Friday, 10 July 2009


I had a nice day in London yesterday, visiting the Royal Academy for the Summer Show first. It's always a monster of a show, I've visited it a few times in the past, though it's been a few years since I last saw it. I always liked the little room crammed with small pieces, though there weren't so many really tiny miniatures this year which I've always had a soft spot for. I like the black and white wall in the small Weston room hung by Mick Rooney. Amongst that constellation of black and white pieces is a small drawing by Maria Hartnett, who's work was featured in Artists and Illustrators magazine in their drawing issue last month. It was hung far too high up to scrutinise, which was a shame. The whole exhibition was quite overwhelming, with such a diverse amount of art displayed, famous and not so famous names clamouring on the walls for attention, it made me feel quite insignificant in fact. It was busy too, it's been 3 years since I visited London for an exhibition and I'd forgotten how busy they get, I think I did as much dodging and ducking as I did actual looking at art. Despite that a number of pieces caught my eye, including the still breathtaking John Hoyland (I liked Winter Tiger, I love the texture of paint and the contrasting expressive colours) and the sumptuous Andalusia by Barbara Rae among many others. I also liked Tracy Emin's 'I want it back, that feeling again', I think because I related to the title. But the most beautiful piece of the show for me was Mick Moon's Tree Line. I could have looked at it for hours.

Afterwards, I walked to the National Portrait Gallery (via The Plinth, there was someone reading from Wind in the Willows I think when I walked past later). I went to see the absolutely stunning BP Portrait Award exhibition. I've seen this exhibition in previous years, last year it came to Wolverhampton's Art Gallery. Once again this exhibition was absolutely heaving, most people were scrutinising the surface of the the most photo reaslist pieces to see 'how they did it'. I just marvel at these wonderful works. One of the most moving pieces to me was Virginia, a portrait of the artist's grandmother. The most stylish was Hats and Scarves. The most breathtakingly super-real was Imagine. I also loved Angela from Sri Lanka, which really seems to capture the essence of the sitter.

I paid a quick visit to Corot to Monet in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery. I was pretty exhausted by this time and was feeling a bit careworn and tired of peeping over people's shoulders at paintings, but I still managed to be touched by the wonderful vivid paintings by Corot, which, for me, stole the show.

The most amusing moment of the day was seeing a group of Japanese girls walking down Tottenham Court Road wearing face masks.

The most annoying was cancellation of Birmingham trains because of vandelism on the Lichfield Valley stretch of line. So it took me FOREVER to get home. But at least it added to the excitment of the day.

Work in progress - 'Scar' Coloured Pencil

No comments: