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A favourite Dorset pub and art that transcends beauty

In my second newsletter I talk about a recent visit to The Courtauld to see a fascinating Frank Auerbach exhibition, an inspiring trip to Dorset and getting shortlisted for the RA Summer Exhibition.





All Things Arty

Frank Auerbach - Charcoal Portraits

 

A few weeks ago I visited a striking Frank Auerbach exhibition at The Courtauld Gallery, London. I have a confession to make: I had never visited The Courtauld before. It’s a fabulous space in Somerset House comprising collections of art from the 11th century right up to present day. Highlights for me included an Ivon Hitchens (one of my all-time favourite artists) and an atypical yet charming Georges Seurat

 

I was mainly there to see the Frank Auerbach Charcoal Portraits exhibition. Focusing on Auerbach's earlier work the exhibition was fascinating, moving and unsettling.

 

Auerbach’s unconventional approach to charcoal meant that he would spend months on a single piece with multiple sittings, applying and removing charcoal, sometimes so heavily that the paper had to be patched up. The result is something that hauntingly captures the essence of the subject allowing the viewer to almost stare into their soul. I’m not sure if I’d have one on my wall, but they left a lasting impression on me, resonating strongly with my belief that art can transcend beauty.



Frank Auerbach charcoal portrait
Frank Auerbach, Head of Gerda Boehm, 1961, Charcoal and chalk on paper

 

Foodie Musings

 

If you missed my last newsletter, this is a new section dedicated to some of my other passions. My favourite pubs, restaurants and places often conjure up similar feelings that I try to evoke through my paintings.

 

So here's my second foodie musing...


Noble Rot, Lamb’s Conduit Street, London


Noble Rot on Lamb’s Conduit Street ticks lots of boxes. Its name coined from another word for botrytis, a grape fungus necessary for producing Sauternes (amongst others), this is the place to go if you’re into your wine.



Noble Rot wines
Inside Noble Rot, Lamb's Conduit Street

The front room is a wine bar and the back a candlelit restaurant. You could take your parents there or your lover. The fantastic value set lunch menu changes regularly but it’s always tempting to go for the à la carte as a treat. A previous “Wine List of the Year” winner, there is a mixture of traditional, unusual and hidden gems on offer; if you’re a foodie like me there is always something exciting to pair with every dish. It was here that I had my first experience of orange wine (made from white grapes in a red wine style) which was paired with slip sole in smoked butter - simple yet mind-blowing!






 

Inspiration Update


Last month I visited one of my favourite parts of the UK, the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. For 27 years of my life I visited Studland Bay with my family on our summer holidays and over the years cemented special friendships and a deep-rooted connection with the area. 

 

Along with a couple of pals, this time my girlfriend and I stayed in a charming little cottage in Corfe Castle, famous for its spectacular ruined Norman castle. 

It just so happens that one of my all-time favourite pubs was nearby: the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers.


After a circular walk down to the wave-battered coast, you can then soak up the view amongst giant Jurassic fossils-turned-seating outside. The low-ceilinged pub, dimly lit and laden with paraphernalia, serves from a hatch homemade pasties and sausage rolls that you can wash down with a local ale or cider. There’s even a tiny one-room museum filled with local artefacts attached. What more could you ask for?

 

From the weather and the scenery to the memories that came flooding back to me, it was an inspiring trip. The sketches will feed into my paintings but translating those feelings and memories of being in a place I hold dear into artwork is what inspires me most.




Recent Work


After over 10 years of applying, I was thrilled to have one of my paintings shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. It's currently at the framers so that I can take it to be judged in the final round in May. Even if I don't get selected for the exhibition, being shortlisted is a goal I've had for a long time so I'm really excited.








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