Sunday, September 29, 2013

DIARY 117 ~ Redecorating Abbey House

Over the Summer, at work, I've been doing a long 31/2 month Project to redecorate some of the main historical rooms in Abbey House. It's been actually quite nice to be working from home. Originally the idea was I'd be working with a small team, but this never really happened. So I ended up finishing off a bathroom, repainting a Kitchen, a bedroom, the main lounge, a second lounge and a guest room, largely single-handed. I actually got into it and found my own pace and rhythm quite meditative. Two of the rooms are paneled, and these took the most time because the painting is very fiddly and painstaking. I chose a new colour scheme for both, which brings a more traditional classical look to the rooms which really suits them. The stairwell and the bedroom also were re-carpeted, which was long overdue as the previous carpet was thread bare it was such poor quality. The end result is very satisfying to see, and now live in.

DIARY 116 ~ Holiday in Whitby & York

Before preparing for the exhibition, Jnanasalin and myself took a holiday, five days in Whitby and a weekend in York. The days in Whitby were filled with conversation,coffee, history, lovely food, more cake then walks. The apartment we stayed at in Whtiby was huge, we were expecting just a pokey place, but it was a bit palatial, but also reasonably cheap!

St Mary's ~ One of my all time favourite churches

Part Church ~ Part Boat

Part of the fun for us, apart from visiting places of interest, is finding four good things; a good pub, cafe, vegetarian breakfast, and restaurant.  We eventually found most of them in Whitby, but some not till late in the holiday. The pub was the hardest. Whitby is quite a working class tourist destination, and most of the pubs are either plastic themed, or a bit rough and insalubrious inside, The best overall, was The Station Inn, a CAMRA pub, with good beer, half decent landlord and decor.

Whitby Abbey

The Ruswarp Viaduct

The cafe ~ well we often search for that unbeatable, and frequently unobtainable, combination of half decent coffee and cakes to die for, and are forced to compromise on one or the other. Sherlock's though a cut above most Whitby cafes could not beat ~ Marie Antoinette's Patisserie. The range of cakes was simply superb, and not just your run of the mill carrot cake, but superbly decadent affairs such as a raspberry cheesecake with a broken waffle sponge topping.

Taken on our six mile walk to Robin Hood's Bay

Restaurants were a mixed bag, good quality Thai and Curry houses. A not quite reaching the heights Italian called Luna Pena, with a seriously weird waitress.  The best veggie breakfast was at The Marine,who had over half their breakfast menu vegetarian. I don't think we've found that anywhere else in the UK. The very best meal we had was lunch in Sandsend at The Woodland Cafe, which was stylishly presented and tasted so good we were both astounded. Jnansalin had a Cauliflower Soup that was to die for, and I had a deep fried goats cheese fritter, with caramelised red onion, on a rocket, pear and pine nut salad base, both of which set the taste buds and superlatives rolling. This was more than worth the three mile beach walk there.

Once we'd decamped to York we began searching for the same. Three legged Mare ~ Best Pub in York. Mannions cafe, great for coffee and cakes. 31, Castlegate, provided simply the most superb quality restaurant meal either of us have ever eaten, anywhere. York had a Food & Drink Festival on that weekend, so, in comparison to Whitby it did feel rather frenetically busy and overwhelming by comparison. Also, getting a handle on York's street layout doesn't happen very quickly, so we did a lot of walking up and down trying to find 'that place we passed yesterday.'

With the Minster costing £15 to get in, we sought out cheaper places of interest to visit. We walked the entire length of the remaining sections of York's City Walls, which is actually a great way to see the city. We also discovered Fairfax House, which is quite the most stunning 18th Century Townhouse, with breathtakingly detailed  plasterwork and immaculate furniture.

The B & B, at Romley House, felt and was small after our Whitby apartment. Though this was more than made up for by our host Bruce. A lively Alsakan, he made us very welcome, and insisted on providing some bubbly stuff when he found out it was our Anniversary that weekend.  In retrospect, we perhaps might have found the contrast of seaside town and city easier to manage if we'd done York before Whitby, but that's a minor qualm.

Our First Anniversary cheers

DIARY 115 ~ Making an Exhibition

Well, in January of this year I set myself the aim of getting an exhibition of my artwork together. All part of an intention to seriously get behind my creativity as being an essential part of my day to day practice. Since then I've been reconsidering and revamping my early work, plus starting to develop new themes for future work. This has been going on at the same time as I was creating the shrine backdrop in metal for Windhorse. At times I've not known where to place my creative focus.

Yesterday the Private View of my first solo exhibition, held at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre took place. Jnansalin and I have been busy in the week before, doing final finishing off, then hanging of the pictures, making exhibition titles and preparing drink and nibbles for the event. Having never organised such an event before, we weren't sure how much to do, nor how many folk were likely to turn up. In the end over thirty folk came, about double what we were envisaging, which was really so heartening and encouraging. We under-catered on the drink, over-catered on the food.

Here are a few photos of the exhibition

Even as I was putting the work up on Friday, people coming to classes were spontaneously coming up and expressing their appreciation, if not enthusiasm for my work. My paintings have been pretty much kept a private passion until now, exhibited only in my community. But as soon as you put things in an exhibition space, perceptions and awareness does appear to change. People put their Art Heads on, it seems. I wasn't entirely sure whether folk really would get what I'm trying to do. Well, apparently they do, which in itself is a giant thumbs up to my present and future confidence. 

Here are a few photos of the Private View.

Talking about my paintings & creative process.

Pete Cox is the one with hair

FEATURE 115 ~ Poster for my exhibtion