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Written musings on making art and the results. Life in the slow lane.

Images for sale, both unique artworks and limited editions. 

 

Progress?

Progress?

Many of the properties we serviced were those of the wealthy who always seek to stand alone, but many were small farms, still, in 1974, using shit pails in outside loos. Some of these were even two seaters, something I had only seen before in museums. Our job was to pull the bucket out, each of the ‘brick outhouses’ having a small door in the side for this purpose. We then had to find a spot, usually marked by nettles etc. from earlier visits, where we could strain off the liquids. Solids went into a black bin bag which joined the rest of the rubbish in the back of the dustcart. Putting the bag into the dustcart was in itself an art form. Time it wrongly and the bag would explode throwing ordure over the operative – in which case we would insist on them riding the rest of that day on the tailboard.

Reflections…

Reflections…

Many of the ‘pictures’ don’t contain an image. In times gone by they would have been referred to as ‘field paintings’. The fact that most are made digitally doesn’t alter their power as visual surfaces, and the example I have had printed on aluminium at 2 feet square shows how clearly they work as stand-alone artworks.

Beholden Eye

Beholden Eye

Beauty is an individual concept formed in part by social agreement, – you buy into what the media present, and what is current fashion. Maybe you will be baffled by my enjoyment of this piece of rusting beach architecture and agree with my partner who says in slight bafflement, ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Why not visit and judge for yourself when lockdown ends, just take a moment to contemplate, remembering that all art profits from spending time in contemplation…

Watercolour

Watercolour

I walk with a camera and collect images along coasts wherever I am. Occasionally they are of the quality of holiday snapshots which are collected after each trip and made into a memory book for continuing pleasure, sometimes they make stories, but often they are collected for their own sake. I look for the things that have fascinated me in making paintings – colour balance and contrasts, symmetry and asymmetry.

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

I don’t do cruises. That was the theory anyway. The idea that I would voluntarily confine myself with hundreds of people with no escape filled me with horror. Going on holiday with a whole village? Many years ago, as Editor of HotelDesigns, I organised some reviews of...

Art and Craft

Art and Craft

My local church is St. Leonards. It is in the centre of the town and for many forms the central focus of small-town life, a focus enhanced by its proximity to the railway station and both our doctor’s surgeries. It has a thriving congregation especially at Christmas...

Hockney, Davie and Helen Kapp at the Towner

Hockney, Davie and Helen Kapp at the Towner

The show represents their early years, years that appear to be more brilliant for Davie than they were for a Hockney still seeking to come to a balance between the prevailing modes of abstraction and the new burgeoning of realism. Whilst Davie wholeheartedly embraced the working methods of abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock, Hockney was already starting a journey to becoming on of the greatest of contemporary realist painters in a tradition that stretches along a road parallel to abstraction.

Grid Locked

Grid Locked

J.S. Mill said in effect freedom is the ability to challenge the rules, the grid of laws and social convention. As artists we should challenge, change, innovate not conform to other expectations. The grid of galleries, art market and critics are not the arbiters of quality but a reflection of a reality unrelated to art, a reality of exploitation and control, of money. Our grid is different.

300 Days

300 Days

My Verdun Triptych has now found a new home in a local public school, and there’s a story behind this dating back to the 1970’s. When I complete my degree course I was upset to be handed the application forms for a posts-graduate teaching course. This seemed like a...

English Heart

English Heart

For me as an outsider it is enough to sit and enjoy being a part of a vibrant community. Outsiders refer to Seaford as a deprived seaside town. We may not have many folk driving Bentleys (although there are one or two) and we may not boast large company headquarters, but we are still a thriving community. Surrounded by National Park, adjacent to the Seven Sisters we enjoy our town.
In my ‘declining years’ I have found a place to belong.

New York in 1945

New York in 1945

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.

Death by a thousand cuts…

Death by a thousand cuts…

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.

Log-In at the Towner

Log-In at the Towner

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.

Service Brat

Service Brat

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?

Basket Case

Basket Case

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.

Art Buzz

Art Buzz

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

A Bruised Bum

A Bruised Bum

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...

1,000+ Years in Flint

1,000+ Years in Flint

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.

In Botswana Tourism Matters

In Botswana Tourism Matters

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.

Eternal Prevarication

Eternal Prevarication

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.

Mining the Past

Mining the Past

“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?

Seeing (in Shoreham)

Seeing (in Shoreham)

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.

Square Peg?

Square Peg?

All my paintings start from my enjoyment of my visual world, and the image stories I create and show on my Facebook page are as important an expression of this for me as the more formalised realisation of ideas in the studio. As to where I go from here only time and work will tell. The next peg paintings are on their way.

The Nature of Art

The Nature of Art

I continue to find beauty on my walks, the latest interest sparked by the colours of spring blossoms falling into the gutters around my small town of #Seaford. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but if artist are to regain their position in history as the visual priest/magicians of our world, then they need to give more than politically correct sloganeering or be condemned to a footnote in the dustbin of history

Bauhaus and Me #6: The Aftermath

Bauhaus and Me #6: The Aftermath

Those who were staff and students in the Bauhaus are known as ‘Bauhäusler’. The last leader of the crew was Mies Van der Rohe, appointed in 1930. Mies remained in Germany until civil architectural work dried up as the economy shifted onto a war footing, leaving in...

Ringing Remembers One Year On

Ringing Remembers One Year On

There are still ringers being recruited. There are always things to ring for. This great tradition has, as a result of the Ringing Remembers campaign, breathed new life into previously quiet towers. I look forward to the next year and the next challenges. First of which is to get my hands in the right place and not pull so hard!

Hotel Review: Kasbah Angour

Hotel Review: Kasbah Angour

Place: Kasbah Angour, Tahanaout, Nr. Marrakech, Morocco Type: 4-star Hotel Operator: Owner and Creator Paul Foulsham Web: www.Kasbahangour.com Date of Visit: March 2019 A man with a dream – no, a Yorkshireman with a dream. A geologist working for oil companies buys a...

Bauhaus & Me #5 Workshops

Bauhaus & Me #5 Workshops

As art and design courses are threatened by forces from either within or outside of their institution, they tend to curl inwards protectively. The advantage that Gropius and his successors had was that they ran an institution that was dedicated to the art, from architecture through to weaving. They understood and fostered lateral thinking and its role in creativity, innovation and design. They understood the relationship between disciplines. They were free of academic oversight and bureaucracy able to innovate, setting a lesson for other learning institutions.

Bauhaus and Me #4

Bauhaus and Me #4

Death of a Dream In looking back at how the Bauhaus influenced and guided my own artistic, design and teaching practice I have come to realise that in the UK the art colleges are dying. The students are as bright and clever as ever, but the system is inimical to the...

The Bauhaus and Me #3

The Bauhaus and Me #3

Albers used paints straight from the tube showing how colour against colour changed perception of each in juxtaposition. Seeing change in a stable situation suggested that change in life could be seen too when it seemed unchanging. As one critic remarks, when these painting appeared in the 1950’s it marked the end of the Bauhaus revolution. Revolution became evolution. However, the impact on late 20th century art college teaching sprang not just from his work at the Bauhaus but also his work in the US at the famous Black Mountain College after the Bauhaus was hounded out of Germany in 1933