Chelsea Flower Show

And it is that time of the year again! Time for Chelsea Flower Show, this year the show was  on from 24th until 28th of May and the winners have been announced. Chelsea Flower Show is also known as Great Spring Show and is a yearly event since 1912. It is the most famous gardening show in the United Kingdom and probably in the whole world. People are travelling to the UK just for a day visit, this is how good it is! The show was extended from four days to five couple of years ago and its area was expanding due to its great popularity.

To be honest, I liked last years show more than this years. But it is my personal taste, garden designs were a bit too messy. I know this is the trend now – garden looks like it is naturally grown rather than planted but I prefer it to be more neat.

Flower part of the show was amazing! It looked like this years theme was Brazil, so you can see a lot of compositions inspired by famous Brazilian Carnival and upcoming Olympic Games.

There were many galleries showcasing different garden sculptures and one particular caught my eye. Robert James is a workshop producing garden sculptures, water features and miniatures. All sculptures are the characters inspired by myths, fairytales and legends. There are many characters from Alice in Wonderland such Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, Queen of Hearts, Caterpillar and of course Alice. There are also characters from Winnie the Pooh, Dodo and Peter Pan. Bronze sculptures are beautifully executed with great amount of details and they are reasonably priced: prices vary from as low as £180 to £16,000 for cold cast and up to £70,000 for a hot cast depending on the size.

This year Cutting-edge garden designs, great variety of flowers, beautiful compositions. See for yourself! I took many pictures.

P.S. When you want to take a tea break and have some snacks there is a large area with restaurants and you can enjoy your meal while listening to some opera and live classic music!

The World Through Women’s Eyes

In the very heart of Moscow one of the main boulevards – Tverskoi Boulevard is used as exhibition space. Every quarter or so the exhibition changes. This time it was an exhibition of contemporary photography – The World Through Women’s Eyes. All photographers showcased are women. It is rare, let’s be honest, considering that majority of photographers are men; but this is a step forward. 

There is a verity of themes: family, nature, architecture even cars. Each section out of ten consisted of 7 photographs by one artist. It is a shame that some descriptions were limited and did not give any background on a photographer. 

I liked some works, however, some did not look so professional to me. It looked like someone abused Instagram filters… 

The exhibition is placed in open air and absolutely free. It allows everyone who is passing by to stop for a minute and admire contemporary photographs. It is a good way to spread beauty and educate people.

Street Art in Moscow – level up

I love Street Art!

Street Art in Moscow is taken to a whole different level. It might be a debate in some countries if it is legal or not but in Moscow authorities have taken this matter in their own hands. Street Art in Moscow is created with cultural and educational purpose.

Aeroflot, the most successful Russian airline and a member of Skyteam Alliance, carried out a series of large scale artworks. Graffiti shows beautiful portraits of flight attendants with elements of famous Russian cities such as Kazan, Kaliningrad, St Petersburg and others. The images are beautiful, colourful and pleasant to look at but they also promote a number of cultures across Russia and promote tourism. Sure thing it is a marketing tool for the airline but it makes streets look better and more enjoyable place to walk.

Another thing that caught my eye was a development with tall buildings with animal paintings on the side – zebra, elephant and giraffe. Apparently it was there for 3 years already but I never saw it. It is very impressive – twenty-something-storey paintings especially when they are beautifully executed. It was idea of a construction company responsible for the project. But its not only to decorate streets but also to educate, each animal has a short description written on the eye level as well as a small map of natural habitat for these wild creatures.

There are also many ongoing competitions for best graffiti among young artists as the government is promoting culture and talents through creating a challenge for artist to create a themed graffiti, some are devoted to historic figures, some to going to space. It is lovely to see how the city is changing  and getting more and more colourful but it is also good to realise that pretty pictures have meaning. These collaboration of street artists and municipal authorities is a brilliant way to enhance creativity and decorate a city. Well done!


Saint Affrique, France

Travelling in France is a great pleasure. You can choose your destination but you never know what to expect on the way – small towns, vineyards and villages. For our trip we decided to go to Saint-Affrique. We admired incredible views, picturesque sceneries and   a feeling of a an endless horizon. To be completely honest I chose this city purely by its name because I love a restaurant African Queen in Cote D’Azur on the seaside of Eze-sur-mere.

Saint-Affrique is a rather big city with its own infrastructure: there is a cinema, tourist centre, college, hospitals and everything else that attributes to a big city. Population is a little over 8,000 people and it spreads over more than 100 squared km.

The architecture is interesting, some buildings have blue elements (like balconies or window shutters) resembling sunny Nice whereas some buildings made from heavy stones resemble medieval times.

The bridge in the heart of the city was build before 1368 and is one of the few medieval bridges left in France.


Artwise there were two interesting sculptures – Statue De La Liberte and a statue of a boy.

Replicas of Statue of Liberty are all over France, there are more than one in Paris, one in Nice, Bordeaux, Soulac-sur-Mer and other French cities. The statue in Saint-Affrique is not the exact replica of its American sister, but rather interesting interpretation made from metal wires.

The second sculpture, the statue of the boy and it is also made from metal, it is constructed from many pieces of metal things such as wheels, screws, locks etc.

The stature is a rather bold statement, a quote form Victor Hugo:

“I am not one who believes that we can remove the suffering in this world; the sufferance is a divine law, but I am among those who think and affirm that we can destroy misery. Note well, I do not say decrease engine, impair, restrict, confine, I say destroy.

Destroy the misery!

Yes, this is possible.

The legislature and the rulers must be constantly; because, in such matters, as long as possible is not done, the task is not completed”

Apparently there is an elephant made in the same style unfortunately we have not seen it.

Different cafés and shops are decorated with an exterior artwork. It is a beautiful contrast between graffiti decorations and old, even historic, buildings. We also glanced a piece of street art, it is a shame that we did not see more.

It is a very nice city to walk around, explore history and enjoy your day!

Bonus fact: in the end on 20th century there was a prize for French painters, the most talented painters were honored to spend one month in St Affrique in a famous hotel and paint in one of the most beautiful region of France.

Kenwood House

Kenwood house is a great place to go on a sunny day with your family. It is located on the edge of Hempstead Heath, huge park. The house was built in the early 17th century which was later transformed into neo-classical villa by Robert Adam. In 1986 the house was taken over by English Heritage and now it is a home for the 1st Earl of Iveagh’s.

Kenwood house is surrounded by large territory with parks and lakes. From outside the house does not look so impressive however inside it hosts great old masters paintings collection, jewellery and a lot of decorative arts. 

There are some great artworks by a verity of artists such as Rembrandt, Turner, Gainsborough and Vermeer. There are also different genres: landscapes, portraits, still lives – something for every taste. 

You might have seen the Rembrandt self portrait in National Gallery last year, it was on loan for the Rembrandt exhibition. 

This villa is great place to go with kinds, the entrance is free and it has a separate play room for children and interactive quests for visitors. Over the Easter break there was a quest with hidden clues over the house, some rooms had riddles and hints for clues in that room. Each clue was an answer of the crossword puzzle. Children were very excited and families were having great time! This is a very good way to make experience more exciting and engaging for kids. 

It might not be the most spectacular estate but it is definitely worth checking out. By the way, you can bring your dogy with you.

“The Last Supper”

I have always admired Leonardo’s work, but my recent visit to Milan and seeing this piece with my own eyes made me want to discover more about it. I have chosen this painting because of its significance in art and its history. “The Last supper” is truly remarkable piece of art for many reasons: its subject matter, technique, color and value behind it. 


Composition in this picture is complicated and sublime. There are 13 people in the picture having supper. There is clearly the center figure – Jesus in the very middle of the painting. Jesus is the key figure not only in the theme, but also composition-wise. He is sitting in the middle of the table with 6 people by each side. Leonardo da Vinci divided the whole crowd in the small groups of three. This is the first thing that grabs attention.

There are many vertical and horizontal lines that hold composition. I have attempted to outline the most important ones. I have found 8 horizontal lines and 22 vertical ones.


The long table consists from 3 lines: the bottom line and 2 lines of the surface. The next line is line of heads. It also happens to be Jesus eye line and the line of the horizon, which we can see from the windows in the back of the picture. The frames of the windows also create another line. The ceiling creates the top two lines and the final horizontal line is created by the fretwork.

Vertical lines are more regular and rhythmic, because panels on the walls and windows at the back mostly create them. We can also see how vertical lines of the wall panels are supported by tables’ legs and people’s feet.

All the figures are placed in the lower half of the painting, creating the illusion of high ceilings and large size of the room. 


Space wise the painting is very complex and a lot of different techniques are used to create the illusion of three-dimensional picture.

First of all there are a lot of perspective lines that are going to the vanishing point. On the picture below it can be seen that all the perspectives are going to the center of the painting, which is the Jesus figure, his head if more specific.


The panels on the walls and the ceiling are most obvious lines that create the feeling of space. The less obvious lines are the arms of Jesus and combination of figures. It is shown on the picture by lines on the lower half of the painting. This technique is pointing out that vanishing point, the center of attention is Jesus. This is fascinating, because by painting his face at the vanishing point Leonardo implies the importance of the figure not only on the painting but also in subject matter.

Secondly, the illusion of space is created by shadows and colors. We can see that there are shadows on the wall and under the table, which adds to the effect. Moreover, the light is coming from the back windows, highlighting Jesus and the darkness of back wall.

Finally, usage of contrast colors on the figures and the walls creates space. Colors that fetch out each other, make the foreground come forward whereas background stays further away.


Leonardo was the first artist that implemented “chiaroscuro” (tonal move from dark to light in a graduated way) and “sfumato” (blurring of edges of shadows). We can see both techniques used in this painting: blurred shadows of the background landscape and gradually blended tone from dark to light on the walls.

Figures appearing to be three-dimensional because of their forms, they are directed towards each other, each of them has its own position, which makes them interacting with each other at different angles.


Colours in the painting are chosen carefully. Jesus wears blue and red cloths; blue signifies the sky and the purity, the truth, whereas red signifies fire, danger and also passionate heart. This combination of colors may correspond to the holly spirit of Jesus and the danger that about to come. All the colours except the clothes are calming and create peaceful atmosphere. Unfortunately, the colours are not bright as they used to be due to poor conditions. 

Subject matter

Finally, the subject matter is thrilling and interesting. The plot is taken from a Bible and represents the reaction of 12 apostles when Jesus told them that one them would betray him. The subject is appealing to many people and shows the sort of breaking point of religious history. All the apostles are reacting in different ways; the sort of chaos and tension is clearly represented. However, Christ is sitting in the middle with his eyes down and looking calm and divine. This illustration is not typical for the last supper, because the space and the figures are interacting with each other. For example Andrea del Castagno’s Last Supper (1447) Judas is the only one is sitting on the opposite side of the table from Christ. Leonardo made the painting simpler and “close to the point”, because there is no unnecessary details on the background. The table in the painting is separating the viewer and the spiritual world where apostles live.


That piece of art has a lot to offer, starting with fundamental things like structure, ending with small details and symbols that appear in the painting. But even after short exam of the picture it can be said, that it absolutely perfectly represents the holiness of Jesus Christ, where the window is like a halo. He is painted in a way that it brings calmness and peace in the air. To achieve this, the master who painted it must be a true genius, which Leonardo da Vinci definitely is.

The Fabric of India

V&A India Festival, which is now coming to an end, presented many exhibitions, displays, and events to explore culture of South Asia. Victoria and Albert museum showcased exhibition “The Fabric of India” as a highlight of V&A India Festival. The exhibition was on display from 3rd of October until 10th of January.

Exhibition hall had dimmed lights which helped visitors to concentrate on the objects, the sound effect also helped to relax and fully explore the world of textiles. When you enter the exhibition you can see large floor spread. It was used in a Mughal palace in summer time to cover the sitting area inside the palace. Flower pattern created indoor garden for people who were sitting inside. This is a great piece to open the exhibition as it grabs attention with its size and pattern. Each letter of the title of the show “The Fabrics of India” connects to the opposite wall by red threads.  It created depth and perspective and goes well with the concept of exhibition.

IMG_1545The exhibition covers not only India but South Asian region. This region included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. It was well-explained how different climate zones and geographical regions enable masters to access different variety of plant fibre. Some regions are famous in particular type of textile: Assam – golden silk, Bengal – fine cottons, the red dyes of south-east India. It is very helpful that each object has a dot on the map where it was created; it provides a better understanding of the subject.

The textiles were explained from different perspectives: technical side, how it is all manufactures, and cultural side, how the textiles were applied. There was a display with different dyes and explanation of how the colour was reached. For example, if indigo plant was left at the sun longer the plant gives paler blue colour than the one that flown on the shadow.

IMG_1543Overall it is very informative exhibition, describing the history of textiles, how the trade began between India and European countries, how machine mass production of textiles and tariffs affected the industry. From the curatorial point of view, the exhibition was very well put together and was very engaging. Information was delivered through short video clips, as well as description of each subject. There were also some samples of silk, cotton and other textiles, which were accessible to public.

Bear Witness

Sotheby’s Auction House on New Bond Street in London welcomed guests on 6th of March at BearWitness Preview. The preview was devoted to upcoming sale of lifelong art collection of some anonymous wealthy individual on 11th of March. This preview was different from all the others and here is why.

First of all it is due to unusual hours: the doors were opened from 6pm until midnight. It is rare in London that guests can enjoy drinks and partying until late hours in galleries or auction houses. Secondly, the whole auction house was transformed to accommodate and present the collection. Outside the building there was a giant neon bear above the front door. Inside the building walls were covered with coloured transparent plastic. On the plinth, which is the rightful place of the auctioneer, there was a DJ playing modern tracks and entertaining the public.


The collection itself is incredibly large with almost 650 lots and that is why the auction will be conducted in 3 sessions. The number of lots surely is amazing, but the variety of medias and styles of artworks is fascinating: sculptures, installations, photographs, prints, paintings, collages, wall sculptures and stuffed animals. There is no single concept behind this collection, but somehow it works. The art reveals variety of subjects, but man loves nudity and bears, that is for sure. The whole room was devoted to bear statues of all sizes.

Overall, very bold, modern and fresh presentation. Sotheby’s even created a hashtag #sothebysbearwitness to cover all social medias. Even though the VIP preview was couple of days ago with acrobats and actors, the room was crowded and people were enjoying themselves.

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Brazil – home to street art

Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba are the top three cities for quantity and quality of street art. The relationship between society and art outdoors differs from one in Europe. Not only does the government encourage street artists (under the law murals are not illegal as long as the owner of the building authorises a painting), but also different organisations collaborate with street artists. For example, GOL Airlines commissioned the famous Pandolfo brothers (“The Twins” as they are called) to decorate an airplane, which carries the country’s soccer team.

Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo

There is a difference between graffiti and street art: graffiti is the way to communicate between graffiti artists and street artists communicate to society. Graffiti looks usually like text: phrases, words and letters; whereas street art is a painting done on the wall instead of canvas.

Street Art is a part of Brazilian culture and a significant part of the urban art movement across the globe. The variety of sizes and styles is fascinating. You can find anything from figurative to abstract art and find paintings in unusual places like banks. You don’t have to search hard for murals; you discover them everywhere.

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo both have amazing wall paintings. However the scale of the works is bigger in Rio: some paintings are created on 2-3 storey buildings. Whereas in Sao Paulo there are more murals, but they are smaller: usually on the side of one-storey buildings. One neighbourhood in Sao Paulo – Vila Madalena is particularly famous for street art. Travessa Alonso, Rua Goncalo Afonso and Rua Medeiros de Albuquerque streets considered to be an open air gallery.

The pallet is vibrant: artists use very bright striking combinations of colours, which are not typical for European artists. You can also see a mixture of black and white and bright colours in the same painting. Some paintings are extremely detailed and realistic. Street art is the decoration of outdoor space in Brazil and a pleasure to look at.

London Art Fair of Modern British and Contemporary Art

The London Art Fair of Modern British and contemporary art was held at Business Design Centre from 19th until 24th of January. Frieze Art Fair is the first choice for contemporary art lovers and critics because more prestigious artists and galleries exhibit there. However, it does not mean that the London Art Fair is less interesting.

 The space was like a warehouse, spacious and light. All the gallerys’ booths were spread over three levels. The different colours and textures of the artworks create a vibrant palette. Unlike the majority of other art fairs more galleries were open about their prices and put them on the wall. The London Art Fair was very budget-friendly because the price range was from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. A lot of galleries also offered prints of artworks for those who were not looking to spend much.

 Danielle Arnaud Gallery represented Suki Best’s mixed media artworks. Two were cardboard jigsaws of country houses painted with black ink and varnished. The price for each piece was £1340. It interesting because jigsaws have appeared in the Artissima Art Fair as well, created by the Intalian artist Christian Manuel Zanon.


Suki Best, £1,340

Pertwee Anderson & Gold represented refreshing and colourful pieces of art. These were basketballs featured as parts of fruits created by Simon Shepherd, who is combining natural and manufactured. Each piece can be purchased for £3500.


Simon Shepherd, £3,500

Merville Galleries featured a copper dress “Medusa” made by Susie Macmurray. The dress is made from 150 to 200 thousand copper rings and it weights about 300 kilogram. The artist created the chains first and then shaped it in the dress, it took 6 months and 2 assistants to produce this piece.


“Medusa”, Susie Macmurray, £60,000

 There was largely artworks presented, however, on the top floor you could find furniture departments as well as The New York Times newspaper stand. I had a pleasant overall impression from visiting the Art Fair. If you want to fully decorate your house it can be a good place to start shopping.