Tuesday, 19 July 2016

A Week in Politics - Pastelling in Parliament Square

Crowds Outside Number 10 Wednesday 13th July
A week in Politics 

By complete coincidence, and great luck, I managed to get permission from the Mayor’s Office to paint in Parliament Square in one of the most remarkable weeks in British politics. 

Wednesday 6th July
Weather good
Chilcot report, placards in Parliament Square

I pastelled from 6am to 12 noon, in the same place, observing the light.  Most days I completed 2 pieces.  
Monday 11th July
Grey, overcast morning, showers later
Theresa May becomes uncontested candidate for PM
Crashed, crushed car outside Parliament

Tuesday 12th July
Bright start, heavy showers later
Final Cameron cabinet meeting
Corbyn and Labour NEC ballot paper decision
Removal lorry arrives at Number 10

Tuesday 12th Mid Morning
Wednesday 13th July
Sunny start, sunny intervals
Last PM Question Time for Cameron, crowds outside Downing Street
May moves into Downing Street
Major cabinet appointments announced
Len Goodman quits Strictly
Wednesday pm - Press Tents outside Parliament during Cameron's last Question Time

Thursday 14th July
Bright early dawn light – couple watch sunrise on Parliament Square
Light cloud later
First day of May – new administration
Terrible news from Nice

What struck me as I worked was that these pastels are a record of an extraordinary time. The frenzy of political activity inside Parliament hugely contrasted with the gentle everyday rhythms I witnessed outside in Parliament Square - the morning service bells of Westminster Abbey, the regular boom of big Ben and the inexorable flow of traffic and pedestrians. Parliament Square also has wonderful catalpa trees in blossom and I even saw butterflies.

Ironically, I too was captured, but on film rather than canvas.  Newsnight was filming the press tents on College Green during the last Cameron Prime Minister’s Question Time.  As a result I appeared fleetingly, on Newsnight, that night and Sky News.