Alexandra Buckle
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Varnishing Day 2012

12 June 2012

I never imagined I would get the opportunity to go to Varnishing Day at the Royal Academy again. At the time I thought last year was going to be a one off. I remembered how nervous I had been the year before as I had had no idea what to expect. This year however, I had the benefit of last year’s experience so I was much more relaxed and enjoyed myself more.

When I got to Piccadilly I wished I had arrived a few minutes earlier because as I approached St James’ church on the way to the Royal Academy courtyard, I realised the procession had already started to reach the church, so I quickly tagged along.

I was sorry to miss the buzz and excitement that I felt the previous year whilst people were gathering in the Royal Academy courtyard waiting for the procession to start, but pleased to hear that the steel band were leading the procession again, playing their jolly tunes.

This is a photo from inside St James'. I took this quite early on. Once the end of the procession was seated, the church was much more full. Lots of people had to sit on the balconies higher up.


An hour or so later, we were leaving the church and walking back to the Royal Academy. In the courtyard this year is a very large sculpture titled From Landscape to Portrait made by Chris Wilkinson RA.


This large sculpture is reflective all down the side and doubles up as a large bench. It is lovely to see the Royal Academy building reflected in the sculpture at interesting angles.

You can also see my reflection as I'm taking the photo.


I made my way inside and picked up the list of entries booklet. As I entered the exhibition, the first thing I noticed was a sea of red on the walls in the first room. Here was hung a variety of large scale brightly coloured works, the bright red walls worked surprisingly well to be honest – it seemed to tie everything together. The room had been painted red in homage to Matisse's The Red Studio.

As you go through to the large main room, it is immediately apparent that there are no large scale pieces. Instead, a myriad of smaller work is intermingled with the RA’s work and hung in a giant wave around the room. Normally these smaller scale paintings are crammed into the Small Weston Room, but this year that room is being used to show a video by Jayne Parker.

My print is hung in the same room as before – actually only a few metres to the right of where Gold Pavilion was displayed, still opposite the door so you can see it on the way into the room, but not on the central part. This year they had much larger pieces on the central part of the wall.

Here I am stood near my print. I have a pretty good position again this year - not too high up! I was actually surprised to find that there didn't seem to be as many small prints this year which made me even more lucky to have been selected.

I revisited the Exhibition for the Private View and all my prints had sold already! I'm currently working on a new one which should be ready soon. Please contact me if you are interested in seeing the new print.



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