Sunday, 22 October 2017

Ravenscourt Park Tree

I really wanted to draw an autumn tree today. I got in a bit if an inking frenzy with this and somehow instead of peaceful autumn I got slightly apocalyptic autumn. I think it's the yellow.
I like Ravenscourt Park for walking, there is also a peaceful walled garden with a sundial, and today, a white cat. We came back through Bedford Park which is a beautiful area of red brick arts and crafts houses and plane trees.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Bonus London Favourites Post

Thinking back over the last year today; a year since we moved to Chiswick and slightly longer since we moved to London. Some of my favourite things this year:

Best exhibitions:
Perfume at Somerset House; weird yet fun exhibition in which you go round a series of themed rooms, sniffing perfumed bags in random places and noting down what they smell of. Bizarre but magical experience.
Honourable mention: Matisse at Royal Academy; I love Matisse and his paintings were displayed with his actual possessions which inspired him, great to see how an artist actually worked.

Best Art Gallery:
Courtauld Gallery; small but perfectly formed and every picture is a star. All killer no filler as they say.

Best Restaurant: 
Cinnamon Club; a beautiful, sophisticated Indian restaurant in an old library in Westminster. The food is heaven, so good I bought the cookbook.
Honourable mention: La Trompette, Chiswick; a very elegant Michelin star restaurant on our road. Amazing game dishes and beautiful desserts.
Best Museum:
Always the V&A; Still not seen it all after umpteen visits. Full of beautiful things and a lovely courtyard and cafe. They even have a Leonardo da Vinci notebook.

Best Church:
St Bartholomew the Greater; An ancient church, full of atmosphere, tucked away behind a medieval gateway and an enclosed churchyard. 
Honourable mention: St Magnus the Martyr with the gigantic London Bridge model; crammed with tiny figures it is fascinating and delightful.

Best Walk/Explore:
Spitalfields; from posh shops in a historic market to c18th neighbourhood with Hawksmoor church and  African fabric shops on Dickensian streets, all life is here.
Honourable mention to Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market, a fascinating area, full of history and foodies.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

St Pancras

As part of my Victorian stations series I bring you the biggest and best; St Pancras. Saved from demolition in the 1960s and then miraculously restored and brought back to life. Featuring in many films etc including a Spice Girls video, The Secret Garden and I believe, Harry Potter. Can anyone think of others?
This drawing took me three sessions of work and I had to cut and stick the paper four times as the drawing kept expanding over the edge. Note, buy bigger paper. Annoyingly the clock tower would not quite fit on. I am very pleased with it though.
I am now pondering other difficult buildings to draw, the obvious one being the Houses of Parliament. Suggestions welcome!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Autumn View

Autumn is a great time to paint, everything is full of gorgeous golden colours. It is also my favourite time of year with crispy leaves everywhere, cold blue skies and hearty food.
This is another in the back of houses series. If you lean out of my bedroom window and look left you can see this. The red vine is gradually taking over the neighbourhood. The house fronts onto Chiswick High Road and is a chiropractors and exercise studio.
On a more general note, I have completed my target of visiting fifty museums and galleries while in London and hope to squeeze in a few historic houses too.
Inspired by the themed dinners with me and Leen, And having more time now, I am also starting on two new cooking projects: Slow Cooker Sunday (Eastern European food) and Indian dinner where I am trying to master curries.
I must start sewing again too, I have some grey jersey material for a tasteful winter dress.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Interior Challenge

My friend Anna challenged me to paint an interior! This is the Queen's Gallery, part of Buckingham Palace. The gallery is good to paint as the decoration is very bold with fabric covered walls, black marble skirtings and gothic ceilings like being under a giant wedding cake. The paintings are Caletto's views of Rome which I had not seen before.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Aviation Art

Following our visit to the aviation artists display at the Mall Gallery we had a mutual challenge. Alistair would build a model of my choosing and I would do a painting of it. Planes are difficult, although I like the colours and the sky. The plane is a WW1 Fokker Eindecker.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Typical Townhouse

One of my favourite areas of London is the back streets around St James' Park. In between the colossal government buildings are surviving London townhouses from the C18th. This is the typical layout with a railinged basement, the largest windows on the first floor. The colours of brick vary and some are stuccoed to resemble royal icing. Some like this look like two rooms on each floor. To visit one go to Chelsea where you can enjoy the atmospheric Carlyle's House or in Kensington 18 Stafford Terrace. Both are wonderfully unchanged.