London in Paintings: Ginger and White at Belsize Park

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Your sign ‘All our tables are communal…’, normally it would have the power to send me running. Introverted with a side serving of Asperger people fascinate me as much as they frighten me. The prospect of possible need of communication with perfect strangers triggers all sorts of embarrassing eventualities given that my true super power is the ability to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound.

Normally. It happened that I had just landed in London and had found my way to my friend’s apartment when she whisked me away to one of her favorite cafes in her neighborhood for much needed latte and some bites. In the sunny but cool spring air surrounded by a motley assembly of Londoners I was at ease; so much so that in the 10 days I spent in London I returned three more times.

Once, I even braved sharing the largest of all tables, which accommodates twelve. I hid in my book, which was just as fine with everyone there. But every time I looked up I had this glorious cupboard with the cutest cupcakes, homemade brownies, almond- and banana bread in front of my eyes. It highly influenced the painting’s structure and coloring.

The little details – the barrel with the blankets, the mosaic, the number above the door etc. – I took ‘notes’ of them during my last visit on my last full day while forgetting my latte over the sketch book in my hands. I can get lost that way. And yet I still know that the banana bread was just the way I like it – not too dry and with enough hint of spices.

I added one thing though from the neighborhood: Primrose Hill with its remarkable view of London’s skyline has sneaked its way into my heart just like Ginger and White. From up high there I caught my first glimpse of Regent’s Park, sealing my decision that it was the place for my friendly ‘art attack’ From Berlin with Love. I returned until the twinkle of the lights and reflecting sunlight became as familiar to me as the view from my windows and I left a piece of me sitting on the lush grass waiting for a warm summer night and magic in the air. The skyline replaced the simple board with the hooks for the jackets which supported said sign.

Ginger and White, it’s one face of London for me. Thank you for your hospitality. I painted – my chosen type of communication – to share the love.

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