Saturday, 8 August 2015

Lovely London, art and more art..

8th August 2015
For many people summer holiday means sun, sand and sea but living on Anglesey I can do that any time I want so, for me, a holiday means a trip to London to see my favourite art's getting increasingly expensive and it also means a three and a half-hour train trip but you can't keep me away from my art (yet!)
So, I went there last week with my daughter for three days and we were so fortunate that for once it was cool enough to walk round for literally hours without suffering swollen feet and needing cold drinks every hour like we usually do.
Once we'd checked into our usual hotel in Bloomsbury we hot-footed it down to the National Portrait Gallery for my beloved B.P.Portrait Award. Honestly, I would pay lots to see this but it's all lucky are we that we have this luxury in our country. As usual we didn't agree with the choice of winners (though we loved practically everything on display) but we couldn't decide between the two paintings below so voted twice in the people's choice! 
The first of the two we loved is a self-portrait ,"Ordeal" by Murat Tezcan Demirbas..I felt his struggle when faced with a blank piece of fact my daughter said his expression reminded her of me! 

...and the second one we loved is another self-portrait "Sink Or Swim" by Ian Cumberland. This photo doesn't really do it justice and the painting of even the water and the taps was wonderful.. 

Having my daughter with me meant I couldn't inflict too much art at once so we did a bit of shopping and wandering about ..she found a cute slip dress and of course I couldn't resist yet another pair of Crocs...well there was a sale on! My daughter wasn't too disapproving for once but I think her expression speaks volumes...

We loved the pretty colours of Neal's Yard...

We also squeezed in a quick look around the British Museum and half an hour in my favourite craft shop then went back to the hotel to relax and watched tv in our room.We actually saw "Life In Squares" , a programme about Virginia Woolf, Vanessa Bell and the Bloomsbury Group which was a  bit surreal as we were lying in a hotel room IN BLOOMSBURY...literally yards from the setting of the drama!
Anyway, next day I managed, for the first time since the London bombings, to actually go on the Tube...not a particularly pleasant experience but at least it got us to the Victoria & Albert Museum where I always make a beeline for the costume are just some of the beautiful clothes on show and a couple of the wonderful statues..

Well, there was no way I was going on the underground twice in one day so we took a taxi to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition on Piccadilly. I do love this annual feast of art, not all of it to my taste but there is plenty to admire, discuss and occasionally disparage ( "who let THAT into the exhibition" and "that looks like the work of a GCSE candidate" are my critical phrases of choice!) Before we were let loose on our critical/admiring/exclaiming with joy we had to navigate the amazing painted this year.It made me slightly dizzy and I did clutch the handrail as I went up! Here's the daughter + staircase...

..see what I mean?!  Here are a few more from the Summer Exhibition....

This tapestry by Grayson Perry was one of the most admired pieces....

Outside in the R.A. courtyard...

..and down the road a little in an arcade I spotted these fab paper sculptures by Zoe Bradley..

Well by now I was truly knackered so I sat it out for an hour in Costa with an iced coffee and newspaper whilst my daughter did the obligatory Topshop scrum and then we treated ourselves to a meal at Ethos Vegetarian Cafe.(Yes, it had trees growing inside!) We piled our plates and ate more than normal as there were just too many interesting dishes to try and we rarely get to veggie restaurants back was expensive and you paid for your food by weight, the only criticism being that you had no idea how much you would be paying until it was too late! 

Third and final day we went back to the B.P.Portrait exhibition..couldn't resist another look! Then a first for me : we went to the Courtauld Gallery (at Somerset House on The Strand). It's not a huge collection but there a some famous paintings and some well-loved Impressionist works. I also spotted the actress and presenter Una Stubbs studying a particular portrait, I was tempted to ask her if there's going to be another series of The Great British Painting Challenge (which she presented a few months ago) but I decided instead to just give her a big smile and to respect her privacy.(Of course  now I'm kicking myself!) Some photos from the Courtauld...including a sneaky one of Una..

I LOVE Modigliani...

I felt I had to include this one by Vanessa Bell..

After the hustle and bustle of London Anglesey was so still, so quiet, so...un-smelly! I loved every minute of our trip but it was good to get home to my's my own special messy place but I love it even at night...

or any time really..especially with a fruity Pimms! Cheers and goodnight!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Bank holiday at Beaumaris festival,a gorgeous garden & other bits n bobs....

May 24th 2015. 
Each year there is a festival week in the town of Beaumaris on Anglesey. There are recitals, concerts and exhibitions et cetera and the town is always buzzing. Living only three miles away I make the most of it and usually visit the event at least twice. My first port of call is always the craft marquee on the green just by the pier and sea front. There was also today a house nearby with a woman demonstrating weaving and displaying some lovely paintings. My favourite stall was there again too...lots of beautifully-crafted lamps, mirrors and candlesticks made from driftwood and other reclaimed materials.I love anything with driftwood, especially as I NEVER manage to find any when I go to the beaches here! Here are a few of the stalls...

I was pleased to see local artist Julie Roberts again. I gave my friend a print of one of her paintings a couple of years ago for her birthday and wanted another to go with it for this year's birthday. It was tricky choosing as Julie's work is delicate with attention to detail.

This is a lovely lady I came across demonstrating weaving. She runs classes in Bangor too and does a lot of work with charities abroad.

Next stop was the most gorgeous little hidden gem of a garden just near the Canolfan. It was a small haven of tranquility after the hustle and bustle in the town. I have a very unruly vegetable plot that I never seem to get sorted properly and have been thinking about grassing it over. However, after visiting this inspiring garden I have a "cunning new plan"! My veg plot is just a bit smaller than the garden below and I am going to try my best to make my plot into something just as pretty with lots of perennial plants and a few vegetables mixed in amongst them. It will take a while and I will need to propagate and divide some plants as it will be too expensive to buy everything for instant effect...besides, I like a garden to take shape organically and see what works and what doesn't. Certainly lots of ideas were absorbed here today.

I thought you might like to see this canvas I helped one of my clients make at work recently. I have seen a few "stacked birds" pictures I liked so we made our own version. The clients did some spatter painting, wet on wet, and I cut out the bird shapes for them. They also painted the canvases and added torn sheet music and book pages, stamped a little honeycomb marks here and there..I think it works rather well and the clients were very pleased with their pictures :-)


I wonder if you were as moved as I was to see Clive James receiving a special award at The Baftas a couple of weeks ago. I say "at The Baftas" but of course he was too ill to be there on the evening and gave an acceptance speech by video.I have a friend who I met online (isn't Twitter wonderful?! Well, at times it can be VERY wonderful) and she generously and thoughtfully sent me this anthology of Clive James's most recent (and probably last ever) work.It contains reflections on life by a man who knows he hasn't got much longer but who is making the most of every moment. I can hear his inimitable voice reading the poems in my head as I savour each of them. I don't even understand all of them (yet) but they are such a pleasure to read. My friend Leonie also put this cute badge in the parcel.. I am a vegetarian of course so I do appreciate the gesture.

Oops, 2.20 a.m. and I am still easily one loses track of the time when faffing on the laptop. Luckily it's a bank holiday Monday tomorrow so the household will all get a lie-in and then I am hoping for a day in the garden scheming and assessing my plot..drinking lots of tea and "pottering"...May is such a beautiful month I don't want to miss any of the garden..hope you have a good day too, wherever you are. Lastly, here's a pic of happy pansies on my front steps..hope you like them. Ciao for now. xx