The ‘Day Job’…

Wymondham (Painting The Town Red), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm. 2021

I’m getting towards the mid point of my Fifty Year Itch project that sees me posting a painting a day representing each year of practice from 1971 to my 70th birthday in June. But of course these pictures have all been made now. So back to the ‘day job’ that – for me at least – is now just getting on with the various other series of paintings and objects that make up my art practice now. It wasn’t always like this and the ‘Fifty Year itch‘ documents the ways in which earning a living both enhanced and distracted from making art in the past. Luckily all behind me now (though C19 lockdown reminds us all of how social interaction is vital to our sense of wellbeing).

Long Clawson (Painting The Town Red), oil on canvas, 30 x 40 cm. 2021

So back to the third part of my project to get round each district of Leicestershire making a painting for each town, village or hamlet (as defined in the district handbooks). ‘Painting The Town Red‘ is the leg that takes in Melton borough and here’s my quixotic take on two more places. Besides this I’m still working on the Paintings Standing Up…with several larger pieces in the process of being resolved (at least to my satisfaction).

The weekend also brought a treat – my copy of Andrew Bracey’s excellent book on his Enough Is Definitely Enough project arrived plus my individually made artwork from him. My contribution to the project is modest enough so I can recommend the book as a whole without seeming too immodest! Congratulations are due to Andrew, not only for the idea, but the exhibition and the publication that are a considerable achievement.

PSU Nos. 43 & 44

Painting Standing Up No. 44 Ideal Country

Sitting and waiting these two since I returned from Dorset. For what? just the final tweaks as it turned out. Sadly none of the Paintings Standing Up are going to Déda…and what’s the status of that showing of the exhibition Days Like These anyway…not sure as they (and we) are firmly mired in Tier 3. Ah well at least we got the shows title on the nail…

Painting Standing Up No. 43 Forward to Spring!

Another Box!

No. 1

You know how it is…you finish one box and another comes right along. So here’s A Confusion Of Clouds. Forgive me if I already signalled their arrival – I started it back in January of this year…but only just revisited it. So who knows, after all its all pre and post COVID…

No. 22
Installation View – Days Like These

And also a plug…for Days Like These, now showing at the Malthouse, Town Mill Galleries, Mill Lane, Lyme Regis until 4th Nov. (daily 10 till 4) where I’m showing a few of my Paintings Standing Up.

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!

 

Pest Control…

But first…Wonky Geo No. 158

WG158
Wonky Geometry No. 158, mixed media on paper, 27 x 27 cm., August 2020

So I’m casting around last evening for entertainment and chance upon theYouTube video of Andrew Graham-Dixon sashaying about Sotheby’s pimping their sale (a few days back)…actually rather more interesting and informative than might be imagined.  And this morning I briefly looked up the results. A goodly proportion of the lots went and most within their estimates.  However a Banksy nearly doubled its upper estimate figure going for £2,235,000.  This triptych of altered pre-existing paintings of seascapes references the on-going tragedy of migrants endeavouring to cross the Med.  Setting aside my profound antipathy for mega wealthy individuals (both vendors & purchasers) salving consciences in this way, the means employed – riffing on the altered readymade pioneered by Duchamp over a century ago – seem a bit tired and hackneyed.  Nonetheless to the credit of those concerned all proceeds will go towards building a new acute stroke unit and purchasing children’s rehabilitation equipment for BASR hospital in Bethlehem.  Better that than redistribution from billionaires (Oligarchs etc.) to mere millionaires (Gerhard, Tracey, Damien, Jeff etc.) …

 

AuctioneersFears
Auctioneers Fears (PSU No. 34), Oil & acrylic on reclaimed timber, c. 40 x 48 x 17 cm., August 2020

But what took my eye particularly was the attachment  of  a Pest Control Certificate of Authenticity to the work.  Why one wonders?  My hunch is that these three rather manky canvases were picked up in a local bazaar and might be subject to dry rot or other assorted mange…and if you’ve just podded out over £2 mil you probably don’t want to see it fall apart that quickly (though long time Banksy watchers might hazard the guess that’s precisely what he intends!).

It got me to thinking about my Paintings Standing Up (most recent example seen above), after all were one ever to sell then given the dubious sources of their materials perhaps they too should have such a certificate.  But who issues such things…Rentokill perhaps!

Reasons to be cheerful…

IMG_1039
Tea and Polo, acrylic & watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper, 56 x 76 cm. 2020

at least I’m not spending cash during ‘lockdown’…rather revisiting and reworking stuff I’ve had kicking about the place.  For example there’s my large series of TFTLR that have been ‘repurposed’ (what a ghastly word!) as Paintings Standing Up.  I’m also unearthing the ‘failed’ pictures on paper from my earlier virus series and jollying them up to show a tad of insouciance in the face of the you know what…

In the Country of Lost Things…

Dancer's Air
Dancer’s Air, timber & acrylic, 2020

‘Lockdown’ is increasingly feeling like being inside of Auster‘s wonderful (and as it turns out prescient) novel.  And hereabouts I’m digging around in the tight spaces of those things either abandoned or discarded.  But every cloud etc.  So more Paintings Standing Up are mushrooming into life!

french toast
French Toast, Oil & acrylic on timber, 2020

Paintings Standing Up…

beetlebum
Beetlebum, wood offcuts & acrylic, 2020

The continuing ‘lockdown’ is probably sending a lot of us a tad nutty…certainly I’m bouncing around the studio playing with all sorts.  This includes my growing collection of Paintings Standing Up that developed out of an earlier series TFTLR (Tales From The Lumber Room).  These scrappy little constructions have been littering the studio for several years and over the past week or two I’ve dusted some off, given them some TLC and given them titles.  So there’s now a ‘body’ of work (well seven or eight) to put up online.  The first and second are here now…

stockadeboozing
Stockade Boozing,wood offcuts & acrylic, 2020

Year End…

I Give You The Morning
I Give You The Morning, Oil on linen, 15 x 15 cm., Nov. 2018

Nothing concentrates my mind like the impending end of the year.  I know its foolish of me but the wholly artificial milestone of the 31st December tipping into January 1st has me frantically endeavouring to tidy up production of work. Given my equally absurd penchant for multiple objectives for my work in the form of various ‘series’ or ‘projects’ this is, as one might imagine, something of a tyranny.  So I have three more of the Coastal Banners to complete – will they get resolved?  I’m revisiting a host of the Playground Of The Midlands canvases to see if I can put more of them properly to bed.  A number of Very Like Jazz follow ups are assuming a more prominent place in the pantheon of T2R2  (those that require resolution) not least because Better Git It In Your Soul is, courtesy of the energetic and exceptionally talented and generous Robert Priseman (who has done so much for Contemporary British Painting) is on tour again in 2019.  So I’m thinking this strand of my work that has been quietly bubbling under for the past year needs more of an outing. 

Made in Britain

And of course I’m heavily into part three of the Landscape & Memory project – Rock – that I’d dearly like to have fully completed by the time the clock ticks over again into 2020 but at my rate of prevarication means quite a lot of cogitation as well as more painting (though mercifully all of them are in play now).  Of course I have all those small things that bump along more or less all the time.  The Wonky Geo series, now heading north of 60 in total, a set of little abstract landscapy things as yet untitled (and unseen) and two more tiny boxes full of half baked and half realised workouts…oh…and the glacial progress of the i series as above.  And just to top it off there’s a host of Paintings Standing Up, experiments in three dimensions, that I cannot for the life of me decide are worthwhile pursuing or not.  Yep nothing fogs the mind like the impending Year End!