Shameless additional plug…

I just donated my piece in this show to the cause…to get a book of the contributions made….and at the last time of looking it seems (with a little over a week to go) that it has only 22% left to raise. So why not head over to Kickstarter and pledge? There’s a range of goodies on offer and the book itself will be really interesting. This initiative from Andrew Bracey has already been a terrific success so please consider capping it with a contribution.

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know how I made my contribution…luckily well ahead of C19! But besides my work there’s plenty of others to tempt you!

Meanwhile back at my ‘day job’ I’m pushing on with part two of my epic journey around Leicestershire…the Charnwood Borough (with its strap line of Playground Of The Midlands…). Today I’ve signed off on Wymeswold (above) & Walton (below).

Overseas…

Portugese Sea, Acrylic on board, 57 x 77 cm. 2020

I thought at this time of appalling embarrassment to be British (through no fault of mine I should add) I ought to find some way of reminding myself that some of us at least remain committed Europeans. So this picture, one of my Lunar Pulls series, just completed might suffice. Named after, and drawing upon, words from the great Portugese poet Fernando Pessoa.

On another – happier – matter, I’m delighted to be part of Enough Is Definitely Enough where a large roster of artists have been marshalled by the estimable Andrew Bracey to celebrate the great Velásquez. There’s a crowdfunded to produce a catalogue – why not chip in and bag yourself a reward?

Drudgery…

bruminfanta
Brum Infanta, 2020

For reasons that need not detain…it’s been hard going of late.  Hardly anyone mentions it but making work can be drudgery…at least for me.  Not least in these strangest of days – sort of post-lockdown but with many of us still testing the bounds – when motivation is hard to find.  I’m still pushing the Paintings Standing Up but also endeavouring to drag one or two pictures that stubbornly refused to ‘work’ first time around kicking and screaming into satisfactory conclusion.  Easier said than done.

Two things to trail…firstly Enough Is Definitely Enough curated by Andrew Bracey with a piece by myself opens at Pineapple Black in Middlesbrough on Friday 18th September 6 – 9pm alongside other private views at The Auxiliary and Platform A. The show then runs 24 September – 17 October 2020, 10am – 4pm, Thursday to Saturday.   Andrew is also running a fundraiser for a book of the show – why not subscribe?

Secondly my good friends Moira & Allan are running a show – Days Like These – in Lyme Regis this autumn with work by myself, my wife Sarah R Key & Stuart Reid as well as themselves- details here…with more to follow!

 

Travels…

HipstamaticPhoto-574179774.029194

The trip to Gdansk was exceptional for many reasons.  Chiefly perhaps that it was so unexpected and unplanned.  The marvellous and enterprising Robert Priseman must take the credit for organising the Made In Britain show drawn from his (and Ally Seabrook‘s) collection that propelled the decision to take a visit to the city.  Although I only have a very modest ‘walk on’ part in the event going over seemed like a no brainer.

HipstamaticPhoto-574249014.769199
Gdansk the confluence of the marina with the Motlawa river

The show itself looked very handsome.  And hopefully my picture didn’t let the side down, settled on the wall, between Lucy Cox and Stephen Snoddy – so at the least it was in good quality company.  The collection is full of excellent work, both figurative and abstract, with both a smattering of famous names (I doubt my work will ever be nestled so near to Alan Davie‘s, one of my teenage idols!) and good representation from many of us regionally based painters as well as, inevitably, many from the capital).  There are many that I rate very highly and several I know well.

IMG_2057
foreground, Lucy Cox, then mine, then Stephen Snoddy plus Ben Cove & Mary Webb

On the floor above there was a smaller grouping of artists from the collection, where a grouping of works allowed more in depth study.  Robert was amongst them with a group of portrait studies that looked very handsome, their meticulous considered style suiting the juxtaposition with the Judith Tucker works opposite; both in black and white but showing how material,  handling, and facture as well as subject matter can provide figuration with many moods and responses.

img_2059.jpg
David Ainley

David Ainley, is a friend (disclaimer) but his fastidious and controlled abstractions build over time to something quite transcendental and luminous that I believe show immense quality.  James Quin is an artist I’d not previously seen but I loved both his picture in the collection and his reflections on Las Meninas that made up his contribution to the upper floor show.  A different approach to Ainley but an equally intense luminosity to the work.  I’m guessing that – perhaps – James will be represented in the forthcoming Enough Is Definitely Enough  if not he jolly well ought to be!

HipstamaticPhoto-574250343.777450
Museum of the history of WW2

What of Gdansk itself?  Well it was one of the worst hit places in WW2, indeed it was the location of the commencement of that ghastly conflict and is now home to the huge and monumental museum dedicated to it.  As a consequence much of the centre of the city is rebuilt but contrary to what might be expected of somewhere that has spent much of its post war within the ‘Iron Curtain’ it has been (and as far as one could deduce continues to be) done with great sympathy for its longer term heritage – particularly its role in the Hanseatic League.

HipstamaticPhoto-574249165.794369
Gdansk with its famous crane in the foreground

Of course driving out to the coast (Gdansk is the south side of the ‘Tri-City’ that also comprises Sopot and Gdynia) the soviet era concrete apartment blocks begin to appear but then they too are subsumed into a more vernacular architecture that in Sopot spoke to me at least of seaside grandeur across much of Europe (though here much less faded than to the west).

HipstamaticPhoto-574433602.358442
Sopot town centre

 

HipstamaticPhoto-574425478.461579
Sopot from the end of the pier, mercifully bereft of ‘amusements’ etc. just one lovely cafe.

 

So Gdansk turns out to be quite an experience – the centre a thriving and bustling place with many interesting and lively tourist attractions and an excellent cuisine (our particular recommendation is Bowke) but of course Poland is still a relatively poor central European country.  Perhaps it was that aspect that led me to choose to photograph it in B&W so here is the centre of Old Town in full colour that I imagine is how the tourist industry wants it to be seen!

HipstamaticPhoto-574449917.457856