lion, victoria & albert museum, london

The London Trip Is Over?! No!!!!!!

It’s with a tear in my eye that this is the last of my London posts. And, as we wanted to make the most of our quickly dwindling moments in London, Mr. Husband and I took advantage of a night at the museum…no, not the Ben Stiller movie, although you may find a familiar face from the movie in this post.

London Museums

Sure the museums of London (including the Museum of London) are places where you can see oodles of pretty things, learn about ancient cultures, and admire the craftsmanship of days gone by, but one of the best things about many of the museums in London? They’re totally free (okay, they’d like a donation, but no one will bar your entry if you don’t drop a few coins in the box).

This not only means you can go into museum overload (as we did a bit in Greenwich) and stay on budget, but you can also pop in a museum for a bit, see a few things, leave once you can’t stand the sight of another pot shard, then come back later once you’ve regained your mental clarity.

Among the freebies is the British Museum.. We’d been there the last time we were in London, but this time we went with a list of a few must-see items thinking this planning ahead would save us time. Um…no. Why? Because every room we went through to find the object we were looking for had things that caught our eye. Ah well, so much for planning. Of course, before we left, we had to stop by to see this handsome, but dimwitted fellow…

Yep, that’s DumDum from Night at the Museum, or maybe it’s his body double.

Another freebie stop was the Natural History Museum, mainly because I wanted to ride the earthquake simulator…which I ended up doing a couple times (I’m easily entertained). Then it was off to their Rock Collection so Mr. Husband could ooh and ahh over case after case of hunks of stone while I made a beeline to The Vault that houses some spectacular sparklies including a giant emerald and a cursed amethyst (spooky!).

Interior of the NHM

Our Final Night Out at Vicki and Bert’s Place

Another terrific thing some of the museums in London take part in is staying open late one night a week. These nights are great as we learned during our last trip to the big city because, for the most part, the tourists are gone and the museums’ halls are mostly empty (in kind of a creepy way sometimes).

Our final night in London was a Friday and that coincided with the late-night opening of the Victoria & Albert Museum (the V&A for those in the know). I can’t describe this museum. It’s meant to showcase design across the ages and across cultures, so it has tidbits of all sorts of things from fashion to furniture, but the layout is such that you feel like you’re discovering room after room of treasures.

If you arrive by Underground, you walk through a loooong passageway and enter the museum’s lower level that has a loooong gallery of sculpture. including Theseus and the Minotaur, which I had to get a picture of since that’s the myth my current novel is based on.

theseus, minotaur, victoria & albert museum, london

This looks a little naughty.

There’s also a full room of sculptures that were copied from the originals to give people who couldn’t travel abroad a chance to see these works of art.

David, victoria & albert museum, london

You can’t pass up a crotch shot of David.

Although the museum is quite safe, you should watch out for the cats…

lion, victoria & albert museum, london

Awww, he’s cute…and shiny!

victoria & albert museum, london


Stairwells are guarded by some odd creatures at the V&A….

victoria & albert museum, london

When I said “tidbits” you may have thought I meant small objects, but the V&A is all about design…even on a grand scale as this screen from a church shows (note the itty bitty person at lower right).

victoria & albert museum, london

And, you can’t leave without a stroll through the room full of stained glass…

stained glass, victoria & albert museum, london

We ended up spending far longer at the museum than we intended, but eventually we had to drag ourselves back to the apartment so we could pack our bags and bid a sad farewell to this fabulous city.

More  Goodbyes….

I’m not only saying goodbye to London in this post, but also goodbye to all of you for a couple weeks. (I’m sorry, I should have warned you that was coming so you could get some tissues to dry your eyes.) With a new art show to prepare for and set up, a couple grants whose applications need filled in with intelligent answers (ha!), and the rewrite of my novel getting thisclose to completion, I could use a little extra time.

Despite all the “Star Talk” episodes I listen to, I have yet to figure out the physics of time travel and need to hack something off my to-do list to gain a little extra time. So not only will I probably be quiet on social media (even more quiet than I have been lately), but I’ll also not be posting here for the next two weeks.

But mark your calendars because I’ll be back at the beginning of July brimming with posts about my new art show, a few pieces of new artwork, and the happy dance-inducing progress of my book. Hope to see you then!

In the meantime, if you have a spare moment, please be sure to answer a question or two on my Help Me Survey. Thanks!!!

How about you? Ever take advantage of the late night offerings at London museums? Does your city offer any free museums or open-late evenings? Have a favorite museum in the world? Tell me all about it (especially since I’d love hints for future vacations!)

A Little Help from My Friends

For those of you who love surveys, this post is right up your opinion-giving alley. Or maybe you’ve been missing those essay tests in school? Either way, answering a few of the questions below would be super fabulous and would be a great help.

What In the World is This All About?

While perusing the Calls to Artists on a local art group’s website, I ended up in the residencies and grants section. This got me thinking that I was at a point in my work where a little boost could do wonders. However, other than proofreading some very long and very technical scientific grant proposals in my previous life in neuroscience, I really don’t have an idea how to go about applying for grants.

As with many of life’s problems that can be solved with a bit of learning, I headed to the library and picked up a book on grant writing for artists and writers by a local author, Gigi Rosenberg. In addition to gobs of excellent tips, she recommends asking people for help. And not in the financial sense. In order to better write about your own work, she advises that you ask others what they think of your art or your writing.

And that’s where you come in!

How You Can Help

book, trials of hercules, osteria chroniclesIf you’re familiar with my work, you can just jump to the next paragraph. For those not familiar with my work, you can still help out by taking a quick peek at my artwork or by reading the First three chapters from The Trials of Hercules (PDF).

AS you can see, there are a gob of questions below. I don’t expect you to answer all of them, but if you could answer even just one or two, I’d be very grateful. You can answer the questions based on my art or my writing (fiction only), whichever you’re most familiar with. Although I’m eager to read your responses, there’s no deadline on this.

If it’s easier, you can just toss your response in the comment section below, but I’d prefer if you could email your answers to me (painterwrite @ gmail . com) or use the contact form at the end of the questionnaire. This also keeps your responses private.

On to the Questions!

Again, answer as many (or as few) questions as you like. Your answers can be based on my artwork, fiction, or both.

  1. After seeing/reading my work, what questions do you have for me? (Yes, you get to answer a question with a question!)
  2. What does my work make you wonder about?
  3. Does my work stir up any feelings (good or bad) in you? If so, what are they? (Be honest!)
  4. What about my work is intriguing or appealing?
  5. What about my work is off-putting or boring?
  6. What would you say is unique/different about my work? (It’s okay if you find nothing unique about my work…these are things I need to know).
  7. What do you feel are the strengths of my work?
  8. What are my works’ weaknesses?
  9. (Here’s a tough one!) If you had to describe my work to someone who has never seen or read it, what would you say?
  10. And finally, if you had a rich friend who was eager to buy some new books or art, would you recommend my work to him/her? Why or why not? (Again, be honest!!)

Phew! As I said, you can put your answers in the comment section below, in an email, or in the contact form below. Either way, I’m giving you a big thanks in advance for your help!!

I’ll be back Saturday with the final installment of the London Trip and a special announcement. See you then!!

*Note: If you’re viewing this in WordPress Reader, you may not be able to see the contact form. If you prefer to use the contact form over email, please click here to view this post in your browser (and hopefully view the contact form in all its glory!). Also, your email address will only be used for this questionnaire and will not be shared with anyone.




Day Tripping to Italy from London

It may sound crazy, but you really can take a day trip to Venice while you’re in London. Okay, it’s just Little Venice – a neighborhood in the northern bit of London – and may not be as famous as its Italian namesake, but it was still worth a little excursion while Mr. husband and I were in London.

Studying the Maps

Since Little Venice isn’t at the top of Things to See in most London guidebooks, I happened to discover it by scouring some maps when I was trying to sort out how to make the most of our week in the big city. I knew I wanted to walk along Regent’s Canal, but wasn’t exactly sure where to start our journey. Well, a little time with the city map and the Underground map, and voila, I’d found our starting point in Little Venice.

A Little Bit About Little Venice

With a name like “Little Venice” you have to expect canals (although there are some mighty fine canals in Amsterdam too, so why not Little Amsterdam?). And canals you’ll get because it’s the meeting point of Regent’s Canal, the Grand Union Canal, and the Paddington Basin. In keeping with the Venetian terminology, the point where these waterways meet has an ever-so quaint nickname “The Lagoon” (officially named Brownings Pool, you can see why the nickname is more popular).

little venice, london, regents canal

The Lagoon

Continue reading

Decorating Another Wall with My Art

I know I am LOOOOONG overdue for a Sketchbook Show Off, but other news keeps getting in the way, and even my news has gotten in the way of my news. Take for example, my latest art show that went up in May. You didn’t even know about it did you? Luckily, I’m dedicating this blog post to that very tidbit of info including photos of the work on display for those of you who can’t make it to the show.

But Wait, There’s More

Okay, I think that is supposed to go at the end, but I just wanted to get in a little reminder that you only have nine days left to gander at my other show that started in April and ends 16 June. If you happen to be in the area of the Wilsonville Campus of Clackamas Community College*, please be sure to pop in and take a peek at thirty pieces of my colored pencil, acrylic, and ink artwork!


*located at 29353 SW Town Center Loop East, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070 Continue reading

Making My Shakespearian Debut in London

My original plan of covering the London Trip in only three blog posts seems to have failed. Ah well, it’s next to impossible to not go on and on about such a terrific city. Today we head to the south side of London for some strolling, some shopping, and some Shakespeare-ing.

The Making of This Day

When Mr. Husband and I were sorting out what we wanted to do on this trip there were a handful of places we wanted to re-visit, but we also wanted new experiences (which is how we ended up taking a Roman excursion in The City, trekking up Hampstead Heath, and crossing underneath the Thames).

Since I love the Graham Norton show, I tried to get tickets for the time we’d be in London, but apparently the Norton crew didn’t want a couple Americans in their building (who can blame them). I was a little disappointed, but not terribly because I had been reading about the Summer of Love shows at Shakespeare’s Globe and was pretty keen on attending one even before our shameful rejection by Graham. Continue reading