevenson, particularly this sketch of Kirkcudbright from her book, Ways to See Britain: Curious Places and Surprising Perspectives.
I’ve never really done much sketching (or at least, not much successful sketching), but I was inspired by this to try sketching small details rather than a large scene. So on my next day out in Bristol, I had a go. I went to see Air: Visualising the Invisible in British Art 1768-2017 at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA).
Some of my favourites from the exhibition included:
- John Constable‘s cloud studies, with detailed notes about the time of day, the weather and the direction and speed of the wind, for example this one, inscribed on the reverse: “Hampstead, Sept 11, 1821. 10 to 11 morning under the sun – Clouds silvery grey on warm ground sultry. Light wind to the S.W. fine all day – but rain in the night following.”
- Eric Ravilious’ watercolour of a barrage balloon.
- Liz Butler’s watercolours of views of the earth from above.
- Polly Gould‘s silvered glass globes which reflect watercolour panoramas.
- The beautiful colours in Jemma Grundon‘s oil paintings of clouds.
- Janet Haigh’s gorgeous applique of the sunset over the Severn estuary, a view with which I am very familiar.
- Helen Jones‘ pastel clouds on tracing paper.
- Bridget McCrum’s bronze bird sculptures.
I sketched a few details from the exhibition and a few architectural details and then added a few further architectural details while waiting at Bristol Temple Meads for my train. I then added a few further details from photos I had taken during the day. At home, I then went over the lines in pen, photocopied it and added some colour using pencils. I’m still not sure whether I prefer the original black and white version or the colour version. Please comment below if you have a preference!
Other things that inspired me last week:
- A visit to Cass Art shop on Park Street
- Article in The Simple Things about naming colours
- A quick paddle in the muddy Severn at sunset on the eve of my birthday – the combination of a new moon and high tide felt significant
What has inspired you this week? Have you seen any interesting exhibitions recently? Please comment below.