Friday 29 April 2022


One of my briefs at Art School this term:

‘Produce a body of work that includes at least one resolved oil painting on prepared board or canvas, or another appropriate surface. The painting must reflect ideas relating to positive and negative and deal with the subject matter of self-portraiture’.


It came to me in a flash, make an icon of me!


My icon
This also provoked some background research. Icons have been an integral part of the Christian tradition since the time of Christ. Accordingly they are said to raise the soul and mind up to the level of the spirit. This is not hard to understand given the impact they make when one  standin an orthodox church in Moscow or examining the wonderful painted churches of Romania. 


Saint Luke created the first icon, one of the Virgin Mary. On being presented with it she is alleged to have said “may the grace of him who was born of me, through me, being imparted to this icon”. 


The Byzantine church encouraged their creation. If you were studying a particular Saint having an Icon of that Saint in front of you was seen as a study aid.


Their creation and development spread across the Western Church. Icons in the Byzantine style were found it all Christian countries. However their importance was eroded with development of Italian Renaissance art in the 15th and 16th centuries. Today they are revered once more, following revivals in the eastern church. Important centres for their creation are Crete, Greece and Serbia. 

Outside a church in Moscow


Icons are small wooden panels usually about a five size so 21 x 50 cm. They are painted using egg tempera on gessothe ground. The combination of these two materials accounts for their longevity, egg tempera is egg yolk mixed with powder colour.


Interestingly the process of creating an icon is called ‘writing’ an icon and those who create are called icon writers. This is because the Greek word for painting and writing is one of the same ‘graphos’.




Fortified Church with Icons Painted on its walls

Sunday 24 April 2022


 Three shows at No. 6 Albemarle Street, those nice people at the Marlborough Gallery.


The London School – Well Figuratively Speaking

April 12 London

The exhibition Figuration runs until April 29, 2022. All our favourites are here. The sweet man on the front desk characterised this fab show as ‘kinda London School’.


Certainly there a lot to enjoy here. 

Prints and full cream oil portraits by Frank Auerbach, 

expressive etchings by Lucian Freud, 

delicate and precise drawings from Euan Uglow, 

unsettling canvases by Paula Rego characteristic of symbolic tale telling Leon Kossoff’s intimate portraits and 

R.B. Kitaj’s take on the figure.


A deft piece of curation and hanging and well worth a slow browse.

The show runs until the end of the month so you should not miss it.


Louise Bourgeois – Est-ce tu en as essez?

Many have flocked to see the retrospective of her textile works at the Hayward. 

This exhibition is a calmer but nonetheless candid assembly of prints and editions spanning seven decades.

Bourgeois began exploring print making 1930’s and became highly skilled and prolife and experimented with print making throughout her career.

The focus on sculpture from 1950s through to the 90s meant she did not return to printmaking until the 90’s - it became a daily activity re-examining earlier drawings and ideas.

Louise Bourgeois: Pregnant Man

April 12 

Christopher Braham Marlborough Gallery until 29 April 


Also part of Marlborough Gallery now is a captivating show of paintings by an artist who Lucian Freud described as his only true heir. 

Certainly they were both good friends, Bramham’s children sat for Freud. 

Christopher Banham 
Freud encouraged Bramham away from drawing into paint. His landscapes are drawn from Cornwall and the back gardens of south London. Beguiling back yards redolent of Pizzaro and Bonnard. 

A captivating show of paintings by an artist who Lucian Freud described as his ‘only true heir’.


Friday 22 April 2022


At school we are encouraged to gallery go. It’s more of a treat than a chore. Here are three not to miss shows and run until the end of April.


Jeff Elrod at Max Hetzler

There is always a treat at Max Hetzler, 41 Dover Street. 

American abstract impressionism with a twist. The twist being a beguiling use of tape. The tape masks out areas of linier white areas on these 180 x 160 cm canvases and the rest is acrylic and spray paint.

As the Galerie announces 

This where the parallel planets of digital and paint collide.

Elrod: parallel planets of digital and paint 


Susan Frecon at David Zwirner

Don’t talk, experience, is the message in the Zwirner’s write up about this their eighth solo Frecon show. 


These are big pieces and as you get as close as you can to each one appreciated the magical variations in paint thickness and tonal values. And the constant interplay between motif and scale.

Frecon: interplay between motif and scale


Mahesh Baliga at David Zwirner

A thrilling counterpoint to Frecon imposing colour fields is this collection of Indian delights by Mahesh Baliga. I was transported right back to days and experiences in Bombay and Delhi during my time with the BBC.


These paintings by Baliga are intimate and soulful sometimes there is a loneliness in subject matter and composition. The quotidian is fêted in a jewelled palette of colours. 


The scale of the works, little more than 30 x 30 cm lined up along the wall like school art show underpin the intimacy of these paintings.

Baliga: The quotidian is fêted

More here:)

Saturday 9 April 2022




Wood cut is a great way to create strong dynamic images in print. It was  of the core print making techniques we covered this semester.

You can make a wood block anywhere really 


The process calls for bold work. One can make a wood block anywhere including out on location. When we got to print from our finish wood blocks we would relief ink and a transparent medium. 


Import is to plan the image before ‘cutting’, making sure everything works as a design.

Early Stages 


Our group had nine panels, one each. We employed graphic device of a river as the ‘red thread’ on each panel 49 x 69 cm we would once each panel is fully ‘carved’ out, lay all nine end to end and take a print (April 1st and 4th) 


A highly focused activity and great to do as a group you can chat and still stay focused on job in hand and at the end of a session feel fully satisfied. 

Blocks ready for printing

The print - on one piece Chinese paper

My contribution 49 x 69 cm on Chinese paper


First used to decorate textiles in China 5C.  Woodblock printing on paper in Europe 14C -  took off with the development of moveable type. The master was Albrecht Dürer with black-line woodcuts, his near perfect images. Wood engraving with is sophisticated output grabbed the headlines 17 – 18C.  


The expressionistic potential of wood cuts was discovered by Edvard Munch and Paul Gauguin. 

In the 20C and the German Expressionists, stimulated by the vitality of medieval woodcuts, themselves gouged and roughly fashioned the wood to achieve a dynamic effect.


Wood cuts made a huge contribution to Japanese art - woodcuts satisfied the demand for ukiyo-e, (Japanese: “pictures of the floating world”) one of the most important genres of art of the Tokugawa period (1603–1867) in Japan. 

 Source: Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "woodcut". Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2 Nov. 2021,

 Accessed 22 March 2022.