Top-Class Art Attractions to See in Liverpool

Liverpool’s growing presence as a centre of art is one of the main reasons why tourists from around the world head to the city every year.

While the UK’s north-west metropolis might still be better known for Premier League football club Liverpool FC and its greatest export – 1960s rock group The Beatles – it is also regarded highly among culture vultures as a good place to check out the latest exhibitions.

Ever since The Beatles became internationally famous, people from around the world have headed to the city to see where members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr grew up.

And for Beatles fans, there is even a visitor centre dedicated to the four-piece band on the Albert Dock.

The Beatles Story is packed with original paraphernalia, which is bound to bring back memories for many people who head through its doors.

But Albert Dock is also home to one of the UK’s biggest art galleries – Tate Liverpool.

Opened in 1988 as an exhibition centre for modern art, this Grade I-listed building has become a must-see for tourists heading to the city.

Within its walls are contemporary pieces from around the world, including works from Picasso, Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin and Salvador Dali.

Special events and exhibitions regularly take place at the gallery and it has become recognised as a major force in the art world.

Indeed, Tate Liverpool shows tourists that there is far more to the city than The Beatles and in 2008, Liverpool was named the European Capital of Culture for its influences in art, drama, music and history.

People who are interested in historical pieces of art can take a look at the variety of paintings, furniture, tapestries and antiques at the Lever Art Gallery.

Set in an iconic building in the heart of the city, this institution holds artefacts from the 19th century belonging to William Hesker Lever.

He opened the gallery in 1922 to honour the memory of his late wife Elizabeth.

If you’re tempted to stay somewhere that is only a stone’s throw away from some of the city’s biggest cultural sites, then the Jurys Inn hotel may be an option.

It is located beside the Albert Dock on the waterfront and allows guests to enjoy a central location from where they are able to walk to shops and restaurants, as well as galleries and museums.

For those who want to learn more about the city, where the Fab Four came from and how it has developed its unique charm and atmosphere, a visit to the Museum of Liverpool may be of interest.

Here, holidaymakers can develop a better understanding of how important the city’s port is to Liverpool as a location for trade and movement, the unique geography of Merseyside’s surrounding area and the city’s history in general.

Football fans can even learn more about Liverpool’s sporting triumphs, while there are exhibitions on its musical influences and great achievers, and how these still have an impact on its residents today.

If sampling the city’s traditional fare and eating at its most prestigious restaurants is something you might be interested in then a stay at the Atlantic Tower hotel could be something to consider.

This is situated near most of the eating establishments and guests are within walking distance of its bars and nightlife – which means they won’t have to walk far after a whole day learning about the sights, sounds and stories behind Liverpool.

Art Collecting Tips for Profit and Pleasure (A Six-Part Series): Part 5 – Art Conservation 101

After you’ve spent precious time and resources building up an art collection, it
would be a shame to have its value depreciate because of a lack if knowledge of
proper care and conservation for works of art. Some ageing is natural and
acceptable to a certain degree, but deterioration or damage due to negligence is
not, especially when it can be avoided.

You’ve probably seen what humidity, light and mold can do to photo prints and film.
The same environmental conditions which inflict this kind of damage threatens your
art pieces. In fact, with the worsening environment, art works are more in danger
than ever before. Even modern lifestyles pose a threat. Have you noticed how art
galleries and museums discourage the use of flash cameras and other artificial light
sources in the presence of their exhibits?

As the curator of your own collection, you would be well-advised to protect your art
pieces from the following hazards:

Pollution

Dust, dirt, human bodily fluids and oils (such as perspiration) and acids are
corrosive and discoloring to art. The first three elements are obvious, but where do
acids come from? These can be found in household cleaners, air fresheners,
chemicals found in furniture, carpets, curtains, appliances, packaging and even the
air. Direct skin contact is also damaging to art, which is why handling art works with
bare hands should be avoided.

Humidity

This may be good for the skin but the same cannot be said to be true for art.
Humidity, moisture or dampness cultivates mold and causes foxing, or brown
spotting on the art. Storerooms are typically humid and poorly-ventilated, the
perfect breeding ground for these evils, as well as vermin like silverfish and
cockroaches. Even paintings and prints displayed on walls can be destroyed by the
wormholes or worm tracks of silverfish. Check any art on display regularly for any
potential problems.

Heat

A very dry environment can also be damaging to art. Constant humidity of less than
40% can make art works, especially paper or textile-based ones, brittle and very
fragile. Humidity should range from 40% to 60%. Modern living environments in
cooler climates widely use central heating or radiators which may make conditions
far too dry for delicate art. To minimize the problem, try placing bowls of water on
radiators.

Radical fluctuations in temperature can cause items to expand and contract. Art
should preferably be kept at a constant temperature, just like in special exhibition
rooms in museums.

Light

Art cannot be appreciated without light but too much light is detrimental to art, as
the UV found in both natural and artificial light fades colors and details.

Protective Options

So what can you do to protect your art collection?

You can try to keep your art pieces in a relatively pollutant-free, temperature, light
and humidity-controlled environment. This may involve:

  • purchasing and installing special boxes, chests, cabinets or folders
  • designating a special purpose-built room or area for your collection
  • renting specialized storage space designed for housing delicate art

Some protective options, such a metal cabinets, are rather ugly, but they will protect
your valuable items more effectively than, say, wood. Not all materials are equal;
acrylic plastic is preferred to glass, and acid-free paper is better than normal paper.
You’ll find some examples here:

[http://www.home-museum.com/How-To-Arts/how-to_contents.htm][http://www.home-museum.com/How-To-Arts/how-to_contents.htm]

The variables can be confusing, so seek the advice of an art specialist or archiving
expert to get started on the right foot.

If you keep your lovely art works safely tucked away under lock and key, you will not
have the pleasure of displaying and admiring them. That would be like having the
cake and not being able to eat it. Find a balance that suits your requirements.

Copyright © 2006 Carol Chua

A Career in Art – The Flinty-Hard Road

Shortcuts to Heaven?

Serious endeavors require serious dedication. Everybody knows that. Why is it then that so many would-be career artists think they can cheat fate by dividing their time and effort between art and teaching, or between art and design work, or between art and anything else? And, while we’re at it, what misguided optimism makes people think they can pursue a successful career in advertising, engineering or dentistry, and then switch over to art once they’ve laid aside a comfortable nest egg?

What does it mean to make a serious choice of a career in art, whether printmaking, painting, poetry or the novel? First of all it means just that: seriousness. A passing snatch at the brass ring will not get it. Nor will mere genius nor sheer luck. Though all of these are important factors, without massive doses of commitment, perseverance and constant personal and artistic development, they are of no use.

Alternate Routes

Art graduates, in their first year out of art school, typically publish their websites, visit a few art galleries, maybe get a couple of shows, don’t sell anything, decide their work is “too advanced” for mass consumption and feel that the system has let them down. Then they go looking for a job in business or the bureaucracy. (I’m overgeneralizing, of course, but you get the point.) The other frequent scenario is the person with artistic inclinations who puts them on the shelf for 25 years while he or she pursues a lucrative career in groumets or publicity, achieves a comfortable lifestyle and an enviable retirement plan, then wants to return to art as a profession.

This is akin to raising a lion cub in captivity then taking it out to the savanna and expecting it to hunt. It won’t hunt. Its faculties are blunted after years of a comfortable bourgeois lifestyle. Substitute “young artist” for “lion” and “ad agency” for “captivity” and the equation remains equally valid, I think. Not that there is any inherent shame in being a commercial artist, or a house cat, for that matter.

Both the younger and older artists in these examples make the same mistake, I think. They’re both guilty of not taking art seriously enough. If it requires 20 years of hard trudging to form an architect or a neurosurgeon, what makes people think a complete professional artist can be put together in a fifth of that time? Excepting a miracle (do you believe in miracles?) it just isn’t going to happen. Art is a serious affair which requires careful, time consuming preparation and execution just as any other profession. More so, in fact. While the dentists, accountants and engineers have reliable business models to follow, artists must discover, test and apply their own models, forging them out of their own characters and creativity.

The Most Ruthless Taskmaster

Art is the most ruthless taskmaster, because the standards and demands come not from the boss or the organization, but from within the artist. You can tell always the boss or the organization to go fly a kite, but what do you tell the artist within?

Necessary qualities? Commitment, dedication, a certain capacity for suffering over the long term, and a massive willingness to assume risk. The key phrases here are “long term” and “risk.” Most of us live in such an instant-gratification, have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too environment that we have forgotten some important truths:

o That a meaningful contribution in any field requires massive doses of work and self abnegation.
o That you’re probably not going to get there quickly.
o That there are hard choices to make, hard priorities to establish and they may very well entail foregoing a comfortable, conventional lifestyle.
o That there isn’t necessarily any gold at the end of your particular rainbow.

Fabulously Successful, Penniless and Deranged

The history of art is full of clamorous examples. Van Gogh is probably the most glaring case. Though his works sell today at auction at astronomical prices and line the most secure bank vaults in Zurich, during his lifetime he never sold a single painting. And he died a penniless, deranged man. Does one have to be a certified crazy like Van Gogh in order to make one’s mark in the history of art? Maybe not, but a touch of fanaticism will certainly help you endure.

Art Avery, American photo artist, replies to this: “It is not reasonable to expect to be a Van Gogh or a Rothko or a Picasso. Many of the famous modern artists were at the right place at the right time, or got into the right gallery when it was hot, or got picked up by the right critic.

Avery adds: “Most current artists, print and digital, have much more modest hopes. It would be nice just to make a living from your art without having to go to shows and sit on a chair in the corner for endless hours plus endless schlepping of your art and booth.”

Does a career in art demand the kind of vocation we used to associate with missionary priests and nuns bound for darkest Africa? The absolute capacity for self abnegation in favor of the cause, the willingness to forego all else? Yes, it seems that is just what it requires.

Given this somewhat-less-than-rosy panorama, do you still want to have a go? You’re very brave, arent’ you! Now we can look at the bright side. You’ll be one of the .01% of the people in this regimented world who can permit themselves the luxury of being themselves. You can live where you please, dress as you please, speak your mind. You’ll never have to study accounting or statistics. You’ll be able to dedicate your mornings, afternoons and nights to making prints. Beautiful and fascinating girls/boys will be attracted to your studio. You’ll never be obliged to punch a time clock or have some organization drone tell you what to do.

Work More for Less!

Mind you, if you’re going to make it you’ll have to be cleverer than all those organization types, and you’ll have to work harder for less material return, but you’ll be doing your own thing on your own terms. How many people can make that boast?

You’ll have to embark on a lifetime of learning, travel, mind stretching, participation. You’ll have to diversify, try clay modeling, painting, creative writing, gourmet cooking. You’ll have to vary your point of view, and not only on paper. You’ll have to hone your critical (and self-critical!) sense as an Eskimo hunter hones his knife. You’ll have to meet as many real artists as you can and observe, observe, observe.

What are you waiting for then? Get started! What’s the worst that can happen? You fail as an artist? You’ll just have to go back three spaces, get a job and join the rest of us. But what if you were to succeed?

Penzance, Cornwall – A Perfect West Cornwall Holiday Center – Great For Shopping and Eating Out

Penzance became a town around the 16th Century and it was originally called Pen Sans in the original Cornish Language. Since then Penzance has grown and matured into the vibrant and artistic center it is today. It is not only a perfect base for exploring West Cornwall but it is also the main commercial center for the Land’s Eye peninsula.

Although tucked away in the corner of England, Penzance is easily accessible by road with a good motorway and dual carriageway network. There are easy rail and coach links from many parts of the country too.

Penzance offers a thriving shopping experience with many high street brands as well as the more traditional feel of local shops. Why not visit the Wharfside Shopping Center for a refreshing choice of cafes and eating places.

Penzance earns the distinction of having the oldest surviving Art Deco swimming lido in the UK. The Jubilee Pool is situated on the Promenade right next to the sea which makes a stunning location for swimming, sunbathing or just enjoying the views. Visit its Cafe offering homemade food not just at lunchtime but in the evenings as well.

With one of the warmest climates in Britain, spring flowers normally bloom early in Penzance and with its sub-tropical plants and trees Penzance has a Mediterranean feel. You can soak up this atmosphere at one of its many cafes or bars offering outside seating.

Choose one of the many restaurants in Penzance to satisfy your culinary desire. There’s the humble “pasty”, fresh locally caught fish, and other traditional English fare or you can explore different cuisines such as Thai or Indian – Penzance has it all.

Did you know Cornwall has its own mead and fruit wines? Visit Branswells Mill and sample your favorite wine – Bramwells is situated opposite the bus station. As well as Mead you can choose from Blackberry, Strawberry, Elderberry, Apricot, Peach or Cherry wines.

For art lovers Penzance has 2 exciting art galleries. Newlyn Art Gallery, which recently underwent a £4m refurbishment, focuses on exhibiting contemporary art and the work of local artists. Or choose the Exchange Gallery, opened in 2007, housing some of the very best of national and international contemporary art.

There are many outside sports in and around Penzance. For instance there is the Penzance Canoeing Club offering safe tuition for both novice and experienced canoeists. Visit the Penzance Tennis Club which offers excellent facilities for residents and visitors alike. Or if cricket is your wicket why not spend a leisurely day watching the Penzance Cricket Club playing Division 1 games each Saturday afternoon.

With its warm Atlantic Gulf Stream, Penzance gardens are home to a number of exciting and rare tropical plants. During the Victorian times, many gardeners sponsored the search for exotic plants and seeds that could be brought back to Cornwall. Today you can see the result of their vision by visiting the gardens at Morrab, Penlee, Trengwainton and Trewidden to name but a few.

Six Great Tips for Eating Out Alone

One of the few things I dislike about being single is eating out alone. I have no issues with going to the cinema or theatre by myself, or visiting art galleries or museums, but for some reason walking into a restaurant by myself and asking for a table for one really freaks me out!

Talking to single friends about this, it seems that it’s not just me. It’s an issue for a great many people. One person even confided that during a 5 night stay at a hotel for a conference, the hotel restaurant staff hid her behind pillars, balustrades and curtains every night. She eventually confronted them. Unbelievably, they said that they had presumed that she’d rather not be seen eating alone!

With more and more people each year choosing to live by themselves, it seems that it’s not just the single diners who have something to learn. Perhaps the waiting staff of the restaurants also needs to be a bit more in tune with new ways of living too!

While we are sipping our pre-dinner cocktails and perusing the menus waiting for this change in the behaviours of waiting staff in cafes and restaurants to take place, here are some tips to help you to make eating alone an enjoyable experience.

Don’t go straight for the full Michelin experience in your first shot at eating alone. Some of those places can be intimidating enough when you’re with someone! Start with a single course in a small, local restaurant and work your way up from there. In addition, check out cafes and canteen type restaurants which often offer counter service, or buffet style eating so you can get food without having to wait.

Browse a book shop or newsagents before you go to eat and treat yourself to some quality reading material. Taking a magazine, newspaper or book with you can help to alleviate the stress of eating alone. It also gives you something to hide behind when spying on your fellow diners! Just be aware that reading does put up a barrier between you and the world around you, so it’s not the best option if you feel that you want to interact.

This will give you something to do while you are waiting for your food. If you are a budding novelist or blogger, just think of all the choice ‘people watching’ notes you can make whilst waiting for your main course to turn up. In addition, if the waiters see you making notes, they’ll probably think you’re writing a review for a local paper and give you extra food and attention!

Eat early or late or make a reservation!

  1. Start small.
  2. Take a distraction.
  3. Make notes.
  4. Eat early or late or make a reservation! Many places deem it uneconomical to give away a table for two at prime time to a lone diner. To save you from the ignominy of being turned away, or offered a table by the kitchen entrance or toilets, go to eat early or late in the restaurant’s opening hours. The restaurant will be more likely to make space for you at these times. Also the staff will have a little more time for engaging in chat between courses (if that’s what you want). A pleasant way to meet new people and get some insider information on what’s good to eat. If for some reason you can’t eat early or late, ring ahead and make a reservation so that they are aware and are expecting a lone diner.
  5. Take a different view. Think of it as taking yourself out to dinner. You deserve it! All too often in this day and age we are with others and don’t have quality time to ourselves. Use the time to consider some of the thorny issues you may be facing in your life. Talk them over with yourself in your head, make notes and use the time to come up with creative solutions – ask what would X do in my position? Ask yourself the questions you wouldn’t normally ask; answer them and then put the answers into practice.
  6. Relax. When you are out dining with friends, how often do you notice a lone diner in a restaurant? Not many, I’ll bet! And even if you do notice them, it’s probably not with any negativity. So why would you be any more obvious when you eat alone? It’s absolutely no one else’s business but your’s why you are eating alone. And by the same token, other people’s thoughts on why you are eating alone are none of your business. The chances are you are never going to see these people again; they will have no lasting influence on your life. So why are you giving them permission to influence how, where and when you have your meals? Now we have that out of the way – what are you worried about? Relax and enjoy your meal. Savour each mouthful. Chew well. Put down your fork between times. Breathe in the aromas and the atmosphere and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!