I saw this fascinating image on the window of the toilets (of all places!) in The Grapes pub in Liverpool’s Roscoe Street.
Couldn’t resist taking a picture as I reckon it might make an interesting painting at some stage in the future.
The Grapes is a great pub – and was once a watering hole for John Lennon in his art school days. Here’s a link for those who fancy checking the pub out –
Here’s a watercolour I painted a couple of years ago for my brother’s 40th birthday. This was before it was framed.
It was actually quite heavy and bulky once framed so it was carefully bubblewrapped and taken on board an EasyJet flight from Liverpool’s John Lennon International Airport for the short hop to the Isle of Man.
Hope you like it.
I was just going to add this as a sidebar shot but thought it merited a post of it’s own. It’s a shot of Falkner Street, Liverpool. Had spent the morning having a late breakfast at The Quarter, a great cafe on the left of the shot (next to the place with the green chairs). Beautiful blue skies, too! For Beatles fans, John Lennon lived just off this street as The Beatles were about to break. Original cobblestones, by the way.
George Harrison and John Lennon peering out from the Beatles Lamb Banana on a sunny Sunday morning on Hope Street in Liverpool.
John Lennon was an artist, studying at the Liverpool College of Art, as he began his journey to fame. Then later, the Beatle shared his drawings with the world. Here’s John and his fellow Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr just off Princes Road in Liverpool.
The area is full of very grand and imposing properties, many of which are being restored, but this is Toxteth, Liverpool 8, and it’s an area still hit hard by social deprivation.
This vibrant piece of graffiti hangs at a jaunty angle over the railings on the corner of Upper Hill Street. The signature penguin can be seen all around Liverpool.
Doubt whether Liverpool’s wealthy shipping merchants could have foreseen their neighbourhood being transformed into an al fresco art gallery. This piece of graffiti was hanging on the opposite side of Upper Hill Street to the penguin.
At the end of the street, the early evening sunlight lit this piece of graffiti and gave it a warm quality. All these pieces of graffiti within a few hundred yards of each other by the way. Must find out more about the penguin!
I studied English Lit. at University College, Cardiff (now simply Cardiff University), and remember being fascinated by the concept of the green world. I’ll return to this in a later post, as it crops up in other ways in our literature, too.
“In his discussion of William Shakespeare’s works, literary critic Northrop Frye coined the term “The Green World” in order to describe a particular environment that recurs throughout literature. In literary tradition, a hero must undergo several steps before being able to overcome his or her particular challenges. Often, a character will disappear into a perfectly natural environment, most often a forest, in order to confront inner obstacles and gain personal insight. The Green World adventures generally offer elements of magic, supernatural power, and reigning chaos, but must be survived in order to restore balance to the world.”
Those of you who drop by regularly will know I have a beautiful park on my doorstep – Calderstones Park – in Liverpool. It was looking incredible early the other morning in the freakishly warm March weather we’ve been having. The sights in the park brought to mind that whole green world concept in Shakespeare’s plays.
You could easily imagine any of Shakespeare’s Comedies’ green world scenes being set here in the park. Wonder which play these incredible blossoms would host? Perhaps my favourite – A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Seems to me there’s something almost surreal about this scene as the last of the early morning haze lingers. Calderstones Park certainly has some interesting credentials that lend it a supernatural feel, not least the existence of some of the actual Calder Stones ..
The stones are thought to date from the late neolithic/early bronze age. Impressive, huh? Walking the park and taking in the sometimes chaotic combination of plants and trees also reminds me of one of my favourite painters – Adrian Berg – who sadly died last October.
Berg was a Royal Academician and their site offers useful information about him; http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/academicians/painters/adrian-berg-ra,162,AR.html
His paintings are a real celebration and appreciation of the natural world, and it’s place in our suburban and metropolitan lives.
His use of colour and deceptively casual detail are remarkable. This piece reminds me a little of the French Impressionist – Seurat. Although largely painted elsewhere, it almost seems at times as though he was painting my park .. they’re eerily familiar and immediate. Here’s a shot of Calderstones Park ..
Now here’s one of Adrian Berg’s paintings. He’s somehow able to catch the blur and blend as plants and trees bleed into each other.
If you’ve not seen his work before, I’d seriously recommend taking a look. His paintings will really get you to reappraise the way you look at the natural world in our cities.Leaving the green world of Shakespeare and the rich detail of Berg’s natural world behind, here are a few more shots of Calderstones Park on a fabulous Spring morning.
This is a view of a Quarry Bank School classroom overlooking the park. And as you must all know by now, this was John Lennon’s old school. I like to imagine him daydreaming as he looked out of this window as he looked out over this beautiful park.
I’m pretty sure he’d recognise what I’ve offered in this post. Like to think he might approve, too.
This is Falkner Square, Liverpool, as a beautiful Spring day turns to a dusky haze. The large building in the distance is Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral. John Lennon was living just round the corner in Falkner Street when The Beatles first topped the charts back in 1962-1963. These days the area is popular as a film set for television programmes and movies, too.
Another of my famous and deliberately blurred shots. Taken on Menlove Avenue, Liverpool, in the snow about this time last year.
I’d stopped my car after a trip to the supermarket and took this on my iPhone. For the Beatles’ fans among you, John Lennon’s house is about another half mile down the dual carriageway on the right.
Gloomy, grey and wintry day in Liverpool today but still plenty of tourists arriving in taxis and on the Magical Mystery Tour coach outside John Lennon’s home on Menlove Avenue. Thought this photo of a detail inside the Hard Day’s Night Hotel in Liverpool might brighten things up a little!
For reasons best known to my teachers at Hillfoot Hey Grammar School, my art lessons came to an end at the age of 12 and instead I was to study French. Don’t think I realised at the time just how big a decision this was to be for me. I’d opted out of my piano lessons when I was about 8 or 9, so at least I’ve got no-one else to blame for not playing the piano except myself. But painting, well that’s a different matter. So it was with some trepidation, many years later, that I joined an art class taught by my friend, Peter, who’d trained at Liverpool Art School with John Lennon. Soon I was drawing and painting in class and independently. This painting below started life as a sketch of a rather exotic looking plant in my garden. Working in acrylics and on a canvas about 18inches by 15inches, I decided to try my hand at an abstract painting based on those original sketches. Big bold colours were definitely the order of the day as you can see.
As for influences on this particular painting, I really couldn’t say, but in general I’d have to cite Cezanne as a painter whose work’s always fascinated me. At University in Cardiff, I think I had a print of one of his many paintings of Mount St.Victoire. The picture below is certainly very similar.
Amazing paintings and a real inspiration. Here are a couple of watercolours I painted last year near Ceret in France last year. I’ll blog about Ceret another time, but for now I’ll simply say that this little town was a favourite haunt of Picasso many years ago.