Last weekend I had a great time in Hamburg. We hopped on the U-Bahn and headed into the centre of town. It was raining so first stop KunstHalle. There’s currently an exhibition of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938). I’m not going to mince my words- it was fantastic! Definitely in my top 5 exhibitions.  The retrospective includes paintings and many prints. Wonderful lithographs, wood cuts and etchings. His work is so spontaneous and expressive capturing Berlin street scenes and even snowy moutain views.

There is also an extensive permanent art collection including a modern art gallery with work by Max Beckmann and Picasso.

Kirchner lithograph 1913

Afterwards, we stopped for coffee and a quick sketch.

There’s amazing architecture past and present in Hamburg. The Chile house designed by architect Fritz Hoger is really eye catching. Built in 1922, it looks like an ocean liner.

Amsterdam museum trip

I took a trip to Amsterdam and headed straight to the Jewish Historical Museum. I went to see the Charlotte Salomon exhibit ‘Life? Theatre?’ which shows a selection of her gouaches. She painted hundreds to help work through a traumatic family life at a time when she was also in hiding from the nazis. Her drawings become increasingly  expressive and moving.

The museum is also showing the work of Mayer July. After encouragement from his daughter, he started painting and drawing at 73. It just shows, it’s never too late to start drawing! His humorous, colourful paintings draw upon his childhood memories of Pre War Poland including scenes of the market place, craftspeople and entertaining characters.


I took a trip to Eastbourne at the weekend. I wanted to see the Robert Mapplethorpe at the Towner gallery and thought I would have a walk along the beach and do a few sketches. It was a beautiful day and despite bringing a hat, I left it in my car thinking there would be no need. I was wrong. Very gusty – hair flying everywhere!  I’m always interested in structures and buildings and enjoyed drawing the pier with the crashing waves and seagulls flying overhead. Whilst drawing, I kept brushing my hair away from my face with my hand  and  it wasn’t until I went to the ladies bathroom in the Towner that I  realised my face was covered in black pastel! After making myself more presentable I moved onto the exhibition . . .

The Artists rooms include Mapplethorpes work from the 1970s and 1980s including beautiful black and white portrait and flower photos. There are a number of photos documenting his close relationship with Patti Smith as well as his lesser known sculptures that, to be be honest, didn’t draw me in in the same way. In one of the rooms there’s ‘work of an adult nature’ although tame in comparison to a Mapplethorpe exhibition I saw in Vienna over 10 years ago. I went with my parents and my mother has never forgotten it!

Although small it’s worth a visit. The exhibition is free and held in conjunction with Tate modern.