I planned to sketch at the Tate Britain. . . but in the end my one sketch was a two minute quickie in the Turner interactive room. If you haven’t already read Paul’s blog about today, please do, for the details about that wonderful room.
In the morning when we arrived at the museum I did learn that the Tate has folding chairs that you can borrow if you want to sit by a painting and sketch. Perhaps the next time we’re there, either between now and Tuesday or next fall when we’ve decided we will spend one of our two England weeks in London before we head home. But today I wondered through the rooms without being able to pick out a painting to sketch.
I was moved again, as I was a week ago, by the amazing full scale sketch by Constable of Hadleigh Castle. It is a dark, powerful piece, and in tone quite unlike the eventual finished painting. The sketch was done at the time of his wife’s death and is thought to reflect the turbulent emotions he was feeling at the time. Below is my photo of his ‘sketch.’ This is a link to the finished painting: http://www.oilpaintingsmarket.com/imgs/86/000224.jpg
Finding nothing I wanted to sketch, I went outside and walked by the Thames. It was an overcast day, not unlike the Pacific Northwest, and the Thames moved darkly past me, powerful and timeless, recalling Heraclitus to my thoughts. It was a meeting with an old friend, long known, now seen face-to-face. It was powerful magic.
Later, Paul and I went to Westminster Cathedral which is magnificent. I am not particularly religious, but I was moved to light a votive candle and say a prayer. It turned out I lit the candle at the Chapel of The Holy Souls – the holy souls being those who are in purgatory but are assured of forgiveness and life eternal in heaven. The Solemn Vesper service was primarily music, sung by the Choir and Clergy of Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral. The voices and the pipe organ were sublime. It filled me with a sense of peace.
Afterwards we ate a fine meal at an Italian restaurant, sipped some wine, and talked about what we had seen and learned today. Katrina, our beautiful Argentinean waitress seemed to sense the magic. We were fortunate that there was a lull in the custom of the restaurant and she had time to talk with us for a while. She gave us the gift of her cheerful spirit and love of Argentina.
The day was a gift from the gods.