Brushstrokes on the Backs

Image credit: EMMA VEARES

Don’t get mired in heaps of work. Getting creative, whatever your chosen medium may be, is a great way to relax and re-engage with your surroundings. Emma Veares takes us on a whistle stop tour of great spots to get creative in Cambridge.

                                         Bridge

The Classics

Cambridge is tall and filled with good-looking buildings. Favourite architectural drawing spots for the paint-carrying traveller include Kings’ Chapel, The Round Church, or the outside of John’s great gate. Take some time to look up in your own college too, and you’ll probably find something pretty.

                                       

Gardens
Cambridge is full of greenery: if you’re drawn to plant life in your artistic endeavours then try the botanical gardens (featuring a café), cycle to Grantchester, or go to Clare gardens if you can get in (steal a friend or their card).

                                              

The Fitz
Looks great from the outside, but also conveniently full of art. Stealing other people’s aesthetic is fun and an entirely legitimate technique.

                                                    

In Town
Specifically the market and Kings’ parade; both are always busy and interesting. Find colour, people or interesting shapes. Art in public can make you feel like a tourist attraction and comes with various problems (changing light, dust, wind, onlookers etc.) but don’t let it put you off. The trick, apparently, is to pack light with your materials, and not to be too ambitious. Pick a simple subject, look at a few shapes, maybe add some detail, and then move on.

 

                                                     

Through a lens

Sometimes easier than art on site. Take a quick photo (smartphones are wonderful) and draw from it (or on it). Some relatively recent artists like Pierre Bonnard and Francis Bacon used photography and source material like a kind of sketchbook, pre-painting (Google it). 

Formal 

Take a quick photo (smartphones are wonderful) and draw from it (or on it). Some relatively recent artists like Pierre Bonnard and Francis Bacon used photography and source material like a kind of sketchbook, pre-painting (google it). Ambient lighting and familiar faces found here though. Think Chiaroscuro.  

                                               

Brunch

If all else fails, retire to a cafe. I personally recommend Afternoon Tease, or Stir on Chesterton Road if you fancy something new and slightly out of town. Food, I have recently discovered, is surprisingly interesting to draw. 

 

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