Langdon Hyde Design

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Category: Art and artists (page 1 of 2)

Ooh la la

Occasionally, very, very, occasionally, when travelling abroad on business I might manage to take some time out to experience the local culture. A trip to Paris earlier this week was indeed one of those very rare occasions when my schedule allowed me sufficient time to wander the streets of this fabulous city. Ooh la la.

I stepped out into the early morning sunshine after alighting the Eurostar at the rather grand Gare du Nord. After a brisk 30 minute walk criss-crossing the city I arrived at the Royal Palace Gardens.

Avenues of trees in the Royal Palace Gardens

Here I was struck by the perfect symmetry of the avenues of trees. Bereft of leaves or blossom they looked particularly stark against the bright blue sky but perhaps even more regal because of the contrast.

Considered to be the most beautiful gardens in Paris I marvelled at the stunning architecture which enclosed the grounds. These striped black and white cylindrical plinths which rose from the ground like sticks of Brighton rock added a touch of informality to these paved areas.

Striding out towards the river I marvelled at this stunning arch with the horses and chariots atop galloping out into the wild blue yonder.

River Seine

My next port of call was La Louvre gallery situated on the Right Bank of the Seine. Prior to this visit I had only ever been able to marvel at this magnificent structure from the back seat of a moving vehicle.

The controversial pyramid entrance was part of an overall modernisation that took shape in the mid-1980’s. It’s design was the brainchild of Chinese architect I.M. Pei who was appointed by former French president, François Mitterrand.

The gallery, one of the largest in the world, houses one of the finest collections of art including the infamous Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa

She wasn’t the only beauty on display. Another that caught my eye was this portrait by Goya.

Portrait de la comtesse del Carpio, marquise de la Solana, née Maria Rita Barrenechea

Monolithic statues stood on gigantic plinths creating focal points on a grand scale.

It was only as I was leaving the Louvre that I learned that it had been built on the ruins of Louvre Castle which was eventually demolished in stages to make way for the palace.

Louvre castle ruins

Leaving this cultural hub behind me I hailed a cab to take me to the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre. Here I took in this incredible panoramic view of the city of Paris.

Paris panoramic

In and around the immediate vicinity there are a host of coffee shops, bars, restaurants and shops, all vying for the tourists’ trade.

Inside this chocolate coloured facade was a whole host of colourful cookies in beautifully illustrated gift boxes.

Pastel coloured macaroons

This tower of pastel coloured macaroons took the biscuit!

A little further on the competition was selling a selection of freshly baked bread whilst street artists were busy plying their trade.

As the afternoon drew to a close a walk to the bottom of the hill took me past the much talked about Moulin Rouge. Sadly there wasn’t sufficient time to take in a show as my exploration was coming to an end.

An early evening stroll back to the Gard du Nord was all that there was between me and my return train journey home.

Sitting aboard the train it is apparent why this city draws so many visitors. Its colour, scale, spatial planning, and a respect for the past makes it a joy to visit.

Au revoir mes amis.

Autumn Art Scene

It’s not often that I take time out at the weekend but when the opportunity presented itself to me this morning I thought why not? Yes, I had a hundred things planned, and yes I had made a 6am start to work on my current projects but, that said, I thought some time out with my other half might be good for the both of us.

Jumping in the car we headed for the great British seaside at Hastings. This is one of my favourite seaside destinations as I can recall happy memories of family holidays and days out.

Today we bypassed the hustle and bustle and instead wound our away along the coast through St. Leonards and onto Bexhill-on-Sea.

Here we pulled into the car park of the De La Warr Pavilion and promptly paid our dues to stay for no more than two hours.

We immediately headed towards the beach and enjoyed the warm autumn sunshine diluted by the crisp sea breeze. We huddled together in the shelter of a waterside café and ordered hot chocolate and warm cheese scones.

With our appetites sated we wandered along the prom engaging in the atmosphere provided by the independent traders selling their wares from their concrete kiosks.

Needless to say I was drawn to MHRetroFurntiure where we found Martin Hendry purveyor of funky mid-century miscellany. Specialising in brightly coloured cabinets decorated with sassy posters he was a definite favourite.

Our next stop was the pavilion itself where we unwittingly walked into an exhibition of works by Alison Wilding. Entitled “Right Here and Out There” her monolithic creations mimic the container ships on the horizon.

The sunlight streaming in through the gallery windows lit up the sculptures and bounced off their high gloss surfaces and through their translucent shapes.

After a brief tour of the gift shop we walked towards the town centre where a continental market was in full swing. Topped and tailed by the Bexhill motoring club an array of vintage and classic cars caught the eye of inquisitive passers by.

Concluding our brief encounter with Bexhill-on-Sea I have to admit that I had not expected it to have such a prominent autumn art scene nor to embrace such a variety of individual artisans.

Driving home I felt that our visit underlined the importance  of getting out and about to see how the rest of the world is performing and to ensure that my work remains fluid and fresh.

Cultural Week End

I have just enjoyed an immensely cultural end to my week. On Thursday evening I attended the opening of Haidee-Jo Summers’ one-man exhibition at The Russell Gallery in Putney.

Entitled “Capturing the essence and poetry of light” the show encompasses a wide range of Haidee-Jo’s work. Spread over two floors the exhibition runs until March 17, 2018, or on-line at www.haideejo.com.

Haidee-Jo Summers’ catalogue

On Saturday I chose to visit the Lightbox in Woking to view the Turner in Surrey exhibition which ends this coming week.

Lightbox, Woking

On entering the Lightbox I was directed to the Main Gallery on the first floor. I chose the staircase rather than the lift as I feel it emphasises the scale and structure of this amazing building.

Staircase to upper levels

The exhibition focuses on Turner’s work in Surrey in the early 19th Century. He lived on the river in Twickeham and enjoyed the delights of the Wey Navigation Canal by boat.

Turner in Surrey

I was particularly interested in his interpretation of landscape views in Richmond and Guildford as I have had the benefit of growing up in the midst of this stunning countryside. I was surprised to learn that Turner purposefully played down the buildings, that might be considered a blot, on these otherwise idyllic images.

Two of my favourite ruins that he did commit to canvas are Newark Priory in Ripley and St. Catherine’s Chapel in Guildford. These landmarks never cease to amaze me, and I guess, must have held a fascination for Turner as well.

This Lightbox exhibition runs until March 4th, 2018, and I would highly recommend it.

High Clandon Vineyard

Imagine a wild flower meadow on a perfect summer’s day in the heart of the Surrey Hills. Add to this a collection of sculptures by a variety of contemporary artists set amongst the flowers, which in turn are juxtaposed to the slopes of a successful English vineyard.

Sculptures in wild flower meadow

The occasion was a charity event hosted by the owners of High Clandon to raise funds for Cherry Trees, a respite home for disabled children. The day could not have been more perfect to view the sculptures and to taste the exquisite sparkling wine. Crafted from a trio of champagne grapes, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay, and with a maturation of over five years, the end product has won a number of coveted awards.

Musical frogs

Amidst the wild flowers stood pastel coloured beehives and ponds covered with water lilies, alive with tadpoles and newts. Many of the sculptures took their inspiration from nature and included the most handsome fox to the classic hare and tortoise.

Pastel coloured beehives

Ordinarily, High Clandon can be visited by appointment only for a tour, talk, and tasting. There is a permanent exhibition of “art of the moment” in the atmospheric Glass Barn and, on a clear day, views from the main terrace take in London and beyond. For more information go to www.highclandon.co.uk

Alliums

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning to beat the impending rain showers. It’s a busy time in the garden and particularly rushed when trying to make the most of the English weather.

Today’s plan was to clear one of the raised beds in readiness for the runner beans. Having decided that the cutting flower bed was in need of a makeover I decided that a bit of “crop rotation” was in order. Unfortunately, this required clearing the alliums whilst in full bloom, but rather than dig them up and leave them to die, I quickly gathered as many as I could and put them in large vases of water.

I love these flowers, and have several varieties in the allotment. Sad as it may seem I rarely bring them indoors so don’t actually get the benefit of their beauty. I’m hoping by leaving the cut flowers in vases on the garden table I will see them from the kitchen window and the bees will still get the benefit of them.

Haidee-Jo Summer – Alliums & Iris

Inspired by Haidee-Jo Summers‘ paintings of alliums at Gunby Hall I had tried to transplant some earlier in the year so that they would be in pots on the patio. Unfortunately, having left it too late their leaves quickly withered and died before any flowers had a chance to form. I’m not too disheartened though, as now that they are in pots I can look forward to next spring when they should shoot up and fill the patio with a glorious display of purple heads.

Haidee-Jo Summers  – Committee checking on the alliums and herbs

In the meantime, the runner beans must take precedent as rain is forecast later, and this can only be a good thing for the garden.

Picture Perfect – part 3

There are many ways of framing and hanging pictures and one method that I particularly like is grouping together similar works and displaying them as a collection. In the photograph below is a group of five watercolours which arrived with me from a number of sources. The common thread is the soft purple/blue colour palette of each painting.

The top two paintings were found in a loft in filthy dirty frames but once removed from their longterm storage these two original watercolours of the Falkland Islands were as good as new, and warranted being mounted and reframed. The painting on the bottom left is a watercolour of a mews. It was gifted to one of the residents after a complete refurbishments in the mid-nineties. It was later given to me as a present. The small print in the middle is a greetings card which is a reproduced watercolour of a viola and was sent to me by a friend. Lastly, the painting on the bottom right is a very old water colour of Shepperton which arrived unframed.

To bring these five paintings together as a cohesive group I chose similar colour mounts for each one prior to framing. The frames vary somewhat but are all fairly plain and therefore sit together quite happily.

To gauge how best to hang them on the wall I firstly laid them out on the floor in an arrangement that I was happy with.  Next step was to measure the overall area that would be needed to hang the pictures, and work out how this would be positioned on the wall, taking into account the heights and widths, as well as the wall lamp and radiator.

Layout decided I measured each picture and worked out its relationship with each of the others and positioned the picture hooks accordingly. I was immensely pleased with the end result and felt that grouping the pictures together as a whole was a success.

The current trend of staging pictures on shelves and mantlepieces rather than permanently hanging them on walls is much more relaxed. This appeals to me as it enables collections to be changed and rearranged much more easily and causes a lot less damage to walls. This may well be my next project!

Furniture For The Future

img_8177Attending a champagne reception hosted by bespoke furniture maker Silverlining at The National Portrait Gallery in London was an honour. As guest of my business partner you could say it was all in a day’s work but this was a very special occasion. Celebrating 30 years of excellence the event attracted guests from all over the world. img_8174

Based in Wrexham Silverlining have built up an extensive client base. Their passion, commitment, and craftsmanship, ensures each and every piece of furniture they produce is of the highest quality and original design. Their name is derived from the metal cores that are used to prevent woods from distorting and from the use of silver hallmarks to date furniture and to identify its maker.img_8180A cast-iron sculpture by Antony Gormley viewed the proceedings from a void above whilst 4K images of Silverlining’s intricate patterns were projected onto the walls and ceilings.img_8191Guests at this invitation only event had private access to the Picasso Portraits exhibition which runs until February 2017. Over eighty works focus on the artist’s portrayal of family, friends and lovers. These portraits cover all periods of Picasso’s career from his boyhood to his latter years. Some of the works on display are being shown in the UK for the first time.

Sea, Sunflowers & Bunting

img_8097With my invitation in hand I made my way to The Mall Galleries in SW1 to the opening of the Royal Society of Marine Artists’ annual exhibition in London.img_8093Over 400 works of art are on display, ranging from the most fabulous photo montage images, to the most stunning paintings. Bright red sails; children in rock pools; crashing waves; colourful hulls; and lots, lots more seascapes to prolong the feeling of summer.img_8118

My particular favourite was The Fisherman’s Hut by Haidee-Jo Summers. Unlike the majority of works on show it depicted an interior setting with a view of the sea through the window. Contemporary in style, with sunflowers in a vase and union jack bunting in the alcove, it really caught my eye.

img_8099

It would seem I wasn’t its only admirer as it has been awarded the Mall Galleries bookshop greetings card award 2016. As such, it has been reproduced as a greetings card to promote the Royal Society of Marine Artists and is available to buy in the gallery’s bookshop.img_8113

President of the RSMA, Elizabeth Smith introduced Elizabeth Meek MBE to officially open the exhibition on Tuesday afternoon. It runs from then until October 8 and is open every day between 10am and 5pm. Painting demonstrations and hands-on workshops tutored by Society Members will be taking place during the exhibition. Full details can be found at www.rsma-web.co.uk

Anthro Boatanics

Having just returned from a sunshine holiday in Malta I hadn’t expected to be inspired by my local High Street. I was completely caught by surprise when I came across this colourful display of planters in Anthropologie’s doorway.

Botanical Style

Botanical Style

Anthro botanics

Anthro botanics

On closer inspection I discovered that the table on which the pots were arranged was made with wood reclaimed from Indonesian fishing boats. This immediately transported me back to Malta where I had stayed in a room overlooking a tiny harbour which was full of traditional Maltese fishing vessels known as Luzzus. These are typically painted in traditional bright colours including blue, yellow, red and green and create a postcard-perfect scene on the beautiful and clear Mediterranean Sea surrounding the islands.

Maltese fishing boats

Maltese fishing boats

Traditional Maltese fishing boat

Traditional Maltese Luzzus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attracted by Anthro’s colourful display of exotic pots and planters I wandered into the store to look at the range in more detail. There I found a vast array of assorted pots in all shapes and colours starting at a price of around £8. Moreover I discovered that on Saturday May 28th Guildford Anthro will be hosting an event featuring interior and lifestyle stylist and writer Selina Lake. She will be present in store between 11am and 3pm to give a tour of her latest book, Botanical Style, published by Ryland Peters and Small. This is Selina’s seventh book and to launch it she will be giving a free Botanical Style goodie bag to the first ten people to purchase the publication on the day.

Anthropologie host regular events and these can be found on their website or in store. Alternatively, keep you eyes open whilst wandering your local High Street and you might discover the information is right in front of you.

Local events at Antrho

Local events at Anthro

 

 

 

Private View

IMG_6372

I was really excited when I received my personal invitation to the private view of Haidee-Jo Summers’ exhibition at the Russell Gallery in Putney this past week.  I have long admired Haidee-Jo’s work and felt privileged to be amongst the select few at the opening of this London show.

Haidee-Jo has a rare talent for capturing light and reflection in her work. Her winter allotment scenes and vibrant seascapes are completely captivating.

IMG_6359 - Version 2

Haidee-Jo’s exuberance and love of her work turn everyday scenes into beautiful landscapes. Her snow scenes emanate peacefulness and quiet whereas her rocky shorelines express the vigour and noise of the crashing waves and tidal waters.

IMG_6358

Mesmerised by the stunning paintings on display I completely forgot to record any of the evening’s proceedings with my ever present camera but did manage to photograph one or two of my favourite paintings.

Rather than take my word for how wonderful these works of art are why not pop along to the exhibition that runs every week from Tuesday to Saturday until the end of the month. Also on show are works by fellow artist Paul Curtis NEAC.

Visit  http://www.russell-gallery.com/welcome.htm opening times, or to view more of Haidee-Jo’s work go to http://www.haideejo.com. You can also follow Haidee-Jo on Facebook or read her blog, ma vie en couleurs, to keep up to date with her latest offerings, exhibitions, courses, and up to the minute news.

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