Last Day in London

I didn’t get into London until the early afternoon and then had to find my hostel to drop off all my stuff. Then I did the National Gallery again. I hadn’t had the greatest experience the first time I was there, but thought I would give it another shot because I had some last minute shopping to do in Piccadilly Circus. And I am so glad I did. I went into a different part of the Gallery – this is a huge building with multiple exhibits. I didn’t get to see all of them and this time I only had time to walk through some of the English history exhibits and then went to see the BP portrait competition. I wasn’t really impressed with a few of the winners, they seemed very typical to me, but I found some of the others very inspired and inspiring. In particular one titled “The Importance of Being Grey” and I cannot remember the title of the other, but I know it won 3rd prize. The first is of a man in a tan trench coat semi looking over his shoulder in a grey-black background. Just past the jaw-line length hair and a well-defined face by bone structure, but not so much painting style. The artist captured so much emotion in his brief expression and it triggered memories of the show “The Importance of Being Ernest” which I absolutely fell in love with. I’m still disappointed that I was unable to find the theater when it was showing in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The second (3rd prize winner) was a straight on show of a tattooed man. I think of him as a tattoo artist though I don’t know if that’s true. Just him against a white background. He had dark hair – full head of hair and beard in plain shirt and jeans with very well-done sleeve work, but what is really striking is his deep blue eyes. They aren’t the clear light color so many people talk about but a real deep full-bodied shade that do pierce you. It’s not a creepy kind of “picture-staring-at-me” but rather a kind of look that makes him seem interesting and makes you want to strike up a conversation. He is both inviting and intimidating at the same time, seems compassionate despite his artwork which can so often lead people to make quick – and incorrect – judgments. I’m sure some of the reason was intended – to push boundries and show the depth of the human soul beyond what is seen on the surface. Showing vulnerability is exactly why the naked older woman and naked older man won first and second place. Unfortunately I’ve seen this kind of work before so I was more interested in the more original subject matter despite clear talent of all winners.

These are pictures of the Thames, a post office deposit box, me behind Big Ben (again), flags down Oxford Street for the Olympics and a painted piano next to the Borough Market to celebrate the culture in London, a “cultural Olympiad” during the athletic Olympics.

And now I’m home and finally recovered from my jet-lag so I’ve had the time to finish this up. All of my pictures will at some point be uploaded to facebook – I have about 5 or so times as many pictures as have been posted here.