Theoretically there were four choices for the final unit of this course, but for me there was only one option – Drawing Outside. I enjoyed Unit 3 far more than the others. In the same way, the decision for the place on which to base my studies was similarly straight forward. I have been photographing and producing screenprints of Salford Quays for several years.
Imperial War Museum North
On one occasion while I was drawing at Salford Quays, there was a teacher addressing a group of students who were obviously doing GCSE field study and explaining that it was the greatest example of urban regeneration in the North of England. Despite being inland, the Manchester Ship Canal resulted in Manchester being, at its peak, the third busiest port in Britain. He went on to explain how containerisation had lead to the decline of the docks in the sixties and seventies, with them closing in the early eighties.
The redevelopment has resulted in some wonderful (to me, at least!) buildings including the Imperial War Museum North:
and Media City:
One of the problems/challenges/interesting aspects of the place is that there are very few vertical and horizontal lines with many of the buildings. Even the supports of the bench outside the IWMN are not vertical!
“If you decide to work on an urban landscape, think of secure locations that you can work in where you will not feel overlooked or self-conscious.” I smiled to myself when I read this comment. I’ve never felt self-conscious when sketching outside and often chat with people interested in what I’m doing. On one occasion while sketching outside the IWMN, a dance troupe was rehearsing for a performance that night. Self-conscious?
On another occasion a lady came to see what I was doing. She’d just been in to see the Lowry paintings in the art gallery of the Lowry building. In answer to her question, I replied that I didn’t like Lowry’s work. We then went on to have a good chat about 17th Century Dutch art, which I do like.
On a third occasion, I was informed by a young lady that my drawing was ‘doodie’. I think this was a compliment!