Friday, 16 December 2011

The view from here

tomorrow morning will be this. Please, please,please. I just hope it continues to rain rather than snow. if the weather allows it we will take of tonight and land in warmer climes. And yes that is the sea.
I managed to make a bit of progress with my painting on Wednesday, so much so that when I got out some previous work I appreciated just how far I had come. Sadly I know from experience that the holiday will change me, and so instead of picking up where I left off I'm going to start afresh. So I have packed away the oil bars, it is watercolor time now and then I have to come back and try and paint with just my oils.
We are away for quite sometime and so I have books galore to keep me going, mostly on curating, as well as articles from back copies of Artreview. I also have a rather worthy tome on Caravaggio borrowed from mother and finally one of my all time favourite Christmas presents, a signed copy of The Incredible Human Journey by Dr Alice Roberts. She came to Daisy's college to lecture and so Daisy managed to get her to sign the book. I was SO touched, you can't believe how touched I was. So that too will be read. I think the woman is just amazing.

I have not left any post dated pieces, I've been just so busy, and have had little time to play around up town. I'm looking forward already to the New Year in terms of college. which moves to the Tate Modern, (hence my curating research) lots of plays. including Richard II and One Man Two Guvnors, a huge David Hockney retrospective, and Madrid. All this before Easter. so that should keep away the winter blues.

Oh and Kasabian? AMAZING really just AMAZING








Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Last Friday seems so, so far away,even as I sit here I have no recollection, oh, wait, slowly it is coming back to me.
The original plan was for Leyla and I to go and see Noises Off at the Old Vic. Then Lucy joined us, and then Leyla decided a school disco would be more fun, and so then Kitty said she would come, and then Lucy had to have an operation and then Kitty had to work her shift, and then Leyla was banned from the disco, and then Leyla came to see the play with me. Got that?

So we went up town and went to John Lewis, picked up the camera I had bought for Daisy, and got mother some perfume. We zipped in and out of COS, wallet still intact and grabbed some food from Vapiano, before running down to Waterstones to pick up a couple of books for Leyla. Then back to the Old Vic. Noises Off is just Brilliant. I laughed and laughed. Just as well really.

Saturday, up at the crack of dawn, as was Kitty, who was on a 7am shift. Got the train to Kings Cross. NO, stop. Got on the WRONG train to Kings Cross, not once, but twice. Seriously thick as pig shit sometimes. I have lived in this city for twenty effing five years how do I do it?
So got there in the end. I too needed a book but nowhere sells the ones I want, I gave up and bought a newspaper instead and then sat next to someone eating sunflower seeds. Moved.
Got to York on a glorious sunny day. Forgot my camera! Can you believe it? I went and sat in a church for half an hour as mother was busy. I know I'm a walking contradiction, but I might not believe in God but he does do great architecture and All Saints in York is one of the very best with outstandingly beautiful stained glass windows. So mustered up, I went forth and had a very relaxing weekend, it was over in the blink of an eye, I travelled back to London, got home and sat in the bathroom sobbing. I miss Daisy more than I knew. She is a lot happier and so a joy to be with again.
I am now so not packed for a holiday I begin Friday night. And in stark contrast to the highbrow culture I have participated in this month I am going to see Kasabian at the O2 tomorrow.
Oh, and I have spent today painting. This is a good thing, I have worked away my demons and my watercolors are packed if nothing else is! Sanity saved.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Sometimes it comes good in the end

Some time ago I wrote about how much better my purchasing had become. From my mistakes I made some rules and give or take a wobble or two they have come good. My rule to stick to buying jumpers not cardies has paid dividends, not least because a pair of Pegged Zara trousers form last year has suddenly become wearable. Last year I wore them once, I couldn't find thin enough socks to wear with them consequently they rode up around my fat calf muscles and became so irritating I gave up. For some reason now they are fine. Two narrow skirts too have become worn after languishing unloved for over a year which is why I'm not panicking too much about what to wear with this impulse buy. The skirt is very high waisted so a normal length cardie drowns it. The dress on it's own is lovely but the top is so pale and made of a very fine stretchy jersey, (clingy) so I become quite self conscious and feel the need to cover it up a little. I have decided to be patient, it will come good in the end. I may try a yellow cardie, with it as yellow and grey are one of my most favourite combinations.

It was my last class of the term last night, a large cohort of students are unhappy with the teaching and during the group session last night we tentatively voiced the lack of direction. We of course were archly manipulated into seeing the small steps we had made as something grander. So I am pegging my hopes on some serious philosophical discussions when we are based in the Tate Modern next term. Of course after two weeks I will be bitching about that too!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Moomin Love

In the room euphemistically known as my studio, or resource room, I have photographs ripped from magazines pasted onto the wall. Half the room is devoted to art and all that inspires me, colour, shape and form all collide together. The other half is devoted to rooms I would love to live in. The wall of images sits behind the kettle, so as I wait to make a coffee I gaze longingly at the achingly beautiful spaces. I am ever ready for that sudden windfall of money, ready to shove a handful of clippings under the architects so they can conjure up my dream home. Pride of place now goes to this photo spread from this weeks Saturday Times supplement. What's not to love and covet?

I remember reading a Moomin book when I was young, I loved it so much I bought another, but for some reason it was impossible to read. It was like the first one was so perfect I couldn't move on. I had the same problem with C.S.Lewis. Still, I love the characters and now gaze longingly at this studio whilst the kettle boils.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The view from last night

I took these photographs 2 years ago at The Frieze Art Fair. I loved them then, I love them now, I love the controlled chaos of moving ink across a photograph. I love the colours and the strange juxtaposition of textures. Last night I finally made it to the Gerhard Richter retrospective.

I had almost forgotten that I had booked to go to a talk by one of the Gerhard Richter curators at the Tate Modern. I had wondered that despite loving his work if I would ever make it to the show. I am so glad I did. I used my student discount and managed to hear an excellent talk about how the show was curated, plus see the exhibition twice both before and after. I found that a perfect way of doing it. Once with no preconceived ideas and once with a lot more knowledge that forced me to look at work I had previously not really paid much attention to.

It was strange to go out on a Monday night, but the effort was rewarded with this stunning view over the Thames to St Paul's

Monday, 5 December 2011

The view from here

It is very rare that I plan something and then actually realise the plan. But here is the evidence that I indeed make it to Leadenhall market. rather too early though as the few stalls that were there were only just setting up. Being tucked away in the city it was very quiet, despite copious publicity, it seems shoppers still prefer the jostling melee of Oxford street to the calm environs of this beautiful arcade. Those of you more inclined to Harry Potter will recognise this place, Leyla did from this photograph.
Sadly it is full of the usual generic high street stores, with little in the way of individual boutiques, so I managed somehow to get to Bond street and grab a coffee before walking down to get the train home in time to collect Leyla for the concert. On the way I spied this very secluded passage, places like this are littered across the city, and I love them.

I did not have time for Selfridges windows, which having researched them is just as well as they would not yield much for me photography wise. Instead I snapped a few windows down Bond Street. I was hoping to find the Lowery exhibition on at Richard Green. I managed to walk straight past it!

But did find this at Hermes, now there is abox we all would like to find under the tree. Yes I am feeling quite festive for the moment. It is all very fresh and not as jarring as I normnally find it. Even the 'muzak' in the supermarket i am currently finding quite jolly.

Next a whistle stop tour of Cork Street.

Flowers Gallery always has a lovely show on at Christmas that focuses on the smaller canvases from a very wide range of artists. There was a superb Maggie Hambling and this one from Tai-Shan Schierenberg was lovely too.

But for me this beautiful painting by Johanna Melvin was my favourite. I can find very little about her luckily this was on the gallery website

Further along the ever reliable Kurt Jackson. he is one of those artists whose work does not translate very well on a larger scale. However his small mixed media pieces are really lovely, especially his most recent paintings of the Dordoigne. I think the new location has lifted his painting to a new level.

Walking down Bond Street I came across this group of people. three of them were in quilted jackets, they have become ubiquitous across town I tried to this of a collective noun for them but couldn't!

So the outcome of my research was neither Spitalfields or Leaden Hall would be worth the effort,the latter too quiet, the former is just another vehicle for Asian imports. Both Emin and I were smitten with the area despite going the wrong way twice! But having worked out a quick way to get there, I will return.

The family carol concert at St Martins-in-the-Fields was just beautiful, and so, so brilliantly sung very moving. Yes, Mater, I know at moments like these I am very, very blessed. After we went for sushi, I ate and drank far too much as usual and had stomach ache all the way home! that said Leyla matched me plate for plate and was fine, I think the food is too rich for me.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The view from here

Have you ever noticed that when times are tough at work, you find you can cope? Maybe only just, but books get marked, children get taught and paperwork is filed, worst of all data is compiled. All this and plus have staff who need suporting too. Then you go to a meeting and you talk the talk and bullshit with the best of them, then the person opposite suddenly says, "you're clearly under a lot of pressure with little support, it must be difficult" It was like being hit by a steam train. BANG, it dawned on me that yes, I was working hard with little support. My reaction at the tiniest skerrick of empathy is to blub. However I managed to suck it back up and soldiered on, but inside it can feel overwhelmingly hard sometimes.
As a result of the additional work I have struggled to go up to London, (especially Selfridges) to photograph the Christmas windows. I could have gone last Wednesday as strike action closed my after school class at college, however I realised too late and ended up spending a very fruitful couple of hours in the Library. I feel like I have paid to be a member of the most expensive library in the world since the tuition has been crap, so far it has been the only benefit. This weekend I was planning on going Christmas shopping with Kitty. She has shown a remarkable reluctance to enter into the gift giving fray, but after digging away at her for a week it transpires she is terrified of buying the wrong thing. Apparently for too long she has put on a brave face on receiving unwanted presents and thinks everyone will feel the same about whatever she buys. I told her that few people turn there noses up at posh chocolates or other food. I have often shopped in a lovely deli on Jermyn street for small but delicious edible gifts. She remains very unconvinced! I have to say I never had any qualms about the presents I bought, for me the pleasure was wholly in the purchase, once wrapped I didn't give it a seconds thought.
Anyhow she has blown me out for a cinema trip with her step mother, such is the dog eat dog world of parenting.
So I am shopping alone at the weekend. I am doing a reconnaissance on two markets. Ledenhall in the city and then Sunday I hope to go and see what there is in Spitalfields. I will take a camera as it has been far too long since I took photographs for pleasure.
I have just remembered I do have Christmas Carols at St Martins-in-the -Field on Saturday with Leyla, so looking forward to some sushi afterwards.
Finally I am wearing the jumper I swore I would return, the reason? It's much colder, in fact this time last year it snowed. I also realised I was trying to wear it with the wrong trousers. Instead of narrow, it needed wide legged ones of which fortuitously I had.
I am still at work with some year 11 girls desperately try to make a clay shoe! I'm crap with clay but I have done my best and now need a glass of wine before an early night. I am shattered.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Where Children Sleep

Risa, 15,Kyoto, Japan

Lamine, 12, Bounkiling village, Senegal

Rhiannon, 14, Darvel, Scotland

Nantio, 15, Lisamis, Northern Kenya

I love this idea, it is a real eye opener and beautifully photographed. See more on his website here