Day Trip to the City of Bath

About two weeks ago, I took a day trip to Bath. As someone who was born and raised in London I had never really taken the chance to visit the other cities in the UK. That is, until recently.

I’ve travelled outside of London before. I’ve been to a few countries in Europe and have been over to the States and Canada but I’ve yet to truly explore what the UK has to offer. The other cities I’ve been to prior to Bath is Brighton & Manchester. Brighton was a day trip when I was in school and Manchester, like Bath, was a solo trip.

I found Bath to be a very charming city. It’s located south west of England. It’s a very small city with a population of about 80,000. It didn’t take long to get there from London, I decided to take a coach to get there and a train to return to London. It took 3 hours and 15 minutes by coach and 1 hour and 30 minutes by train.

The Great Bath

One of the things I like most about travelling is speaking to people. On my coach journey to Bath I had a conversation with a man in his 70’s. He was taking the coach to Heathrow airport. He was on his way to Puerto Rico. Fascinated, I asked him about his travelling experience. So, he told me about his travelling adventures. He told stories of the many festivals he had been to in Europe, exploring wonders in Australia, his last trip with his wife before she passed away and many more. It was awe-inspiring as well as poignant.

The Roman Baths were my first stop. I had heard of it’s beauty and knew it was a must-see attraction. It didn’t fail to impress. I took my time wondering and exploring the place. I walked through The Temple of Sulis-Minerva, which is a temple dedicated to the goddess Sulis-Minerva, and I had a chance to visit the museum which displayed artefacts discovered on the site. It was interesting to get an idea of what it may have been like at the time of the Romans. The Holy grail however, was The Great Bath. A lead-lined pool filled with steaming, geothermally heated water at the heart of the complex. This is what I came to see. You could see steam rising from the water and I imagined in my head what it must have been like for a Roman. So what better way to know what it was really like than to ask a Roman him or herself. Around the bath were costumed characters. So I had some fun and went into character myself. I asked about the waters, where one must worship and told her of my banquet (I guess I did delve pretty deep). It was such fun.

After my visit to the Roman Baths, I went to Bath Abbey. Bath Abbey is located right next to the baths and had the privilege of going to the very top of the tower via a guided tour. I also went to the fashion museum and the victoria art gallery but I really wanted to see The Jane Austen Centre and a beautiful architectural area named Royal Crescent.

After reading the novel Pride and Prejudice last year, I was told by a friend that a visit to Bath is a must. Jane Austen used Bath as a location in a few of her novels. She also lived in Bath for a short period of time. A visit to The Jane Austen Centre was a great way to find out more about her. The visit is split into two. First, you’re guided by tour guides in regency costumes who regale you with Austen-esque tales and later you tour around the museum on your own.

I had met a few people on my trip whilst in Bath. Amongst them were two girls. I met them on the Jane Austen tour. Like I said before, one of my favourite things whilst travelling is talking with people. So we got talking. I found out that one of them was from Hungry and the other Slovakia. They were studying in the UK and decided to go to Bath for a few days during the Easter break. They had travelled to many places in the UK and this was part of their UK tour trip. I told them that I had yet to really explore the UK but had the intentions of achieving it. We also spoke of Jane Austen and her novels. They were really friendly and I’m glad I met them. That’s one of the things I like about travelling solo, I have these kind of encounters.

Last but not least, I went to the royal crescent to admire it’s beauty. It was the perfect way to end my visit in Bath. I took it all in by walking around. Walking around and smiling. I had done it. I had visited one of the most beautiful cities in England. Not a bad way to spend one’s birthday eh?

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Creative Canvas January

This is a post that should’ve been done a while ago. Last month to be precise. Much like most of my posts however, it can take a while before it’s actually published. The post is a new feature for the blog. It’s about my activities each month. What I get up to and so forth. The idea derived from the fact that I would like to take note of the things I do in a creative way. It’s not just because I have white canvases bought from a while ago that have collected nothing but dust.

I created a collage using images and photos I took in the month of January. Each photo represents something. There were highs and lows. The one low of the month is represented in the question ‘What is epilepsy?’. A friend of mine passed away at the start of the year. He had epilepsy. It was such a shock to find out he had died only after celebrating the New Years at a Church party the day before. At only 19, he reminded me of life’s fragility.

The photo of me in the middle sitting down took place at Tower Bridge. As a Londoner, I take living in the city for granted so I’ve decided to try to go to a London sight I’ve either never been to or haven’t been to for a while once a month. One of the perks of working in a tourist sight is that opportunities to visit other sights come by, that’s what happened here. I got invited to go on a tour at Tower Bridge. So I took it with both hands. The ‘I DID IT’ and surrounding London views are images also attached to the Tower Bridge visit.

The tennis player on the left is named Chung Hyeon. Chung was a phenomenon at the Australian Open. A major tennis tournament. At only 18, he reached the semi-finals. He lost out to the legend Roger Federer. I enjoy watching tennis, especially the grand slam tournaments (biggest competitions in tennis), so seeing someone have a break-through tournament was a pleasant experience.

The drawing of a chair happened at work during my break. I’ve learned to take a sketchpad everywhere. Helps the creative juices flow. The ice-cream was a day out with a friend. It really was delicious. The column on the right was an article read from The Guardian newspaper. I would like to increase my general knowledge so I decided to start reading newspapers, apart from the ordinary ones. So I chose The Guardian.

So there you have it. My January activities in a nutshell.

Snow? London? Yeah Baby!

That’s right. London was hit with the ‘Beast from the East’ for a few days. Londoners were hit by a barrage of snow. It was recorded as being the coldest February in many a year. Just when we thought we weren’t going to have any snow this winter the last week of February and the beginning of March proved us wrong.

What’s the big deal you ask? Well, as someone born and raised in London, snow isn’t something you come across every winter. In fact, we hardly have stone cold snow. I think I’ve only ever had one white christmas, if that. So snow in London is a big deal. Usually when it snows it doesn’t settle. It’s more of a wet and slippery surface rather than a crunch crunch, “I’m totally stepping on snow!” feeling. But this time round, I could actually tell my brother that we had real snow. My brother is in Canada. Canada is cold. It snows in Canada.

I don’t know about you but I really like the snow. Sure it can disrupt transportation. Sure it can feel like a cold slap in the face when walking. Yes, a t-shirt is a big no no in snow but you know what? There are worse things in the world. So instead of complaining or worrying how I was going to get to work or being anxious about the bitterly cold weather. I simply took the time to appreciate nature at it’s best. So as I was walking in the snow I chose to live in the moment. I chose to watch the snowflakes effortlessly descend from right to left and to the ground and settle. I must say, it was beautiful. Oh my is snow a beauty.

Watch Your Tone Buddy

Tones was the focus for this week. We worked on a variation of tones in our drawings for this session. We had to bring in a couple of objects to be the focus: a cube shaped object and a spherical object. This week instead of pencil we used charcoal, chalk, an eraser and sugar paper.

I found this quite challenging as I’m someone who’s comfortable using pencil as a drawing tool but getting out of one’s comfort zone is a good thing as it leads to growth. So, without further ado, here are the drawings:

The very top drawing is my final piece from the session. The others are from my fellow students who were kind enough to allow me to photograph their work. It’s amazing what charcoal can do when applied to paper. I’m not too pleased with my outcome but the works of my classmates clearly display what the tool is capable of and how using a variation of tones can enrich a drawing. Why wasn’t I satisfied with my work, well for several reasons. One is that I took too long to get started (I took time positioning the objects, observing and so forth) so anxiousness and the feeling of rushing overtook me when it came down to business. I draw best when relaxed so it wasn’t a good combination. Secondly I misunderstood one of the tasks for the drawing for the top right. Instead of drawing from outside in, I drew from inside out. It was simply a bad day at the office, well studio.

Anyhow, with all that said I realised the power of the tool and how beautiful it can be on a canvas. Anne, our tutor, tends to make us show our work to each other after each task. It’s beneficial. It gives each of us an opportunity to see how the other person tackled a particular task plus it shows the different styles we all have. It’s a beautiful thing.

Shoes wisely

This post is about a two week project. We were asked to bring in a pair of shoes that was to be the main focus of the sessions. I chose a pair that I hardly wore. One of my classmates brought in a pair he’d found on his way to the class. Funny guy. Always has a funny story to tell. The first couple of tasks concentrated on composition and negative space.

Above are drawings of shoes I created. The first two from right to left are from the class and the third is a quick sketch from home. For the middle drawings we were tasked with a compositional exercise as well as a white space exercise. For the composition exercise I took time to position the shoes on the canvas i.e. drawing a central vertical and horizontal line, and later working on the important shapes. For the white space exercise, it was more abstract because of the shading. So I was working outside in. The drawing to the left was the final drawing on an A1 piece of paper. More detailed. Although I failed to finish it I was fairly satisfied with what it would look like once complete.

Drawing Session 2

This time around the focus was on exploring space between two objects. We also looked at the negative spaces between the objects, exploring the interesting shapes. We used charcoal instead of pencil this time.

I chose a bottle and a fruit (plum) as my two objects. As a warm up exercise we experimented with the charcoal by creating lines and cross hatches, using the eraser and smudging was encouraged. This helped us get used to the charcoal as a tool.

I found drawing between two objects quite challenging. One had to observe the space on the staged set and then calculate how to interpret it on the canvas. I learned to concentrate on the structure before going into the cosmetics i.e. the details. For the bottom drawing, we concentrated on the negative/white space by using charcoal.

I enjoyed this session because it gave me an opportunity to work on a tool I’m not used to using.

Let the Drawing Journey Begin

I just started a short course on drawing and it’s going great so far. It takes place once a week on a Tuesday evening. It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally submitted myself unto a drawing course. It’s perfect for me. It’s tailor made for beginners and those wishing to get a grasp of the basics.

I enjoy drawing. I really do but I would like to get better and to understand the concepts of drawing. I would like to get a solid foundation of the fundamentals of drawing.

The first session was all about exploring space and drawing from a single object. I found the exercises fun and relaxing.

Above are examples of using eclipses to draw an object from observation. From right to left: A demonstration from the tutor and the a structural drawing and photocopy of one of Picasso’s paintings.

Here are my drawings from the class. Actually, the drawings to the left were done at home after class. We did other drawing exercises too. The method was to create a structure and foundation for the object through eclipses (squished circles) without worrying too much about the cosmetics side of things i.e. the details. It made me think in a different way. It made me see the objects in a different way. Normally I jump straight in without thinking about the shapes so much.

So that’s all folks. I’ll be back with another post next week. Ciao for now!