Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fabulous day in London

Yesterday I went to London to meet some old-friends from Plymouth College of Art & Design. The 4 of us last met 25 years ago... I feel so old! We had a fabulous, albeit slight boozy afternoon, both catching up and talking about our distant past. The sketchbook stayed firmly in the bag apart to complain about the moly's paper. However, I had been busy in the morning.

I got to London early in order to visit the BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery. Whilst I appreciate the technical brilliance of producing a portrait that looks like a photo, I can't really see the point, and there were several of the entries in a photographic style. The winner's portrait reminded me of Lucian Freud with the colour palette she used, but I found the subject matter rather grim (her dead mother). Nevertheless, I loved the exhibition and as the NPG is one of my favourite galleries I'd recommend it to anyone visiting London.
Café in the Crypt
Prior to entering, I had breakfast in one of my favourite cafés, Café in the Crypt, which is below St Martins in the Field church. Whilst drinking my tea and eating a pastry I did the 2 sketches at the top of this post, abandonning the first one of the column when I realised I'd copied the date too far to the right. The second sketch is of one of the many tombstones that line the floor: my legs were crossed as I hate to stand on them. One day I'd like to attempt to draw the whole vaulted ceiling.
Viewing Turners
After a quick wander around the contemporary rooms of the NPG, I went next door to the National Gallery's Sainsbury Wing to see the exhibition Close Examination: Fakes, Mistakes and Discoveries, which was interesting, but had a lot to read with all the copies of x-rays and things next to the paintings, along with explanations of what had been altered etc. Moving into the main gallery, I stopped on a comfy couch and sketched the people viewing the Turners'.

Our mini-reunion was taking place in a pub near Baker Street, so I headed over early and wandered into Regent's Park. I am totally flower obsessed this summer, so took lots of photos. I then sat on a bench to sketch the Canadian geese, but it started to rain, so I found another bench under a tree and drew the trunk of a magnificent Chestnut tree. Do you like the inquisitive passer by?
Why aren't you drawing me?
Flowers in Regent's Park