During the lockdown one thing I really missed were the sketchcrawls with USK Cambridge. They happened every month and I would go along whenever I was free.
We would meet at an pre-arranged time on a Saturday or Sunday and draw an area of Cambridge. Sometimes it was a street, sometimes it was inside, sometimes it was at a college and occasionally we went out of town. There was a regular core who would turn up and I like to think that they became a special set of friends, people with a passion for sketching out in the open whatever the weather - well maybe not snow but we usually had a plan B if the rain was set in.
Of course all that stopped with social distancing and not being able to meet people from other households etc.
A few weeks ago I tentatively asked if anyone wanted to join me sketching along the Backs. It was a Wednesday so I didn't expect many but 4 of us made it. A fortnight later another was arranged along a very pretty street but it poured and most people went home. But today 7 of us met at 10am time to draw along Bridge Street. It was so good to see everyone.
My two sketches are above, King's from the Backs - the most popular view of Cambridge and the second one is Quayside, just off Bridge Street where the punt touts were out and Cambridge almost seemed normal.
I have always loved Medieval Art. I love the quirkiness and the horror and the imagination that artists adorned the pages of Medieval Manuscripts with over 800 years ago. This period in art is my favourite part of any museum and I gaze with wonder and love at the images that spring from the pages, tapestries and panels of that era.
My paintings have always had a mass of detail and pattern and I can spend hours filling in a area with tiny leaves and millefleur - all those tiny little flowers and grasses that fill the area where the main protagonists walk. Following a commission for a painting that merged the medieval art of England and Spain, I longed to paint of couple for a gallery.
When Byard Art on Kings Parade in Cambridge asked me to put some paintings in their 2020 Summer Show, it seemed like the ideal opportunity. I got out my sketches that I make studying the wonderful old manuscripts and started to plan. In the background I chose 2 of the oldest buildings in Cambridge, the Leper Chapel and the Round Church built at around 1130 AD, 870 years ago.
The images are drawn from several English and European illustrations that accompany books made for the church or for those God fearing people who were rich enough to commission a one-off beautifully illustrated, leather bound book. These are beautiful objects in their own right and several of the colleges in Cambridge have some, but the place I love best is the Parker Library.
I titled the painting Garden of Delight 1 and 2 from the work by Hieronymus Bosch around 1500 AD. The paintings will be at the gallery until 7 September 2020. If you are in Cambridge please do go and have a look as a photograph is nothing like the real thing.
Each painting is 20 x 20 inches plus a white floating frame. They are painted in acrylic on canvas.
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