Monday, 27 August 2012

I went to Europe for three weeks and did some paintings

Hey guys!

So back in June and July I took a wonderful three week holiday in Europe. I visited London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and rounded off the trip with three relaxing days in Munich. It was the most inspiring and incredible holiday I've ever had. Safe to say that I am madly in love with Berlin and totally besotted with the three Scandinavian capitals (particularly Oslo). Visited a few art galleries (Tate Modern, Gemaldegalerie, East Side Gallery, Munch Museum) and other historical ones too (DDR and Vasa Museum).

Hands down, the highlight was definitely the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. The gallery is located in the Kulturforum to the west of the city, amongst a number of other museums, galleries and the Berlin State Library. I didn't get to go to any of the other museums but I'm sure they're worth looking into if you're feeling up for a gallery day. It was far too sunny out that day though to spend it all indoors. Anyway, the Gemäldegalerie's collection is incredible - a huge, finely selected collection of European art set out in a delightful progression from era to era. It really has to be my favourite art gallery. The experience was just so amazing and the architecture of the building really just set the whole thing off. If you're ever in Berlin and want to experience a really beautiful collection of European art in a really beautiful setting I would strongly recommend dropping by the Gemäldegalerie for a couple of hours. There was hardly anybody there, which is surprising because it is, in my humble opinion, an incredible gallery.

I would also say that if you're ever in Oslo you must must must pay a visit to the Munch Museum (catching the metro to Tøyen is the easiest way of getting there from central Oslo, else it'll be a bit of a hike). I admit that I didn't really know many of his works before I visited but I was pretty keen to go nevertheless because I do love Expressionist art and I was craving another art gallery visit. After seeing The Scream - which I enjoyed more than I thought I would - I went for a truly inspiring wander through the rest of the gallery. Unsurprisingly, Munch's portraits and nudes were the standouts for me. The vibrance and unusual mixes of colours and the confidence and freedom of each stroke just grabs you. I've never seen anyone use colour like that before. So bold and rich and intense. It is definitely a must-see gallery (cannot stress the must enough).

Now, I suck at keeping travel diaries. I start them and get all keen about writing in them until I realise that I would much rather spend my afternoons on holidays eating ice-cream or having a few drinks with friends whilst enjoying the sun. Then when I get on my last flight home I write in it and I'm all whatever about it. So naturally that is exactly how this diary ended up. Thankfully, I brought along with me a little A5 watercolour sketchbook and my Cotman sketchers set and an ever trustworthy Aquash brush. I managed to do a number of little paintings while I was there (unfortunately none of Stockholm or Oslo, but I'll do them soon). Actually I'm currently slowly working on an acrylic painting of the Oslo Opera House (which is pretty much the most amazing building I have ever seen in my whole life). These are the paintings I did:

2012 European Summer Series
London 
Cambridge
Berlin
Copenhagen
Munich

So now I'm currently working on some other paintings from Europe as well as a few other series. I'll write another post very soon as I'm super excited about it. About honey bees!

So the questions I have for any artists out there who may be reading my blog are:
Do you guys keep a visual diary when you go on holiday?
Where do you like to holiday?
What places inspire you most with your artmaking?
Do you have a favourite art gallery?

I hope you're all well!
Monica

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