Busy busy…


Another busy day… plotting the details of my teaching for the coming academic year that is very nearly upon us.  Luckily nowadays I have only the teaching I’m doing (a relatively modest contribution to a couple modules this semester and module leadership of two after Xmas) rather than the endless and distressing administration and so forth that came with being a senior member of staff in one of our very challenging new universities.  I came back to a reminder of the date of delivery for the next significant exhibition I’m making…and the 15th November seemed a long way off back before summer…it doesn’t seem so now.  I’m excited to be showing alongside a major exhibition at Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts Centre, that will feature work by a host of big names (Hockney, Hamilton, Kitaj, Hodgkin, Hirst, Quinn, Turk to namecheck just a few) and I’ll be hanging around (literally) the outside of the gallery that will be displaying them!  It should be a lot of fun!


Coming to the computer I discovered a lovely new work in the Long Series by the irrepressible Stephen MacInnis.  In a way, although I suspect, coming from a very different wellspring, it reminded me of the work I was making way back in 1980…large paintings on paper that were very dark and doomy.  Then again given that Stephen is embarked on a long journey that requires him to be endlessly inventive (I really don’t know how he manages it) and very very busy…I realise what a sedate pace I’m going at…and with so many images he is creating there may be a fair few of us who can lay claim to a similarity to one or another of a series that is already heading past 1400 pictures!



Glue On The Floor

Moon Mick - Loft


Stephen MacInnis reports on his children’s use of glue…and how quite a bit of it ends up on the floor.  It reminded me of (and gave me an excuse for) further visual reminisces of my earlier life as Gallery Assistant at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery back in the 70’s.  This is one of Mick Moon’s huge loose canvas pieces constructed from imprints made in the studio on the floors and other surfaces using PVA glue to transfer the form onto the canvas.  Moon (the brother of the late great Jeremy...who tragically died far too young) was really onto something with these pieces though I don’t think he pursued the idea for very long or took them to where they might have gone had he done so.  In any event I loved them (and so did the John Moores Painting Competition judges for one of them won first prize at the 1980 exhibition) and wish he’d experimented further with the idea.  Let’s see if Stephen’s children pick up the trail!

Some Days…

IMG_2582start out not so promising…but just get better and better.  Today is one of those.  I went to the studio with zero enthusiasm and in Artic conditions (at least by UK standards).  In these circumstances it is best (for me at any rate) to do something very mechanical.  So I battened all the mdf supports to the aluminium sheets for an hour or so whilst the space heater warmed the place up.  By the time I had them all done I was already feeling a whole lot better and able to get into the painting…and it suddenly became one of those days when you remember exactly why you wanted to do this kind of thing in the first place.  The sheer joy of putting a brush loaded with paint to a surface with only the sketchiest idea of the outcome is one of the most satisfying things I can ever imagine!



Eventually I had to call it quits – pretty much every one of the paintings underway suffering from paint drying delays but plenty to celebrate and several near to, or maybe even at?, completion.  And during the day a whole host of alerts for Linked In messages from old friends and colleagues in response to the message I’d sent out about our Studio exhibition programme, OK quite a few saying they couldn’t make it but lovely nonetheless that they had replied.


And finally a positive reply to my response to Stephen MacInnis’ call for another swop…that hopefully will result in acquiring one of his marvellously and endlessly inventive Long Series.  So all in all a damn good day…only slightly marred by my ankle swelling up again and needing treatment this evening!



White Cube…


I just posted to Stephen MacInnis‘ page that I wished I had some decent making skills…and here I am trying to fashion a 15″ white cube.  Why?  because my good friend and colleague Peter Moss set our students this task last Friday and I thought I’d try it out for myself to see if it would be as difficult as some of the cohort suggested – and damn it…it is!  Certainly it is if one took on board Peter’s instruction ‘to make it a good one”.  Although I don’t think it will turn out too bad I’m pretty sure already that it hasn’t got the finesse he was hoping for.  Then there was also the follow up requirement to fill it with things…what things? well that was for you to decide.  So even when I have the thing made I need to think up some suitable contents…I’ve one or two ideas but any suggestions out there!?

Oh and the paintings proceed apace – though as I have decided to loosen things up a little there’s a fair amount of pouring going on and – even using acrylics – this takes drying time.  So plenty of spaces in between for playing with the white cube…


Get Your Tanks Off My Lawn



Stephen MacInnis was kind enough to comment on this painting…exhumed (and I think that’s the right word!) from my stores during the recent move – now thankfully nearly completed.  It is one of the ‘Conversation Pieces’ that are a on-going series of pictures that mass forms on either side of the picture plane and leave a large area of ground between them.  The majority of the works to date are relatively small (the largest number of canvases are 60×50 cm) though there are some a bit bigger.  The scale of the pictures is important…and maybe the size is too…  After all the expanse of colour might well be a determining factor in how the viewer receives the pictures as a whole.  I have at present only two more at the size of ‘Get Your Tanks’ on the go (and that is code for started nearly three years ago and sitting in the stack pretty much ever since…) but with the prompt from Stephen I may give them a bit more attention between now and the festive season…so thanks!