York Art Gallery

Just before Christmas I had a weekend away with my Mum in York. It was one of those weekends where you try to ram everything in and are constantly on your feet, so at the end of the trip you feel like you have been living there for months. I like trips like that. We visited some fantastic places in the city but I’m going to talk about York Art Gallery (www.yorkartgallery.org.uk) here because I thought it was wonderful.

I love visiting art galleries nowadays, but when I was young I was routinely dragged around them, staring at masterpieces but without my young brain really engaging with them. It would have been nice if I had visited York Art Gallery then. Yes there were some fantastic paintings by York-born artist William Etty, but it was all the little touches around the gallery that made it for me (and the child within).

Downstairs we had a super time with the sketchbooks and pencils trying to do justice to Venus, pretending I was an old master leaving my artistic legacy in an old sketchbook in the galley only to be discovered in hundreds of years…hmm. Mum, who seems to struggle with the idea that she is good at drawing made an absolute treasure (left) which, most importantly, has a very good face (I usually try to leave them out whenever possible). I was focusing on the bum, as you can see, which I thought may be a bit easier – but wasn’t. I havn’t tried to sketch a figure or face in years and felt very stiff and tense – which shows!

Upstairs we also found some little gems. One gallery had a small area set up like my ideal lounge with leather sofas and a coffee table, shelves of art books to read and a TV showing a little film related to the exhibits. There were a few areas set up like this with books for adults and kids. Special exhibits had ‘Hands On’ signs so you can feel the pieces – I find it hard to resist touching things that look to satisfactory, so it is wonderful to have an outlet for such cravings! I also made a face on a light box, I think it looks a little like Brian Ferry with a wig on – what do you think? One last thing to mention was a little room with an exhibition about ‘play’ – all sorts of art and artifacts relating to playtime and games. it was interesting because it was jointly curated with children from a local school. This made me smile.

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