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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2014, The Story So Far

Oh my, I have so much to catch up on. I have been to my first Montreal play, been out and about with my camera and caught the National Ballet via the cinema. In between all the above I’ve managed to pack in lots of films.

I’ll start with my first venture into the world of Montreal theatre. I went to the Segal Theatre to watch The Seagull, a new version based on the play by Anton Chekhov. I found it to be an absolute marvel and for the price ($24) it was a bargain. I have bookmarked the theatre (along with a few others) and will keep an eye on their future productions.

My partner & I went to the local Botanical Gardens back in early March to visit the Butterfly exhibition. Butterflies have always fascinated me ever since I was a child. I find metamorphosis extraordinary and love the colours of all the different butterflies and moths. I have posted a few photos here but check out my Flickr page for the rest.



As I now live in Québec I have decided to learn French. Even with the Liberals regaining power in the Province, French is still an essential tool to living here. I am going to the YMCA and my course starts on 6 May for 7 weeks. Hopefully by the end of June I will have some grasp of the lingo.

As usual, I have been watching lots of films this year. I’ve even managed to catch a few at the cinema in addition to those at home. So far the highlights have been:

Nebraska (cinema)

Her (cinema)

Doctor Zhivago

25th Hour



A Single Man

The Wind Rises (cinema)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (cinema and my first winner from Wes Anderson. Ralph Fiennes is just marvellous)

Black Rain (Japanese title is Kuroi Ame)

I have also rewatched Deliverance & Gladiator, which are both immense films.

But the winner so far this year and the only film to score 10/10 is 12 Years A Slave. Whilst it is hard to watch in places, this film is an absolute “must-see”

Another reason I have been to the cinema was to watch the Ballet, yes the Ballet. Remember when I posted about the Arts being broadcast into cinemas across the world? Well I have been again, this time to watch Sleeping Beauty by the Royal Ballet. I had actually forgot about this performance so I missed the Live broadcast from the Royal Opera House. Thankfully they have an “Encore” screening and it was to this that I went on 13 April. The bonus for this performance was the fact that it did not cost me a cent; it was free! I collect points every time I visit Cineplex so with all films I have watched, the orders placed to buy DVD’s and movie rentals online, I had more than enough points to be able to exchange for a ticket. Hopefully it won’t be long until I have enough points for another free trip.

So what have I got coming up in the next few months?

Well I will be going back to the cinema in May to watch the National Theatre Live performance of King Lear. Later that month we have tickets to the Montréal Symphony Orchestra; details about the concert are here. There are a few films coming up over the next few months that I would like to go and see at the cinema and I have literally around 30 films recorded from the TV. And lets not forget all the Criterions I have to review. Enough to keep me busy and out of mischief 🙂

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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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Photos From Lake Ontario

Firstly, apologies for the lack of activity.  I have been very busy these past few months as I have emigrated to Canada.

Now that things have settled down I have found time to walk down to Lake Ontario with my camera.  Waterfront Trail is a series of paths that follow the shoreline of the Lake.  Sections 2 & 3 are where I am so today & yesterday I went walking. 

Whilst the weather was better on Saturday it was still not cold and both walks were nice scrolls, though my legs were glad to make it back to the sofa!

Here are some of the results from the walks.

The rest of my photos are available on my Flickr page here

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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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My Friends Photographs

All Photos Posted Here Are Under Copyright By Their Owner.  They Cannot Be Reproduced Or Published Without Permission Of The Owner.

I have friends who are really into photography.  Whilst the subjects of their photos vary the results are still the same, beautiful photographs.  They are all Members of Flickr Pro and thought it would be an excellent idea to share them with you.


For more photos please view Carine06’s Photostream here


For more photos please view Debsonthesofa’s Photostream here


For more photos please view GreenerGreen’s Photostream here
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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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Cardiff Castle

On Saturday 6 October I went to Cardiff for the weekend.  I have been to Cardiff I few times but only ever to watch the FA Cup Final at the Millenium Stadium.  Everytime I saw the Castle and thought to myself that “I must visit here one day”.  So I decided to extend my art trip to the Welsh capital.

The entrance price was a little on the expensive side at £11 per Adult.  You can upgrade this to include a 45 minute extended guided tour of the Castle Apartments.  I bought the cheaper ticket.

Included in the price is an Audio Guide which I found very useful in terms of history and insight into the Castle.  Thankfully the weather was nice so I enjoyed my leisurely stroll around the Castle Wall & Keep.  As usual I took photographs for you to enjoy.

For more information about Cardiff Castle visit the Official Website here

The Keep

The Keep & North Gate

The Air Raid Shelter – During WWII the 6th Marquess of Bute had the walls of the Castle converted into public air raid shelters

The Black Tower – The Castle jail which over the years held some important prisoners.  Rawlins White was a Protestant Martyr who was held here before his execution for heresy.  Two Roman Catholic priests were held before being hung, drawn and quartered for High Treason.

The Clock Tower

The ceiling of the Arab Room in the Castle Apartments

The Banqueting Hall in the Castle Apartments

The Castle Library.  The five figures each represent ancient languages of Greek, Hebrew, Assyrian, Hieroglyphics and Runic

A view from the Keep towards the main Castle entrance (Black Tower ahead, Clock Tower to the right)

Inside the Keep
A view of the Castle Apartments from the Keep

The Moat around the Keep with waterlillies

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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


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