When I started making my 'Must See' list, I began with my blogging friend, Katherine Tyrrell of Making a Mark. Until now Katherine and I had never met face to face, so we exchanged a couple of candid photographs and arranged to meet outside the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly. Katherine had offered me an incredible choice of itineraries for our day and we settled on visiting the Summer Exhibition, preceded by coffee and conversation in the Friend's Room at the Royal Academy and followed by lunch at Fortnum & Mason's across the road. We were chatting like very old friends from the moment we met.
Katherine has described every smashing, wonderful moment of our day on her second blog Travels with a Sketchbook in ... HERE. You can also read about every morsel of the gorgeous lunch she treated me to, which I hoed into while she sketched.
Since Katherine has been my sketching inspiration and mentor since I met her through WetCanvas, it was impossible to concentrate on a sketch of my own while I had the opportunity to watch her technique. I'm hoping when she visits Tuscany the lessons will be resumed!
Since Katherine had already seen the Summer Exhibition, I couldn't have wished for a better guide. It was so exciting and stimulating to see such a feast of contemporary art in one place. There was also quite a lot of gentle prodding about directions I could take with my own painting.
While I waited for Katherine in the RA courtyard I sketched St. George's Horse. (To my shame I don't know the artist's name and to the Royal Academy's shame I can't find any reference to this beautiful work on their website. If anyone can help, please let me know so I can credit the sculptor). Thanks to Katherine this has now been corrected.
St George's Horse - fibreglass Michael Sandle RAWhen I realised I wasn't going to finish my sketch before Katherine arrived, I took a couple of photos. At the time I didn't spot that other sketcher at work in the background.
BP Portrait Awards and the Portrait Restaurant atop the National Portrait Gallery.
In spite of an unplanned throat infection, I also managed to visit the Tait Britain (with it's wonderful Turner collection and room dedicated to his experiments with Colour & Line) and the National Gallery where I finally saw Turner's sublime Fighting Temeraire.
As well as a blissful visit to Waterstone's art book department with Katherine, I also hoed into two art shops - Cass Art (Charing Cross Rd), with a fantastic range and great prices and my old favourite, Green & Stone of Chelsea, where I couldn't resist a sheet of handmade Turner Blue watercolour paper.
I'm ashamed to say I returned with only two sketches. A lot of time was taken up eating fantastic food, culminating in Jean treating Jani and me to a delightful lunch at Mosimann's in Knightsbridge. Feeling a tad guilty about HWEM stuck at home with Snowy and Dermott, I did buy him a copy of Mosimann's latest recipe book. Some of you may put this down to self-interest since HWEM does most of the cooking and I, most of the eating!
So that was it - five days - three wonderful friends. Bliss!