Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Recently, I made myself eight panels from some old, very stable 15mm French plywood - I rounded the edges and covered them with cotton. These were then primed a number of times and sanded smooth. They measure about 375 x 275 and looked very inviting.

I painted eight pictures with an Arcadian flavour! These were in oil but painted more like watercolours as I chose transparent pigments and laid them thinly over each other to multiply the colour. I will finish them with some gloss medium to make them shine.

I find them rather pleasing. I had no source material, I drew in an exploratory way in pencil, placed some colour here and there and developed them as I felt they needed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

a powerful blue

The freedom to test and experiment is valuable. When line and mass communicate to the senses as much if not more than carefully descibed realistic forms I feel the need to test these waters. This may only guide me how to 'mass' my figures or how a subtle imbalance of colour can persuade one to look and look again.

Gaining confidence in the ability to 'feel' a sensation while working with colour and line and to channel it directly in a subliminal way to the work in hand is so worthwhile.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

seeing Miro

Today, a beautiful blue sky day I visit the Miro exhibition at Tate Modern.
I rather like Miro, ladders are in many pieces, he says 'they reach from the terrestial to the celestial, but to be creative we must be rooted in the earth else all is lost.' His constant battle with oppression in Spanish politics continues to surface in the work, and all the while he longing for a simple life and freedom to submerse himself in that Catalan earth. 
When I returned home I looked at the sky, Miro was with me still!

Monday, May 23, 2011

a gentle head

strong wind & bright sun - both drying and energizing.

I make and paint a rough wood collage of drawing no 14. (below)

challenging colours already laid down with conviction, needing the laid colour for a proposal that I can overlay -using the mistaken complementary underneath to electrify the right as it flows over.
paint and repaint, now complete obliteration of the previous ideas, searching a solution.
it arrives suddenly and colours park themselves. I befriend them, for I am a stranger to them.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

the psalm project


the psalm project, a set on Flickr.

In case you missed the Night Song show here the initial 46 drawings from the psalm project

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


While scanning the bookshops of Hay on Wye - Frank Russell's 1980's work on Picasso's Guernica caught my eye, Now although I have a contract with myself to move on from Picasso and avoid further books on him, this one had to be an exception. Because of the seven stage photographs of the work by Dora Marr in conjunction with his own dated drawings give such an insight into the creative thinking any serious analysis from this point of view is worth a punt! Years ago,I myself photocopied the seven states and the drawings in order to study them in sequence perhaps to glean more of the conception of such a monumental work. (to see the work in Madrid is worth the air fare alone)
Russell draws on previous scholarship and his own careful dissection of this great work in its various stages, along with the 1930 crucifixion and a whole raft of ancient source material that bear on the composition and ingredients used. The corpse in the 11th C Commentary of the Apocalypse of Saint Sever in some form was published in Paris just previous to his painting the 1930 Crucifixion and was very available to Picasso at the time. This is just an detail in the comprehensive book that I read eagerly from cover to cover. Fascinating stuff!
To me the ancient roots, the timeless meta-narratives and the recurring imagery rang many bells and will send me scurrying back to the museums in the coming weeks.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


In Rural Bretagne they dance at fairs and feasts in a very particular way, I have witnessed it and remembered. Often on temporary boarded floors and accompanied by rustic pipes and strings it involves crossing arms and holding hands while moving with small movements of the feet. It is rhythmic and compelling.
My picture was painted from memory when back in the UK for which I carved a frame as I thought it needed a unique touch to support the work.
Coming across the picture after a number of years I can still hear the rhythmic drumming on the board and find the image strangely attractive. Such ancient unity and rustic colours work on my soul - I am drawn to the dance - drawn into the painting.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

good company

While Ruth and I attend to the exhibition during opening hours at Chequer Mead I have two companions, Pierre Rosenberg's monograph on Chardin and a copy of Cervantes Don Quixote that I have always meant to read - I find they compliment each other rather well.

Friday, May 6, 2011

night song - the show

The Show is officially open.
The pictures are hanging, the wine has been poured and the palmiers have been eaten.
Speaking as the artist, when all was said and done, Night song as a show of work, looked all right! The comments from those who came to the preview were very comlimentry and encouraging to the point where one young man was reminded of Arvo Part and his piece De Profundis which is indeed high praise.
we are now open every day 9.00 - 5.00m and I shall be there at these times to welcome vistors and there is a gallery talk on Saturday morning at 11.00 that is free to any interested visitors.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011



Exhibition preparations!
Nice smells wafting around the house as Ruth bakes Palmiers, tomato ones, anchovie ones and cheese ones, I did try one - now confirmed as 'very tasty'.  But don't be too distracted - you are there to look at the art!
see http://www.scarland.co.uk/email-2/

Special edition

This is 'leaping' - one of three new plates made for the 'night song' exhibition and will be released for sale at the preview on Thursday evening. These special pieces are painted terracotta (33.5cm dia) and priced at £50.00 so why not come and treat yourself on the 5th. Also there are some seventy drawings and paintings ranging from the very latest work to some classic old pieces that have returned to the market making this an extraordinary show of work.
We had to taste the wine last night as one can't fob the client off with any old wine and it was deemed worthy of the event by all.
For maps and opening times click here

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dance x3

Here are three figure studies in 'Bistre' on one sheet of paper and painted about ten years ago - but have remained in my memory with some affection. I am not inclined to make any comment about them or examine the reason why they were painted, I only reproduce them because I like them! There is mystery, ambiguity and movement, it is familiar and unfamiliar at once. Silence and music - joy and sorrow - lightness and darkness.