Friday, 28 September 2007

Avoiding hibernation

Idly scanning through some of the photographs made this year I came upon this one. It was taken late in the spring, after a warm afternoon spent scorching meat and drinking cider.
All but one of the females present on the day are in the picture, one little girl having scampered off to my left before the shutter caught the others.
As you can see by the faces and the body language, the North Sea was not at it's tropical best.
Typing this I can just hear the ocean roaring up the beach as the wind blows it up the beach a couple of hundred yards from the front door, how quickly the intervening period we call summer has passed. The chilly Briney was briefly less so through August and September, but a glass of something warming was still the best way to recover from wetsuit clad foray into the waves.
Thinking about this has made me determined not to let the onset of autumn and winter make me hibernate.
I have found the last few winters very hard work. They have not been particularly inclement, I have just failed to deal with the lack of daylight, and the fact that shorts and sandals have to be forgone if hypothermia is not to be a constant companion.
The move to a warmer studio, with the prospect of exciting new challenges and the ability to work two minutes by iron horse from home, coupled with the need to exercise the new boy, will mean less opportunity to prevaricate.
I'm hoping the end result will be a step on for the work, and more finished vibrant canvas' for the newly available shop window.

Tuesday evening was the first time this brave woman had ever modeled for a life drawing class.
Under normal circumstances, with between four and eight regular artists attending, this would have been a slightly nerve jangling experience.
When several young students appeared, plus one of their Mum's, taking the number of people drawing to seventeen, I was getting nervous for her.
Reacting like a seasoned pro she just got on with it. Not a sign of worry, not a hair out of place.....and she has agreed to come back again soon.

I am hoping to do some bigger work of her, in paint, soon.

Dog's life

It's a long time since I had six ohstupidhundred hours starts on the bounce.
If it wasn't for the north easterly gale that's been blowing for three days, the experience would have been more amusing.

The most remarkable part of the early dog walking experience has been the occasional willingness of 'herself' to be included.
Previously blissfully unaware that 0600 even existed, her energetic out-of-bed-knickers-on-in-one-movement dismount is a wonder of fluid motion.

The muttered comment of "I'm not sure I like him that much", is betrayed as a minor porky by the sight of long blonde and short ginger rear end's forging energetically ahead of me through the wind and rain lashed streets.

On a slightly more prosaic note, I cannot recommend the pre-breakfast scooping up of dog ordure into a small plastic bag. Hardly a bowl of porridge has past my lips this week.

Oh well, all in a days work.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Meet Jack

This fella is the reason why there have been no posts over the weekend.

A year ago our dear old Staffordshire called Snorks had a stroke and had to go off to the big Kennel in the sky. She was 14 and had been a puppy when our daughter was born.
After twelve months of deliberation we decided, on seeing a picture of Jack on a re-homing charity website, to go and take a look at him.

To cut to the chase, after a 250 mile round trip to Lincolnshire, he's got a new family.

He's a darling in the house, and like all Staff's he thinks it's his job to love every person he meets. He needs a bit of work on his social skills with other dogs, but as he's only twoish I think he can be educated.

Oh yeah, he's also very handsome and knows it !

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Moving on.....

A new studio beckons. Over the next few weeks I am going to be packing up my paints, canvas' and assorted weird JuJu items and leaving the cliff top barn at Trimingham.

Two years and a couple of weeks ago, when I moved into the empty flint former threshing barn, I was taking a first step toward full-time self sufficient painting.
I have done some good work of wonderful subjects within it, and I have enjoyed the indulgent company of my landlords and their family.
I take with me memories of rattling roof tiles in winter gales, painting from reference material in two coats and a hat with frost on my palette, summer mornings with light streaming in through the door, the company of friends and models, and models becoming friends. In all, an enchanted place, although not always entirely comfortable.

The studio I move to is part of a current gallery. I am again grateful to my friends Jenny Rumens and Sally Wallace for their generosity of thought, and I hope great foresight, in asking me to join them at the C21 shop in Mundesley.

The next step begins.

The quest for the perfect five minute nude sketch continues

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

National Portrait Gallery

Frantic last few days, including a visit to the NPG.

If you can get to London, the BP portrait award stuff is magnificent.

Have a look here;

Thursday, 13 September 2007

New sketches

The top piece is a few weeks old, but I had misplaced it in the old map chest I store finished work in.
The bottom two sketches are the start of the new far, so good.


I still have real problems figuring out how you get a plant two and a half metres tall, from a seed one centimetre long.

This is my prize specimen for the year. I love growing Sunflowers because they can stand a bit of abuse. Like when I forget to water them for a couple of days, or when we have a sudden sea breeze...gusting to thirty knots.

The sparrows are starting to fly under the petals to pinch the seeds, I think the autumn is here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Pristine & scarey

Thats how I feel about new sketchbooks.

Stupid really, after the first few pages, and the first poorly observed sketch, greasy mark, or coffee cup ring, a sketchbook becomes a living thing. It then has history and memories that are not solely about the sketches themselves. Vital to remember the real undertones of any scene or subject, these blemishes become at least as important as the marks made deliberately in charcoal or graphite.........But, when brand new and brooding on the shelf, the sketchbook is a perfect unmarked thing full of potential. It whispers to me, the half heard creative conscience....."Do some more work, get on with it".

I think I better bite the bullet and start the first page this evening.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

More from Blickling

From the top down;

Cultural Export by Sam Robbins

Being Buoyant on the Beach by John Midgeley

Evening Song by Sandra Hayward (left) with Partial Eclipse and Tropic of Capricorn by Nick Reynolds

Italian Landscape by Heather Tamplin

Future Fossil by Tony Eadson

Shadows on the Sea by Kit Wade


This is a piece of work entitled Shapeshifter by Harry Baker. My photograph only shows one aspect of the piece, but the more you look at it the more you see.

Go and have a look yourselves, it's at Blickling in the Secret and the Revealed show.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Old School

Two things happened at the life drawing class last night. I rediscovered the joy of drawing with graphite sticks, (I know, I do need to get out more), and I fell in love with Herself, AGAIN.

The show must go on

Private view tonight of "The Secret and the Revealed" at Blickling Hall.

Not feeling too nervous, mainly 'cos I'm one of thirteen participating artists so I'm only about a thirteenth as pink as I would be if it were all my work.

The Curators (Sally Wallace and Jenny Rumens), have put together a very good show. I also feel a warm fuzzy glow being asked to put my work alongside these artists;

Harry Baker
John Midgeley
Sandra Hayward
Heather Tamplin
George Simmons
Jenny Rumens
Megan Green
Kit Wade
Tony Eadson
Sue Heath
Nick Reynolds
Simon Marshall
Julia Cameron

If you are at a loose end this evening, the view starts at 5.30 and ends at about 8.00. Feel free to come along and have a snout about.

The show continues in the Hobart Gallery until the 23rd of September, Thursday to Sunday, 10.00am to 5.00pm.

The photo is one of my pieces, an installation no less !!!!
It's called Ghost Bike, a bit of a laugh but I think it looks pretty cool.
(I'll be the one at the private view wearing a Paisley cravat).

Monday, 3 September 2007

Wayside Weirdness

Wishy Washy in neon, not a description of something insipid or lacking in substance, but a late night lit up enticement to cleaner whites.

McDowells, self explanatory commercial don't-care-ism. Outstanding.

Turkey, a heady mix of eastern instinct and western avarice.

Turkish nights

A couple of posts ago an lady called anonymous had a bit of a moan about not being mentioned in the context of our recent family holiday.

I have reason to believe it's the lady in the middle of this photograph, although it might be the lady on the left.
(It can't be the lady on the right,'cos she is often within arms reach of me and would just slap me if she was offended. She wouldn't do it anonymously on this blog).

Anyway, Lorraine, Jane, Dannie, Ash, Robby, Olly, Jodie, Pete, Jason, Jane, Imogen, Callum and Zack.............thank-you one and all for your part in a cracking holiday.

Magico Bronzo indeed.

New Show

Spent most of today hanging an exhibition with friends and fellow artists.
For a couple of hours all that could be heard was the clump of hammers on picture hooks, punctuated with the odd softer thwack and muted swearing.

By the time we stopped for lunch, the combined efforts of thirteen artists were pretty much where the curators wanted them.

I have gone very ART this time, even producing an installation ! Part of "Ghost Bike" is pictured above.

If you want to see the finished piece, and are in the vicinity of Blickling Hall during the next month, drop in. The show is open Wednesday to Sunday, 10.00m till 4.00, till the 24th September............Or there will be pictures on here from tomorrow evening !

The private view is Wednesday evening, 5.30 to 8.30, bring your own mug and a bun.

Oh, and I nearly forgot, this evening I went to a private view at the Sheringham Little Theatre. The exhibition of Karen Bethell's photographs is a little gem. If you are passing by don't miss this collection of warmly observed moments of humanity.