Thursday, 17 April 2014


With the sun up and a fair sky I've managed to get out and sketch. I've been using a combination of pastels and pen and ink. I hope to fill a large hard back book over the coming weeks and I'm hoping to try a new location (in negotiation) soon.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bridgeman Studio 2

It was 'nice' to see that a small part of one of my paintings is being used, albeit as a backdrop, on the Bridgeman Studio web pages!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

RUH: More paintings added

The painting above, with some slight modifications, is now on show at the RUH. Title: Big Sky. Medium: Pen and acrylic on paper. Size: approx 50cm x 40cm.

I'm pleased for the continuing opportunity to show work in the corridors of the Royal United Hospital, Bath. It is a 'unique' place to exhibit and through it you become surprisingly visible. I've had good, and unexpected comments from those who've had to visit. it would be appropriate to tip the hat to those involved in the arts programme at the hospital–Thank you Tony Smith and Hetty Dupays–for they recently won the Bath Life Award 2014 for the arts.


Unplaced, a very discreet way of saying that your work has not been accepted for show. And, as in life, so it can go for an artist. We have to face and deal with rejection. Sometimes you sense it coming and at other times you may feel blindsided by it. I believed my submission (and it is purposefully undisplayed on my blog) to be the right one. The judging panel did not agree.

So, what to make of it? Well firstly, you know it isn't personal and it behoves us to quickly detach that lie from our sense of well-being. Secondly, you have to ask yourself the question you least like to–was the work 'good enough'. In this case I believe so and discovered on collecting my piece I was in good-hearted company. Confidence maintained is important. But confidence can't be allowed to mutate into arrogance for that will end up blinding you. I often experience those with a deep root of confidence as quiet and thoughtful. It seems arrogance is married to pride and confidence to humility. Indeed, confidence is best displayed when we lessen the need to jostle for position and treat both success and failure with an equanimous spirit. A setback never feels good, but it does not halt the journey or define it. It can become a place for honest reflection and renewed focus. It can become a place of great grace. 

So what then? The answer is you will rarely know why a piece is not selected. And, because you don't know speculation will only fuel a fever of doubt. Take the time to work it through, let it go and move onwards. There are many more paintings to make and opportunities to enjoy.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Bridgeman Studio

I'm pleased to announce that some of my work is now available for licence and, in the future, as purchasable prints via the Bridgeman Studio. I plan to upload more images over the coming months. To take a look please use the link within this post or in the links list to the right.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Polar opposites or kissin' cousins

Paul Klee and Martin Creed
A friend and I recently visited London to see the Paul Klee exhibition at Tate Modern followed by the Martin Creed 'retrospective' at the Hayward Gallery.

Paul Klee
Broadly familiar, but not intimately acquainted, with the works of Paul Klee it was a pleasure to view a comprehensive survey of his creative life. Unique is a word often applied to artists and strangely inappropriate if you stop to think about it. However, Klee's work seems to have few ready equivalents. It's true, you can spot traces of all kinds in his image-making (and his subsequent influence in the work of others). But, he is one who appears unburdened by the practice, passions and experiments of his contemporaries. Influenced yes, but as a master assimilator he absorbed what he wanted and transmuted it into something very much his own. His work has been described as whimsical or fantastical and though there is much evidence of a creative playfulness it does him a disservice to major there. The underlying rigour of his practice lends a supple edge to his output and I think the turmoil of his days touches much of his work tangentially. He could be described as a creative man-child who inhabits a kind of parallel universe. Signs, symbols and practice reveal a rich reservoir of visual resource and interest that are at once deployed intellectually but with the retained wonder of a child. The veil between the real and imagined–the felt experience and the sublime is paper thin. You are captivated by his world of line, form, image, colour. And, like the best of painting you linger in anticipation of the reward your patient contemplation will yield.

Martin Creed
Unfamiliar with his work I left Creed's show at the Hayward no wiser. Things began badly–The introductory blurb about his work did not awaken my imagination. My doubts were amplified later when a cursory glance through the well produced monograph–fulsome in image but singularly lacking in written appraisal–announced, in the first line, the artist's 'brilliance'. I felt harangued. On navigating the show itself I concurred with the Creed's stated interest in repetition. Sadly, this was not a means to revelation but to boredom. If Klee was a creative man-child Creed only seemed adolescent. A kind of heavy handed in-joke dressed many ways replaced the light touch of wit. There seemed to be a lack of editing too. Creed's first idea was the final idea. Yes, lots of things done in different ways but no sense of development. I guess if you keep people hopping around you keep them off guard. There were some highlights though: A set of early drawings that hint at an idea being explored. Even the set of marker pen drawings seen collectively have a visual power. Otherwise, I didn't share in the enthusiasm Creed's work has garnered. But, perhaps in the title of the show 'What's the point of it?' Creed played his best trick. Like my friend and I many others will be provoked into long discussions about what it may, or may not, all mean

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

2014–Closed and Open

We are about seven weeks into 2014 but I remain in reflective mood. It feels like a season of work has concluded (though it's rarely that black and white). Generally, for me most change is incremental with seams of different work created alongside one another. And, whilst I'm not anticipating a major shift of emphasis I have dusted off a large, lightly used sketchbook and supplemented my pastel collection. I'm planning some new on-site drawings in familiar landscapes which I hope will be an impetus to a clear resolution/revelation in my painting.

The studio with some 'old' work out (the figure study excepted).