Monday, 28 January 2013

Cardiff Bay Revisited

A second visit to Cardiff Bay reminded me how much I enjoyed the first visit , and what a brilliant destination it is on a January day when the snow has just melted and the sun shines. It was magic.
From Cardiff Central it's a short walk to Cardiff Bay, or you can catch a train down there.
These were the highlights:
The couple with the dog are so brilliant, it is just possible to see the spire of the Norweigan church between them.

 Next best is the Welsh Assembly building building with its glorious copper cladding, which did not photograph well, and this fabulous slate wall which gives some idea of how good slate can look.
Above is the Coal Exchange, a glorious building, nearly lost to the nation when it was proposed that it be knocked down.

 Here's a close up of a dog near the entrance tot eh Coal Exchange.

The Norwegian Church was relocated to its present position 20 years ago, and to celebrate this, a local artist, Rhiannon Powell was commissioned to make the stained glass window below which was donated by the Welsh Norwegian Society in April 2012. The plaque also says 'Alt for Norge'.

On our way back to the station after a glorious meal at the Bosphorous, I was able to stop in the middle of the road and photograph the wording on the Welsh Assembly building.
It is worht eating at the Bosphorous and visiting their website for views of the place:
It's also well worht clicking on here for photos of the Welsh Assembly building:

The Swines Pop Up Gallery in the Brunel Centre Until Wednesday 30th of January

Two more days left to see this exhibition at 25 The Plaza. The opening night ran from 7pm-10 or 11pm and was buzzing with a DJ and masses of people there. I have done the classic silly thing of downloading the photos to a relatively new computer and deleting them from the camera. Here are the posters produced by the collective.

And here's a link to Vicky Silver's photos of the gallery, but not the hoards of people shown in the lost photos I took. They still annoyingly exist in a mad stream the computer displays:

Friday, 25 January 2013

Render - an Exhibition of Work Featuring 6 Artists Exploring Contemporary Drawing

This exhibition ran from Saturday 19th of January until Wednesday 23rd of January.
I visited just before it closed on Wednesday afternoon and really enjoyed what I saw.
The 6 artists on the Swindon College course are Jemma Gunning, Kerry Gault, Janice Botherill, Jeff Pigott and Jake Stark.
Their statements are worth reading:
 And below, 3 photos of Jeff Pigott's work, a pillar, and below that detail of the pillar.

 Above is a drawing by Jeff Pigott.

 The picture above was one of a pair.

 Below is a photo of work in 3 D by Jake Stark, it is difficult to see, try magnifying it and see if you can spot the wires.
Much better photos on the Artsite facebook page, in my defence, the exhibition was being dismantled as I tried to look round, so not all pieces were displayed.
More information in the Swindon Advertiser article:
 On the way to the exhibition, I was struck by how wonderful the living wall in the Brunel Centre is looking despite the sub zero temperatures:

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Icicles - Useful Indicators of Leaking Gutters

Huge icicles grew on the front window during this cold weather,  the gutter is leaking, as the water dripped through the leaky part, it froze at the top of the window and the sill below.
 How long is that one?


Monday, 21 January 2013

Denys Hodson, a great Enthusiast and an Inspirational Man

I was sad to hear about the death of Denys Hodson CBE  on 13th January 2013. He knew so much about so many artists and their paintings and talked so interestingly about them; we were very fortunate to hear him talking about the Swindon Collection on three occasions recently at events held by the Friends of the Museum and Art Gallery-

Denys was Head of Arts and Recreation for Thamesdown Borough Council from 1970-92, and was hugely influential in developing our cultural assets including the Modern Art Collection and Lydiard.
His lifelong passion for the arts is exemplified by his role as Vice Chair of the Arts Council of Great Britain and Chair of the Friends of Lydiard.

 Denys' last talk on the Art Collection in April last year was as inspiring and enthusiastic as ever, he was passionate about art and artists and knew so much about the Swindon Collection and the background to many of the paintings in the Collection, I've put links to those blog entries below:

 Here is the link to the  talk he gave in 2011 on the exhibition he had picked called 'Builder's Choice', with some of his favourite exhibits on show:

He played a role in the publication of the catalogue of the Swindon Collection published by Thamesdown Borough Council in 1991 and available in the Museum and Art Gallery,
ISBN 1 871853 02 8.

One of the paintings he was most passionate about was 'Florestan' by Gillian Ayres 1986. It was bought in 1987 from the Knoedler Gallery, London, for the Contemporary Art Society by Caryl Hubbard and presented to Swindon in 1988.
Here is a photograph of it:
Click on the link above for more on that painting and many more.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Swindon in the Snow - a Walk down Victoria Hill

Walking from Old Town this morning down Victoria Hill, I took a series of photographs illustrating the effect of snow on a local hill.
Drivers were struggling to get down Victoria Hill as I passed the Victoria pub, no cars seemed to be coming up the snowy hill.
As I walked further I could see why, the road was being gritted with shovels of grit. Only one photograph was possible because those gritty said 'Oh not another b..... person taking photos.
I tried taking one when I'd walked past:

 Above, one of several cyclists braving the snow and able to get up the hill whereas the car was stuck.
 Vic Hill looks almost romantic, these were taken at 9.45am
 This lorry was well and truly stuck.
 And had a queue behind it.
All was clear by 11am.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

'Plain Sailing' the exhibition of Pieces from the Swindon Collection at Station Square

This exhibition largely features boats, rivers and seascapes, there are 12 paintings from the Collection hung in Station Square, a fabulously large office space.
Two days of the exhibition remain, the 17th and 18th of January.
 It's open from 12noon until 5pm, please ring Jessica Carey on 07867 556100 before going.
Station Square is the name of the building, it's 1, Gloucester Street, coming out of Swindon Station, cross over the road, walk along Wellington Street and it's on your right as you reach the first pelican crossing.
This is what it looks like from the outside:
And inside:

As you can see, it's a glorious space, the lights did make photography difficult, but here are the pictures:

'Scherzo of Torquay' by Georg Mayer-Marton 1942
'Boats in the Harbour' by Phillip Wilson-Steer
'The Old Ship' by Jules Lessore Late 19th Century
'Trees Overhanging the River' by Percy Hague-Jones 1926
'Buoys at Harwich' John Nash c1955
'Evening Downstream towards Vernon' 1979

'Ship Amid Tall Waves' Alfred Wallis

This is very hard to see, but included for completeness, 'Pistyll Maes-Glasan' by John Piper 1940
'Sailing boats beside a River' Martin Hardies early 20th Century
'Sights of London' Jeffery Camp 1986, this is glorious.
''Winter in Pendelbury' LS Lowry 1943 behind a special screen, with  a security guard sitting beside it.

'A Procession' LS Lowry 1938, again behind a special screen.

'Catch a Vision' a celebration of Swindon and Wiltshire photography included photographs by 50 exhibitors.
These were displayed without attaching anything to a wall, and looked very good:

More information on the

Another write up of the event:

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Selected Pieces from Swindon's 20th Century Art Collection on Show this Week

Swindon Council is hosting a public exhibition at property group Amalgamated Berkshire's offices in Station Square, Gloucester St. SN1 1GW

Included will be LS Lowry's 'Winter in Pendlebury' painted in 1943, and presented to the Swindon Collection by HJP Bomford in 1946:

And 'A Procession' also by LS Lowry:

Other works by John Piper and Alfred Wallis will be included, the one below is by Wallis:

The exhibition will be open from Monday 14th of January until Friday 18th of January. It's open from 12 noon until 5pm except on Wednesday when it doesn't open until 2pm.
To visit the exhibition, please call Jessica Carey on 07867 556100 or email:

I first saw information about the exhibition in the Swindon Evening Advertiser:

Garry Perkins, cabinet member for regeneration and culture said about the exhibition: 'This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the gems in our art collection.'

and also Swindon Does Arts website:

There is also a photographic exhibition in the same building:

More on the exhibitions when I've been on Wednesday afternoon.