12 Days of Freshers

Scenic Spots To Create Art Around Campus

Phoebe Raine

If you didn’t apply to Nottingham purely for the vast green expanses, gorgeous little gardens and glistening lake, then you certainly stay in Nottingham for these things. Whilst the geese are terrifying in their swarms, and the Trent building a confusing maze, both are still beautiful in their own ways and provide perfect inspiration for any artist.

As an English student entering first year, I assumed the piles of books I was set would occupy most of my time, leaving little time to pursue my love for painting and creating, and confining me to the dreary library interior. As with most assumptions about uni, I was wrong, and Hallward actually boasts huge windows with gorgeous tree views (even if you do have to fight somebody for that seat). Without even needing to leave campus, I was welcomed by stunning views and cozy hidden spots.

Whether you love architectural grandeur, natural landscapes, or even just funky ducks, Nottingham is a gorgeous campus with a vast number of artsy spots to draw, paint or just admire

Whether you love architectural grandeur, natural landscapes, or even just funky ducks, Nottingham is a gorgeous campus with a vast number of artsy spots to draw, paint or just admire. I will admit I have never been to Sutton Bonington campus, so please excuse the lack of it here, but from what I understand, if farms are your thing, that’s the place to go. 

University Park

 Trent building 

Looming large atop the man-made (or so the frustrated student rumour suggests) hill that is the campus, the Trent building is both iconic and fun to draw- watercolours in the sun across the lake from the building feels very Georgian.

Jekyll Garden and House 

A fun maze next to a hidden yet beautiful building, situated next to Lenton and Wortley hall, this treasure is often missed by students who have no need to trapse up there for meal-card problems. Oh, and if you walk along the grass, you might just see my favourite pair of bushes…one for the life-drawers amongst you… 

Lenton Firs Garden and House 

A stunning man-made waterfall next to a wooden gazebo- a perfect blend of trees, rocks, water and the bold white wood. The gazebo has an attic in it, so as you paint/draw/embroider, it’s fun to imagine what sits up there. Perfect for photos with friends as well as being aesthetically pleasing.

The Lake 

Whether it’s the stranded boaters or the sun glinting off the water, the lake is a treasure trove for inspiration. As you stroll along trying to find that perfect angle, you can also see some incredible competition-winning photographs that might get the creative juices flowing. Not to mention the lions that guard the view of Trent.

The stepping stones 

Not just fun to leap across, but also resembling something out of an illustrated fairy tale the stepping stones are situated at the furthest part of the lake near(ish) Florence Boot hall. If you can’t find any frogs to paint jumping over them, why not get a friend to model.

The ducks 

Geese! Ducks! Swans! Moorhens! Oh my! If animals and close-ups are your thing, the lake is home to many wonderful beasts of Nottingham- which is also an excellent instagram page for any beast-lovers. The swans are more than happy to flex their wings for a good photo, and on sunny days you might just get them sat down long enough to draw them. 

The architecture 

If you haven’t been to Jubilee Campus yet, you’re really missing out! What I consider to be University Park’s edgy, sustainable, smaller grandchild, Jubilee boasts grass roofs, a looming red spike and a plethora of quirky buildings- it’s the one you see on all the advertising to prove the uni is modern. You can get to Jubilee via hopper bus, or its a nice stroll past QMC and, weather permitting, its quieter atmosphere makes for a lovely spot to do some relaxing artwork. You might even be lucky enough to see a heron! 

The Fountains and Lake and Pools

Fountains litter Jubilee campus in a much more sleek and modern alternative to UP. And, whilst the lake is not quite the splendour of UP’s (in my extremely biased opinion), it has its own merits with the island(ish) library and many fish you can see bobbing close to the surface. Water is such an exciting medium to draw/paint and provides a gorgeous contrast to the solid walls and buildings which frame it. 

Phoebe Raine

All images courtesy of Phoebe Raine.

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