Tuesday, 15 June 2010
On a good day
Mondays and Tuesdays are my art days. That means I'm either making something, painting or drawing something, or planning or researching something. I have the odd day off if I'm not feeling great, or if something comes up that I must do that day, but generally, I like to keep those days for what their main purpose is.
That said, I don't often go outside to research. This is slightly crazy. I live in a vibrant city filled with natural (and some wonderfully unnatural) beauty and quirkiness. There is a gorgeous beach and a rather big sea a two minute bike-ride away. There are many cafes I could sit and sketch and read in. There are fabulous places to grab a bite to eat. There are many strange and fantastic people to take inspiration from.
So today, I embraced my fears of venturing outside (usually borne of a slight agorophobia built up from spending so much time on my own on those two days; or weather-dictated, which is hugely lame, I know) and donned my comically unsexy bike helmet and went for a little ride.
I cycled to City Books, my favouritest of all favourite bookshops in Brighton. Did they have the obscure 1950s womens crime fiction novel I was looking for? Course they did. Promptly helped and served by a lovely bookseller too. (I should say something here about booksellers, having been one myself: on the whole - though I realise I am generalising and it's a bit naughty to do that, but this is my blog, so there - there is a huge difference between someone who works in a shop that also sells books, and a bookseller. A bookseller will delight in being asked questions, will be only too happy to actually engage in a conversation about their beloved wares, will helpfully not only show you to the book you are looking for, if it's in stock, but offer to order more by the author, or similar, for you at the drop of a hat - please support local bookshops whenever you can, booksellers are an increasingly rare and neglected species and need your support).
I then popped back on my new bike (I'll blog about bikes, new and old, in the week) and instead of taking the main road into town, I cycled down the one way road the wrong way (sorry, enormous Mercedes that almost knocked me off my bike) and straight onto the seafront. The weather was gorgeous - sunny, a nice little wind pushing me towards town - pretty much perfect, really.
I stopped off at Paperchase to buy some new notebooks (a journal, a little sketchbook to carry around, a new 'ideas' book), then felt my tummy rumble. Lunchtime. I thought about heading to the beach, but there's not much nice to eat down that way. I pushed my bike towards the Pavilion Gardens (I'm such a responsible cyclist - ignoring the earlier one-way road anecdote), then once back on the road, cycled to Iydea, in mine, and quite a few friends' opinions, one of the best vegetarian places to eat in the whole city. I ordered the quiche (I always order the quiche: it is a personal policy, I don't know where it came from, but it's always worked for me and why change now?) accompanied by mixed vegetables and chickpea salad, and the best raspberry lemonade I've ever tasted. Seriously, it was that good.
I then went on to meet my wonderful friend Michelle Cobbin at Cafe Nia for a coffee, then onto Michelle's exhibition at City College, where she's just finished her foundation course. I wish I had an art website to link to for Michelle (soon, I hope, soon). She is a wonderfully gifted abstract painter and creates sometimes enormous, sometimes tiny, sometimes just inbetween canvases and paper paintings that will draw you in like a hug. Her use of colour and shape and line is gorgeous, and she's only just finishing a course. I can't wait to see what her new projects outside of art school are going to be like. Needless to say, the paintings she had on display were just great (I'd had a sneak preview a few weeks before, but seeing them in situ for the exhibition was a real pleasure). I would love to be able to offer her a deservedly large sum of money to own one. Maybe one day.
After leaving Michelle, I jumped back on the bike and headed for the seafront for the ride home. It was one of those days where everything just sort of turned out great. Moreso probably because the events of the day were something I usually make excuses not to do. I heard something said last night on a show I love: that many beautiful moments do not equal a life. I disagree. I think life is only a series of beautiful moments. We just need to recognise them.