Living and working in the Clyde Valley, South Lanarkshire, drawing, sketching, painting and exploring my new Scottish life and surroundings. Graduate of Aidan Hart's Icon Diploma course, run by the Prince's School of Traditional Arts. Please visit my other blogs https://drawingthestreet.com https://drawingthedetail.com/ and https://www.icondiplomastudent.com and main website https://www.drawingthestreet.co.uk
I recently cleared out the cupboard under-the-stairs to make way for some new plumbing. It meant shifting a battered portfolio from my student days and having a really good clear out – something I should have done years ago.
In amongst the awful stuff (that went straight into recycling) was something I had completely forgotten about – a measured drawing competition which I entered back in 1982. There it was – my tiny etching of Steeton Hall Gatehouse along with the full set of measured drawings. I can’t honestly remember how exactly I made the etching although I do recall it was with a small copper plate (approx 3″x 4″) and a metal point together with a pencil drawing…it is over 32 years ago, but there are my old initials to remind me.
Steeton Hall Gatehouse is in South Milford, south west of York, my former home town. It’s under the care of English Heritage and is a fine example of a small, well preserved manorial gatehouse dating from the 14th century. I entered this competition because I loved drawing old buildings – so not much has changed there though the whole setting seemed a lot more rural back then!
Another thing that is evident is my growing interest in calligraphy. I think I would have drawn these letters with Rotring pens – it would be many years before I tried my hand at a quill! At least it was one step on from ‘Letraset’ applied letters.
I will scan the measured drawings, there are six of them in total, plans sections and elevations, all drawn on A1 sheets and copied on to film. They are detailed down to every last 14th century stone. If anyone from English Heritage is reading this blog, please get in touch if you would like them for your records.
Oh, I didn’t win the competition but I did get a really good consolation prize: an A1 sized roll of tracing paper which, to a student architect, was actually worth something!
I didn’t finish clearing out the cupboard either. I got distracted further by an old envelope full of pencil, pen and ink drawings of old Arab architecture dated 1979, our last year in Bahrain. Perhaps I will post one or two of these one day, but I should be concentrating back on Burslem!
Time for something a little different. I am writing this on the train back to Stoke-on-Trent after attending the RBA’s preview of their 2014 Annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in the heart of London. What treat! Our own Stoke artist David Brammeld’s four selected pieces were on display, but the highlight of the evening was to witness him pick up the Alfred Daniels’ Personal Favourite Award for ‘Empty Corner Shop – Harveys’. Stoke has arrived in the City! I was close to bursting out with a verse of Delilah – Congratulations David! This is terrific recognition and acknowledgement of a person who is dedicated not only to his art but to capturing evocative fragments of Stoke’s fast disappearing architecture.
For those of us who attend Dave’s drawing classes in Newcastle-under-Lyme, you should be proud of him! He is far too modest to crow about his work, but when an artist in our midst gets recognition at this level, this exciting news has to be shared!
Andrew Marr gave an enthusiastic introduction to the presentation with heartfelt acknowledgement of those artists up and down the country who put so much into their art and in particular drawing. Andrew expressed how drawing is often the best part of his day and indeed is forming an important part of his recovery as he meets life full on through his drawings.
If you are in London between the 5-15th March, I strongly recommend you pop into the Mall Galleries, they are just round the corner from Trafalgar Square. There is a wide range of art on display including my own favourites: drawing, pen and ink, etchings, prints, woodcuts and engravings. These really are fantastic examples from the best of our contemporary artists.
The RBA also give a lot of support to younger artists in partnership with NADFAS and the Dover Federation for the Arts. There is a great display of some remarkable pieces by A Level students. Go and see!
I have begun to draw up Market Place in Burslem. I took photographs on the most beautiful day last year and got a great welcome and a complimentary cup of coffee from the good ladies in Silver Coin Amusements, pictured below. As promised, they are on my drawing!
The black and white drawing above is shown so you can see work in progress. I have begun drawing the opposite side of Market Place and will add colour when both are complete.
I have also been overhauling my website -please do click on the link below to see the fledgling site. I would welcome any feedback. Just let me know whether you can see the drawings on your computer ok – there is so much for me to learn with all this. I hope to get the new site and old name integrated in the next week or so. www.cargocollective.com/drawingthestreet
This post is dedicated to the lads at Miller Heritage – hats off to you gentlemen!
REPAIR OF MELLARD WAREHOUSE, MARKET LANE, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME
From the first floor of ‘Pockets’ you can see a narrow gap on the south side of the Ironmarket. It’s easy to miss but this is Market Lane and it leads down towards the bus station on Hassell Street.
Once on Market Lane, it is also quite easy to walk past what has been up until 2013, a tumble-down warehouse, dating from around the late nineteenth century.
However, it is worth taking a minute’s detour to take in the transformation, the difference is remarkable. You can now see that this is a handsome old warehouse, with its subtle mix of Staffordshire red and blue bricks laid in English bond, a pattern favoured industrially during the Victorian period, with blue engineering brick arched lintols and stepped cills.
Yes, I know, a slow start but I am gradually getting back into my drawing stride.
I have just come back from a weekend in York, visiting family in my old home town and taking a fresh look at some of the York streets that I would like to draw over the course of the coming year. There is one particular street in York which I love to visit, known fondly by the locals as the Bishy Road.
It is a good step away from the tourist hot spots but it is always buzzing! Hardly surprising when there are so many great independent outlets such as the Pig and Pastry and Cycle Heaven – the latter is always a big attraction for my husband whenever we visit.
What really strikes me as the key to this thriving street is the great community spirit and the handy, reasonably priced car park alongside.
It was great this Christmas when we had free car parking here in our town of Newcastle-under-Lyme, more please! Let’s support our local communities wherever we are by providing access to our town centre shops.
We are now into the second week in Advent and here is a suggestion for a Christmas present with a local theme.
A limited edition gift box set of 10 post cards is now available to buy from the Library on the Ironmarket, Newcastle-under-Lyme and from the Borough Museum and Art Gallery. Images have been taken along the entire length of the prize winning drawing ‘Ironmarket in Summer’ and are printed on fine art quality, satin finished cards. They are a neat A6 size: 165 x 116 x 17mm and are raffia tied with a tag of a mini image of the Ironmarket in summer.
Recommended Retail price is £15 though this may vary according to outlet’s overheads and commission.
There are only 100 sets available so to reserve a set to collect from the library, please let me know by filling in the comment box below.
If you have been one of the people to visit the Drawing the Street exhibition, my wholehearted thanks! I have been very moved by the continuous flow of positive comments. These drawings have entailed endless hours of work and to read how well they have been received has been a wonderful vote of confidence in what I began a year ago this month. I hope to respond to each of your comments in turn via email or the blog pages.
It is evident that Newcastilians are most enthusiastic about their town and its history! The centrepiece drawing ‘Ironmarket in Winter’ has been enjoyed by so many of you that I have decided to donate the original to the library to keep it in the public domain. I would love to hear any thoughts or memories of the old Ironmarket and town centre so I can build up a living history alongside the drawings. I have come across a strong community spirit here in Newcastle, it would be good to draw some of it together through this website.
I will retain the copyright of the drawing and a number of prints (of all my drawings) are being sold through Newcastle Library, the Borough Museum and Art Gallery and directly from me. I will get a price list together in my next web update, but if you are thinking about a print for a Christmas gift, do get in touch with me as soon as you can by email RonnieCruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk or phone 07966 230909.
Coming soon…. gift box sets of ten best quality postcards of ‘Ironmarket in Summer’. There is a limited pre-Christmas launch of 100 sets, so if you would like me to reserve a set, please drop me an email.
Hello friends, family and visitors to the Library,
I think I will have to get a new hat as my favourite won’t fit at this rate…So many compliments! Thank you very much to all those of you who have made the time to visit the Newcastle-Under-Lyme Library exhibition, on Ironmarket. I am relieved to read that those who have kindly commented have felt that the visit was worthwhile. Also, lovely to hear about the old buildings around Maxim’s. Does anyone else have any insights or old memories of the the streets that have been drawn? There is a feedback form midway below.
The exhibition dates have been extended and it will stay up until 30th November, due to the cancellation of the exhibitor straight after me – I understand he is unwell so hope he is feeling better soon.
Greetings cards are now on sale at the library, ask at the counter. Some illustrate additional drawings to those on display and a few samples below:
Below are some of the comments received about the exhibition, full names withheld.
So impressed by the magnitude and detail of the whole project- your talent is amazing! What a wonderful way to open our eyes to the buildings around. Thank you. RH
Ronnie Cruwys,you’ve really got your act together with these local scenes. Very, very good, lots of interest, lots of detail. Top drawer! GJ
Your drawings are amazing, taking care of the tiny details made it the drawings as if they are documenting the streets very well, also the scale and dimensions are very true. It was nice to meet you too. YK
Fantastic detailing, great use of colour makes the town look like a place you’d like to shop in (what a pity it isn’t). Spread your wings, other streets, a focus on certain buildings (pubs might be popular) maybe these pics could inspire great things in Newcastle!
Absolutely beautiful- keep up the good work. Great historical pictures (for our future children)! Would be great to see Kidsgrove captured in this way! CC
Fantastic artwork and an inspiration to have a go myself, good range of places covered too! L
‘High street’ in the sixties, as a young art student looking for somewhere to sketch. We went around the corner, right hand side of your drawing, lots of little shops down an entry around the back. The back door of the shop still had a pub glass half door with engraved decoration and I think the name of the pub. It might be worth checking. Beautiful and interesting work. Well done and what an interesting project. Love the colours. M&P
Stand with your back to St Giles. Look across the dual carriageway to what used to be maxims night club. This used to be the old catholic club and overspill rooms for St Marys school. Also it was the Old Pomona pub. When they took Evans sweet factory down behind it, they discovered that there was a courtyard and had been a coaching Inn. P and I both went to St Martin’s overspill rooms and played round the lovely old tree in the middle of the yard. By the left hand side of Maxims is a building that used to be Sweethearts, if you look up on the left hand side of the building you will see the built in shop name and on the edge and corners two beautiful vases of fruit and flowers. Phew! M
I don’t think I’ve ever seen your sketches before I’m really impressed, but not surprised. They have a playful quality about them, especially “Ironmarket in the Summer”, I think it’s the minimal us of colour. I think Liverpool Road is my favourite overall. MM
Superb, Ronnie, well done! It almost bought a tear to my eye as you have captured everything so well. So pleased also that you have won an award with the museum and the exhibition there over Christmas! I’ve also been looking at your website and that too is really impressive! There’s no stopping you now is there!!? GR
Drawings are superb. You need to do a book to accompany them. I am sure that this would sell like hot cakes. SH
This is good babes N
I’ve had a look at the link and then to your website – all I can say is WOW. AW
This exhibition is by far the best I have ever seen. The detail in all the drawings is beautiful to see. S. S
Beautiful drawings, great detail, it’s amazing how much the look of the buildings reflects the area. NW
Wonderful! Perhaps a few ghosts of what was once there: the municipal building et al. BM
Impressive display, a fresh look to the eye, love them.
Well done Ronnie, v. Interesting. How come ‘Newbould’ name is omitted from the finished drawing but on the sketch? A&J
This is to make up for the missing text on the finished drawing ‘Newbould Opticians’.
B and I love all of your pictures- think my favourite is Merrial Street- B’s favourite is Ironmarket. Love the sloping road leading up to the shops on Merrial Street. TG
Ironmarket takes its first walk from Jollies Arts shop to Newcastle Library. A big thank you to Terry who did a great job of framing this outsize piece.
Third year Bartlett Architecture students, John and Marie, helped me assemble the exhibition and it is now up until 16th November.
From the Library it will move over to the Borough Museum and Art Gallery as part of their Christmas Exhibition.
If you do visit, please let me know what you think about the drawings – comment slips are on the counter and help yourself to a postcard! Prints are available behind the counter. If what you would like isnt there, please contact me and I can order futher prints.
The forecast is stormy but I am very excited by my week ahead. Tomorrow I begin my three year Icon Diploma course in Moele Brace, and have just set up a new blog site for anyone interested in following what I will be learning from Aidan Hart, one of the UK’s leading Iconographers (www.icondiplomastudent.wordpress.com).
Then, next Saturday afternoon, 2nd November, I set up my first two week exhibition for Drawing the Street. If you live in Newcastle-under-Lyme, please come along as I hope to have some of my better Newcastle drawings up for you to see, but you can be the judge of them! It will be up until 16th November.
I must add here a couple of ‘thank yous’. One to Terry at Jollies Arts & Crafts for helping me to assemble the frame for ‘Ironmarket in Winter’ – it isn’t easy to frame a 2.7m drawing. Another to Kevin at ‘I wis Framed’ in Stoke, who has been damping and weighing down some of my buckled cartridge paper ready for framing.
I’m also still recovering from the news that my ’Ironmarket in Summer’ was awarded a prize by the Friends of the Borough Museum and Art Gallery. I was truly delighted with this news! Thanks to the Friends and the Gallery.
I have been getting my work printed with Smith York printers in Ironbridge and gradually trying out different methods and papers so that I can have a range of prints available to buy. Please note that when any work is displayed in a gallery, there is a commission to include but it all helps the economy. I also would like to add that quality and sustainability is really important to me and this is reflected in my choice of suppliers.
I look forward to seeing some of you up at the library.