Thursday, 19 May 2016
Enjoying the Sunshine
One of the many fun things about my artist-in-residence work with the Morgan Centre, is that I have an excuse to sit outside on a sunny day. I love to be outdoors, so often get frustrated when all is glorious outside my window, but I'm stuck on the wrong side of the glass.
When I'm sketching in Manchester, not only can I legitimately sit out on the grass but, since the days I work are completely flexible, I can check out the weather forecast and actually target sunny days. Yeh!
The sketch at the bottom is outside the Arthur Lewis building, where I am based, a patch of grass where students like to spend sunny lunchtimes. The one above is the main quad though: definitely most student's first choice on a really nice day. I spent a very relaxing afternoon sitting amongst them. I was trying to listen in to their chatter while I worked, but the building works in front of the old building was so noisy, it was more or less impossible.
The sketch below is the Oxford Road, from earlier that morning. I hadn't intended to sketch there. I was on my way to the quad, when I was struck by the sudden appearance of a ferris wheel. It wasn't there the previous week and seemed to have sprouted out of the pavement in the most unlikely place, right outside one of the main university buildings. It seemed like it needed recording. Trouble was, the Oxford Road is very busy and the only place where I could get a decent view, without being in everyone's way, was right at the kerbside. So I set up my tiny stool, about two feet from the passing traffic.
I'm glad I was only there a couple of hours, as my face was nicely level with the exhaust of passing buses. Yum, diesel: my favourite.
I was about half way through the sketch, when the wind got up. It kept gusting at me and trying to grab my sketchbook (it is a bit like a sail...). Once it succeeded, but I managed to snatch it back, just before the traffic ate my work. The wind blew over my pencil case too, twice, scattering pencils into the kerb. I was really pleased to be done in the end.
I packed everything up and then finished my walk down the road to the university quad, by which time I figured I had earned some lunch. Then I sat on a bench, much more sheltered from the wind, and enjoyed a far less challenging afternoon of weather. No buses in sight either. That's better.