Friday, 30 April 2021

Dear Diary

 'No Frost At Night' is the title of a new exhibition which has just opened at the Babylon Gallery. As well as the five artists who were asked to respond to some weather diaries from the 1960s, the public were also asked to participate.

Two week journals were given out to anyone who wanted to use them, on the understanding they would be displayed in the exhibition alongside the artists work.

I produced a painting diary. I reflected on my last work, 'Eggheads', the progress of my current painting 'Memento Mori' and my plans for the next one entitled' Dreamtime'.

I tried to keep it varied by including, as well as writing, sketches, coloured studies and photographs.

You can see the exhibition (and read my little diary) in Ely until 23rd May.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Thankyou !

 I've just posted a donation of £200 to NHS Charities Together appeal which was largely made up of money made from my Virtual Tour.

Although the appeal is over, you can still try the Virtual Tour, which is available from my website ( for 99p a go.

A virtual tour was made several years ago for people who couldn't visit the house in person but when the pandemic hit it seemed the best way to promote the business.

I hope to reopen Ted Coney's Family Portraits in late June/early July with the studio, garage and new garden gallery on display in the first instance.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Recollections of Prince Philip

 'Phil the Greek is dead' This was the news I was given by a member of the railway staff as  I stepped off a train last Friday.

It got me thinking of the times I had met Prince Philip when working as Head of Art at Hills Road Sixth Form College. He came on a visit to my department in 1991 and asked (after looking around the room) if I ever through anything away. He then made an unscheduled flight into the sculpture studio and promptly banged his head on an artwork hanging from the ceiling.

Several years later when we had won an award for our work in the community, I met him again at Buckingham Palace. I cheekily reminded him of the incident with the sculpture. He laughed and  said

' Not that bloody place'.

You can see my first encounter with the Prince in the MEDIA page on my website.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Electronic Sketchbook Restored

 I always show how one of my paintings has been put together on the Electronic Sketchbook, when visitors come on one of my tours. (remember those?!) 

 I have four paintings on the screen and when I click on one , it automatically shows images  of my trial studies, early observational drawings and artists references. 

A few months ago I noticed that the icon  to start the sketchbook had disappeared. Although I saw it fleetingly when I switched the computer on it always vanished before I could do anything.

My daughter and her family finally came to visit us for a day over Easter. My son-in-law, who works with computers agreed to have a look. Within a few minutes he had found the icon lurking under the surface. Hurrah!

Friday, 2 April 2021

A Birthday Christmas Present

  It was my birthday last week.

 Perhaps the most intriguing present I received was from our next door neighbour, She'd heard that I have a dolls house which has been developing into an installation since I obtained it to help with my research for a painting, 'Fools Gold'  (which you can see on my PRINTS FOR SALE page).

 When I said  I had carried on collecting objects so that it looked as though the house was frozen in time on Christmas Eve, she gave me a knowing look.

I was presented with the most beautiful   box of  cards, wrapping paper, trees, paper chains, all in miniature. It turns out she is a dolls house enthusiast and makes everything herself.

There are pictures of the house on my Facebook page.

Thursday, 25 March 2021

Count Me In

 I've now started working on the final canvases of my picture  'Memento Mori'. Each member of the family is represented  by a bubble in  the nine paintings.

I thought I had completed the first one when I realised I had missed a bubble out! At school, I was always rubbish at Maths.

Luckily, without changing the composition too much, I was able to paint an extra bubble in the far off distance.

I'll need to be more careful with the next one.

Friday, 19 March 2021

Apocalypse Now

 I was visiting an art  college  and wandered into a large modern building, where high up, I saw a Victorian puppet theatre. As I got closer I realised that there were people inside  and they invited me to join them.

Everyone began to leave but the only way out was to jump up,  to climb out of a slit in the back wall. I didn't have the strength to do it.

When I awoke, the dream was so vivid that I was able to write it down. It was the start of an idea for my next painting! I see my entrapment as a metaphor for the pandemic from which we are trying to escape.

It will be called 'Dreamtime'.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Click and Collect

 Although our local art shop has been closed since Christmas, I 've managed to get what materials I need through a click and collect system.

I email the head office and arrange a time to collect stuff from the Ely shop when someone will be there.

Recently, I've managed to get the nine canvases for my current painting 'Memento Mori' as well as some oil paints which I was running out of.

The shop should be opening again on 12th April when restrictions are lifted.  Lets hope it does, as Click and Collect isn't quite the same as mooching around to see what you could buy.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Light Over Dark

 Although I have some way to go before I've created the perfect bubble, I am starting the final painting anyway.

'Memento Mori' comprises of nine small canvases and I have just finished staining them black before I start the painting. I decided to work 'light over dark' after looking at Millais' painting 'Bubbles' in which the said bubble hovers against a dark background.

Millais apparently had a sphere of crystal especially made for the purpose. I've had to rely on photographs from the Internet and some pictures that Max took of him and Sebastian blowing bubbles a while ago.

I did however, retain a glass Christmas bauble which I thought might prove useful. 

Friday, 26 February 2021

Some Offering

 I've been rereading my Mexican Day of the Dead book recently. I had originally used it for reference when painting 'Ofrenda' (you can see the picture on the PRINTS FOR SALE in my website)

I had made the painting to celebrate the life of my mother and always imagined the word ofrenda meant altar. However I was wrong. It means offering. It seems obvious really as in Mexican culture the relatives celebrate their loved ones by  laying out special foods and objects on a kind of altar.

I'm not about to change the title though  as my picture used the Mexican tradition as  only one of its influences and I think the two words are interchangeable anyway.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Guilty Secret

 I've noticed for a while, big packs of brushes and sponges in different shapes and sizes in the children's hobbies section of W.H. Smiths. Those sort of funny, stiff brushes  used for gluing.

 There aren't many shops open at the moment, and these packets were going down pretty quickly. Obviously, lots of people are doing more arts and crafts at the moment.

Although not  needed  for my current painting, I finally succumbed and bought a set before they had all gone.

 Sometime I want to do some free marking making experiments (I already have a set of wire brushes)  for a picture were chaos is an important feature. Dots, dashes, scratchy lines etc. are just what I'm looking for.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Smudge And Smear

 We've all been thinking  about bubbles recently, so maybe that's one of the reasons I decided to use them to depict the family in my new painting 'Momento Mori'  (see my blog  20/11/20)

I 've been trying to experiment with their translucency  and its very difficult. Sometimes the bubbles look more like coloured footballs even though they show parts of my Morris Minor behind.

In fact, the most successful are were I've painted a quick smudge and smear to create the illusion of a bubble rather than a long detailed analysis.

Perhaps thats the answer ?

Friday, 5 February 2021

You Did Ask Me

 I've recently been interviewed on a local radio station in connection to my appeal for NHS Charities Together. (it is now a podcast on  Cambridge 105 Radio) 

As well as been asked about my pop-up gallery and the Virtual Tour I was also thrown an interesting question at the end.

What advice would I give  young artists starting out on their profession? My answer was the same  I had given to a group of amateur painters when I opened their exhibition last year.

Don't make  selling work, the main focus of your endeavour. Do something else to pay the mortgage and bills. Then one is not  tempted to make work which will bring in the money and you are more willing to take risks and experiment further.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Suffer For Art

I knew I had to make the nine close-up drawings of my Morris Minor before it went off for it's annual service, MOT and urgent attention to a  petrol leak. 

I needed the watercolour sketches so I could begin experimenting for my next painting 'Momento Mori' of which they will form an important part of the nine canvases

Although it was freezing cold weather, I steeled myself to make the studies, one a day, until they were finished. Each one took about 90 minutes  and I also got Hazel to photograph the same views so I had further reference.

The car passed it's MOT and the leak has been fixed, so I'm hoping to drive it a bit more in this, its 90th year.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Dance Of The Crazies

 My nephew heard what Hazel and I had been up to on New Years Eve and suggested that he would write a poem about it if I would make a sketch.

You can now see the results on my Facebook page - go to and click the icon.

Friday, 22 January 2021

In Good Company

 To my delight,  Cambridge Independent newspaper have done a full page spread on my Virtual Tour this week, after all (opposite a full page article on the singer Olly Murs!).  There was a large image of me with my painting 'Dear Reginald Owen', a photograph  with the Morris and another detail of the painting.

It was seen by  Radio 105 who subsequently asked me to do an interview. With this new publicity, I have decided to extend the appeal for NHS Charities Together until the end of March, which will be a year since the pandemic started. 

Hopefully that will bring in more cash via the tour or donations.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Momento Mori

 I first thought of the idea for my new painting seventeen years ago when we were on a visit to the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver.

There was a canoe displayed with one persons lifetime treasures inside and apparently it stands as a kind of memorial for a their life. At the time I resolved that I would try and do something similar only I would swop the canoe for my 1931 Morris Minor!

Over the years that followed I've had several ideas how I could represent my life through objects which remind me of  family and feel I'm getting closer to what I want.

It's not that I think I'm going to die anytime soon, it's just that the Morris will be 90 years old this year and I want to mark that in some way.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Forever Christmas

 I've just displayed three new Christmas presents - a board game, a bowl of nuts and a black cat.

They have gone into the dolls house, which seems  to have evolved over the years into an art installation. Since I first started collecting items  to use in my painting 'Fools Gold' (which you can see in the PRINTS FOR SALE section of my website) I have used the house and its contents several times. Most recently in 'The Rashomon Effect' which can be viewed in the CONTACT US section. You can also see photographs of the actual house on my Facebook page

With  tree,  lights, decorations and wrapped presents, it is Christmas waiting to happen.