2021- what will it bring? Life and art and moving house…

Spot the marooned van (York racecourse)

Lakes and mountains – or York racecourse?

Let’s celebrate the positive. There’s been so much kindness, collaboration and altruism all around us. Small businesses continuing to supply delicious food to local NHS workers. Volunteers delivering to homes.  Thank goodness for the continuing efforts of the Trussell Trust, and our more local northern Two Ridings Community Foundation. At a personal level, I’ve had a series of delightful and unusual surprises and gifts from friends old and new.

What is a snorkel?

Universal (Dis)Order (detail)

I’m most honoured to have been given a snorkel by Richard Coldman!  A snorkel, you may ask?  Surely swimming pools are shut?  A snorkel, it turns out , is  a leisurely tour of an image via video, with music. I can’t seem to embed it so the link is here:


Richard is a film-maker/composer/sound-designer/motion graphics video consultant for artists; have a look at some of his original and inventive creations on  Instagram .  I now have a lovely one-minute audiovisual response to my painting about our current chaos,  Universal (Dis)Order. @richardcoldmanfilms.

Chanterelles, ginkgos and fan-vaulting

Winter chanterelles

Dried chanterelles. I remember gathering them with my grandfather aged seven (me not him) when I lived for a year in Germany. I love those grooved patterns,  like ginkgo leaves or little bits of fan-vaulting in a medieval church (I know, it’s all maths). What a gift!  So, mushroom risotto it was. Recipes and information can be gleaned from the Arch Forager Duncan Mackay himself, at www.udderdishbeeleaf.com/dishes.  A generous neighbour has supplied me with plums, apples and raspberries over the year.  Now it’s blood oranges.  The juice is so tart I have been using it in place of lemon-juice in cooking – delicious!

Telephone Project – 7,177,703 kilometers and continuing

Single example of an interrelated set of artworks

This fascinating international ‘Chinese Whispers’ project is drawing to a close after more than a year. 950-odd interconnected works by artists of all kinds, from 70 countries, will be published on April 10th.Art, music, photography, poetry, much more. Director Nathan Langston says ‘If we were to lay all the pathways on a map at once, it would be an indecipherable tangle…when we say the message has been passed 7,177,703 kilometers… it is not an exaggeration.’  With a photo from Anchorage and a poem from Mlwaukee as my prompts I made a piece out of reclaimed board and handmade paper- I’m not allowed to show it yet!

York Open Studios – postponed

York Open Studios

The YOS committee has taken the wise decision not to take things to the wire, and put back the dates of  the Open Studios – a delightful feature of York life whether or not you are a participating artist – till July.  By then better weather, ventilation, and the possibility of using outdoor space should make the event safer and more relaxing, wherever we are with the ‘figures’. 

But where is the Wolf?

The Wolf in Cygnet St.

Here is the LINK to this year’s really impressive line-up.  The new dates are as follows.  10/11 and 17/18 July 2021. Cygnet St? see the screenshot above …and now comes the big revelation… the Wolf will have moved by then. We will be Venue 31….


‘Naturally propense to flit and shift his Habitation’. 18th-century horoscope.

It seems (according to this old horoscope) that someone born under the sign of Cancer is ‘naturally propense to shift and flit his Habitation…’. (Better ignore the bit about being idle and a sot.) Our current house, lovely as it and its setting are, doesn’t lend itself well to messy papermaking and other activities and needs.  Large-scale works were required one way or another. Lockdown gave us time to contemplate yet another noisy, expensive and time-consuming building project. Planning consent in York is a nightmare: we are grade 2 listed….. And, above all, poor house: leave it in peace.

Where to?

Dog End to…Wolf’s Beginning?

By pure chance we spied an unusual house for sale, not far away.  We stopped and thought hard. Life seems too short for further massive disruption; here was a house more suited to our way of life.  We decided to be brave (or was it foolhardy?) It feels callous at times to be thinking about something so inessential as a house move, and it has brought its own anxieties, but it has also given us a focus and objective. It is also already on the York Open Studios map!

Cancellations and postponements

Lockdown with Westside Artists at the Village Gallery, York; work available online

So many things have been cancelled. For myself, new to the North, various new opportunities lost, events interrupted or cancelled. Most of the Ferens Open Exhibition in Hull. The Paper Exhibition in Manchester. My City Screen solo show in York. The Westside Artists debut show at the Village Gallery, York and the local Blossom St Gallery exhibition. And of course, York Open Studios 2020. That’s nothing compared with the country as a whole, but it’s my little nothing, a beginning to settling in in the north. So let’s hope it soon starts becoming normally again to mingle (if cautiously) at events, and to enjoy music and art and cinema and so much more with our friends and other people in public spaces.

River or lake? Walkway in Rowntree Park

Living in York is full of surprises of one kind or another. It’s a long time since I met a fully-armed Viking in the streets. But last week our local park became a river and the racecourse a huge, gleaming lake virtually overnight( see header photo). Luckily locals are well-versed in the procedures and it’s a bad year when there’s a lot of damage. But the (temporary) views are stunning!

 Full moon –  recent commission for Judy.

Another full moon has come and gone. Where does the time go? Why does everything take so long? I have insomnia (again) – it seems worse here in the north when the days are short. But they’re lengthening; and I’m trying out some headphones which deliver electronic impulses to the brain. I may be a zombie by the time I write my next post….

And I hope that very soon now I will have a proper selling page on the website, with secure checkout. It’s the way of things. It only remains to wish you all a very much happier, easier and steadier 2021.