Thursday, 18 January 2018

Peter Lanyon and Trevega Cliff

Felt like walking today even though the weather wasn't that promising - and it was a good 4 mile walk in the end which started on Trevalgan Hill just outside St Ives.
Wonderful to see a slate in memory of Peter Lanyon at the summit on a huge granite boulder.
His paintings have such strong links to this landscape - the painting below of Bojewan Farm, not far off.
More here.
Then a depressing walk (alas) downhill to Trevalgan Holiday Farm and caravan park, past territorial signs and electric fences to keep walkers on track. Narrow walkways in the mud, close to hedges and a slurry pit.
Of course everyone should keep to the footpath.... but ...  the number of signs and their tone was aggressive.  You ended up thinking of small mindedness and greed... Deserted at this time of year - like a ghost farm. Someone up a ladder banging on a shed roof but otherwise no one to be seen in a huge complex of converted barns with PVC windows.
Anyway - onward to the sea - exhilarating.
In just over two hours, I didn't see a soul, unless sheep have souls.

Even the track back inland was lovely - not always the case on circular walks.
Main thoughts:

  • I wonder what a (very) long walk  would be like - the Camino, for example. Though people talk about all the people they meet - companions along the way etc. Solitary walking is very different.
  • There was a moment - suddenly - when I could hear the sea.  'I can hear the sea.' Someone's favourite quote from King Lear. Such a noise....
  • Seagulls diving bombing into the water. Must have been a shoal of fish driven into the rocks?
  • And the signs... barbed wire... electric fence.
  • Demons in the mind: Cavafy and Ithaca. Travel well - but remember that you will bring many monsters with you.... 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Icy spring and music in Leipzig

Click here

A whirlwind trip to Leipzig to see Siefried at the Opera House - and just by chance was lucky enough to catch the Dresden Boys' Choir rehearsing at St Thomas's Church, Leipzig. Breathtaking. Bach was a choirboy in this church. The first performance ever of St Matthew's Passion was here.
Outside, an icy wind and few signs of spring apart from these baskets on the pavement (the bulbs are planted so high, they become part of the display - must remember).
The white interior of St Nicholas' Church very peaceful - especially the painted pews .... Bach was organist here. Near the altar is a striking crucifix from  Coventry Cathedral: didn't manage to take a picture.

Siegfried started at 4pm and by the second Act the square outside was so busy with skaters.  Blue lights - reminded me of visits to Warsaw soon after Epiphany.
Inside the opera house, Katherine Broderick takes a bow after her debut as Brunnhilde on this stage.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Ecce homo and flipping a chess board

The monochrome exhibition at the National Gallery is interesting - in particular Rembrandt's Ecce Homo alongside a print by Jan Van Vliet, his engraver. The image is flipped and some parts of it in reverse gain strength, others lose. The man beckoning to the crowd is more noticeable in the print, as is the  man in the turban in the centre of the picture.
It's like flipping a chess board online - you see all sorts of possibilities, for losing as well as winning.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Derbyshire Alabaster, St Just and the Three Kings

Going to see the reredos behind the altar in St Just Church is a Christmas ritual (am not sure that it is backlit at any other time of year). More about the history here.  It's very delicately carved in Derbyshire Alabaster.
This year someone has enthusiastically placed flower arrangements right in front of them, but never mind.
Outside - there's no escaping it - St Just's can look pretty bleak. Such a lot of granite. But everywhere does this time of year when the sun doesn't shine.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

An urban sketcher in Goa and St Francis of Assisi

Love this urban sketcher @doodlenomics in Goa and the painting of the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Seems a lifetime ago that I went there (guess it is most of an adult lifetime) on my honeymoon and saw the uncorrupted body of St Francis of Assisi. We gave a beggar far too much money outside (not knowing).

Strange suddenly to see a place forgotten for decades and then half remember the facade. Wonder if I will ever go back.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Pastel on brown paper

Woman in a Blue Dress (1890 - 1909) (Pastel on brown paper)
Thomas Wilmer Dewing.
Love it.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

The days pass: taking control of time

Ever since I took this out of focus picture of a handwritten diary, I've wanted to draw one myself.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Bonnard and St Agnes

Strong similarities in the composition of these two paintings: Bonnard's The River Seine in Paris: the Pont du Carrousel (at the Courtauld Institute in London), and the view of St Agnes bay, in Cornwall (by an unknown artist, bought by me in a charity shop).
One by an acknowledged master; the other by a keen amateur.

Both have long rigid blocks in the foreground: the steel bridge (with flat panels of colour) in  Bonnard's painting; the long concrete wall and hedge in St Agnes. I like both.
Both highly coloured and confident.
Both striking (in very different ways)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Hidden meanings and Rachel Whiteread

Tubes from toilet rolls
Hot water bottle (or enema bag) cast in resin

So many hidden meanings at the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at Tate Britain.  Have to confess that I opened the door to the room then walked out again as the first sight of so many (mainly) grey casts was so daunting. Went in again, after having read the introductory panel outside - and then everything made sense. This is about what the objects are not - rather than what they are. And there is a bit of colour. My own captions - not the official ones.


Hot water bottle (or enema bag) cast in
dental plaster

Friday, 10 November 2017

Bows and frills

The new Tate exhibition Impressionists in London isn't all that interesting... a bit too much about quite an obscure subject (French artists in exile between 1870 to 1904). But the final room of Monet's Thames series is wonderful. AndJames Tissot's paintings have some fabulous fabrics. Apparently he was the son of a fabric merchant so had a very sharp eye.
The ribbons, bows and frills of his high society paintings are breathtaking - to think that women really dressed like this. The fabric in portraits of men, too, is pretty stunning - whether framing the languid - or jaded - partygoer or the dazed wounded soldier.
Hush! James Tissot/1875
Captain Frederick Burnaby: Late at the Ball

The Wounded Soldier/James Tisson c. 1870

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy