It's such a tiring time of year... it has always been that most of my lecturing happens between October and Christmas. I found myself saying goodbye to a woman on TV who was saying goodbye yesterday. It's hard to resist saying thank you to the bank machine.Nice things happen amongst all the work though; I met Caroline Coon today at the National Gallery (after annoying the staff in Jigsaw, who cannot conceal their hatred of clothes-unfolders, but I do need to see the sleeves, shop-assistants!). we turned right, and wandered through rooms of Impressionists, Van Gogh (there was a lovely grey-toned portrait of a man that we both loved). My fave painting, Seurat's 'Bathers at Asinieres' was there, so big and beautiful and funny and inspiring. There were a few paintings by Degas, a lovely painting of South Norwood by Pissaro, and lots of little gems in between. There is nothing like real live paintings with glistening brush-strokes and dabs of bright colour to take your mind off gloomy damp autumnal London, and galleries are free and big and exciting. Caroline was on good form and an excellent companion as she knows loads about artists lives. Because she is a painter, it was interesting to see which paintings she liked best: an early Degas, unfinished, of the Spartans preparing for a wrestling match, intrigued both of us. She paints constantly, paintings of the local scene in Notting Hill, and she should be a lot more respected as an artist than she is.
Funnily enough, Joe Boyd mentions her in his book, and we talked a bit about the 1960s, in particular because of Obama's presidency, which is the culmination of seeds of change planted in that decade.