Even though I left school 30 years ago, I still feel a proxy tinge of sadness that summer holidays are at an end and the new school term is beginning.
We had a great summer overall - no one could complain about the weather (or rather they did, but it felt good to moan that it was too hot for a change!); the BBQ made more appearances than it had done in the last three years and we spent the last week in beautiful Portugal, soaking up more sun, seafood and culture.
Over here, I managed to catch a few more 'blockbuster' exhibitions. The BP portrait award was, as always, full of well executed and sensitive artworks - and as usual, I didn't agree on most of the awardees, apart from An Angel At My Table, by Miriam Escofet which deserved to be overall winner as it was beautiful.
I also managed to catch the Summer Show at the RA. As an extravaganza of colour and variety it ticked all the boxes and Grayson Perry did an excellent job as curator.
I did think, though, that it was just too political and cliched and it was harder this year to pick out any outstanding pieces. There were several Kim Jong- Uns, Trump and a prostitute, Nigel Farage and a Banksy Brexit poster. Subtle, this show was not.
I liked the Queen's portrait with her elongated head and the massive drawing of Steven Hawking and a nun, but really, I got the overriding impression that the show was to be seen as a confusing whole, and not as individual artworks - hence Perry's bold room colour schemes.
I was lucky enough to get into the Artist Magazine's exhibition at Patchings Art Centre for the second year running and it was nice to pop up there for the Patchings Festival in July. It was a fabulous mix of exhibitions, demonstrators and art materials plonked on a field with big marquees and a brass band. It was all very inspiring and, dare I say, compared to the RA, very traditional and British...
Anyway, the new school term has begun - and so too it has for me. This coming week sees me leading a new series of landscape classes at The Letchworth Settlement and on Thursday 13th, I'll be holding the first of two workshops at Harpenden Arts Club. Onward!