Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Finished ?

I've been working a lot on my current painting 'Hinaki'  recently, and think it may be finished.
I've tried to create the tension between the two different cultures as represented by the 300 year old beams of our house and the structure of a Maori meeting house. This is interspersed by an eel trap which has its roots in both countries and symbolises the journey between the two.
As is my practise, I'm going to leave the painting for a while but keep looking at it, to see if more can be done.
You can see the progress on  my picture on my website, on the NEWS AND REVIEWS page

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

An Understanding

I've just given my talk 'On The Edge'  (see ART LECTURE on my website) to a group recently.
In it, I  describe family life through some of my paintings and combine film with  live talk. The group asked lots of questions and I think it went quite well.
The lady who gave me a lift home at the end said she had been most moved by the painting about the stillbirth of our daughter, Fay and entitled 'For You In Loving Memory'. She had just lost her granddaughter a few months before and only those who had experienced a similar bereavement could understand the pain.
You can see my painting on the first page of the PRINTS FOR SALE page on the website.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Before The Court

Researching for my next painting ' Who Stole The Toothpaste ?' has taken me to Ely Courthouse to make observational studies.
This building was erected in the 1800s and only closed a few years ago and is a chilling reminder of how justice was dispensed.
I have been making drawings in the main courtroom and have tried to get the best angle to convey the power of the judge. This involved me getting into the same position as the prisoner would have been so that I was looking up at the bench  (as I think it's called).
After several goes at drawing I made a big watercolour to try and capture the cold green colour against flashes of deep pink which seemed to dominate the room.
These studies will hopefully form the basis of a painting I plan to do about my reckless ancestors who lost all the family money many years ago.
 

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Who Stole The Toothpaste ?

' Who Stole The Toothpaste ? '. That could be the title of my next painting which I am currently researching.
It's about an ancestor of mine who owned a large pharmaceutical company in the early 1900s which made him a millionaire. As he had no children, it was left to nephews who bled it dry and the family fortune was lost.
I have a picture of one of the items sold - a circular, ceramic toothpaste container which I have enlarged  to provide a backdrop for some images which will be overlaid onto it (more on that, next week)
Infact, I have already ordered a circular canvas and am experimenting with the lettering which will go around the edge.
' Burgoyne, Burbidges and Company - for preserving and beautifying the teeth'
 

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Every Fifteen Minutes

With queues to die for, (I never get those at Ted Coney's Family Portraits) we were taken by our guide around Charleston farmhouse, with another group starting every fifteen minutes. As one group came out of  a room another  was waiting to go in.
It is a fascinating house, though I enjoyed the total experience more rather than individual paintings.
Also opening the week we arrived (this was pure luck on our part) was a new contemporary gallery converted from one of the old barns.
I was a bit nervous about using the new 'gender fluid' toilets though, which had been created to match the free sprits of those who once lived there.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Between Two Worlds

You can see the latest progress on my current painting 'Hinaki' (means eel trap) in the NEWS AND REVIEWS page on my website.
I've finished the white shapes to represent a maori meeting house, which symbolises the bones of their ancestors. I've also overlaid an eel trap, a fishing device which has been used around Ely and the waters off New Zealand for many years. I'm currently overlaying shapes to represent the beams of our old house to symbolise  the UK.
The painting visualises the tension between living far away with the 'traps' that keep one there and the feelings of those that are left behind. Hopefully, my picture will resonate with people who have family  whom they don't often see.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Just One More

At the start of the visit I always explain  that I am going to do one of eight tours (see TOURS on my website) and will be covering about seven paintings. That way I hope visitors get the message that I can't talk about every painting as we go through the house.
 The other week I had a lovely family who kept asking me interesting questions about the work. They also wanted to know the ideas behind several more and I did bend the rules slightly and gave them a few juicy titbits of information. ('No it's not voodoo, it's more about control')
I hope they didn't think I was being too mean but I think an hour and a quarter is enough for anyone.