Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Exhibition at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

 My exhibition at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital comes down today. It was a whirlwind show. I painted the images on returning from Canada in November. Above is a shot from my studio as I get ready.
I sometimes takes shots of paintings in the middle of painting them. This one I felt had a really nice feel half finished and I wanted to document it to compare it to the finished piece. You can see the last painting underneath (I have flipped the painting upsidedown).
Here is a shot of the finished piece (under terrible lighting).
In the end this one area was too small to hang all the paintings. I had to sacrifice one of my favourite images because a weaker another painting actually made the grouping look better.
 Further down my Antoinette series is hung.
I come back during daylight hours and get this shot.

(I just want to say having a new computer and a new blogger format suddenly makes blogging easy again!) Now to finish Croatia and the house blogs!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas from our house!

 Merry Christmas from our Edwardian house in London, United Kingdom!

(Yes, we are still missing the curtain rod and curtains!)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Croatia: Leaving Dubrovnik

This is our last morning in Dubrovnik. We are due to leave at 10am.
There is one last thing I want to see before we go. I take an early bus by myself into the Old Town and head for the Dominican Monastery which opens to the public at 9am.
Tour groups wander the streets in packs at this hour as the sun is not yet overhead and the heat has not reached its midday peak.
I head into the quiet courtyard of the monastery. The stones make the temperature even cooler and it is a quiet place to come in the morning (until the tours enter a short while later).
There are a few things to see here, a small museum and the church.
Building began on the Gothic-Rennaisance structure in 1301, the city, along with the Dominicans, provided funds and ordered citizens to contribute labour, due to its proximity right up against the city walls by the Old Port. It was constructed around the same time as the city walls.
A well sits unused in the middle of the central cloister.
The church has The Virgin and Child alter piece, 1513, with the bearded donor (from the Dordic family) kneeling at the feet of St. Martin in the lower right.
The Veneto-Byzantine crucifix by Paolo Venziano (14th century) hangs over the main altar.
Leaving the church by a side door one joins the cloister.
The cloister is filled with palm and orange trees.
I find the small museum which houses a small Croatian Renaissance Collection that blows me away. I spend most of the hour I have in this room pouring over technique, colour, gold leaf, composition, and framing. I am in awe.
I exit the monastery
and head down the stairs.
I pass the Old Port entrance on my way out.
The church and monastery resemble a fortress. One last look as I leave Dubrovnik.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Croatia: Sanja & Rosie's Laundrette

I just have to do a post on Sanja & Rosie's Launderette in Dubrovnik. It is our 10th day of travelling, we have packed lightly and are sharing a small suitcase. We need some laundry done soon. We come across an ad at my favourite veggie restaurant, Nishta's, that is advertising this launderette. We decide to give it a try.
We arrive to find a wide open self-service launderette (the only one in Dubrovnik) with laundry soap sitting on top of every machine. Launderettes are very hard to come by in a lot of Europe. I remember that from Italy.
Not only is there soap, but Shout and a scrub brush.
There are fun retro posters all over.
And all the decor has a 50's theme.
We notice that although the place is unmanned there are two cameras installed. Someone is watching from somewhere.
Music plays and the paying machine reminds me a jukebox.
All the machines look brand new and I can't figure out why no one else is in here.
There is a stack of magazines to read.
Free water.
Outside in the seating area I discover a guest book with a set of pencil crayons.
I read through to see where all the other people washing their clothes have come from. All over the world, it turns out.
I do a double take. What lollies?!
I quickly do a scan of the room and find "Candy Time". Pictured above is after we eat through half of it.
We leave our own message in the book.
It turns out that Sanja and Rosie are from Vancouver, Canada! Now, how on earth have they found themselves in Dubrovnik running a retro laundrette?
Even free Internet. Funnily, most places we go have the exact same password.
A great place to do your laundry! We highly recommend it.
Nigel: "You aren't going to blog this, are you?"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Croatia: Mount Srd and Sveti Jakov (beach)

I guess our 4 days in Dubrovnik got a bit tiring since we book a hostel in the new section that takes us 30 minutes to reach the Old Town from. This is not always the best for stamina as there is no place to return to quickly for a break. So for the first two days we walk the old town of Dubrovnik and got exhausted. The last two days do day excursions in the area. Yesterday was Cavtat. Today is a trip up Mount Srd which sits above the old city and look down with great views.
Here we are driving up the winding road that climbs higher and higher in a series of switchbacks.
Wow, what a view on the journey up of the Adriatic Sea.
The road is extremely windy and treacherous and there seems to not be a single other vehicle climbing it.
The top is very dry and barren, although there are a few small farming villages this high up. Above is a metal something or other with what looks like bullet holes in it.
At the very top we reach the 412 metre high summit. The summit was taken over in 1991 by Serb forces when they tried to take over Dubrovnik. It is hard to imagine the town holding out with the opposing forces having this sort of vantage point. You can see the old town and its walls in the photo above.
The mountain top gives a panoramic view of the whole coast. On the top there is a cable car that was destroyed by Yugoslavian forces during the war. Our guide books have not updated the fact they are now in full use with a cafe at the top. The cable car leaves just outside the old city walls. Also on top of the mountain is Fort Imperial built by Napoleon's occupying army in 1808. It is still in a good state, but seems off limits to the public. We ignore a few signs and have a peep around. Wild sage grows everywhere. Next we descend and head to the a beach out of town. It is further down the coast. Sometimes the guide books that we bring come in extremely handy. I find a description of all the beaches in the area. The main ones come up when we ask our host and other travellers. But Sveti Jakov was one I read about that sounded remote and hidden. The Rough Guide reads:
Sveti Jakov: a small stretch of pebble at the bottom of a cliff, reached by steps which descend from the coastal path below the St James's Monastery. Twenty minutes from the city centre, fantastic views towards the Old Town, and west facing so catches the afternoon and evening sun. That is a cruise ship we are looking at from the shore. Obviously an alternative in the cruise ship industry. We stretch out for a nice day. Five minutes later we have had too much sun and head for shade. A view of the beach from a bit of a distance.