They say that Oak is king of the forest and that Beech is the queen.
The oaks shown here are drawn in medieval-style iron gall ink (made from oak galls), using a dip pen, the beech in a more prosaic (but easier to handle) modern ink, using a fountain pen.
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:
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.
Today, I had two appointments in Basingstoke with a few hours between them. I took advantage of the time to seek out some interesting buildings.
The Lutyens Building
Edwin Lutyens, a highly successful British architect, ran a brick and tile works in Basingstoke in the early 20th century. Apparently, the local clay was of superior quality. The office building still survives, nestling incongruously amongst the modern industrial units of the Kingsland Estate.
Former office of Daneshill Brick and Tile Works. Designed 1909 by Lutyens, to display the company’s products at the Olympia Building Exhibition. Single storey of red brick with tiled roof. ‘Tudor’ moulded brick chimneys. Parapet of brick and tile. Bay windows with brick mullions and transoms. Brick fireplaces.
Not one of Hampshire’s Treasures, the nearby Thermofisher Scientific site has an impressive white chimney.
The Chapel of the Holy Ghost
Just up the hill from the railway station lie the ruins of the Chapel of the Holy Ghost.
Holy Ghost, South View. Built between 1214 and 1244. Originally a chancel and nave with a tower at the west end. Fragment remaining in cemetery is part of tower, used for many years as a schoolroom. Remains of inserted 4-centred arch and C.15 window survive.
I am unduly fond of ruins. Now that I have found it (it was the first time that I have visited either of these “treasures”), I may have to return…
Did you know that an estate car and two artists with easels can fit comfortably into a multi-storey parking bay? “Art on the Street” as a name struck a chord with my own heart, so I signed up to receive news of the doings of this Maidenhead-based venture when I encountered them at the Reading Contemporary Art Fair. Noticing they were advertising an art competition, I knew what Amanda’s answer would be when I asked her “Fancy a trip to Maidenhead”? It was all very finely-timed. Our diaries allowed us only one free day in which to paint and deliver original artworks depicting Maidenhead, a town neither of us knew, before the closing date. So yesterday we set off from Newbury just before 10, and drove to Maidenhead centre (with a short stop-off to reconnoitre the Islamic centre, a park, the back of the fire station and a church). Dismissing these quickly as subjects; after all, we needed to be true to the competition theme: Maidenhead and Me, depicting what Maidenhead meant to us, we finally arrived, just on 11 a.m., at the top deck of the multistorey car park, and found our spot. We set up our easels in the bay we’d parked in so as to cause no disruption, and started to paint. Amanda had a vantage point overlooking terraced town houses, and I, facing the opposite way, fulfilled a secret long-cherished ambition to paint the curling architecture of the spiral down-ramp of a multi-storey. The paintings we produced in two and a half hours were probably not our greatest works, but we got them delivered and handed in with our completed entry forms to Boville’s Art Shop, and came home pleased with ourselves having had a lot of fun, back in time for Amanda to meet her children after school. I wasn’t quite sure why I felt so pleased, but reflecting afterwards, perhaps it’s because our mission statement as Artikinesis expresses the aim of taking art into places where art isn’t usually created or displayed. We’d done just that, on our multi-storey car-park roof.
As Amanda commented, “The British public are very polite”. Although I’d half expected security guards to spot us on CCTV and come up to move us on, in fact nobody betrayed any surprise at our impromptu open-air studio. A toddler dragged his mum over to have a look at us, and one chap, parking in the bay next door, asked me if it was OK to park there, worrying he might be blocking my view. Other than that, and a few well-wishers, we were respectfully left to get on with it. All entries to the Maidenhead and Me competition will be displayed in Nicholson’s Shopping Centre from September 26th. Artikinesis: Making art wherever we happen to be Fired and inspired by nature – by life in the modern world Connecting with places where art is a stranger Artikinesis – inner vision, interaction, movement and spirit.
Four of the five Artikinesians met up in Basingstoke on Monday for our first big sketching expedition in the town. We barely scratched the surface. Starting at Eastrop Park, it was all too easy to get waylaid by shiny buildings and busy pedestrians, not to mention the waterfowl and fountains. However, we did make it to Festival Place and beyond – to St Michael’s church – but time was running short and we decided to leave the remainder of our potential itinerary to a future time.
I took myself off to Basingstoke today, to the town centre. I wanted to capture the “Costa del Basingstoke”, a striking yellow and blue development that overlooks the Anvil car park. (The Anvil is Basingstoke’s main concert venue; its car park is conveniently close to the covered over part of the town centre, as well as the railway station and a particularly pretty part of not-covered-over town. The car park also has the benefit of not being the Festival Place car park, which is enormous and confusing. I think it might even have a roof that can’t be parked upon).
With a quick sketch (and several quicker photographs) complete, I headed off to outside-the Malls. I (re)discovered that the name of the church that dominates the area is St. Michaels, and was subsequently amused by the fact that Marks and Spencer have a back door opposite the church.
I then returned to my car via the Malls.
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!