I spent a few days in Vienna recently, and finally managed to eat at the famous Cafe Central with its glorious arched ceilings.I mixed it up a bit, and then went for cake at Simoni's, a very modern cafe, and just as delicious.The big revelation for me was the visit to the Kunsthistoriches Museum. I couldn't believe how many truly amazingly beautiful works of art there were.My favourites were this portrait of a lady by Rubens...and this absolute gem by Vermeer. It gave me such a lovely warm feeling.Vienna is such a beautiful city, even the hotdog stands are like works of art. This photograph is my tribute to Hopper, and features Durer's Hare on the roof.
The Huntington Library, near LA, is a beautiful botanical gardens and art gallery/museum. I recently designed an exclusive toile pattern for them, to use on a variety of products to sell in their new museum store, which has just opened. This lovely paper parasol, with wooden handle, is available now!When I was commissioned for this project, I visited the gardens, took photographs and did sketches...and then designed this repeat toile featuring many of the elements I saw there. I especially loved the Japanese bridge, the rose gardens and the cactus gardens. The parasol has been featured in Romantic Homes magazine.It's available to buy in the museum store or online here. Look out for more products with this pattern, coming soon!
At the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco I admired the gorgeous anemones and seaweed in the aquarium.There were fish, seahorses, sea slugs and coral, and all sorts of weird squiggly things.The shiny gold sparkles of the piranha were mesmerising.There were also fascinating historical displays on the upper floors. I just can't resist the labels and cataloguing of these types of collections.I loved all the hand-writing and little boxes...
I've spent a lovely few days celebrating my birthday: I went to the De Young museum to sketch, and then to the wonderful State Bird Provisions for dinner with friends. OMG it was totally amazing. It was sort of dim sum style, with waiters coming round with selections of tasty little plates. The pancakes with corn & Mt Tam cheese were absolutely to die for! Everyone was casual and friendly and they gave us extra ice cream sandwiches which was a lovely touch. And then today I had a picnic in the local Washington Park in the sunshine... I made cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and everyone brought something to share. My friend made these amazing individual jellies...Another lovely birthday. Thank you everyone!
This weekend I'm in Chicago. The weather's perfect, and I'm loving it. I've always thought that Chicago is a wonderful secret that nobody tells outsiders, and I feel lucky to have discovered it. And I finally got to see 'the bean', aka 'cloud gate' by Anish Kapoor......on my way to the Art Institute of Chicago, one of my favourite museums in the world. It's just so full of famous paintings that take your breath away.Seurat's 'A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte' has a special place in my heart. I can't quite explain why it moves me so much, but it's like visiting an old friend. The monkey is the cherry on the cake, it's just so delightful.This beautiful Georgia O'Keefe painting of clouds was a lovely surprise.There was also a wonderful little show of Utamaro mokuhanga prints, which crowned an inspiring day.
This week I'm in Lawrence, Kansas. Yesterday I gave an artist's talk at University of Kansas about my work, with an emphasis on my printmaking and sketchbooks. The students were very responsive and I really enjoyed discussing my work with them. It's nice to feel I may even have inspired them a little. I also visited Leila's Hair Museum in Independence, Missouri. It was a little creepy, but in a fascinating can't-look-away sort of way. There were old photographs with real hair glued on, as mementos. There were pictures in little frames with hair inside...There were large ornate gilded frames with decorative flowers made entirely of hair...There were even simple delicate snippets of hair...I enjoyed it, as a truly unusual obsessive collection. I recommend it!
After the conference in Kyoto, I travelled for a week with some friends, and we went to Naoshima, an island in the Inland Sea that has been turned into a sort of 'art park'. It has several museums: my favourite was the 'Chichu Art Museum' with some amazing installations by James Turrell. You can get all the details of Naoshima here:
We stayed in a mongolian tent on the beach, and in the morning, we walked to Yayoi Kusama's pumpkin scuplture on the end of a jetty. It was beautiful. Serenely odd and perfect at the same time.
There were various scupltures and art pieces dotted around the island, so it made exploring really exciting!
3331 in Tokyo is a new multi-use artspace in an old school, that has galleries, studios and workshops. I bought a print, and thought about having a show here one day.
and had a restful day local style at Odaiba...