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Ros-in-Wye

A wonderful trip to Ross-on-Wye over the weekend, ready for a lecture for The Arts Society, Ross on Monday. A lovely place and really lovely people, thank you to everyone who looked after us so well and who gave such positive feedback about the 250 Years of the Royal Academy lecture.

Unusual to have an Arts Society lecture in August, but that was the last before my well deserved (well, I think so at least!) summer break.  Subsequently out and about, at large in the country, so I thought I’d do a series of ‘Where in the World’, so watch this space ….

Hares in the Park

On my way back from a tour at the Royal Academy on Thursday I decided to cut through St James’ Park for a change and was so glad I did.  There’s a display of some delightful, quirky, other-worldly sculptures by Sophie Ryder.  Half shaded by the glorious trees, the shafts of sunlight picked up the pieces and bathed them in a suitably surreal light.  As office workers relaxed on the grass the silhouettes of dancing hares and hare-riders (or Ryder-hares!) loomed overhead in a delightful way, transforming the mundanity of the city into a miniature wonderland.  Artists such as Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor seek, through their art, to make us look again at our environment, to make us experience afresh the streets we tread, Sophie Ryder’s hares made me see St James’ Square in a totally new light, a magical scene set in the midst of a busy London Thursday.

if you see them, walking down the street, don’t just walk on by, but take a pic and send it to me ..  SHARE A HARE!

St James Square – public access Monday to Friday until 4.30pm.

Visiting Matisse in the Studio

Had a trip up to the wonderful Matisse in the Studio exhibition at the Royal Academy yesterday.  It’s great to have the opportunity to see his paintings alongside the objects, or ‘characters’ that he chose to populate them with.  The Andalusian green vase is particularly lovely and a close examination reveals it has been broken and mended at some stage – before or after Matisse’s death I wonder?

The Arts Society Part II – Pantiles

My second Arts Society event of the day was a trip to Tunbridge Wells, where I was met by the lovely Joanna Lowe, who greeted me with a warm smile that instantly took my mind off my difficult journey.  She also presented me with a bag full of food and drink goodies, which I finally finished off when I was back home at 11pm!

What a friendly lot they are at The Arts Society Pantiles!  I had a great response to my talk about Antony Gormley, with a good deal of enthusiasm for his work, plus stories of visits to his various art works, particularly The Angel of the North and Another Place at Crosby Beach, Merseyside.

Another Place, Crosby Beach

I also heard stories of friends and family who had taken part in Gormley’s One and Other, his Fourth Plinth intervention in 2009, when 2,400 lucky people were allocated an hour’s slot on the famous ’empty’ plinth in Trafalgar Square … hundreds of living art works, celebrating the importance of the individual and the ‘ordinary’ life, alongside the kings, generals and admirals more usually seen in public art in public squares.  Very often in my talks I think I gain as much as I give!  Thank you for a lovely warm reception in Tunbridge Wells and for sharing your Gormley stories.

The Arts Society Part I – Blackheath

An exciting and busy day on Thursday. Exciting because the new website finally ‘went live’ and busy because of a double dose of NADFAS (sorry, The Arts Society, as it now is).

My Arts Society sessions were on both sides of the microphone, firstly (Part I) at my local branch, The Arts Society Blackheath, listening to a lecture ‘Treasures of the Turf’ by Christopher Garibaldi, the Director of the National Horse Racing Museum at Newmarket.  I was particularly interested in hearing about Newmarket as I’m going there on Monday to talk to Newmarket DFAS about ‘Signs and Symbols in Art’.

That will be my second visit to East Anglia in as many weeks, as I had my first ever visit to the beautiful city of Norwich, talking all things Hogarthian to The Arts Society Wensum.  Sometimes my job is a complete delight and that day trip to Norwich was one of those occasions!

Sunny Norwich last Wednesday

Hello world!

Welcome to my new website!  I’m so pleased with myself for setting it up, after years of using iWeb to create my site, I did a spring clean on my Mac (in summer!) and lost the iWeb software, so had to set up a new site.  All in all, rather pleased with it and I look forward to re-starting my blog now that I’m re-enthused about the website … so watch this space!