The Journey continues…

Days Like This (Coda), collage, acrylic & ink on paper, 100 x 140 cms.

I’ve rather been neglecting this site whilst working on my Fifty Year Itch project. But with two days to go till completion I’m turning back to other work. I’ve posted a fair few banners with the Days Like This title over the various lockdowns…is it foolhardy to title the latest in this manner? I guess we’ll find out as the journey continues…

The ‘Day Job’…

Wymondham (Painting The Town Red), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm. 2021

I’m getting towards the mid point of my Fifty Year Itch project that sees me posting a painting a day representing each year of practice from 1971 to my 70th birthday in June. But of course these pictures have all been made now. So back to the ‘day job’ that – for me at least – is now just getting on with the various other series of paintings and objects that make up my art practice now. It wasn’t always like this and the ‘Fifty Year itch‘ documents the ways in which earning a living both enhanced and distracted from making art in the past. Luckily all behind me now (though C19 lockdown reminds us all of how social interaction is vital to our sense of wellbeing).

Long Clawson (Painting The Town Red), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm. 2021

So back to the third part of my project to get round each district of Leicestershire making a painting for each town, village or hamlet (as defined in the district handbooks). ‘Painting The Town Red‘ is the leg that takes in Melton borough and here’s my quixotic take on two more places. Besides this I’m still working on the Paintings Standing Up…with several larger pieces in the process of being resolved (at least to my satisfaction).

The weekend also brought a treat – my copy of Andrew Bracey’s excellent book on his Enough Is Definitely Enough project arrived plus my individually made artwork from him. My contribution to the project is modest enough so I can recommend the book as a whole without seeming too immodest! Congratulations are due to Andrew, not only for the idea, but the exhibition and the publication that are a considerable achievement.

Still here…still plugging away

It seems I’ve missed posting anything for well over a month – I guess that’s ‘lockdown’ for you. But I’m still at it, making work and planning projects. One is coming up soon…and monopolising quite a bit of my time at present.

There’s more information about it here…but if you just want the pictures they will appear on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook each day from SATURDAY April 17th.

Meanwhile I’m still pushing on with both the Lunar Pulls pictures (though rather occasionally and with a change of focus and approach) and the latest instalment of the ‘mega-project’ that is tracking the whole of Leicestershire through series of paintings for each district. I’m currently on the third leg, the Melton District, that I’m calling Painting The Town Red. This is the painting for Kirby Bellars.

Kirby Bellars, 30 x 40 cm., oil on canvas, 2021

Warning! Stand 32 (not about painting…)

32 becomes 61?

A very beautiful morning lulling the unwary into thinking Spring is here…but March & April may yet have some nasty surprises in store. Nonetheless time to get out and about albeit within the very narrow confines of walking distances from the house. That took me to an old favourite, Stand 32, on the banks of the Soar just before the lane that leads back to Sutton Bonington and homeward. I’ve been photographing this very spot for over twenty years now – so much so that the Long Eaton Anglers have re-designated the competition numbers twice more in that time so that many of the originals have been obliterated…but the 32 survives (alongside a 61, though that too – I think – has been superseded by a newer set of yellow numbers). Still it was a glorious morning…and – a first – an actual angler just a few metres on, in all my previous shots the only people ever visible were one or two on a boat…

From Stand 32 – looking pretty much due north with the Ratcliffe Power Station just visible

As the days drift by…

Work continues, and some things are completed. But it gets harder to find motivation during this – seemingly – everlasting lockdown. Not least as the prospects of work ever seeing the light of day seem ever more remote. However I had my first jab a couple days back so as more and more of us are inoculated we can only hope that some kind of partial resolution of our predicament is somewhere up ahead. Meanwhile I’ve polished off another Enid panel…

Enid’s Chelsea Nightclub, Acrylic on panel, 30 x 30 cms.

and I’m also delighted to be able to post the very first of the paintings that will comprise the third series of Leicestershire boroughs – Painting The Town Red – the Melton District series. This one is Welby. I doubt anyone knows the place so my take on it remains an enigma!

Welby (Painting The Town Red), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cms.

Auction…

I made four of these little card pictures, along the lines of the Lunar Pulls series of the past year or so, that will be part of the above. Here’s one of the others…

#inourthoughts
#inmemoriam
@cvaneastmidlands
@artsderbyshire
@aceagrams
@mindcharity

Enid…

Enid’s Nash, acrylic & ink on board, 30 x 30 cm., Feb. 2021

These panels were carried over from Very Like Jazz…from a few years back. So I’ve dusted them off and worked them up dreaming my dreams of Marx and Nash in NYC – I don’t know if either of them ever visited but no matter…

Enid’s Ticker Tapes, acrylic & ink on board, 30 x 30 cm., Feb. 2021
Enid’s Morning Lake, acrylic & ink on board, 30 x 30 cm., Feb. 2021

And amongst them are one or two from other reveries…

Krazy Keyser Korner Geezer, acrylic on board, 30 x 30 cm., Feb. 2021

Planning…

The Fiddler, 2017

I like to start the year with a bit of a plan. It’s a ‘bit of’ because I’m a fiddler at heart and can’t help hopping around the studio dealing with this and that. And, as always, there are (as it is disputed that Harold Macmillan may have or not said) “events, (my) dear boy, events”. This year of course we have the on-going saga of COVID to contend with but equally smaller things come up from time to time including the possibility of invitations to participate in shows that may (or may not!) happen.

So it is that I’m currently rethinking my plan to start a series of large canvases immediately and focus instead on the third part of The Heart Of Rural England (Painting The Town Red) [scroll back to Dec 3rd and 15th entries and more] and another previously abandoned project…I arrived at Art School ‘proper’ (my Diploma course at Falmouth) in the autumn of 1970 so 71 was my first year of being a ‘proper’ tyro artist.  Reaching 70 (as I shall do this summer) brings a full fifty years of practice around.  Back in 2012 I began a series of 1 foot square canvases to represent each year of painting that – at that time – I intended to be a set of 45 to culminate on my ’official’ retirement date.  Moving studio kyboshed that and those to date in 2013 remained boxed up in my studio back at the Chapel till now.  However with the impending date of my 70th it seems a good time to push on – as Primo Levi said “if not now, when” – so the project – now titled Fifty Year Itch – is underway again with the ambition to post an image of each in turn from April 17th through to June 6th.  I thought a short commentary would be an idea for each picture so that will be posted on my blog through the same two months. Watch this space as they say.

A first one for 1970…not to be included in the final fifty…