Clare In The Cheap Seats

Follow Me Around The World Of Art

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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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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The National Gallery – London

Firstly, I was very disappointed to discover that photos are not allowed in the Gallery.  I am sure you were, in the past, able to take photos.  I can understand no flash and with the older, more delicate paintings due to the damage that can be caused.  But that is the rule so all I could do was make a note of the paintings I enjoyed.
I always seem to get lost when walking around a gallery, especially if there is more than one connecting room.  To combat this I decided to follow the floorplan in numerical order, even if they did mean doubling back a few times.
Due to time, I actually did not manage to see the entire gallery, I completely missed the 12th-15th Century paintings housed in the Sainsbury Wing.  My excuse is having to take time out to enjoy Afternoon Tea with my friends.  I also purchased the Audio Guide and this covers over 90% of the paintings held in the gallery.  You are given a very good, in depth analysis of each painting so this adds time to your visit, but it is so worth it.
So what did I see and what did I enjoy?  I think the easiest way to do this is to post the title of the painting along with a photo I have from the Official Website.

Raphael – The Madonna of the Pinks
Salomon van Ruysdael – River Scene

Salomon van Ruysdael – A View of Rhenen Seen From the West
Esaias van de Velde – A Winter Landscape
Aelbert Cuyp – A River Scene with Distant Windmills
Aelbert Cuyp – Ubbergen Castle

Cornelis Vroom – A Landscape With A River By A Wood

Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder – Flowers In A Glass Vase
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder – A Still Life of Flowers In A Wan-Li Vase
Roelandt Savery – Flowers In A Glass
Sebastien Bourdon – The Return Of The Ark
Claude – Landscape With Goatherd And Goats

Gaspard Dughet – Imaginary Landscape With Buildings In Tivoli
Meindeet Hobbema – The Avenue Of Middelharnis

Meindert Hobbema – The Watermills At Singraven Near Denekamp
Jan van Huysum – Hollyhocks And Other Flowers In A Vase
Rachel Ruysch – Flowers In A Vase

Jacob van Ruisdael – Two Watermills And An Open Sluice At Singraven

Harmen Steenwyck – Still Life: An Allegory Of The Vanities Of Human Life

Hendrick Avercamp – A Scene On The Ice Near A Town
Hendrick Avercamp – A Winter Scene With Skaters Near A Castle
Peter Paul Rubens – A Landscape With A Shepherd With His Flock
Salvator Rosa – Landscape With Mercury And The Dishonest Woodman
Thomas Gainsborough – The Watering Place

Thomas Gainsborough – Cornard Wood Near Sudbury, Suffolk
John Constable – The Cornfield
John Constable – Cenotaph To the Memory Of Sir Joshua Reynolds
John Constable – The Hay Wain

John Constable – Salisbury Cathedral From The Meadows
Domenichino – Saint George Killing The Dragon
Francesco Guardi – View Of Venetian Lagoon With The Tower Of Malghera
Alfred Sisley – The Seine At Port-Marly
Vincent van Gogh – van Gogh Chair
Vincent van Gogh – Long Grass With Butterflies
Vincent van Gogh – Sunflowers
Vincent van Gogh – Farm Near Auvers
Camille Pissarro – The Little Country Maid
Camille Pissarro – The Boulevard Montmartre At Night
Camille Pissarro – Fox Hill, Upper Norwood
Camille Pissarro – View From Louveciennes
Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Skiff
Pierre-Auguste Renoir – The Umbrellas
Claude-Oscar Monet – Bathers At La Grenouillere
Claude-Oscar Monet – La Pointe De La Heve Sainte Adresse
Claude-Oscar Monet – The Beach At Trouville

Claude-Oscar Monet – The Gare St-Lazare
And I have saved the best for last
Claude-Oscar Monet – The Water-Lily Pond

All photos can be found on the Official Website for The National Gallery here
I purchased 3 prints from the Gift Shop, Constable – The Hay Wain, Renoir – The Skiff and Pissarro – The Boulevard Montmartre at Night.  Each cost £5.  I also bought the Pocket Collection book for £6.99.
As I mentioned at the start, I did not have chance to see everything and when I go back to London in December for my Opera House visit I am going to return to The National Gallery and view the entire collection.
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The National Gallery & The Hunterian Museum – London

Once again I am off on my travels at the weekend, this time visiting the capital.

My first stop will be The Hunterian Musuem which is located within the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Field.  Anything that explores the human body has my full attention as, like it or not, it is all relevant to us.  I am looking forward to viewing their collection and the current exhibition Anatomy of an Athlete.  I will then be moving on to The National Gallery.

I have been here before a few years ago with my Mum and my one lasting memory is sitting in front of Monet’s Japanese Bridge and thinking that it was the most beautiful painting ever.  I have since then viewed quite a few other paintings but I am still looking forward to viewing this masterpiece again.

I have quite a few hours to look around so I have decided that I will hire an Audio Guide for £3.50.  Another way to learn about a painting is to hear the experts talk about it so I am sure it will be well worth the money.

As usual, I will post a short report and photos once I am home for you all to enjoy.

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Birmingham Art Gallery

During my trip to Birmingham on Saturday 8 September I visited the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

As with the previous galleries I have visited, I found this gallery to be very interesting with a variable collection of artists on display.  I took plenty of photos and for the full set please visit my Flickr Account.

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A Day of Art In Glasgow

I had never been to Glasgow before last Saturday (25 Aug).  Whilst researching the art galleries of the UK I found that there is quite a lot to see in the Scottish city.  So, I booked myself a train ticket and off I went for the day.

My first gallery was the Burrell Collection situated within Pollok Park.  This is not a large gallery, nor is it large on paintings but oh my, what they do have are fantastic.

A friend of mine is a huge fan of Degas and I have told her she must visit this collection, there are lots of Degas to admire.  Other artists such as Cezanne, Renoir and Sisley are displayed too.

The most impressive part about the painting section of the gallery (upstairs in the Mezzanine) was that each room was small with large comfy leather sofas in the middle of the room so you could sit down and view the paintings from a reasonable distance but not lose focus on the painting itself. 

The Ground Floor contained works of pottery, textiles and armour and was also worth a look.  There is a nice cafe where I stopped for a bowl of homemade soup and a lovely fresh salad.  the prices were very reasonable too, £7.75 including free water.

Here is the official website

My second galley was the Kelvingrove and again I was very impressed with what I found there.

This is one of the major museums in the city and whilst it was busy on a Saturday afternoon there was plenty of room for everyone to take their time over the items on display.

Again the paintings on display were just what I wanted, Monet, Sisley, Renoir etc were all here.  I also found myself a new artist who has a painting displayed.  Rachel Ruysch, a Dutch painter from the 17-18th Century.  Her painting is called Flowers in a Terracotta Vase (last picture on this page).  It was such a beautiful painting, even surrounded by Monet & other famous artists.  I took a photo and have printed it on to photo quality paper and framed it.

I also found a few Scottish artists who I knew nothing about, but, that was another point of my visit, learn something new, discover new people and their art.

I took lots of photos and I have uploaded the best to my Flickr account for you all to view.

Next stop is Birmingham on Saturday 8 September.

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Claude Monet & Other Plans

In May & June I went to Paris for the French Open at Roland Garros. I had a few spare days so I planned to visit the Musee de L’Orangrie which houses 8 large paintings of Monet water lillies. A friend of mine adores this museum and being a fan of Monet I just had to visit.

All I can say is that if you want to see some beautiful paintings by Monet, Renoir and Cezanne then this is the place for you. The best things about this museum is that it is not full of tourists so the wait to enter was short and the galleries are not packed with people.

If you ever go to Paris, please visit this museum –

I loved it so much that when I was sitting looking at the Monet’s I made myself a promise that I would visit Giverny and Monet’s Garden & House. Once I was back in the UK I had a look around a few websites and found all I needed to book our trip. We are going for 5 days in September and I cannot wait. For futher information see this website –

My upcoming trip to France made me think about the most beautiful painting I have ever seen, The Water Lily Pond So I have booked myself an early train to London in September and I am going to spend the day looking at this most beautiful painting.

Now that the art bug has well and truly bitten me I started to think of places I have never been before. I would say I am more appreciative of Impressionist art, I certainly do not like “Modern” so I had a little look online.

I have decided to visit “bonny Scotland” and have day trips to both Glasgow & Edinburgh. During my visit to Glasgow I will go to the Burrell Collection as well as the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum I am sure I will have a very interesting day out.

In Edinburgh I will visit only one gallery and that is the National Gallery. There are a few exhibitions going on whilst I am there so I am sure I will need the full day to see all that I want here.

In August I am visiting the Tate Liverpool to see an exhibition called Turner, Monet & Twombly. This looks to be very interesting and I am looking forward to the day I go, with my Mum 🙂

Until then I will endeavour to keep this site up date with my goings-on.

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