Tag Archives: gareth whitley

During feeds and nappy changes…

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Time is flying quickly and baby is growing fast!! Its the summer holidays and I have been entertaining my eldest with Alton Towers and Loom Bands, whilst thinking about new uniform and baby grows! It was a nice surprise to receive mail from Gareth Whitley (Bodelwyddan Castle), again offering the chance for my family and I to view the latest exhibitions in return for a few mentions right here at my blog 🙂

Just to give you a preview, here is my introduction..

Some exciting work will be shown at this exhibition during 23 July – 28 September!

Watercolours and Drawings: 18th to 21st Century

“This exhibition is the third to be brought to Bodelwyddan Castle from Hastings by Caroline Gee, a Sussex art dealer who has been specializing in Watercolours and Drawings for over thirty years. It will follow a similar format as her previous exhibitions, beginning with the early years of the watercolour school in Britain, moving through the early nineteenth century, the ‘Golden Age’ of British watercolour, and finishing with delightful twentieth Century examples.”

Thomas Miles Richardson, Landscape with Distant Hills

“Featured works on display include some of the most prominent artists who exhibited with the Old Watercolour Society (formed 1804), among them David Cox, Peter de Wint and John Varley. The Victorian Age is mainly represented by those artists who followed in the tradition of the early landscape painters, and will include two large and splendid views of North Wales by William Evans of Bristol. In the twentieth century section there will be another group of the wildlife drawings by Eileen Soper which so delighted visitors last time.

An additional feature to this exhibition will be a section of works by contemporary artists from East Sussex, which will include a few oil paintings and acrylics, with one by Royal Academician Gus Cummins who lives just down the hill from Caroline.

You have the opportunity to purchase pieces from the exhibition, as all of the works are for sale. Prices will range from £100 to £10,000, with many for under £500.  We hope that there will be something for everyone, and we will be offering various instalment plans that will help you with the purchase.”

Paul Sandby Munn 1773-1845 Bala Lake with Cader Idris in the Distance Signed and dated 1833 Watercolour

I am looking forward to diving straight into the exhibition this coming Saturday and hope to take lots of pictures whilst learning all about the history of the Artists 🙂 It will be interesting to take a close look at works that have been painted of locations that are local to me, and places that I have been to such as Bala Lake, North Wales.

I have been experimenting with watercolour to bring my latest drawings to life so I am looking forward to exploring how other Artists have used it to colour their work.

 

More exciting work showing now at Bodelwyddan castle…

 

Bob Collins: Shooting Stars

Eric Sykes, 1959 © estate of Bob Collins / National Portrait Gallery, London

“As part of our Summer special exhibitions programme, we will be showing Bob Collins: Shooting Stars inGaleri 3. This is a really enjoyable display that consists of 23 informal photographs of famous faces from the 1950′s/60′s.  As well as offering a welcome dose of nostalgia, we feel that the exhibition will highlight Bob’s skill at capturing spontaneous moments on film.”

 

After my visit on Saturday I will be blogging within a few days to tell you all about the above works..dont miss it!!

 

see you soon 🙂

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Alexander Adams and Portraiture

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Firstly I would like to thank Gareth Whitley for his kind offer of a free visit to Bodelwyddan Castle and also giving me a Quentin Blake poster AND a signed book containing the works of Alexander Adams-who is being exhibited at the castle gallery right now!!! So thank you Gareth!

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Alexander Adams and Portraiture 23 Nov ’13 – 30 March ’14

Bodelwyddan Castle and Park is rounding off the year of special anniversary exhibitions with Alexander Adams: Portraits. The exhibition is showing from 23rd November 2013 to 30th March 2014.

Alexander Adams: Portraits will be the first time that many of the works on show will have been seen in public, making this exhibition a great opportunity for people to see something new by an internationally recognised artist. Originally based in Denbighshire, Alexander studied at Wrexham Art College and now lives in Berlin.

The Alexander Adams: Portraits exhibition includes Martin Bormann’s Skull, a painting that compares a recovered skull thought to be of Bormann, a notorious Nazi official, with a photograph of him while alive, as well as, Girl, based on a picture found in an old Sunday newspaper supplement. The exhibition will also feature his first line portraits and nudes.

Traditionally working from photographs to make his paintings, Alexander has begun to paint straight from his observations of life, improvising more. Alexander says, “The exhibition at Bodelwyddan Castle is an ideal opportunity to look back at my representations of identifiable individuals and faces by displaying works which have never been exhibited before.”

I found the exhibition at the castle very interesting, by the time I had finished looking at his displayed work I felt inspired and had lots of questions to ask, for example- Why did some of the people he had pained have no faces? I came to learn, from Gareth and his oartner, that there were various reason depending on the picture itseld, it may have been that Alexander did not feel the head or face worked for the picture or even that as an artist who copied from photographs, Alexander liked to make his own interpretation on the peron he was painting and exercised the fact the he could change any part he wished to. I liked the fact that I wanted to ask questions after seeing the exhibitions, the want to knw more, I also like the bold black and white to some of the paintings, it m ade them feel strong and kind of powerful.

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And the visit is still not over!!! Check out the next post!!!

Bodelwyddan Castle family day out…

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Last year Bodelwyddan Castle held an exciting Quentin Blake exhibition to display some of his most important illustrations within their own gallery. As a huge fan of his work I took my family to visit the Castle and also made use of the other facilities available there, it really was a fantastic day for myself, my partner and the children( see the day further down my blog).

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Photo: My own photo from the exhibition

Gareth Whitley

Since the visit I decided to follow the Castle on Facebook and twitter so that I could find out about any more up and coming events. Gareth Whitley, volunteer at kids museums, editor and publicist of the sites had taken notice of our interest and has kept in contact through out the year and more recently had made me an offer I really couldn’t refuse. As he is part of a team who have been making some changes to the castles visiting facilities he has been looking for different ways to spread the word and to let the public know about the exciting new changes he has made, he also needed volunteers to test the said changes!! That’s where I come into it..Gareth kindly offered my family and I a FREE day out to tour the castle, view the latest exhibitions and basically give feed back on the new editions to the castle guides and touring system.

I was over the moon with his offer, obviously as I got to have a free day out with my family at an educational venue but I also felt very grateful for his offer, I could see that Gareth was keen to update the castles visiting facilities, had a general interest in the public’s views and he was willing to do what ever it took to meet both needs of the castle and the customers I thought it was very refreshing to be part of that and hopefully help him on his mission.

So what are the changes??!!

The first thing I noticed when I entered the reception was the ‘Children’s Explorer Tools’. The brightly colored tools have been specifically introduced to enable children up to age 5 to explore each historical room easily whilst having fun interacting with them, and whats more is that whilst the children are having fun exploring, Parents and guardians get their time to join in with them or take in the sights themselves. The explorers tools include magnifiers, torches, toy cameras and tape measures. (To be returned after use)

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(Photos were taken by me unless stated otherwise)

*Getting the children involved*

There was lots of other ways that Gareth and other members have thought about to encourage children’s to become involved in the gallery and history of the castle and so he has introduced drawing and coloring sheets designated for each historical room. (might I add that it is not just that children that enjoy drawing and coloring 🙂 .)

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Whoops!! I don’t have the best camera skills!!

Whilst at the main entrance, children can take some pencils and a clip board so that they can take their activity sheets along their journey with them or even fill their sheets in before they set off.

Activity and Educational Booklets

Cute little activity booklets have been created to specific parts of designated rooms for children to enjoy and to easily learn about the works and history of the castle.

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Mini Signs

Something else I noticed on our tour was the really cute illustrated signs which have been placed around the building, illustrated to tell a cat and mouse story for the very young children (just the right height for them too!!) to enable toddlers who cannot yet read or write and take part in the activity booklets, to feel part of the experience.

At this point I was wondering if there was anything that hadn’t been thought of! I felt that lots of different areas had been explored within the castle personnel to ensure people and children of all ages were considered to maximize an enjoyable and educational visit.

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Extra fun

So there is already a few new changes to aid children on their visit but there is more! More educational features have been placed in the historical rooms themselves just waiting to be discovered!! They have been carefully selected to tie in with the room itself for example, the library has been adjusted to enable visitors to access some drawers and also toys have been placed in there, like prisms and looking glasses to show what kids of historical people are associated with that room. People such as scientists and astronomers. I think the Library was just one of my son’s favorite rooms, as you will see in the following pictures.

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The following photos will show what is new in some of the other rooms for children  to get hands on with 🙂IMG_5870 IMG_5871 IMG_5895 IMG_5896 IMG_6041

Guided tours

Bodelwyddan castle have recently updated their touring system so not only is there some lovely people spotted about during the tour, who are fully educated within the history of the castle itself, and the younger generation are covered with everything I have talked about so far, they now have some really cool handheld media guides!! iPod styled media guides that are packed with everything you will need to learn about the castle and aid a relaxed tour environment!! My son was very excited about having the use of one of the new gadgets and even more so that he could wear one around his neck leaving his hands free to interact with all of the activities.

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The red media guides are available at the main entrance for a deposit, which is understandable considering the cost them, and they give access to the new app which is also downloadable from your own phone or device!!! I was curious about the app so I downloaded it to my own iPhone and I have to admit, as somebody who grew up in Bodelwyddan I was surprised and very interested in the past history of the village and castle!! Do check it out!! And don’t forget to leave a review!!

All of this wasn’t just down to Gareth, The deputy director, Morrigan Mason was responsible for the trails and toys and the coloring in sheets, Whilst the visitor services manager, Laura Verga-Birtles was responsible for the media guides. Gareth Whitley, whose job role within the castle is also directed at Learning and audience development, has been busy researching visitors comments, how they use everything and finding out views and people’s opinions for future services. Further aid came from CyMAL, Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, providing funding/money from the Welsh government.

I have pretty much covered what’s new at the castle where guides and children’s learning is concerned but our day didn’t end there!! My next post covers the rest of our visit, the latest exhibition and what’s coming up. I will always be talking about the illustrator behind the new children’s activity books so keep a watch out very soon!!!!!

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