Labyrinth of Commerce (in acrylic)

watermarked-LabyrinthCommerceAcrylic
Acrylic on canvas, 50 x 70 cm.
Festival Place, Basingstoke. It could almost be anytown, with its generic shiny shopping centre feel and standard collection of high street stores, but, for a extra confusing twist, there are gentle slopes as well as stairs and escalators and lifts, and all of these enable you to move from one floor to another, sometimes without realising it.
Related post: Labyrinth of Commerce

In the Waiting Room

In Douglas Railway Station, Isle of Man.
It was a bright sunny day with a carnival atmosphere.
I settled in the corner of the waiting room cum restaurant, with my back to the wall of polished wood panels and a mug of hot tea in front of me on the table. The waiting room was spick and span, old, but admirably maintained and full of character. It was an ideal setting for the commemorations.
On this Sunday the local people and visitors were commemorating the end of the Second World War. There were people in uniform or in period civilian dress seated or milling about. And, outside a trio of female singers in R.A.F. uniform was singing songs of the war years, perfectly emulating the style of the period.
I sat, unnoticed, occasionally sipping my mug of tea, observing the people before me and sketched awhile.
I felt as if I had stepped back in time!
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The Labyrinth of Commerce

Basingstoke town centre appears to have a roof over pretty much all of it. First, there was the Malls; this concrete complex was firmly in place when I first encountered Basingstoke in the 1990s. Then there was Festival Place. Such a bright, cheerful name! And inside, bright, cheerful shops. Everything you could want, on any high street, except for the outdoors.
I once got quite thoroughly lost in festival place. I couldn’t even find the reassuringly familiar greyness of the Malls. I was looking for the exit. It seemed to have vanished…
That was a few years ago. I still don’t trust that place, but have come to a sort of compromise with it. And I’ve carefully noted the various ways out.
On Monday, I steeled myself for the necessity of back to school shopping. And I took my sketchbook…


And you know what? It wasn’t as bad as all that. I’ll never be a keen shopper, and I’ll always prefer to be out of the shopping centre and in the older streets like those found in Basingstoke’s “top of town”, but we bought what was required and we didn’t get lost.
There’s more. Having set out to do this Project, I’m looking at Basingstoke with fresh eyes. The people thronging the shops are still people. The glossy veneer of the shopping centre and the frantic activity of consumers seeking bargains and popularity amongst their peers may be one of the less admirable signifiers of modern culture, but that’s not all there is. Not all there is to modern culture, and not all there is to Basingstoke.
I’m looking forward to discovering more.

The Labyrinth of Commerce

Basingstoke town centre appears to have a roof over pretty much all of it. First, there was the Malls; this concrete complex was firmly in place when I first encountered Basingstoke in the 1990s. Then there was Festival Place. Such a bright, cheerful name! And inside, bright, cheerful shops. Everything you could want, on any high street, except for the outdoors.
I once got quite thoroughly lost in festival place. I couldn’t even find the reassuringly familiar greyness of the Malls. I was looking for the exit. It seemed to have vanished…
That was a few years ago. I still don’t trust that place, but have come to a sort of compromise with it. And I’ve carefully noted the various ways out.
On Monday, I steeled myself for the necessity of back to school shopping. And I took my sketchbook…


And you know what? It wasn’t as bad as all that. I’ll never be a keen shopper, and I’ll always prefer to be out of the shopping centre and in the older streets like those found in Basingstoke’s “top of town”, but we bought what was required and we didn’t get lost.
There’s more. Having set out to do this Project, I’m looking at Basingstoke with fresh eyes. The people thronging the shops are still people. The glossy veneer of the shopping centre and the frantic activity of consumers seeking bargains and popularity amongst their peers may be one of the less admirable signifiers of modern culture, but that’s not all there is. Not all there is to modern culture, and not all there is to Basingstoke.
I’m looking forward to discovering more.

Painting Expedition to Waverley Abbey

On Tuesday, Rose and I went to Surrey with our oil paints. We visited Waverley Abbey, the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott’s novel. It is a ruin, managed by English Heritage, and it is incredibly beautiful. Neither of us had a large canvas (not least because we knew that time would be limited), so we realised that we would need to choose our subjects carefully. We ended up very close together, in the ruins of the chapel, but the two paintings vary quite markedly in terms of focus and, of course, style. I focused on the window, and the view through it, while Rose focused on the intact part of the ceiling and its glorious arches.


Waverly Window by Amanda
Waverley Window by Amanda

The Basingstoke Project – November 2015

Over the next couple of months we will be in Basingstoke, painting and sketching and talking to people, gathering ideas and material for our first project together as Artikinesis – The Basingstoke Project.
The project will culminate in an exhibition of brand new artworks from all five artists, to be held at the Creation Space gallery of Proteus Theatre, Council Rd, Basingstoke, RG21 3DH.
We all have homes in or links with Basingstoke and Deane, and we look forward to sharing our insights and perceptions of this surprising town.
We’ll keep you posted as we go, but meanwhile, for your diary:
artikinesis (3)

Artikinesis presents…

The Basingstoke Project: an active, reactive, artistic response
to the people, places, buildings and character of Basingstoke.

A project to inspire and surprise.

Artikinesis is a recently formed group of artists based around Basingstoke and Deane.

Visit this exhibition of new artworks at Proteus Creation Space.

16 – 26 November

Mon – Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat 10am – 3pm
Closed Mon 1 – 3pm and Tue 1 – 2:15pm

E‌ntry is free.

Basingstoke Revisited!

Looking out of a rain besprinkled window this afternoon, I would say we were very lucky with the weather yesterday in Basingstoke. The rain is now pouring heavily!
We wandered the streets and parks of Basingstoke in the hot sunshine. It was Sunday, but the town centre was abuzz with people, shopping, resting, strolling and taking refreshment.
We walked through the park of Eastrop, tracing the course of the old tired river of Loddon and finally came to countryside on the edge of the town.
There are many faces of Basingstoke and plenty to see, to experience and to record.
We settled, after our long circuitous walk, near the Anvil Concert Hall. I took out my sketchbook and fineliner pens and observed the scene.
The fortress-like walls of the shopping centre somehow fascinated me! (Did they have some symbolic significance?) The pedestrian bridge has a satisfying curve! The wide steps from the shops sweep down to the Anvil entrance. There shiny hand rails heavy and gleaming. All these structures came together to form an interesting assembly of modern urban shapes and spaces. Strong urban dominating forms, vaguely redolent of a scene from a J. G. Ballard story, further reinforced by the utilitarian concrete overpass above my head where we sat.
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