Monday, 28 December 2009

My After Christmas Mission

Today, I have spent my time trying to finish 'Snow Angels and No Angels'. It comprises of 15 canvases and I have been working on about 5 of them recently. I keep looking at each one and seeing little bits of painting to do. One minute I think they are all finished, the next, I am not so sure. I will keep them on the easle for the next week or so and see if anything strikes me, that still needs doing. In our house in Great Shelford, my easle was in the living room, so I would pass my paintings many times a day. If anything needed changing, I would see it, in a more natural way. Here, I have a little studio (which is great), but my looking is more forced ,as I have to go out into the cold to get there.

Friday, 18 December 2009

A Christmas Blog

It's thick snow outside and I am really enjoying opening my painting ' Limners' for the first time over the Christmas season, since coming to Ely three years ago. The painting is set out like an advent calendar with tiny double doors to cover each image. Only, there is 37 paintings! the 24 days of Advent, the day itself, and the 12 days of Christmas. I made the painting about 20 years ago, so I am reminded of the things we used to do each time I open a door. Today, it was a painting of a punchbowl (where did that get to?) and glasses, to represent the carol party we used to organise for many years. The children all used to bring musical instruments to play off tune carols while the adults would sing and drink mulled wine. Happy days!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Finishing Off 2

Yesterday, I did my last two tours for Ted Coney's Family Portraits before the winter break. Both were fully booked which made a nice end to the year. I shall reopen in April 2010 but I am already planning and organising improvements. I will use this blog and twitter (when I get the hang of it) to inform you of my progress. I shall also be finishing off my current painting over the holiday, so I can get the new one underway.
However, it will be nice to read the papers on a sunday morning for a few weeks rather than have to rush around getting the house ready for visitors Ted

Friday, 11 December 2009

Finishing off

Eleven years ago I produced a painting entitled ' Offrenda' using some of the ideas behind the Mexican way of celebrating death and remembering loved ones. This was because I thought my mother Peggy, who was 81 at the time, was going to die and I wanted to prepare for it. At the time I told her (when she recovered!) that it was picture about her eightieth birthday and she happily accepted this. Peggy is now 91 and this time I think she really is, gently fading away. It seems appropriate therefore, that I have just started the last of my ' Snow Angels and No Angels' pictures and this one is dedicated to her. It will include Peggy's favourite flower, the humble daisey but also records the triumphant arrival of the body of Queen Eleanor of Castille to Westminster Abbey in 1290 (the canvases, as well as celebrating 15 female members of the family also records the journey I made to follow the Eleanor crosses from Harby to London)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Ely and Hollywood

I woke up at 5am the other morning with an idea for a painting! It was probably after watching the film 'Julie and Julia', where two stories from different periods are happening simultaneously, but the common link was french cooking. Anyway, my idea was about looking for a house to buy in Ely (exactly three years ago) while discovering an estate agents booklet for Hollywood from the 1930s and wondering how it had come into my posession?! I did have an uncle who went to try his luck in Hollywood at this time, so maybe that was the link. Anyway, I will keep thinking about it and see if any images appear that could make an interesting picture.

Monday, 30 November 2009

All of a Twitter (or is it Tweet?)

A funny week, gallerywise. Both my special tours, that I was to have done on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, were cancelled. The B&B group, who were to have a seminar on Tourism at the Maltings , was called off due to lack of numbers, but hope to come in February. The Hills Road group of office staff, who had requested the special viewing were just to busy in the end, but I guess it will happen sometime. However, I got a call at the weekend from a former student of 30 years ago who said he had noticed my picture in the paper as he was putting out the rubbish and could he book?! Today I learnt how to twitter (or is it make a tweet?) and within minutes had 19 followers!!But our biggest excitement was the news that Leo, our second son is home tomorrow, after being in Austrailia for 2 years.

Monday, 23 November 2009

It's All Over Now

Thank goodness the Auction is over and my little picture sold for £95!! The whole thing was more traumatic than realised and I had to remain backstage until it was all over. The truth is I have never thought about selling before, because it was all for Ted Coney's Family Portraits, so this was a new departure for me. The best bit of the evening was meeting the people who had bought the picture and being able to tell them what ' An Extra Snow Angel' was all about. They seemed genuinely moved when I told them the story of Fay, our stillborn daughter and it is good to know that the painting will be in good hands. However the experience has definately taken a year off my life, so I will not be trying to sell in the near future

Friday, 20 November 2009

In The Frame

Last week I finally paid off Johnathan of the Trumpington Gallery for all the frames he had made for me for my pictures. We also discussed what to do next, once Ted Coney's Family Portraits had closed for the winter. He is going to frame all the fifteen canvases that make up 'Snow Angels and No Angels' individually and then renovate one more piece. There are a few of the early pictures that Johnathan didn't do and certainly need to be brought up to a more professional standard. It will either be 'My Dolls House' (which was put together by my dear old Dad) or 'Pharohs and Mortals' which is basically OK but needs a good clean on the inside.
PS The Auction is on Sunday, I will let you know either way if my picture sells! Ted

Friday, 13 November 2009

A Sideways Look

Well, vanity certainly got the better of me. My picture was in the paper this morning and although I don't look to bad, I am holding the painting the wrong way up!! I was obviously thinking to much about how I would look. Also, in one of the papers (yes, I am in two) they got the dates wrong for when Ted Coney's Family Portraits would be closing. For the record, my last tour will be on December 13th and I hope to reopen at Easter 2010 Bye for now Ted

Monday, 9 November 2009

More Vulgar Publicity

A photographer from the Cambridge News arrived this morning, to take a photo of me with the painting I am putting up for Auction called ' An Extra Snow Angel'. I had hoped he would take the picture of me nonchalently leaning on my A-board (which has now been repaired) holding the said painting. Unfortunately, he preferred my other idea, of me being in my tiny studio with all the other fifteen canvases behind. This meant his lenses was only a few inches from my face. I dread the results. The story is partly to publisise the Auction, but also to let people know I am closing on the 13th December and won't be reopening until Easter 2010. The things one will do for free publicity. Ted

Saturday, 7 November 2009

A Real Family Portrait

Five minutes after saying goodbye to my last visitors to Ted Coney's Family Portraits last Sunday and noticing how calm and ordered everything looked, real life hurtled into view. Max, our youngest, arrived home from working as an extreme sports trainer in Devon and immediately covered the house with washing, sports equipment etc. etc. and laughter. The house has been to quiet and it was good to see him home, if only for a short time. Luckily he has shuffled all his stuff into the loft ready for next Sunday. Best Wishes Ted

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The Trouble with Wind

Disaster! I had put my A-board out as usual for Ted Coney's Family Portraits on Sunday morning and chained it to a handy post at the end of our track. I noticed it was a bit windy but hadn't realised how severe it had become. The next thing I knew, was a neighbour telling me that the board had blown over. How could it?' I replied, 'It's chained to a post'.
When I got there, I could see what had happened. The gails had renched the metal folding bar off the side and then the A-board had indeed blown over. Oh dear, does any one have a pot rivet gun?
On a happier note, my lovely nephew, George, who was staying with us, asked if he could join one of the tours. He is the first member of the family to do that and I think his comments and questions added to the experience for the other visitors. Bye for now Ted

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Memories of a Bright Morning

Back in 1998 when I was on a cycling trip in Suffolk, doing some research for my painting 'The Enigma of the Chinese Mask' I made a big drawing of a cornfield on a glorious summers day. I suddenly remembered about that sketch, when trying to decide what to do with the background of some of the canvases of my latest painting 'Snow Angels and No Angels'. I had been unhappy about just leaving the background of the corndolly pictures blue, when the snow angel and mermaid images (which I am also using) were more intergrated and had an overall colour scheme. So working from this earlier study seems the ideal solution.
By the way, I have thought of a good title for my next picture. It's 'Got Your Number' Ted

Monday, 19 October 2009

Better Dead Than -

Hi There! The magazine my nephew edits in Spain called Hot English arrived the other day. As I may have told you, he has written an article entitled 'House Museums' (you can see it as a link from the News and Reviews page of Ted Coneys' Family Portraits) which includes a write-up of my venture. I am placed alongside such famous people as Charles Dickens, Sir John Soane and Jane Austen, so if I get lots of Spanish people looking for the house, I will know which magazine they have been reading. Oh dear, do you think they will be disapointed to find I am still alive? Ted

Monday, 12 October 2009

Is This What Fame is Like?

Hi On Saturday I attended the Muffin the Mule Members Day. I had become involved with this interesting bunch of people when I started researching Muffin as an icon of the 1950's for a painting I was doing about my brother, David, 16 years ago. At the time I had travelled to Budleigh Solterton to meet Ann Hogarth and make drawings of all the origional Muffin puppets. I made 11 drawings in five and a half hours! Four of these had been made into postcards to celebrate ten years of the club's existance and to my surprise I was asked by individual members to sign all their cards! The other person signing cards was the puppeteer who manipulated Zippy in Rainbow (he was also working Muffin) so I felt important for a brief moment! Best Wishes Ted

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Pass - Me - Bye

YES! It actually happened. A couple came to Ted Coney's Family Portraits last Sunday purely because they saw my A board at the end of the track. They didn't know me,They didn't know of me, they didn't book, they just came. This is the first time that this has happened. I was slightly taken aback as I thought no one was coming and they wandered up at the last minute.
Anyway, once I got into my stride, I gave them the full works.
They staggered out 45 minutes later saying ' It's amazing ' Hope they meant it.
Best Wishes Ted

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Self Revelation

Hi There! Last week I had a lovely family who had been to Ted Coney's Family Portraits before, and this time requested my 'Puppets and Dolls' tour. I rehearsed it well, as I had not done this one before, particularly the introduction. I trotted out the reasons why I sometimes used puppets or dolls instead of people in my paintings about the family. Suddenly, out popped something I had not rehearsed or even thought about before I said it. I revealed that the only two dolls (two teddy bears, infact) I had as a child, 'disapeared' when I was five years old.
Having said that, there arn't any sad looking bears in my paintings - yet.
I'll keep you posted Ted

Monday, 28 September 2009

Havn't I seen you in the papers?

Hello There! I was standing by my bike on the train from Cambridge (with myTed Coney's Family Portraits poster displayed on my crossbar, remember) when the woman next to me suddenly said ' I know who you are, you were in the papers' I modestly nodded and gave her the lowdown on the gallery. She seemed interested, so maybe all the advertising is beginning to pay off. Mind you, she never came on Sunday, but these things take time. Have a nice week Ted

Thursday, 24 September 2009

An extra snow angel

The Art Auction has been booked for 22nd November to raise money for the Babylon Gallery. I have decided that my contribution will be to make a copy (well, as near a copy as you can get when painting snow!) of one of my snow angel pictures. The 15 paintings representing 15 female members of the family makes up the painting 'Snow Angels and No Angels'. The extra one will symbolise Fay, our second daughter, who was stillborn over 30 years ago. I started the painting last weekend and it will be interesting to see how near I can get it in appearence to the last one. Just a thought. Wouldn't it be awful if nobody put a bid in for it ? Ted

Friday, 18 September 2009

Almost a Sandwich Board?

In my efforts to advertise TED CONEYS FAMILY PORTRAITS I have come up with various cunning ideas to implant my 'keyhole' loggo into the minds of the people of Ely and Cambridge. In the back windows of my 1931 Morris Minor (which, ofcourse is an important exhibit, as it has been used in some of the paintings) I have placed my flyers so that when I drive very slowly down the High Street people may see them. I have also placed a poster on my 1940 bicycle so when I travel between Ely and Cambridge (most of the journey is by train so bike is often static) I get the odd quizical look. As the bike has been used for the journeys to inspire my paintings 'Diamond Sutra' and 'Snow Angels and No Angels' it seems an entirely appropriate to use it in this way. And anyway it might be more effective than the internet!

Monday, 14 September 2009

A Visitor from Japan

We had an interesting visitor to stay with us over the weekend. Roma is an artist who has been living in Japan for 20 years. Although I didn't give her a formal tour of Ted Coney's Family Portraits, we did get to talk about quite alot of my paintings over the course of the time she was with us. Yes, she was rather trapped here, but Roma did keep asking me about the work, so hopefully she wasn't just been polite. She did have to clear her room on Sunday morning (which is part of the tour!) for a genuine tour in the afternoon and then put it all back again for Sunday night. Luckily, I did have some visitors, otherwise I might have felt guilty about all the disruption

Monday, 7 September 2009

A good idea or what?

Caroline from ADEC spoke to me about organising an Arts Auction to raise money for the Babylon Gallery. My first reaction was, of course, that I never sell my work nor give it away.
Then I got to thinking what a good publicity story it would be if I did something and got the story in the local newspaper. I need to remind people I am closing for the winter from mid December and if they want to come to Ted Coney's Family Portraits they had better get here fast.
My current painting 'Snow Angels and No Angels' has 15 individual canvases, each one dedicated to a female member of the family. However, I have one spare canvas left with the imprint of the snow angel already there (I had images of my paintings of the snow angel, the corn dolly and the sand mermaid printed onto smaller canvases, 5 of each) I think I am going to redo a second version of the first painting for my still born daughter FAY, for the auction
Who knows, the advance publicity could also help it be sold for a higher price.
Best Wishes Ted

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

National fame or International fame?

I got a call from my sister-in - law, Julia, to say that her son had seen Ted Coney's Family Portraits being advertised under the 'Things to Do' section of the Weekend Guardian. How cool is that? The thing is, I have no idea how it got there, so a bit of a mystery.
My nephew, Andrew, who is editor of a magazine called Hot English contacted me last night about the article he is writing about people who have galleries/museums in their homes. Although the magazine is published in Spain it is syndicated all over Europe and aimed at people learning english. As well as featuring such famous people as Charles Dickens and Sir John Soane, he also wants to feature me! I will keep you posted. Ted

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Fame and Fish and Chips - AGAIN!

Hurrah! not only has my story about me painting (and doing research) in Peacocks Tearoom made the Ely News but it's also spread to Cambridge. Hopefully, peole there will read the story, know I am not dead and visit the gallery. Talking of being dead, I made a painting about about my mother Peggy when she was 81 and I thought she was going to die. It is called 'Offrenda' and I took some of my ideas from the mexican ' Day of the Dead ' traditions. When Peggy recovered, I tactfully said it was her 80th birthday painting. Two weeks ago, just before the family holiday in Sheringham, I thought she was dying again. However, when we returned, there was Peggy (now 91) looking much perkier and asking for fish and chips. Like the dutiful son that I am, I promtly shared some with her even though, after a sea-side holiday I'd had more greasy food than was good for me. Ted

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Buckets and Spades

Hi It's been a bit of a gap since I last wrote, but thats because rather than painting or opening the gallery I have been living TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS to the full!
We have just had our annual holiday in Sheringham, Norfolk and there were 22 of the family there. It's always very hetic but we have been organising it for over 20 years and now all our children (ours, plus nephews and neices) are bringing their children.
I've used Sheringham twice in my paintings so far. '30 DAYS' was a painting about our month's holiday there in the 1980's when the children were small. It is painted on thirty jigsaw pieces, one for each day. The other painting, 'Katy's Gold' has little starbursts of Sheringham scenes to represent happy memories of family life.
So Sheringham is quite special and it was good to see the old place again Best Wishes Ted

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Fame - and fish and chips

Hurrah! My story about painting a typical afternoon tea was in the local paper the other day and photo of me wasn't too bad considering I felt so lousey.
Lets hope some people saw it (and will be inspired to visit Ted Coney's Family Portraits) before they use it to wrap up their fish and chips
Bye for now Ted

Monday, 17 August 2009

A tricky picture

Hi Had quite a busy Saturday with lots of visitors coming to Ted Coney's Family Portraits. I had one loyal supporter coming on her third visit, so I had to make sure I organised a different tour.
I did the 'Sense of Place' tour which involves talking about a rather difficult painting ' Fools Gold'.I first show the dolls house in the dark with all the lights off and all the minature lights sparkling; there's even a christmas tree. I then tell the sad story behind the picture and then move swiftly onto the painting about Yve and Kevin's wedding. They seemed to enjoy it all and wrote nice things in the visitors book.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Refreshing the Brand

Hi Yesterday I spent six hours standing infront of a wonderful cream tea, not eating it, but painting it. I went to Peacocks Tearoom, a wonderful place close by, where George and Rachel allowed me to do the work. I had to finish it, because at 10am this morning the local press photographer came to take pictures of me and the watercolour. I wasn't feeling great with a heavy cold (or swine flu?) so hope I don't look to terrible. However, I felt it was a good time to try and get a new story about TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS in the public domain . What better chance then when beginning a new work? Hence the picture in the tea shop. Naturally I shall be scouring the newspapers (but trying not to buy them until I know I'm in it) in the next few days Bye for now Ted

Monday, 10 August 2009

Pure Gold

We've just been looking after our little grandson for a couple of days and he really is delightful. There are not many people who laugh at all my jokes.
Although he is only one and a half he has already appeared in one of my paintings.
' Minglelands' is about my daughter and son-in-law getting married. I portrayed them in the painting as shapes of land, symbolising the possessions they brought to the relationship. I used land in Great Shelford and Stapleford, the two villages the couple come from and where the shapes overlap in the painting, this represents their union.
However, while I was doing the piece, Barnaby was born. I decided to represent him with fragments of gold leaf, because thats what he is, pure gold

Will write again soon Ted

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


I've been to the Fitzwilliam Museum again this morning to see the Darwin exhibition and make some notes. I also went mad and bought the catologue, which was quite expensive. I was looking particularly at his ideas about camaflague and animals, which has given me some starting points for another painting (see my last blog)
I have also arranged to go to Peacocks Tearooms next week to do a watercolour study of a typical afternoon tea. This is for my next painting about two great aunts and what they got up to in the 2nd world war (more of that, later) With an eye to some publicity for TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS I have arranged for the press to come and take a photo, so hope the painting works out OK!!

Best Wishes Ted

Monday, 3 August 2009

Holiday painting, Darwin and Muffin the Mule

Dear All I have been on holiday last week, so catching up with my blog now.
During the holiday I did some observational work, little paintings and drawings in my sketchbook. These were not related to any research, but good practise to do, anyway.
We went to quite a few art exhibitions but one which particularly interested me was were artists had used some of the theories of Charles Darwin in their work. Several weeks ago I had been to an exhibition about Darwin at the Fitzwilliam Museum and had already decided that it had given me ideas for a painting about my son, Leo. However, I am not quite ready to reveal how this will work as my ideas are to jumbled up yet, to explain in print. (It is at least two paintings away, so no rush!).
I also went to an interesting exhibition celebrating 60 years of childrens television and showing some of the favourite puppets from that era. The first and the most famous was Muffin the Mule and I have already used him in one of my earlier paintings about my brother being fifty. I may use him again in my 'Darwin' painting, we shall have to see!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Can a blind man see?

This weekend was the Cultural Olympiad (that's the Olympics for the arts but with no money!) in Ely. This gave us a bit of extra publicity for TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS in the local paper and brought a few extra people in. One couple came yesterday and asked if it was suitable for someone who was nearly blind. Reluctantly, I had to say probably not, but wondered afterwards if that was the right approach. I thought I was ready with my new disabled ramp and all but this request through me. Happily, the wife came back today and joined one of the tours, so I hadn't put them off completely. At the end she declared that her husband would enjoy it and they would come again. ' He would like your stories' she declared ' and of course, he would love feeling your car' I had to admit that it is the heady smell of leather and petrol that has kept me in it's thrall all these years

It's a 1931 Morris Minor for those who havn't been yet.

Best Wishes Ted

Thursday, 23 July 2009

An interesting exhibit

Hi On Thursday mornings I sometimes attend a Business Breakfast in the local hotel. I have found it helpful while launching my, admittedly, tiny business, TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS.
We have to talk very briefly about what we are doing and how the business is progressing. Often, people bring products they are selling, or business cards, or both. This morning I was inspired to wheel my old 1940 bicycle into the meeting. No one said anything, but I did get a few raised eyebrows. I explained I had brought it in for two reasons. Firstly, to show that I use it as a marketing tool by advertising the gallery poster from the crossbar and secondly, because it is archive material for two of the paintings.
As well as cycling 800 miles to Scotland for a painting about being 60 (more of that another time) I had used it to cycle from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey for research on my current painting 'Snow Angels and No Angels'. I am not sure they believed me!
Best Wishes Ted

Monday, 20 July 2009

A glimpse into my brain?!

Hi This week I received a lovely card from a couple from County Durham who came to visit TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS recently.
'We know how much work and love you have put into your exhibition and it certainly shows through' they said
While certainly true, but it was very nice of them to write and say it.
This week, I had a chap write in the visitors book, 'Thankyou for a glimpse into your brain'
Not to sure how to take that one, I wonder what I said?!

Friday, 17 July 2009

After a free lunch

Hi I was tracing some lettering yesterday, to go into one of my paintings. Could have been boring, but was actually quite theraputic. was doing quite well and working hard but unfortunately was invited out for lunch. After a few glasses of wine and sitting in the sun in a beautiful garden, I'm afraid the painting went to pot! Ah well, there is always another day.
Best Wishes Ted

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Agenda Magazine

Hi I am pleased to see the article about TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS as a double page spread in this month's Agenda magazine. I f you want to see it and live in Cambridgeshire you should be able to pick up a free copy at losts of places - tourist offices, galleries etc. If you live further afield, it is now a link to my web-site on the News and Reviews page. Even Jasper the Cat looks good!
This week I have been working on my painting ' Snow Angels and No Angels' which is about 15 female members of my family. Some of the women are symbolised by sand Mermaids. Ever tried painting sand, it's very difficult. I am using little bits of old sponge to put the oil paint on, lay by lay. Mind you, painting the snow is even worse!

Best Wishes Ted

Monday, 13 July 2009

Getting Started!

I am very new to this blog thing, but wanted to do something to publisise my new venture 'Ted Coney's Family Portraits'
After forty years of planning (!) and dreaming, I have just opened our house as a gallery to display my paintings.
All my work is about family life and family relationships. No work is for sale but I am offering guided tours around the house at weekends. I have devised eight tours so I don't get bored and people can come back if you have enjoyed it, for a differant tour.
If you are interested in finding out more then log onto my web site

Best Wishes Ted