Over the Weir

Weir from the HepworthweirIn December there was so much water coming over this weir by the Hepworth gallery that a large barge was almost swept over it. The chain of orange barrels that straddled the river above the weir was snapped from its moorings on the far bank and now it trails down in front of the Hepworth like a giant string of beads.

weirI drew the weir from a table in the cafe then, as we walked around the galleries, I paused to make a couple of sketches of the turbulence at the foot of the weir, crouching or standing to draw. It was only then that I spotted that folding stools are available, which makes drawing in the galleries a whole lot more comfortable.

Wet media aren’t allowed in the galleries so I’ve added the watercolour later from memory.

Barbara Hepworth’s Workbench

vicemalletHammer, mallet and the ‘Parkinsons’ Patd Perfect Vise’ (that’s the American spelling) on Dame Barbara’s workbench all look well used.

Barbara’s dad always referred to this kind of hammerheavy square-headed hammer as a lumping hammer.



Hepworth activity sheet.
Hepworth activity sheet.

Picking up an activity sheet, I went in search of two wrestlers; Henri Gaudier-Brzeka had drawn wrestlers in a gym in Putney in November 1912 and he carved these two in herculite plaster the following year.

Sixty years later, in 1972, when I started as a student in London, I remember seeing the posters for Ken Russell’s film Savage Messiah. The poster features Brzeka drawing by chipping away at the tarmac with a pneumatic drill. The tagline is:

Every man has a dream that must be realized . . 
a love that must come true . .
a life that must not stop.

What impressed me about Brzeka was that he’d head for the London Zoo on Sundays where he’d draw at lightning speed, working so quickly that the ink didn’t have time to dry before he turned the page of his sketchbook. In contrast, as a student, I tended to choose one of the more sedate animals to draw, like the Indian rhinoceros. 

Link: The Hepworth

View across Cluntergate to New Street from the Caffe Capri
View across Cluntergate to New Street from the Caffe Capri

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