Archive for the ‘The Arts’ Category

John Virtue Sea Paintings

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

1st March 2015 Eastbourne Towner Gallery

John Virtue's Painting

John Virtue’s Painting

John Virtue's Note Books

John Virtue’s Note Books

One of the reasons the Eastbourne Half Marathon appealed was that there was an exhibition of John Virtue Sea Paintings which I was intrigued to see especially after enjoying the Norwegian Pedar Balke Exhibition at the National Gallery.

John Virtue’s paintings are, like Balke’s,

North Cape by Peder Balke

North Cape by Peder Balke

mono-chrome but much bigger than Balke’s ones. The paintings leave more to your imagination too. Untitled, except for a number, it is possible to visualise various scenes in each painting but they are all very much to do with the movement and power of the sea. They were all based on sketches made during a series of eight mile walks in Norfolk. Well worth a visit!

Sailing Cancelled!

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

South Dock, Rotherhithe 11th January 2015 Boff! I was really looking forward to a long weekend away sailing to the Medway but had to bottle out when the best forecast I could find (after shopping around) was westerly gale force 8 becoming severe gale force 9. That may just have been workable but the wind was forecast to remain strong westerly and I didn’t fancy getting a train back. The Thames can be a tricky little sail if the wind is gusting strongly, especially on the nose. I’ve been knocked down twice in the Thames but never anywhere else.

North Cape by Peder Balke

North Cape by Peder Balke

North Cape by Peder Balke

North Cape by Peder Balke

So instead I took the river bus from Greenland Pier into town to see the Peder Balke exhibition at the National Gallery. Peder Balke is a Norwegian artist and I confess I was rather saddened to be confronted with about 20 fine paintings of the North Cape. The reason it made me a bit miserable was because I should have been sailing round the North Cape this summer but this was another sailing trip that I had to pull out off earlier in the year. I could just imagine the good ship Sumara sailing close by such a wonderful cliff. I do like small exhibitions like this one. I went to the Turner exhibition at the Tate earlier in the year and decided blockbusters aren’t my thing. Some of Peder Balke’s paintings border on being kitsch but others are really inspiring especially the small black and white seascapes. If you like seascapes or like Norway then this exhibition is well worth a visit. What’s more, it is free!

TR2 Theatre Royal Plymouth Workshops

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

The Very Impressive TR2 Workshops

TR2 Paint Frame

As we were in Plymouth Grit and I thought it would be really nice to visit the TR2 centre which is the impressive workshop base for the Theatre Royal Plymouth. We phoned Julie Perrin who is actually a freelance scenic artist who leases the large paint frame. TR2 was immediately very impressive, new, and on a grand scale. To cover the obviously high overheads of the centre, they take on outside contracts. The wardrobe department were working on a show in Copenhagen. Many of Cameron Mackintosh’s shows are built or part built here and the Theatre Royal often opens shows prior to them moving to the West End. Julie Perrin is one of the country’s most skillfull scenic artists and is kept very busy. Curently she is working on Mathew Bournes new Sleeping Beauty designed by Les Brotherston. This show will open in Plymouth prior to moving to Sadlers Wells. TR2 centre looks like a brilliant place to work with large spacious workshops and some really nice quality work. I was very impressed by the quality of a plywood cove piece built with great prescision. Well done to whoever had the vision to create this valuable asset to British technical theatre.

Falmouth Art Gallery

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Rubbish photo of a fine painting. Best go along to see it for real.


This was a very pleasant suprise. A relatively small gallery but with some fine works interspersed with quirky working models with wind up handles. These acted as a great “eye rest” from viewing too many paintings. I particulary liked a painting by Sir Frank Brangwyn called Construction of South Pier Mevagissey. There were some good Henry Scott Tuke paintings too. Although much of the collection was rightly Cornish related there were also Matisse prints and some good Pre-Rafelite studies. A very worthwhile visit. Free too.


The weather was fine for most of the day so we went for a good long walk and ended up for lunch and a swim on Gylly Beach. The cafe here is first rate and well worth the walk from town.

Grits not going to like this! Garlic bread, yummy.

Gylly Beach Cafe

Christopher Williams

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Christopher Williams (probably Barmouth but I could be wrong)

Jannicke “Kicking the Bar”

In the morning we took a walk along the promenade to “Kick the Bar”, which is apparently the done thing. That took us to the end of town with Britain’s longest vernicular railway (which isn’t very long at all) but made up for missing the train up Snaefell in the Isle of Man. At the top of Constitution Hill is the world’s largest Camera Obscura which also isn’t very large at all. It provides views marginally less spectacular than just walking out on the balcony and just having a look. Never mind it was fun.

National Library of Wales

We then took a walk up to the National Library of Wales. When we arrived they asked us if we had come for “The Opening”. Err “Yes?”. We were shown into a room packed with well dressed and very respectacle people listening to a talk about Christopher Williams. To begin with I didn’t even know if he was a painter but gradually all became clear. I really enjoy talks on almost anything and I also like exhibitions that I can get around without being overwhelmed. I can’t rember his dates but 1875 until 1940 might be a good stab. The exhibition is well worth the visit. His range of styles was huge, varying from formal portraits (Lloyd George was a huge fan) to these rather whacky landscapeswhich he did mainly for his own pleasure. He painted many religious and classical paintings too. If you don’t like one, just move along! I liked his landscapes the best.


The Isle of Man

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

What a friendly place! Everyone is so kind and relaxed.


Yesterday we went to watch the motor bike road racing which looked pretty dangerous. We sat on a gate post at a road corner hoping no one was going to hit the cottage on the corner. It was a 4 mile walk from the boat and we were hungry by the time we left. Alas the Shore Hotel had stopped serving food so we ate a Chinese meal on a bench in the rain. I was really tired by the time we got back to Sumara as I had only had a few hours sleep sailing down.

Sitting on the Comfy Steam Train

Steam Train with Jannicke









This morning we took the lovely steam train into Douglas. That’s how trains should be, with windows you can open and secure with leather belts.

Act Drop Gaiety Theatre

As we were going to Douglas I phoned Seamus Shea from the Gaiety Theatre to see if we could get a look backstage. He was having a half day but very kindly arranged for Ted to show us around.

Corsican Trap in the Gaitey Theatre

The Gaiety has the only working Corsican Trap in the world plus some large bridge lifts salvaged from the Lyceum in Edinburgh. The front of house is by Frank Matcham and is in wonderful condition.

There is an impressive Act Drop and loads of beautiful touches. I liked the pegs for holding the side masking in position – I’ve never seen anything like it before. Simple and effective. I’ll try to put some photos up later. This afternoon we may climb Snaefell, or part of it. There is a mountain train to help us on our way.

The weather looks OK for us to set off on the back of an approaching depression. It should provide a nice northerly airstream so we hope to arrive in Aberystwyth on Saturday .

Louise Bourgeois

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

“Bursting Body” 1948 – Louise Bourgeois.

Tim and I went to the Island National Gallery on Thursday. There was an exhibition by Louise Bourgeois and some of her pieces felt strangely familiar. There were disturbing nightmarish shapes. Many were ghastly un-namely things of no colour and some were puce. Frightening bulging shapes bursting out. Then I remembered Tim’s splendid duff that we had last night!


Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Thembi overhauls Sumara en route to Reykjavik.

Now I’m sitting in a cosy cafe sheltering from the gale. We moored outside the new concert hall next to Thembi at 0230 this morning before the wind got up. It was a grand sail but the wind eventually dropped off. There were continuous gale warnings on the VHF so we decided to start up the engine rather than hang around. But would it start? Nope. It would have made a good start to a naff horror movie. In any case after a bit of a prod around the electrics we tried again and it eventually perked up. I think it was just playing a naughty trick on us. A good reminder to make sure you always have a plan B.
I’ve just had a tour of the new concert hall which surely must make the whole trip tax deductable.
I think it cost 260 billion Islandic kroner, a snip.
It is warmer here but the nights are getting dark for a few hours.