Saturday 31 March 2018

Tollesbury Creek and the fishermen's shed

Tollesbury Morning    31 X 49 cm   Oil on Board
In my art class the other day I returned to that nagging leitmotif, Tollesbury in Essex.

This time I was applying my paint with just a spatula and carving it back with my palette knife.
The result is dangerously close to being exciting.

And worthy of the place I have been to so often with my father, the ashes of whom I scattered close to here at the turn of the year.

A place I often refer to as the edge of the known world and give thanks if it and my having written about it so often here 2011 - 12 when on visits with my father.

Working just a spatula, paired back with a palette knife

Tollesbury - this leitmotif

Thursday 29 March 2018

Amo l'Amarone

With Lent nearly behind us it is close to appropriate to sing the praises of a wonderful wine: Amarone; or to give it is proper name Amarone della ValpolicellaThis is a Italian dry to the point of irony, garnet red, rich and lovely.

We were very introduced to Amarone by good friend and carpenter Mark Lomas.  

This raisiny voluptuous wine, who's 15% vol. demands respect and then adoration. This nectar is rarely released until five years after the vintage. 

Drink Responsibly. (I had to make this drawing in homage so after the first glass).

Tuesday 27 March 2018

That Whittenham walk with Wendy and Rosie

That Whittenham Walk with Wendy

The afternoon walk in the February sunshine continues to inspire. 

And with my ‘studio’ now temporarily a store for builders’ equipment the Tuesday Art Group has become a really important time to get work done – Tuesday 9:45 – 12:30.

Works like this . . . 
1 My outline in acrylic on primed paper 

2  Now in with the oil paint. Setting the stage  - the hill.

3  adding hedgerows and those lonely trees 

3  nearly complete

4  Whittenham walking with Wendy and Rosie Oil on Paper 17 x 33 cm

Monday 26 March 2018

Industrielandschaft: Rüdersdorf

Two journeys along the River Elbe and a third planned in May this year, has brought me into close to industrial buildings that hover on the edge of landscape. Inspiration for picture-making.

These are places where to quote the poet Paul Farley
‘.. as difficult to pin down and define as poetry, but like poetry you’d know it when you saw it. … Decay and stasis, but … also dynamic and mysterious’.

These places are all around.

Statis Rudersdorf      Acrylic on Paper      40 cm x 60 cm

I discovered a photograph of the ruins of the VEB Chemiewerk Coswig facility in Rüdersdorf, not far from Berlin.

This remarkable place was was built in 1899 as a cement factory, but by World War Two it was producing chemicals for the Nazi war effort. After the war, the plant was stripped by the Soviets and used as a transit camp for prisoners destined for the USSR.

In 1950, it was pressed back into operation to manufacture phosphates, and the production of agricultural chemicals and compounds. These works were close to huge agricultural collectives of the DDR, fields through which I cycled in 2016 and 2017.

After permanently closing in 1999, the deserted industrial site became a favourite haunt of filmmakers.

The design of these places is a pure flight of fantasy. 

Sunday 4 March 2018

Winter Hedgerow Monoprint  20 x 30 cm   Oil paint on news print 

All around us the wind scraps and spreads the snow!

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter. 
Something waits beneath it – t
he whole story doesn’t show.” 

Andrew Wyeth

Saturday 3 March 2018

A Handshake in New York

Many of us like/love/ love to go back to New York. And sometimes the whole ‘New York experience’ is vicarious 

So, when a top concierge/travel company discovers your blog and falls hopelessly in love with your work, you cannot wait to play. 

Handshake New York is an advisory and concierge service taking great care of travellers to the New York area and locals too!  Owner Patrick Baynes (no relation) and I are going to embark on creating a series of limited edition prints from my drawings of this fab city.

If going to NYC find Patrick and his team here

Here are 11 fairly portraits of New York 

Friday 2 March 2018

La brillantez de Balenziaga: Frocks that rock!

Since he opened his first shop, in 1919, Cristóbal Balenciaga has been entrancing his clientele and us mere mortals with great frocks.

His bubble skirts and odd, feminine, yet ultra-modern shapes were (sorry are) unmistakeable qualities of his creative approach and the fashion house he founded, which continues today.

He is "The master of us all" said Christian Dior

AND The V&A always puts on a good show of frocks.

Just finished is an exhibition that examined the work and legacy of influential Spanish couturier.

There were over a hundred pieces crafted by ‘the master’ of couture, his protégées and contemporary fashion designers working in the same innovative tradition.

My top pick was a darling evening mini-dress by Emanuel Ungaro (who worked for the Master). 

A sense of place

Some places truly strike a cord.
These are places that preoccupy you for many days after your visit. 
The place you really cannot wait to get back to. It may be down the road, a field where you regularly walk, or across the other side of the world, a beach or a street or a bay.

Whittenham Clumps in Oxfordshire is one of my places. 

I walked past this spot  in July 2103 with two friends as we walked the Thames Path. I immediately created a linocut from the drawing I made at that time.

2013 Whittenham Clumps in Oxfordshire, one of my places.

It has been at the back of my mind since as a magic place, there, but not quite.

Last Friday with my cousin Wendy and Rosie the Puppy we to the summit of Round Hill and then across to Castle Hill its sister, both comprise the Clumps.

An on the spot quick sketch. 

Just enough information to develop into a painting.

Remarkable views, you look across Oxfordshire to the north, Chilterns to the East, South and West across the Berkshire Downs and Wiltshire.

The artist Paul Nash, who first saw them in 1911, described the view from The Clumps: "a beautiful legendary country haunted by old gods long forgotten"

This place has been the site being occupied since the Bronze Age around 1000 BC.

Paul Nash repeatedly painted Wittenham Clumps. I hope to follow in his wake, in a more industrious fashion than I have hitherto.