Friday, May 28, 2010


There will be a short intermission while I consult the map
perhaps a month
perhaps not
It depends what happens next!

have look now and again and be surprised

warm regards   J

ps. illustration from Quarles emblems

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

wooden sisters waiting

Here are the wooden sisters in white primer.
They have a special board on which to be.

On this early summer day we have been out for an exquisite lunch with a friend in her Garden.
It involved wonderful old fashioned things like cold soup, a light fruity wine, local trout, asparagus/salad
fruits, cream, coffee, a woodland walk, birdsong and conversation.

The upshot of this is that the sisters will not be coloured today!  
I'm easy with that.

Tomorrow will be cooler!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hot days and creativity

This Torso was painted last Saturday evening as a sort of tailpiece of the day.
It was taken from a series of drawings dating around 2005.
Hanging carelessly on the studio wall, me and the painting have eyed one another on a daily basis. Neither of us have said anything.

The task I set myself for today was to confront two 60"x15" panels, decide how to paint the two sisters on the two panels. Hot weather for me does not encourage creativity in me. I worked for some time without success. 
Then, late afternoon, this Torso took my attention, it returned me to the 2005 drawings and the fierce painting from last week.
After supper I roughly placed some neat and dilute red oxide primer on the two canvases with a nod in the direction of my selection of drawings from the day, washed up and locked up.

they say it will be cooler tomorrow 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Gormley, Beckett and John Tilbury

Back at the De La Warr Pavilion we get to see Critical Mass on the roof.
Experienced where land meets sea, there seems a heightened awareness of calamity in Anthony Gormley's  Critical Mass
The trauma of these petrified beings is palpable. 
One longs to restore them as in a fairy tale, but it is not possible. 
We leave them as we find them, a silent example.

We have also come to hear John Tilbury play Beckett.
I have knowledge of Beckett but I am not a student.

 . . . . . a late poem by Samuel Beckett
Go where never before
No sooner there than always there
No matter where never before
No sooner there than always there

This is our evening, it took us where we had never been before.
Tilbury's piano work is extraordinary, the intensity and created atmosphere was unusual.
Tilbury's film . . . . but the clouds, was very moving, powerful in its repetitious simplicity.
(sadly projected in the wrong format)
The last 55" solo piece Worstward Ho was the most difficult, (some people even walked out)
I confess to be baffled, But it will take me back to Beckett, not having read the text, Beckett's novella of the same name, I was ill prepared to grasp the work. I need a copy before the music fades in my mind.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

the fierce painting

as advertised yesterday, this is a 'fierce' painting.
most of the day used printing low-tech images in red oxide ink.
in the end, they were disappointing, to say the least.
at 6.30pm I approached them with three oil sticks and a 'kill or cure' attitude.

I was encouraged

Looking at this one now, I am as it were, holding a cryptic clue in a mad treasure hunt.
a diagram of next

I need now to formulate some hard questions,
 . . to evaluate the worth of this doodle.
 . . . decide what experimentation would help the evaluation.

as usual, there is no map!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the primitive king of colour

More is not better.
Desperation sees 24 heads knocked out in ink to break a logjam in my thinking. 
But volume and speed did not throw me a variable I could use.
The truth is that the hand & mind are a lazy combo,
they just keep on producing out the same old material.
'this will do'
This will not do.
Something needs a good kicking,
do not tolerate laziness.

I found some red ochre printing ink in a drawer today,
perhaps some fierce monoprints will move the goalposts
and red oxide is the primitive king of colours, it will not let me down

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

just do it

I moved suddenly
 I have made the crude parts that make up the sisters
the parts are unattached, just lodged together.
now I rather like this raw simplicity
something more is required
I did not fix anything, in case I move without thought
they are to demand attention

more sisters

another from yesterday,
a simpler approach here, it carries the same message as yesterday.
but carrying to much realism.
too much Ascot, not enough Persia.
they are not wrong, just an earlier model.
time to deconstruct, review and remake using the images as launch point.
the excitement of going to a new place never fails.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I am aware of two sisters.
Transcribing this awareness has occupied me this afternoon.
Maintaining a division was important, I need an underlying tension in the reflection.
This work, in gouache, is well over a meter wide and is an exploratory work.
In the future I see two figures in a specially commissioned vitrine.

They exude power and warmth, even when reproduced on this small scale.
Next is to find a way of maintaining the energy and delivering it from a form less half its size.

Thinking Aloud Blog: Galvanizing opinions

Thinking Aloud Blog: Galvanizing opinions

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good news from Pallant House

Family on the car

The good news is that this work has been shortlisted for the St Wilfreds open art competition that is organized in association with Pallant House Gallery in Chichester. (Shortlisted means it will be considered for a prize and included in the catalogue, but may not be hung in the Pallant House exhibition.)

The rather monochromatic piece draws on the archaic concept of the 'car' and relates it obtusely to Gericault an the 'Raft of the Medusa'.

Lets hope those good people at Pallant House find a space for it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This is a monoprint from about 1995
one of a series that referenced the land.
It is another work from the past that 
I need to revisit in order to understand things.
Not unlike a recent oil, 
its distribution of forms and energy have an 
enigmatic relationship with a conventional horizon,
this generates a new tension for me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

head hunting


The development of ideas can be a slow business.
They cannot be rushed.
The drawing shown could be a bust, it is the most likely candidate from the batch of drawings from yesterday evening. 
I would like them to emanate from considerations of self referencing and self awareness, those elements peculiar to humans. More reading around this will help, along with a better understanding of the theory.  
I continue to draw - aware of what I do not want - searching for elements that resonate with me.
The recognition of embryonic ideas is as much the skill as is the drawing of them.

The function of a head.
The experience of having a head.
A schematic diagram of a head
A symbol of a head
The embodiment of life in a head.
The senses revealed in a head.
The humanity of a head.
The gyroscopic head.
The nobility of a head
and on and on . . . . .

Saturday, May 8, 2010

more thoughts on the abstraction of heads

These heads were drawn on one page in a large sketchbook.
Seeing them one by one is easier.
The mind drifts and meanders
as it moves weight and expression
to small representations of the noble head

Friday, May 7, 2010


At this particular time, I am away from painting.
Evaluation of past work is a good thing.
Sometimes work is left too quickly or just not understood.
I found this in the archives, from a time when I was looking at dance notation. Notation is a method to record and learn choreography for composer and dancer. There are a number of standard methods that have been devised over the years.
Reflecting on this I made a watercolour that describes an imaginary dance and a notation of my own making.

This was a rich source of idea and sensation to use for painting and revisiting it is a powerful reminder of what all those dance picture could still lead too.  

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Today saw a General Election and a Special Exhibition of Pictures. 
Here it is the exhibition as it unfolded today 
Come and see it for yourself

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Testing validity

I made this small copper head around 8 yrs ago. I have been looking at it ever since because poses a question that I have not yet answered. 
The head, or maybe the face poses the biggest questions and problems for the artist. We see many landscapes treated as abstracts or semi-abstract;  flowers, interiors or fairgrounds get treated in a similar way. But the face is another matter for the artist, with perhaps Picasso as a notable exception.

They say 'the question is the answer'

So is this statement above that I call a head a valid statement?
Eight years is quite a while, perhaps it is time to take it off the shelf and test that validity.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

an indicator to the mind

Today I make labels for the Hexad show.
I paint the backs of pictures, fit strings and email clients.
Some of this is a chore.
Some is more exciting, more theatre, more happening.

On Thursday I am going to hang the 15 pieces that make up my 'manifestation' series, I expect the aggregate effect to be greater that I have experienced from the individual works thus far. To see the repetition of five cycles on the gallery wall will ramp up the effect considerably. Seeing the work thus assembled, exposed, uncluttered by the domestic is the time to judge its worth.

I am rather looking forward to this, for evaluation is an important part of progress, it is an indicator to the mind about tomorrow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

a love affair

Here is a book, it was published in 1945.
I found my copy in Tunbridge Wells OXFAM book store, priced at £1.49p.
I bought it immediately.

Every three months or so I pull it out and look at it. I love the book itself, what it contains and what it stood for. Art is about reaction. I would like to celebrate W. J. Stone's message without replicating W. J. Stone.

While at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill visiting a show of drawings I renewed my love affair with the 'vitrine'.
Could I combine the 'vitrine' with W, J, Stone.
Here is a question.
I also love a question.