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

 

In Slater’s Footsteps

In Slater’s Footsteps

Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.                               Dylan Thomas With the addition of a photographic record of decay, the four books of images of paintings and...

Mary Watts

Mary Watts

Mary who? I tried to find her in my art reference books. Mary Seton Watts, wife of the Victorian establishment painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts (1817 – 1904), and he is definitely in the books.  First British artist to have a gallery devoted just to him, it...

A Garden Studio

A Garden Studio

We moved to the seaside when my partner retired as she was born in this area and waited tables in a local caff as a teenager, having happy memories of the coast. Her roots were here, whereas my RAF upbringing wedded my heart and soul to England but not to any one...

Emma Stibbon at the Towner.

Emma Stibbon at the Towner.

Now the Turner prize has gone, and we have our gallery back. Still not free of the corrosive Arts Council social work arts programme, but ignore the excrescence on the ground floor, despite its claim using the Bayeux Tapestry to justify the size of its awfulness. No,...

Henry V – lessons from history

Henry V – lessons from history

I’ve just been reading Juliet Barkers analysis of Agincourt. Not as entertaining as Bernard Cornwell’s story (he uses her research) but far more detailed and informative of reality. Recently we have spent much time denying the relevance of history to current events,...

Morning

Morning

It tickles my cheek, this flicking furry tail. I snake a hand out from under the duvet and rub his head.  Fumbling, I struggle to see the luminous glowing hands on my watch face. 05.55. Early but light is coming under the curtains and cat is doing the ‘I’m starving’...

An English Village

An English Village

There are, apparently, 3 churches in Sussex with round flint Saxon towers. I am constantly passing two, the charming little church in the hamlet that is Southease , and, glimpsed as I drive by over the flint walls and behind conical building which I took to be an...

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho!

The only town in Britain whose name ends in an exclamation mark sits on the North Devon coast. Nearby is the beautiful little town of Bideford, perhaps one of the most beautiful places I have visited in recent years. It was here in the 19th century that the novel...

Sussex Lakes?

Sussex Lakes?

As the rain continues, one commentator remarked that “Alfriston is afloat”. Flooding from the Cuckmere is commonplace around the village and its church, the ‘Cathedral of the South Downs’, and only increases as the Environment Agency allows the sea defences at the...

Looking Ahead

Looking Ahead

Do all artists go through creatively sterile patches? Maybe it’s a bit of creative exhaustion having made and exhibited so many paintings based in the decay of local sea defences, or maybe it is my increasing physical handicaps, but I haven’t been in the studio...

Childhood in the 1950’s

Childhood in the 1950’s

Recently my partner and I took a drive into deepest Devon, so deep we stood on a Hartland cliff looking at the Bristol Channel. My mother hailed from Devon, although that was south Devon. She was born in ‘John’s Cottage’ in Churston near Torquay, and one of my uncles...

Whatever happened to what’s his name?

Whatever happened to what’s his name?

Shortly after, the politicians went mad and the establishment, perhaps jealous or threatened by the success of the nouveau companies inspired by Thatcher’s market driven approach, set about destroying her and the success she had engendered and the many nascent ambitious companies that her policies had allowed to grow energetically.

Bruised Cruise

Bruised Cruise

Fantasy is sunshine and calm seas. Last time going up the North Sea, waves covered our porthole on occasion. Here as we left Pompey, the balcony furniture was lashed down securely (the British Fleet similarly lashed down by scaffold poles, I noticed). A sister ship had been battered by storms, and it seemed we could expect the same. To my disappointment it was a boring unspectacular four days of sea

Whether Man and His Cat

Whether Man and His Cat

Once Upon a Time there was a writer of fairy tales, Hands Christian Andiscat. Known as the ‘whether-man’, every day he would emerge from beneath his warm bedding and wrapped in his dressing gown Hans would sally forth into the garden where he would try to feel whether...

Revolution at Grass Roots

Revolution at Grass Roots

I have written a number of pieces on this website about art education. In my now 60-year career in both art, design and ‘publishing’ I have spent time teaching in college environments. Some of this teaching has been done in FE, running successful Foundation Courses...

Turner Prize at the Towner

Turner Prize at the Towner

Maybe it is the kiss of death for the prize to pick one piece as being head and shoulders above the rest of the works here, especially as the prize is given for something the judges have seen that we cannot. I suppose it will not surprise many that I would pick out

Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough

The footpath over the cliffs sees 300,000 plus people making the walk along the path annually. Many stop to admire the cottages, an iconic view that is featured in movies all over the world; been used by pop stars as a backing to their music; is used by TV plays; detective series;

Artists Reviewed

Artists Reviewed

There are now some 230+ articles on my artistic process and the life experiences that have moulded it, including of course a series of pieces on art education in which I was involved as a student and then a lecturer/course leaders/HOD for a number of years as well as...

Woodblock Printing: Merlyn Chesterman

Woodblock Printing: Merlyn Chesterman

Merlyn spelt with y not with an i. Yet what magic do you weave as English Merlins do. Time too weaves its magic, and meeting after over 50 years was a strange dislocation of the time/space continuum. Whilst I have come across you in the professional world as a name it...

Process

Process

Life is complicated. Living is a process. Plan it all you want but interruptions to the process are inevitable whether from internal failure or external forces, physical, emotional, financial. Life is like that. When an artist starts on a journey of discovery through...

Comical

Comical

In a previous piece I wrote about Trechikoff’s ‘Green lady’ the unlikely winner of the ‘Most Reproduced Picture of the 21st Century’. Considered by most critics as a piece of kitsch it doesn’t usually feature in lectures on 20th century art, or in learned critical...

Decay

Decay

I have watched and recorded through my work, the corruption and decay of a once great civilisation. I go not quietly…

Hepworth at the Towner

Hepworth at the Towner

Art is a powerful influence on society as much as society and man influences artists. Can it have that influence today you may ask, in a world of electronics. Of course, it can be seen as even more powerful in the fakery of electronic imagery and the fake row over gender description can be argued started with Duchamp’s urinal or even accelerated with Michael Craig-Martin’s glass of water as an oak tree from the Rowan Gallery in 1974

Looking Good

Looking Good

It was cool and calm, not the frenetic bustle of the city, where the buildings would raise the temperature by a couple of degrees. Nature supplements the human activity beyond Splash Point, where the Kittiwake colony nests each year. A convocation of kittiwakes by the cliffs held a council meeting, another group bobbing further out to sea