New Year, new art, new prospects; Twelfth-Night reflections.

Christmas image

Christmas at the Wolf at the Door

Happy New Year! So where did December go?  Truly I have no idea.  I won’t bore you with my Christmas but it included packing and sending a lot of parcels, some quiet time, some travel, lots of food, some wine (ahem) and above all lovely family.  Short but sweet – and it already seems an age ago. Look at this beautiful Advent Calendar by Stephen Ellcock; time for it to come down.

Advent calendar

Stephen Ellcock, Celestial Calendar

I promised myself I’d spend January making new work.  With life’s many interruptions your creative flow falters, you have at once too many and too few ideas, and can quickly lose momentum and confidence.   We all see so so many images – not just the world around us, but umpteen photos of places, art, reality, fantasy. Past, present and future are conjured up for us.  ‘Too many notes, Handel’ said George II. Too many pictures. say I!  Our minds get cluttered – too many ‘windows’ open – and it’s easy to lose your  thread.  Time to find it again.

Remnants of Storm Eleanor at the West Pier

During my lovely summer hol, which combined scorching heat  with raging cold winds, I was smitten – appropriately biblical word – with dramatic muscle pain and fatigue.  Drugs reduce the pain but bring their own problems (everything from psychosis to facial hair, depression to digestive issues) so I’m taking it slowly while I come off them.  Catch-up and consolidation I’m calling it….

And a bit of fun.  We spent several days in Newcastle after Christmas – lovely times.  The hardest work was building a snowman and a snowdog!

a snowman

    Newcastle snowman (you can’t see the snowdog)

However I do have some exciting prospects ahead this spring, for which I’m busy making new work.

  •  First, an all woman-show, Seascapes and Waterways, organised and curated by the inspirational Sue Ecclestone. This will be held at Burgh House in Hampstead.  A lovely place to visit (and there’s a great coffee-house to meet up with friends).  Sue organises Women In Art, with seminars, exhibitions and many other events, greatly to be recommended:
  • In March the lovely Nigel Rose Gallery will be opening again.  At the moment you can see fabulous murmurations of starlings sweeping and wheeling and whirling before they swoop down to roost on the lovely West Pier right opposite the gallery which is on the Brighton/Hove shore.  Storm Eleanor produced some incredible waves the other day – see the picture above.
  •  I am honoured to be included in the by now iconic Flux Exhibition in April, held at  Chelsea College of Arts  just opposite the Tate. What I love about this is that it must be the least boring show  on earth. It’s organised and curated by Lisa Gray, an artist, a business analyst and a force of nature, and describes itself as ‘a collection of the most dynamic painters, sculptors and performance artists which represents an alternative way to encounter today’s best new art’ .  No  pressure then!   Hurrah.                                        

And in May comes Artists’ Open House.   Every year I think, never again (it’s a lot of work and eats up the whole month).  And (a few months later) I think, well yes, maybe….  Every single year I meet lovely people, have some amazing conversations and unearth the most astonishing coincidences.  I sell lots of work. People pop up from the past,  opportunities arise, and there is a warm collaboration among the artists.  Above all enormous and genuine appreciation from our visitors.  Not to mention the pleasure of having a house full of  wonderful art.  So… yesterday I coughed up the rather large sub…and we’re on for 2018.

marks in the snow

Snow tracks in York

tyre tracks

More tracks in the snow







Inspiration can come from anywhere,  I loved these track marks in the snow in York.  Will they find their way into a painting in some form?  Who knows!  5% inspiration, they say, and 95% perspiration.  A propos of perspiration, I  need to make a proper start on  ArtworkArchive, a professional system for keeping tabs on all your pieces past and present. My own indexing always lags behind as I don’t get round to adding new works till I have an exhibition imminent.   It’ll take days of solid work and I’ll have to keep it up properly. But how great to be able to have labels, a catalogue and details ready for any event at the click of a mouse!

traditional small figures for Epiphany

Six Kings visit at the Wolf Epiphany

Is Twelfth Night the fifth night of the New year,  or today, January 6th, which is Epiphany?  People never seem sure. It’s when the Three Kings came with gold, myrrh and frankincense.  (Wonderful set of gifts!)  We somehow have six kings in our traditional set of tiny clay provencal ‘santons’ that come out each year.  How did we manage that?

All best to you all for 2018 – here’s hoping for a kinder, more rational world.