Since January of this year I’ve been working on a Chorlton exhibition of my work called: From Chorlton To The City. The exhibition will be held at The World Peace Cafe, The Kadampa Meditation Centre, Chorlton. The preview is on Friday 4 th May 5-8 pm. In this first part of a two-part discussion about the work, I’ll explain what the exhibition is all about.
Of course when I agreed to do it, I was unaware that for 3 +months of the 4 available , we would have the coldest and snowiest winter we have had since I arrived in Manchester 12 years ago!! Given that as an urban sketcher I do much of my work on location, this has not been without its challenges! My ‘studio’ has been my Suzuki swift , various streets, underneath tree canopies, buses, trams, cafes and of course my tiny space at Woodend Mill, Mossley! As they say, variety is the spice of life!
What’s the Chorlton exhibition about?
My work is fundamentally about places and occasions: capturing a sense of place and a sense of occasion/emotion is my focus, telling the story through the image. A sort of visual journalism: reportage. With that in mind I decided that an exhibition of my work in Chorlton should be about Chorlton, and as a suburb of Manchester, I wanted to include pieces about Manchester that were connections with Chorlton.
What drives my selection of Chorlton Places
I have selected Chorlton locations that have a resonance for me as epitomizing and characterizing Chorlton. It is not, by any means, an exhaustive collection, but I have focused upon 3 key roads: Beech Road, Wilbraham Road and Manchester Road/Barlow Moor Road, with some additional locations thrown in for good measure.
When I very first visited Chorlton, over 12 years ago, I came to Beech Road (a friend of mine had her hair cut there!) and so for the exhibition, my first piece drawn was of Beech Road. Since that initial encounter, I have visited Chorlton on a very regular basis. The independent businesses, the bars and pubs and the arty quirky feel all give it a strong character and appeal. Some of my sketches are of a single building e.g. the Kadampa Meditation Centre. In these sketches I try to include a lot of the specific detail including brickwork. The centre is an obvious choice, not only because the exhibition is to be located there but it was also previously an Art School, opened by acclaimed artist Thomas Mostyn in 1896. Another single building sketch is that of The Sedge Lynn, a stunning pub on Manchester Road. It was built in 1907 as a Billiard Hall by a Lancashire company that built billiard halls in the North of England and London. Other sketches are of street scenes and views. In these images I try to show the depth and complexity of the scene. In all these images, through the colour, texture and line work, I am trying to evoke a sense of the character of Chorlton and its vernacular.
What drives the selection of Manchester Places in my Chorlton exhibition?
I have chosen to look at the transport connections into the city as a way in which those that work and visit there, experience it. With this in mind I have looked at the Bus Route into Manchester (Stage Coach 85 and 86). It travels through Hulme and into the University Quarter before making its way up Oxford Road and to the Bus Station at Piccadilly. I have also looked at the Tram Route. There are two lines that take people from Chorlton to the City: The Manchester Airport-Victoria route and the East Didsbury-Rochdale route. These lines first enter the city at Castlefield-Deansgate. Other city centre locations on these tram lines include St Peters Square and Exchange Square. I have focused on a selection of these locations for my city images.
How many illustrations and collages are included?
There will be 20 pieces in total in my Chorlton exhibition. 15 watercolour,pen and ink sketches and 5 collages. I will be selling each of these as framed originals. In the follow on blog, I will be talking why the techniques have been chosen and how the pieces have been created. You can see some of the progress of my From Chorlton To The City exhibition work on my social media pages: twitter, facebook and instagram.
I do hope you will be able to visit the exhibition and if not, to experience it through my blog and social media pages! Please also watch out for my follow up blog!