Saturday, 28 July 2012

Love That Dares

I've been working on preliminary sketches for my next painting this week. After a 20 year gap I am going to be using Muffin the Mule and his  friends again. I first used Muffin for a painting called 'David's Journey' (which you can read about on the News and Reviews page on my website) but now needed animals again after seeing an exhibition about Charles Darwin and his theories.
Leo had been asking me for years, when was I going to do another painting about him (my last painting recorded his birth -  'Lifeline To Leo') and I always replied that he needed to do something  amazing first. When he announced several years ago that he was gay and had found a wonderful partner in Paul, I felt very proud of him. I hope my painting will do him justice and over the next year you will be able to see the results.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Art Club

We've just been on holiday with my grandson, Barnaby and family. Barnaby is four years old and great fun. Every morning after breakfast we worked in our sketchbooks - I had brought an old one of mine for him to use. Each day I introduced new art materials and let him experiment. I called it Art Club and after the first session I waited for him to request it again. While the rest of the grown-ups got ready for the day (cycling , swimming, beach games etc.) he worked attentively on some new idea or observation. What I hadn't expected was that he would want yesterdays materials as well as the new ones. In the end he had soft pastels, pencil crayons, watercolour, stumps, rubber pencils, graphite, collage - talk about mixed media!!! So, a different kind of family portraits this week - but very interesting.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Popping Up With The Archbishop

I am going to be Artist in Residence at Primavera, Magdeline Street, Cambridge when
 Ted Coney's Family Portraits closes in December, until April 2013. It is a prime site because it is opposite Kettles Yard and on a very busy crossroad for tourists. Clearly, I shall have to get all my preparation done for my next painting, before then, so I have the canvases on the go. There is also room to diplay some of my finished pieces, so need to think carefully about what those will be. The committment is to be working in the gallery one day a week, so will be moving my studio there for the duration. As 'Ely's First Pop-up Gallery', I like the idea that I shall be 'popping-up' in another location over the winter. And the Archbishop? Well, the gallery building is owned by Magdeline College and the Archbishop of Canterbury will be taking up residence in the house directly opposite as the new Master of Magdeline at about the same time.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

1984 And All That

It was in 1984 when we lived in Great Shelford that I first opened our house to the public to show off my family paintings. I only charged 40p then (I now charge £3, but you do get a guided tour) and only answered questions if asked. The beginings of what I do now were there even then, because I had a little super eight film which was played every half hour. I now show a looped film as visitors enter the hallway, made up of super eight, video and DVD images. Why all this nostalga for the past? Well, I was part of the Open Studio movement back then and this year I have returned to advertise Ted Coney's Family Portraits in the Open Studio booklet. Ofcourse, the paticipating artists are only open during July whereas I keep going until December, so I am rather hoping people will hang on to their booklets and keep visiting me. I had my first guests yesterday, who were following the Open Studio trail.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Twenty Years On

I've just been to my brother, David's 70th birthday party and I am reminded of his 50th birthday because that was the beginning of a painting I made, entitled 'David's Journey'. You can see it when you visit Ted Coney's Family Portraits. I portrayed a labrynth as a symbol for his life and  used Muffin the Mule to represent David and all the other animals from the same TV programme to represent  members of his family. I used Muffin partly because I was interested in the symbolism attached to animals but also because David and Muffin are about the same age and Muffin was very much an icon of the 1940s and 50s.
Well, I am about to use Muffin again in my next painting, this time for my son Leo.  There is a Charles Darwin twist in the new one, but more about that next month when I get going on the preparatory work.