Step Inside for some Tolbooth Art!

Let’s have a look around the Tolbooth main gallery area at ground level. The side windows face up the length of the High Street and it’s worth taking a look in every few days as work is sold and new art brought in.

Beautiful wooden bowl by Willy Watson, jewellery by Ann Ross, abstract painting by Allan Wood
Textiles by Beth Fleming

Lovely hand-made hats and textiles by Beth Fleming as well as this wee chappie’s bandanas. This is Boothby, the Tolbooth dog. He was given a bit of a fluff-up and a new outfit from Beth and now models the bandanas and tasty dog treats.

‘Boothby’ – the Tolbooth dog
Wooden birds and deer by Willie Watson and necklace by Ann Ross
Brilliant designs by Dave Randall and Andrew Rennie

Look out for artwork by Jean Mellin, Kirsten Harris, Pat McKenzie and Jane Charlton.

Below, some fun wee pirates and elves by Dianne McNaughton – check out her amazing paintings here. Hand-crafted wire-wrapped jewellery by Hanne Harris and necklace by Jean Mellin. A variety of beautiful pottery by artist/ceramicist Richard Price. Glass robins by Sian Press.

Second row Annie Stillman‘s hand -painted hearts, evergreen glass mistletoes by Biggar Glass, stylish glass Christmas trees by Carol Shoel and the wee cottages by Nikki Lambi of Material Geeks.

Bottom row we have hand sewn fabric coasters by the multi-talented artist Evelyn McEwan, walking pebble figures by Gemma Lamara, wee bear (with mask in pocket) by Lisa Ritchie, glass stars by Carol Shoel.

This year, there is a focus to raise funds to improve access to the first floor of the Tolbooth. The Tolbooth is supported by a team of committed volunteers who know what a good thing this place is for the town. Even buying a pack of cards helps!

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Step Upstairs!

This is the third year of sketching at the Christmas pop-up shop in the Tolbooth, Lanark. Over 40 artists living in and around the Clyde Valley submit some of their hand-made created/painted/knitted/woven/sewn art work to sell and contribute toward the upkeep of this vital community building. Plus they offer a wide range of gorgeous gifts for friends and family.

First floor of the Tolbooth Christmas 2019

This year, there is a focus to raise funds to improve access to the first floor of the Tolbooth.

Back in Dec 2019, the focus was to redecorate the first floor, improve the lighting and flooring to make it a more attractive room for community use. This has been done and with some style!

Gentlemen of the Tolbooth 2019…and Millie

I’m delighted to have some of my framed limited edition prints of Lanark’s historic streets on display upstairs. You can see these in more detail on my website here.

West Port Lanark and the Broomgate Lanark, framed by Caledonia Framers and ready to buy off the easel.
Framed limited edition prints of Lanark streets

There are a couple more of my framed prints available – here’s Bloomgate and the High Street pictured top right.

I love the circular work by Patricia West above – I think it’s called ‘Connections’ made with fragments of different sari fabric. Pat McKenzie’s work always catches my eye – she has some gorgeous art in the Tolbooth – my photos/sketches do her no favours!

That’s plenty for now. I will continue with a few more sketches in the next day or so. Meanwhile, keep well and warm.

Tolbooth tree 2021 with glimpses of paintings by Kirsten Harris

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

West Port – Gateway to Lanark

Many years ago Lanark had four town gates: West Port, East Port, Wellgate and Castlegate. There’s no sign of the gate that once stood at West Port – it’s long gone, demolished sometime in the late 1700’s, but the name remains.

West Port, Lanark is the sixth in my series of street drawings of this Royal Burgh. Here’s a clip from the part of the street where it meets Friar’s Lane.

West Port, Lanark

My street drawings are flat-faced elevations – it keeps things simple and allows me to relate cleanly from one building to another in a way that can be read with ease in future. It shows the relationships of eaves and rooflines, heights and widths of properties and the general fall of the ground. It also gives clues as to what might lie beyond – take for example the chimney stacks. Here you can see the lines of stacks but no idea of the extent of their scale….

West Port Lanark

Let’s take a closer look at the stacks that sit on this early 19th century part of the street. I’ve recently drawn a series of sketches of the town for #inktober – looking at some of the less familiar views. Here though, this is a view you will see as you head out south from the town.

Roofline over West Port, Lanark

Look at these rows of chimney pots! Each one will service a fireplace somewhere inside these buildings.

Below is a close up of the West Port B&B which is one of the Instagram #inktober series (you can look these up on my Instagram page @drawingthestreet). The original is now framed and on sale in the Tolbooth, Lanark.

The West Port B&B

Moving along the street, let’s look at these two fine early 19th C buildings. The one on the left listed grade C, the one on the right grade B.

West Port, Lanark

Moving along West Port, we move poetically from Mucky Paws to the Police Station…

Mucky Paws (left) to the Police Station (right)

The last part of this section of the street drawing is shown below.

Eu Kirk and neighbours

Here’s the whole street drawing – from Friar’s Lane to number 43 West Port. You can see the drawing in more detail on my website drawing the street along with the other Lanark streets in this series including the High Street, Bloomgate, Broomgate and Wellgate.

As I write (9th Dec 2021), there’s one limited edition print, 104cm x 36cm, signed, framed and ready to hang on your wall, available from the Tolbooth Lanark. There are over 40 artists displaying their work there at the moment, so if you can’t see it on the wall, it may be awaiting its turn! Please ask at the Tolbooth reception or just email me: ronniecruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk

West Port original from the 2021 Instagram #inktober series

I’ll sign off with the final framed original of West Port from the #inktober series which is also available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie 🙂

Framed West Port – part of the #inktober series 2021

Framed original artwork of West port now available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.

Warm Glow in Audlem

There’s always been a warm glow from this much loved shop on Shropshire Street in Audlem, a village which can trace its ancestry back to the Domesday book when it was known as Aldelime. It’s located next to the Shropshire Union Canal where you can find a run of 15 locks designed by Thomas Telford to lift the canal by 28m from the Cheshire Plain to the Shropshire Plain.

Arched doorway into Manchester House

Williams of Audlem was established 159 years ago – a record to be proud of! Whilst I was living in nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, I drew most of the street frontages of this fascinating place and recorded them on my website Drawing the Street.

Williams of Audlem stock some of my signed limited edition giclee prints and there are currently two unframed prints of ‘The Square’ in stock, featuring the family run pub and restaurant ‘The Lord Combomere’.

The Lord Combomere, The Square, Audlem
1 and 2 The Square, Audlem, formerly ‘The Crown’

You can see the rest of this drawing here.

Head north west from The Square and you reach Cheshire Street where you’ll see this lovely red brick Georgian town house set against the backdrop of the 13thC church of St James, listed grade one.

Boots the Chemist, Cheshire Street, Audlem

There is one framed giclee print available in Williams as I write (8th Dec 2021). Here’s a close up of the some of the buildings that make up this side of the street.

The Fold, Cheshire Street, Audlem

A few more cropped images from the street drawing below:

Smithy House, Cheshire Street, Audlem
Primrose Grange, Audlem

You can see this side of the street in full on my website here.

I’d like to close with a wee thank you to Judy Evans of Williams of Audlem who has been a loyal supporter of my work for many years and to pay a tribute to her beloved Dad Derek, seen here putting out the morning papers for the good readers of Audlem.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie 🙂

Wee Mans and Wee Dug of Castlegate, Lanark

There’s a node of activity surrounding St Nicholas Church and the Tolbooth, Lanark. The ancient Castlegate converges with the High Street nearby and it’s easy to miss the history when you are concentrating on the traffic. Castlegate is one of the town’s oldest streets as it once led to the castle, the heart and origin of what was to become the Royal Burgh of Lanark.

St Nicholas Church from North Vennel

If you glance down Castlegate from the High Street you should catch sight of the wee Girnin’ Dug – looking down from his parapet above Castlegate.

Girnin Dug of Castlegate

If the Wee Dug was alive today, I’ve no doubt he’d make his way to the Wee Mans below for conviviality and snacks!

Castlegate was originally a very wide street when it was once the location of the early medieval markets. However, it reduced in size when the Broomgate was constructed in the 18th century.

Wee Mans pub on Castlegate

This October, I joined the Instagram #inktober2021 challenge to draw daily in ink throughout the month. There were various given themes but I chose to draw some of the less familiar views of Lanark.

Looking up Castlegate towards High Street, Lanark
Castlegate, St Nicholas Church and the High Street, Lanark

There are a few of older cottages on the Castlegate which remain from the 18th century – I don’t know for sure but these below look similar to the old weavers cottages dotted around the town.

All the original drawings and some prints are now available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark where every purchase made contributes to the upkeep and future growth of this town treasure!

At present the Tolbooth is hosting the creative works of some 40 artists in South Lanarkshire, from fine art original paintings to hand-made, palm sized gifts, perfect to post abroad or to put on your tree – a feast to behold and a fantastic destination for Christmas gifts!

As always, thanks for reading.

Ronnie 🙂

Collecting Fruit

I love finding links between things that have caught my eye in places past which connect me to the present. Here’s October, ‘the mature man collecting fruit’ seen high above the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem, Staffordshire.

Today, up here in Scotland, a few volunteers from the local orchard group gathered to press the last of the Clyde Valley apples into apple juice. I doubt they were draped in robes like this but it must be a seasonal activity that goes back generations.

When I first saw the sequence of seasons and astrological symbols above the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem, Staffordshire, I was captivated by the detail, quality and symbolism of the sculptures and mosaics high above street level.

The mosaics looked weather-beaten but there was enough detail to see what might have been. I wanted to capture each of the months and zodiac signs before a few more winters saw them off – you can see from my photo that the mosaic tesserae have begun to fall away.

Scorpio is a much maligned sign of the zodiac, but to me it is a symbol of what is all part of the season of life events representing the cycle of dark and light, death and rebirth and so on.

On the Wedgwood Institute, you can see the full sequence of astrological signs set in mosaic roundels above the terracotta figures of the months.

I loved working out the forms of each sign so I could paint them in the sparkling mineral pigments of lapis lazuli and malachite set against the red and yellow earth pigments. It’s a great setting to add the glitter of Cornelissen’s 23 carat shell gold to give a celestial background!

Final layout below before I had them all mounted and sent to Barewall Art Gallery in Burslem.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Burslem and no doubt there have been many changes but Barewall Gallery is still very much at the heart of Burslem, the creative mother town of the Potteries. I’m delighted that they are stocking all of the original artwork of the months and zodiacs – quite a few have already sold. I also stock a number of cards of all these images in my Etsy shop here

To give you an idea of Burslem’s townscape – here’s a sketch of Market Place from about 5 years ago.

Burslem Spring 2016

To close and bring this full circle, my nephew visited me in Staffordshire back in 2015 and I took him to Middleport Pottery in Burslem. On our way out we found ourselves on Nephew Street!

Skip forward a few years and we’ve moved up to the Braes. Once again the season has moved to that time of ‘collecting fruit‘, but this time my nephew visited with a wee helper….

As always, thanks for reading!

Ronnie

Trafalgar Place, South Vennel, Lanark

It’s easy to miss but if you look up at the front of the building where Bernard’s Wynd meets South Vennel, you’ll see a carved stone stating ‘Trafalgar Place’.

I only spotted this when I recently began a series of small sketches of Lanark to mark the month long Instagram drawing festival that is #inktober.

Trafalgar Place, South Vennel, Lanark

I hadn’t twigged that there were official prompts for the Inktober drawing themes! I simply began my own theme of drawing the views of Lanark that had caught my imagination – there are so many details that I want to pause a moment over by making a sketch.

Back to the name ‘Trafalgar Place’ on this street sign. The name doesn’t show up on the National Library of Scotland map of Lanark 1847-95 South Vennel. The photo below is a screenshot from the maps.nls.uk website, link above.

I did a search for ‘Trafalgar Place Lanark’ and came up with the ancestry website which records ‘Thomas Marshall Braidwood, born Trafalgar Place, Lanark, 1883-01-06, died 1967’. Braidwood is just up the road from us so a local Lanark connection. Thomas’s parents were Adam Braidwood (born in Douglas 1855) and his mother was Jane Marshall.

I find it interesting to look into the meaning of the names too so I looked up:

TRAFALGAR‘ this word is derived from ‘Cape in southwestern Spain, from Arabic taraf-al-garb “end of the west,” or taraf-agarr “end of the column” (in reference to the pillars of Hercules). The British naval victory over the French there was fought Oct. 21, 1805; hence London’s Trafalgar Square, named in commemoration of it.

Here’s the corner of the building where it meets Bernard’s Wynd. On the map at that time it was called St Bernard’s Wynd.

Corner of Bernard’s Wynd and South Vennel

Perhaps there are Braidwood families that can research further into the history of this building but that is as far as I got…days are short and I want to catch a daily sketch.

I will sign off with another view from South Vennel – here we see the rooftops of the old Lanark Grammar School on Wellgatehead.

Old Grammar School, Lanark – over the roof tops from South Vennel

If you would like to see my drawings unfold each day this month, I am posting them on Instagram @drawingthestreet. I will post a few of them as I go along over here too.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Post Me a Letter

Post Office, Front Street, Acomb

I’ve been making my way through a long list of unfinished jobs – gradually bringing things I’ve started to completion. A theme in my drawings caught my attention as I noticed several post offices and letter boxes feature in the streetscapes. I like to include some of the street furniture – bus stops, telephone boxes etc to bring some context.

My most recent street drawings of Acomb, York are now up on my website. I started a set of four drawings back in February 2020 and it has taken 18 months to get them scanned. I return to my former workplace to do this – it gives me the chance to see my old workmates at HHA in Stafford (see later on in this post) . I will write more about the Acomb drawings in another post but wanted to take a moment to look at post offices on my streetscapes.

Lets scroll back through my work …. here we are in Lanark, 2019 on West Port. The Post Office is now on Bannantyne Street but this letter box remains outside the location of the old PO on West Port.

Mucky Paws now settled in Lanark’s former Post Office
Post Box on the corner of Greenside Lane and Hope Street, Lanark

There’s a rare Victorian (VR) letter box built into the wall outside Christ Church on Hope St, Lanark, well maintained in painted pillar box red.

Post Box – VR Victoria Regina – outside Christ Church, Lanark.

Moving down to Eccleshall in Staffordshire, I picked up the Post Office on Stafford Street, where there is a substantial ‘ER’ post box outside.

Post Office, Stafford Street, Eccleshall

You can see the rest of this street here on my street archive blog.

Next up is a sketch I made of the letter box on the platform at Stoke-on-Trent station.

Post Box on the platform at Stoke-on-Trent station

This is a bit of a personal favourite as it has a connections to old friends in Staffordshire. This one is a ‘GR’ – George Rex.

Stepping back on the Drawing the Street time line, we reach Audlem, Cheshire. Back in 2014 there was a Post Office here on Stafford Street.

Post Office (long since gone) Stafford Street, Audlem, Cheshire

Last of all, is Market Place in Burslem. This too was drawn in 2014.

Post Office, Market Place, Burslem

A regular double sized ‘ER’ post box sits outside the PO Burslem. Here, I included one of my work colleagues, with a bag inscribed ‘HHA’ (Horsley Huber Architects), which marked that the office had been involved in some repair work on this building back then.

I love these little details. They bring the drawings alive!

Thanks as always for reading,

Ronnie

Kitchen table: Tea Pot, Burleighware and Josh 3/3

Here’s the third and final painting of the kitchen table. This one features Josh, the cat we brought north with us to Scotland; a young half-starved semi-feral cat when we adopted him from North Staffs RSPCA five years ago.

Josh asleep on the kitchen chair.

His description stated to be prepared for a lot of time and effort before he would be ready to trust anyone. I was fine with this and left him to settle in. Within days, he was quite curious about what I was doing – which was drawing streets in Eccleshall, and he jumped up to see what was going on.

This is the same kitchen table and chairs! It didn’t take long for Josh to work out that he was in a safe place.

Another key component of our kitchen table is the teapot.

I don’t think I’m the only one partial to a brew! This tea pot has featured a few times in my sketch book too.

The last key component of this drawing/triptych is the beautiful Burleighware jug which my sister Anne bought for me from Middleport Potteries in Stoke, whilst on a visit from Australia.

Here’s the complete painting – simply called ‘Josh’. They will be part of the Carluke Jam and Ham online exhibition but they won’t be for sale. I’m not ready to part with these yet!

Josh on top of the greenhouse looking out on the orchard

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Kitchen Table: Candlelight, Music and Rum Tum 2/3

Sketch drawing for the right hand side of the table – with Flo not Rum Tum

Sketching out my work before starting on a surface allows me to weigh up the composition and add or remove things. In this instance Flo is shown sketched above but she got rubbed out and moved into the central picture (previous post). Rum Tum in turn, moved on to the chair. I had realised that the glow from the flame would hide Flo and I wanted Mum’s candle as the focal point of the table with the statesman-like Rum Tum serving as a good table end.

This is the second of three of the exhibition pieces for the Carluke Jam and Ham Festival 2021. It’s nothing to do with streets but I like to participate in local art events and hope you enjoy the change of subject.

Green-eyed Rum Tum

A candle has blazed on this particular holder on our kitchen table most nights for close to 19 years. We light it in the evening to invite the spirits of the ancestors to join us.

Mum’s candle

I’m no musician, but music of all kinds has been important to our family for as long as I can remember. Candlelight, music, stories, glasses filled with a wee dram, a pottery jug from Ireland – all part of our Kitchen Table at one time or other.

I used collage for the pottery/cats. I painted a thin layer of blue over natural straw-coloured tissue paper, then made more pattern marks with finger prints and the end of a brush. It’s flimsy and easy to tear but once it’s held in place with ‘matt medium’ it becomes part of the surface.

Here’s the finished piece – ‘A Night in with Rum Tum’.

‘A Night in with Rum Tum’
Boy of the Braes

Rum Tum, once a wild boy roaming the braes and trusting no-one. That said, since we moved in, he has worked out where his bread is buttered.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Ronnie

drawing out the best in our streets