Thursday, March 31, 2011


For some reason I do not allow myself to 'make' things.
Could it be I do not see them as economic. 
It takes ages to make something.
Take this eye, it cost next to nothing, just a rubber ring and some scrap aluminium. But it took hours, to cut the parts just right and assemble them securely and invisibly.
Now it hangs on the wall in our shower room and sees all.
Items like 'eye' are hard to sell for real money. 
So what.
To make a thing and to make it well is a joy in itself.
It is enough. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Human being

What makes a good picture?
This face is unexpected and yet familiar, that mouth and look is well known.
I drew it in ink on tissue paper.
Would more be better? Would better be more?
I am with a mark, telling you something I know, that all.
The image sticks in the mind so much more than a conventional piece.
How real is real? She always makes me smile.
She is a being . . . . . and very human. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Goya speaks

This is a watercolour copy of a Goya painting I made years ago. His take on life was very sharp, and he could see through politicians and priests a mile off. This picture of common people watching puppets is so much more than common people watching puppets. The puppet tale would have been a well worn narrative with a predictable outcome and yet they are entranced - except for one who turns to look at Goya the artist and away from the performance.

Goya suggests we look away and I'm inclined to agree.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Me, Medici and the Market

Happy days!
e-bay keeps me on the level!  - I hasten to add it is only a Medici birthday card.
Amazing how these things circulate for so long . . . .  Medici aquired the copyright around 2000 via a Gallery and printed the cards, I knew about it but never saw the card, so I've put the 99p bid on  see the ebay entry  should you want a card for  £1.10 + 59p p+p click on the link - it is a public auction after all.
When you see it on ebay, you will notice I have rebalanced the colours, much more as I remember it to be.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Iron Banner

Finding a home for the Iron Banner

This is a piece I call 'banner'. Although I have great affection for this and yet it has never had the attention it deserves. It came with us when we moved Three years ago and when clearing behind the shed last week I found it lying neglected behind the compost heap!

Measuring about four feet across and made of one eighth sheet steel it is heavy and the problem has always been is how to display it high enough to see it against the sky, for against the sky is where it must be, not behind the compost. So the question is, where do I place it and how do I secure a heavy steel banner in the sky high enough to please me without the wind blowing it over.

I made it under the watchful eye of Hamish Black at his wonderful studio-workshop on the South Downs. He made no comment on my work and I did struggle with the material. Steel is compelling stuff, and Hamish, a gentle giant of a man with a great black beard seemed able to persuade it easily into any shape he wished. I have not returned to steel as a medium - I just have this lovely Banner lying on the lawn when it should be in the sky! 

It needs two things, a good plan and a wad of cash.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Affordable Art

Affordable art!

This is 'swimming'. A large oil painted for the May 2010 show at Chequer Mead last year as part of the Action series. Looking at it again it all appears so easy in hindsight, like knowing how the story ends - but it was not so, for a brief reminder check out the video clips that record some of the journey. 

Last week in the tender care of the Redleaf Gallery it was shown in London at the Affordable (under 3K) Art Fair in Battersea and has passed into a private collection. Excellent news as I had already placed an order to replenish my oil paint stocks this very morning.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Drawing number 30

Number 30 of 45 drawings, simple, powerful and made direct from intuition. As part (one) of my Psalm project I scanned all the drawings ready for the very exciting sixteen foot display! By showing at Chequer Mead I have space and opportunity - this going to be exciting.
The images are a response to the 1000BC poetry and the spiritual awareness they contain. I inhale the text deeply and exhale the drawings. Only now do I dare look.

I feel they will be around for a bit.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Psalm Project

An expression of promise

The maquette #13 is an interpretation, an expansion of the ink study, a drawing that leans towards the claustrophobic in its embrace. This embrace, this duo of Being is now explained with the separation of material substance. In the drawing there is a fusion of spirit that the maquette translates into motion. Now Wood and Card are integral and united yet the one is solid and grounded while the other is a flurry of dynamics   - of strength beside kenetic energy that melds into a harmony of purpose.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Girls head

Writing about this piece is not dissimilar to the paint sessions, erasure and more erasure. Finding an arrangement that I could bear took awhile, This is it yesterday. How long it lasts is another matter.
To day a book came to me, from my son, an extraordinary book by that noble publisher Abrams.  A heavy volume called 'Giacometti, A sketchbook of interpretive drawings.' It contains three brief efforts of Giacometti to explain the books contents, what he calls 'the copy-interpretations'. These writings he sent to his friend Carluccio the day before his final illness. The book is filled only with many many personal scribbled copies of old /modern masters. As he stumbles to give an account of these drawings taken from all his life one is struck by his profound honesty. His own vulnerable journey to draw and capture life.

With this in mind I went to look again at the girls head I had painted. It remains an enigma. It remains intact.

Night song

Opening on May 5 is the 2011 show of new work at Chequer Mead's Greenstede Gallery. The venue gives an opportunity to hang more pictures, and to judge movement over time.
The title 'night song' reflects the way work is drawn from the mind's eye with the eyes closed, as one remembers visions of the night. What is retrieved from this alternative world is spread on the canvas with colours to match the felt sensations.
Having worked now for 25years I will show some pieces from the 90', such as the first oil painting 'Ette', along with the large oil 'Mike' (as in archangel Michael) being kindly loaned from a private collection. Very exciting are two major pieces that are back on the market and showing at 'night song' after a number of years , the triptych 'Large Picnic' and  the oversized 'Juliet'.
The very latest oils will be shown adjacent to these in a show that I am sure will prove to be memorable.

opening times: 9.00 - 5.00  closed on Sunday
preview  May 5, 6.00 - 9.00pm
finding the Chequer Mead Centre link for location and the postcode is RH19 3BS

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Circle Dance in Yellow


Circle Dance in yellow

This is proving difficult. I am working on two canvases and shown above is canvas no2, shown because it is closer to what I think is required. The biggest problem is confidence, as the work becomes looser and freer the more demanding it becomes. So much is about belief and then, when it is done, assessment is equally difficult. I remember Bomberg when teaching spoke about making a series of 'throws' at the form in order to catch the spirit of the form. These 'throws' can be quite exhausting! 
The first stage was simply a drawing in Ultramarine dilute printing in applied with a rag on a long stick, then cadmium yellow washed in around the figures. This mode of beginning helped me extend the liveliness in the way new colour was added.

Monday, March 7, 2011

neglected drypoints

A drypoint etching receives some new colour

I have a folder in a drawer in which for some years have laguished a set of drypoints printed on some lovely soft gray paper. But they were very gray, and seemed to lack the life they deserved. This morning in a burst of creativity, I coloured the garland and warmed the flesh tone shadows to bring a real change to these negleted etchings. Pleased with this I will commision a frame while in a positive mood.
The original source for the drypoints was an earlier gouache called 'Festive head'.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mother, keeping the idea strong

Mother and child.
The oil painting is almost complete, It had adjustments & re-working over most areas to bring it to this level. I do see now some ambiguities in the front central leg that will need further revision but on the whole it has been worthwhile. Strengthening without adding detail is always a test of will, insisting that the force of idea will communicate a more powerful and recognizable form to the viewer without resorting to realism.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

players completed

This piece has been to one side for a long time as I mulled over the question of finishedness. Now I find no compulsion to add or subtract and thus conclude my work is done. There are parts that agitate my mind, like the head above, yet this 'agitation' feeds my experience of the piece so it remains.

A frame is in the making and will be fitted up soon, I will assist my final evaluation.

Players 2, an oil painting by John Scarland