Ashbourne & beyond

Night In Tunisiaw
Night In Tunisia, 59.8 x 75 cm.

A bunch of newish pictures are shortly off to the Ashbourne Festival.  Although they are related to the series ‘Winter Cycle’ they take the idea of the geometric exploration as their starting point and have proceeded by way of fifties and sixties Jazz album design muddled and befuddled by some riffs drawn from that charming strain of modernist design of the the nineteen fifties.  At the core of this has been a desire to complicate the frame further and extend the range and nature of the forms and especially the colour relationships.

Ghetto Walk, 75 x 59.8 cm.

Whether any of this is either of interest or assistance to the potential audience is debatable – indeed it is always rather nerve wracking putting paintings of this kind into a context of a show where most of the work is of a fairly traditional and conventional character.  But of course like most artists I want to see my work out there.  For many years I didn’t think it mattered a great deal but in the past few years (as old age creeps on apace perhaps!) it seems more important to me.

Tango Tengow
Tengo Tango, 30 x 30 cm.

I’m taking a break from this series now…although in my ‘bitty’ way there are several others in process that I guess I’ll come back to at some point in the future.  Not least because come the end of the week we are off to Italy for three or four weeks…and quite what I’ll make there I haven’t the faintest idea yet.

Better Git It In Your Soulw
Better Git It In Your Soul, 59.8 x 75 cm.

That said we are taking some lino cutting gear with us…now that’s something I haven’t worked with for many a long year now!

Pedal Point Bluesw
Pedal Point Blues, 30 x 30 cm.




End of another chapter…


Its been another longish gap since I posted here.  This time lengthened by the rare occurrence in my life nowadays…a virtually full week at work.  For last week I was mostly at BGU in Lincoln assisting our final cohort in mounting their degree exhibition – represented above by Beckey Shudell’s ‘Luck of the Draw’.  As this was our last cohort (for inexplicable reasons the powers that be have shut the Visual Arts pathway) it means my time as a Visiting Tutor there comes to a close.  So ends another, highly enjoyable, chapter in my career – if you can call my bewildering range of employments a career -and as above its time to roll the dice again and see what comes up…as the one thing I’m sure about is that I don’t intend taking permanently to my slippers just yet!

Better Git It…


in your soul…is one of my favourite Charles Mingus tunes. And as one of the sound tracks of the painting process for these ‘Jazz’ pictures what could be more appropriate? They are going on show at the Ashbourne Festival starting on 17th June.

Before that the first two ‘Ragbags’ pop up in the Precious Little show at HMS and that opens on May 22nd.  A fair few more will be featured in the show I’m putting on at HMS in September “All My Senses At Once’ where I dare say a few of these “Jazz’ pictures will also be displayed.  Up until relatively recently I really never bothered a great deal with exhibiting. When showing opportunities came along all well and good but I rarely sought them out.  In my thirties and into my forties that meant a heck of a lot of work was made and never exhibited and, although more things happened whilst I worked in HE Art & Design, that had been the case up until five or ten years back when I started to think that maybe, just maybe, it would be nice to make stuff that people might see!

So if you can come along to one of these three outings (I’m doubting there will be no more opportunities in 2016) and take a look…after all I’ve been fiddling around with these for months (though you might not think so) so it would be nice for them to be seen.




Fifteen works on paper, 94 x 107 cm., Acrylic on paper, collage…all in progress but clearly an upside to the digital age is that its a very simple matter to be able to review where the whole shebang is on screen.  And its a strange thing (that I know several others have observed) that looking at these things on screen as well as in the flesh is quite helpful to thinking through where they need to go next.


More of the work as it progresses…or so one hopes…and turned, as seems fit, to landscape format.  And I swear its a fact as these images loaded iTunes put Wild Wood by Paul Weller into my headphones….so thats now the title of the series too…

And I say, “Climbing forever trying”
You’re gonna find your way out
Of the wild wild wood
Say that, you’re gonna find your way out
Of the wild wild wood, of the wild wild wood


I hear the sound of cash registers…

2015-11-17 09.04.22
Study for Mirrors & Tides, acrylic on paper, 37.2 x 37.2 cms., 2002

At least that’s what I imagine we would like to hear…that and the sound of other jingle bells.  Its the Harrington Mill Studios Xmas Sale and like Banquo I’ve been invited to be at the feast, albeit I left the studios twelve months back.  It’s really lovely to be asked.  So there’s plenty of work, paintings, prints, jewellery and other art objects to be perused and all at prices between £25 and £100.  It’s all on show from 12noon to 3 o’clock in the afternoon each Sunday for the next four weeks (22 & 29 Nov. and 6 & 13 Dec.).

2015-11-17 08.55.24
Study for La Terrasse Au Printemps 4, acrylic on paper, 27.5 x 37.7 cms., 2007

I’ve plucked out six or so works on paper from four series, Mirrors & Tides from 2001/2, La Terrace Au Printemps from 2007, Deadly Delicious from 2011/12 and the current Wonky Geometries.  All as cheap as…!


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Winter Cycle: Respect, Acrylic on board, 30 x 30 cm., May 2015

Another in the Winter Cycle series.  Good to have time to focus on these properly…and hopefully complete it shortly.  Though today was the best fun in several weeks – a trip to Leeds with my pal…and a mixed bag of work including a room full of 80’s paintings including this one from Bruce McLean…memory lane indeed and it looked pretty fresh too.

2015-05-13 12.08.32

The Cuckoo

2015-04-08 10.12.18
Winter Cycle: The Cuckoo, 30 x 30 cm., Acrylic on Panel, April 2015

I know there’s no actual cuckoo in the painting…nor is there any real attempt to portray “ankles deep on fallen leaves” or “a forest dark, deep and mysterious’…but it isn’t portrayal I’m after as I go about the task of assigning titles from Reg Keeling’s ‘A Winter’s Journey’ for the panels that will make up my ‘Winter Cycle’.  I was tempted to give this one the title of ‘Bright Eyes’, as an ironic nod to the nasty Conjunctivitis I’ve got in my left eye but I resisted.  How I acquired this swollen, blotchy eye is an object lesson to other painters – its fairly certain it is the result of sanding back panels without protective gear – so take the H&S advice seriously from now on I’d suggest to you all…

Winter Cycle

Winter Cycle:Like Demon Drummers                Acrylic on Board, 30 x 30 cm. 2015

Re-establishing a studio at home is hard going…not physically (though that’s a considerable task with the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years) but psychologically – the adjustment to the routine, the environment and the ambiance isn’t to be under estimated.  So here we are, nearly at the end of February and in terms of completed works I have these three modest panels (though there are fourteen more underway).

Winter Cycle: My Old Allotment Shed              Acrylic on Board, 30 x 30 cm., 2015

I need at this early stage to make an acknowledgement or two…this Winter Cycle takes Reg Keeling’s work – A Winter’s Journey as part of its inspiration as recorded by the remarkable Julian Broadhurst.  You can listen to or better still purchase a copy here.  Julian is an exceptionally creative individual, sometime visual artist and latterly fecund contemporary classical composer and performer.  But here he has operated as entrepreneur bringing Reg’s poetry deservedly to a wider audience.  I fell for these short haiku-like verses around mid January a short while after resurrecting these panels begun some time back and suddenly saw how the verses might bring the boards to life.

Winter Cycle: Beyond                                         Acrylic on Board, 30 x 30 cm., 2015

So I now have a form for the whole series…of which there will be twenty nine…twenty six comprising the Cycle plus three more, one for the Flute Interlude and one each for Reg and Julian…as grateful thanks for bringing shape and, hopefully, substance to this endeavour.