Wednesday, July 09, 2008

'A Voyage Round the World in Paintings' by Julie Askew

Yesterday I had the afternoon off from work, so that I could go to London to the Tryon Gallery in St James’s to a book launch and exhibition.

This was a great occasion as it was the work of a very good friend of mine, Julie Askew, and it is her first book… the first of a number, I have no doubt.
‘A Voyage Round the World in Paintings’ is a wonderful collection of images reproduced from her sketchbooks and finished paintings.

The gallery looked splendid with Julie’s paintings covering the walls and adorning the front windows… I felt so immensely proud of her and her achievement.
As I walked around looking at each of her paintings, some of which I had seen before, some only as reproduced images and some quite new to me, I enjoyed the experience of recognizing a few of the places and the instant recall of being stood in that place again, our conversation at the time, the warmth of the sun and the whole day rushed back to my mind.

Having traveled with her on four cruise trips and one African trip I know first hand of her passion to sketch almost every place she goes. Many a time I have walked beside her along some street somewhere in the world, or down some rough track as we explore the natural habitat, chatting away merrily getting very distracted answers… only to find on turning to look at Julie, just a few steps behind, that she is working away furiously with her sketching pen as she walks and not really concentrating on what I had been saying at all. Her ability to see and capture something almost instantaneously always amazes me…. I am quite the opposite in that, personally, I prefer time to take in, study and then sketch my subject. I get more out of it that way both mentally and in the results of what I produce. It’s all a matter of personal choice… I love to watch Julie sketch… it’s marvelous to see, but I would never try to copy that approach, as it’s just not me or the way I work. Horses for courses… and all that.

The gallery was well attended and it was great to meet some familiar faces again and be introduced to new ones. The two hours flew by, everybody filtered away and we had time afterwards to grab a quick drink and bite to eat in a local hostilery. I then had the mad dash back through London on foot and by tube to Paddington to catch my train homeward. Several between station stops by the tube train threw my timings out and I got on my train with just 4 minutes to spare!!

The book is available from Amazon and I recommend it highly… I may be a little bias here, but it really is a fab book and would certainly look good on your coffee table or bookshelf…… and no.. I’m not working on commission….. :~)

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