Basingstoke Waterworks

I had been informed that, somewhere in Basingstoke, was a Victorian pump house, and my interest was piqued. I located it on the map and, about a week ago, set off to see what it was like on the ground. It was inside a gated compound, part of the active waterworks run by South East Water. The gate was open… I parked my car outside and walked in, with the purpose of finding someone and requesting permission to draw.
A gentleman in a hi-vis vest emerged from the building and I attracted his attention. He told me that he did not have the authority to grant my request, but that he would ask his boss.
South East Water were very accommodating and I went back to the compound today – the last dry day of the week, if the forecast is accurate – where I was met by a member of staff who was both courteous and interested in what I was doing, although quite happy to leave me to it.
I made several sketches, three of which are illustrated below:

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Ghost. Oil on canvas, 38 x 46 cm
Ghost. Oil on canvas, 38 x 46 cm

Holy Ghost Cemetery.
Ruined chapel.
White against dark trees.
What else could I call it?
Painted in a limited colour palette of Phthalo Blue, Yellow Ochre, Titanium White – on a natural colour linen canvas –  using a sketch and my own reference photograph (printed in monochrome because our home inkjet printer keeps running out of blue)..

The Basingstoke Project at the Proteus Creation Space

We may still be painting it, but the Basingstoke Project is starting to take shape. We had a meeting with the manager of the gallery space at Proteus today, and we are very much looking forward to exhibiting our work there.
We’re also hoping to be around when you visit. We don’t have to be there, because the venue handles sales and has a very nice cafe and are generally not expecting us to be there, but we kind of want to be there. You might see one of us sketching the view through the big arched window or maybe studiously reading or possibly taking a snooze on the sofa (hopefully not), or perhaps we will be deep in conversation with someone. Or perhaps it will be a time when we all have to be somewhere else.
But we won’t be pushy. We’ll let you just look if that’s what you want to do. We’ll tell you where the café is, or the toilets, if you ask.
But first, you will have to get there.  And at the right sort of time, too…
We’ve already done all the getting lost amongst the roundabouts and the one way system for you, so click here for the Artikinesis Guide to finding Proteus Creation Space.
The opening hours are here


It seems that Basingstoke was awash with Artikinesians yesterday – but the town is big enough for us not to inevitably bump into each other. Of course, I did get as far out as Farleigh Wallop at one point…
In fact, I was here, there and everywhere… I visited Park Prewett (the former hospital site), Goat Lane, and War Memorial Park, along with one or two other places.

Basing House

Detail of Amanda’s “De Port’s Kitchens”, so-named because the castle was built by the de Port family.

Basing House is a civil war ruin. There’s not much of it left; the “new” house was razed to the ground, but the earthworks of the Norman castle, and the lowest levels (essentially, remnants of the kitchens) do survive.
I have visited Basing House several times in the past, but Rosemary and Brian were visiting for the first time. Having been there before, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I went to the Norman kitchens and set up my easel in front of the fireplaces, and got my oil paints and my knives out. It was something that I have wanted to do for a while – all those intriguing nooks and crannies, the red of the brick, the green of the overgrown bank, the blue of the sky…
Meanwhile, my companions were exploring the main site (separated from the visitor centre by a road), and industriously making pictures.


I sat on the canon which has its sights set on the Basingstoke skyline, admiring the shapes of the things around me, and the beautiful early autumn colours.


Click here to see Brian’s Basing House experience

First Woodcuts

Never one to take the easy route, I decided to make a series of woodcuts for the Basingstoke Project. I’d never done woodcut before (I’d scarcely done any block printing, either, but I did do a few lino cuts in advance of the woodcut work). I did a bit of research (I asked a nice man in the office upstairs) and decided to use birch-faced plywood, which I acquired precut in 30 cm square panels.

St Michael’s (test print)

St. Michael’s, the town centre church by the Malls, was my first subject. I’m keeping to churches and there are now two blocks cut, and likely to be at least one more. I have a few ideas about reprinting from these blocks for the exhibition, and you can expect a few interesting variations…

Incredible Edible

Incredible Edible is a lovely idea, and a surprise for anyone taking a walk round War Memorial Park, Basingstoke.  Not far from the skateboard park, it’s a community orchard planted by volunteers, so that passers by can enjoy a healthy snack of fruit and nuts plucked straight from trees with wonderful names: Deacon’s Blushing Beauty, Nettlestone Pippin and the Howgate Wonder to name just three.  My oil painting shown here is an artistic interpretation of the place (where I took the photo).  I just finished painting another one on the same theme, taking in the skatepark too, but you’ll have to visit The Basingstoke Project to see it at Proteus Theatre’s Creation Space gallery, Council Road, Basingstoke, 16 – 26 November.

Blocked In

This is part of the front of one of the oldest buildings in Basingstoke, St. Michael’s Church Cottage. I was struck by the brickwork and the timbers that divide the building into blocks… so it seems entirely appropriate that I used block printing for the bricks. I cut two brick patterns on 7x7cm lino blocks; after printing the brickwork, I used the roller directly on the paper before switching to a painting knife, still using the printing inks.

Some Interesting Buildings in Basingstoke…

Today, I had two appointments in Basingstoke with a few hours between them. I took advantage of the time to seek out some interesting buildings.

The Lutyens Building

Edwin Lutyens, a highly successful British architect, ran a brick and tile works in Basingstoke in the early 20th century. Apparently, the local clay was of superior quality. The office building still survives, nestling incongruously amongst the modern industrial units of the Kingsland Estate.


Hampshire Treasures (the County Council’s list of wonderful things in Hampshire) says:

Former office of Daneshill Brick and Tile Works. Designed 1909 by Lutyens, to display the company’s products at the Olympia Building Exhibition. Single storey of red brick with tiled roof. ‘Tudor’ moulded brick chimneys. Parapet of brick and tile. Bay windows with brick mullions and transoms. Brick fireplaces.

Not one of Hampshire’s Treasures, the nearby Thermofisher Scientific site has an impressive white chimney.

The Chapel of the Holy Ghost

Just up the hill from the railway station lie the ruins of the Chapel of the Holy Ghost.

Hampshire Treasures says:

Holy Ghost, South View. Built between 1214 and 1244. Originally a chancel and nave with a tower at the west end. Fragment remaining in cemetery is part of tower, used for many years as a schoolroom. Remains of inserted 4-centred arch and C.15 window survive.

I am unduly fond of ruins. Now that I have found it (it was the first time that I have visited either of these “treasures”), I may have to return…

Where the Streets Have No Sky

“Where The Streets Have No Sky”, acrylic on canvas, 50 x 60 cm

The covered-over town centre continues to inspire. Here, a snatched photograph of shoppers in the Malls becomes a comment on solitude as well as on the artificial environment.
Painted with a knife in acrylics.