The BBC Philharmonic

Monday, 17 March 2014

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!
You can read more of Caroline’s blog posts here

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