Saturday, 29 December 2018


While we were staying in Bristol the other week I had a new idea for a  painting about brothers.
 I am one of three brothers and have two sons. Both my brothers have sons and some of them have boys.
Later in the day we went to a wonderful exhibition featuring clowns and how each face is unique to a particular performer.
The design of make-up is painted on a ceramic egg and authorised by the Clown Egg Register.
I was so convinced that these images will be useful  that I got Hazel to buy me the catalogue for Christmas.
Ofcourse I probably won't get around to making the picture for a couple of years but it's good to start thinking about different possibilities
Happy New Year! 

Monday, 24 December 2018

Ulterior Motive

We've had a nativity scene for many years which has been added too by various members of the family.
Poppy is especially good at spotting angel figures in charity shops.
Last year I customised a wizard to become King Herod and  recently purchased a roman soldier.
As well as it reminding children and  grandchildren what Christmas is all about, I also have another ulterior motive.
I am going to use some of the figures for a painting featuring our newest grandson, Sebastian, demonstrating the forces of good and evil and entitled ' The Wasp and the Ring'.
Happy Christmas!

Monday, 17 December 2018

Open For Christmas

Last week I did a presentation for the Rotary Club in our house, where I talked about two of my paintings. Members also had mulled wine and mince pies, with their donations going to charity.
I was also  in the process of opening my painting 'Limners'.  comprising of thirty seven miniature pictures and based on an advent calendar. It was day six and I invited one visitor to do the honours. The theme for that day was a section of a blow-up birthday cake - given to Leo for his fifth birthday.
You can see the whole painting on page 2 in the PRINTS FOR SALE  section of my website where it  also features in a short video made by UK Photogallery.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Teacher And Artist

We've recently seen an exhibition  of  graphic work by Clifford and Rosemary Ellis in Bath. Clifford was principal and Rosemary, a tutor at Bath Academy of Art some fifty years ago, when I was a student there.
At the time I never saw any of their own work, which, looking back, seems a pity. They always appeared very remote and unfriendly and not very inspiring. Yet they produced a fine body of work as viewed in the current exhibition.
I have always been uneasy about showing my paintings to students but I guess having a website helped.  I always have a poster for Ted Coney's Family Portraits attached to my bicycle (discreetly parked outside the school) so those who were interested, would find it eventually.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Goodbye Mr.Turnip

I've just done my last tour of the season for Ted Coney's Family Portraits ( opening again in  spring 2019).
I had a group of seven visitors and they seemed very interested and asked lots of questions.
I  selected 'Diamonds' as one of the paintings to talk about and they were particularly intrigued that I had used a puppet 'Mr Turnip' in the picture, to represent my childhood .
Mr Turnip used to appear on 1950s children's television and I was so fascinated  that I collected  images of him  in a scrapbook.
In 1987  I decided to use Turnip in a painting about  the house my parents had lived in for sixty years and were about to leave.
I  tracked down the woman (Joy Laurey) who had made  and animated Turnip on TV all those years ago and she consented to me having a replica made. 
You can see the replica on my Facebook page and the painting (and preliminary drawings) on the PRINTS FOR SALE section of my website.         

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

On The Edge 2

I've been giving the talk about my work, entitled 'On The Edge' for about twelve years now, to all sorts of people and in a mixture of venues. I think my most impressive was the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.
I thought it was about time I put together a new one.
I have devised a talk around three recent paintings which I can carry to the venue, instead of relying on technology to show images and film.
I also plan to take some of the objects which inspired the paintings, such as the five suitcases  for 'Forget-Me- Nots'
You can see details of both talks on the ART LECTURES page on my website.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

In Preparation

I'm now working on eight, small preliminary canvases, as I develop my ideas for the latest painting 'Who Stole The Toothpaste?'.
One of my dilemmas was to decide whether I should paint Toad's skin to  look like green crumpled banknotes or collage the real thing.
Having stored up a few old £5  notes and tried both ideas I think I've decided on the latter.
I like the idea that it looks like real skin from a distance and then discover something very different when you get up close.
As I want Toad  to symbolise greed in the painting I think the collage idea will send out a stronger message. I'm painting over the notes though, with washes of translucent green, so I hope the end result will be quite subtle.  

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Proverbial Bus

I've just spent  some time trying to obtain a circular canvas and now, like the proverbial bus, two come along at once.
 I last used this shape about forty years ago and I contacted Jonathan ( who got me the last one ) to see if I could buy another, to use for my next painting, 'Who Stole The Toothpaste?'.
He informed me that the craftsman who made them was long gone and to commission someone else would cost hundreds.
With a bit of searching on the Internet and encouragement to my local art shop, they ordered  one for under £30!
The only proviso was, you had to have two. This was fine by me as my next but one painting  is called 'The Wasp And The Ring', so will also fit very nicely into  a circle.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Just Like The Movies

I was driving along in my 1931 Morris Minor with Max as a passenger, when we heard that a gunman was loose in the local school.
 Knowing that the Morris is made of very thick metal (I didn't think about the windscreen) we drove straight into the building in search of him. Although he fired shots at us I managed to knock him to the ground with the Morris's wheels.
Ofcourse it was just a dream I had recently, but something strange really happen with the Morris, several years ago.
To publicise Ted Coney's Family Portraits at a business event in Ely Cathedral, I was allowed to drive  the Morris down the centre aisle,  to take it's place among the exhibits. (the Morris appears in several of my paintings so very much part of my show))
  Embarrassingly, a few days later, the car wouldn't start and had to be pushed out on two wheels
(think 'The Italian Job') through the front door.
You can see photos of the Morris in the Cathedral on my Facebook page. Click on F on any page of the website.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Soft And Strong

The right toilet paper is as vital to the success of my painting as such equipment as canvas and brushes.
By that I mean it has to be very smooth so that when I use my blotting technique to make translucent colours there is no discernible imprint. Embossed loo paper just will not do!
This is very important when I am overlaying one colour with another and I want the under  painting to show through.
You will see what I mean if you look at my latest painting 'Hinaki' which can be viewed on the NEWS AND REVIEWS page on my website.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Way To Go

We've recently visited the Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden and saw an interesting exhibition featuring the work of  Edward Bawden.
I realised that I have being seeing his prints in the Radio Times since childhood.
He died in his late eighties and apparently was working on a large linocut in the morning, had his lunch and then passed away during his afternoon nap.
What a way to go!

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.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Doing the Charleston

I've just found out that Charleston is opening a new gallery in the grounds of the old farmhouse, to reflect some of the material about the Bloomsbury group and their influences.
Hazel and I will be able to visit it when we go later this month to stay in the studio of Quentin Bell. who lived close bye.
This looks like an up-market B&B now and the cost of our stay was a present for all the staff at St Andrews College, from which I've just recently left.
I've been preparing for the visit by reading biographies of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell over the summer.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Being Cheeky

I've just returned from our annual holiday in Sheringham with some of the family.
I did a little bit of watercolour painting while I was there and had a couple of attempts at working from the buoys and fishing boats by the slipway.
I struggled a bit but like a challenge and know it is good for me to work from direct observation, particularly with a medium I am not used to.
On passer bye said 'Could I be cheeky and have a look' There was a silence and then she said
It must be nice to have a hobby'. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

A Quizzical Look

I've just given a talk about one of my paintings to a local rotary club in exchange for a large glass of wine and a roast dinner.
I showed them 'The Rashomon Effect' partly because it is small and easy to carry but also the painting has a good background story.
It is about the same event but seen through the eyes of four different people. My grandmother is represented by her gold quizzer which I inherited and was able to take along to the meeting.
I could sense that before my talk, people were looking very warily  at the picture and obviously would have preferred a nice landscape. However, I think I won most of them over as many remarked how interesting it was.
You can see the picture on the CONTACT US page on my website and if you wanted to find out more, take the VIRTUAL TOUR.  

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Of Me, Not By Me

 Two pictures have been  made of me recently, which Daniel has just put onto the
 NEWS AND REVIEWS page on my website.
One is a photograph of me with some of my students from St Andrews College taken on the last day of term as I was about to finish, after teaching Art for 52 years.
The other, was a cubist painting of me by a very talented Chinese student which was used to advertise Ted Coney's Family Portraits in the Ely Festival booklet this year. Part of it appears in my keyhole logo.
You can see both if you scroll down to the REVIEWS AND ARTICLES section.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Cultural Mix

As I was showing my painting 'Against The Light' to a group of visitors the other week, I reflected on how many cultural references had influenced the work.
As is my habit when doing a tour, I usually also show this evidence alongside the picture. On this occasion we looked at the work of Daumier (the title of my painting is one of his phrases), Javanese shadow puppets and a 1950s comic. A mash-up of cultural references if every there was one.
You can see the painting on the MEDIA page on my website.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

In The Beginning

Thirty-four years ago  I opened our house to the public to show some of my family paintings during July.  A year later Open Studios was officially launched and I went on to exhibit with them.
I always enjoyed talking about  my work and this gave me the idea for
 Ted Coney's Family Portraits and the tours I subsequently started.
 Last week a chap came to interview me, as he is writing a book on the history of open studios in Cambridgeshire.
I told him how I tried to get the organisers of the Cambridge Festival to publicise our studios in their booklet, but they turned us down.
I got my sweet revenge when, at the end of the season a review of my work was placed within all the festival events in the local paper.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Football's Coming

Mindful that France had just won the World Cup two days before, I was slightly wary when my first group of french teenagers arrived for a tour carrying a football.
As I always do, I asked them to leave all their belongings in the garden, so as not to knock anything over in the house. I had, only that morning,  broken the glass on a small photograph of Barnaby, while setting up an display for their visit.
I must say, the students were very well behaved and listened intently to what I had to say. It's always a challenge moving seven rather tall young people around the cottage but they did it with good humour on an extremely hot day
Maybe the iced water I gave them on their arrival, helped.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

French For Advent

For the third year running, I've got three groups of French students taking a tour  at
 my pop-up gallery, next week.
I need to keep the explanation of the chosen paintings fairly simple as although they all speak English, some  are quite young.
I want to show  my painting 'Limners' which I hope they will find intriguing. As the inspiration for the painting is an advent calendar I have been trying to get hold of one before they come. As I discovered, July is not the best time to try and buy one though my daughter is also looking to see if she has an old calendar in the loft.
The fact that my painting has 37 pictures may add to the confusion.
You can see the work on page two of the PRINTS FOR SALE page on my website

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Worst Seat In The House

I  already had an indication from Chloe at the Old Fire Engine House Gallery that my painting
'Forget-Me -Nots' was proving difficult to hang.
'Had I anything a bit smaller or lighter?' She asked.
When I attended the Private View a few weeks ago I knew why.
Admittedly, they had over a hundred pictures to display, but mine was certainly in the worst place. It was down a back corridor which was narrow and too difficult to stand back from. It was the one place that had an old beam and my painting was hanging from a nail.
They were full of apologises but I didn't really mind. It was lovely to take part and the picture isn't for sale, anyway.
The exhibition is on for a few more days and then my painting will come back to Waterside. To get a better view of it, look at the bottom of the DISABLED VISITORS page on my website.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

From Life

We've been to Jersey in the Channel Islands for a short break - having just given up teaching Art after 52 years.
While on holiday I did do a few little sketches of things I had seen which interested me. Sometimes its good not to have definite project but  to draw what one sees. It certainly made me look at the landscape more closely.
I worked in pencil, watercolour and ball point pen on several pieces - a good memory of a nice visit.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


One of the objects in my pop-up gallery which I show when talking about my painting
 'The Puppets Dream' is a  Pollacks Theatre I bought about fifty years ago. It is a copy of a toy I had as a child and they were originally made in Victorian times.
In my rush to move it to a place of safety when we were having the doors repainted, I dropped the thing and it smashed into many pieces.
I have just finished gluing it all back together again - I shall have to be more careful next time.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Not So Famous

David - a Chinese student in my tutor  group was telling me what  happened in his public examination in English.
While he had done well in Listening, Writing and Reading, he had not been so successful in Speaking.
When asked why, he recounted how he been given the topic of a famous person to talk about.
'And who did you pick?' I asked. 'You' he replied.
He told them I had been on TV and radio and had work in exhibitions and was a successful artist.
Obviously they were not impressed.

Friday, 1 June 2018

A Brushless Painting

You can now see the new film made by Bob Banks on the MEDIA page of my website.
Among other things, I talk about the preparations for my current painting ' Hinaki ' and how I work on test canvases first. I have now started the final piece and am painting the first layer, based on  the structure and patterns of a Maori meeting house.
So far, I have applied oil paint using cloth, sponge and cotton buds, but will get to painting with brushes eventually.
I am photographing the different stages as the picture progresses, so will get Daniel to post them on the NEWS AND REVIEWS page soon.

Friday, 25 May 2018


I watched the Royal Wedding on T.V. with rapt attention last week, having followed some of the antics of the Markle family in the newspapers.
I always say on my tours  that all families are the same, even though the starting point for my paintings has been my family history.
In the painting of our wedding, 'Lavender and Dead Bilberries' I show Hazel's two aunts who turned up at the church even though they were not invited. (a long running family feud)
And Kippers? I always have a pair on the morning of a state occasion, when watching it unfold on the television. Another family tradition.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Not Forgotten

One of the nice things about doing the exhibition at the Babylon Gallery is that it has lead to taking part in another show.
Ann Jarman, the owner of the Old Fire Engine House Gallery saw my work and invited me to put something in her exhibition in a few weeks time, to celebrate fifty years of the gallery.
There are hundred artists taking part so I can only display one picture.
I have decided to put in 'Forget-Me-Nots', mainly because it was the lightest to carry and I hadn't yet found a place to hang it.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Full of Surprises

Ted Coney's Family Portraits kicked off the new season  with a different sort a tour .
I was approached by Ely Gin Company to be part of their  'away day' and subsequently we had a visit from twelve staff.
I gave the usual introduction, looking at one painting  but then they wanted something a bit different.
Each member of staff had collected one object to do with afternoon tea and their task was to draw it somewhere in the house.
Hazel and I acted as art tutors and at the end we had to judge who had made the best drawing. The lucky winner received a giant teacup!
After visiting us, the group were going out for afternoon tea where a new gin would be launched  called appropriately 'Afternoon Tea'
However, I had one more surprise of my own before they left.
I showed them my painting 'Tea For 222' in which I demonstrated that if they looked hard enough, afternoon tea could be full of surprises. The painting shows two aunts symbolised in old age by an image of afternoon tea. A closer look revealed what exciting lives they had lead during the second world war.
You can see the picture when you next visit.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Be Prepared

The spotlights in the garage have been fixed so that they make the Morris Minor gleam when I open the doors.
The garden table has been mended so visitors can lean on it when they sign the visitors book at the end.
Most importantly, the lights on the puppet theatre have been made safe as apparently they could have burst into flames at any moment! When visitors enter this part of the gallery, I always put the main light off first, so that they walk into a darkened room with only the dolls house and puppet theatre lit up.
While a fire might have made it even more exciting, I don't think it would have been very conducive to looking at paintings.
Now everything is ready, so let the 10th season of Ted Coney's Family Portraits  begin.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Inside Out

I've been on Radio Cambridge recently, talking about my  exhibition with Francis Jeans at the Babylon Gallery.
The interviewer joked that I'd had it easy compared to Francis, who paints outside in all weathers.
I swiftly reminded him, that although I always do the finished painting in the comfort of my studio, I often do my research in the great outdoors.
I sited the example of when I cycled 800 miles to Scotland on my (1940) bicycle to collect 60 items for my painting 'Diamond Sutra'.
You can hear the radio programme on the MEDIA page on my website and see the painting when you next visit Ted Coney's Family Portraits (reopening this Sunday).

Friday, 20 April 2018


I was relieved that nearly all my preliminary canvases I displayed  at our recent exhibition at the Babylon Gallery  had sold. I also sold all four prints.
My studio is so small that once I have no more use for the canvases, it is good to get rid of them, to make room for the next lot.
You can see the four still available, (all at modest prices!) if you click onto the
 NEWS AND REVIEWS page on my website.
Or you can see them for real when I reopen Ted Coney's Family Portraits from 29th April.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

TED Talk

My  chats about the paintings in the Babylon  Gallery during our recent 'Art Opposites' exhibition, were billed as TED Talks.
On each of the three weeks I did them, I managed to gather about ten people to talk to.
On the last day an ex student of mine from twenty years ago turned up with his mother. They had come on the bus from Cambridge in the pouring rain, which was jolly nice of them.
He insisted on buying all eight tour guides (I did give him a discount) and got me to sign one of them.
His mum really liked my painting 'Against The Light' (which you can view on my MEDIA page) and was intrigued by the way I had made the coloured shadow puppets first.
They promised to return when Ted Coney's Family Portraits reopens at the end of the month.
I will probably give them my 'Puppets and Dolls' tour.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

A Double Life

My old bicycle has been leading a double life, recently.
On weekdays its been taking me to school as usual, but on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays it has lead a more interesting life. It is one of the objects being displayed in the Babylon Gallery as part of our 'Art Opposites' exhibition.
I had previously used the bike as a model for my painting 'Bicycle Thieves', which it now resides beside in the display.
Some elderly ladies got a shock when I returned the bike the other day, while they were looking at the paintings.
A photograph of the bike in all it's glory can be seen on my Facebook page and if you want to see the real thing - the show finishes on Sunday at 4pm.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Colour Theory

I am currently working on my new painting 'Hinaki' in my pop-up studio at the Babylon Gallery.
As usual, I am testing out my ideas on a series of small canvases.
Some visitors seemed interested and one little girl asked me why there were no bright colours in the picture. I tried to explain that I had used earth red and a blue/black to represent the mother and father gods in a myth I had heard about. The white stripes symbolised the son god who was trying to escape.
She looked disappointed enough, so I didn't elaborate further that the patterns represented the tears of the albatross when their chicks had flown away.
For more information on the exhibition 'Art Opposites' see the NEWS AND REVIEWS page on my website.

Friday, 23 March 2018

It's Alright

It was a cold, snowy night but luckily we still managed to attract over 100 visitors to the PV of our exhibition 'Art Opposites' the other evening at the Babylon Gallery.
I even managed to sell most of my preliminary canvases and a couple of prints.
My grandson (who is ten) penned 'It's alright' in the visitors book but my granddaughter wrote 'fabulous' and did a cartwheel across the floor, once the crowds had thinned.
 She even did a lovely drawing in my sketchbook (I have a pop-up studio in the gallery) which could of been of me or her?
She's six and my greatest fan.

Friday, 16 March 2018

On Parade

It's a bit disconcerting to all one's work being paraded through the streets of Ely but that's what happened to mine, earlier in the week.
Volunteers from the Babylon Gallery had come to collect some of my paintings to start to put up our show 'Art Opposites' which starts later TODAY.
They managed to get them there safely and have spent the rest of the week putting them up. Everyone kept complaining about how heavy the paintings were but I guess that's what happens when you have them framed under glass or Perspex.
Yesterday I staggered along with the wedding cake to place beside my painting 'Bicycle Thieves' and this morning I need to take in all the other objects which I have used in the paintings  on display.
 Lets hope it stops raining. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Homage To Me

'Homage To Ted' was the title of an Email my nephew, Magnus sent out to the family, recently.
It turned out he had been doing a lesson in English with his foreign students and they were looking for words to describe an artist.
Naturally, his thoughts turned to me. Words such as 'eccentric', 'reclusive' and 'absent-minded' were illustrated.
 To describe eccentric, Magnus recounted how I used my 1931 Morris Minor to go shopping in Tescos (though in reality I am more likely to go on my 1940 bicycle) and as a 'reclusive', painting  in my tiny studio. This maybe true but I am always popping out for a coffee and a chat.
After much banter from the family, Yve asked if it could be brought to a halt, as all this talk was bad for my ego.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Snow Angels

With all this snow around I suggested to my students that they might like to make snow angels - though I don't think the Chinese students had ever heard of them!
I was reminded of children making angel shapes in the snow (flapping your arms and legs up and down - if you have never done it) in Spain when we went to my nephew's christening and he didn't turn up because the weather was so bad. The negative shape the snow makes once one has climbed out of it seemed a perfect metaphor for an absent child.
This image was the start of a painting I made several years ago entitled 'Snow Angels and No Angels' which you can see  on the HOME page of my website. There are five snow angels, five corn dollies and five sand mermaids in the sequence.
If you want to see them separately  go to the PRINTS FOR SALE page.

Friday, 23 February 2018


'Hinaki' means eel trap in Marae and I have decided to use the word as the title of my new painting about our son, Leo who is currently living in New Zealand .
An eel trap was one of the first objects I found myself drawing in a museum when we visited, four years ago.
Having made the connection with Ely (which also has eels) I  became interested in the meeting houses, where the structure of the building  represents the  bones of the Marae people.
I have made some drawings of our old beams,( laid on the floor looking up at the ceiling) to represent the UK and am currently making a large sketch of the inside of a meeting house, showing some of it's symbolic patterns. One represents the tears of the Albatross parents, after their children have flown  away.

Friday, 16 February 2018

The Wrong Stretchers

I've just taken my latest painting 'Forget-Me-Nots'  to be framed in readiness for the exhibition at the Babylon Gallery in March (see NEWS AND REVIEWS page on my website) and Jonathan was appalled by my choice of stretchers.
As I wanted a linen canvas, I had chosen a frame with thicker stretchers, which apparently makes it much harder to frame.
After much discussion I am going to have the canvas restretched before it is framed.
The good thing about this is I can have two inches lopped off the top of the picture as the background was always too big
 You can now see the finished painting on the DISABLED VISITORS page. 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Scratching At The Surface

I invested in a set of wire brushes just after Christmas to experiment with rubbing down the surface of bits of my painting, 'Forget - Me - Nots'.
I wanted to give the impression of some of the images fading away to represent loss of memory.
Luckily I tried the brushes on a preliminary canvas first, as I nearly overdid it!
The painting is now finished and you should be able to see the end result when it moves to the DISABLED VISITORS page in the next few days

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Art Opposites

'Art Opposites - Different Approaches to Oil Painting' is the title we have finally decided on. Francis Jeans and I are doing a joint exhibition of our work at the Babylon Gallery, Ely starting 16th March.
You can read all about it on my NEWS AND REVIEWS page on the website. It is the second story down in the REVIEWS AND ARTICLES section.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Postcard From The Past

While working in Hertfordshire about forty years ago I came across a postcard of the home of a great, great uncle of mine. The name of the house was Garston Manor and it looked rather grand. We knew my relation had known George V and mixed in royal circles. We also knew that after his death, most of his money had been frittered away by various nephews and the house was sold and later demolished.
I lost sight of the postcard - until recently, when it was found at the back of an old photo album.
 I've now had it framed and plan to use the image in a painting I hope to do in the future.
 A painting with a moral, obviously.

Friday, 19 January 2018

The Miniaturist

When my grandchildren were here over the holidays, they asked if I would open up the dolls house so they could inspect it more closely. My grandson was particularly keen to move the drum kit around as he explained, it was incorrectly positioned. As he is a brilliant drummer of nine years old, I was happy to let him take over.
The dolls house is on display at Ted Coney's Family Portraits because it has been used several times in my family paintings.
The last time was in 'The Rashamon Effect' which you can see on the CONTACT US page of my website.
You can learn more about the painting if you take the VIRTUAL TOUR .

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Tracking Him Down

Max managed to track down a small ceramic figurine I wanted, of Mr Toad  on E-Bay.
For a future painting, I want to use Toad as a symbol of greed and selfishness to mirror what happened to my family over many years.
To have a three dimensional image of him will help , as he will appear more than once in the picture.
The fact that he is dressed in Edwardian motoring clothes and his image is based on a drawing by E.H. Shephard is also a bonus.
Shephard is reputed to have used Ely courthouse as his inspiration for the scene of Toad's downfall,  another image I hope to capture in the painting.
I also plan to get my 1931 Morris Minor in there somewhere!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Another Door Opening

Just before Christmas I was asked by an old friend of mine, to open an art exhibition at Michaelhouse in Cambridge. It was a display of his students work produced at an evening class at the sixth form college, where I used to work for many years.
Who could resist the invitation when the poster read 'opened by Ted Coney, Head of Art, Emeritus'?!
Ofcourse I took some flyers to advertise my pop-up gallery and used my (very short) speech to make the point that we were all students of Art and never stopped learning. I explained that I was about to embark on some experiments with wire brushes (more on that in another blog) on my latest painting, 'Forget-Me-Nots'
Immediately after my talk I was asked about this by one of the audience. Next day I received a booking from her. for one of my  tours,  so I must have said something right.