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

 

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

Such is Living.

Such is Living.

In Such is Life I catalogued my adventures in the NHS over the years. That was written two years ago, and deterioration has continued. As a result, so have the operations. Maybe because of the removal of part of my blood circulation I have been becoming increasingly...

Bomber Boys (Grandad 2)

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

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

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.

Entropy

Entropy

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)

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)

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...

Art Educated?

Art Educated?

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.