A Jaunt To See Jenner

Yesterday, in need of exercise on a bright Spring day, I walked down to the Italian Gardens at the north side of Kensington Gardens. I made sure that I was socially distancing all the way. Though this was relatively easy. Not many people about. Continue reading “A Jaunt To See Jenner”

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Spring Paintings

For March we’ve got a wonderful new window display of paintings by Debbie George, a garden of spring flowers to enliven these grey, wet days. We’re hoping they’ll work their magic and inspire the sun to shine again, and transform our winter weary street with a carnival of colourful new life. Continue reading “Spring Paintings”

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Delicious Solitude

This little booklet is no bigger than a postcard. It’s a pocket book. It was published in 1989 for a joint exhibition of drawings by John Hubbard and photographs by Paul Joyce at the Royal Festival Hall. The exhibition toured to other venues, including Warwick Arts Centre. I didn’t see the exhibition but fortunately I found this book, another discovery in the treasure house that was Notting Hill Books. For many years its tiny reproductions were my only knowledge of John Hubbard’s charcoal drawings, until I saw his exhibition at Kew Gardens in 2006, Spirit of Trees, which included some of the drawings reproduced here. I found this book again today and felt moved to share its pages. Continue reading “Delicious Solitude”

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The Colour Of Memory

The entrance to the Pierre Bonnard exhibition at Tate Modern is a portal through a giant detail reproduction taken from his painting The Garden of 1936. It’s perhaps his best painting. It’s the one that most draws me in, most like a garden itself with it’s abstract disposition of marks and colours, it reminds me of paintings by Patrick Heron and Gillian Ayres. And there are other paintings here that bring to mind Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Howard Hodgkin, David Hockney. But before all of that, we’re straightaway into a red gallery with ‘hot’ paintings of Bonnard’s mistress, full-frontal nudes and a post-coital bedroom scene. The gardening comes later. Continue reading “The Colour Of Memory”

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Refuge – The Stone Garden At Weston

‘Refuge – The Stone Garden at Weston’ by Clare Dearnaley is a 20 minute film about the art collector Ronnie Duncan’s love for stone and his philosophy on life and of ‘living through his eyes’. Shot over one year it is led by capturing light passing across the stones, which appears to animate them and by an absorbing conversation with Ronnie. The film gently examines stories; the creation of an environment, the nature of possessions and the reclaiming and reusing of materials. It seeks to capture the possible transience of the Stone Garden as much as the semi-permanence of the stones themselves.

Weston is a 17th century cottage in Otley, North Yorkshire, home to Ronnie Duncan, who has over the last 60 years quietly furnished it with a remarkable collection of paintings and sculptures. This film looks at the stones in the garden; for more on the contents of the house please see the earlier blogpost – More Love Than Money.

There is also a lovely book by Polly Feversham and Diane Howse – Weston, a necessary dream.

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Passeggiata In Ortigia

passeggiata /ˌpasɛˈdʒɑːtə/ noun (especially in Italy or Italian-speaking areas) a leisurely walk or stroll, especially one taken in the evening for the purpose of socializing.”

Ortigia is a small island, just under 1km square, attached to the Sicilian city of Syracuse by three road bridges. “It forms the charming old town, best explored on foot and certainly the most pleasant place to stay in the city.” We were there for two weeks this summer and during our stay we discovered many circuitous routes as we strolled around its maze of ancient streets and alleyways. Continue reading “Passeggiata In Ortigia”

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Iford Manor

It was a chance discovery, and a beautiful surprise. We were in Bristol for the weekend, looking for a day trip. We consulted the National Trust handbook and Westwood Manor near Bradford on Avon seemed promising, but when we got there we found it was closed. So we carried on down the road, a narrow single-track lane that became evermore enclosed by trees, swallowing us up into its holloway and finally spitting us out into the valley of the Frome river. Continue reading “Iford Manor”

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In Cambridge

As we walked into town we passed the back wall of Emmanuel College, overseen by the great Oriental Plane tree, Platanus orientalis, growing in the Fellows’ Garden. We tried to get a closer look but since neither of us are college fellows we had to be content to view it from a distance. Continue reading “In Cambridge”

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Remaking Landscape

We just received a wonderful gift in the post. A message from beyond the grave. Before his death in January last year, John Hubbard had been putting together what he liked to call his self-curated retrospective; a collection of images with commentaries from his diary gathered together in a book celebrating his lifelong devotion to painting. Remaking Landscape is a thing of beauty. Continue reading “Remaking Landscape”

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Terre Verte

Eastern Moss is a nine panel painting by Brice Marden in nine variations of terre verte (green earth) pigment. It was the first painting we met when we visited his recent exhibition at Gagosian in London.

I kept putting the same colour on – the same colour, the same colour – but every time I put it on it was different. Each time it was this whole new light/colour experience. It was not a revelation, but a whole wonderful new experience… To me, it involves harnessing some of the powers of the earth. Harnessing and communicating. Continue reading “Terre Verte”

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