Monday, 10 August 2009

Long trip - little paint

There's a lot happened since my last post. Plenty of travel, lots of fun, interesting sights, great museums, lovely family occasions but little painting. Lets start by mentioning the annual trip to the opening of the Lake Artists Society Annual Exhibition. This takes place in late July each year and runs through to the start of September. It is held in the Village Hall, Grasmere and whilst it may not sound as the grandest of venues, the material on display is never less than interesting to visit and most of it is of a very high quality. There are a mixture of works in all sorts of different media. The Society maintains its standards by controlling the membership, who have to fulfill a residency criterion as well as being subject to election. If you are in the Lake District and fail to go and see the exhibition you will deny yourself a real treat.

Lake Artists Catalogue 2009
Home from the Lakes in time to pack a bag for two weeks away, London, Vienna and Slovakia.
We began with a few days in London, visiting family and crashing the galleries. First visit was to the National Portait Gallery to view the Annual BP Portrait Award Exhibition, always an interesting view. The selection of pictures below are drawn from the exhibition. The exhibition contains a wide variety of styles but each piece exhibited has a real impact, whether it be because of the stunning technique or the painterly impression. The whole of the exhibition is available to view on the NPG website. Changeling 2 was the first prize winner.
Changeling 2 - Peter Monkman, Oil on canvas 48" x 35"

Robert - Mark Clay, Oil on board 16" x 11"

Tom - Peter Holt, Oil on canvas 18" x 14"

Hats and Scarves - Tim Okamura, Oil on canvas 80" x 88"

John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood - Karl Rudziak, Oil on canvas 47" x 79"

My song - Jung-Im Song, Oil on canvas 24" x 18"

And so to Vienna and the amazing architechture, galleries, palaces and cafes of this wonderful city so dominated by the rule of the Hapsburgs. On this trip we were stopping off for a few days en route to Slovakia, so it was a case of cramming in as much we could. Three foot weary days later we had done a whistle stop tour of some of the attractions of this fascinating place. It would take too long to itemise all the highlights but I will leave you with two, Schloss Schonbrunn, summer palace of the Hapsburgs and one of the great masterpieces from the Kunsthistorisches collection. Leaving Vienna was done with a firm commitment to a prompt return.

Schloss Schonbrunn

Art of Painting - Vermeer

Last of all was our move across the border into Slovakia. This was in fact the main prompt for the trip in the first place. We had a family wedding to attend. Jane had become engaged to a Slovakian young man and for a variety of reasons they had decided to hold their wedding in his home village, Lesna. What a treat, hospitality, food and drink of the highest standard. People who were an absolute pleasure to be amongst and great fun and rejoicing as we acquainted ourselves with the customs and rituals around a Slovak wedding. I can thoroughly recommend the experience. All in all a great trip. We covered a lot of miles, saw a lot of sights and met a lot of wonderful people. My only regret was the fact that I only had one small opportunity, for about half an hour, when it was feasible for me to unearth the paint box. The small watercolour sketch below was the result. The plan, now that I'm home, is to start on those block exercises advocated by Susan Sarback and have my first experience of painting with nothing more than a knife.

Church Oravska Lesna - 12" x 10" Watercolour sketch on Not paper

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