sculpture the seaside the South townscapes

A Week in Cornwall – Part 3 -St Ives

When holidaying in Cornwall in the summer of 2018 we planned to visit St Ives as we had enjoyed it so much when we visited decades ago. We loved the seafront, quayside, the quaint streets full of art galleries some being working galleries and the garden and workshop of our best female sculptor of all time, Barbara Hepworth. And of course we mustn’t forget the wonderful Tate St Ives, a wonderful piece of architecture housing incredible artworks.


These photos were taken in a way to avoid the crowds. St Ives had become a busy crowded little seaside town and we were greatly disappointed. But at least the Barbara Hepworth Gallery and Garden did live up to our expectations and match our memories.


architecture buildings colours light

A Short Break in London – Part 3

In part 3 of this mini-series of posts sharing our London visit I will be looking at the art pieces in the Tate that attracted me most. A very random selection! But to start off I will share with you more photos I took of indications of the building’s previous use, featuring the use of concrete.


There were so many works of art that I loved at the gallery it is hard to make a selection but here goes. In the gloom of the concrete of the old parts of the building videos played so I took a couple of stills to show how they shone in the darkness.


On into the main galleries with their pristine white walls pieces of art stood out in almost each one.


A remarkable floor attracted many of the gallery visitors to exerience its magic. We were no exception. The floor somehow reacted to body heat and created white images of hands and feet. It was a strange experience!


The sculptural pieces on display were so varied and we all reacted very differently to each one.

I shall finish off now with a selection of my favourite art work at the Tate Modern.

We enjoyed being back in London so much we are determined to return in the spring.




A Short Break in London – Part 2

As mentioned in Part 1 we then enjoyed time at The Tate Modern, another ambition I wished for but never thought I would be able to manage. Thanks to my orthopaedic surgeon and support from Jo and Rob the visit was very special.

The taxi dropped us right outside the Tate on the edge of its forecourt and we found ourselves with the Tate modern, a restored power station, in front of us and other interesting much more modern buildings around it.


The Tate’s neighbours were really good exciting examples of modern architecture, a strong feature of present day London. I loved the use of materials and colour especially the strong yellow on the building in the first photo.


Once inside the gallery we loved the signs of its original uses, hard raw concrete surfaces with such strength of structure. Concrete at its best, powerful but sleek. As we had walked 50 yards or so into the building we looked back to see the yellow building looking back in.


We enjoyed the building and its structure for a long while before we entered any formal gallery spaces. My favourite pieces will feature in another London post. We broke for coffee and went right to the top of the building to enjoy it. Here an outside balcony walkway afforded us wonderful views over the city. We got so excited about just being there looking out.


We began to spot green patches in the air where the occupants of buildings were trying to green up their space with roof gardens, planted patios growing trees and shrubs to help them feel relaxed.


After enjoying the delights of the Tate for many hours we took a walk along the Left Bank of the Thames. This will be featured in a further London post.


jewelry photography the sea the seaside the shore

Jo’s Jewellery – an update

Jude the Undergardener and I were so proud when we attended the launch evening of a new season at a gallery in the world-famous riverside town of Ironbridge. The gallery is appropriately called Ironbridge Fine Arts, which aims to showcase the best local artists and crafts people. We arrived in the dark of a winter evening to have a look at Jo’s jewellery in the gallery, and on the way to find her display I set to work with my camera.


And then there its was – Jo’s work.


While on holiday in Norfolk with daughter Jo and her husband Rob, we found a beach where we could photograph some of her jewellery for her new website. Here we used the colours and textures of sea-battered wood of groynes and supports for beach-huts. Jo works mainly in silver with some gold embellishments and some resin work so you need the right backgrounds to enhance the character and characteristics of the work in photos.

Once we realise we have come across a suitable location, we are so pleased with ourselves – not all ideas work out! We soon get to work if the light is right, checking out backgrounds, angle of light, cloud cover, and then homing in on colour, texture and patterns for each piece of jewellery. Sometimes we strike lucky and the piece matches and works with the chosen object behind it and the effect of the light of course. Sometimes though we wander around trying a single piece in lots of different places until the feeling is right. All four of us discussed each and every one of the photos so it was real teamwork.

A perfect location will afford us the chance to photograph against a background that enhances the jewellery, adds atmosphere and adds interest without distracting from the subjects themselves. This beach was spot on and the row of beach houses on stilts was an added bonus.


Here was plenty of potential for shots to be taken. We had the sea, the sand and the sky to photograph against as well as rusting metal surfaces, sea battered wood and pealing paintwork.


It feels good to be involved in Jo’s jewellery craftwork. But even better is being able to contribute my photographic interests with Rob’s IT skills on Jo’s website he designed and  runs. Here are some of the successful photographs from the session on the beach.


More recently more new jewellery awaited photographing and this time we used the colours, patterns and textures of the autumn garden, including our Seaside Garden. This time Rob and I worked together to find the best backgrounds and positioning of each piece – we work well together.  I thought I would share twenty or so of the many photographs we took. So I hope you enjoy this gallery – as usual click on the first pic and then navigate using the arrows.

To check out Jo’ creations and Rob’s website skills please look at the website at .



architecture canals outdoor sculpture Yorkshire

A Week of Culture – Part 4 – The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

Part Four of our culture week sees us visiting the new Hepworth Wakefield Gallery within the city of Wakefield in Yorkshire. Wakefield has been graced with a new gallery partly dedicated to the work of Barbara Hepworth as it was the city of her birth.

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We had seen photographs of this newly constructed gallery and had wanteded to visit since its opening. The building itself is an imposing grey structure based on slightly irregular cubes and cuboids. A long dramatic walkway over the canal took us over moored barges with their wood fires adding the aroma of burning wood to the misty damp atmosphere.

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From the walkway we spied this character hanging from a crane in the metal reclamation yard alongside the canal. He is made up of all sorts of scrap materials and from a distance he looks as if he is made of huge sweets – liquorice allsorts.

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As we got close to the entrance we realised just how vast this gallery is with its grey slabbed sides rising up above us.

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Inside, the building is equally dramatic with deeper greys and black being the dominant colours in the spaces outside the gallery rooms themselves, which as expected are all of a stark white. The outside surfaces are matt in sharp contrast with the shining interiors.

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With all these straight lines and monochrome surfaces that constitute the fabric of the buiding the art work on show would need to be good and well displayed to brighten the visitors’ experience along with some comfortable seating on which to sit and appreciate the art works. People also make a difference and we received a warm welcome from the smiling face behind the reception desk.

The first gallery contained a couple of pieces by British sculptor Henry Moore – Reclining Figures. They looked good with plenty of space around them and with bright even lighting. But our warm welcome from the receptionist was somewhat negated by the steward in this room who called across at me “You are not allowed to touch them!” when I was pointing out a particularly nice curved line. Sadly because of this we didn’t stay so I failed to photograph Moore’s work. We put it down to bad training and moved on quickly to the next gallery where a delightful surprise awaited us.

We were taken aback as we were confronted by a crazily overcrowded room set. This was the collection of William Alfred Ismay. At first it looked a jumble of worthless pieces of junk thrown together in what is often put forward by some artists as sculpture. We once saw a garden shed in a gallery  full of old dusty tools looking as if it had been lifted from a vegetable patch and dropped in the gallery – it even had a radio playing. The gallery presented it as an important installation and went on to propound its value as a work of art. We didn’t buy into that and we had a feeling we might be in for a similar experience here. But no! Here was a collection accumulated over decades by a local Wakefield librarian who became an obsessive collector of quality ceramics. His home became filled to the brim with them covering every surface even the table at which he ate his meals, leaving a little gap just big enough for his plate! A close look among the jumble of items led us to discover pieces from potters whose work we recognised. Most of the well-known 20th century potters and ceramists were in fact represented. Wandering around the room set became a voyage of discovery picking out beautiful pieces from amongt the cheap white goods of his era. The pieces were displayed on pieces of Ismay’s furniture and the whole set up was like looking into his house with the walls stripped away.

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In the gallery where Ismays collection was displayed we were again made to feel uncomfortable. A black line surrounded the display and a sign asked visitors not to step over it. Sadly as we walked around the young room stewards followed our every move keeping a close eye on our feet. This must again reflect their training because when we engaged them in conversation they were very pleasant, knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

The third gallery we entered was spotlighting the work of American artist Dana Schutz. This is the New York based painter’s first UK exhibition. Her large extremely colourful work did not appeal to either myself or Jude as we found them disturbing in an unpleasant way. This gallery though did give them the space needed to appreciate them coupled with excellent lighting. If you were a Schulz fan you would have appreciated how good they looked in this setting. You can see the hard surface of the bench here. It didn’t invite you to sit and peruse the paintings and did nothing to soften the hard lines of the building and whiteness of the room. Comfortable benches which invite the visitor to sit and consider a piece in more depth are sadly lacking throughout the gallery.

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We moved through galleries displaying the work of Albert Wainwright whose work varied a great deal, from simple book and magazine illustrations to landscapes of Northern England and the occasional poster. Photography was not permitted in this room.

We moved on to Galleries 4,5 and 6 where the work of Barbara Hepworth was on show. Her work suited the style of gallery with their huge walls of glass which let the light stream in. The views out of these windows were out over the river towards the city.

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We were pleased to see a full sized prototype of the well known piece “Winged Figure” which was designed to grace the John Lewis store in Oxford Street. We think of Hepworth as being just a sculptor so it was interesting to see some of her 2-D graphic works. It was a great privilege to get really close to this iconic piece and see the variety of textured surfaces.

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It was strange to see some of her work in glass cases but I can appreciate that these particular pieces are delicate.

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Enjoy this set of photos showing the variety of Hepworth’s work.

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If we look at the following set of 5 photos we can see they feature a similar simple circle. The first photo is a close up of the last piece in the set of photos above, then we have a photo of the whole of a different piece of work followed by a close up of it. The final shot looks as if it fits with them but all it is is a shot I took accidentally as I walked through the gallery. I was carrying the phone set on camera mode facing down and inadvertently took a photo of the floor with a circle of an electric socket cover. Strangely in keeping!

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We finished our visit by going back outside to look at the rest of the building itself and a few pieces displayed on the grassed areas alongside, including more of the Barbara Hepworth “Family of Man” pieces some of which we had already enjoyed at the sculpture park.

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We were also able to view the old mill building, The Calder, which will hold exhibitions in conjunction with the Hepworth Wakefield. These old warehouses present a stark contrast to the modern geometric architecture of the new gallery close by.

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So that is two parts of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle visited which just leaves the venues in Leeds, The Henry Moore Institute and the Leeds Art Gallery, to discover sometime in the future.