we were. My pal Simon and myself at the terrific Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Back on form and showing one of the UK’s finest cultural exports, Tony Cragg after a year or two of rather desperate material. I cannot recommend this show highly enough – it demonstrates that there is still a place for work that, in addition to being physically substantial , is also intellectually and – yes – spiritually strong enough to dominate both the cavernous galleries and the landscape in which they are located. I will review the show over on my Cloughie’s Eyes site after a second visit but go see for yourself it will be worth it.
And now I’m off…to spend some time in Northern Tuscany over Easter…and work on yet another of my various projects – Lavanderia – that has been entirely conceived and (so far at least) executed over there. So sadly I shall miss the opening of Colour: A Kind Of Bliss, showing now in the Crypt of St. Marylebone Parish Church. But if you can go and take a look! And if you cannot…here’s a sneak peek of it with one of my works far left…
photo credit: Jermaigne Sadie
and Dat Dere, as seen above. Another in the Very Like Jazz series. Oddly enough over fifteen or more years back I titled another painting the same (one of a series called Blue Note 45’s). This time around its taken directly from dear old Cannonball Adderley rather than chosen, fairly randomly from a couple of Blue Note singles compilations. I’m nearly out of panels for these now…so with two larger, and one 30 x 30 (as this is) that will be it for a while. The penultimate 30 x 30 is this one…titled after the first track on Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus, Mingus an album from 1963 by – surprisingly enough – old Charles Mingus. II BS is titled thus because the man was finding it hard to choose a suitable title ( so two b.s. it was!). I’m getting to the point where I can empathise with him…
Another small panel in the Very Like Jazz series…and another with a title culled from the super songbook of the great Joe Zawinul.
Sixsevens (Summer Dog Days), acrylic on aluminium, 72×48 cm., 2016
a few days of feeling off colour – rather like this picture (coming out from under that is!). Anyway it is one of the three selected by Lucy Cox & Freya Purdue, curators of Colour: A Kind of Bliss. I do hope you can find time to come along and see it in the flesh.
Sevens Autumn Store, 72 x 48 cm., acrylic on aluminium, 2017
it (the making) is something I’ve not thought about for, oh, about thirty five years or more. I do recall being concerned that it might be happening to the large paper panel pieces I was making in 1980 as I was also fretting over the use of fibre glass to back them (it was the coughing up blood that finally persuaded me to abandon that idea!). But earlier today I was working on my Paintings Standing Up (still far too early to post here yet) and realised that I had put several vocal performance albums to accompany the activity. I’ve written before that when painting I normally only listen to instrumental music and it got me to thinking why did moving into 3D suggest I could make the change? Did I value the work less, did it require less focus?, is it a different order of thinking? Sitting making some more components for these new pieces it struck me that perhaps my ongoing feeling of dissatisfaction with much of my recent painting process (rather than the pictures themselves) comes from over thinking them. As a young painter I’d just crack on with the work but over the years I’ve taken to thinking hard about each stage of the process – even those parts of it that are intuitive or seemingly random have gone through a deal of soul searching. Enough already methinks…from now on I’ll put on whatever tunes I damn well like and try to actually enjoy painting!
Six Mile High, 72 x 48 cm., acrylic on aluminium, 2017
In any event, as is my habituation, I’m stepping away from the Geo series for a bit. The two above are the most recent, whilst three of the earlier pieces are slated for exhibition at The Crypt in Marylebone soonish. Invite below, get along there if you get the chance.
I started the new year (it already seems a lifetime ago) with a plan. Yesterday I took a look and thought it was going west fast. It is dither that does for me…take a look at the Very Like Jazz new panels for example. I’m pretty sure at least half of them are fairly close but I’m dithering over them, fiddling about with the grounds and then taking out a shape here or altering its colour there. So with February being the deadline for four then I need to make some decisions. But (and its a big one) the ‘plan’ also suggests that by the end of the month I’ll have two Water paintings finished, two Paintings Standing Up resolved, and five Playground Of The Midlands pictures completed. And that doesn’t include the work that continues on the maps and a couple other things knocking around the studio that haven’t even got to a base camp yet! I know I could just try working on one thing at a time but that just isn’t my way of rolling…
So this morning I thought I’d try and get a grip…or at least a foothold. So back to the Water pictures then – and (I suspect partly as a result of no alcohol and a fairly decent nights sleep) glory be at least two of this series finished.
These are of course the follow on from Waldgeschichten, the series of eighteen panels that drew upon the Wood section of Simon Schama’s Landscape & Memory. So that’s all good then…just sixteen more of these to go. Now what about the Playground of The Midlands series?
whatever that is…I guess that was our day…so much so that mid afternoon trapped in a road diversion scenario in the far east of Leicestershire Simon and myself decided we had properly topped up our ‘rural reserves’ for a bit. So we resolved to cool it a bit on the Painting The Town Red project (not least as I’m getting seriously behind on the paintings). Besides it was perishing out there.
I’ve tried before explaining the rationale behind these rural excursions but its hard to explain what I’m driving at. Its the quirky visual incidents that meld together with other impressions, feelings, thoughts and ideas that ‘inform’ the image that results and these elements can, most often are, the base material and might easily be viewed as just ‘normal’. Though, as here in the churchyard at Eastwell, this suggests that in certain contexts things can be quite unusual in some ways. I’m assuming its a bug hotel but why such a thing is necessary here in such a rural setting I can’t particularly imagine.