Still here…still plugging away

It seems I’ve missed posting anything for well over a month – I guess that’s ‘lockdown’ for you. But I’m still at it, making work and planning projects. One is coming up soon…and monopolising quite a bit of my time at present.

There’s more information about it here…but if you just want the pictures they will appear on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook each day from SATURDAY April 17th.

Meanwhile I’m still pushing on with both the Lunar Pulls pictures (though rather occasionally and with a change of focus and approach) and the latest instalment of the ‘mega-project’ that is tracking the whole of Leicestershire through series of paintings for each district. I’m currently on the third leg, the Melton District, that I’m calling Painting The Town Red. This is the painting for Kirby Bellars.

Kirby Bellars, 30 x 40 cm., oil on canvas, 2021

As the days drift by…

Work continues, and some things are completed. But it gets harder to find motivation during this – seemingly – everlasting lockdown. Not least as the prospects of work ever seeing the light of day seem ever more remote. However I had my first jab a couple days back so as more and more of us are inoculated we can only hope that some kind of partial resolution of our predicament is somewhere up ahead. Meanwhile I’ve polished off another Enid panel…

Enid’s Chelsea Nightclub, Acrylic on panel, 30 x 30 cms.

and I’m also delighted to be able to post the very first of the paintings that will comprise the third series of Leicestershire boroughs – Painting The Town Red – the Melton District series. This one is Welby. I doubt anyone knows the place so my take on it remains an enigma!

Welby (Painting The Town Red), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cms.

Fish and finishing…

The Goldfish, 1912 Henri Matisse

Not one of mine sadly…but catching up on Waldy & Bendy I was disappointed to learn that this hadn’t made it into their top five fish paintings. It’s certainly in mine alongside at least one by William Scott who was also ignored in that selection. Arguably even more of a travesty given that Scott painted a hellava lot!

Two Scott fish pictures, one from 1949 (left) and t’other from 1981

But I digress…for longtime readers will know I’m not much of a finisher. However a glorious winter’s day (at last) gave me no excuse. So I was off to Melton district to polish off the photography for Painting The Town Red and so complete stage one of part three of The Heart Of Rural England. This is the crazy project to visit, document and distil the experience of each of the places featured in the handbooks of each of Leicestershire’s districts. Usually this is done in tandem with my pal Simon but COVID etc. Anyway he’s well ahead of me having already completed his Melton and is patiently awaiting me to catch up (fat chance). Still it was a very nice morning to visit such delights as Frisby On The Wreake!

Stroll on…

niceday

and what a grand day to be doing so…hard to believe it’s still early February.  But we (being my pal Simon and myself) got stuck into the latest instalment of the seemingly endless task of visiting every place listed in the various District guides for the county of Leicestershire.  As it happens we haven’t yet completed Melton but a new year gets us out into Harborough (we polished off Charnwood some time back and I did NWLeics years ago).  The point of the exercise for me is to assemble a collection of small (40 x 50 cms.) paintings each representing, albeit very abstractly, every location visited.  For Simon it’s the photographs themselves and, as I’ve said here before, if you want top quality images his blog is where you should head off to!

Langtons

The paintings are invariably derived, very loosely, from crude collages of images taken on the journey.  So here we have one such…using two snaps made in Thorpe Langton, one of the Langton’s (there are five in all) in the Welland Valley.  Actually the Harborough project is a rather tricky blighter…the previous three guides elided the places on the map contained within the guide and the ‘biogs’ of places therein.  But this one doesn’t – some places are on the map but not discussed and vice versa.  What to do? choose one or the other or do the lot?  A question that won’t need resolution until I get around to the paintings stage and that will be a ways off as Charnwood still has 18 canvases awaiting completion whilst Melton still hasn’t got its full set of collages.

Meanwhile other picture making continues apace…another canvas from a newer series that has a putative title to be announced here soon…  This one is The Approach, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 55 cms.

The Approach.JPG

Painting the Town Red?

melton

and there they are…the Marquis of Waterford and his pals up to ‘high jinks’ in the 19th century in the town of Melton Mowbray.  Literally painting the town’s buildings (and apparently one of the toll keepers) in red.  Yes…following on the heels of From The Earth Wealth a few years back and last years Playground of the Midlands it is onto the Borough of Melton in what has become a grand projet to visit, photograph and produce a painting for every place listed in a guide to each borough or  district of Leicestershire.  As with Playground I’m being accompanied by my friend Simon and once again I’ll refer you to his posts for the quality photographic images – my excuse for the low grade ‘snaps’ is my focus on using (and abusing) them to make photoshopped collages that serve as the springboard for the canvases.  So our first trip out takes us out to Welby  (hardly a place at all…the local Manor owner apparently shipped out the locals back in the day!) but the church still exists…although we had a few interesting moments locating it!

welby

Then onto the somewhat larger village of Scalford, that was pleasant enough but lacked much liveliness although as always there were several interesting and novel visual ‘tags’ to take in.  Enough at least to enable me to cobble together a collage that can spur on the painting process.

scalford

Having strolled around the village (larger than it might appear from the main road that runs through it, as has been the case with quite a few) we decide to move on to the lunch venue.  I’ve described before how these are chosen – by zooming in on Google to the relevant area till the first knife & fork symbol appears – but this time I omitted to check that the Rose & Crown in Hose actually opens for lunch and it didn’t!

deli

So we double back into Long Clawson the last of our quests on this first trip out.  We spot a fella appearing to enter the Crown & Plough the pub in its centre…so start hot footing towards the entrance – only for said fella to pass us saying it too is closed!  Now glum chums we get back in the car grumbling about what is wrong with these inns only to turn the bend and spot the On The Sands cafe & deli. Hooray!  lunch is available and very good too.  So hardly painting the town red…more the surrounding countryside a delicate light shade of pink…or it might be except its January in England

field