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This was one of my favorite places that we visited in Budapest – the Hungarian National Gallery

It’s up in the Castle district and you can  pay to ride up in this cute Funicular.

It was very quiet and cool (in a not hot way!) and has a broad range of beautiful art from way back when.

I think because it was all new to my eyes – not ‘famous’ works of art that had been widely published –  I was able to really see the details and workmanship.

I took lots of detail photos, particularly of how artists represented pattern.

Canzi_ Grape Harvest

I took a zillion photos but these are some of my stand-outs – I didn’t take the name down of this one above but when I got home and looked at the close-up shots on my computer, I was blown away by the expressions on these characters faces.

The expressions captured are incredible.

I just loved the colours in this one below – but I probably said that about most of them.

Szonyi Funeral ion Zebegeny

Also – little known fact but after you have feasted on all the beautiful art over three floors, you can go up another and out onto the balcony for free! Budapest is all about climbing up to look back and get a good view and this was by far the least painful way to do it. Enjoy!

Jo Smith

These photos are from a recent exhibition by Prism on at the RBSA (which has sadly now ended) but I wanted to share them none-the-less.

Dorothy Tucker

Called ‘Another View’ it aimed to demonstrate just how broad Textiles can be and it delivered on that and some – it was both ingenious and thoughtful.

 

Claire Blackburn

Members of this Textile group are international but until now their exhibitions have been London-centric  – and it was so refreshing to see Textiles on at the RBSA and to see such a considered, well curated, quality exhibition.

Susie Vickery

The range of applications was very wide but I am always drawn to colour, pattern, stitch and print.

Prism felt

And the thought and development behind a lot of the pieces was very inspiring – lots of inspiration to be had.

Maria Boyle

MAC Birmingham also has two Textile exhibitions running atm so it’s a good time to be a proud Birmingham textile-lover!

Anita Bruce

We are just back from a week away in the Peak District and I had forgotten just how beautiful it was up there.

We did lots of walking as the weather was extremely kind to us and I even got to sit and sketch on a couple of days.

And we took in a lot of art when we visited Chatsworth house.

The wallpaper was AmAzInG!

There was a whole wall of Lucian Freud work.

And this Gainsborough – I didn’t notice until I looked back at the photograph that her expression is both quizzical and a bit sassy – both unusual for a woman in a portrait of that time.

And there were gorgeous Spring flowers to inspire everywhere.



And lots to eat and drink (!) and all that fresh air and lack of the usual responsibilities has re-charged my batteries.


A few weekends ago, HB and I had a little sojourn in Bristol and whilst there came across the Lubaina Himid exhibition showing at Spike Island.

Naming The Money is an installation of 100 life-sized wooden cutout figures representing Africans brought to Europe as servants.

My name is Ahmed
They call me Henry
I used to play the music of my people
Now I play to forget them
But I love the notes

Historically these slaves were given new names and roles and Himid attached their printed stories on the back of each figure.

My name is Zody
They call me Jenny
I used to grind herbs into powder
Now I blend fine tea for the ladies
But I am the best

I found this to be one of the most touching things – both sadness at their loss and humiliation but humbled by the positivity too.

My name is Essian
They call me Dan
I used to lead the army
Now I play for children
But I love their laughter

The fact that these were freestanding and you could walk among them was very effecting and their life-size-ness really made me connect with them as the real people they represented.

Himid was originally a set designer and wanted this exhibition to bring slaves out of the shadows and corners of traditional portrait painting and give them center stage.

My name is Emmi
They call me Jenny
I used to make potions and keep them in a jar
Now I help to make jam
They say it tastes good

And on a superficial note, I also enjoyed all the colours and patterning. Simply done but very moving.

My name is Akron
They call me Henry
I used to play at weddings
Now I play at funerals
But I have the memory

cl_fayence-_rooftops

Half term has been a welcome break in the normal in and out of running classes and has afforded me a block of time to paint. It’s been a while – on day one I had zero concentration for it and had to really plug away but it always falls into place if I keep at it.

book_inspo

And the slower mornings have meant a cup to tea in bed accompanied by something from my enormous post-Christmas reading pile. Inspiration abounds now.

hockney4

We made a family visit this weekend and while ‘Up North’ made a trip out to Salts Mill.

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The mill is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Saltaire and as such exhibits lots of Hockney.

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These beautiful paintings were part of the history of the Mill in the People and Process exhibition.

hockney2

These are some of Hockney’s iPad drawings which make up The arrival of Spring exhibition.

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They are studies done in the same location, Woldgate, as the seasons passed.

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The colouring, the textures and mark-making were so inspiring.

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And the book(s) shop were worth the trip too – highly recommended day out 😉

At the weekend I crossed off a Bucket List wish when we visited Crosby Beach in Liverpool.

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This is the home of Antony Gormley’s Another Place permanent exhibition. Almost all Gormley’s work focusses on the human figure and its relationship to spaces.

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Here there are 100 cast iron figures set along 3K of beach all looking out to sea, or as the tide comes in, in it too, all in contemplation – Gormley says of it himself ” It is…just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet.”

crosby-beach4

It was beautiful day and the sky was enormous with spectacular clouds but there was also something spellbinding about inhabiting the beach with these silent, still observers. You couldn’t help looking where they were looking and standing still next to them. Such a simple idea but so connecting.

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The only one who didn’t do any of that was our dog Lottie, who pranced about joyously in the water – I love this picture of her mid-prance!

fragonard-2016-9

We split our recent holiday in France, into two destinations so that we could cover more of the south coast in the time we were there.

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I had heard of Grasse being the perfume capital of France (and read that book years ago!)

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And I also knew that it would be cheaper than any where on the coastline to stay and that it was the home of Fragonard perfumes.

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And I am a big fan of Fragonard packaging so all in all it was the perfect destination.

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I love the styles of illustration and painterly florals that they use.

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And spent a happy time snapping away at all the beautiful displays.

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I’ve got to tell you I saw an assistant throw a beautiful box in the bin, and if I hadn’t had to navigate the convo in French I would have asked for it!

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Being the home of Fragonard, the town of Grasse had several Fragonard shops in it all with beautiful displays.


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So I have come home with oodles of inspiration…oh a bit of perfume too 😉

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Where does the time go? The Summer seems to be hurtling past and these past few weeks have been really busy and are only set to get busier with children’s classes to run at MAC and a lovely holiday to look forward to.

olli

So I’m prompted to finish some work I’ve started inspired by my travels earlier in the year and edit and store all my many Amsterdam photos.

A Windmill on a Polder Waterway - Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel

A Windmill on a Polder Waterway – Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel

These shots come from the Rijksmuseum which is one of the most beautifully set out buildings for art that I’ve been in.

Portraits of Sir Thomas Gresham and Anne Fernely - Anthonis Mor

Portraits of Sir Thomas Gresham and Anne Fernely – Anthonis Mor

The layout, the wall colour, the space…it all set the pictures off to their very best.

van gogh

It had a few ‘rock-star’ pieces like these Vermeer’s (below) which are truly lovely and made all the more so by being quite small in reality; intricately painted and full of emotion.

Woman Reading a Letter - Johannes Vermeer

Woman Reading a Letter – Johannes Vermeer

The Milkmaid - Johannes Vermeer

The Milkmaid – Johannes Vermeer

There were also some other sweet, candid, real-life scenes from painters I’d not heard of.

A Mother's Duty - Pieter de Hooch

They appeal to me for their subject matter – a little like walking past an open door and catching sight of a life being lived in a snapshot moment.

Woman with a Child in a Pantry - Pieter de Hooch

Woman with a Child in a Pantry – Pieter de Hooch

Other paintings appealed for their colour palate – sorry it’s blurry but the colours are gorgeous.

The Calling of St Anthony - Aertgen Claesz

The Calling of St Anthony – Aertgen Claesz

Others caught my attention because of their sense of history – this one is a beautiful composition and the notes on the plaque  explained that a family being painted playing music was symbolic of their harmonious life together.

David Leeuw with his family - Abraham van den Tempel

David Leeuw with his family – Abraham van den Tempel

Finally, when in The Netherlands you’ve got to love a Dutch countryside scene.

Boat with a Pollard Willow - Matthijs Maris

Boat with a Pollard Willow – Matthijs Maris

 

***

There are 3 main galleries the guide books suggest you visit.

The Van Gogh museum is a must-see – however long queues outside, big crowds inside, one or two ‘famous’ pieces of his but then bulked out by works by his contemporaries, made the expense of it feel a little bit like it was a money spinner exhibition.

The Stedeliijk museum of Modern Art was alright! Not a massive fan.

The Rijksmuseum was my stand out favourite.

(PS To those people who asked me about this, sorry it took me so long to write about it – you’ve probably had your trips by now and discovered for yourselves!) 

 

Claire_Leggett_to be creativequote-500px_print

Monday morning vibes – have a super sunny creative week.

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Ending a brilliant holiday in this pretty little town #franschhoek 🏘🌁🍷#southafrica #holiday #winetour #mountainview (just about) Last day on the coast 😢 but it was this awesome place ✨🌊💫 #robberg #beautifulbeach #southafrica #sunsandsea #waves #daytoremember The views alone are magic enough ✨ but what this pic doesn't show is the 11 whales we've spotted so far, the seal and also the whole pod of dolphins that skimmed through the waves as they rolled into shore 😍🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬🐬😍#southafrica #whalecoast #hermanus #mosselbaai #whataview #clouds #seaview 📷right before this adorable little fella hopped into my bag to come home with me 🖤🐧😍🐧🖤#penguin #southafrica #boulderbeach #iwantapenguin

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