I had a trip to London last week. I was attending a work event at the Linnean Society next door to the Royal Academy. It is the world’s oldest active biological society, and somewhere I’d love to return to with an appointment to browse in the intriguing library. After my press launch had finished, I had a look around the RA. I didn’t have tickets to the exhibitions there, but it was good to absorb the atmosphere. I treated myself to a beautiful new sketch book of khadi paper from the shop, and I enjoyed a cup of coffee in the buzzing cafe. Despite the drizzle, I decided to walk through central London, exploring some of the places that I used to know very well as I worked nearby for some years.
First stop was Liberty, which is always inspiring, even though I cannot afford a single thing in the shop. I really just wanted to visit the homes section, and the iconic textiles department, and I wasn’t disappointed. It is always an absolute feast for the eyes.
Beautiful, colourful ceramics in this year’s colours of saffron and pink. I took the next photo without realising there was a large sign specifying ‘no photography.’ Whoops.
I picked up some of the pottery, tempted by the look and feel, but the prices are so high, I’m not sure who buys it. Instead, I popped into H&M Home, more suited to my pocket, and was really impressed by the offering there. I loved this striped coral and pink tea towel, which also comes as a tablecloth, and this was the perfect backdrop to some fresh flowers that I bought recently.
I walked along Regent Street, past Hamleys toy shop with pounding music and candy floss scented bubbles floating out over the pavement, luring in children and their parents. I looked in Arket, another shop with beautiful styling, I tried on some trousers in Zara (brave!), and then headed along Oxford Street, into St Christopher’s Place, and cut through to Marylebone High Street. Shops come and go here, but Daunt Books is always worth a visit. It is such a beautiful, historic bookshop.
The little cafés which line the streets here were full of people avoiding the rain.
As dusk was falling it was time to go to Kings Cross station for my train, but my head was full of sights and inspiration. I came home bursting with enthusiasm. Sometimes it is refreshing to have a change of scene. I didn’t buy much, I was just looking, and it was lovely. As a result of my exploring, I have painted two new pictures, both on recycled cardboard. The one at the top of my blog, which is only just finished and still on the drying rack, and the one below.
The framed still life, above, sold very quickly on Instagram and it has a new home in a lovely farmhouse in Suffolk. I think everyone liked the pink frame as much as the picture inside it! The other picture is now for sale, and it is £50 unframed or £60 framed, also in pink. It measures 30x42cm in the frame. P&P is £6.50. Message me on email@example.com if you are interested.
I am going to have to keep on painting as I have some exciting plans afoot to join an open studios scheme in my area. Details to follow, if my application is successful. I have been encouraged by having two paintings accepted to the Made in 2022 exhibition at Peterborough Cathedral, starting on February 8. This will be well worth a visit, as it is a large, community based exhibition covering all sorts of paintings, textiles, sculpture and writing, too. Last year’s event was joyful and of course, the Cathedral is a stunning backdrop.
Here’s to a lighter and brighter February.