Sunday, 16 November 2008

Away from it all

Still time to put your name down for the give-away folks - see last entry. Add your comment to that post, then I won't get muddled - it happens so easily, these days! Thank you all for the magnificent response. So encouraging.

We have had such an exciting time over the last few days. We were supposed to be going to Paris for a few days but the agent had a muddle over our booking form and, by the time we realised this, there were no places left. Despondency. So on Thursday I suggested to Clive that we go up to London to see the Bacon and the Byzantium exhibitions. He said that was pushing it a bit and why not stay the night. This turned into two nights and we have had such a good time. It is not easy for us to be spontaneous, due to all the commitments but this just squeezed in fine. (Suitable arrangements were made for cats in case you are worrying).

The hotel was great and we parked the car and took to tube, foot, taxi and river bus. The Byzantium exhibition was amazing, especially the icons. Lots of them were on thick slabs of wood in a very distressed state and Clive kept muttering about catalogues. It's true that they did look just like killed catalogues. There was a whole room full of icons from St Catherine's monastery in Sinai. I have drawn them so often in my sketchbook and it was a real wow moment to see them in the flesh.

It was late night opening, so we went around tea-time and it wasn't too crowded. There was a lot of criticism of the labelling which was very sparse (I think they want you to hire the audio-thingys) but it caused everyone to talk to each other and pool their knowledge and it made it all very friendly. We kept going back to the beginning and starting again. I will do some drawings of a reliquary that I really fell for and post it tomorrow.

When we eventually tore ourselves away from the RA we walked up Regent Street to see the lights and these driftwood horses were in the window of the National Geographic Shop. Fantastic, aren't they?

They were made from driftwood collected by Balinese schoolchildren and are an allegory of the four horses of St Mark's in Venice.

Here's a close up from another angle.

Then we found a lovely little Italian place for dinner. We walked up to Oxford Street and then it was back to the hotel.

Having slept like logs we breakfasted well and set off for Tate Britain. The Bacon exhibition really blew us away - we're both big fans. Spent our coffee break discussing scale, perspective, artistic devices, tortured lives, man as meat, non-narrative descriptions and the meaning of life. This was exhausting and we had to have another coffee to recover. We soon reverted to normal and enjoyed a drawing exhibition in another part of the gallery. Thanks to Jane Wild for telling us about that - would have hated to have missed it.

Then on to the river bus that travels between the Tates. Proper tourists and here's a shot to prove it.

After that little sit down we went on a tour of the city, where Clive slaved for so many years. There was a lot of 'I used to work in that building' and he realised to his horror that one of the buildings he'd worked in had been pulled down and rebuilt THREE times since he was there. What a waste. No wonder the city is in such a mess - how can that be justified?

Soap box over. Here's something really good. Can you see it peeping out shyly at the top?


And a bit closer?



Yes, it's Foster's wonderful gherkin.


.Love those reflections

I've never liked the Lloyds building as it makes me think of pressure cookers.



But it makes a great Displacement map.


More on London next time.


Genie said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time! Love the displacement map.

Maggi said...

So glad you enjoyed it, you deserved the break. The driftwood horses are amazing.

Robin Mac said...

Sounds like you had an even better time in London than you weould have had in Paris. The displacement map looks great. Cheers, Robin

Heather said...

Glad you have both had a lovely break - you've certainly earned one. The driftwood horses are so cleverly constructed and the displacement map is better that the real thing! I would love to have seen those icons. Inspiration for a future Workshop on the Web perhaps?!

Aussie Jo said...

What a fun time!! You could add a bit more driftwood and they could become reindeer!!
With four children I'm thinking xmas.

sulphursue said...

I take my hat off to you on sussing the software. Think I mat try a memory stick , as I have to carry my machine in from my "barn" - actually an ald chicken shed- to the house each time I want to download something. Trying to persuade "him indoors" to get a new computer so that I can have the old one in the barn. It was a nightmare installingthe Artista software the first time - its staying where it is! Please put me in the draw. Thanks. Sulphursue

Judy said...


The driftwood horses are delightful, you sound as if you had a wonderful two days. I agree the Loyds building is much better with displacement applied that's from an Aussie whose never seen it bar in photos.

Gina said...

Sounds like a wonderful break... must get up to see the Bacon exhibition.

Dorothy Gibbs said...

Hi Maggie,
Sounds like you had a grand time altogether. Glad you were able to get away for a bit. I think sometimes an unexpected trip like that turns out better than a planned one. I too worked in the City for many years at Bart's hospital so you went to all the places I know.

Amanda Sheridan said...

A couple of days in the big smoke - just what you needed I'm sure. Must try and get to the exhibitions but what with an almost full time job, present making for Christmas (and three Nov/Dec birthdays - how inconsiderate!), NCFE coursework, making Disney themed fancy dress costumes for me and the other half for my brother in law's 50th birthday bash on Saturday (still a big kid even at that advanced age!), catalogue killing and trying desperately to finish Lesson 1, I think I'm just going to have to enjoy them vicariously thanks to you!

Threadspider said...

It's the horses that I'd love to see. Great post Maggie.

Julie said...

I love the driftwood. They have driftwood sculptures down at the Eden Project in Cornwall. I'll have to find my photos.

Glad you had a good time in London. I do like the Gherkin! Your displacement map looks great too, lovely colours.

My catalogue is in and drying. Sounds as tho I need to start another!

Mixed Media Martyr said...

I adore your displacement map art!!

vintagerockchick said...

Glad you enjoyed your visit to London and the exibitions Maggie - I went to the New Renaissance Portrait exhibition at the National Portrait gallery yesterday which I enjoyed too. Might try and get to the Francis Bacon exhibition if I get the chance xx

Jan said...

A well deserved break Maggie, count me in the draw please.
love Jan