Thursday, 13 August 2020

Zoom Quiz

 We've just done another family quiz on Zoom with each family unit allowed to ask three questions.

As I was keen for all my family to try my Virtual Tour  (with all proceeds going to NHS Charities Together appeal - see www.tedconeysfamilyportraits for details) I gave notice beforehand that my questions could be found when they watched the tour.

My three questions were:

1) One painting is called 'In Three Our Kingdom'. Which famous play does this quote come from?

2) In the painting 'The Rashomon Effect' what was the name of the object belonging to my grandmother?

3) In the painting 'Dear Reginald Owen'  what was his profession?

Please don't send me the answers but hope you enjoy the film

Friday, 7 August 2020

With Amber Eyes

 I've been reading Edmund De Waal's ' The Hair With Amber Eyes' during Lockdown and was struck by how he used an heirloom to write about his family/and world history  over a hundred year period. The netsuke collection - tiny Japanese figurines, were passed from generation to generation, often, in very difficult circumstances.

One of our family heirlooms, a collection of material from 1930s Hollywood isn't nearly so impressive but it does make for an interesting story which I try to show in my painting 'Dear Reginald Owen'.

You can see and hear about it on my Virtual Tour of four  paintings, which is available from my website - www.tedconeysfamilyportraits.co.uk    . http://tinyurl.com/yjasdnu     It costs 99p via Paypal and   all the proceeds will go to NHS Charities Together appeal at the end of the year.


Friday, 31 July 2020

Over To Babylon

The Babylon Gallery is opening on 1st August (thank goodness!) with an open show of artists work. I submitted two of my preliminary studies for my painting 'Who Stole The Toothpaste?' and they were accepted. I don't sell the final pieces and it is away getting framed, anyway.
My preliminary canvases are relatively cheap and I've sold quite a few over the years - one of my fans has a whole room of them!
You can see the final painting on my website - in the NEWS AND REVIEWS section but you 'll need to visit the Babylon to see the studies which are for sale.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Same Difference

I've started work on my new canvas 'Eggheads', after experimenting on smaller, preliminary studies for several months.
After laying on a grey background, I've started painting the clown's faces to show myself,  two brothers and our children and grandchildren.
Using three distinct types of clown -  Whiteface,  Character and  Auguste to represent us,  I've painted each generation the same, to denote the different families.
At the moment,  the faces are all in monochrome but will paint over the top in transparent colour later, so that every member of the family looks slightly different.
Sounds complicated? Trying to get all the faces in each strand of the family to look the same was difficult. Wait until I start the next stage
p.s. You'll be able to see the painting's progress when my improved website comes on stream later in the summer.

Friday, 17 July 2020

A Great Fan

Hurrah! Our wonderful, local art shop has reopened at last. I bought a cloth bound sketchbook ( in preparation for my next painting), and some double nought brushes.
I also purchased a large fan shaped brush to use on my latest picture - 'Eggheads' (more on its progress next week). After experimenting, I intend to lightly 'feather' over the grey background with white oil paint to make the surface more alive. That's the plan, anyway.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Virtually Open

Last weekend would have been the beginning of Cambridge Open Studios of which I was planning to take part .
 I was going to open the downstairs part of the house, including my new garden gallery.
Instead, we had a lovely weekend with children and grandchildren and the gallery was used as a playroom for building Lego and Duplo creations.
Since the new gallery was finished in March there has only been one occasion to show off paintings (during a pre lockdown party) but it has proved very flexible in other ways.
I have used it as a drawing studio for  experimenting with mirrors for my latest work 'Eggheads', an  extra food store and a place for protecting plants against the frost.
As for viewing  pictures, my Virtual Tour will have to suffice for the moment.

Friday, 3 July 2020

The Tank Engine Man

The Reverend W. Audry was known as the 'Tank Engine Man' through his books about railways for children. I've been re -reading his biography  and have been reminded about a painting I did several years ago using Thomas and some of the other characters from the series.
In 1993 I did a painting entitled 'Young Lives' about the ten Coney cousins of our children's generation. In preparation, I instructed them to collect all the ephemera of their lives in a large envelope which was then used to represent them.
The picture comprises of ten DNA structures  used rather like railway lines, with Thomas and his friends moving the material up and down the line.
Audry's characters each have one personality trait, so I have used several for each cousin to try and symbolise their multi faceted personalities.
You can see the painting (its  long and thin) in the photography section of my Facebook page and it's amongst the images showing my retrospective  at the Babylon Gallery.
My three year old grandson is coming this weekend and he has been promised a  play with my collection of Thomas and the other models.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Postcards In Isolation

Our local art gallery has been closed during the pandemic but very active in organising projects for its followers to enjoy.
One of them 'Postcards:Together In Isolation' aroused my interest and I decided to have a go.
We have been taking daily walks, mostly along the riverbank  and I decided to collect flowers and press them. I had a vague notion that I might use the shapes to represent different members of the family in some future painting.
For now I have produced two postcards of drawings using the flowers in black and white for the gallery project. The first one was simply  flower heads all linking together with a bit of spidery writing around the edge. The second drawing is more sparse. It's made up of a series of mechanical dots, regularly spaced out. The last ones, gradually forming into a flower. We have seen alot of diagrams and charts during this emergency. Maybe my drawing is trying to offer a bit of hope?
You can see them, along with many others, if you google Babylon Arts, Ely. Both mine are labelled 'Untitled'

Friday, 19 June 2020

Zooms And Drones

Before lockdown I had only a vague notion what Zoom and Drones were.
We have had several family zoom sessions since then and I have also attended some zoom meetings.
I had an idea that I would do a painting based on a 'Cabinet of Curiosities' in the future with the family being represented by objects of some sort. I still like this idea but see the composition also making reference to a zoom format with nine rectangles to divide up the cabinet shape. Time will tell.
And Drones? My neighbour now has one and I arranged for him to deliver some sweets for my grandchildren who were sitting in the garden and visiting for the first time since Christmas.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Going Virtual

Offering  my Virtual Tour (99p per view) to the NHS Charities Together appeal is beginning to gather apace.
I was on Radio Cambridge to launch it and again on Cambridge 105 radio  last night to encourage listeners to take part.
Photographs and stories of me with my 1931 Morris Minor have also been in two local papers and on several digital platforms.
I reached over 2,000 people on my Facebook page and you can still see the screen shot of me flying back in time to 1930s Hollywood in the Morris if you click on the photography section.  This part of the film explores my painting 'Dear Reginald Owen' and how I came to discover a stash of historical material from that era.

Friday, 5 June 2020

Safety First

When I first set up Ted Coney's Family Portraits over ten years ago, I was visited by a health and safety officer from the Council before I was allowed to open to the public .
One of his recommendations was that we  fitted wireless smoke alarms  on both floors of the house and I was happy to do this as it made us feel alot safer.
I was reminded of this the other week when I realised the alarms were out of date and the rechargeable batteries had stopped charging. We have new ones fitted now and  have promised myself to test them every week.
I was always greatful for the H.and S. Officers' other advice. He could have insisted that I had emergency lighting fitted on a rather gloomy landing. When I explained that I never left my visitors to wander around on their own, he recommended that I keep a large torch near at hand.
I always check the battery before each tour.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Supporting Tourism

I've just had two letters printed in the newspaper this week, both bemoaning the lack of support from the Council for local tourism.
When I set  up Ted Coney's Family Portraits eleven years ago, the City had a vibrant arts community which I could connect to.
It still has, but I sometimes feel the City and District Councils could do more to help.
One of my letters was about the proposed cancellation of the Christmas Lights Switch-On in view of the pandemic. My suggestion was to put the lights up anyway, without a grand opening, as this would cheer everyone up.
My other letter was about a planning application for an out of town shopping centre close by,which they approved.
 In the coming months we will need to get visitors into Ely - not drive them away!

Friday, 22 May 2020

Last Soap Standing

When the pandemic began there was a big rush to buy soaps, hand gels and cleaning materials. Thankfully things have calmed down a bit,but at the time I felt the need to lock my newly acquired Christmas present in a  cabinet for safe keeping.
My brother had bought me a bar of soap in the shape of the  character 'Mr Turnip'. It had cost him a £1 (he told me gleefully) and dated back to the 1950s when I watched the puppet as a child on television.
I am always keen to add to my collection of objects that have inspired me in my painting and you can see two examples on my PRINTS FOR SALE page.
'The Enigma of the Chinese Mask' and 'Diamonds' both use my childhood memories of Mr Turnip to say things about family life.
I have promised my wife that if our backs are against the wall then we'll have to use the soap.

Friday, 15 May 2020

A Toady Green

Johnathan rang to say that he had finished making the circular frame for my painting,
'Who Stole The Toothpaste?' (you can still see the painting on my NEWS AND REVIEWS page).
Normally, I would then go to his workshop to discuss the colour of the frame but ofcourse things are different at the moment.
I do have great faith in Johnathan's judgement as he has been making frames for my pictures for nearly forty years. So I said 'make it a toady green' and then followed it up with 'maybe a toady greenish grey'.
He promised to deliver the painting at some point but said I won't be able to open the package for the 36 hours.
I can't wait.

Friday, 8 May 2020

More Than The Repair

Have you seen the T.V. programme, 'The Repair Shop'? I avoided it for a while as I imagined that it would be like watching paint dry!
However, during lockdown I was tempted and now am thoroughly hooked. Yes, you do see a bit of  repairing but the most interesting thing for me is the stories behind the objects and the emotions they evoke in their owners.
That is why I use objects to tell  family stories in my paintings and sometimes use them almost as symbols for things I want to show.
An example of this was using the puppet Muffin the Mule to represent my brother in my painting
 'David's Journey' but also see him as an icon of the 1940s.
You can see the painting on the PRINTS FOR SALE page on my website.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Eggheads

I've been  making experiments for my next painting using clown faces and called 'Eggheads'.
The title comes from the fact that all new clowns have their make-up verified by being painted on a ceramic egg.
I'm using the faces to represent different brothers in the family and  gradually splitting the images  up to show the changes from one generation to another.
Recently I've been making drawings from a photograph of a face laid under a right angled mirror with the effect rather like a kaleidoscope. After each drawing I put that under the mirrors so the next one becomes more complex. I have also  started to paint them on small  canvases to try and work out the colour scheme. I quite like the idea of painting the faces over a dark background as this gives the images more depth.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Families Apart- Together

I've been making paintings about  families for over 50 years, so  obviously they are very important to me.
While the present situation  of self isolation is hard I've been struck by how modern technology is helping us all get through it.
We've had several Zoom meetings with our immediate family - children, their partners and grandchildren, which has been lovely.
We have also had two with all strands of the Coney family together. That's 11 families and 29 people! From Seattle to Skipton, Sydney to Spain,  all talking at once and waiving to each other.
I can't help thinking that when this pandemic is  over, there is an idea for a painting in there somewhere. 

Friday, 17 April 2020

Keep Going and Carry On

I had planned to open my pop-up gallery this Sunday for the first of the new season 's tours but because of the pandemic, this is obviously postponed for a while.
Still, you can always try my VIRTUAL TOUR (see my website) and if you do, I'll donate the fee to our wonderful NHS.
In the meantime, I'll carry on painting - but more on that next week.

Friday, 10 April 2020

On With The Show

During lockdown I've been doing puppet shows for my grandson on Zoom. I performed
 'Sooty's Magic Show' and 'Muffin's New Friend' which I think he enjoyed (well, they didn't switch it off).
The puppets form part of my collection of objects I've used in some of my paintings - which you can see  on the PRINTS FOR SALE page on the website.
Muffin the Mule appears in 'David's Journey' and Sooty in 'Offrenda', both representing different members of the family.
My puppetry skills aren't great but these are challenging times.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Serves Me Right

It was my birthday last week and a friend sent me one of my own cards -the gift card showing my 1931 Morris Minor (you can see the drawing on the PRINTS FOR SALE page).
Her excuse was, because we are all confined to our houses, it was the only card she had, having bought a few from my Artist in Residence event last summer.
At least I didn't feel too guilty displaying it with the   other  (six) on the mantelpiece.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Garden Party

Last Friday we gave a 'Lockdown 'party in the garden for our immediate neighbours. Everyone brought their own glasses and we all kept well apart. It was also an excuse to show off my new garden gallery (only one person at a time as it's not big) before it is requisitioned for more practical purposes like storing essentials etc.  My latest paintings and related objects were on view.
We all drank each others health and it felt like the night before the war.

Friday, 20 March 2020

In Lock Down

What a difference a week makes! Not only is Open Studios postponed for a year but I will have to delay the opening of Ted Coney's Family Portraits until life becomes more normal again.
Just to get  our priorities right, Hazel and I rushed out to buy more canvases to keep us painting during the long haul.  I know I should have been buying toilet rolls - as I do use rather alot of them in my painting for blotting, rubbing and cleaning.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Full Circle

Twenty six years ago was the last time I took part in the Cambridge Open Studio scheme, having tried it first ten years earlier when artists just opened their homes on a random basis.
I have decided, as well as doing the tours,to open part of our home again this year during July . This is because I have  a regular supply of preliminary studies available (which sell better when visitors see the finished paintings as well) but also with our new garden gallery open, there is more to explore downstairs, besides the studio.
My Open Studio page is up and running on their website. Just type in 'Cambridge Open Studios' and write in my name.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Opening Soon - Hopefully

As you can see from my NEWS page, Ted Coney's Family Portraits reopens for a new season on Sunday 19th April. You can book a tour from 1st April and I just hope the spread of Coronavirus doesn't stop the event going ahead.
Ever the optimist, plans for getting the displays ready continue. Last Saturday we put up the new display cabinet in the garden gallery and I've already started arranging the objects in there.
It felt good to get out the knitted boats made by Julia and put them near the painting they appear in,
'If The Boats Come In'

Friday, 28 February 2020

Makes Sense

I'e recently been to see an interesting exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Entitled
'Feast and Fast', it discusses the art of food in Europe from 1500 - 1800.
I'd already got a vague notion about a painting I want to do in the future based on a cabinet of curiosities using  objects chosen by members of my family to represent them. The Fiztwilliam show gave me an idea to develop this further.
I came across a piece of work which used the five senses - sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
The idea of linking each object to one of the senses could help to define them  and give  more meaning.

Friday, 21 February 2020

Send In The Clowns

I've been experimenting with  ideas for my next painting about brothers,
using the three types of clown faces - Auguste, Whiteface and Character to represent us.
 Continuing the images into the next two generations I intend to gradually divide the faces up to suggest how the genes continue, but in different ways.
I photocopied the three different clowns several times, cutting  up and rearranging them  in formal and informal ways.
My next experiment will be to draw the faces in angled mirrors. I hope to acquire some masks   as having 3D images should make it more interesting.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Wheels On My Wagon

My 1931 Morris Minor is just back from having it's M.O.T. (it passed!) It also had a new coil and plugs replaced. While in the garage the Morris's spoke wheels were sandblasted and painted and the tyres replaced.
The car is an important part of my collection and a great favourite when shown on the
Ted Coneys Family Portraits tours and is now ready for the reopening in April.
 It appears in many of the paintings including my latest one 'Who Stole The Toothpaste?' which you can see on the NEWS AND REVIEWS page.
There are lots of pictures of the car in the photographic section of my Facebook page.

Friday, 7 February 2020

In Touch With Angels

I've started my new work 'The Wasp and the Ring' and over the last two weeks have been painting angels. They are very small and  you should only realise their presence when you get up close.
I am well aware that they could look rather naff but hopefully I can pull off my idea successfully. From a distance you think it's a constellation in the sky.
You can see the results in a few weeks time, when I've got a bit further.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Shades Of Grey

If you  looked at my website recently,j you will have noticed that the picture at the top right of each page has changed.
 Quite a while ago we had our house painted a light grey to bring together the 1750 building and the modern extension. With all the building work going on behind us it was impossible to capture a decent photograph at the right angle to show our house in front of Ely Cathedral.Once the new houses had been finished I managed to gain access and take the prefect image.
It's already out of date though, as since I took the photo, our fence has also been painted grey.

Friday, 24 January 2020

The New Hang

It started with Richard's aeroplane. It was important to get this in the correct position in my new garden gallery and then place  'Airlines' (the painting in which this object had been used),beside it.
Part of the converted garage has a higher ceiling, so this was an obvious place for the plane, giving it room to swing gently  when the air catches it.
Having decided on the top line, we then proceeded to hang the rest of the paintings in the space, allowing for a new display cabinet which should be arriving shortly. This will house objects and ephemera  which inspired the paintings.
Can't wait to set up the 1940 wedding cake again!

Friday, 17 January 2020

In With The New

My painting 'Who Stole The Toothpaste?' is finished and you can see the final version in my
 NEWS AND REVIEWS page on the website.
I filed away all the related material in my studio (including the Edwardian toothpaste pot) and set out all the new stuff to begin painting 'The Wasp and The Ring'. I like to have all the related ephemera, drawings and preliminary studies around me when I work. I've now completed nine small canvases so I feel reasonably confident in starting the final painting.
Or, as I used to say to hesitant students,  'If you don't start now, you never will!'

Friday, 10 January 2020

Share Your Bath

'Share your bath with Mr. Turnip - it'll be fun!'. That's what the advert said, but it was 1950.
My brother gave me a bar of soap this Christmas in the shape of Mr. Turnip, who was a puppet on T.V, during my childhood and I was totally fascinated by.
Although not a collector for it's own sake, I have always been keen to show archive material which has a direct bearing on my painting. I was delighted to receive this present which had survived in it's original box, even though his face was partly missing.
I used Mr. Turnip in two paintings - 'Diamonds' and 'The Enigma of the Chinese Mask', both can be seen on my PRINTS FOR SALE pages.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

New Circles

 One of my favourite/most useful Christmas present this year was a small table for my new garden gallery. I had asked my children if they wanted to club together to buy me a circular glass topped one and they did exactly that. It's quite small and will fit in beautifully.
I can use it to display related art books or ephemera on when I reopen the tours in the spring.
Happy New Year!