This is Basingstoke, laid out at your feet from the hills beyond the M3. This is my interpretation of the view from Farleigh Wallop, painted large – 4 feet long – and loose in acrylics. This is not a very good photograph (the light’s been a bit dull of late). I’m sure the painting will look far better on the wall at Proteus Creation Space…
I had been informed that, somewhere in Basingstoke, was a Victorian pump house, and my interest was piqued. I located it on the map and, about a week ago, set off to see what it was like on the ground. It was inside a gated compound, part of the active waterworks run by South East Water. The gate was open… I parked my car outside and walked in, with the purpose of finding someone and requesting permission to draw.
A gentleman in a hi-vis vest emerged from the building and I attracted his attention. He told me that he did not have the authority to grant my request, but that he would ask his boss.
South East Water were very accommodating and I went back to the compound today – the last dry day of the week, if the forecast is accurate – where I was met by a member of staff who was both courteous and interested in what I was doing, although quite happy to leave me to it.
I made several sketches, three of which are illustrated below:
Holy Ghost Cemetery.
White against dark trees.
What else could I call it?
Painted in a limited colour palette of Phthalo Blue, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White – on a natural colour linen canvas – using a sketch and my own reference photograph (printed in monochrome because our home inkjet printer keeps running out of blue)..
We may still be painting it, but the Basingstoke Project is starting to take shape. We had a meeting with the manager of the gallery space at Proteus today, and we are very much looking forward to exhibiting our work there.
We’re also hoping to be around when you visit. We don’t have to be there, because the venue handles sales and has a very nice cafe and are generally not expecting us to be there, but we kind of want to be there. You might see one of us sketching the view through the big arched window or maybe studiously reading or possibly taking a snooze on the sofa (hopefully not), or perhaps we will be deep in conversation with someone. Or perhaps it will be a time when we all have to be somewhere else.
But we won’t be pushy. We’ll let you just look if that’s what you want to do. We’ll tell you where the café is, or the toilets, if you ask.
But first, you will have to get there. And at the right sort of time, too… We’ve already done all the getting lost amongst the roundabouts and the one way system for you, so click here for the Artikinesis Guide to finding Proteus Creation Space. The opening hoursare here
Basingstoke is characterised by its ringroad and its roundabouts. The ring road is easy to find, but can be difficult to leave at the right roundabout. And then there is the one way system lying in wait for unwary drivers… Fear not. Among the things we have discovered about Basingstoke over the last few months is a little bit about how not to get lost in Basingstoke. At the very least, we know how to find the exhibition venue.
From the north of Basingstoke
Join the ring road where you encounter it and use either …
the Kingsclere Road from the Houndmills roundabout (A340)
or the signs directing you to the town centre
… to get onto Churchill Way. At the Eastrop Roundabout (handily signed with its name) follow the signs to The Shops and then Top of Town, ignoring the temptations of the Festival Place car park along the way. After you pass the left turn to the Council offices and Eastrop, there is a right hand bend signed Top of Town and a road that goes straight on signed, simply, Hackwood Road.
Take the Hackwood Road and turn first right into Southern Road (as directed by the brown sign to Proteus). The one way system takes you all round the Proteus building to the entrance to its car park.
From the M3
From junction 7, turn right along the ring road. At the Hackwood Road roundabout, turn right towards town.
From junction 6, get delayed by the Black Dam roadworks and turn left along the ring road. At the Hackwood Road roundabout, turn left towards town.
Proteus is signed from here.
Proteus has its own car park, which is free to people visiting Proteus. The scary “Flash Park” warning signs are for people not using Proteus; please do, however, sign in at reception with your car registration number.
Should the car park be full, there is some on street parking nearby (check the restrictions), which is free for 3 hours, or you can park in one of the surface car parks that serve Top of Town for a relatively small fee.
When you take your car to the garage, you don’t often find a wall of art in the workshop. But if you were to visit SB Autos at Folly Farm on the A339 near Basingstoke, that is exactly what you will find.
In keeping with the Artikinesian principle of connecting with places where art is a stranger, Adeliza arranged this space with Simon and four of us placed work in the garage gallery…
It seems that Basingstoke was awash with Artikinesians yesterday – but the town is big enough for us not to inevitably bump into each other. Of course, I did get as far out as Farleigh Wallop at one point…
In fact, I was here, there and everywhere… I visited Park Prewett (the former hospital site), Goat Lane, and War Memorial Park, along with one or two other places.
Basing House is a civil war ruin. There’s not much of it left; the “new” house was razed to the ground, but the earthworks of the Norman castle, and the lowest levels (essentially, remnants of the kitchens) do survive.
I have visited Basing House several times in the past, but Rosemary and Brian were visiting for the first time. Having been there before, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I went to the Norman kitchens and set up my easel in front of the fireplaces, and got my oil paints and my knives out. It was something that I have wanted to do for a while – all those intriguing nooks and crannies, the red of the brick, the green of the overgrown bank, the blue of the sky…
Meanwhile, my companions were exploring the main site (separated from the visitor centre by a road), and industriously making pictures.
I was drawn to the old walled Tudor Garden, but more especially the curious turrets built at the corners of the high garden wall. Part of the garden layout had been restored and the manicured bushes of the parterre gleamed in the bright autumnal sunshine. What a peaceful place it was! (It had not always been so: during the English Civil War, this place was the full of anti-Royalist soldiers besieging Basing House).
In Tudor times, if the weather turned inclement, visitors of the garden could take refuge in the windowless towers. When I inspected the interior of one of the towers, I found only steps leading down into darkness!
The tower of particular fascination to me was the one with the dove cote. The dove cote wasn’t a part of the original tower; it had been added in later years.
Here is a quick sketch of the tower in question!