malheureusement…has always been one of my favourite French words.  I don’t have many, a combination of typical British ineptitude with languages coupled to a right git oral examiner at ‘o’ level taking the piss out of me for getting my hair mixed up with a horse..!


But this one stuck…I just loved it – and it comes in handy here.  It is a pity (or quel domage…) but I couldn’t resolve the three panel piece above for the show in Honfleur (see last post).  It was to be a glorious homage (crikey more French) to Honfleur’s most famous painter – the wonderful Eugene Boudin but this Quatre, cinq, six, sept kept slipping away from me.  And the tricky colour thing, a desire to keep it light and airy, has been hard here inland and often (over recent months) in the dark.  Maybe what it needs is a trip to the beach…somewhere bright and breezy…the south coast perhaps or – how about – Normandy!

Maybe I’ll scout out one or two of the fella’s favourite locations,  Deauville, Trouville or Le Havre whilst over at the show.  Peut-etre…(enough French already ed.)





Last week I took a couple days out with my pal for the first time in quite a while to go north and see the William Tillyer exhibition currently running at MIMA.  Neither of us had visited the place, and having been open now for six years it seemed about time to make the effort!  I’ve a lot of time for Tillyer, as he suggests on his website, he is a highly inquisitive artist who likes to move from idea to idea and this just doesn’t sit comfortably with success.  Dealers especially like a brand they can peddle.  He also commits another cardinal sin nowadays, that of making pictures that people might find good to look at.  The show itself was a mixed bag covering some forty years of activity…and the best representation of his work went to the watercolours (I suspect because some phases of his past were harder to obtain).  Nonetheless, here and there, were some strong pieces and overall the show was very enjoyable.  MIMA itself was a good experience too, two hours free parking just over the road, nice friendly staff, a good quality cafe and an expansive open feel to the place. Outside in the super landscaped open spaces around the venue sits Bottle of Notes by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Hard to believe but this piece in twenty years old and the gallery celebrated its birthday with a small exhibition.


It’s easy to forget that Oldenburg is not only one of the pioneers of Pop Art but an early exponent of Installation and Performance as well as now being one of most ubiquitous of Public artists.  Now 84 its good to see he looks as energetic and lively as ever. So all in all Middlesbrough delivered our customary ‘artfix’.  But as we had booked an overnight stop rather than trying to do the trip in a day what to do with our time until our return?


Rest and recuperation that’s what! It’s been a busy few weeks…the schedule of HMS shows has been a little relentless and coupling that with preparation for my show at Lakeside as well as other ongoing activities. So we headed for the beach…at Redcar and clicked for a beautiful afternoon – it was bitterly cold but the light was sensational and the industrial combined with the wide open beaches to great effect – the lone horserider ploughing through the surf in front of the offshore wind farm a real photogenic bonus.

After this we treated to our overnight stop – in Hartlepool Marina – that was equally a revelation.  I’ve never been to Hartlepool before and if I had any idea of it at all it certainly wasn’t that which greeted us…

fI1f7zmoqxGyUGr86_UMdVbseESBSUq0cT-izJUsxS4it might well have been (apart from perhaps the temperature…) a Mediterranean port. All in all quite a day.

The next morning we set off over the North Yorks Moors in more glorious sunshine and made our way to Whitby.  Ar this time of year the place is relatively quiet (as somewhere I have been a few times it gets very touristy in summer) and with the sun still on our faces it too was a delight. Just wandering around somewhere this beautiful with no agenda at all…just the ticket!