And just after I told you all to go there too! Sorry. Bad timing.
If you get a near it – and you will because it’s so central – take the time to go into the National Gallery at the top of Trafalgar Square. It’s free and it has PLENTY of seating right in front of some of the most celebrated paintings OF ALL TIME!!!! Feel free to read that again in Kanye’s voice.
Even if art isn’t your “thing”, you will know what these paintings are and by whom. You will. Trust me. You will have heard of these artists – because they’ve been referred to in modern culture so many times – THAT’S how very good they were.
My main man Van Gogh is here – but not his Starry Nights which is my favourite (not only because of the Doctor Who episode with that magnificent speech by Bill Nighy that was superb!) but his Two Crabs which is my second favourite work of his. His Sunflowers is also here – more well known than his other paintings and certainly the focus of the tat in the gift shop. But for mine, Two Crabs is glorious. The colours get me every time. He painted this the year before he took his own life.
Works by Degas are here – his beautiful dancers.
Monet and Manet – side by side even so you can get the differences straight 🙂 Renior, Dürer, Constable, Talouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Cezanne…honestly. This is the who’s who of the age AND it’s only one section of the gallery.
While away an hour or two. Sit and sketch from some of the very best. Have a coffee in the cafe and come back for another few hours. It truly is a magnificent place – even the ground you walk on is beautiful.
Stamen’s website allows you to type in a place and it renders a map of it in watercolour. Fantastic for scrapbooks of travel, framed on your home’s “Wall of Life”, or part of your travel journal all marked up with where you have been – or want to go!
Go here – http://maps.stamen.com
Not a bad subject to try to get my eye in on. Gorgeous George. Well, sort of. I’ve broadened him somewhat and his nose is too bulbous, but I’ll keep on practising. I know I’m very rusty – and it’s something I want to get back into.
The hardest thing to do is to not tear it up along the way – my “internal critic” is a vicious bitch at the best of times. Imma gonna slap her silly for as long as I can.
One of the many things my mum has taught me is a love of handmade things. It doesn’t matter how “professional” they are in their execution, the only thing that matters is it’s made with love by someone thinking of gifting a piece of their time/love/skill/supplies to another.
To this end, Mum thought a funny gift for Christmas one year was some material, needles and thread for me to learn how to embroider. Hilarious woman 🙂
So one day a month, I go with my mum to her group afternoon session of crafty ladies. We sit and stitch (lots of different types of needlecraft) and I listen. The women are amazing. All full lives of families, friends, travels, work and most importantly, they talk about their plans for the future. I love listening to them. They make me laugh, they help me learn and I always have a better sense of perspective for my life when I leave.