Sally – Highgate Watercolour Group

A really good session at 10a this morning! We all enjoyed having Sally sit for us. She had not modelled before but sat completely still with a lovely smile – this can’t be said of many professional models!!!


I loved seeing the diverse styles of the group and the progression of the pictures during the morning.

My “before and after picture” at the bottom.


Simon Gudgeon

WOW!!!! I was right! I just checked on- line the beautiful bird statue that I included in my blog yesterday, as I thought it very like the little statues in the David Shepherd exhibition. Sure enough it is by him! Is is called ISIS and apparently it is the only new statue in the park for 50 years. I have always been struck by its serenity.

Here is one of my pictures again AND I can certainly recommend The Lido cafe by the Serpentine – usually lovely spicy soup and great pizzas. Loads of swans and other birds to watch.



David Shepherd

I was delighted to go to the Private View at the Gladwell & Patterson Gallery in Knightsbridge last night to see an exhibition of this famous wildlife artist!!! I remember some of his pictures from the 60’s – they were so innovative at the time, the animals so detailed but with a very impressionistic background. He went on to pioneer the Wildlife Foundation and was active up to his death in 2017.

I still loved the paintings but en masse (as so often with solo exhibitions) they all like very similar – much more impressive to see one or two in isolation.


Very interesting to get up close to the paintings



The event was very well organised – and attended.



There were a number of statues by other artist and I was intrigued by two birds by Simon Gudgeon – only small but SO beautiful, especially the dark bird named LUNA (a cool £4,500 ) I must check but the statue in Hyde Park near the Lido cafe could be the same artist.


Lots Going On in Highgate!!!!

Following on from our Highgate Watercolour Group exhibition, 10 local artists called the Accidental Artists put up their exhibition in Lauderdale House. I unfortunately missed the Private View and only managed to look in this week. It finishes on Wednesday!!!

Some lovely ceramics by Gail Altschuler as well as one of her large striking oil canvases.

Beautiful but expensive ceramics by Josette Ailman. I particularly liked what I took to be inspired by a  Venetian mask – the ceramic flowers are more reasonably priced.  Everything looked good displayed  against the brickwork.

An interesting collection from Nicci Zybytz inspired by playing cards. I didn’t photograph the saucy ones entitles “Strip Poker” – but maybe I am too prudish!!!


Upstairs there are some very large bold oil paintings by Sadur (not sure whether a man or woman)

They are certainly very popular with quite a few sold at very high prices!


Later walking in Highgate woods I came across a group preparing a drone to photograph their fashion range.

I didn’t have time to hang about as it all seemed rather complicated to set up. I thought the range very striking but on closer examination I saw the motif was a gun!!! Not sure if I could walk around with guns all over my clothes but skulls have been popular for years – so maybe not so different?


Christmas Commissions!!!!

I have been very busy for Christmas this year!! First of all my granddaughter wanted to give her best friend a painting of her new pet cockapoo – Dolly.

It was a great success and is next to her bed.IMG_0537

Then my daughter saw one of my snow pictures (painted in acrylics) in the EFOA 50 / 50 exhibition last month. “Oh mum, I LOVE that picture, will you paint one for me for Christmas to hang in my hall? BUT in watercolours, AND much smaller to fit in the space next to the door. Portrait of course, not landscape and Oh –  not so blue, it must be mostly white!!!”

I must say I am very pleased with the result – especially with the beautiful frame she chose.

Next up was my granddaughter with another request – this time for herself!

She handed me the cover of a wildlife magazine and asked me if I could paint the hedgehog for her!

Always hard to buy presents nowadays when all children have so much, so I was very pleased with the idea.

My 3 year old grandson didn’t want to be left out so promptly asked for a picture of penguins for his room!!!


klimt/Schiele Exhibition

This exhibition far exceeded my expectations!!! I am rather late in seeing this much acclaimed exhibition, the reason being that the Courtauld Gallery mounted an Egon Schiele exhibition a few years ago – and it was pure porn!!! All the  most salacious of his drawings were being scrutinised by a packed gallery of men!

Anyway – for the sake of Klimt (who I love) and a lot of people telling me how good it was, I bit the bullet and went along this morning. So glad I did as it was a really interesting experience with many beautiful drawings by Schiele. Of course some of his famous prostitute pictures were there but they were in the minority.   I scrutinised the many delicate portraits included instead!!!


One thing that always strikes me when studying figure drawings by famous artists, is the importance of the face –  the features, the expression.



Quite a lot was written about Klimt’s Beethoven frieze which I went to see in Vienna some years ago.  Not sure if I was just unlucky, but during the visit there was some truly terrible discordant music flooding the room making it impossible to concentrate and appreciate the painting.

Included here today were some studies of figures for this frieze. Not finished drawings as Schiele was wont to do, but working sketches. Also included were some quick sketches showing how Klimt mapped out some of his world  famous paintings.




  • If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, I suggest a trip to Sloane Square!!! I just love the trees all lit up and Peter Jones awash with lights!
  • After a late lunch in Cote Brasserie, I decided to pop along to the Saatchi Gallery – I haven’t been in there since the Chanel Exhibition a few years ago.
  • Some fascinating exhibits as usual – not all easily explained such as a plastic looking life-sized horse draped in thin blue gauze and a fur coat covering it’s head.fullsizeoutput_505f.jpeg
  • The opposite side of the room had a more pleasing statue of a goat enmeshed in a giant pot.
  • Interesting pictures in the basement by Zabou – one called “Warhol’s Brush” incorporating  a paint brush into a portrait and “Freda’s Palette” painted on an old fashioned artist’s palette!! (SOLD for £875 unframed)

  • But what is going on in the main exhibition space in the basement!!!!

  • Giant plasma screens with swirling images and people walking around in what looked like gas masks!  Everybody seemed quite disorientated but as all the tickets for the day had been sold, I could not experience the virtual reality show for myself. I hope to get tickets on- line and go in before it closes in January.

Guitarist#and# Watercolours#

John plays his guitar at 10a for the Highgate Society coffee mornings and Sue Lees from our Watercolour Group had the brilliant idea of getting him to pose for our Thursday morning painting sessions.

I knew everybody would turn up, so very important to get in early and secure a good vantage point. Well that didn’t work out as John was moved at the last minute and I found myself well away and to the side!!! Ah well, I still managed to do a few interesting sketches and all good practice.

We were assured John would move very slowly while he played. I became very frustrated as he got carried away with his music and I couldn’t keep up – I would start with his head thrown dramatically back only for him to crouch forward,  then sway from side to side!!!

What a lovely idea though, sitting round with fellow artists drawing and painting with an accompaniment of beautiful music!!


A while back I went to a lecture on Renzo Piano but left no wiser. I already knew he had won the competition to design the Pompidou building in Paris and in fact, have always thought the outside an eyesore. Of course inside is a different story – the galleries are amazing with plenty of space and well lit pictures, and usually an exhibition worth seeing.

The lecture did induce me to go to the Renzo Piano exhibition in the Royal Academy which I might not have bothered to go to, so not a complete waste of time! The exhibition was intriguing – with the initial sketch for a building, often very basic on a scrap of paper, then taking us through the various stages to scale models, finishing with photos of the buildings.

I liked the idea of natural lighting in the galleries where possible, so letting the change of light through the day play an important part of the displays.

The complexity of producing these beautiful glass buildings struck me for the first time. Of course the greenhouse effect of a very hot interior would make them impossible to use. There were complex models explaining how the light would be deflected to reduce the heat and I was particularly intrigued on the construction of the Shard – the way the foundations were built after quite a lot of the main construction. To keep the lightness of the building – almost entirely glass, and make the interior of the Shard habitable, a new form of a double wall of glass was necessary.

I had never been interested in visiting the Shard – I have been in the London Eye many times and find views of London interesting but disappointingly ugly (just yellowish grey buildings and mostly the same colour for the Thames) but all this technical information put a new slant on making a visit.

This week I went to Hutong on the 35th floor, a beautiful Chinese restaurant.

All very elegant with beautiful decor (and black loos in the bathroom!!)

The huge steel girders and complex construction can only be seen once inside the building, all looks effortless and smooth on the outside.

I’m having a few problems with putting the pictures on so will have to send on a second blob!