I started the day doing a bit of work at Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market before walking over to Poppy Sebire to see a photography exhibition. Continuing along northwesterly, I crossed the bridge to get to The Courthald Gallery for Mondrian || Nicholson: In Parallel. Fiona and Karen recommended this show that I almost skipped; I thought that I could get a gist of the works reproduced in print. I am glad I didn't because standing to observe the works up close, taking in the nuances of the strokes, I got a sense of the emotion behind the abstraction. It was a good prelude to a book I picked up with essays defending abstract art and its humanity with Mondrian being a particularly highlighted example. And how could I think that it is possible to appreciate Nicholson's white reliefs without seeing them in person? Environment, light, shadows... I would have loved to see them hung upside down. I wonder how that will change things.
There were many beautiful Greats in the permanent collection: Matisse, van Gogh, Cézanne...... I was mesmerised by many of the Cézanne paintings but I wasn't compelled to photograph them. I thought you'd probably have seen better representations elsewhere and I had the banal concern of keeping my phone alive for a job later in the evening.
Then to National Portrait Gallery to see Lucian Freud. I knew that it was going to be busy but I didn't imagine that it will be this busy. It was difficult to admire the works from far and to study them up close. I thought that the visit was going to turn out to be an exercise in patience, consideration and deep breathing but I quickly worked out an alternative strategy. Foregoing the exhibition notes and suggested order, I circled the rooms, weaving in and out of each one, allowing myself to be drawn to whichever piece of work not occupied by a semi-circle of viewers at the moment. I repeated this motion until I saw all the works or all the works I cared to see.
My two favourite pieces were Freud's portraits of his mother. I returned to them many times. They were both of her lying in bed. I was captured particularly by the roll of the blind in the background of The Painter's Mother Resting. The roll! It was then that I truly, truly understood Freud's mastery in his art. I was inspired. I am neither a painter nor am I trying to become one. I mean inspired in a diffused, universal sense.
Looked around some parts of the NPG quickly when I realised that I was having a good/bad hair day.
I got on the Metropolitan line at Liverpool Street, got to Moorgate, got off and waited for the Northern line to get to another photography exhibition that was closing this week. While sitting on the platform, I realised I had forgotten about another exhibition, this one about antique textiles, that was also closing this week. I could only manage to see one more thing for the day and, of course, it had to be the textiles exhibition so I went back to Liverpool Street the way I came.
I could not resist snapping when I saw this piece of silk ikat. There was no exhibition catalogue so banal concerns like a dead phone had to be dropped.
Exposed displays tempted my resistance. Touch rounds up my experience in the appreciation of textiles...
...but I kept myself under control and developed a temporary twitch of finger-chewing.
I wish I could wear this! The one on the left.
At Leila's for a ham and mustard sandwich before heading west to help my friend Yoshiko with a party catered by her company, Ritsuko & Co. Leila's sandwich was made very simply and very well. Yoshiko's cooking and presentation were wonderful as always. I really enjoyed the intense spurt of physical work though I found it hard to fall sleep when I got home because of the adrenaline rush.
The morning was about recuperation.
Before heading out. I had a purpose and some errands to run but I cannot remember the legitimate stuff I did now.
I do remember the fun stuff - eating hazelnut gelato and strawberry sorbet from Scoop.
Back home in the early evening. The take-away container at Food for Thought could not contain the food so it was taped. I like the colours, textures and patterns of the result.
Picked up a fold-out sheet from Neal's Yard Dairy - I was impressed by the drawings transforming essentially cross-sections of logs into cheese with their distinct characteristics. I was trying to find the hands behind the work but couldn't. Came upon the good portfolio of Paulus M. Dreibholz instead.
In anticipation of the full moon.
Home then out again.
My very last. Sniff sniff.
Amy and her Cinco de Mayo feast (none of us knew why we were celebrating). I had read about the Lunar Society of Birmingham prior to the dinner party and was obsessed with forming a club of "lunarticks" that will meet on every "full moon, as the extra light made the journey home easier and safer".
Fiona, party hat.
Stuart, Leica M7.
Clayton's pink cocktail.
Amy's corn soup.
Amy's hand-made tortilla, salsa, pulled chicken, black beans, yogurt and avocado.
It was a great night. We forgot the time. Got home, almost in time, for the exact fullness of the moon but I could not see it anywhere in the clouded sky.
Recuperation with raw milk from Maltby Street.
The best dinner party hosts send guests home with gifts. I had one of Amy's chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and they would come in handy later.
Favourite new t-shirt worn as a dress from Slam City Skates.
Shooting with Julia of Cherry Pick, a children's wear and ware sales agency, and Anna, her three-year-old daughter. One of the scenes involved this meal plate, I thought that the little sandwich loaf from The Little Bread Pedlar would make a perfect prop. Anna didn't like tomatoes so I ate the sandwiches instead.
Anyway chocolate chip cookies saved the day!
Enjoyed more of the bread as toast for dinner.
Good morning. Sun and shadows.
Enjoyed more of the bread as toast.
This time with apple and rose petal jelly.
Tea. Start of work-day.
Socks. End of work-day.
Last of the bread. This is my new way of making tomato sandwiches: toast 1.5 cm thick slices, split each slice on its side to make 0.75 cm thin slices, approximation is fine, place slices of butter on the cut surface, replace "top" to allow butter to melt, slice tomato thinly, remove "top" and spread melted butter before layering tomato slices, sprinkle with sea salt, sprinkle with ground flax seeds (for function rather than for taste), replace "top" and cut into triangles.
Second breakfast of oatcake, spring honey and St. James, a washed rind sheep's cheese.
I was sent an update of Ferry over breakfast. I watch and wonder why others do it but it is impossible not to lapse into proud parent mode when talking about one's kid. Isn't she the most beautiful ferret in the world?
A reminder of the parallel between urban and nature. Both are beautiful and brutal.
Working at Violet Cakes.
I like Violet's cinnamon buns very much though I am trying the new candied orange and lemon scone today.
After lunch of broccoli quiche.
With a side of salted caramel cupcake.
It was buttery, crumbly and short with balancing additions of citrus. Good!
I noticed this dog from afar - something about the symmetry/asymmetry of his eyebrows.
His owner said that he is called Nelson because he is blind in one eye. His head was bashed when he was a puppy, that was when I noticed the dent in his skull.
But Nelson remains warm and friendly to people, even to strangers like Jaja and I.
Jaja has been baking frequently and I am one of her testers. Tasters?