Wednesday, 1 December 2021

On The Other Hand

I've been experimenting with the 'freedom' areas for my latest painting 'Dreamtime'.

Although I always had Chinese brushes at college for the students to try, I never had any of my own.

Investing in some the other week, I began using with them to show the flowerheads I collected and pressed during our walks by the river in Lockdown (my painting is interpreting a dream I had about escaping from the pandemic).

I realised I was using them is a stiff, western way ( a thing I always told the students NOT to do!) so I resolved to try and be freer and looser. A friend suggested I try painting with my other hand but this only gave me a headache!

I want the flowers to look as if they have been tossed in the wind so I shall just have to keep practising.

After all, a Chinese master would have taken years to perfect his craft.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

An Aversion

 I did my last tour of the season of Ted Coney's Family Portraits last Sunday, (reopening in April 2022). Covid restrictions, which meant having the doors and windows open, made the house to cold to proceed any longer.

However, I felt the tour went well with visitors particularly interested in my painting 'David's Journey', which I produced some thirty years ago. My brother, David had just turned fifty at the time and I wanted to show him on life 's journey. I used Muffin the Mule and his friends to represent David and his family as I felt Muffin was an icon of the 1940s when David was born.

Unfortunately one of my visitors said she had an aversion to puppets but I hope it didn't take away her enjoyment of the picture to much. She did ask to photograph it.

You can see the painting ( and Muffin)   on my latest Instagram and Facebook posts. 

Thursday, 18 November 2021

The Colour Red

 You'd think that Cadmium Red Deep Hue and Cadmium Red Deep would be the same but they are not!

I wanted to use the former to stain a canvas for my new painting 'Dreamtime' but was worried there wouldn't be enough so ordered some more. I was given the latter but it lacked the luminosity of the 'hue' and was £20 more. I'm still experimenting on preliminary canvases and could see the difference.

I got what I wanted eventually and you can't have too many reds.

Thursday, 11 November 2021


 Many apologies for messing up the photograph I have recently shown on my Instagram and Facebook posts. (they appear below)

I had already displayed my painting 'Minglelands' - a work about my daughter's marriage, and decided to show another picture to back up my ideas. This was one of my daily sketches of the site as well as the logbook charting our archaeological dig.

I didn't think the photo had worked as it said 'no wifi' so took another. Both came through eventually. The pictures were the wrong way round and  were displayed as video though only a single image. 

I am more used to a Kodak camera and keep forgetting not to press the button so hard! 

I hope to improve.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Averting Disaster

 I've just cycled to Wicken Fen  to do some more research for my current painting 'Dreamtime'.

I found a likely spot to make a watercolour sketch where the reeds had parted and I could see  the river. I noticed a post stuck into the ground by the water's edge and  decided to lean my bicycle against it.

While  sorting out my folding chair I heard a creaking noise and on turning around saw my bike and the post slowly disappearing  into the river.

Luckily I managed to hoist the bike, the post (and myself) back in the opposite direction, but it was a close shave. The things we do for Art!

Friday, 29 October 2021

Accidental Sale

 I've been making experiments on small canvases before starting the final painting, for many years now. I like to try out lots of ideas before I do the final piece.

Selling them came quite by accident. I was asked to donate a painting to a charity auction and it was suggested that I might like to give one of my preliminary canvases. To my surprise it made a fair amount of money so I have been selling them ever since.

Currently there are three for sale from a recent painting, 'The Wasp and The Ring' at the Babylon Gallery, Ely.

You can also see the final painting and preliminary studies on my Instagram and Facebook posts.

Friday, 22 October 2021

Window Wanderland

 We've been getting our contribution ready for the 'Window Wanderland' event in Ely which starts tonight.

I've put up our collection of shadow puppets from various countries in the window, back lit with lights.

I used the collection alot when I was teaching  and recently was inspired by some of the images when I made the painting 'Against The Light'.

I even made my own puppets of Laurel and Hardy (to represent two brothers) to use in the painting. This work is currently showing on my Facebook and Instagram pages