Monday, 11 July 2011

My second weekend in Perth

Yesterday was my second Sunday in Perth.  I took myself off on a trip to Perth to visit the museum again, partly because it was cold and definitely a day to stay indoors. 

On Saturday I had spent some of the day drawing the Bell Tower at the riverside.  This contains the bells from St Martins-in-the-Fields, London. It sounds as if an eccentric Australian businessman and bellringer was determined to obtain old bells from London, and negotiated a complex deal to take defective, unwanted bells from St Martins, retune them and hang them correctly in Perth (thereby removing the defects), and send enough ore from Perth to London, so the Whitechapel foundry could cast new, good bells for St Martins. 

I was sitting in front of the Tower, and my sketches were out of proportion, and kept extending beyond the page (this does not normally bother me, but the purpose of the sketch was the proportions!). As I travelled in to Perth by bus yesterday, the route skirted the Bell Tower from a fair distance, giving me different perspectives on the tower.  What I need to do to improve my images, is to do a series from different angles, so I will eventually get it right and convey the grace and elegance of the tower (singularly missing so far in my sketches) and the shapes of the copper sails.  On Saturday, I was just too close.

I went to the museum (nice and warm!) and looked around the section on animals from Australia.  They were very different to the UK!  A good section on mammals - I learned more about mammals that lay eggs (duckbilled platypus) and those that give birth to immature life forms (kangaroos and wallabies amongst others) as well as those that give birth to mature life forms (whales, dogs, gorillas and humans).  Apparently the higher mammals all have hair at some point in their life and suckle their young.   There were quite a few skeleton exhibitions of various animals, and this was reminiscent of the dinosaur collection at the Natural History museum in London, if a bit smaller in scale.  There was a beautiful butterfly collection, in a corridor with movement activated lighting, to minimise light damage to the display.

When I got home I was watching the Sunday Arts programme on the tv.  There was a really interesting documentary about a glass blower, William (Bill) Morris.  It showed him diving, and rock climbing, which is how he gains inspiration for his truly amazing glass works.  He made an enlightening comment about his work.  "Years ago, when I was asked what I do, I said 'As an artist, I make things'.  Now, I say 'I look at things.  This is because the making is very secondary to what I do now.'  And at the end of the programme, it stated he had retired at 49, sold his furnaces and tools, and was spending the rest of his life 'looking at things'.   To my friend Lisa, does this sound familiar!?

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