History walk around town

On Saturday, I organised a guided tour around Stockport starting from Stockport railway station and finishing at the river Mersey behind the precinct with the British History, Social Group on Meetup https://meetu.ps/c/23GkP/b3nJ4/aCheck

Preparing for an exhibition

Since my last post, I have been on a much needed break from my printmaking. Yesterday, I started a new drypoint print which I hope to combine with a chine collé technique (which uses different colours of tissue paper overlaid on the print during printing). The new drypoint depicts the Masonic Guildhall which is located opposite the college. I used a photograph as a reference. I managed to get a proof done and hope to complete the print soon.

Stockport Masonic Guildhall drypoint

I am hoping to enter two of my prints in this year’s Stockport Open Exhibition which is returning to the art gallery in Stockport.

The exhibition is on from 22nd July to 23rd September.

I also printed a couple of prints from the Stopford House etching I did a few months back. I hope to enter this into the open exhibition.

Stopford House etching aquatint

May photo walk: Vernon Park & Woodbank Memorial Park

Last Friday, I had some free time to visit Vernon Park just outside the town centre of. My first place to photograph was the hall inside the park.

Vernon Park hall

Vernon park was opened in 1858 and is the oldest park in Stockport. The hall which was restored recently as 2017 has some ornate brick work and decorative façades.

My walk took me around the rear of the hall where I spotted a pair of replica Russian canons. The original cannons were captured from the battle of Sevastopol. They were donated by the War Office. However, the originals where unfortunately scrapped for the war effort back in the 1940’s.

Rhododendron’s in Vernon Park

Beyond the hall are the gardens with the bandstand. This is not the original bandstand from 1888, but a reconstruction build in 2000. The gardens are large and well maintained. I particularly liked the Rhododendrons and the sunken garden next to the hall. To the left hand side of the hall is the bowling green where a path led me down to the rest of the gardens and took me to the furthest edges of the estate.

In the middle of the gardens, is a lovely ornamental Victorian statue in black with gold leaf.

Woodbank Memorial Park

On my return to the car park, I decided to go and explore Woodbank Memorial park which is nearby and seek out and find the hall which I have never visited before. As you enter the park, there is a stone arch way which is in need of some restoration. As I walked down the path towards the hall, I spotted a tree sculpture which honoured the animals who were in service during the world wars. The sculpture has not weathered well to the elements and looks as though it to needs some work to restore it. As I continued my walk, I passed what looked like a music festival which was being held in the park, I finally spotted Woodbank hall in the distance.

Woodbank hall

According to records, the hall was built between 1812-14. From the outside, the hall looks ok, but closer inspection you realise the building needs restoring back to it’s former glory. The building looks abandoned at the moment with no current use as far as I could make out, which is a pity as it would make an excellent arts venue.

To sum up my thoughts of visiting the two parks, these two places are a real treasure to the folks of Stockport and I would certainly return again. I now have plenty of photographs as inspiration for some new prints.

White Lion pub etching

Yesterday, I continued my work on the etching depicting the White Lion public house, which is now private flats in the centre of town.

White Lion pub

There is still some adjustments to make on this etching. I have recently purchased a couple of blue permanent markers which I use to stop out areas on the plate. I tend to use a medium size marker but also have a small marker for finer details.

Printing plate and print compared

Visit to Bury Art Museum and new etching

Last Saturday at the printmaking workshop, I started a new etching plate which is the first for 2022. The new plate once completed will depict the White Lion public house which has now been turned into swanky apartments in the centre of town. The plate is slightly larger than the normal 18 x 12 cms I usually create etching prints from. I have gone for a larger printing plate so I can add more detail. Below is a photo of the plate which has a coating of hard wax to protect the plate when it has its first dip in the acid bath early next month. The first acid bath lasts about 15 minutes which allows the outline of the drawing to be defined more strongly on the plate.

White Lion etching plate (17 x 26.5 cms)

Yesterday, I visited Bury Art Museum to swap a small number of etchings for the shop that is based on the first floor. One of the prints I submitted was of the cage at Lyme Park.

“The Cage at Lyme Park” Etching Aquatint (c) Neil Robinson

The museum has a collection of paintings by JMW Turner. One of which is this work I saw in the main gallery (see below)

Calais Sands at Low Water: Poissards Collecting Bait by Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (Bury Art Museum collection)