Winter closes in…

Drifter no. 25, 15 x 21 cm. mixed media on paper, Nov. 2021

Today the weather is, at present, fairly decent…chilly but sunny.  But it’s that time of year when some days are pretty gloomy and it comes hard to work in the cold studio.  So out come my box sets, not the videos but one or the other of my ongoing series of small paper works.

Drifter no. 28, 15 x 21 cm. mixed media on paper, Nov. 2021

Over the past few days I’ve been adding to the Drifters (15 x 21 cm.).  They sit in size order between the Landscapes (20 x 23 cm.) and the Festive’s (13.5 x 15 cm.) with the Pockets (10 x 10.5 cm.) and Baby ‘G’s (8 x 8 cm.) further down and the Geo’s (27 x 27 cm.) further up the line.

Drifter no. 29, 15 x 21 cm. mixed media on paper, Nov. 2021

What is the point of all these you might reasonably ask…well it’s a way of recycling paper works that never resolved, trying out ideas and – well – just keeping busy…

Drifter no. 34, 15 x 21 cm. mixed media on paper, Dec. 2021

Around & around…

Two ‘portraits’ from the Hot South series…in progress or so I hope…

Back in 2013 I exhibited a group of five oval ‘portraits’ of Scandinavian literary detectives that I titled Black North. They accompanied the wall of viruses, my Epidemic series, in the show in the Angear Room at Lakeside Arts in Nottingham. I cannot say I was entirely happy with them at the time and subsequently they’ve been a reminder of doomed projects lurking up a corner of the studio! No matter. As it happens there were a few smaller ovals (they were all aluminium sheet) that never made the ‘epidemic’ cut. Occasionally it’s crossed my mind to make a complementary group of Italian tecs… the other group of fictional sleuths I love to read (alongside several of our homegrown. So I’m now wrestling with Hot South (I’m reworking those from the north too…and will re-title them Cold North). To pad out the five I’m augmenting the three remaining aluminium panels with two in…papier mache. Why not – it goes with the aesthetic of the place after all. The contrast is interesting and challenging.

Immune To Nature, Painting Standing Up no. 59

Whilst I’m mulling (rather, agonising at the mo) it over and as a bit of light relief the Paintings Standing Up continue to provide a distraction…

Mopping Up…

Painting The Town Red, the Melton leg of The Heart Of Rural England series. 28 30 x 40 cm. oils on canvas 2020/21

I’m rubbish at finishing up anything…I’m not – as someone once said on one of those awful management profiling sessions – ‘a completer’. Still by my standards the first of this group was only dated back in early 2020 so this is both high productivity and well-honed decision making! And as luck has it the group consists of twenty eight so neatly fitting together in the seven by four grid. This means I’ve now got three of the districts that make up The Heart Of Rural England (that’s the strap line taken from the Leicestershire county boundary sign). It’s taken very nearly a decade to get NW Leics., Charnwood & Melton sorted and with four more to go…plus the city itself its a moot point as to whether this series is ever completed – by me at least! The only plus point being that I seem to be speeding up as I go.

Church & States…

Church of St. Basil, Toller Fratrum, Dorset

Sometimes images just beg to be the beginnings of a painting and this conjunction of the fragment of the Magdelene set into the wall with the shelf and plate above at the Church of St. Basil in the tiny hamlet of Toller Fratrum in Dorset is certainly one such for me. Of course the final painting may turn out nowt like its origins as plainly explained by the sadly departed Thomas Nozkowski in this interview. And yes before you ask we have been gallivanting again…courtesy of our pals Allan & Moira…to the Jurassic Coast, a favourite nowadays. We were following in the footsteps of John Piper, as eloquently explained in Alexandra Harris’ book Romantic Moderns, an artist I’ve come to admire more and more as I get older.

Pocket Geo no.2

The trips away more often than not galvanise me into action on my return and on this occasion it got me moving on a resolution of yet another of my box sets. I’d quite some time ago prepped another set – one to sit between the Baby Geos and the Festive Geos as regards their size. But until today I’d not found either a title for them or indeed completed any to my satisfaction. Now hooray I have six made – and the Pocket Geos are ready to go! They are just the thing for fiddling with at the kitchen table under the daylight lamp in the early hours through winter.

More gallivanting…

Cormorants (I think?) sunning themselves in the early morning on the Menai Straights with Snowdonia as the backdrop…

It may seem greedy to be off again only a few days after our Hebridean adventure but we were on Anglesey for a few days to give Joan a break from Breadsall (for the first time in nearly two years). Just above Beaumaris and at a place I’d recommend to all. Glorious!

Redmile – Painting The Town Red oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm. 2021

Back now…to a heatwave at home…but at least it insures the proper drying of yet another canvas in the Painting The Town Red group of my larger on-going Heart Of Rural England project.

No Reports!

That’s us, in the hut next to the car – the other building is a work in progress…

In my last post I suggested there might be posts from the Outer Hebrides…sadly our location precluded it. Not because we had no signal, the 4G was healthy…but I swiftly exhausted my data allowance! But actually it did me a favour – quiet and no distractions from the amazing environs we were in and those we visited. I will refrain from posting endless glorious photos of these islands, if you haven’t been just go.

Some items to catch up on. First the CBP prize; one of the very few competitions worth entering, because its relatively cheap to do so and run by, and for painters. Still a week to submit!

Now onto postcards…I’m currently involved in two projects. The one above :art on a postcard and also : secret post card show 2021

And lastly two shows I’d love to see but fear I may not get to….both by painters of my generation who I admire greatly. If you can get along and support them:

Freya Purdue

Trevor Sutton

The loose ends…

Mort’s Hermaness, Acrylic on paper, 110 x 30 cm. 2021

I’ve a passion for poetry that began in my early teens. Actually it went underground between my twenties and sixties but has come back roaring in the past decade. I have an inkling its that way as regards our obsessions for many of us. I’ve rifled through a fair number of my favourites for the text that wraps around my paintings of late – Redgrove, in particular and Charles Wright is another. But recently I’m rather taken with Helen Mort‘s Division Street. Not least because of her poem North Of Everywhere that takes Shetland as inspiration. Perhaps because her work is more contemporary I’m wondering what the etiquette and legality is in using fragments of these many poets? Of course – as yet – I’ve not exhibited these works much (several were installed at Deda last winter but, courtesy of COVID, nobody saw them) and other than this blog they’ve not been publicly released but…

Mort’s Shetland, Acrylic on paper, 137.5 x 33.5 cm. 2021

Anyway these two have been on the studio wall since late June, so time to get them completed ahead of our holiday…stand by for reports from the Outer Hebrides…

Mopped Up…

The Glowing Tree, Oil on paper, 63 x 52 cm. 1985

All being well – and one isn’t as sure as in past times – we should be off to the Outer Hebrides at the end of next week…nice… When I was employed the holiday season always saw me endeavouring to tidy loose ends and clear work before departing. Nowadays the studio serves that purpose. So I’ve been digging out work that, for one reason or another has never been properly archived. The Glowing Tree has for many years been stuck to the back of another work on paper (a result of a sticky glaze). Now restored and thoroughly dry it joins the stack in one of the 15 plan chests of ‘stuff’.

Lost Chord, acrylic on canvas, 186 x 36 cm. 1995

Lost Chord is a canvas that somehow was never resolved to my satisfaction but I’d kept rolled up in the back of the store. Now its re-stretched (quite a job…my wife helped wrestle it into submission) and given a subtle ‘make over’ so its a mute point as to whether the date is strictly accurate. Still two pieces of work mopped up and archived ahead of the hols.

Gbloodyseven…

For some reason I cannot title the image directly underneath anymore (thanks WordPress!). But this is a reworking of one of my many Map pictures that never got resolved and I’ve titled it GBloodyseven in the context of it being an OS map of West Penwith with the site of the G7 event picked out in the composition of it (acrylic on map, 90 x 101 cm.). I did it this morning reflecting on the fact that these people see themselves as ‘Global’ leaders…even though they represent only around 10% of the global population (though with around 60% of its wealth). Looking at them lording it round Carbis Bay it made me think that they were the perfect examples of ‘never put in charge anybody who wants to be in charge’!

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…