Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy days are here again

What a great day!
 So many of old and new clients, 
bringing words of encouragement and support.
To all you visitors, viewers and buyers
thanks a bundle.
I am going to clear up and put things away, 
have a few day off to think about some new work. 
Next open studio will be on  Oct 9 2010
see you then.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Countdown to open day 01

Fish and bread.
I love the impromptu.
My friends Pete and Fi came a day early. unexpectedly.
We intended a pre show celebration so I had some sparkly wine in the fridge and now we had friends as well.
What more is there, Friends, fresh sardines and tiger bread and lively conversation, a very pleasant intro to our open studio.
If you come tomorrow, you may catch a whiff of pan fried sardine, and with it will come the sound of animated talk of good friends around a table on a Friday night.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Countdown to open day 02

the big picture

I found this picture in an archived file, circa 1992. People looking at some pretty big pictures. Now it seems people like big pictures, over the years big pictures have sold well. To-day a client came for a preview and bought something he could not get in his car and could I sort delivery, naturally I said I could!
One woman I recall bought a large picture for a considerable sum and promptly tied it on top of her car while dismissing my offers of delivery. A young couple wanted a big picture for their new house and found what they wanted. They paid the money, put down the hood on their convertible  and drove off with it in the back seat sticking way up in the air.
On another occasion an elegant woman bought a 7' x 5' piece and wanted it upstairs. We took it off the canvas and rolled it all up, dismantled the frame and then reassembled it all upstairs and hung it on the landing, I am sure it is still there now.
So here's to some 'big' pictures on Saturday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Countdown to open day 03

The word spreads.

Good vibes today as letters and messages received today bring enthusiasm for our show on Saturday. It promises to be busy and my weather forecast is sunny!
As usual it goes in fits and starts as I change plans and places, The moulding for one piece has just arrived today, another needs polishing while others are just not 'right'. 
It is good to see things finished and looking good but it sure does take some time and effort. The momentum is rising, I feel expectancy in the air - and in spite of all the work - I do love a show!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Countdown to open day 04

Preparations: Today I select and mount pictures for the browser, this one was an early drawing in the John Donne series and one that always appealed to me. Simply painted on black paper it is a very powerful form. The incongruity of the drawing engages me while at the same time describing a human form in front of a horizon. About 15 - 20 are chosen and wrapped in cellophane, they are all now officially 'art'. 

eating out

What a winner!
We, that is me, my daughter and two very bouncy grandchildren found ourselves on Shoreham beach at 8.45 on Monday morning. It was blowing and raining Shoreham style as we ran around exploring the Fort with shouts and shrieks above the wind. After a walk to the end of the jetty and with our faces considerably chilled on the windward side and with me boasting at my foresight in wearing over-trousers we all dived in the BEACH CAFE.
And what a brilliant place and what a nice man!
Coffee, hot chocolate and bacon sandwiches - fantastic.
The Shoreham Fort offers a number of painting opportunities and with this 'on site' catering I am going to be back at The Beach Cafe sooner rather than later.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Rector of Southover

This is a self portrait from way back in the early '90's. 
I was busy studying early theories relating to the rendering of three dimensional space in two dimensional paintings. My book on the table is John White's The birth and rebirth of Pictorial Space and was, as I recall the prompt for this picture. The steps behind mimic Donatello's trick of combining steps with perspective lines to double the illusion.
It was bought by my long lost friend Stephen Daughtery and his wife Mandy. But today after one or two false starts we emailed each other and made contact again after twenty years and he tells me this picture still hangs in his study. 
Time and Space now resides in the Rectory study with its owner, The Rector of Southover Church.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

more new work

This work has been with me for a while now, but not right. 
I took a brush to it and painted the sky red, that turned it around, 
but upset the the man's torso colour and so that was subsequently lightened. 
Touches of mauve and orange balanced it out and now it pleases me more.
The frame for it is ready - therefore assembly tomorrow.
It is not my way to visualize the way ahead on these works, rather it is an intuitive journey that is all the while testing and feeling. I thing is right if I can bear it. All things are relative to their neighbours so with the work made up of so many parts the decision what to change can be difficult!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

extra work

Exhibitions like buses come in twos
The Redleaf gallery in Tunbridge Well need new work for a London showing and I really wanted to keep back the new work for our open studio. The answer: paint some more. Here is Hot beach 02, a smaller oil to keep the wheels of commerce turning. Colour is addictive, and now to reduce saturation is hard, at some point I will have to revert to black and white for a while! With Michael Harding oil paint it just asks to have its head so at the moment I am enjoying the ride.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

frames and finish

My plan was to run the occasional 'open day', a casual affair with no pressure, but the pressure builds as I try to finish things. 
There a quite a number of pieces to show and a few others to go out to exhibition elsewhere and they have to be finished. It is so good to see things finished and presented, but it just takes so long.
These open days force the issue and the application to this task is rewarded by the work seen at its best.
I have ideas for new screens and lights, new way and means to make it look good, only 10 days to go so I had better get up early tomorrow. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

mixing colour

This evening is Watercolour lecture No 2
This will major on materials and how we understand them.
One  area that is often assumed is basic information about the colour wheel and mixing colour. 
I well remember seeing having this basic building block explained for the first time.
I felt now to be in charge, able to mix colour on demand.
The funny thing is that some of these valuable chunks of knowledge get missed out so will slip this little film in without asking who needs to know.
so listen in, who knows we may be reminded of something.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

borrowed warmth

On yet another cold grey day I work on the material for Monday's talk on watercolour.
Looking in a bookcase for an illustration, I found an old holiday sketchbook of watercolours. The intense heat returned for a moment as I flicked through the pages of sketches and pressed flowers, and the dry prickly landscape with it's blistering light and black shadows was remembered so much more than from a photograph.
The one above was an ancient Minoan settlement on the south side of the white mountains. The hour spent there is like yesterday.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Anthony Caro

Anthony Caro's Night movement - a pencil drawing by john scarland 

I recently treated myself to Ian Barker's book on Caro titled Quest for the new sculpture.
It tracks his life as a sculptor searching for fresh interpretations of space, abandoning the 'plinth' to examine the floor as a reference to space.
He made a series in 89 - 90 called Night Movements that were shown In Tate Britain in 1991. I visited the exhibition and made this drawing and others to understand them better and to commit them to memory.
Reading the book underlines the movement he made over time re-interpreting forms to map space and challenge our perceptions. 
I am encouraged, and that must be good. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the favicom

As part of my ongoing admin and modernization I am updating this blog by moving to a new application. I have installed 'wordpress' , the darling of blogging software. Now wordpress offer  me the opportunity to insert a 'favicom' that tiny icon that sits in various address bars to give a uniformity and ownership.
I have secretly coveted favicoms so jumped at the opportunity to design one. They are tiny, a recommended 16pixels square, and should distinctly identify the owner.
I confess to having spent a little while on this rather futile diversion.
But what an excellent discipline in design.
Like IKEA designing down to a set price.
My final scheme uses a font called 'stop' for the initials and three bars below of the primaries to suggest my trade.
I do respect a good icon, an art form in themselves.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

To populate or no?

This one had slipped behind, progress was a bit of a dawdle.
This afternoon it had some attention, new colours and new darks.
Now what do you think about the absence of people?
I returned to the picture with the intention of putting in people but in the end they seemed unavailable.
Will it work without people or not?
thoughts in a comment please. . .  

to compare with the previous state see:- 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Talk Talk

Watercolour Lectures
This evening saw the first of three lectures on the theory and practice of watercolour.
Aimed at breaking the rigid understanding and practice and opening up opportunities for creativity within this queen of mediums the evening was a success. Next week tackles the heart of the matter when we deal with the materials, extending our grasp of them and their possibilities. 

Saturday, February 6, 2010

the love of a line

There is so much in a line.
I love lines.
these lines are in dilute red umber oil
applied with long handled rigger over light pencil
the paint had varnish in it so it should be dry on Monday
then I will apply some colour
we all like beginnings
finishing is more difficult.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Creative growth: a conversation

For some time now I have been considering the fundamentals of thinking and working creatively.

How can one develop on this front in a constructive way?

I am now planning teaching sessions in April to explore and expand our creative abilities as artists.

Sometimes a certain repetition and flatness occurs that seems inescapable.

These sessions are designed to let some light into our thinking and plan for ourselves new routes to a much more fruitful activity.

please register any interest you may have in these sessions

email or post a comment . . .

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Theo Jansen

I found this the other day and thought it beautiful.
It appeals to the maker in me, to conceive and make such a contraption that moves with the wind is amazing.
there is more of his work on YouTube, have a look.
(apologies for the corporate ad at the end)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This figure is a survivor.
Painted some weeks ago as a test piece, it has been leaning against the wall ever since. That I left it there meant something, other things are destroyed when my mood demands it.
But this figure survived.
A number of people have commented on it as it lent against the wall. I brushed off the comments saying it was 'nothing' I worked on other more important things.
It was just a test piece
Most of the work done at this time have gone, this figure on blue remains. Jeremy said on Saturday that he liked it, I smiled and said a kind word, 'it was OK'
I begin to look at it again, my survivor.
On my 'to do' list for today one item said consider frame for test figure.
She is probably safe now.

Monday, February 1, 2010

clash of realities

Self promotion is a necessary evil.
I really need to widen my market.
This morning I cross new frontiers by placing a cunningly targeted ad on Facebook.
I pay per click.

This afternoon I walk in a wintry stillness.
I go further than usual.
I see frozen Arthurian ponds with beleaguered trees and jackdaws.
all is silent and self sufficient

it was only a mile away.