Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Back from London

Back from several days in London. It seems by going there, Patsy123 and I left behind most of the good weather. Although we were able to sit in our friends' garden for breakfast on Friday, for the rest of our stay there the whole south of England sat under a belt of rain, while the north basked in sunshine. Bugger.

In an effort to kick-start some drawing and sketching, I'd taken along a little sketchbook and tried to get down the woman opposite without attracting her attention. I don't think I managed it, because she shifted position soon after I'd started and rested her chin on her hand . As a result, I wasn't able to get the articulation of her glasses and bridge of her nose right.

Passenger (A6 sketchbook, rollerball)

The weather was such that, although we went to Cambridge for the day on Monday, we weren't really able to go to see Kettle's Yard, something I've wanted to do for a very long time. Oh well, I'll keep it on my list.

We did, however, go to the National Gallery on Friday to see Alison Watt's exhibition, Phantom. Beautiful, cool, sensual. Big. If you go, it's well worth taking the time to watch the short film about her making of the pictures. You may find yourself wondering, as I did, why she thought it a good idea to load her brush with a little paint, climb a stepladder to apply it, then climb down again and repeat the process without stepping back to view what effect the first few brushstrokes had had.. A little hand-held palette would have been so much easier.

From Alison Watt's huge paintings, we went round the corner to the utterly delightful exhibition of mostly small works by Melita John Martin of London. Painted mostly plein air, her landscapes of Ireland capture the damp and blustery atmosphere perfectly.

We had the opportunity to chat with Denaro herself, and found her just as fresh and charming as her pictures. She seemed genuinely surprised and delighted to learn that I'd gone there deliberately to see her work and not just wandered in off the street.


jafabrit said...

Melita Denaro's work is beautiful, and I expect in the real even more lush.

Anna said...

'Moment of beauty I have all I need, eyes, hand, health and pencil.' I liked Denaro's pictures and annotations very much - this one's not a bad artist's credo.

Was also intrigued by the Watts/Ingres connection having just been studying the latter's handling of fabric (in the Louvre). I'm grateful to you for both references.

Sorry Kettle's Yard eluded you, I go there quite often for exhibitions, it's a good place with a fascinating library. You must try again.

harry bell said...

The annotation you've chosen has a certain poignancy, Anna. When we were talking to her in the gallery, she was in a wheelchair and I understood from some of her comments that she is suffering from MS.

Patsy123's elder son lives in Cambridge at the moment, so I think another visit will be on the cards.