each year i am always eager to see what the new serpentine pavilion will bring – this years is a strange mix of child like building bricks painted blue with an organic light wood roof – quite incongruous – but being within the space and peering through the nooks and crannies is quite a pleasure and the roof almost floating away to reveal a glimpse of the outside. i am always thankful that schemes like this exist to give way to creation and experimentation – what a wonderful project it would be to design something like this for oneself. this years pavilion by Francis Kere is there to see until 8 october, so plenty of time to visit. you can also see the wonderfully pictorial urns of Grayson Perry – recalling many stories about our culture and society – they are not usually my kind of art, but they are magnificently executed and strange.
i met with my gallery buddy Lyn at Kaffeine – a nice independent coffee shop on eastcastle street, then we strolled through the marvellous streets of mayfair through to hyde park, past the swans on the serpentine and then onto the pavilion – what a wonderful city we have, offering so much and all we had to pay for was the price of the coffee.
lovely to see the objects and tools of inspiration at the matisse in his studio exhibition at the royal academy. i am not sure whether these are the genuine objects that are in the still life paintings, but it shows how he spent time in choosing and preparing his objects, moving them around until he got the arrangement that he liked, painting them over and over again in different scenarios. Such an interesting show from another perspective. one always assumes that painters just see a part of a room, or an arrangement of objects then paints them, but like everything in life, things are more considered and deliberately grouped to create the aesthetic. as a former stylist, i should have guessed – i spend hours trying out arrangements of objects for my own still lives – interior shoots are rarely the rooms untouched – though occasionally i do just capture a grouping that catches my eye just as it is.
go and see this charming film about a woman, Maud who has crippling arthritis and her relationship with a fish pedlar – they lived in poverty for most of their life, but her joy was painting; and despite the painful disease, she managed to paint these charming and naive paintings that depict local life . its beautifully shot, set in novia scotia – it shows the hard bleak winters, the stunning landscapes – but its mainly a strange love story set in a one room cabin between two people, who didnt demand much from life. both Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke play the characters amazingly. it also makes you think that we should all live so simply. its based on a true story and you definitely need a handkerchief!
and here is my little maudie
the Majorelle gardens are painted with this amazing blue – it reminds me of the lovely casa polopa hotel with its beautiful stencilled walls and also of the frida kahlo house. you can try the majorelle blue paint from bristol paints – it would indeed be a bold statement to paint one of your walls or your garden this intense shade of blue. stencilling is another lovely idea to try – if it looks really terrible, paint it in and start again in another colour!
visit the beautiful jardin majorelle in marrakesh, originally landscaped by Jacques Majorelle, the gardens opened in 1947 to the public, but after his death in the 60’s, the gardens were acquired by Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge who kept up its existence and enchanting condition. it truly is a tropical paradise with its water lily ponds, intense blue and exotic plants.
For an offbeat travel experience in the Mexico City area, you really must consider this visit to the Museo Frida Kahlo in Coyoacan. Hidden behind high cobalt blue walls at the corner of Londres and Allende in this charming southwestern suburb, the museo is where the surrealist artist Frida Kahlo was born, grew up and later lived with her muralist husband Diego Rivera, from 1941 until her death at age 47 in 1954. Fascinating not only for the collections and personal effects of the two great artists it contains, the museum also affords a window on the lifestyles of affluent Mexican bohemians during the first half of this century. its a long time since i have been back to mexico, but this will be high on my list again.
so i finally made my very first festival – not including day events in london – meaning the ones in the countryside that you can stay for a few days, camp overnight and visit – the ones that your kids usually frequent; anyhow, this one seemed the perfect one for me, arty, literary, music, hippy, beautiful setting and within a short drive from my lovely friends house in padstow; also my friend Ros of Beggars Velvet was hosting some art workshops there and completely convinced me that it was all bare feet, flowers in the hair and vintage floaty dresses and i would love swimming in the river….. together with the fact that Nick Lowe was singing a set, it convinced me that maybe i had missed out on this festival lark. however what i didnt expect was the turn in the weather, terrenchial rain for days and hence mud mud mud. fortunately i came prepared, wellies, uniqulo padded jacket and umbrella saved the day . i felt really sorry for all the organisers, who had obviously spent months in preparation, the poor stall holders who had carted all their beautiful wares, but i felt even more sorry for the campers who had to lie in that squelch – no way to avoid the mud even in your tent; all you could do was try and forget about it, and enjoy yourself. fortunately there are lots of marquees set up for all the events – so once you were inside, you were at least dry. its pretty amazing that there were so many interesting people speaking, doing things, keeping you entertained – we listened to a very interesting and entertaining Martin Parr interview, did a quick life drawing in the rain, and then listened to the charismatic and entertaining Nick Lowe before returning home to our dry beds. its the perfect festival for those of you who like all aspects of culture and is SO INCLUSIVE for the children, the food choice is good and reasonable, and if it wasn’t for the weather it would have been a perfect day out. there is so much to see and do, you really do need a couple of days there, we missed out on lots of events – we should really have got the itinerary in advance and mark out our day making sure that you got to each event at the right time.
just finished reading this interesting book by Juliet Nicolson – a house full of daughters. the book is about daughters and mothers, about abandonment, secrets and jealousy, about a sense of belonging to a place as well as its creation of loneliness. as a daughter myself and having 2 daughters, its intriguing reading, especially as the first character is Pepita – a talented flamenco dancer from Malaga, whose own mother was intensely jealous of her own daughter and destroyed her first marriage. the succeeding daughters were all lucky enough to have a privileged wealthy upbringing, and each one wrote about the previous generation – it reveals that whatever your background, there are the same trials and tribulations, love and disagreements that transmit through all mothers and daughters. its strange isn’t it that you never really get to appreciate your mother fully til you grow up, become a little wiser and especially when you become a mother yourself.
i popped into aperture to drop off a black and white film for development – i was pleasantly surprised and pleased to wait in a queue of young people also picking up films; its one of the few places left that develop films (except snappy snaps), but i think that their processing and printing is far better than the chain street shop. if you dont want prints, you can have a scan and process, which works out cheaper, but i still like to have the prints and see the difference. i always check out the cameras for sale, craving the leicas and roliflex cameras – how many cameras can one girl collect? i am a bit nerdy when it comes to equipment and like most photographers are always looking for the next new thing, except for me, i am looking at the old classics. i have given up on digital, you may as well take them with your iPhone. i then went off to photographers gallery to see the large format prints by Gregory Crewdson, cathedral of the pines. i have always admired his photographs, even though they are super staged and lit professionally as though on a film set – so not the spontaneous reality you may imagine – there is always a light that evokes a mystery and eeriness that conjure stories and myths. these definitely conjure all kinds of stories, so worth a visit. if you visit before 12 noon, its free entry, but to be honest the £4 fee is a worthy contribution to keep an institution dedicated to photography alive.
there are very few pics of me, but my friend debra always makes an effort to snap me – always with a camera round my neck…… and both shot with iPhones…..