Sunday, 29 June 2014

An Angel Remembered

Just as I was leaving the Cathedral the other day, one of the staff came forward and said she had bought one of my pictures a few years ago. I realised that this lady had bid for a tiny painting I had donated to ADEC to help raise  money for the Babylon Gallery.
I had been making a series of 15 paintings entitled 'Snow Angels and No Angels', each one dedicated to a different female member of the family. The first one was in memory of our stillborn daughter, Fay , whom I saw as one of five snow angels.
As I had one extra canvas, I had reproduced Fay's picture again for the auction and called it
 'An extra Snow Angel'
It's current owner very kindly said she still loved the painting and saw different things in it every day.
You can see 'Snow Angels and No Angels' on the HOME page of my website and if you want to view them larger, go to my PRINTS FOR SALE page. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Small Is Beautiful

I got a belated birthday present the other week. My sister-in- law bought me a miniature bicycle to go in my collection. It is almost an exact replica of my real bike - all black with sit up and beg handlebars, covered- in gears and large basket.
She originally got it to go outside the dolls house but as I have another couple of bikes there, I had another use for it.
In one of the showcases, I have four items to represent the 'circles of a journey' - the compass, the map measurer, the magnifying glass and the bicycle wheel. The wheel was represented by a minute plastic bike I got in a cracker one Christmas, only the new edition is much better.
I used all the objects on a journey I made several years ago to Suffolk, to make the painting
' The Enigma of the Chinese Mask '. The painting is all about symbolising the ups and downs of family life with a real journey, made by bike along country lanes and busy main roads.
You can see the painting if you go to my PRINTS FOR SALE page on the website and if you look very carefully (click on the painting to make it larger) you can see these four 'tools' in the biggest canvas.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Just Like Dame Edith

Hazel always thinks I am being too theatrical when I say that I need to get everything ready early, when I have a booking for Ted Coney's Family Portraits, and then rest before the visitors arrive. It does feel like a performance, albeit a low key one.
I remember reading that the great Edwardian actress, Dame Edith Evans was exactly the same (in fact we saw her briefly fall asleep on stage once, but that's another story).
However, last Sunday didn't go according to plan. I now have tours at 2pm OR 3pm as I have found over the years that if it is going well, then the visit can last up to an hour or more.
 I had some of my students at 2pm and they were a lovely audience and I felt that was it for the day. To my consternation another visitor arrived just as they were leaving and I had to start all over again.
The second visitor hadn't booked but had tried to phone me, so I felt obliged to go ahead as she seemed so keen.
I now realise that I only have the strength to do one tour a day now, as like Dame Edith, I'm getting on in years.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Blowing Up Parrots

I heard that Frank Whitford, the Sunday Times art critic and art historian died recently. I knew him as the art history teacher at Hometon College when I was working next door at Hills Road.
He was a  clever man, yet warm, generous and very  down to earth. He was always giving my department art books and gave wonderful talks to our students.
I met him once by chance, when we were both Christmas shopping in Cambridge. He said he was absolutely desperate as he couldn't think what to buy any of his family. I told him that I had just bought everyone blow up parrots from the shop behind were we were standing. He thought this was a brilliant idea and went off to do exactly the same.
He had promised to write the forward to my tour guide when I started
 Ted Coney's Family Portraits but sadly ill health overtook him and it never happened.
 I wonder if he would have mentioned the parrots?