May 2021

Peter Keagan Demo

Peter Keagan painted an oil portrait – alla prima wet-in-wet - for our May 2021 zoom demonstration.
He used a large brush and a fairly strong brown making quickly sketched lines, relatively fast finding the positions of the head and features of the subject. At the end of the demonstration the original lines were still allowed to remain around the finished head.
He worked very loosely, finding the various shapes by settling on an area to bring out initially the main points and then defining the broad planes, such as the forehead. The eyes, nose and mouth came out gradually, as though through a mist. Most of the colours used were rich but dark with only a few strong flashes of bright, light touches.
The end result was an exciting portrait, true to its subject.

Pauline Brown

A walk round Milton Keynes exploring Campbell Sculpture Park

While I have considered Milton Keynes an interesting place to visit to do some shopping, my friend and I have recently formed the view that there is more to it than one would expect. I remember when it was new, contraversial and engulfing the little villages nearby, so, now we can go a bit further afield, a walk of discovery is ideal.

We set off to the city centre to explore Campbell Park, which is situated behind John Lewis's. We parked at the bottom of the hill next to the cricket pitch and the Park's Trust Office and then walked up the slope towards the top of a hill. We discovered an unusual piece of sculpture made from slate, and it was a sundial. While we sauntered up the slope, two middle-aged men in running gear ran past us, reached the top and then ran back down again! This went on all the time we were walking up the slope and we watched as they did some 'jumping' up and down from a large stone sited in a circle at the top. They were very cheerful and red-faced but it kept them out of their wives way I expect!

We both felt exhausted watching them and decided it was just as well we hadn't worn our shorts, too, otherwise we might have been tempted to compete!

Leaving the top of the hill and taking a footpath to the wooded area we found ourselves overlooking a small lake next to the canal. There were lots of cyclists around so we had to keep our wits about us as we walked down to the lake. Taking advantage of the few seats in the area, we watched the birds on the water and a large, beady-eyed crow came to investige us to see if we had a crumb or two. A youngster also came begging for it's mother to feed it.

A small bridge took us over a brook to the canal towpath and we stopped to admire the barges and to ponder on their journeys. Continuing along the towpath, we came across a dancing circle of woven willows, where people can weave in and out between the branches. We could hear some children playing nearby, so we moved along the path until we could see where the noise was coming from – a theme park, apparently – with swings, slides, big dippers and other structures which we couldn't see properly. Everyone sounded as though they were having great fun.

Walking further along, we branched off to climb again to discover a totem pole, and later on the silhouette of a face in steel. We moved on, through the gated fence round a grazing area, and past the woodland walk, which we may do next time we are there, until the Belvedere came into view. This is an impressive white pyramid on top of a mound which we walked towards, climbing in a circle round the mound, passing the amphitheatre on our left until we reached the top. The view was lovely as the sun shone brightly, even though the wind was chilly.

We retraced our steps until we branched off onto a path taking us towards the city centre. The view of the huge red-clad building was not so good but we continued along until we went over a bridge and down a slope to the Milton Keynes rose – an impressive circle of standing stone columns on a stone circle depicting a rose shape. Each column had a commemerative date inscribed on it – even one for the concrete cows! It is the sort of place which could have fountains spurting from the ground.

Sitting to enjoy this quiet place we were unaware of the traffic passing so close but we decided to go up into the town to get a coffee, before continuing around the Art Trail.

We came across a small concrete channel of water flowing down the hill and alongside the path, eventually becoming a circular pond, and this emptied into another channel leading to a small waterfall or cascade (if there had been enough water available) which then led to some planting in a

wet area.

Further down the slope we sat again to look over the cricket pitch and watched the groundsman mowing the grass in ever decreasing circles. Some of the Parks Trust staff came along and chatted to us, but it was too chilly to stay long so we continued along to the car park, wishing to return home to a hot cup of tea and a bun!

This is obviously a place to exlpore again and to enjoy the woodland path with the bluebells, cowslips and primroses and here it is - right on our doorstep! Quite an unexpected pleasure!

Diane Bell