Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Instructions Must Be Wrong

I was never very good with written instructions. I very soon believe they are totally unreadable and give up, or start making the thing in my own sweet way. However, I was determined to turn over a new leaf with my 'How to make Ely Cathedral ' book. This is a childs book after all and all I have to do is cut the shapes out, score on the dotted line and hey presto! I have a replica model of the building. Well, so far it hasn't quite turned out like that. I have lots of folded bits of card and even a turret but I think there is along way to go. And why am I doing this? Well, my next painting is going to be using lights falling across this Iconic shape (earlier blogs tell of my dawn and dusk drawings of the real thing) to represent new life and death and I thought the model would be useful to project lights onto. Thats if I ever get the wretched thing finished.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Get Bigger - Or Stay The Same?

Followers of my blog will know that I would dearly like to extend Ted Coney's Family Portraits either by buying part of the house next door or enlarging the garden, so we can put shepherds hut in it. However, my plans have been frustrated so far. The house next door has been 'Sold' for the second time for quite a few weeks now but to my amazement, the deal fell through again recently. Ofcourse, we couldn't afford or would want, the whole house, but I keep hoping I can pursuade the owners that we can buy the bottom half which is a separate flat. This time it is to be sold by auction (if not before) for a much lower price and I am trying to pursuade a neighbour to buy it with me. Hazel thinks it's a bad idea but I feel this is the time to be a bit reckless (but only a little bit) Watch this space.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Family Portraits - By The Sea

Just been away on our annual holiday to Sheringham in Norfolk. It's not just any holiday mind, because we are usually joined by over 20 members of the family! This year it was 26 and while last year was the year of the child (we had babies everywhere), this year was definately the year of the girlfriend. What they all made of it, I am not sure, but it certainly sorts out the girls from the future wives/partners. Having to share a bathroom with alot of new people soon sorts them out. Although this isn't a normal Ted Coney's Family Portraits blog - this Sheringham ritual often inspires ideas for future paintings

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Doing One's Best

Living up to my new slogan 'Ely's First Pop-Up Gallery', I took a booking for
Ted Coney's Family Portraits on a Friday, to celebrate my new flexible approach. I was aware that there would be a seven year old girl in the group, so I made every effort to ensure that I found the paintings and related objects which might interest her. Even though I showed Muffin the Mule, Mr. Turnip and Thomas the Tank Engine, these failed to delight. Although I put on the lights of the dolls house and puppet theatre as they entered a darkened room, it did not spark much interest . Perhaps visiting the Cathedral and all those tedious shops that grown-ups love, beforehand, just proved to much and I was the straw that broke the camels back.
Or perhaps I was just a boring old fart?

Monday, 8 August 2011

Never Say Die

You will remember, I had been notified with the news that Ted Coney's Family Portraits had been short-listed for a business award. The next stage was for two judges to come and visit and report back on what they saw. I worked very hard getting everything ready as if for a tour (all the signs out etc.) so that they could get a flavour of what I was offering. I also showed them all my publicity material and examples of where the gallery had been mentioned in magazines, newspapers and other media since I opened in 2009. The younger chap asked the question 'Where do you think you will be in two years time? ' I nearly said 'Dead, probably' which would have been a bit flippant. So I spoke instead about my plans for expansion (sheperds hut at the very least) and my ideas for developing a DVD of tours upstairs for the disabled. Luckily, I had also roughed out a letter and notes to send to schools in September to introduce the idea of school visits to the house. This was all true but would it be enough to convince them that I should win the award?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

A Taxing Day

It was a big mistake to choose to cycle to Cambridge from Ely on the hotest day of year so far. However, I took lots of water and had two stops for refreshment and to get my breath back. I followed the National Cycle route and nearly took a wrong turning but managed to find the way. The reason for my trip was to see someone in the Tax Office about my tax form, especially the sheet concerning Ted Coney's Family Portraits. The lady I saw didn't exactly inspire confidence when she said, after perusing my form ' I'm out of my depth here ' However, on seeking further advice, she came up trumps by helping me write a letter to get more tax relief on last years expendidture. Needless to say I took the train home.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Paintbrushes At Dawn

The other morning I got up at 4:30am so I could paint the dawn coming up over Ely Cathedral. I had looked at the weather forecast the night before, as I wanted to be sure that it would be clear (you don't get up that time in the morning unless it is for something special). I half expected some policeman to ask me what I was doing, but infact I never saw a soul. I am gradually gathering lots of images of light across the Cathedral's stones and I wanted to see how the dawn light would be different from those I did at sunset. Infact the dawn light made the stones turn orange. The painting will eventually be made from some of these studies and is about my mother and sister-in-law dying and then the birth of two new female members of the family being born about a year later. The painting will be called 'Another Year'

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Just Another Day

In the morning I went drawing inside the Cathedral for a new painting (but thats for another blog). In the afternoon I got a telephone call to tell me that Ted Coney's Family Portraits WAS on the short list for a business award and the Assessor would be making a visit on Friday (I'll do a blog about it afterwards). At 7pm I got a call from Radio Cambridge to say they wanted me to speak live on air (very scary that) at 7:30 that evening! I chatted on about the Morris's 80th birthday celebrations - competition at Aquafest and the painting I am doing. I have no idea what it sounded like but the very nice presenter, Sue Marchant, sent me a very sweet message at the end. If you want to hear it, it is on BBC I Player and hopefully Daniel will get it on my News and Reviews page. T.V. next maybe?

Monday, 1 August 2011

Mistaken Identity

I did the Journeys tour this weekend for Ted Coney's Family Portraits and included a painting entitled 'Walking Sticks'. It comprises of four long thin paintings of walks I made with the family in 1986. It reminded me of an amusing event when Imade the sketches for the walk around Holton St. Peter, where we were staying in a cottage. We had just arrived and we made the walk on the first day. Ofcourse the children were quite young ,so I did not have much time for making sketches. (they would be running about, asking irritating questions) I resolved to make the same walk again while Hazel was putting the children to bed that evening. I made some more sketches and had just returned and settled down to a nice glass of wine when there was a knock at the door. There stood two policemen wanting to know who I was. Apparently, someone (from behind a net curtain, no doubt) had reported me acting suspiciously, making notes in a little notebook. As I wasn't wearing a smock and beret and carrying a canvas, I suppose I could have been taken for a burglar.