Clare In The Cheap Seats

Follow Me Around The World Of Art

Rogers Cup – Toronto 2014

Tennis is a huge passion of mine so this year I decided to revisit the Rogers Cup held in Toronto, I had previously visited back in 2010.  I once again opted for the VIP package that gave me a ticket for the whole tournament along with access to the VIP Lounge and events.

As in 2010, I had a great time, saw some excellent matches, met a few players and to top it all off, one of my favorite players won, Jo Wilfred Tsonga.

To view a selection of my photos (I took hundreds !) please go to my Flickr account here

I did not come away from Toronto with only memories and photos, I also came away with some unique art!  There are silent auctions taking place throughout the week and two wonderful pieces caught my eye straight away.  Thankfully I was the winning bidder and they now take pride of place on my wall.

Debbie Wells

The Rogers Cup alternates between Toronto and Montreal so in 2015 the tournament is on my doorstep.  I have already booked my VIP package and an added bonus is that three friends from the UK, who I met via tennis, are flying over to join me.

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Contemporary Art Museum of Montréal

From theatre to music to art, my next venture in Montreal took me to the Contemporary Art Museum.

I will freely admit from the start; I am not the greatest fan of what passes for Art these days. Contemporary is not something I usually fall over myself to go and see whether it be art or dance. People like Emin etc do nothing but make me want smash up their so-called “art” I guess that is what makes Art unique, it is so subjective, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

All that said I actually enjoyed the few hours I spent at the Gallery. I always want to say something insightful when I publish art that I find enjoyable but I can never find the right words to convey my feelings. Why do I like that piece but not another? Is it the colour, structure, how it makes me feel? It is at times like this when I really wish I were better at putting down on paper (or in this case typing) what it is that makes me stop, look intensely, steady my camera and capture the image for my collection.

But, the only way to improve is to keep trying so here goes. These are my personal highlights with a few words about what instantly springs into my mind when I look at the painting.



Colourful symmetry and perfect lines.  I like perfection.



Colourful asymmetry with uneven lines, complete opposite to the above and contradicts my normal feelings, yet I like it.



Reminds me a tree bark and I love trees and nature, the painting felt real and alive.



A patchwork quilt, something that makes me feel safe and warm.  Also reminded of the time at school when we knitted (or tried to) squares for blankets to be sent to Africa.  Gave me a sense of good.



A spider web, which some people think are a nuisance but I like.  I think spiders are amazing, a fine example of how a small creature can create an home and sustain themselves in the process.



The Moon is made of swiss cheese, a fine and happy memory from being a child.



What is not to like about a heart?  We all have one.  I particularly liked that it was a dark colour.  So often a heart is red but even here it gave off warmth.




Naked people lying down in the street.  Different shapes, sizes, sex and colour yet we are all the same, Human.



For me this was a powerful image about music today.  It is no longer what it was, it has evolved and I can’t say it is something I enjoy as much.  It is no longer about the lyrics or music but the image and persona.  The life seems to have melted away.




Marina, a lady who has been messing with the mind of Art for many years now.  In this piece she is naked, both of clothes and of life.



I have always enjoyed patterns and this installation created a random array of light that I found very calming.

And that concludes my visit to the Contemporary Art Museum.  A visit that, like the one I took to the Tate Modern in London, has helped me find some pieces to enjoy and gain a little bit more of an understanding into this Genre of Art.

Enjoy the photos and maybe take a visit to your local Contemporary Art Gallery.

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Montréal Museum of Fine Arts

On my last visit to Montréal I visited the Museum of Fine Arts.  Alas I did not check the website more thoroughly and when I arrived I found that part of the museum (the galleries are spread over several buildings) was closed.  This put a dampener on my visit.  I also think that I have been spoilt, I did not think size, diversity & quality of the work came close to matching the quality of the museums I have visited in the UK and the rest of Europe.

All that said, there were several pieces that I enjoyed and I share them with you below.


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Art Gallery of Ontario

I ventured out to this gallery for the first time a few weeks ago.  I think I have been spoilt by the Art Galleries of the UK, both in terms of quality and price.  Whilst I do not mind paying to see works of art, I do mind to paying $25.  Included in this price was an exhibition of early Renaissance paintings from Florence (no photos due to ban).

All was not lost though, they have a few Impressionist paintings and others that I liked.

Here are a selection of the paintings that I enjoyed.  Apologies for the quality, I had to take them on my iPhone.

 Raoul Dufy – Hyeres Square, the Obelisk and the Bandstand
 Pierre Bonnard – Autumn Landscape
 Pierre Bonnard – Table Laid for Dessert
 Jan Van Goyen – Peasant Cottage
 Alfred Sisley – Saint-Mammes, Grey Weather
Pierre Auguste Renoir – The Seine at Chatou
 Claude Monet – Etretat L’Aiguille and the Porte d’Aval
 Alfred Sisley – Landscape near Moret
Claude Monet – Vetheuil in Summer
 Camille Pissarro – Poplars, Grey Weather, Eragny
Alfred Sisley – View of Marly-le-Roi: Sunlight
Marc Chagall – Over Vitebsk
Hendrick Andriessen – Still Life (Vanitas)
Aelbery Cuyp – View of Dordrecht
Jan Van Goyen – View of Rhenen
 Salomon Van Ruysdael – The Ferry Boat
 Cornelius Krieghoff – Village Scene in Winter
Franklin Carmichael – Cranberry Lake
 Franklin Carmichael – Houses in Servern Bridge
 A.J Casson – Mountain Ash (Rowanberries) 

 J.E.H MacDonald – Laurentian County, Winter
 Lawren S Harris – Houses, Richmond Street
 A.Y Jackson – Red Barn, Petite Riviere
 Lawren S Harris – Street Scene with Figures, Hamilton & In The Ward, Toronto
 Emily Carr – Gitwangak, Queen Charlotte Islands
 Cornelius Krieghoff – The Narrows on Lake St Charles
 Cornelius Krieghoff  – Sillery Cove, Quebec
 Cornelius Krieghoff – Clearing Land near the St Maurice River
 Cornelius Krieghoff – Council, Lorette Indians, Lake St.Charles Country
 Cornelius Krieghoff – Ginger, the Colonel’s Dog

 Cornelius Krieghoff – The Owlshead from Round Lake, Lake Memphremagog
 Kenneth Campbell Lochead – Dark Green Centre
 Alex Colville – Elm Tree at Horton Landing
 Jack Chambers – Meadow
 Stewart Westmacott – The Falls of Niagara Taken from the American Side
 Guido Molinari – Green-Red Serial Mutation
 Helen McNicoll – Interior
 Mary Hiester Reid – A Study in Greys
F McGillivray Knowles – A Breezy Day
As you can see, I was rather fond of Cornelius Krieghoff.  He was a member of the “Group of Seven”.  
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Tate Modern

I’ve never really fancied this Gallery due to not being keen on what is deemed “modern art”.  People like Hirst and Emin and suchlike produce nothing that I would class as art, therfore, this Gallery has been avoided on my visits to London.  Due to bad weather during my trip in December I was in need of more “indoor” activites so I thought I would give this place an hour or two, to help pass the time.  Whilst my opinion on the vast majority of “modern art” still stands, there were a few pieces that caught my eye and I thought I would share them here.  Apologies for some blurry captions, I used my phone to take these photos.

 Pino Pascali – Trap

Richard Long – Small White Pebble Circles

 Kishio Suga – Ren-Shiki-Tai

Henri Matisse – The Snail

Piet Mondrian – Composition C (NoIII) with Red, Yellow and Blue

Lee Krasner – Gothic Landscape

Barnett Newman – Moment

Claude Monet – Waterlillies

Rene Magritte – Man with a Newspaper

Tristram Hillier – Variation on the Form of an Anchor

To be perfectly honest I’m not sure what it was that drew me to these pieces (bar the Monet).  I think they are quite varied in appearance.  The only explanation I can think of it that they all are real things or that they have tructure to them (bar the Krasner) but even that painting has detail and is not just a mishmash of brushstrokes.
I hope you enjoy 🙂

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Rotterdam Art Theft

The art world suffered a blow today when thieves broke into Rotterdam’s Kunsthal and stole priceless works of art from artists including Monet, Matisse and Picasso.

The works stolen have been named as:

Pablo Picasso – Tete d’Arlequin
Henri Matisse – La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune
Claude Monet – Waterloo Bridge, London
Claude Monet – Charing Cross Bridge, London
Paul Gauguin – Femme devant une fenetre ouverte, de Haan’s Autoportrait
Freud – Woman with Eyes Closed

Police believe the thieves may have been planned the early morning raid for months and used the Port as the means of escape.  The design of the gallery may have help with the theft, with one security expert calling it “a nightmare to protect”

The value of the 7 paintings has not been released but experts believe the figure to be in the tens of millions.  Will the paintings ever be seen in public?  Hopefully so.

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National Museum of Art – Cardiff

Official Website 

The second day of my trip to Cardiff was spent at the National Museum of Art housed within the National Musuem.  The gallery is split into 3 main parts, Contemporary, Impressionists & Modern and Historic Art.  I actually found a few pieces in the Contemporary section that I liked, which is rather surprising.

You are allowed to take photos and I have permission to publish images here.  All Copyright and permission belongs to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.  Please do not reproduce without permission.

Rene Magritte – The Empty Mask 
Maurice de Vlaminck – Village Street
Maurice de Vlaminck – The Bridge
Terry Setch – Midnight Columns II
Jeffrey Steele – Harlequinade
James Dickson Innes – Canigou in Snow
 Robert Bevan – Maples at Cuckfield, Sussex
Paul Cezanne – Still Life with Teapot
Harold Gilman – The Kitchen
Spencer Gore – Mornington Crescent
Gwen John – A Corner of the Artist’s Room in Paris
Pierre Auguste Renoir – La Parisienne
Edouard Manet – Argenteuil, Boat (study)

Alfred Sisley – Moret-sur-Loing Rue des Fosses
Camille Pissarro – Pont Neuf, Snow Effect
Pierre Bonnard – Sunlight at Vernon
Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier – Innocents and Card Sharpers
Gustave Courbet – The Mill at Orbe
David Cox – The Road to The Mill
John Constable – Cottage in a Cornfield
Edwin Landseer – Rat Catchers

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The National Gallery of Scotland – Edinburgh

Again no photographs were allowed in the gallery so I went around with my pad & pen writing down the details of those paintings that caught my eye.  Unfortunately I have not been able to find pictures online for all the paintings I liked.  The ones I have been able to find are shown below.
I found the Gallery to be very nice with large rooms giving everyone enough space to move around and view.  There were two little exhibtions within the Gallery that were free, I only got to the Bute Collection.  When I arrived I was greeted by a very helpful Gentleman on the reception desk who went through the map with me, pointing out highlights for me to view.  I dined in the Restaurant on the Lower Ground Floor.  The prices are on the high side (£15 inc tip for soup, sandwich and a pot of tea) though the soup was lovely and they gave me a pot of hot water to get a few more cups of tea.
Overall it is an impressive Gallery and I am glad I made the trip.  I was there around 4 hours including lunch break and shop browsing.  The only downside is that they do not offer an audio guide.  Lockers are available as large bags etc are not allowed in the gallery (£1 refundable on collection).
Here are the paintings I enjoyed (and have been able to find online)
Aelbert Cuyp –   A Horse, Cattle and A Cowherd Resting in a Landscape (Bute Collection)
John Emms – Callum
 David Teniers the Younger – The Card Players (Bute Collection)
 Pier Francesco Mola – St Jerome
Raphael – The Holy Family With a Palm Tree
Titian – Venus Anadyomene (Venus Rising From The Sea)
Andrea del Verrocchio – The Virgin Adoring The Christ Child
Sandro  Botticelli – The Virgin Adoring The Sleeping Christ Child
Edgar Degas – A Group of Dancers
Bernardo Bellotto – A View of Verona with The Ponte Delle Navi
Aelbert Cuyp –  Cattle Watering by An Estuary (Bute Collection)  
 Aert van der Neer – Frozen River Landscape (Bute Collection)
Claude Monet – Boats In A Harbour
Claude Monet – The Church at Vetheuil
 Edgar Degas – Portrait of Diego Martelli
Waller Hugh Paton – Entrance to the Cuiraing, Skye
Gabriel Metsu – An Old Woman Feeding A Dog (Bute Collection)
Camille Pissarro – Kitchen Garden at L’Hermitage, Pontoise
Goffredo Wals – Landscape with Christ and St Peter
Pietro Berrettini – Landscape With The Penitent Magdalen
Meindert Hobbema – Wooded Landscape
Philips Konnick – An Extensive Landscape
Claude Monet – Poplars on The River Epte
 Nicolas Poussin – 7 Sacraments (Marriage)
Rembrandt – Self Portrait Aged 51
 Jacob van Ruisdael – The Banks of A River
Jacob More – The Falls of Clyde
The Honourable Mrs Graham – Thomas Gainsborough
Camille Pissarro – The Marne at Chennevieres
Titian – The Three Ages of Man
John Constable – The Vale of Dedham
Eugene Delacroix – Vase of Flowers, 1833


Rouen & Vernon

The last two days have been spent in the nearby town of Rouen and the town in which we are staying, Vernon.

Rouen is famous for its Cathedral, which was painting over 20 times by Claude Monet and Joan of Arc, she was tried, convicted and executed in Rouen.  We spent just over 4 hours here and visited the Musee des Beaux Arts de Rouen (Fine Art Museum of Rouen), the Cathedral and then strolled the streets with their half timbered houses.

More photos of Rouen can be found here and here

We are staying in Vernon and today we went for a walk around the small town to take in the few sights and visit the small museum.

One of the main attractions in Vernon is the Old Mill House by the River Seine.  In 1947 the owner of the house passed away and despite attempts no heir could be found.  The house fell into disrepair and was only saved when the Town Hall intervened.  Whilst it is not open to visit the view from outside is still stunning.  This too, like Rouen Cathedral, was a favourite of Monet.

From here we continued to the AG Poulain Museum that houses a small collection of Monet, his Wife and other painters.

The rest of my photos from the Gallery and from around Vernon can be found here

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Buying Original Art

I recently started to purchase original art to go along side the prints I buy on my travels around the UK Art Galleries.  The website I use is

So far I have purchased two paintings and spent under £60.  They have a wide selection of art available and the prices start from £10.  Delivery is free and it is also very quick.

Here are my two paintings.

Inglenook On A Winter Evening – Christine Jones (£40)

Wet Farm Entrance – David Hannaghan (£13)

Take a look and see if there is anything that takes your fancy.  All the Artists are UK based.

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