Summer School – Day 1

Turns out, collaging is way harder than it looks; unless you want to make something naff, then it’s pretty easy. Our assignment today was to make a portrait. I told my teacher that I hoped mine wasn’t a self-portrait, to which she replied, it probably is. ‘Every painter paints themselves,’ she told me (a little Tuscan proverb favoured by Da Vinci…and not in a good way). So, if you have ever thought I am a little strange, you’re in good company, my subconscious thinks so too.

My start to the day wasn’t much better. The breakfast buffet here at Connaught Hall is pretty impressive. However, I got all flustered when I was choosing mine, due to the po-faced dinner lady and the long queue behind me; all I wanted was yogurt and toast, instead I got a piece of cheesy bread, an egg and a chocolate pastry thing. Still I managed to eat it all.

After breakfast I wandered off to the Slade, which I managed to find without getting lost; not because my sense of direction has suddenly improved, but because it is only 5mins and 1 turn away. First we had a short lecture about Summer School in general. I have to say I felt quite chuffed sitting there, as though a dream I’d given up on long ago had, in a way, come to pass. I’d always wanted to make art at the Slade and there I was about to do so. After the lecture, we were shown to our respective studios. The one for the Collage course is wonderful; it’s huge and filled with light – when the sun bothers to come out that is.


There are 13 of us on the course, and everyone seems really nice. I met a lovely woman who joined the course after lunch. I had finished my lunch early and returned to the studio to try and fix my collage (the pic above is actually the improved version), so I was the only one in there when she arrived. She had missed the first part of the course because she had been at funeral. The funeral was for a 17 year old girl who had died of Leukaemia. I felt very sad as she was telling me the story and about the funeral, which she said was amazing. It was apparent from talking to her that she had indeed witnessed something incredible and was changed because of it, as I am sure all who attended were. I couldn’t help thinking that the tragic death of a beautiful young woman is now rippling out like a positive force in the world and touching the lives of people she didn’t even know. Indeed, I was touched by her story.


On my way home, I passed the enormous bookshop I visited when I was last in London. I gave myself strict instructions to keep walking, as I am on a budget and can’t be going around buying books willy nilly. But then I spied the tables of cheap books lined up outside and thought it couldn’t do any harm to have a little look. Did I have a look? Hardly. I walked straight past them, into the shop.


Waterstones Book Shop – Gower St. Bloomsbury.

It really is amazing in there. Even though I’ve been there twice, I have still only seen half of it. I saw lots that I wanted to buy; though I was sure to stay away from the Art books, as they’re always so pretty and, unfortunately, expensive. Instead, I wandered round the History, Religion and Philosophy sections (my other passions in life) and found a wonderful book I just had to have, about Maimonides and outsiders.


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