Sunday, 31 July 2011

Mrs Burnstein Style Icon

Would that I had the budget I too would wear much of Mrs Burnstein's very covetable wardrobe. There is much to learn here, the gist I have, the discipline I lack.
The lesson is focused on well cut trousers then go mad with skimming beautifully patterned tunic tops.
If you go to the full set of images you will see she rocks a tunic dress too.

Those lovely slippers crop up a few times too.

I Spent much of Friday walking across the retail world of London, Kitty was handing out C.V's, I was there for moral support. I have a feeling she will struggle to convince anyone that she is not too young, It will be a frustrating journey to convince someone to give her a chance. Once they do she will be home and dry because she is just the most conscientious and organised girl anyone could hope to employ. So fingers crossed.

So utterly smitten was I with Mrs Burnstein's outfits that when I tripped over 2 pairs of +J Uniqlo trousers reduced from £110 for the two to just £25, I snapped them up. I have a feeling that as I hit the big 50 this trouser tunic combination will be more prevalent. This combined with unique pieces of jewellery could be the way to go, and no better place to shop for that would be the amazing shop I found called Mor, on Ganton Street just off Carnaby Street, there was not one piece I did not covet. It erred on the side of ethnic but each piece was beautifully constructed. There is no web site so I will have to go back and get some photographs.

I am currently holed up in the so called 'room of my own'. Emin has man flu which basically equates to snoring louder than a beached walrus try to mate with an inflatable, this cacophony he combines with a dry hacking cough that perforates my ear drum. He is loving it (sleeping alone not the man flu) and I must confess to not being a little averse to some peace and quiet myself. It is also the only room with a computer hence this somewhat illicit post late at night.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The view from here

There is a wonderful meadow near where we live, in fact considering how close we are to London we are surrounded by green parks and meadows. I once looked at a map of North London and could not believe the difference in green space between north and south, so I have gravitated further south with each move.
The dog is not too good when let of the lead and tends to do a runner, quite literally forgetting to stop, that, and his inability to contain his desire to be adopted by every passing dog walker all of whom he lusts after greatly, which of course never goes down too well with said dog walkers dogs, who then get snippy, at which point he then decided to chew their face off the dog not the owner! Suddenly he does not look so friendly and I the stress of seeing his admirers faces turn to sheer panic and that generally means he stays on his lead.
We then discovered this patch of scrub land which is in fact the north end of our local park, it has a small area that's enclosed and we have bravely allowed him some free running time. Leyla is great, she plays hide and seek with him which since he is a) stupid b) blind and c) has a crap sense of smell she finds great fun. He sadly rarely gets to find her, the only clue you can give him is to call him. She wisely taunts him with a branch, most dogs like to eat a treat, his treat is to eat the tree. However it is exercise for both of them. I thought having stood guard at the gate it was time to take some photographs . My favourite Lucien Freud quote is
" I always think that 'knowing something by heart' gives you a depth of possibility which has more potential than seeing new sights, however marvellous and exciting they are."
Which was the case as I stood and watched for a while, after 3 days I began to see things I had initially overlooked and so hauled my macro lens along. Butterflies are everywhere at the moment, as many as I remember from my childhood which has to be a good thing. Sadly the weather is not quite as I remembered as a child but that's memories for you. My mother is already forecasting gloomy skies for the holiday, I have never known anyone so ridiculously pessimistic about the future, why bother? Live for the day and enjoy the place, do we need it sunny? I am fine either way.

I am would you believe at work still. Although we broke up last Friday I have been dropping Leyla off at her crammer school, which bless her she loves and then coming in to work. This is not as altruistic as it sounds, I was woefully behind with my planning no thanks to you lot, and since there is a new Head Teacher on his way I have a feeling we will be cascaded on from high with paperwork next year, so I decided to plan as much as I could, thus freeing myself up for some painting next term!
The rest of my life appears to disappeared into a blurry mess of shopping and keeping the waring factions apart.

I have spent hours trying to help Kitty find some kind of gainful employment which is a very slow process.

I had intended to hit the gym and shed some weight, but I am dog tired and lacking and energy this week, a heady combination of unwinding couple with a period. Oh lucky me.

I did make it to my sisters birthday bash which was good fun despite eating the worst pizza of my life. She then phoned to ask if I wanted tickets to see The Tempest, I had not heard it was coming to town but it appears to be at a 'posh' theatre i.e one that cost's more than a tenner. I said "yes", but only if she would rough it in the cheap seats. I get a text back to say "yes no problem that will be £37 each"!! HOW is that cheap? How much were the expensive seats? It had better be good. It does have Ralph Fiennes directed by Trevor Nunn so I might get lucky.
I will endeavour to post a little more but it is not easy whilst at home in the house of bedlam.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Another year goes by

I have broken up for the holiday, the summer holiday, not that you would know from the weather. I had such plans for you bloguettes I promise. So many ideas for posts, you would not believes my genius for publishing. I was going to regale you with stories coupled with bright witty commentaries about the life of a London girl. But guess what? Life got in the way. My home life takes up a shed load of time at the moment, I met Daisy for afternoon tea last week with her boyfriend, she wasn't quite wearing the dress she had on but as always she was a triumph of optimism over modesty. My daughter is the only person I know who will haggle her birthday money to a higher amount. Not for her the protestation of "But I paid for your fees, oh and your holiday" No she went for it big time, so that's me waving this months COS goodbye.
Leyla too is ever needy, I have to coach her daily and bless her she is very independent as long as back episodes of Friends are involved. If only Jennifer Anniston knew, that children who were but a twinkle in their parents eye when she was filming worship her from afar today.
Next week the idea was to be super disciplined, drop Leyla off at crammer school, then get to the gym, sadly I need at least one more day to prepare for school whilst my facile brain is at least in 1st gear.
With any luck I may just post a few to you too!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Lucian Freud

I don't often jump on the 'look who's died' band wagon, but I do feel this time I must say something, despite his age, (and I would feel very pleased to have lived to that age) it was still quite a shock when his death was announced. I was impressed by the coverage on the news, of course money talks and this man really could make some serious cash. And yet you never once felt that that was what it was about. Unlike so many mercenary morons that masquerade under the passport occupation 'artist' he really was the real deal. If completely honest I rate Howard Hodgkin slightly higher up the food chain, simply because he paints with his heart. That said you cannot really come close to understanding Freud's genius for paint until you try painting a portrait for yourself.
My favourite story is the one about when he got into a fight and was so enamoured by the black eye he received he hurried home to paint it! If pushed I would favour his rarer views from a window to his flesh. Love them though I do I feel the emotion crept in to the viewpoints, an emotion that was somewhat lacking in his nudes. Whatever I think is irrelevant, he was a genius with paint and I am pretty sure he died happy, something I will emulate I'm sure.

image from here

Coincidentally, despite it being the 'summer' holidays I felt the distinctive whiff of autumn yesterday closely followed by melancholia.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Sometimes I just don't deserve it.

So the weekend is long gone, but the sting in the tail remains.

Friday I sat on my own like a little Billy No Mates at this bloody school BBQ whilst the rest of the parents cosied up and drank copious amounts of beer and wine. Over the tannoy the kids sang along to a myriad of karaoke tunes and that alone my little bloguettes was enough to send a sane man back to the asylum, as it was I laughed, there is something incredibly funny about small children singing out of key.
I survived, although I was frozen by the end of the evening as Leyla insisted i 'dress up'

Saturday my sister dragged me around some more houses, this time it was more fruitful and she has had an offer accepted, which is only the start of stress city, but hopefully her house hunting days are over.

I stupidly said Leyla could join me at the theatre that night since I had stupidly bought two tickets for A Woman Killed With Kindness, the clue as to it's main premise is of course in the title, but what I had not banked on was the lack of interval. Fidget does not come close to describing the tortuous writhing sack of snakes she became once she decided the play was boring. So basically after 5 minutes. Never again and really can you blame her? It has since garnered mixed reviews, although not an especially uplifting play I quite enjoyed it, the set was just awesome very, very beautiful based on a Hammershoi painting, it was sumptuous. I had plied her with a burger from Les Deux Salons too, just how ungrateful was that.

On a more upbeat note I have twice gone into COS and left empty handed, the cut and colour of much they are selling is not really very flattering on me, so maybe their day has come... well for now.

Sunday it was a promised visit to Harry Potter, before which I managed to finally get to the gym to keep at bay the expanding girth, this is really a bit of a King Canute thing because I am losing this battle daily.

Still, I do my bit and hope, so off we went and the sting in the tail was I dropped my iPhone and no the cleaner did not hand it back despite me begging he resolutely refused to even pretend to cooperate, even the manager just shrugged, I really wished it had a self destruct button the pain of knowing he would smugly be using it it the minute he left the building was unbearable, I had only left the cinema for 15min's before I realised. so of course I lost my temper and then cried like a baby. Emin took it surprisingly well and no more can I criticise Leyla since I am as bad as she at looking after anything. I should have known the writing was on the wall as on Saturday having bought Leyla a travel card I lost it before we even got on the train, part of the problem stems around the fact my stupid bag is full of the paraphernalia needed to cope with driving rain followed by searing heat. Hence it is full of an umbrella plus raincoats plus water and all the other detritus that follows me around. My second big mistake was to keep the phone in a pouch which protected it from a fall but meant I did not hear it fall out of the bag. So I think it safe to say that was one shit weekend.

No more nice Polaroids No more listening to Desert Island Disc podcast's ....
Oh yes Harry Potter is quite good.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Marzee Necklace Beauty

The more I shop for clothes the less I see, and the more drawn I am to adding a necklace to something from my wadrobe instead. All of these are just divine and I am glad I do not live near the shop somewhere in the Netherlands as I would be bankrupt!

Philip Sajet

Willemijn de Greef

Chequita Nahar

all from here

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Playing hookey

One of the few perks of teaching is that once all the exam classes are over a few gaps appear on my timetable that allow the odd jaunt up town. I would really like to prepare classes for next year but we are still without any timetable so with the RA showing a brilliant photography exhibition called Eyewitness and the Serpentine opening a new pavilion I decided to escape after break.
My sartorial reflexes were far too slow though and despite seeing some loveliness I only just managed to catch this one. All over London woman are wafting around in wonderful creamy chiffon blouses. Not compatible with my lifestyle at all but lovely to look at. What I liked about this photograph was finally a red pair of jeans that did not scream RED, they were a much subtler washed out colour red, cut to my favourite length. I am very unsure as to whether Julian Opie is not tainted by the brush of 'emperors new clothes' but I did like the way the image on the door played with the paintings in the gallery.

Finally a couple of sneaky shots of Matthew Day Jackson at Hauser & Wirth

he has, apart from some really interesting sculptures, created a living room which I would love to live in myself, replete with wonderful sisal carpet and sixties furniture.

The photography exhibition was excellent, Andre Kertesz in particular was brilliant. Serpentine was less impressive but I have not sorted the images out for that so will discuss next week.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Mother is getting old

No, really it was her birthday yesterday, I'm not being cruel just stating a fact.

As usual it crept up on me, I did not remember until Saturday and as my art work was at school I decided to wait and risk sending something Monday. I had earmarked a small oil painting after she had looked at one at the Summer exhibition for her kitchen before blowing her budget on a Joe Tilson print, but when the time came to choose I found I was ridiculously attached to them. Luckily I had done some less layered ones recently, trying out a new way of working and as they had taken very little time to complete I was able to let one of them go. The idea was to send it as a card as it was size A6 and tell her to bring it to St Ives where I know of a brilliant framing shop. Oil paintings need a lot of TLC when being framed, glass kills them and so rather than let her shove it in a cheap frame from the pound shop I though this time I would do it Justice.

Feeling guilty at this cheapskate option I then sent some flowers via M&S from the girls.
The following day it quickly transpired that despite not posting the painting until after 4pm it had arrived first thing that morning. Am I the only one in this country who is still amazed that the post office can do that?
I am thanked for the card and I am assured that I do not need to frame it as she has an old photograph frame knocking around somewhere.
A small piece of me dies.

Whilst I had an email to thank me for the card there no mention of the flowers. My sister of course had sent her an effing designer t-shirt , scoring maximum points for size and colour choice..Bitch.

I don't say anything about the flowers I want them to be a surprise, I get Kitty to phone in the afternoon and still no mention. In the end I phone and ask. No, they had not arrived. I then, whilst talking to her on the phone attempt to log on with my left hand onto my hotmail account, which is not easy because a) I have upper and lowercase letter in my password and b) effing BT hijacks our wireless signal so you have to click a raft off buttons to circumnavigate it.
That done I finally track the order, they were delivered a 1pm, no one was in so they left them In a 'secure place'... Yeah right, we all know they were thrown onto the doorstep.

Me " Did you get any flowers today?"
Mother " No, why would you send flowers, your sister sent some last time and they were half dead, what on earth is the point of sending flowers, why waste your money like that?"
Me "It's your birthday"
Mother " Well I've been in all day, I have not heard anyone ring the bell apart from the roofer, there is no way they rang the bell"
Me "can you check to see if they are there?"

I hear her walk to the door. Yes, they are there.

Mother "I've been in all day there is no way anyone rang that bell or even knocked"

I hear her opening the box.

Mother " OK, sunflowers and agapanthus?"
Me "yes, since you're blind* I thought I would get you something bright enough to see"
Mother " well they are fully open so that means they will only last a couple of days.."
Me " Since when did anyone send sunflowers in bud?"
Mother "I suppose so......(suddenly startled) OH GOOD GRIEF YOU MADE ME JUMP"

I hear my sisters deep Yorkshire voice in the background, she has come to take Mother out for dinner.

Mother " Why didn't you ring the bell?"
Sister "I did and knocked but you didn't answer so I let myself in"
Mother "I didn't hear you"
Sister " Yes, deaf as well as blind!"

I wish my mother a pleasant meal, god help my sister navigating her way through that menu, a Chinese with no onion or garlic!! No chance.

I have just received a more upbeat email praising the said near dead flowers as looking wonderful!

* I am not being mean she has lost much of the sight in the central part of her vision so sees mostly fuzzy shapes.

Sandra Kantanen

If I am ever near the Tate Modern then I always pay the Purdy Hicks Gallery a visit, this time there was a brilliant mixed exhibition which featured the Helsinki School of photography Sandra Kantanen's work was head and shoulders above the rest, they are really beautiful.

images from here

Monday, 11 July 2011

The view from here

Boris Mikhailov

I should really call this post emptying the in box of flotsam and jetsam, these images have languished for sometime waiting for me to weaver a blog post around them. Sadly I never have so I will clump them together. First up the Tate Modern seems to finally be taking photography seriously, it has appointed a curator and some of the new wing is being devoted to exhibition, and even now there are many more rooms than before devoted to some amazing photography. Above are just a few from a series by Boris Mikhailov beautifully muted shots that I thought were cyanotypes with that dreamy pinhole look about them. The printing technique belies a content that focuses on the sadder side of life in Russia today. Mikhailov is brilliant at doing this and in a way the subtlety of the images draws you in before you realise the subject is just so depressing. It is this kind of image beauty from the beast that I will study for my MA.

Shikanosuko Yagaki

A discovery for me was the work of Shikanosuko Yagaki, I love Japanese photography, it has a wonderful abstract feel to it unlike Mikhailov, I like the distance the lens has from the subject and the lack of engagement.

images from here

The next slice of loveliness has no name, I lost it but I think it must be from, it is everything I want to be but can't, trust me it would take one door handle for me to hang myself and lose all sense of dignity.

This image is stolen from here

Leyla and I saw this art instillation in Berlin, YEAH, they looked amazing, what a genius idea. they had a different outfit on to this photograph but were mesmerising nevertheless. We also saw two girls wearing one dress, one walking forwards one backwards even down some stairs! Berlin is obviously very much a city of art.

Sohei Nishino

I saw these ages ago at the Michael Hoppen gallery, my favourite photography gallery in London, which is sadly off the beaten track. They do loose a lot in translation they are huge collages made up of tiny photographs like a great big patchwork quilt.

I would love to have bought Emin the one of Istanbul.

Now for something more quirky

Dalton Ghetti

from here

Andy Moore

from here

I am a sucker for all things Alfred Wallis and I love this collage mixed with text

You might be visually exhausted but my in tray is lighter, which is just as well as there is more to come!!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Royal College of Art

So finally I organise myself to post the art work I saw last Thursday. The RCA has traditionally been cramped into a very small space the shows were often a hotch potch with different departments scoring the best spaces.

The very worst year was when they shoved the design faculty into a wooden shack across the road in Hyde Park. Now the entire fine art department has decamped to Battersea, it was a mission to get to but what an awesome space they have, it is right up there with the kind of gallery spaces you see including Victoria Miro and the White Cube. The photograph below should give you an idea of the scale of the sculpture department, the painting is across the road and has a lovely mezzanine allowing for more intimate spaces too. Yelena Popova

I loved her application of paint and use of colour, but especially effective was how the paintings were displayed, I wish I could get my students to think about this more.

Shi Kai Tseng

The above ceramics were not in fact in the ceramics department, but in product design, I really like the blurring of boundaries as far as materials are concerned and these vessels are doubly beautiful for combing two mediums as they also use photography to create the images via a pinhole camera. I can tell you having done both photo emulsion and pin hole that neither process is easy so to combine the two equates to an act of patience combined with dogged determination. The vessels were very ethereal but sadly not for sale.

Lauren Barfoot

Lauren Barfoot's work which you can see in the background was brilliant too, I am really loving how computers and digital printing are blowing wide open the way textiles are printed, I have some images I would love to see on silk, but the best printing factories are in Milan!

Marina Dragomirova

I love the fifties feel to her furniture and would love to weave one of these chairs, great fun.

Laura Amstein

I failed to get any photographs of her work, she seemed stuck in a corridor but she had already won an award and I think she will be very successful, her bags are beautifully crafted and the colours are divine.

Jonna Saarinen

Not everything here is original, but I like the shapes and colours of these fabrics anyway.

Catherine Aitken

I thought this display was very original and something I would love to own

Back to the fine art studios

Ashley Rich

and my favourite artist

Helen Pritchard

I would have bought each and every piece

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Tate Modern

Back to the Tate Modern, this time with 38 teenagers, which went surprisingly well.
I remembered to take the Lumix, which is the most forgiving camera in low light and I managed to grab a few sartorial favourites.
The next few were taken in the Taryn Simon exhibition, really excellent and thought provoking as these images illustrate.

Sartorial Tate

Loved the length of her trousers and the raw edge of the hem, in fact I am often drawn to neutrals probably because I can't wear them myself very often.

Love the bags in these two images

Beautiful stripes

plus a few spots..

The best for last

I love that yellow, but best of all check out the uber trendy cloth bag bearing the exclusive Daunt Books logo.