I am by inclination a non-conformist, by accident of upbringing a loner. Not anti-social but a little intolerant I admit. I have been pretty well self-employed all my life – or as one friend put it, pretty well unemployable. When welcomed into ‘institutions’ I have changed them, sometime wilfully, but always I hope for the better (see About for more detail). I have expressed myself through my art and through words. Since the digital world came into being I have worked with digital cameras and self-published on the web. I have exhibited widely and written critiques of the work of others. Here you can enjoy my idiosyncratic take on the world, including art and design, where I have made a living for over 50 years and counting. I would be delighted if you use the feedback areas to let me know what you think (be kind to an old man), and even happier if you buy from the Gallery/ shop! You can also find my work on the Singulart Gallery website
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It’s a wonderful town, we all know that. My first visit, as a young artist and college lecturer, was on Laker’s Skytrain from Manchester, £99 return for the US independence bicentennial celebrations in 1976. I took hundreds of images of skyscrapers and made my money back with a mini lecture tour of groups in Lancashire showing the slides. Just recently I discovered I wasn’t the first of my family circle to visit the city nor to collect images of it.
To those demonstrators who littered tons of rubbish on London streets as ‘environmental protest’ I say shame on you, don’t expect government’s magic wand to absolve you of responsibility. You littering hypocrites – your penance should be to collect an amount of rubbish from hedgerows and beaches where you live equal to that you dumped on our streets. Look hard at how you use our world. Change will only come from all of us making individual changes. Government has already made significant alteration to our national emission pattern but really, most of it now is down to you and me.
There is so much complexity and sensitivity in Nash’s work. The work builds on a relationship with the land, with Ffestiniog, and is rooted deeply in the past as well as reflecting an individual delight in materials and the workings of the natural environment. Nash is claimed as a minimalist in some writing. For others he belongs in the school of ‘Land Artists’. For me he has the mysticism characteristic of the Welsh, but above all he is an environmentalist, and in that sense very much a part of our future.
Where I wonder do service kids go today? I read that for example in the Royal Navy now most people own houses ‘off base’ giving their children stability but perhaps at the expense of the absence of a parent. Do service brats still suffer the dislocation of their parents postings? Is the struggle to retain trained manpower in the services still being exacerbated by poor service housing – the press reports seem to suggest so. Do the children of service families in the RAF and Army still face the choice of staying with the family or being sent to boarding school?
Scale is an important consideration in relation to the mark. I want to be able to put myself into the work and that means working with the whole body. As pieces get smaller so the ‘hinge’ around which the mark rotates changes. Small pieces use the wrist as the hinge, then it progresses to the elbow and with true scale the mark can be made from the shoulder increasing the vigour of application and pulling in the whole body to engage. I love large paintings like those Waterlilies of Monet which can engulf you as a viewer, so you don’t just spectate but are forced to engage within the piece, be absorbed by it, engulfed by the colour and emotion.
Much art, from the Renaissance onward, contains these hidden messages. When you buy a piece or look at a work in a gallery, look for hidden depths. Paintings are not all just decorative, but read in the light of their contemporaneous history can reveal meanings not immediately obvious – the immediately obvious usually being reserved for cartoons
Open your studio for visitors. Sound easy, doesn’t it? Ha! Sometimes there is hardly room for me to fit in between the piles of tape, open stretchers with rough cut canvas draped over them, dirty palettes, rolls of paper leaning in corners, three easels, unfinished or...
Just 16 houses around a Saxon church. Over thousand years of history seeming to slumber in the summer sun. England past and present. The pigeons cooed; the crows cawed. Sometimes time seems almost to stand still.
Close encounters with elephant, lions, hyenas, cheetahs and rhino amongst the ‘big five’ beasts, elephant shrew, lion ant and others in the ‘little five’ have all been enjoyed in touring Southern Africa. It has been at its heart a search for beauty and wilderness, gripping my artist’ soul. The last wildernesses lie in these lands of the San people, the earliest populated areas, birthplace of homo sapiens, with rock painting tens of thousands of years old. Africa has captured the heart of many, addicted others. I too am hooked.
As nature grows and responds to the seasons so too must I. It may be for urban artists the awareness of the rhythms of life are different, determined by their social engagement with the urb. However, the superbly violent thunderstorms of the other night were a reminder of the power of nature. Cities cannot ultimately protect from these elemental forces. Life in the Hive is an artificial construct maintained by an army of underpaid workers: the bubble is fragile.
“did the grid” of squares I have used for years, represent “the same mental repression I was criticising in the other artists’ work” she asked? This brought me up short. I have used the grid for many years, for many of which I was locked into a marriage that was loveless. I justified the grid in terms of it being a symbolic representation of the way politics and social rules distort and move the colour in individuals’ lives. Maybe it did indeed reflect a suppression of recognition my marriage was dead?
In my search for beauty (and remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder) I treasure what I see every day. My art is based on the images of my own landscape – my garden predominantly, including recently the everyday washing line. It is not limited to this area of course and I use photography to extract both detail in my garden but also from walks, tours, trips to other places.