Monday 13 August 2012



Do you remember the very first painting you saw that made you realise what 'ART' was?

When I was seven years old (in 1942) I transferred from the Infants School to the Junior School.  This was a lovely 1930s building with a central grassed area and a covered way like an abbey cloister all around, with pictures hung all along  the inner wall of this outside corridor.

I remember the first time I walked down the corridor and saw a print of this painting on the wall.  I had never seen anything like it, and I was just filled with the wonderfulness of it.  Every time I went down that covered way until I left to go to grammar school I would stop and look at it.

Because we had visited the Tate Liverpool Gallery, at the Albert Dock, on 2nd August to see the Turner, Monet, Twombly Exhibition, I thought about this painting and why it had impressed me so strongly.

It occurred to me that we never had any pictures in our home, and that there was a good reason for that lack of art.  My father was in the navy, and my mother used to tell me that every time she had to follow him as his ship moved from one place to another with two children in tow, she would scrape together the money to buy some furniture.  Then when it was time to move on she would have to sell everything because she couldn't take it with her.

So I can see that pictures would be a luxury.   Even in later years, with 4 children and a more stable home, we had no paintings, though my sister has just reminded me that above mum's bed was a print of 'The Light of the World' by William Holman Hunt.  There was still no money for luxuries like pictures.

Back to the Turner, Monet exhibition.  Clearly it's no surprise that I have always loved paintings by Monet, though these have been as prints, or in books.

This is my take on Monet with a quick caricature sketch.  Monet seems to be one of those historical figures that one never thinks of as a young man - like George Bernard Shaw and Albert Einstein.

In the past Dev and I have been lucky enough to see paintings and watercolour sketches by Turner and those in the exhibition were wonderful, but only once have we seen an actual painting by Monet.

As we walked around the large number of Monets, some small, some huge, it was an absolute revelation.  What struck me most was the way each painting changed, depending on whether it was viewed from a point to one side or the other, or directly in front, close to or at a distance.  

Parts of the paintings, would just suddenly jump out into sharper focus than everything else.  We were both blown away by the beauty of them and couldn't stop going round and round the various rooms.  I feel it was such a privilege to be able to see these works - and I appreciate how lucky we are to be able to visit exhibitions like this fairly locally.

The Tate Liverpool is one of my favourite places, and this is one of my favourite sculptures in the Gallery, just inside the entrance - 'Jacob Wrestling With The Angel' by Jacob Epstein.   I love the power and strength and size of it.  

The side view shows the struggle a little more clearly, but for some reason I like the back view best of all, with the wings framing the angel's head.

And as a last photo, when I saw this young man it was a real 'back to the future' moment, and I had to ask him if I could take a photo.

When I commented on his success in being a Hockney lookalike, he said with a smile, 'Well, I do try!'


  1. Thanks for sharing. I always loved the poppies in that painting.

  2. I loved the BBC production The Impressionists... it is a great show and worth hunting down if you haven't seen it... I went to an impressionists exhibit when it came touring and was so blown away by the depth in the pieces... photos really don't do them justice so they...xx

  3. once again you have me thinking! I absolutely love your sketch of Monet! You are right, he is always thought of as older, wonder what he was like?
    cheers, dana


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