A smorgasbord of inspiration.

Smorgasbord sounds so much better than buffet, doesn’t it, a buffet of inspiration isn’t quite the same. Although saying that I’ve actually started to like it.

I’ve been to London for a few days, with an old friend; well, not old in that sense, she would be quick to point out, I’ve just known her since we were eleven.

I love London, it’s like no where else in the UK. We did much flaneuring, walking quite a few miles each day, which had the added bonus of a small weight loss. You see, exercise does work, it’s just that I can’t fit in several hours a day walking when I’m working. More breaks like this one needed, then.

DSC_0212We went to see the Matisse exhibition at Tate Modern, which was wonderful. It’s quite likely that this many of his cut out pieces will never be seen together again, I have heard, such was the work involved to bring it all to fruition. I particularly enjoyed his artist’s book, Jazz.  After that we went to the Bankside Gallery  to see the RE Original Print Exhibition. This gallery hosts some exhibition gems; I was fortunate enough to see the Society of Wood Engravers show there in February too, after another trip to Tate Modern to see the Klee exhibition.


IMG_1518After a nice stroll along the Thames we dropped in to a premiere for the film Belle. Well no, actually we watched the participants arrive, from a good vantage point on Waterloo Bridge; sadly we weren’t invited onto the red carpet. It was fun to watch all the shenanigans though.

IMG_1511I love this panoramic view of the Thames but can’t do it justice, photographically.

IMG_1509The next day was rather good weather, so we walked along Regent’s Canal, having a look at Central Saint Martins and some very chic flower beds. Well, astro turf and bedding plants, but a long way from the country cottage garden look.



IMG_1525Regent’s Canal.

IMG_1530I took rather a lot of images through some viewing portholes from the tow path; they could find their way into some work at some point.


IMG_1535A quick whizz around Camden Market and a coffee, then a lovely sit down for a while on a canal boat to Little Venice. I live surrounded by canals here in Birmingham but never go on a boat.

IMG_1550Walking through Hyde Park I took a fair amount of pictures of these urns in the Italianate Gardens. I have a feeling they will feature in some new work, along with some other inspiration from the British Museum, coming up below.


IMG_1563And a lovely little bit of bird life on the Serpentine.

IMG_1570We covered quite a lot of  London on that day. I loved this beautiful mews, with their potted front gardens. A lovely meal in an Italian restaurant followed. My friend first went there in 1979, and it’s still run by the same family. It was like being in Italy, which was a double bonus, Italy in London.

IMG_1555We were staying in Bloomsbury, and as our final day promised storms, we stayed closer to home, and Euston station. So it was trip to the British Museum, where instead of traipsing through the whole thing, or trying to, we had a really good look at the Enlightenment Gallery, which is certainly a beautiful room. The natural world section afforded some interesting images which although not the best images ever taken, due to poor light levels and the fact I was the photographer, are really on my mind. I knew they would be dodgy, but that made them more exciting and compelling, apart from their content, which always deeply interests me, although I don’t approve of the collecting methods of the past I do, in that invariably contradictory way we seem to live our lives, find the objects fascinating and amazing.  I daresay I will bore you with more of these smudgy pictures in the future, but here are a couple.



IMG_1592Love the reflections in this one too.


I was also thrilled by some Egyptian jewellery, and in fact have been thinking of using some imagery in gold and gold leaf in whatever new work happens next for some time. There were ancient shards of sheet gold that were really beautiful, now waiting forever to be made into artefacts.

After this, for a complete change, to the Cartoon Museum to see the 30th Anniversary of Spitting Image exhibition. If you liked Spitting Image, which I did, I would recommend you see this show; but, it’s finished, we just caught it, happily for us.

After that, a lovely walk around the Bloomsbury Squares and gardens, of which there are quite a few. One last ingredient of my inspirational smorgasbord, the London plane, one of my favourite trees. They lose small pieces of bark which could be integrated into a piece of work, something else I may consider.

IMG_1598Almost done; I had to post this. Apart from binding the big old book, look at this, a bare table, the first time in years! New work , here I come. Could do with a bigger table though, hmm…



6 thoughts on “A smorgasbord of inspiration.

  1. Go ahead and bore me with as many of those smudgy pictures as you like Steph. I immediately want to book a train ticket and get to that Enlightenment Gallery. How come I never appreciated all this stuff when I lived and worked in London. Couldn’t wait to get away in the end and now yearn for a trip back having read all of this! Loved the continuous thread running through this post of ideas for future work. I think you said it more than once, so don’t bank on that table staying clear for too long as I doubt you’ll be able to resist the urge to take those ideas further. You might have to invest in larger furniture……..

    1. I thought about you when I was there, Lesley. I too have wandered in and out of that room, but never really taken it in properly before. There’s still lots I haven’t seen in it too, it’s like a small museum itself, without the rest of the BM around it too.
      I am very much looking forward to covering that table with stuff…

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