Serpentine Pavilion 2017 & Italian Water Gardens

On Monday I paid a visit to the Serpentine Pavilion for 2017 by architect Francis Kéré; and I planned on seeing the Grayson Perry exhibition in the Serpentine Gallery too, but it was closed! I really liked this years pavilion; on a smallish scale compared to previous years it is a friendly and domestic space. The repeating triangular patterns in roof and walls is very effective; and apparently if it rains the cleverly sloping roof would bestow a waterfall into the middle of the structure for those inside in the dry to admire. I urge you to read more about the design on the gallery’s website.

To get to the Pavilion I entered Hyde Park through the gate near Lancaster Gate Underground Station; through which you are met with the wonderful sight of the Italian Water Gardens. This garden is 150 years old and believed to be a gift from Price Albert to Queen Victoria.

(© Catherine Cronin)



Seville and Cordoba Holiday 2017

Continuing on from last weeks blog on Seville; I have a few more pictures to share with you. We went for a day trip to Cordoba, where you can see the famous Cordoba Mezquita or  Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba. Just as it sounds, in a beautiful grand Mosque a Reanaissance Cathedral nave was literally built into the middle of the Mosque in the 16th century. King Charles V of Castille and Aragon, who gave permission for the Cathedral nave to be built, reportedly said on visiting “”they have taken something unique in all the world and destroyed it to build something you can find in any city.” As I do not have a fancy camera I could not take very good pictures inside the Mezquita, but I urge you to take a look at this collection of images here.

In Cordoba we also visited the ‘Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos’ or Palace of the Christian Monarchs. This fortress was one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. This palace is much smaller than the one in Seville; but it is still worth visiting and has beautiful gardens.

Back in Seville, one of the most modern structures we visited was the Metropol Parasol, it claims to be the largest wooden structure in the world. It consists of six giant parasols in the form of giant mushrooms, which have a sky-walk and viewing platform atop; the underground levels house a small museum of Roman and Moorish remains discovered on site. The space underneath the parasols can be used for public events. I really liked the organic shape of this structure which offers (via a lift) very fine views of the city and the Cathedral.

(© Catherine Cronin)



Seville Holiday 2017

I had a lovely holiday in Seville in the first week of April; my second visit to this beautiful Spanish city. We stayed in the picturesque neigbourhood of Santa Cruz, the Old Jewish Quarter in medieval times; a few minutes walk from Seville Cathedral and the Real Alcázar.

The Cathdral of Saint Mary of the See is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world; its bell tower known as The Giralda, is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule. The weather vane ‘El Giraldillo’ atop, is of a bronze woman dressed in Roman attire, both the vane and tower’s names are derived from the Spanish word ‘girar’ meaning ‘to turn’.

The Real Alcázar is the royal palace originally developed by the Moorish rulers; it is regarded as an  outstanding example of ‘mudéjar’ architecture. The term ‘mudéjar’ refers to the Muslims who stayed in Spanish territories after the Christian reconquest and who continued to practise their customs; this term refers to the mix of style between Christianity and Islam at this time in these territories.

The public Park Maria Luisa in Seville is a huge and beautiful green space set beside the Guadalquivir river. The Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, was held partly within the park, and many of the massive pavillions which are now museums date from this period. A particular favourite is the Mudejar Pavilion, which is now the Museum of Arts and Traditions of Sevilla.

Suffice to say I highly recommend visiting Seville, go for its wealth of history, beautiful buildings, friendly people, reliable sun, gorgeous ceramics, delicious tapas, and wonderful wines and sherries. I recommend a refreshing ‘rebjuito’, a cocktail of sherry (Fino or Manzanilla), lemonade or lemon/lime soda and mint. No visit is complete without seeing a flamenco show at the Flamenco Museum. Lasting an hour we were entertained by singing, spanish guitar, both female and male dancers, performing solos and as a group. It was thrilling.

I will be posting a second blog on my Seville and Cordoba holiday soon.

(© Catherine Cronin)



Weekly Sketch – Playing with collage, Alcazaba of Málaga – 24/10/15

I’ve been playing with collage to try and understand an image I want to make of the Alcazaba of Málaga.  Based on a photograph I took, I’ve been painting the separate elements, cutting out the forms and fitting them together to make the image. This process helps me to understand how the different forms and colours relate to each other, and what is or isn’t working. I already have some ideas now on how I want to take this image forward.



(© Catherine Cronin)

Buy British Day 3rd October 2015

It is Buy British Day today; and you can get 15% off in my Etsy shop using coupon code BUYBRITISH.

Valid till end of October.

A taster of what you can buy:

(© Catherine Cronin)

Seeing Print Exhibitions and Sculpture on the Southbank 26/09/2015

Last weekend I went to see original prints on display at Bankside Gallery which was exhibiting work that was accepted for the National Original Print Competition  2015 (the exhibition has ended now). It was great to see such a varied collection of print techniques, styles and subject matter in one place. It was also a pleasure to see prints up close by printmakers I have found online through social networks; the nuances of texture, ink and paper surface get lost to some extent when digitised for web publication.

You can view and download for free the exhibition catalogue here:

Here are my top three prints from the exhibition.


‘Contradiction’, Linocut, Winner of the Hawthorn Printmaker Supplies Award by Ade Adesina


Last of the Winter Light, Linocut with Copper Leaf by Melvyn Evans


Leaftree, Carborundum and Handcolouring by Ursula Leech


Next door at the Tate Modern, on Level 4 in Artist Rooms they have hung a dynamic collection of George Baselitz prints from his ‘Gothic Maidens’ series and a huge linocut of his wife ‘Female Nude on a Kitchen Chair’. I was so glad I got to see this work, printing can be a laboured process, but these prints belie this with their spontaniety of line, and their vigor. These are fresh images that keep you looking.

[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997

[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997

[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997

[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997

[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997

[no title] 1995 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1997

Female Nude on a Kitchen Chair 1977-9 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1984

Female Nude on a Kitchen Chair 1977-9 Georg Baselitz born 1938 Purchased 1984


Behind the Tate Modern, new sculptures had been placed around the three residential/commercial low rise buildings just off Sumner Street. The sculptures were human heads by the artist Emily Young, and they looked striking in situ.


Stillness Born Of HistoryII, 2012, EmilyYoung


Stillness Born Of History II, EmilyYoung, 2012


Large Blue Purbeck Head, 2012, EmilyYoung


Mont Amiata Warrior, 2012, EmilyYoung