Readers of my blog will be relieved that this post is not about another sitting in which I am unable to document any progress on my portrait (sittings have lapsed over the last fortnight while I have been on holiday), but instead about Catherine’s exhibition Drawings from Veronese which is being held a long way upstairs at Colnaghi’s in Bond Street. When she is not doing portraits for her exhibition and directing the programme of the Prince’s Drawing School, she haunts the National Gallery and other public collections. Drawings from Veronese is not just timely because of the National Gallery’s exhibition, but the result of several years of close observation and visual record of Veronese’s paintings. It’s also a test of one’s knowledge of the paintings. Spot the dog:
Tag Archives: Catherine Goodman
Catherine Goodman (6)
My early morning walk to Flood Street made beautiful by the early morning sun. Peter Jones looking like a transatlantic liner:
The Royal Hospital looking, as indeed it was designed to be, like a French chateau:
Catherine Goodman (5)
Another day, another sitting. I quite like the way the sessions drift between music, observation, occasional stretching and a lot of high class gossip. Yesterday I was given an enormous bowl of coffee and then made to sit dead still for two hours which is a form of Japanese torture. For some reason, we discussed my very brief and disastrously unsuccessful career as the opening bat for my prep school 1st. XI. I suppose it is inevitable that being painted engenders a degree of self reflection. Today was quieter and more reflective. We tried to remember the brilliance of Humphrey Ocean’s speech last night. As I sat, bits of it came back to me: the fact that he regarded himself, like Constable, as a flatearther and that Constable retained a strong affinity for the ground. He’s the only person I know who can speak intuitively entirely from the left side of the brain.
Catherine Goodman (4)
As Catherine’s exhibition at the NPG looms, my sittings have moved to early in the morning, although not quite as early as I used to sit for Leonard McComb. So, I find myself walking through Chelsea past Bram Stoker’s house in St. Leonard’s Terrace. I remember a cousin of mine saying that when they set up house in Chelsea in the early 1950s it was regarded as bohemian and scandalised her relations who expected them to live in Mayfair. Hard to imagine now as I pass the merchant bankers on their way to work. John Morton Morris is very pleased because my portrait is smaller than Sally Clarke’s. I don’t know how he knows because I haven’t seen either.
Catherine Goodman (3)
Have just been for my third sitting. I was asked to take a picture of the studio which is magnificent in its picturesque neglect, but it feels intrusive to ask, disturbing the privacy not just of the studio, but of the sitting. We listened to Mahler’s third symphony in the intervals of painting and desultory talking of music, friends, the Veronese exhibition at the National Gallery and why I had never visited India.
Catherine Goodman (2)
I’ve just been for my second sitting with Catherine, bicycling all the way from Stepney to Flood Street in the early morning sun. I’ve realised that it’s different sitting to a woman than to a man: more companionable; more about psychology than pure observation. She switches between conversational mode and painting and I learn a bit about what it was like to be at the Royal Academy Schools in the early 1980s when Peter Greenham was Keeper and it was all about figurative painting, no abstraction allowed, and the staff included Anthony Eyton and Olwen Bowey, both long – standing RAs. There’s an invisible community amongst those of us being painted for Catherine’s exhibition at the NPG, as we exchange places in her studio, talk about one another, but never meet. I can’t help wondering if it was like this for Reynolds’ s sitters as they went in and out of his studio on Leicester Fields, very punctually on the hour. We had Delius today, rather than Bach.
Catherine Goodman (1)
I’ve just been for my first sitting with Catherine Goodman, the Artistic Director of the Prince’s Drawing School. She’s been saying for as long as I can remember that she wanted to paint my portrait and made it clear that it had to be now if it is to be included in her forthcoming exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s surprisingly therapeutic sitting in an artists’ studio on a Saturday morning, listening to a rather tinny recording of the St. Matthew Passion on her iPod and looking at her collection of drawings pinned up on the wall opposite: a beautiful drawing of what I thought was a child, but turned out to be a French man in his thirties and a pen drawing of a legionary, who, from a distance, looked like Patrick Kinmonth.