Recharging My Creative Batteries in Edinburgh & London

I’ve been away from my studio for a while, attending an artist’s anatomy workshop in Edinburgh over two weekends with a trip down to London in between. Time to learn and see new things, time to recharge my batteries, time to ponder new horizons.

Waiting for a train into central Edinburgh inevitably feels like a lesson in perspective, looking at how the lines converge into a vanishing point in the distance..

Perspective in train track

If I add a cup of coffee, the art lesson then diverges into ellipses too.
Ellipses and parallel lines

You know that lingering doubt when you’re heading to a workshop, entering a strange building with your fingers crossed you are indeed in the right place at the right time? Well, standing on a fifth-floor landing in St Margaret’s House, after deciding I couldn’t face the stairs and would get in the lift with its “no more than four people or you will get stuck” notice, wondering whether to go left or right for the anatomy workshop, there was a skeleton pointing the way to the studio. It’s the second time I’ve done Alan McGowan’s Anatomy for Artists workshop, and I’m pleased to be able to say a lot more of the information has stuck and I found myself seeing/recognizing a lot more. (There are a couple of photos from the first weekend’s anatomy drawing here.)

Anatomy for Artists workshop

In London, my first stop was Tate Britain, with its relatively new rehanging “500 Years of British Art”. Four bus loads of school kids were waiting for the 10 o’clock opening too! Some of the gallery is still undergoing rebuilding, but there’s another, new circular staircase leading downstairs. With all the arches it felt like being in an Escher drawing. Nevermind the art, this architecture isn’t to be missed!

Tate Gallery downstairs arches

Tate Gallery downstairs arches

The coffeeshop area has been renovated too, and there’s one table with a view that lends itself to a geometric abstract.
Tate geometric view

Amongst the artworks that captivated me this visit was a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, titled “Corinthos”. The interplay of shapes, light, dark and shadow. What you see through it, depending on where you stand.
Looking through Barbara Hepworth "Corinthos".
Looking through Barbara Hepworth "Corinthos".

Next cultural stop was the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, for the Turner and the Sea exhibition (on in London until 21 April; travelling to Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts from 31 May to 1 September 2014). I particularly enjoyed seeing some of the paintings that inspired Turner. (I’ll be writing an exhibition review with some photos soon.)

Maritime Museum London
Turner and the Sea exhibition Maritime Museum London

I also popped into the National Gallery to say hello to Monet and Van Gogh. Outside, in Trafalgar Square, the latest Fourth Plinth is a giant, blue cockerel. Position yourself right, and Nelson’s column becomes a birdfeeder.
Fourth Plinth London cockerel

Last culture-vulture stop was the Victoria & Albert Museum (known simply as the V&A). It’s home to a mind-blowing, inspiring collection of cultural artifacts from across the world. I specifically wanted to see Constable’s cloud studies again (up in the Paintings gallery, where few people get to) and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook.
V&A paintings
V&A paintings Constable clouds

The V&A has five of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, known as the Forster Codices, which you can page through online. The sketches on the page on display are shovels for digging. I find it a powerful connection across history, visualising him holding these sheets of paper, selecting what ideas to write down (and being thankful to live in an era where paper is an affordable item).
Leonardo da Vinci notebook in V&A London

19 Replies to “Recharging My Creative Batteries in Edinburgh & London”

  1. So glad your keen insights are still here for me to enjoy and to absorb. Your artistic perceptions of the real world are wonderful!

  2. Oh my was such a delight this foggy morning opening your email and reading your comments on your trip and viewing your photos. Thank you so much for sharing. Loved it.

  3. Marion, I envy you this opportunity but am happy that you are taking advantage of it at this time. Just looking at your photos with your comments, I feel that I am standing right beside you and already learning. Thank you. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  4. My congratulations with resuming a newsletter! I am so happy! You have an extraordinary gift to answer in your newsletter and blog all my unspoken questions the very moment they appear. I am ready to send you a submission for the last or let it be the first project (grisaille+glazing).

  5. So glad to have you back. You made my day . Keep stimulating us, as always. thank you.

  6. I was delighted t see your new Newsletter awaiting. The photos on this page are a great reminder of how to look with an artist’s eye.

  7. Dear Marion,

    I was happy to see you again even if only online. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. I believe you are a natural teacher, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, that’s just the way you think, and we benefit from it.
    I was a bit awed by Hepworth’s “Corinthos”. . .different from different perspectives. Thanks again.

  8. I have thoroughly enjoyed you as an artist who can clearly communicate the process of painting. I am excited about your new journey and look forward to your next one. Congratulations!

  9. What a lovely photo and thoughtful text essay!!! Wish I could go with you on some of your adventures for real, but LOVE that you let me (and everyone else) tag alone via your photos and words! 😀 <3

  10. Delighted to have you back. Have only followed you for a year. In that time I have learned so many tips and ideas to help me with my painting. Enjoyed today’s pictures and gallery visits. Thanks so much.

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