Serpentine Pavilion 2017 & Italian Water Gardens

On Monday I paid a visit to the Serpentine Pavilion for 2017 by architect Francis Kéré; and I planned on seeing the Grayson Perry exhibition in the Serpentine Gallery too, but it was closed! I really liked this years pavilion; on a smallish scale compared to previous years it is a friendly and domestic space. The repeating triangular patterns in roof and walls is very effective; and apparently if it rains the cleverly sloping roof would bestow a waterfall into the middle of the structure for those inside in the dry to admire. I urge you to read more about the design on the gallery’s website.

To get to the Pavilion I entered Hyde Park through the gate near Lancaster Gate Underground Station; through which you are met with the wonderful sight of the Italian Water Gardens. This garden is 150 years old and believed to be a gift from Price Albert to Queen Victoria.

(© Catherine Cronin)

 

Seville and Cordoba Holiday 2017

Continuing on from last weeks blog on Seville; I have a few more pictures to share with you. We went for a day trip to Cordoba, where you can see the famous Cordoba Mezquita or  Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba. Just as it sounds, in a beautiful grand Mosque a Reanaissance Cathedral nave was literally built into the middle of the Mosque in the 16th century. King Charles V of Castille and Aragon, who gave permission for the Cathedral nave to be built, reportedly said on visiting “”they have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city.” As I do not have a fancy camera I could not take very good pictures inside the Mezquita, but I urge you to take a look at this collection of images here.

In Cordoba we also visited the ‘Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos’ or Palace of the Christian Monarchs. This fortress was one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. This palace is much smaller than the one in Seville; but it is still worth visiting and has beautiful gardens.

Back in Seville, one of the most modern structures we visited was the Metropol Parasol, it claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. It consists of six giant parasols in the form of giant mushrooms, which have a sky-walk and viewing platform atop; the underground levels house a small museum of Roman and Moorish remains discovered on site. The space underneath the parasols can be used for public events. I really liked the organic shape of this structure which offers (via a lift) very fine views of the city and the Cathedral.

(© Catherine Cronin)

 

 

Seville Holiday 2017

I had a lovely holiday in Seville in the first week of April; my second visit to this beautiful Spanish city. We stayed in the picturesque neigbourhood of Santa Cruz, the Old Jewish Quarter in medieval times; a few minutes walk from Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcázar.

The Cathdral of Saint Mary of the See is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world; its bell tower known as The Giralda, is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule. The weather vane ‘El Giraldillo’ atop, is of a bronze woman dressed in Roman attire, both the vane and tower’s names are derived from the Spanish word ‘girar’ meaning ‘to turn’.

The Real Alcázar is the royal palace originally developed by the Moorish rulers; it is regarded as an  outstanding example of ‘mudéjar’ architecture. The term ‘mudéjar’ refers to the Muslims who stayed in Spanish territories after the Christian reconquest and who continued to practise their customs; this term refers to the mix of style between Christianity and Islam at this time in these territories.

The public Park Maria Luisa in Seville is a huge and beautiful green space set beside the Guadalquivir river. The Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, was held partly within the park, and many of the massive pavillions which are now museums date from this period. A particular favourite is the Mudejar Pavilion, which is now the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla.

Suffice to say I highly recommend visiting Seville, go for its wealth of history, beautiful buildings, friendly people, reliable sun, gorgeous ceramics, delicious tapas, and wonderful wines and sherries. I recommend a refreshing ‘rebjuito’, a cocktail of sherry (Fino or Manzanilla), lemonade or lemon/lime soda and mint. No visit is complete without seeing a flamenco show at the Flamenco Museum. Lasting an hour we were entertained by singing, spanish guitar, both female and male dancers, performing solos and as a group. It was thrilling.

I will be posting a second blog on my Seville and Cordoba holiday soon.

(© Catherine Cronin)

 

 

Weekly Sketch – Alhambra Parabolic Fountains – 05/07/2015

Quick sketch in pencil and pen of one of the Alhambra’s wonderful parabolic fountains in a courtyard garden.

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(© Catherine Cronin)

Weekly Sketch – Garden at the Alcazaba of Málaga 3 – 23/04/2015

A very different image of the garden at the Alcazaba of Málaga as compared to the previous weeks’ watercolour renditions; this one is a very considered line drawing in fountain pen on textured watercolour paper, inspired by Edward Bawden’s graphic work. I didn’t do an under-drawing, so I knew any mistakes would have to stay. Overall I am pleased with the image, I like the different mark making to describe texture and shape; I especially like the hedged rose beds and the tree forms, however I think the wall at the back is a bit weak – it looks more like a fence! In hindsight I should have continued the brick forms seen in the wall on the right. Oh well, it’s always a learning curve this game we play called making.

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(© Catherine Cronin)

Weekly Sketch – Garden at the Alcazaba of Málaga 2 – 17/04/2015

I really enjoyed sploshing watercolour paint about on this heavily textured paper to make this image of a garden at the Alcazaba of Málaga.

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(© Catherine Cronin)

Weekly Sketch – Garden at the Alcazaba of Málaga – 11/04/2015

I wanted to make an enlarged drawing of a photograph I took of a garden at the Alcazaba of Málaga. I wanted a simple outline of the garden forms to use as a guide so that I could easily try different materials and styles to make the image. So for the first time ever! I enlarged the photograph using the grid system; I traced the photograph and then placed it over a grid of 2×2 cm squares; I then drew a grid of 4×4 cm squares and carefully replicated the lines from the traced photograph. I traced the enlarged drawing so I could make multiple guides by going over my tracing and transferring the pencil to paper. I made my first sketch in watercolour, to get a feel for shape and colour. I want to go a bit more abstract next with this image. I did draw the image the opposite way round intentionally so as to loosen up my painting.

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(© Catherine Cronin)