So much to see, and – gasp – almost enough time to feel like we can see it all! The train trip beneath the Channel was underwhelming – just like being in the subway, then you find yourself at St. Pancras station wondering where platform 9 3/4 might be hidden… of course, it’s in some other station, but still, it felt like we were about to begin a semester at Hogwart’s. Chocolate frogs, anyone?
We met our new host family, friends of Markus’, and were welcomed into their Victorian row house with a hot supper and cold wine. Helen is a whirlwind of energy, a chemistry professor who does a terrific imitation of British upper crust voices, and Gary is quiet with a wry sense of humor. They provided us with insights on getting around and a tiny guidebook (keeps you from looking so “touristy” when you pull out your map), then off we went to find my first art class.
Finding it took some serious bus navigating, which is always a bit scary in a new city, but Griff is a jewel, so we found the Battersea Art Centre, got set up for the evening class, then set off for the Tate Modern, which was in an entirely different part of town. The Tate seems to be a big favorite locally, but for me, it was quite stark. It has a fabulous view of the River Thames and all the famous landmarks, but perhaps I was influenced by my feet hurting at that point… then again, it is an excellent example of “industrial culture”, it being a power plant originally with one of the generator areas now devoted to being an “art space”… which had big blank walls at the time. Ben – it was made for you and a few cans of spray paint!
I sketched little scenes all day in the new “Moleskine” sketchbook that Larsen sent me (bravo, Larsen!), a sort of random series of impressions from vintage props in the Battersea center to a man in an inner city basketball court quietly drinking himself to oblivion.
I was exhausted by the time evening rolled around for the “drop in life drawing” class, and was on the verge of just going home instead, but fortunately Griff persuaded me to try it anyway. Wow – just what I had hoped for, but sorry, not going to share these sketches on the web! Well, not yet, anyway. I will just say that the model, unlike Corey’s description of her first life drawing class, did not resemble Shrek. More like the young greek hero in Mama Mia… All that and good art instruction, too!