BP Portrait Award

I do like the National Portrait Gallery. They have some really excellent pieces and they put on interesting exhibitions. The BP Portrait Award is just one. I went this year and on the whole really liked the entries although I’m not sure I completely agreed with the ones that won, but that is of course just a matter of opinion.

I do like portraiture, but often I prefer prefer portraits which don’t immediately seem to be portraits. Some of the paintings in the BP Award were like that, and those were the ones I enjoyed the most.

It’s interesting to see how the idea of the portrait is developing and moving forward, not that I know a huge amount about art or art theory or stuff like that. But I do know that I’ve seen a change in this sort of award / exhibition over the time I’ve been going to the National Portrait Gallery, which is more than 20 years now. As with all art forms it’s evolving and changing, and that’s to be expected.

I wonder what it will be like next year.

Virginia Woolf Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery

Whilst I’m not a huge fan of Virginia Woolf, this was a really interesting little exhibition and I actually found out a lot about her and her life from it. Probably like a lot of people, I knew snippets about her, but didn’t have the stuff to connect all the dots, and this exhibition was really useful from that perspective. Also going along with a friend who knew a lot more than I did helped a great deal.

It’s left me tentatively wanting to read more of her work, although I’m still not entirely sure where to start with that. Orlando is the only one I know slightly and that’s really only because of the film, which was excellent of course. Perhaps I’ll start simple, and watch the film again first.

Vermeer and Music


A friend recommended this to me so as I was in London a couple of weeks ago I decided to make the effort to go and see it, especially as it was due to finish in a couple of days (it is finished now by the way).

Well, I’m glad that I did make the effort. It was very good indeed and was in fact quite thought provoking, especially in the area of how music had a very specific social and cultural dimension to it. It made me think about how we use music socially (which of course in itself means something different) and culturally now, which is quite an interesting topic to ponder on.

I’m not sure I have any answers or even conclusions, but the Vermeer and Music was worth seeing.

New friends and art at the weekend

Last Saturday was an awesome day for a wide variety of reasons. The company of Mr Miki Strange. It was great to meet him after all these years online and equally great to share two exhibitions I really wanted to see with him.

Miki has posted his views of the day here and here, and I don’t think I can put down my thoughts in a more concise manner than that to be honest.

The Barbara Hepworth Museum

Although it’s only a small museum it’s a brilliant collection of Hepworth’s work in her garden, and seeing it on a lovely fine day in St Ive’s made it a fantastic experience.

The summer in programmes and catalogues

There are various regular things I do over the summer, and by the end of it I usually have a bunch of programmes, catalogues and the like left over. Here’s the first of the summer, the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

This year it was ok, not amazing, but ok. There were one or two things I really liked, and I’m glad I went, it’s a tradition really.