The Art of Recognition

A perfect thank you

It is the end of another enjoyable, packed, fascinating week of work. In the middle of this week’s canvas was a trip to Tate Modern to enjoy the Matisse cutouts with a small group of friends.

I returned home on Friday to find a bright purple envelope waiting for me. I opened it, and inside was this beautiful hand made card:

Thank YouWhat a lovely surprise! This gift hits all the right recognition buttons for me:

  • It was unexpected.
  • It is personal.
  • It is relevant – I love the simple genius of making a cut out card after visiting an exhibition of cut outs.
  • It is timely – we visited the exhibition on Wednesday afternoon – the card is with me on Friday.

Thanks Hilary – what a pleasure. I’m really grateful.

7 Reasons to Visit Riga

These past few days have been an interesting first trip to Riga, the capital of Latvia. I’m heading home today and giving a talk on social media in the workplace in London tomorrow. Shortly after that I’m heading to Louisiana with Neil Morrison before returning here to Latvia again later in April. There’s something about the letter L featuring large in my life just now. Enough already.

Something we have been focussing on in our work here is the importance of visual media, and as I enjoy writing occasional travelog type posts I thought I would use some of my photos to help illustrate my short trip here.

7 Reasons to Visit Riga

Number 1 – The Sun Rise

Sunrise over Riga

This is the view out of my bedroom window, taken just after the sun peeked over the horizon. You can see a church tower in the distance and snow on the roves. The temperature had been very mild until this weekend when a sudden cold snap returned.

Number 2 – The Architecture

Riga Cathedral

There are lots of interesting buildings here. This is Riga Cathedral, taken at night. It was built in 1211 and has undergone several modifications since. I was lucky to find a pause in people wandering through the square to get an uninterrupted view.

Number 3 – Design

I spotted lots of interesting design touches when I was out and about. This old door handle really caught my eye, I’m glad I don’t have a screw driver on me otherwise I might be taking a few of these home. And this restaurant chair has lovely curves, it feels good and is comfortable to sit in too. I’m a bit nerdy about these small things, and when done well – they make a difference.

Number Four – The Food

It’s a good job that Riga is an easy city to walk around, I’ve eaten dangerously well here and the subsequent strolls have hopefully prevented me from putting on too much weight.

Number Five – The Art

Riga is the 2014 European Capital of Culture and on this short trip I’ve barely managed to scratch the artistic surface. There is loads to see here and on my next visit I will have more time to explore what Riga has to offer. For now though, here’s a wonderful, modern interpretation of The Venus of Willendorf.

Venus of Willendorf

Number 6 – Kronvalda Park

Kronvalda Park is a small open space in the town centre. It has many pathways wandering through it and this pretty canal. I like open space in a city – it’s great for stretching the legs and clearing the mind.

The Canal in Kronvalda ParkNumber 7 – The People

I’ve let the side down here, no picture I’m afraid. Everyone from the border control guy, to the taxi driver, hotel and restaurant staff and particularly the people I’ve worked with, have been lovely. Friendly and attentive, and when we’ve worked together, curious, enthusiastic and helpfully challenging. I enjoy work so much more when it flows, and when we need to rethink and shift our perspectives based on emerging information. Thanks folks.

I’ve enjoyed my short time here and I’m already looking forward to returning. My work with employees of the Latvian Government on smart use of social media is useful and enjoyable, and after I’ve concluded my second visit I will share more of what we’ve been learning about.

Lonely House

I watched a video tutorial by Matt Forster recently. In it he talks about and demonstrates the technique of wet on wet watercolour.

I found myself in a hotel bedroom last night, having spent the afternoon at the funeral of a dear friend’s father. I’d had a few drinks at the somewhat extended wake and I had Matt’s video in my mind, but I didn’t have any water colour paint with which to practice! Instead – I put water onto a postcard and then sketched over it in pencil. I let the background dry and then added the hill and the house.

The sketch has a little more to it in real life, in places the pencil has built up in layers as I went over and over a few parts, alternating pencil and water. It’s a little something and nothing post wake drunken spurge, and I quite like it.

Lonely House