April 5th, 2013
Too much going on at once. Suffice it to say that building works are nowhere near complete here and we are holding our Private View for Artists’ Open House in one month minus one day. Open House lasts for the entire month of May and is part of the Brighton and Hove Festival. Some links below.
I have an art-related event today, showing some botanically-related work at a friend’s book launch: the brilliant Allotment Diaries by Kay Sexton. In June the Affordable Art Fair follows on directly in Hampstead, plus a season-long show in the new garden Room at Sussex Prairies to which I’ve given the jocular title of Plants, Fruits Shoots and Leaves – an attempt to avoid the rather worthy-but-dull image of botanical art. Not that mine really aspires to that title; it’s more a celebration of favourite plants than faithful reproduction.
Above are some new pieces practically ready for framing: medlar, aubergine and quince.
March 7th, 2013
A detail from this hand-cast paper piece which tries to give a flavour of those rusty-surfaced shacks which magically populate the shingly stretches of shoreline near Dungeness. A random scrawl…left by whom? When? Such a mysterious place.
This is one of twelve pieces which are on show from today till Sunday at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea. Do go along if you can, it’s always a fantastic day out. And do stop by Stand L13 if you feel like it: Nicholas Bowlby Art Gallery.
February 28th, 2013
Off with on thing, on with another. There never seems time to breathe. Twelve pictures have gone off to the Affordable Art Fair.
Now it’s full steam ahead with the little exhibition we’re putting on here. Week 4 of the wonderful Brighton Science Festival has Communication as one of its themes. This is our contribution:
‘Telling Tales’ at The Wolf at the Door. Artists have a go at explaining what they’re trying to say in their work, how and why. Painting, glass, self-portraiture, cartoons, collage, children’s art, a few surprises.
Plus: Charlie’s Dead. Who’s Charlie? Recollections. Of what? Auntie Rara at work. Why no tables, cows or horses? Science Story. Who’s hacking what with an axe and why? Where is the Dragon in Night Sky? And, Is Grandma Sad?
I’ve put it all together with a necessary speed and serendipity (I hope). The participating artists, seven or eight of us, can choose what to show – but have to explain the how, why, where and who, plus any back-story. This raises the biggest question, of course: why we do what we do. What is art? What indeed! Everyone has reacted by producing utterly different ‘stories’. Now, today and tomorrow, I have to find a coherent way of displaying it all.
February 15th, 2013
Perversely, this is the night sky at Midsummer. The ground is sodden, the days are still short, I long for summer….This is a new piece, not yet framed. Dark and intensely cobalt sky; stars and planets, and a suggestion of moonlight with a trace of silver leaf.
There’s an awful lot to do before summer. Probably what I need is a darkened room. First, I and a few friends are putting on a show here called ‘Telling Tales’ for the Brighton Science Festival (already well under way). The theme is communication; each of us will display some work (including painting, collage, film, cartoons, maps, music, maybe graffiti) and try to explain what we mean by it and why and how we set about it.
Next, in early March, the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea courtesy of the Nicholas Bowlby Gallery, a real jewel. Ten pieces or so for that. A brief break and time I hope for painting as well as organising Artists’ Open House at the Wolf at the Door, which runs here throughout May with twelve artists. Also in May, possibly, the International Art Fair in London.
From 1st June, a solo show for the season in the new Garden Room at the wonderful Sussex Prairies, for which I’m preparing a series of plant-related pieces. (I’m thinking of calling this ‘Plants Fruits Shoots and Leaves’!) Also in June, the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead with Nicholas Bowlby.
That’s enough to be going on with….
January 28th, 2013
I’m posting this on the day our old kitchen (dark, decrepit and dingy) becomes a thing of the past. Unfortunately this means using my studio for the next few weeks (months?) as a temporary kitchen so I’m shifting different bits of my activity to different parts of the house.
This recent little piece in a box is about the (distant) past. Long, long ago…. Bar a bit of paint, it uses timeless materials: earth pigments, plaster, stone, shell, wood. The kitchen was old in a different way – clapped out, dispirited, dilapidated. The adjectives keep coming!
As to the future, it looks like being very busy: events are lining up and I need to keep working hard while the builders get on with bringing light and warmth to the heart of the house. Details on here soon about the coming season.
January 18th, 2013
This little piece-in-a-box was made last spring with recycled and found objects. Some were actually picked up on the walk, others are there to represent the sensations and sights of the occasion. It was cold and crisp and there was a thin coat of snow lying on the ground. A very special day with a special flavour.
For me a successful piece always has to have a distinctive flavour, the more intense (usually) the better. Another form of synaesthesia I guess.
Hove is already looking a lot more snowy than that this morning.
January 7th, 2013
It’s been an impossibly interrupted and complicated run-up to Christmas. Building works stopping and starting, visits to family up north and out west, Christmas presents to buy and distribute, deadlines to meet (an article, a submission, a proposal). I moved out of my studio (due to become a temporary kitchen) and back again; now I’m half in, half out.
None of that is serious stuff. But I do find it hard to deal with the stop-start rhythm. It’s easy to lose momentum and confidence and the thread of what you’re doing. So a few uninterrupted half-days recently have been a godsend and I look forward to some more proper time soon. I don’t mind if there’s chaos all round so long as it’s not my chaos: I can ignore the sledgehammers and skips and banging so long as I don’t have to break off what I’m doing every few minutes.
Here is some of the new work that’s under way. Far from finished – I’d hoped to have it ready to submit for the Towner Gallery Open Exhibition – but still, it is under way and trying to find (in each case) its direction.
A happy 2013 to all.
December 12th, 2012
End of the world today? A few years ago I began a series of pieces based on apocalyptic texts and myths about the end of the world, a counterbalance to others looking at the origins of the earth and the human race. It’s not piety that moved me – I love the poetry and drama and imagery of these texts and ideas.
This one is from Isaiah (King James version of the Bible). Just have a look (I’ve cut some bits out):
And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever:… and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness…
So here we have the burning pitch and brimstone. Another instalment (and picture) soon – if we survive!
November 23rd, 2012
Here is a detail from the picture I posted yesterday. It is part of a facebook online competition run by the Cork St Open team – you can vote for the photos on it. If you’d care to, the link below should take you to the picture where you press ‘like’ to record a vote. (Since a recent WordPress update I’m unable to upload a live link so you will have to copy and paste, I’m afraid.)
November 21st, 2012
Just completed in time for the first snow. I planned this piece and prepared the support, i.e. made the paper, some time ago. This was an image that caught my eye in January, when the damp-enhanced colours of the paving-stones shone through a light dusting of snow which had fallen overnight and settled in places.
I really am not much the wiser, after fifteen years or so of seriously and serially making art pieces, about what ‘art’ is. Or what if anything I can contribute. It’s not just about beauty, or shock value, upsetting preconceptions, arousing recognition, making decor, providing metaphors, whatever the current fad or fashion is.
Lots of things will drive me to make or plan to make a piece. It can be a while before I get round to it – ideas ripen at a different rate and I do take photos to remind me later. There’s usually something extra-intense about the scene or moment or idea. Lots of elements come together to make (now this is really pretentious but I did study French literature!) what Sartre called ‘un moment parfait’. Something to do with a (fleeting) sense of enhanced perception.
Of course the end result is usually entirely different!