Thursday, July 28, 2011

National Gallery and Tate Britain London

Arrived at Trafalgar Square late morning, just as they were taking down all the "stuff" from the ceremony yesterday, which was all about a year to go for the Olympic games in London. My interest as usual was for the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar square, and was very surprised to see this enormous Nelson's ship in a bottle... I thought it was fantastic. Have a look here for more info.

At first I did not notice the large living picture, it is a copy of one of the works of Van Gogh. It is better looked after than the similar one in Swindon which has turned very brown and forlorn looking. (If you click on the pictures, they enlarge)

It was a very busy day in Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery had many foreign visitors, but I did enjoy revisiting the Turner paintings and also had a look at the exhibition in the Sainsburys wing, Devotion by Design.

I was particularly impressed by the recreation of a medieval church with lighting in one of the exhibition rooms... gave a real sens of the time. I also enjoyed being able to look at the back of the alter pieces to see how the carpenters had framed and supported the huge art works. Most of the visitors to this exhibition were quite elderly.. made me feel quite a youngster.

We left Trafalgar Square early afternoon and headed for Millbank... the traffic was horrendous, as there seemed to be a lot of roadworks and so normal routes were closed to traffic. We eventually arrived at Tate Britain.

Here I wanted to see Turners colour and line exhibition, it is changed every 6months and so I knew I was in for some new treats.

As I am very fond of Turners watercolours I also wanted to see the Watercolour Exhibition
A really good video of the exhibition can be viewed here

I was not sure what to expect as I had heard some rather poor reviews from some friends. I am pleased I ventured in to see it... yes I agree some of the 20th Century work pales into insignificance in comparison to other works. The Manuscripts, and miniature paintings as well as the 18th Century maps were exquisite, and I am not normally swayed by these particular sort of works. The ones for this exhibition had been so carefully chosen for their quality. There were good examples of early botanical paintings too.

I think my favourites had to be in the techniques and equipments used through the ages. I found this fascinating... and here Turners colour beginnings, watercolour washes... sung out to me and spoke

..... I was enthralled all over again, just as when I first saw them in 2000 at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. ( Exhibition details here )

I was not impressed by the majority of the current work in watercolour, when I think of some of the wonderful work I have seen in recent exhibitions.... Tracy Emin and the artist who had put watercolour onto a plastic spoon could have been omitted in favour of better work IMHO. After a very welcome cup of tea mid afternoon.. we then ventured to look at the Turners in the Romantics exhibition. Time was getting quite short and I have to confess we did not do it justice.... but I did see some of my favourite Turner large oil paintings.

A great day, hot weather and very tiring... but so worthwhile and inspirational.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making Sketchbooks

Well the school summer holidays are upon us.. so it was time to get the grandchildren into the studio to make some sketchbooks/journals to record this annual event. Grandson made a "disappearing nine patch block" ( see here for a great tutorial) for the front cover of his sketchbook, using my very sharp flower pins and my ancient Willcox and Gibbs chain stitch machine. We were very impressed by the finished result.

Youngest grandchild went for the collage option.. lots of glue and double sided tape and cutting out.

Older sister decided to go for the same option when she discovered a very feminine flowery paper. did I remember to take a photo ?
? No!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Going walking again.

Since my prince in shining armour has had his mobility scooter, we have been going for lots of walks. Well... I have been doing the walking. Most enjoyable though, I have not lost any weight, but have improved my appetite and fitness levels. This is a local walk with views across Swindon. If you click on the photo and then enlarge, you can see right across to the Wroughton airfield and the Marlborough Downs.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time to get out and about

(Tetbury Gloucestershire Market hall)

Now that hubby has more mobility, we have been getting out and about a bit more. The weather was threatening to rain yesterday afternoon, but we did manage to dodge the showers. We took a short trip to Tetbury. We had not been there for decades, but thought we would give the scooter a try out. It is interesting trying to find parking and access now that our needs have changed.

We could not find any dedicated disabled parking.... we need to open car doors wide . However we did manage to park at the end of the line in a car park, so solved that one. The drop kerbs in the town are not really dropped properly and so were difficult to negotiate. Also the shopkeepers put sandwich boards out on the pavement and it makes navigating the narrow pavements quite difficult.
Most shops have steps to get into them and are quite narrow..... hubby did not go into any shops.....I did go into the famous one, but as Gill also found this week, the shop does not have as many goods as in the past. I did get a paper bag and ......................

A postcard of a watercolour done by HRH of Highgrove

I also was impressed by the Lavender and Chamomile hand cream when I used a little from the tester and was sorely tempted as the quality was very smooth.... but it stayed on the shelf when I saw the price of a small tub.... Mmmmmm.

However the ice cream purchased from a small newsagent was a welcome treat. We had an enjoyable hour on the pavements of Tetbury, and I certainly knew I had done a fair amount of walking by time we got back to the car.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lydiard House and Park in July 2011

At the moment 2 themes seem to be my inspiration for the next Exhibition, Trees and old walls. I have been photographing and drawing/painting and exploring both themes..... so a tentative start has been made.

This is Lydiard the morning after the night before... I was so impressed with the way it had been cleaned up after the big Arts Day.... well done .

The walled garden had changed again since the visit last month. The swarm of bees had left and the garden was very lavender blue in colour scheme.... I loved the subtlety. The gardeners were hard at work, but were delighted to help me when I wanted to purchase a fig tree/bush. I have no idea how to look after it.... but I liked the look of it. Gardener was very helpful with advice and the fig now sits in a large pot in my back garden.

We decided to take the long walk along the back of the lake through the parkland... it was truly splendid. Here is the view across the lake back to the house.

I could not resist taking this photo.. reminded me of the New Forest. We then headed back to the tearooms for a really tasty ice cream, well I had to replace some of the calories I had lost through walking!
I now have another set of photos for the design work for our next Exhibition. Just need to get really started on it now. The collecting of ideas has begun.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Avebury and Big Arts Day

Yesterday was the day of the big Arts Day in Swindon... a really good event, held at Lydiard Park.

However we decided to go to Avebury in the afternoon and had a lovely time there. Its always a favourite of mine. I have photographed the stones a number of times.... but how did I miss this one before? Amazing.

Friday, July 08, 2011

A week of Stitchery

I finally finished the stitching to my entry for the West Country Embroiderers for the DREAM Exhibition at Brockenhurst in August (6th -18th) I shall be there stewarding on the Tuesday 16th.. so please come and say "hello".

When I showed the piece of work to the grandchildren... 7 yr old grandson said " Nanny.. you have strange dreams !" Mmmm.. no comment I replied!

On Monday I really enjoyed the talk that Kath Danswan gave at the Marlborough Embroiderers Guild about her stitching career.

The flowers in the garden are wonderful this year.. those colours are so stitchable.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Brilliant weekend.

Happy 4th of July to all our friends across the pond in the US. Hope you have or have had a great time.

I went along to the Open day at Urchfont College yesterday and in the photo is Anna.. check her blog here.... the eagle eyed amongst you will see her recent piece of work Muse 1 on the wall behind her.

There were not as many exhibitions as in previous years, which was a bit disappointing as I took Kath along with me. She is first time visitor to Urchfont Open Day. It was however good to catch up with all my mates and also buy some goodies from Art Van Go. Their stand is always so manic at Festival of Quilts or Ally Pally.

I was wondering how my granddaughter was getting on at her Feis in Bristol in her new dress, and so when I had arrived home, they paid us a surprise visit.
It was the Wales and West Feis.. so quite a large number of competitors took part.
She had won two 1sts, a 2nd, 3rd, 4th , and a highly recommended.... I was so proud of her and here she is with all her medals, trophy and sash. It is the first time she has ever won a sash, and the 1st time she has managed to win two 1sts in one Feis. In all she had danced 9 times, and was quite tired!