This week I went on a rare train trip to London, naturally I took my sketchbook...
All the windows are open for Summer and getting out and about is on my mind. But hold on there - the pandemic is not over! Cases are soaring in the UK, as I don't drive, any travel outside my local area requires public transport, and that makes me worried. Use of masks seems to have been largely abandoned by the UK populace, even in built up areas, which makes me ever more reluctant to visit busy major conurbations.
However this week I did risk a trip to London, for a double book launch at Waterstones in Clapham Junction, held by my associates Bridget Marzo and Jane Porter. It was a fabulous event, for two excellent new picture books, You, Me and our Whole Wide World by Bridget, and The Girl Who Noticed Everything by Jane, illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearing. Both of these beautiful books are published by Walker Books.
The book launch was the cream on the top of an excellent day, for it happened to be the very same day that Boris Johnson announced his resignation. Unfortunately my train arrived in town after his (apparently woeful) speech, crowds had perhaps diminished outside Downing Street by the time I got there, but I did nosy on down to Westminster to see what might be happening, and met a campaigning celebrity.
Then on, to two glorious hours in Tate Britain, seeing the amazing 'The Procession' by Hugh Locke, a captivating, and somewhat chilling mix of celebration, history and human experience, well worth a look if you get the chance.
It's been a few years since I visited Tate Britain, but it was the perfect way to end the afternoon before the evening book launch. I especially wanted to see the earlier works in the museum, and wasn't disappointed - here are some personal highlights....
For me all these have an intimacy and storytelling I find especially compelling, worlds I feel I could step into and explore - they are an illustrator's choice after all! Perhaps this choice crystalises some of the things I find inspiring, maybe I should more fully explore such paths myself.... I don't see a great deal of these kind of worlds in published children's books at the moment though!! There were other wonderful paintings of course (how can I forget Sargent?) ... but time was running out and I had an event to go to... another day perhaps.