Bit of a shock to leave mid summer and return to mid winter (although Melbourne winters are really very mild) but I have got wimpier about the cold after 10 years in Australia. Anyway, obviously a good time to consider indoor activities and so I trotted off to the Hokusai Exhibit at the NGV. It was magnificent – many many pieces including the Great Wave, waterfalls and other Japanese scenes. I am amazed how he can create such lovely images with so few brush strokes and of course it has set off my wanderlust to visit Japan again – now that I have visited Tokyo and Kyoto I would love to explore other parts of the country – maybe an Autumn trip would be nice and then I can chase golden leaves instead of cherry blossoms.
Hope you like them as much as I did and if you live here – GO!
Continuing my efforts to be a tourist in my home city I found myself wondering through the Ian Potter Centre on Flinders Street. I hadn’t been for a long time so I walked through the whole thing and as ever there were two paintings in particular that kept drawing me back. Although before I get to those, I would be remiss in not mentioning the “Who’s afraid of Colour” exhibit which was not at all what I expected (in a good way).
Anyway, I kept coming back to two John Brack paintings – the first is called 5pm on Collins Street and is dated 1955 and the second is called The Bar and dated 1954 O(when apparently bars had to close by 6pm so it is no wonder everyone is heading out with a mission in the first paining)! I live close to Collins Street so know exactly where the first painting is set and wonder if much has changed? Maybe those crowds are more likely at 6pm and no more hats on the men but thankfully more women in the crowd. Do people still look that miserable?
As for the lady at the bar – clearly you wouldn’t want to mess with her but she also retains a
particular charm which made me smile – and check out those fab earrings.
Back home but always lots to do here so visited the NGV as they have Van Gogh as their Winter Masterpieces exhibit. Of course it is hard not to love Van Gogh’s work – some of it is so passionate in its colors and vibrancy that it brings a lump to my throat. There are not many artists who can do that. This exhibit takes a seasonal approach to his work and displays the pieces by season rather than in any other chronology. Apparently he loved Autumn the most but I think his summer works are the most spectacular (but then I am rather fond of European summers).
Given my recent visit to Japan I was interested to see that he had been heavily influenced by Japanese block prints (which are also prone to a seasonal focus) and these were shown in the exhibit also to provide context before the Van Gogh exhibit started.
Below are the Japanese block prints, some of my favorite summer paintings and finally the one that drew me back again and again. I had not seen it before. It is a simple drawing of a peasant reaping at harvest time – it was done close to before he shot himself so whether there was any double meaning with the “grim reaper” I don’t know – but there is something about it that I couldn’t stop looking at.
See what you think?
Japanese block prints that influenced Van Gogh and which he collected avidly
My personal faves
Thanks to my generous colleagues at ANZ I had the opportunity to go up in a hot air balloon over the city. I see those balloons from my window virtually every morning so have always wanted to be on the other side of that picture. One of my friends who is visiting,Trudy, is not afraid of heights so she joined me on the trip. It was a thrill to watch the sun come up over the city and something I won’t forget in a hurry. Thanks to the Global Ballooning Company for a safe and memorable flight.
As usual when I’m back in Melbourne food and friends are never far behind. Here are some samples from Brighton Baths cafe, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Attica (I know, lucky me:).Great company and good food always the best way to spend time (and a decent tipple too of course!).
Food, drink, Alistair, Lincoln, Trudy and Alan
And then I visited Ripon Lea House for the first time – 40 acres of gorgeousness in the suburbs of Melbourne – go if you haven’t been before – it is really impressive.
Ripon Lea House and Gardens
Did something very exciting today – watch this space for more about that tomorrow…..
As promised the Hockney and Bulgari sections of my epic three hour visit to the NGV and enjoying the sunshine with my mates – so nice to finally have some time to enjoy their company:)
Bulgari glitters. If it’s good enough for Elizabeth Taylor, it’s good enough for me.
Hockney and his iPad has enabled him to churn out thousands of great paintings. Maybe I should give it a try?
In both cases below it was the boys who took the selfies. I thought I should point that out in case anyone noticed the drop in photographic standards?
With Marjory and Jeremy at the tennis: With Susanna and Alistair and wine.