Monday, 17 March 2014

The BBC Philharmonic

I was pleased to have the opportunity to sketch this orchestra over a couple of days.
Their publicity department had used my picture of Ordsall Hall, where they're playing this very week, so I made a deal to sit in on rehearsals. 
They're based in Media City UK on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Salford.
The BBC's move marked a large-scale decentralisation from London, and the North of England has profited from this. From the top floor of the building we could just about see Coronation Street's factory wall- what a thrill!
It took at least the first morning's drawing to feel comfortable, and to have some sense of the direction or focus my work might take. Because this was a rehearsal, the music would start and then suddenly stop and the conductor would gently encourage the musicians in a mixture of English and Italian. This was a bit distracting at first, and the longer pieces of music encouraged inspiration and a better flow to the pencil.

The musicians were a nice bunch, interested in what we were doing, as we were in them- we're all artists, aren't we?!

I used my sketches in the studio later, along with photographs, to produce a larger work, below.

 BBC Philharmonic, Studio Drawing 44cm x 122cm
This is one of the traditional uses of the sketchbook.. as Fine Art students we were we were encouraged to use them for various purposes: as preliminary drawings prior to painting; to explore new ideas, thus developing creativity; as visual diaries of the external world and as drawing practise, and to re-visit as source material for inspiration.
Our books were untidy, experimental, fearless and anarchic.
I'd like to get back to that level of 'insouciance' -it's so easy to blinker oneself by worrying about a good result on the page to be shown to others, rather than opening up to new approaches and unfamiliar materials.
Let's not be hampered by the fear of failure!