I spent a few days in London recently and was lucky enough to see two fabulous shows; |Painting the Modern Garden, Monet to Matisse at the Royal Academy with my friend Sheila, and Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art at the National Gallery with my cousin Adrian. First of all I have to say what a pleasure it is to go to look at art with another person, especially someone who appreciates it. The discussions, give and take of opinions and offering of ideas and references and general arty companionship really completes the experiences for me. What a fantastic resource is London with all of its galleries, museums, history and architecture. I'm very lucky!
|Rusinol - image from Royal Academy Website|
|Monet, Water Lilies - image from Royal Academy Website|
The Monet show was really interested, all garden subject matter of course, but it reminded me that the appreciation of beauty does not have to be sentimental. It's a fact of human nature. I sometimes dismiss my flower paintings as having little meaning but the fact is that they represent a pivotal time in my exploration of painting techniques.
|Monet in his garden - image from Royal Academy Website|
|Monet - image from Royal Academy Website|
Some of the work in the show was absolutely beautiful while I can honestly say that others left me a little cold. I like to see tension on the surface in the form of composition, colour palette or light. That's what really makes a painting work for me and in some of the pieces the light depicted was very one-dimensional.
|Henri Sedaner - image from Royal Academy Website|
|Munch - image from Royal Academy Website|
The National Gallery show was more of a mixed bag in terms of who was included. Starting with the romantic Delacroix's writhing allegories, there were pieces by Matisse and Kandinsky, Van Gogh and Gaugin, as well as a couple of surprisingly beautiful Odilon Redons, which I must admit that I haven't actually seen in person before. They never really show properly in photographs. Oh, and a couple of really beautiful John Singer Sargents.
|Delacroix - image from National Gallery Website|
|Olidon Redon, Ophelia Among the Flowers - image from National Gallery Website|
|Odilon Redon, Pegasus and the Hydra - image from National Gallery Website|
|John Singer Sargent - image from National Gallery Website|
|and early van Gogh - image from National Gallery Website|