Guest blog by Katlyn Smith a local freelance writer.
Art lovers from all over flock to Milton Keynes during the summer months every other year to experience Milton Keynes International Festival. While the event showcases artists from all spheres of the visual and other arts, bourgeoning artists who wish to be inspired by some fresh perspectives will find the event a must in their calendar. Produced by The Stables, the next IF:MK International Festival will be in 2020, and a look back at previous festivals can be seen on their website: http://www.ifmiltonkeynes.org/home.html and https://stables.org/if-milton-keynes-international-festival
Art-focused festivals often inspire budding artists to dust off the brushes and pencils and take to the rugged beauty of nature to unleash their inner artist. Milton Keynes provides ample space and inspiration across the city, thanks to the expansive green space and public parks at an artist’s disposal as a backdrop. For the artist, a few simple steps will make the experience all the more enjoyable.
Consider the Environment
In the UK, it’s not unusual to experience bright sunlight in the morning and rainfall by lunchtime, which is why it’s important to check the weather before setting up the easel and laying out the art supplies. Some parks, such as Campbell Park, have sheltered areas such as the bandstand to minimise exposure to the elements, but that extra bit of protection might have an effect on the overall view area or vista. For artist Ges Wilson, when choosing the perfect landscape to paint, his response was “the landscapes and seascapes I choose are ones I experience - it's like being immersed in the environment.” For artists who require tranquil settings, Campbell Park is a good choice.
Make the Most of Striking Features
Areas with a variety of different flowers, shrubs, and hedges are the ideal practice ground for budding landscape artists. The various types of foliage allow them to explore texture and technique, as each brush stroke is different than the one before. Artists who can’t manage to make it back to the same spot every day should consider the use of photos to ensure they remember the most striking features of their chosen location. Another way to capture an area perfectly, is by gaining a basic understanding of how to approach flora when putting the idea to canvas. Willen Lake offers some interesting focal points and happens to be a good source of inspiration for those who wish to capture movement.
Incorporate Different Media for Visual Interest
Art in the 21st century provides budding artists with so many new textures and styles to play with, as visual and print media influence works of art. The typical landscape art piece can easily be brightened up with some modernisation. Exploring the different textures, shapes, and designs provides artists with a phenomenal canvas, which allows them to explore their art and landscape with abandon. Park artists could easily incorporate items they find on along the way in their art such as leaves and twigs. Whether the art is centred around the beauty of the scenery and capturing it or drawing attention to something in the landscape that deserves a second look, it is the perfect platform for both.
The joy of creating an art piece in a park, whether that be a drawing, a watercolour or a photograph, is that the artist is constantly surrounded by the movement of the air, people, and water sources. This allows them to stretch their artistic muscles while embracing their creativity.
For many, just walking through the parks and admiring the landscape and the collection of public art provides ample inspiration. For information about public art in Milton Keynes parks see: https://www.theparkstrust.com/our-work/public-art-in-our-parks/