Written musings on making art and the results. Life in the slow lane
Bomber Boys (Grandad 2)
Dad would sometimes meet me from school in Wroughton and we would walk to Overtown and he educated me in the wild wood and life within. He was no mean artist himself and taught me to draw, but his major achievement then was to fill me with a love of wildlife and nature.
Grandad’s Story Pt 1
Great grandad who owned the farm, killed himself driving his ‘roadster’ head on into a council steamroller, so grandad, who had apparently been gassed in WW1, had to make the farm bankrupt as he wasn’t fit enough to do all the work. He took a job in the Wirral as a pig man for the local Cooperative Society, and dad had to go out to work as the family needed his earnings.
A Life in Art
It has been said that to be born an Englishman is to win the lottery of life. I remember being taught English folk songs at school – does this even happen anymore? My grounding in that English identity may even have irritated my Welsh father, but as a farm boy he introduced me to a love of wildlife, showing me how to be quiet and watch, showing me young owls in their nest, fostering my love of nature now satiated in my daily garden images, enhancing my love of my country.
Ritual forms a part of all forms of worship and painting forms a part of that process. The spiritual is helped by formalised processes that allow the mind and spirit to dominate the body. My rituals are part of my response to beauty. Rituals the allow me to immerse myself making art and to still the doubts that bedevil any artist.
Art Education (part 3)
The truth is within your soul, your spirit is to challenge and rebel, not conform. If the Foundation course gives students to tools to do this with their lives it should be part of everyone’s education, not destroyed by the academic ambition of professors or the cost cutting of Universities who close workshops to save money.
Art Educated? (part 2)
The success of the art college system outside of the Universities was the cause of its fatal decline. The Universities could not compete with the creative glow the colleges gave off even at the local level, and the thriving Dip.A.D. degree system was putting to shame...
19th Century educationalists saw the need for centres of innovative, creative thought to add to the inventive technical prowess of the English and buttress the manufacturing with design and innovation. So those clever Victorians created the local art colleges to be centres of revolutionary thinking in all their local manufacturing communities.
The colour of the sky varied but it was its pellucid blue that enticed me to the seafront where I was fascinated by the silver sheets the surf laid down on the orange-brown of the shingle, accompanied by soft susurrations as the surf withdrew
The routine includes the cat of course, and can provide a moment of stillness, of prayer, in the flow of the day. In the last couple of years, I have added a limited commentary (limited by the number of characters the Beeb allows) to my observations, data fed by a local weather station and observation. I am exploring how the imagery can reflect time. I have been playing with the images, merging them to show a week in one shot, and then maybe four weeks merged to show a month, and (most fun) four months, one from each season, to show a year.
my work is changing. I have started photographing the town itself, and for a while put a series of images on social media showing places I have been around the world and contrasting them with Seaford, a series labelled Seaford and Not Seaford. Now I’m looking at woodland and the Downs, (only the English would call their hills ’downs’). I am also working with images of the local harbour in Newhaven and the pollution the fishing in dusty generates. What I am seeing really is the beauty of life in this very English corner of the country, responding to its beauty before it vanishes
South Barn It has been a dry hot summer. The Barn is known for having no heating, not being wind proof, sometimes not even waterproof, and today there is one of those miserable damp misty sea fret sort of days. Perched on Seaford Head the rest of the South Downs...
To The Woods
I visit the wood infrequently, but it is one of my favourite havens where I can feed my soul with its silence and beauty. Alongside the prints of my photographs of the sea defences from which so much of my painting has sprung in the last few years, sit a few of the images of the oaks.
It’s been a tough year. Is that what happens as one ages – each year gets tougher? Physically I have always tried to exercise, even buying a share in a central London gym once at the height of the gym investment craze. Great place to exercise. Went bust of course. I...
My processing also starts with traditional visual ideas, with looking, then progressing maybe from drawings, more often from digital photographs which I crop, process and alter on the computer before drawing to refine/define further, taking onto a larger scale through works on paper and then distil onto my larger scale canvases. The camera technology has changed rapidly over the last 30 years, become a ubiquitous tool and creating whole new areas of creative endeavour in much the way technical changes made possible so much of the work of Renaissance artists once they were able to work on canvas with oil paints.
I sat in the garden thinking (I do that a lot, maybe too much) and remembering the trip to the South African Delaire vineyard to see one of the most popular iconic paintings of the 1950’s and 60’s. Some say it rivals the Mona Lisa as a painting…(cough)… I remember...
Green as Grass
Green is the dominant colour in the garden against which flower blossom glow, but the daisies, scattered in the long grasses hold their own in this beauty contest, the gold of the Archimedean spiral at their centres sitting among white petals that often turn to pink darkening to red at their tips. They have grown tall in competition with the grasses, thriving in competition, and the grasses themselves have started to become identifiable as they mature to generate seed heads. The biggest shock seems to me to be the inability of the dandelions to compete in this new muscular grassland.
Blue 2 Infinity
I started to look at definitions of ‘Blue’ in writing the previous blog on the colour. My 1954 dictionary (a thick tome I grew up using after dad bought the dictionary and the 8 volume ‘Book of Knowledge’ from a door-to-door salesman) states “Ancient colour words are...
“In visual perception a colour is almost never seen as it really is – as it physically is. This fact makes colour the most relative medium in art” “In order to use colour effectively it is necessary to recognise that colour deceives continually” “It should be learned...
Apple Blossom Time
The super-rich may buy islands but for most some personal mobility was a blessing – but also a curse as children moved further away from parents and family support mechanisms broke down. The ‘nuclear family’ as a concept seems to be under threat. A younger generation now needs to redefine family and nationality, bearing in mind that the behaviour of Russians shows that national characteristics remain immutable. Or maybe the value of their individuality will rise, driven by porn, bestial like. above love and family to consume all notions of society.
Mama, take this badge off of me I can't use it anymore It's gettin' dark, too dark to see I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door Bob Dylan Several of us on Twitter and Facebook keep a daily visual diary of the changing months. I take mine from the same spot...
"March March to my own drum, March march to my own drum Hey hey I’m an army of one Oh i‘m an army of one Tell the ol’ boys in the white bread lobby What they can and can’t do with their bodies Temperatures are rising, cities are sinkin’ Ah cut the shit" Dixie Chicks...
A Bit of a Blow
Its quieter now. We are I guess, some 400 yards from the beach, and the persistent thunder, a little like traffic noise, has gone. The sun is shining, and the weathermen and women can stop panicking until the next stiff breeze comes along. My admiration for those who...
The last of this set (but not the end of the series) worked the net more loosely . There is a conflict between my desire to tread that line between reality and abstraction that gives me a problem with taking this larger, and the canvas may well end up being destroyed.
Loss of Innocence
The world is in a permanent flux as technologies change the way we live and work, communicate, and manage our interpersonal relationships. The loss of innocence has accelerated generation by generation, but the increased availability of information and knowledge has generally led to people living in ‘silos’. What do I mean by this? Let me illustrate.