Wednesday, October 30, 2013

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York.

As I began to look through the photographs I took during my visit to the United Kingdom, I realized that there are too many for just one post.  I also realized how many more places and friends I could have seen if only I could have stayed at least one more week.  I do hope that those of you whom I just could not manage to meet up with this time will forgive me.  Perhaps 2014 will provide me with more travel opportunities.

And with that introduction, please allow me to show you some of what I recently saw and did.  My London base was the Rembrandt Hotel, where I have stayed on many prior holiday visits.  It's in a very convenient location and the staff are wonderful.

I was assigned a room over one of the little balconies like those you can see in the above photograph, and so my view was of the magnificent Victoria and Albert Museum, just over the road.

I am a great fan of the V&A and, as a member, was able to visit not only the beautiful permanent collection galleries, but also several of the special exhibits.  One was Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s; the other was Masterpieces of Chinese Painting.  They could not have been more different, and I am delighted to have been able to see them both.

While in London, I visited several other museums, including the Tate Britain and Tate Modern.  On my way to the Tate Britain, I came across some acrobatic tree trimmers, working without a net.  I admired their bravery, but wondered about how the trees might have felt about their winter haircuts.

If you see what I mean.  Lots of noisy mulching was also going on.

The Tate Britain is in the midst of some external maintenance, and so it was necessary to enter via the side door.  My mission was to see the L. S. Lowry exhibit, with its many depictions of the life of workers during the time of the industrial revolution.  One of my British friends calls Lowry an acquired taste, and it is true that what he depicted is not always pretty, but it does seem true.

Back to the V&A, where I made wonderful use of the cafe for many lunches and afternoon cakes and coffee.  Unfortunately, although the weather was mostly fine, the interior open courtyard was closed to the public as some exhibition-related work was underway.

The following picture shows my little journal book on the window seat overlooking the courtyard.  It was a fine place to sit and make some notes of my daily experiences.

Not all of my art observation occurred in museums.  I am a fan of the artists who've been using spray paints to decorate various walls in the East End.  This is done with the approval of the owners of the walls.

And this one.

And this view of a very grand bird and an octopus hybrid.

On Hanford Street, I came upon three fellows who were working on adjacent paintings.  Only the fellow on the right of the following photograph was making use of a mask over his nose and mouth.  He was also using a ladder.

 It takes quite a while to complete these works.

Apparently, these wall paintings are now being subjected to curatorial interest.  True.

The photo below shows another artist beginning to sketch in his design from a sketch on paper he's holding in his left hand.

I am a great fan of the warm hospitality and wonderful traditional food served at the E. Pellicci restaurant at 332 Bethnal Green Road.  I would recommend this place to any of you who enjoy a welcoming atmosphere.

I first became aware of Pellicci's and other East End locations via the excellent Spitalfields Life blog, written by the Gentle Author.

It was my great pleasure on this London trip to be able to attend the launch party for the Gentle Author's newest book.  The launch was held in the remarkably beautiful Christ Church.  It was a grand event. Those of you all who do not yet know the wonders of  the Spitalfields Life  posts will benefit from a visit.

During the launch, I got to meet many folks who've been written about in the Gentle Author's posts.

One of these folks  is Barn the Spoon, who maintains a tiny shop at 260 Hackney Road.  It is pictured below just behind the traffic light.

Barn is a very talented craftsman, and I am now the proud owner of a sycamore wooden spoon that is definitely a one of a kind creation.  Isn't it splendid?  I would greatly recommend any of you who treasure well made objects and those who make them make a visit to Barn, Friday through Tuesday, 10 to 5.

Just to prove I can take some touristy photographs, here is a view of a red bus and a lamp post.

And this would be Trafalgar Square.

And strangely, this would also be a view in Trafalgar Square.  The plinth gets lots of things landing on it over the years.

Corporate designers are taking tips from those adventurous aerosol spray painters.  The amber leaves are not real.

 The artwork in the following photo may be found in the Rough Trade Records shop in the old Truman Brewery building off Brick Lane.  It was created by Robson Cezar from many, many bottle caps.

I did not spend all my time in London.  In my next post I'll be showing some places a bit further afield.  Hoping you will enjoy this initial holiday report and will keep an eye out for more to come.

Please note that some of the links I wish to add to this post are not currently operating...I will return later today to see if I can get them up and running.

Update...I have been able to correctly set the link to the Spitalfields Life post.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Good morning from New York.

Yes, it's been a while since my last post.  Things got busy here in New York, and then ... I went on a wonderful trip to the United Kingdom.  

The above photo is of the NYC subway station under Bryant Park at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.  There is quite a slant.

I promise to show you all lots of the beautiful places that I visited across the Pond in my next post.  It might actually take two posts!

Meanwhile thank you for checking in here.