Tuesday, 21 December 2010

To Cold To Care?

Yesterday, I worked on my painting 'Tea for 222' and I think I have finished it. I spent the time rubbing away bits I didn't like, so I never did any actual brushwork. However, inspite of putting my little heater on, several minutes before, it was still freezing in the studio and it was almost to cold to think straight. I couldn't decide if I had produced my best masterpiece ever, or complete rubbish. I think I shall now close the door on it until after Christmas (my studio becomes an extra fridge over the holiday period anyway, to take all the extra food while the family are at home) and then have another look at it, before sending it off to be framed.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Fancy a Print for Christmas?

My son Max (bless him) decided to buy a print of one of my works (I can't reveal for whom, incase they read this) from the on-line gallery which does the selling for me. This encouraged me to put out an Email to all my lovely family suggesting in a subtle way that they might like to do the same. No takers yet but there are still seven shopping days to go (and the weather is getting worse) so you never know, I might get luckey.
Ps prints of my work are for sale through http://www.ukphotogallery.co.uk

Monday, 13 December 2010

And It's Goodbye From Me

Yesterday, I did the last Ted Coney's Family Portraits tour of the season. No more doing a quick tidy up of the house on a sunday morning (Hazel's piles of stuff will surely grow) and no more staggering out with my A-board, first thing. I did have a nice group in today who seemed to enjoy the experience, so it made a good end to the year. I now need time to finish this year's painting and figure out how I can grow my client group without paying out a load of money. I've been in the papers and on the radio, so I have got to conquer the TV next. Wish me look (and ideas how to do it.
P.S. The blog will continue, when I've got something to say and the lecture about my work
'On The Edge' is still available for hire!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Wonderful News!

I should have known when I saw Kevin coming around the corner with a bottle of champaigne.
Our daughter Yve is pregnant again!!! Ofcourse, I want her to give up work immediately and stay sitting still until the baby arrives but I know no one will listen to me. Having a grandson has been wonderful, so it can only get better. Last time, in my painting Minglelands, I represented Barnaby with tiny shards of gold leaf, so not sure how I will show the new offspring in any new picture . Still, I've got plenty of time to think about it as the birth isn't until May and I have two other pictures in the pipeline to get on with now.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A Mangled Story

I was very grateful to the Weekly News for doing a photo (yes, I am in the papers again!) and press story about Ted Coney's Family Portraits closing for the winter on 12th December. It was intended to drum up a bit more trade before the end of the season. Although I sent a press release, stating exactly what I was up to, the story in the newspaper bore no relation to what I had sent!! I mentioned the closure and to add a bit of spice (and to make a good photo oppotunity) I included some information about my painting 'David's Journey' in which I explained that my brother was represented by Muffin the Mule going through a labryth of mirrors. I foolishly also mentioned that the lecture about my work 'On the Edge' would still be available even though the house was closed. Needless to say this got muddled together and it appears I am doing a special ehibition on 12th December entitled On The Edge!! They say all publicity is good publicity, but in this case we shall have to wait and see.
(You will be able to read the my version of the press story on the REVIEWS section of my web-site when it is posted)

Monday, 15 November 2010

Old Students Return

I have recently had a visit from two former students and their families to
Ted Coney's Family Portraits and it was great to see them. Paul and Melanie, brother and sister, were at Hills Road several years ago, so it was nice of them to pay me a visit and see what I was up to. Melanie (pregnant and positively glowing) wrote in my visitors book that I had inspired her all over again, which was a smashing thing to say. I think she was referring to the sketchbooks for my painting 'Max's Diary' , where I had recorded the first year of Max's life. As her baby is due fairly soon, she needs to get drawing!!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The Chinese Visit

Last Sunday, at their request (nothing to do with me, I promise) I had several of my chinese students visit Ted Coney's Family Portraits for a tour. I knew some of the paintings would be a bit difficult for them to understand, so I carefully selected the ones I hoped they would enjoy best. I think it went OK ( they bought me Hallowean presents to start with) but they kept wanting to know about the paintings I hadn't selected. In the end I abandand the tour and went with the flow.Best way with young people, whatever their nationality!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Second Layer

Over Half Term, Hazel and I did a slow progress North, visiting some of our lovely family. I also worked on my painting TEA FOR 222. I was determined to get the layer of encaustic wax on the second painting and with the help of the trough and a hot knife, I suceeded. I then began the second, transparent layer, painting images of afternoon tea. At the moment I seem to be rubbing off more paint than I actually put on, but I guess I shall get ther in the end. I must finish by Christmas, so the painting can be framed while Ted Coney's Family Portraits is closed for the winter.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Maybe, NO, But Maybe?

It all seemed to be going so well. First, the conservation officer had made encouraging signs about opening up the loft to the public. Then I saw a nice planning officer lady at the Council who sounded very enthusiastic about my ideas and said she could see no problems with it. My next stop was to ring the buildings regulations guy who had been so lovely when I set set up
Ted Coney's Family Portraits two years ago. Anyway, this is were the dream of turning our loft space into a gallery, ended!! It seems, for it to be allowed, I would, among other things have to fit a corridor into our living room (the best room in the house!) so visitors could get to the front door in case of a fire. This would be madness and make an 'only just big enough room', smaller.
I felt quite depressed for about an hour.And then I got to thinking, what if we eventually made the family of the front house an offer on the bottom flat? (it;s already divided into two flats anyway) It would stretch us financially (not another bloody morgage) but we could let out the part we didn't want, at least to start with. Anyway with those pleasant thoughts I went to sleep.

Friday, 8 October 2010

No! No! But Maybe?

I've been trying to think of ways of extending the property, so Ted Coney's Family Portraits can grow as I do more paintings (hopefully, I've got at least another 30 years of painting to go!).
My plans have been thwarted this week by the news the Lavendar family have turned down my request to buy some extra land (to put my new studio) and the room under our flying freehold .
However, I have now started to explore the idea of using our loft space as an extra gallery.
The first news is encouraging. The Conservation Officer (the cottage is a listed building) has paid a visit and she had no problem with the idea. The next stage is from the Planning Officer and then see a structural engineer. I've always dreamt of having a spiral staircase, so maybe this is my chance?!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Suffering Over a Hot Stove - For Art

I've just spent three hours trying to skim encaustic wax over one of my canvases for my painting
'Tea for 222'. I used my new metal trough specially bought for the job and felt really prepared as I had experimented on a small canvas first. However, doing one of the real canvases proved much more difficult. It wasn't so much that I ran out of wax, as it set in the trough before I had time to complete the run. In the end I tried about ten times and as I had to keep reheating the wax, I got rather hot. I had almost given up when I had a brainwave. I had managed to cover most of the canvas but it looked an uneven mess, so I used a heated knife to smooth out the wrinkles. I had to clean it well afterwards because it belonged to Jasper, and he wanted his dinner.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Remember 'Duel'?

Do you remember the film 'Duel' where an unseen driver in a rusty old truck terrorised a person in a small car? Well, I thought I was experiencing something similar, albeit in different circumstances. Where I put my A-board every Sunday to advertise
Ted Coney's Family Portraits, there is a large, rather wonderful but menacing motorbike parked. I never saw the owner but he always parked very close to where I had to padlock my board to a bollard. A couple of times my board had been moved around and once a dent appeared in it. That could have been the windy weather ofcourse, but I dreaded getting into a confrontation with someone alot bigger and younger than me.
However, this week I spotted him and went over for a chat. Although he was very big, a nicer chap you couldn't hope to meet! We had a talk about Durer's prints and renovating victorian chapels and he has very kindly agreed to park slightly away from my A-board. What a relief!

Friday, 24 September 2010

No, I Didn't Win

I heard officially the other day, that my application to East of England Tourism to enter
Ted Coney's Family Portraits for the Small Visitor Attraction Award had been turned down. I didn't even make the short list! Still, it was only based on the paperwork I sent, as noboby visited, so if I can get that right next year, maybe I will make it to the next stage. I take comfort from the fact, that when I was at Hills Road, we didn't win The Queen's Anniversary Prize the first time. In the end we did, went to Buckingham Palace and I ended up telling Princess Anne that it must be like living in the British Museum. On reflection, maybe thats why we didn't win this time!?

Monday, 20 September 2010

On the Hertage Trail

Inspite of all the publicity, I did not get that many on Sunday for my Quiz/Trail for Heritage Weekend. Perhaps it was too close to the last time I did it. You live and learn! However, it was good to try it again and tweak the questions. I also made more money for Teenage Cancer Trust than last time by not charging an admission fee but asking them to make a donation. I had this Sunday off from opening Ted Coney's Family Portraits and enjoyed my family visiting, instead. Hope I'll get some bookings next week.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Mid-Season Boost

Ted Coney's Family Portraits is in the local papers again! As well as little bits in both papers about my Quiz/Trail for Heritage Weekend on Sunday, I got the story in, about my preparations for my next painting. I had been photographed with the Morris Minor last week with drawings I had made of the inside of the car which I shall be eventually be using, when I develop my ideas it's 80th birthday picture. The painting will show the Morris as a time machine moving between the 1930's and the present day.
The photo in the newspaper definately showed the car at it's best and will hopefully give me some good publicity for the gallery.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Shepherd's Dream

The Sunday Times Home section had this interesting article on shepherd's huts last week. They look like gipsey caravans and are on wheels. People now use them as dens, offices, studios etc. though Shepherds did actually sleep in them during the lambing season during 19th and early 20th centuries, apparently. Anyway, in my long term strategy to make
Ted Coney's Family Portraits bigger over the next 20 years (I need more space for my ever growing collection of paintings) this gave me a third idea of how to acheive it. My first two involve extending into the loft and buying a room from front house but this idea is cleverer yet.It is true, I still need to make the garden a bit bigger, but wouldn't it be wonderful to have my studio in a shepherds hut? My current studio could then become an extra gallery space for finished paintings. I could also have a folding daybed in there, another little dream of mine.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

YouTube if you want to

Colin has just divided up my film , which I normally show to visitors when they come to
Ted Coney's Family Portraits, into four and put it on YouTube. It's also appeared on my Facebook page but I'm not sure how! He has set each short film to new music and they have had quite a few hits already. Whether that brings anymore visitors to the house remains to be seen. I have just contacted the heirs to Muffin the Mule Ltd. to check that they are still happy for him to be seen on my film to a much wider audience.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Subliminal Advertising ?

How subtle can you get?! I've just been in the local newspaper again, only this time, instead of advertising Ted Coney's Family Portraits I was showing off the new What's On In Ely stand at the railway station. It has been bought by Ely Perspective and features leaflets by all the different events, locations and businesses in the area, including you know who. As I have volunteered to keep the stand tidy and stocked up (and wrote the press story and arranged for the photographer to come), I was invited to be in the photo as well. Ofcourse, my flyers just happen to be in the picture, but I resisted the temptation to be picking one out. But hopefully, folks will have noticed them anyway.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Real Thing

Last weekend, instead of opening Ted Coney's Family Portraits, we lived and breathed the family instead, with 29 members in Sheringham! This seems to have become an annual event, with us renting the cottage and then the whole family coming for a few days. Some sleep in tents, some in the living room and dining room and now in B&B and Youth Hostels as well. Those that arrive on Thursday have fish and chips by the sea and the rest gradually arrive for the Barbaque on Friday night. This year we had Emily's birthday to celebrate. On Saturday evening, just as the sun was going down we scattered Peggys ashes across the sea with everyone gathered around, before going for a celebration meal at the Lobster Inn. Three generations of Coney's built sandcastles on the beach and we sent hot air balloons into the night sky. On the latter, we checked with the coastguard first, as we didn't want them mistaken for distress flares!
Lot's of memories for paintings in the future.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

There's Painting and There's Painting

I have been meaning to paint the front of the studio and garage all summer, but seem to invent a load of excuses why I could not get started (not the right brushes, weather to bad etc. etc.). Anyway, yesterday with summer disapearing fast, I decided I had to make a start, and slowly got everything ready. I went to make a final cup of coffee and it started raining! So, ofcourse I spent a happy morning working on my latest canvas instead. But damn it, it brightened up by lunchtime, so ofcourse I had to make a start on the real thing. I managed to cover the whole of the studio/garage with one coat, so only two more to go. Unless it rains ofcourse.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Tweaking the Trail

I have just been making minor adjustments to my Quiz/Trail in preparation for doing it again. This time it will be part of Heritage Open Weekend in September, when our little cottage will be open alongside many other historic buildings all over the country. Well, our house is 300 years old and grade two listed! I thought it would be another chance to get some free publicity and maybe bring in people who wouldn't normally come to Ted Coney's Family Portraits. I am doing it for Teenage Cancer Trust again, as people expect to come around for free. I think I have to think of it as a 'lost leader'
Talking of being lost, I wasn't short listed for the Ely Standard Business Award. I was in the Innovasion catergory, but obviously will have to more innovative next year.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The Stalker Cometh

I felt a bit like a stalker last week, when I went to take photos of houses in Bury ST. Edmunds we didn't buy. I'm reserching for my next painting, and wanted to record all the houses we looked at, before buying this house in Ely. Hazel drove me there and I popped out very quickly to take the pictures, before anyone could see me. Well, how would you feel if a stranger started taking pictures of your house? I hope to use the images in the car's 8oth birthday painting, contrasting our move to patures new, with the discovery that cousin Tom moved to Hollywood in the 1930's. The Morris will be a time machine, moving between that period (when it was built) and the present day. Thats the idea , anyway!

Monday, 9 August 2010

The Ramp

I knew Arthur and Audrey, a lovely couple from Ely had booked into
Ted Coney's Family Portraits this week. Arthur is disabled so it was my first chance to try out the ramp, enabling wheelchairs could get into the house via the french windows. It was also my first chance to try the tour 'Figurative vs. Abstract' which uses only paintings on the ground floor. Arthur and Audrey were coming a few weeks ago and I got the ramp out then, but illness prevented them at the last minute. It is a bit of a struggle to put the ramp up, but I was pleased to have the oppotunity to see how it all worked. Anyway, there was a change of plan and Arthur arrived on crutches! I hope to use the ramp one day.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Very Taxing

On Friday, I finally finished my tax form and sent it off - what a relief! It was made more complicated by my declaring the trading of Ted Coney's Family Portraits for the first time. I had an interview with a young man in the tax office before filling in the form and he said he had never seen anything like it. He was very perplexed by my assets such as the Sooty Piramid and the puppet theatre and the fact that I wanted to put the Morris Minor, not under transport, but as an object to be seen along side the paintings in the gallery. Luckily, I had taken some photos to show him of my work, so he could see that I wasn't a complete nutter. After several telephone calls it was confirmed that I could set all my assets I had been aquiring over the last six years to set against tax on the first year I have been open. I did seem to have made a ludicrously small amount compared to what I have spent. Ah well, maybe I shall start to make a profit eventually. Anyway, I shouldn't be a bit surprised if I get the tax form back, asking for more clarification!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Facing Facebook

With alot of help from Will, Ted Coney's Family Portraits was launched onto Facebook yesterday. As well as displaying my paintings (yes I will try and put some more on when I get the hang of things) We have also put some of the archive material - objects used in the paintings. We have also (hopefully ) put a link to the UK Photo Gallery, so that visitors can see which prints of my work are for sale.
On a more traditional front, I have just put my flyers on a new stand at Ely Station. Which will bring more punters in, I wonder?

Monday, 2 August 2010

How Cool is That?

I have only just realised that Ted Coney's Family Portraits is quite cool and the latest fashion (or maybe I've just missed the boat, but never mind). As I only open once a week and put my signs out on a temporary basis, it is classed as a pop-up gallery. Pop up restaurants and galleries are all the rage at the moment in London and the home counties. I must use it in my marketing some how. Any Ideas?

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Three Luckey Strikes

Yesterday was good day. I received a booking for Ted Coney's Family Portraits tomorrow from two ladies in Hertfordshire who came last year and want to bring a friend. They must have enjoyed it! I experimented with my new metal trough I had sent for, to pour the encaustic wax over a practise canvas and it worked well. Or at least it would have done if I hadn't tried to do it twice. This is for my current painting TEA FOR TWO and I was able to do some transperent painting over the top to see how the two images (one under the wax and one on top) would work together. I finally got hold of the Weekly News to find I was in two press stories! There was a photo of me with the Morris Minor at the Littleport Show and I got a mention in the article about the London 2012 Open Weekend. They didn't print any of the photos of my Quiz/Trail but you can't have everything. Anyway, everyone did look a bit serious and I looked positively frightening.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The School Visit

Rob E-mailed me the other day with a view to bringing some of his GCSE students on a visit to
Ted Coney's Family Portraits in September. A new departure for me, to be on the receiving end of students, but one which could be quite interesting. Lucrative too, as he wants to bring about 60! He would split them up of course, probably over two days, with half going to the Babylon Gallery on each day. After my experience with the Quiz/Trail I think it would be fun to get them, in groups, to try and find out what some of the paintings are about. Who knows, I might even sell a few postcards and tour guides!

Monday, 26 July 2010

A Quiz/ Trail - Or a Test?

I managed to make some money for Teenage Cancer Trust yesterday, with my devilously clever Quiz/Trail around Ted Coney's Family Portraits. I had visitors for four hours non- stop. The highest score was 15 out of 26, so it wasn't too easy, as I'd feared. Infact, some people complained it was like a test or an exam!! I think they enjoyed it really, but you know how people like to complain. Anyway, they were all very generous with their donations, and it gave me ideas how I might tackle my delivery of the tours in the future, particularly if I get any school groups (more on that later in the week). It was interesting to hear how each group tried to work out what the pictures were about, rather then me telling them right from the start.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

7 Hours In The Sun

Yesterday, I took the Morris Minor to Littleport Fair to promote Ted Coneys Family Portraits and my special Family Quiz/Trail today (wish me luck!) for London 2012 Open Weekend with all profits going to Teenage Cancer Trust. It was a gruelling seven hours standing in the hot sun but there were some useful moments. I talked to quite a few people about the car and managed to ambush a few with tales of the gallery, family portraits, quizs and trails etc. etc. I met a nice lady from the WI in Prickwillow who said she had been meaning to contact me about a visit to the house by her members. I also bumped into one of the press guys from the Cambridge News, who with very little persuasion, came and photographed me with the car. It may not be in the paper but was a welcome diversion. I drove home and promptly fell asleep.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Taking a Back Seat

Yesterday, I decided to start preparing for my next painting, which will hopefully be finished by my Morris Minor's 80th birthday, next year. This time, I see the Morris as being a Time Machine, (rather like the Tardis in Dr. Who) so I needed to make a study sitting inside the car looking out. Later, I will work on what will be seen through the windows as the car whizzes through space and time (!) but for now I wanted to concentrate on getting some good, solid drawings of the interior. I sat in the back seat and worked on watercolour paper in sepia ink with brush and pen. In the end I made two studies, one from a very central position so I got both side windows in, as well as the front. The other drawing got more of the driver's side window in
By the way, Hazel found the Hollywoodland material, without me having to go through every box in the loft (it was in a cupboard downstairs, anyway) This will form images for the earlier 'time' when cousin Tom Cundall went off to Hollywood to find his fame and fortune as a film director in the 1930s. (about the same era as the Morris) But more of that later

Thursday, 22 July 2010

On the Trail of the Trail

I've been organising my event for the London 2012 Open Weekend this week. Delivering more posters, persuading people to come, finishing off the questions for the Quiz etc. Only, I have added the word 'Trail' as I think it sounds a bit more exciting. Someone said, was it like a pub quiz and promptly gave me a 50p donation, so he didn't have to come! Well, it won't be like a pub quiz as there is no refreshments but also, hopefully it will make people enjoy the paintings more as they move around the house. Anyway, we shall see. I also managed to finish my application for the Business Awards and entered Ted Coney's Family Portraits under the Inovation catagory! All good publicity if I get a mention.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

A Postcard from Cornwall

It's been nice to forget all about Ted Coney's Family Portraits and my current painting for a while. We have been on holiday to Crackington Haven in Cornwall recently. As well as reading, walking, eating chips (well, trying not to!) and drinking wine, I 've been doing some drawing of the local sites. The rock formations are amazing and I've been trying to draw the patterns and textures. I also made a study of the Sesile oak tree which is prevalent around north Cornwall. It supports ferns, lichens and mosses on its bare branches, so maybe the symbolism of something strong helping other forms of life, made me decide that I wanted to record it. Perhaps I havn't quite forgotten about family portraits after all! Will write again soon Ted

Monday, 5 July 2010

All in a Good Cause

I am getting involved with the London 2012 Open Weekend events again this year, which are all part of the Cultural Olympiad. I will be opening Ted Coney's Family Portraits on Sunday 25th July as usual but instead of the usual tours I will be offering a family quiz based on the paintings, objects and photos found in the house. Tickets will be 50p per family member and all proceeds will go to Teenage Cancer Trust (which is the same charity I helped £3,000 for with our cycle ride to Scotland a few years ago) Each family will be given 25 minutes to complete the quiz and although there is no prize, I am hoping visitors will enjoy looking for clues and maybe come back again for a proper tour (you never know!)
Sample Question to wet your appetite: In the painting 'Golden Jubilee Ride', what famous artist influenced Ted's choice of landscape?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Soothing Grey Lines

These last two Sundays, I have been working on the final two canvases for 'Tea for 222', putting in the grey background paintings of the telephones and code machines. However, to make this underlay more abstract and formal (as opposed to the afternoon tea shapes which will be much freer and go over the top) I have been interspercing them with thin , flat shapes, painted in different shades of grey. I have found this restful and, with a brand new OO brush, oddly conforting and soothing. I guess with all the traumas (and funerals) in the last few weeks, this is just what I needed. I shall be ready to tackle the trickier, more paintily areas soon. Best Wishes Ted

Saturday, 26 June 2010

The Smallest Visitor Attraction in Ely?

I have just submitted a form for the East of England Awards Competition.
Ted Coney's Family Portraits falls into the Small Visitor Attraction catergory apparently, as I have less than 50,000 visitors a year! I had to put in lots of evidence, like my Access statement, my Business Plan, my advertising material and all my press cuttings. I enjoyed putting it altogether, and those of you who know me, know I do like a challenge .Even if I get a mention, I can use it in my publicity and who knows!? Best Wishes Ted
PS I have just submitted an idea for the London 2012 Open Weekend and am about to go in for the East Cambridge Business Awards, so there is no stopping me now!!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

It's Back!

A couple of weeks ago I went out in my 1931 Morris Minor for a spin and broke down on double yellow lines! I had to get the AA to take it to my old garage in Great Shelford to fix. Ofcourse it went in style on the back of a low loader (my towing days are over) and thank goodness I was able to drive it back yesterday. It just meant that visitors to Ted Coney's Family Portraits last Sunday had to make do with a photograph of the Morris, rather than the real thing.
By the way, I was approached by an elderly gentleman in Littleport who asked me if I could take the Morris to their annual show. Although I don't normally go in for such things (incase visitors ask me technical questions about the car, which I can't answer) I shall use it as another marketing oppotunity for the Gallery. Is Littleport ready for me, I wonder?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Small is Beautiful

My neice Isobel gave me a minature canvas and easle for my birthday earlier this year. I have been pondering ever since how I could use it for Ted Coney's Family Portraits. Well, now I have the answer. Although I am happy to sell prints of my paintings through UK Photo Gallery, I didn't want be selling things from the house, otherwise I might put some people off coming. However, a small , discreet advert won't go amiss, so the canvas and easle seemed like the perfect answer. It will sit next to the computer, so when visitors look at the electronic sketchbook, their eyes may alight on the words ' PRINTS OF THE PAINTINGS CAN BE OBTAINED FROM www.ukphotogallery.com' which will be sitting next door. I'll let you know if it causes any comment or even sales Ted

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A New Money Making Venture

Although I have never had any intention of selling my paintings, I thought it was an interesting idea when Bill , who designed my web-site, suggested that I went into E-commerce to sell prints of my work. Although a little sceptical, I explored further and teamed up a local company, the UK Photo Gallery. To my sirprise I sold my first print last week. It was bought by someone who had previously visited Ted Coney's Family Portraits, so I am not sure if that counts. When I get a sale directly from the web-site (which is linked to my web-site on the' About the Collection' page), then I know I will finally arrived.

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Great Earth Mother

I also need to report the death of my dear sister-in-law, Kari. She was a lovely person who will be greatly missed. For my brother, David's 50th birthday, I did a painting entitled 'David's Journey' using Muffin the Mule characters to represent each member of the family. For Kari I chose the hippopotamous, although I quickly explained that the hippo was the symbol of the great earth mother and I hoped she would see it as an honour. Ofcourse, Kari had a wicked sense of humour and although she would pretend to be insulted, I knew she didn't give a damn. In my latest painting ' Snow Angels and No Angels' , Kari is represented by a Corn Dolly, another symbol of motherhood , which I hoped she liked better. As a family, I suspect that is what we will miss most, her strong motherly feelings to all of us.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Peggy - Your Life in Pictures

My dear mother, Peggy died on Friday, aged 92. She has been a great source of inspiration for my paintings over the years and I have no doubt that she will be again. From appearing in human form, albeat in saucey postcard style in ' Wish You Were Here', through two paintings were she was sympbolised as Soo (of Sooty fame), to being a corn dolly in my latest work ' Snow Angels and No Angels '. As Soo, Peggy appeared in a painting entitled ' Duet ' alongside my brother Richard as Sooty and my father, Arthur as Sweep, in a picture about moving to a new life in Skipton, after living all her life in Hull.
In the second painting, made when Peggy was 80 and I feared she would soon die, was based on the mexican 'Day of the Dead' tradition and took the form of an Offrenda (the title of the painting) or altar. Anyway, Peggy didn't die, so I always tactfully referred to it as her birthday painting in her presence. In my latest painting, Peggy appears as a corn dolly, the symbol of fertility and motherhood - a fitting tribute to a lady who devoted herself to her family, as wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Is There Anybody Out There?

Last Friday, just before we left for Manchester to visit Leo (yes, I know I missed doing
Ted Coney's Family Portraits, but I did do a mid week special last week), I did a phone interview for Star Radio. It was for their business programme which goes out on Sundays. Did anyone hear it , I wonder? Ofcourse, I am aware that I am the last person to give advice on how to run a successful business but it was fun talking about what I had acieved so far.
Anyway, by going away for the weekend I proved what a bad businessman I am. On my return I picked up the most bookings by telephone and E-mail I have had so far, and I missed them all!! Best Wishes Ted

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Home Sweet Home

I was asked to do an early evening tour last night for a group from India , who were making a special visit to Ely. They had started with the Cathedral, made visits to Cromwell House and Ely Museum and finished with Ted Coney's Family Portraits. Apart from the sheer mental fatigue (they were due with me at 6pm!) of keeping going all day, I was concerned, they might not 'get' what I was trying to do. However, I need not have worried because family is everything in India, so they very quickly warmed to my theme. They even presented me with a little gift at the end, so hopefully it went OK. By the way, I am the radio tomorrow, so I will let you know how it goes.
Best Wishes Ted

Monday, 10 May 2010

Morris on Parade

The other weekend I took my 1931 Morris Minor to Ely's Eel Day to advertise
Ted Coney's Family Portraits. I also took my A-board and signs and had alot of people looking at the car. I'm not sure if they really understood about the link to the gallery, but anything that gets me in the public eye, must be a good thing. The fact that the car had made the front page of the Ely Standard might have helped. The sun shone and I chatted to lots of people so I had a nice day anyway. I also got to meet Mark Peters from Star Radio, so hopefully I can get myself invited onto there sometime in the future. Best Wishes Ted

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Third Time Lucky!

This blog is to bring you up to-date with progress on my latest painting TEA FOR 222. I want to put a thin membrane of wax on the canvas to separate the two images. I have used Encaustic Wax before in my paintings, but always in a very textured way (see NAMESAKE and 3001). This time I want it to be very smooth, so that the underneath images show through the translucent surface. The annoying thing was that each time I tried it on a practise canvas, it just wouldn't set. Anyway, on the third go I increased the amount of wax to the amount of Damar Varnish and Stand Oil and it worked! The next trick is to try to get it really smooth on a much larger surface, but I'll keep you posted on that one. Best Wishes Ted

Monday, 26 April 2010

Front Page News

Well, I made it onto the front page of the Ely Standard this week! They managed to loose my carefully prepared press release but I can't grumble. The photo was of me with my 1931 Morris Minor and the story, as well as heralding the opening of Ted Coney's Family Portraits, was about how I display the objects which have inspired the paintings. Instead, someone had obviously got some information from my web-site which was more or less correct. But as they say ' A picture speaks a thousand words' or something like that. Did it make any difference to the number of visitors coming? Well no, not so far, but I do have some bookings for the future.
Maybe see you next Saturday when I will be bringing the said Morris to Eel Day to further advertise the gallery. Ted

Monday, 19 April 2010

Well, which would you rather see?

A very quiet day yesterday in the gallery, so I got on with my painting. There was one flurry of excitement when a rather exotic lady arrived with very elderly parents in tow. In a very foriegn accent she asked me to tell her what Ted Coney's Family Portraits was. I tried to explain while all the time thinking ' but will they be able to climb the stairs?' (I had not practised my downstairs tour because no one has requested it.)The lady then tried to explain all this to her father in their own language. He listened in an expressionless way before giving his reply. This was relayed to me with the words ' He would rather see the Cathedral ' Well, you can't argue with that, can you?!' Best Wishes Ted

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Unveiling

Last night, Colin and Sylvia, my fellow cyclists, came round for the unveiling of my latest painting ' Snow Angels and No Angels '. It was important that Colin and Sylvia were there because it was they who introduced me to the Eleanor Crosses journey and with their skillful map-reading and encouragement got me from Harby (where Queen Elenaor died in 1290) to Westminster Abbey, mostly by bike! As Sylvia had unveiled the last painting which was inspired by a cycle journey (Diamond Sutra), I thought it was Colin's turn. Also, he was alot more patient with me when it came to filming in the rain, while I was laying a flower at each cross! After Colin had made an excellent speech, with a glass of wine in hand, we made a tour of all 15 paintings (he had only unveiled the first two) which are spread around the house.
Visitors are also invited to see the paintings when they make a visit to
Ted Coney's Family Portraits

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Tour Guides for Sale!

Well I did it! I launched the second season of Ted Coney's Family Portraits, if not with the fanfair of last year, at least with the assurance that some people will come.
I ran both tours today, and I think they went well. The Electronic Sketchbook worked fine and there were no technical hitches with that or the film.
I had put down the tour guides from £1 (which is what the first batch cost, although they will get cheaper) to 50p and one lovely visitor bought all eight guides (one for each tour). Hopefully, they will be back for another tour sometime!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

A Second Opening

Well, todays the day! After all my planning over the last few months, I am finally ready to open
Ted Coney's Family Portraits for the second season. Paul came on Friday to put up the last of the new lighting and Simon delivered the new sign last week, which I have just installed.
I did a rehersal yesterday morning of my tour, and I think I have everything in place.
I have decided to use the electronic sketchbook towards the end of the visit (so it does not compete for attention with the film!), but we will just see how that goes.
I feel like an actor about to deliver his lines, slightly nervous but excited. Luckily I do have some people booked on both tours, otherwise it could all be an anti-climax. Wish me luck Ted

Monday, 5 April 2010

New Pictures on the Walls

I've had to put painting to one side for a bit while I put the finishing touches to getting
Ted Coney's Family Portraits ready for opening, next week. Now the family have gone (after my birthday celebrations) I can reclaim the bedrooms to lay out the various objects which I show alongside the paintings. Simon came on Saturday to put up my latest painting 'Snow Angels and No Angels'. This was quite a feat, as their are 15 canvases and I had to work out how they would fit around the house, on the same sequence and 'journey' as the Eleanor crosses. Hazel helped me to decide, and even though we didn't quite agree, I think we reached a good compromise.
Simon also put up family photos on the 4th wall in the hallway, so it is nearly, but not quite, full. However, this also included a newly framed poster which I screen printed about 25 years ago for the first showing of Ted Coney's Family Portraits, which I did for charity. The entrance charge then was 40p, so I hope visitors now won't feel I've put admission prices up to much!
Best Wishes Ted

Thursday, 1 April 2010

E- commerce

I have finally done it! I have signed with an agency, so that the public can buy prints of some of my paintings on line. Once they are there, I don't have to do a thing except see the money roll in. The company I have signed with, deal with the orders and print and post them. I am not getting to excited though, as I know how difficult selling art can be.
However, I was able publise this new venture in my story for the local newspapers (yes, I am in two, so far) this week about reopening of TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS on the 11th April
Best Wishes Ted

Friday, 26 March 2010

A Happy Birthday To Me

66 today! Bill arrived from the Internet Marketing Company at 7:30am to set up the electronic sketchbook on my computer. This is so visitors (when I get some) can see how a painting has been put together from the earliest sketches to the final piece. I have selected four paintings which appear in all eight tours, so at least one picture can be featured.
To advertise the reopening of Ted Coney's Family Portraits, I sent a press release yesterday to my contact at the Cambridge News and arranged for a photographer to come today to take the picture. After all, don't all important people have a birthday portrait taken? I will let you know if and when it appears in the press Best Wishes Ted

Sunday, 21 March 2010

In Print - Again

I was pleased to see that an article about Ted Coney's Family Portraits has appeared in the March edition of Venue magazine. This is good news as it helps to publise the attraction just before it reopens for it's second season. In the article, they liken my tour delivery to a sort of Gilbert and George living sculpture. I am not sure how they would feel about it, butI take it as a complement! The only disapointing thing is the Editor of Venue wo'nt allow a link to the article into my web-site (where you can read other articles about the gallery)
Oh well, you will just have to track down a copy for yourselves, they are free!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Back in Business

Hi There! It seems along time since I did my blog. This is because I have been waiting for the new tower to arrive for the computer, so we have a more up to date programme for the electronic sketchbook to run on , when Ted Coney's Family Portraits reopens on 11th April.
Actually, I went to see the first part of it yesterday, and I think it is going to be good. It should be finished by next Friday, so that it can be installed on this computer. It will be interesting to see how it works best, as part of the introduction, shown after the film, or alternatively, just before I take visitors into the studio. If they linger in the hall again (where the sketchbook will be displayed) will there be more chance of them buying a postcard or tour guide, I wonder?
Last year, it was to early for people to want to buy anything at the beginning, while at the end, they had already left the house to visit the studio, never to return. I shall consult my son, Leo as he's good on these things. Will write soon Ted

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Draw, Draw - and a little painting

Inbetween organising things so I can open TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS in April and visiting my mother, who is supposed to be fading away, (however, she did get up for three days and got her hair done!) I did lots of exploritary drawing in preparation for the next painting. I had treated myself to a new charcoal pencil, a 9B lead pencil and one of those pencils you can dip in water, to prepare myself for the challenge. I always find having nice new materials gives one confidence. I did lots of drawings of old telephones and typewriters to represent my great aunts former life in the second world war. I then started a tiny sketch canvas to work out how I intend to abstract some of the shapes I had drawn. I am painting these in monotone as the first layer. I then intend to skim a thin membrane of encaustic wax over the top, before painting the 'afternoon tea' with coloured traslucent oil paint. I had been inspired by an exhibition of Chris Offeli's work, were he had separated layers of paint with transparent resin. However I hate the smell and feel of resin, so hope the encaustic wax will work just as well Bye for now Ted

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Keeping Busy

While on half term holiday I have being trying to organise things , so I can open
TED CONEY'S FAMILY PORTRAITS at Easter. I have taken the sketchbook photos to the Internet Marketing Company for them to turn them into an Electronic Sketchbook (this is so visitors can see how four of the paintings have been made) . I have called in at the Tourist Office to get hooked up to their web-site again and hopefully been successful in them letting me and the Morris Minor appear at Eel Day for free, to advertise the opening. I have also ordered a new tower for the computer (otherwise the electronic sketchbook may not run!) Frustratingly, it won't fit under the computer table which I had built at great expense last year, so I am in the process of getting that altered. Oh yes, and I am also doing some exploritary drawing for the new picture but thats for another blog Best Wishes Ted

Friday, 12 February 2010

Keeping In the Public Eye

Working on the idea that free publicity is good publicity, I was especially pleased to see
the gallery mentioned twice recently in newspaper stories. These were totally unexpected, but nevertheless very welcome while the house is closed. One was in a story about lack of signage in Ely, when the local newspaper had rang me up for my oppinion. The other, was when I reacted angrily to the proposed cuts to the Babylon Gallery and Maltings cinema.
'Local arts champion, Ted Coney, who runs Ted Coney's Family Portraits said the council was trying to wreck art and leisure provision in the area' so the story went.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Lighting Up

Hazel was horrified when she found out how I wanted to light the dining room, when Ted Coney's Family Portraits reopens in April. Max, our youngest son agreed with her, so I was outnumbered. When Johnathan, my wonderful framer, came to collect the latest painting, 'Snow Angels and No Angels' he had some thoughts on the problem. He has got some lights which are hidden in the ceiling of his own home, which I am going to see next week. Hopefully, Terry (our electrician) will be able to put all these ideas into practise to give more light to the paintings and family harmony will be restored

Saturday, 30 January 2010

A Minor Problem

It was a great relief to learn that my 1931 Morris Minor had escaped relitively unscathed from the MOT inspection this week. Infact the only thing it needed was a new windscreen wiper which was just as well, as it poured with rain when I drove the car on the return journey along the A10 yesterday.
It's now back in it's own garage, already for visitors to see when Ted Coney's Family Portraits reopens in April Best Wishes Ted

Monday, 25 January 2010

Ufb Gps 222

I've already mentioned my new painting, about two great aunts who had an interesting 2nd world war. One poised nude at the Windmill Theatre while the other helped with the decoding at Bletchly Park. However, I want to use the symbol of afternoon tea in the painting to show how respectable they were in old age (if you have been following my blog you may remember the local press covered the story of me doing a preliminary watercolour at Peacocks Tearooms).
I want to 'hide' letters and numbers in the picture to represent their earlier life, partly for the codes but also for telephone numbers (to show the racey life in London at that time!)
My first idea for the title was ' Got Your Number' but then I came up with Ufb Gps 222
Can you guess what it means?! Best Wishes Ted

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

It's All in the Business Plan

When I started planning Ted Coney's Family Portraits I wrote several versions of my business plan. In it, I always tried to show what a good location we were in,
(on the footfall of visitors) near the Babylon Gallery and the Maltings Cinema. Yesterday, I tried to do my bit by helping to save them both, as they are under threat from the wicked Tory Council. I wrote letters to councillors and lobbyed the local newspapers. Ofcourse, now they are more than names on a business plan, Hazel and I are both volunteers and we know all the staff well. Lets hope public support will win through and they will continue to keep open.
I'll keep you posted Ted

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Diamonds in the Attic

Hi I've been assembling all the sketches, photos, artists references etc. that I need to be photographed next week in preparation for the new electronic sketchbook for the reopening of Ted Coney's Family Portraits. Frustratingly, I could not find a set of drawings I made about 17 years ago in preparation for my painting 'Diamonds'. They were of Mr Turnip (to represent my childhood) a T.V. puppet of 1950's drawn in different positions at our old family home in Hull. I went into the attic to try and find the drawings, but no luck. I was convinced they must be there, somewhere, so I went back, taking my spectacles with me. Success! I found them in another folio mixed up with teaching stuff. I have now got material for four of my paintings.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Keeping the Old Girl Going

Hi There! As my 1931 Morris Minor is one of the star turns of Ted Coney's Family Portraits, I need to organise any repairs while the gallery is closed. I have arranged for the M.O.T. and service to be done at the end of January. As the temperature is so low, I am desparately trying to keep the battery charged up, so I can get the car there, when it is needed. Although the snow is quite bad around here I decided to risk it and take the Morris for a ride this morning to keep the battery charged. I went to visit my 91 year old mother, who lives about 5 miles away and felt quite elated when I made it back without getting stuck Whats the weather like near you?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Phase 2 - Beginnings

Happy New Year! Now Ted Coney's Family Portraits is closed for the winter, this seemed a good time to get moving on some of the improvements I intend to make before opening again. I want to have an electronic sketchbook in the entrance (as well as the film) so visitors can see how some of the paintings have been constructed. This week, I have been sorting through all my sketchbooks to find the material to display. I needed to decide which paintings to include and have been looking at the source material for four of them, which will cover all eight tours. My neice Emily, who is a photographer, is taking the images for me and the Internet Marketing Company are going to put the show together. I will keep you posted on the other changes