Artist in Residence Sarah Taylor Silverwood – Week 3

This week I have been to the Museum Collections Centre, I’ve been taking photographs on the roof of the gallery, and I ran a ‘Big Buildings’ drawing workshop. It has been really busy but full of inspiration and I’ve made a start of the final work I’m producing for the residency.

I want to produce a view of Birmingham inspired by some of the topographical views in the collection. When looking through these works, I have been trying to work out what angle they are taken from. It is difficult to find a good viewpoint (often people use a bit of artistic license to get what they want in) so I have been trying to find the perfect spot to draw from. The new Library of Birmingham has some fantastic views, so I climbed to the 9th floor to see what part of the landscape I could get in:

View from the new Library of Birmingham

It wasn’t quite the right angle, and I wanted to get something that looked out from BMAG if possible. The BMAG security team took me up onto the roof of the gallery. The views are incredible, especially looking back at the library – you can see the tiny figures in the roof garden.

View of new Library of Birmingham

The roof space above Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Alongside finding the right viewpoint I wanted to explore more of the work in the collection so spent a day at the Museum Collections Centre (MCC). It is a treasure trove of incredible things, from buttons to computers:

Buttons from the collections

An old computer at the Museum Collections Centre

I am particularly interested in the work of Samuel Lines, so Jo-Ann Curtis (Curator) showed me this sketch done in preparation for making the painting below. It seems much less restrained than some of the more finished pieces.

Samuel Lines sketch of Birmingham from the Dome of St Philip

Samuel Lines painting of Birmingham from the Dome of St Philip

Henry Harris Lines, eldest son of Samuel Lines, is a brilliant draughtsman and also uses Birmingham as the subject for his work.  These two pieces depict the city which is very different from today but still holds some recognisable features:

Henry Harris Lines sketch of Birmingham

Henry Harris Lines sketch of Birmingham

The formality and style of some of these prints of Birmingham architecture is something I’d like to replicate in my drawing:

Prints of St Pauls Chapel and the Free Grammar School, Birmingham

Print of the Free Grammar School, Birmingham

Finally I asked if we could look at some trade cards used by Birmingham based industries. They are beautiful objects in themselves, each full of intricate detail and typography. The importance of industry to Birmingham’s heritage is something I’d like to bring in to the new work. Thanks to Jo-Ann for a great day exploring the collections at MCC.

Trade card for portable gas stoves

Finally, thank you to everyone who came to the Big Buildings Workshop on Saturday 12th October! We had over 100 visitors in 2 hours and they created some beautiful artworks. Below are a few photos of the giant window landscapes:

Children drawing on the giant window at the workshop

The big buildings workshop giant window

Looking out of the giant window

Drawing of a building on the giant window

A drawing of a church on the giant window

Drawings of buildings on the giant window

Sarah inside the giant window landscape

And people also made their own big buildings to take home. Maisy Kate Neal made a drawing of the Council House and Art Gallery, and then collaged over it.

Collage of Birmingham Council House

Building collages made by children at the workshop

This is my final week at BMAG. On Wednesday I am running a final Open Studio from 1-4pm. Come and find out more about the Artist in Residence programme and the new artwork I am making. Also there is an opportunity to be a part of my new work. I am asking members of the public if I can photograph them to draw from. Thanks to all the members of the public who came to be photographed last week, this is Shengwei posing for hers:

Shengwei standing inside the giant window landscape

Sarah Taylor Silverwood,
Whitworth Wallis Artist in Residence

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