‘Spinning plates is a skill in itself, but if you find you are constantly doing this then you need to take a step back from your practice’…………. this months a-n quote homes in on me like an exocet missile.

Guilty. Guilty.Guilty…….

My ‘park boxes’ sit looking balefully at me as I sidle past them, painfully aware that there are only two where there should be three ………..and stuff just keeps piling up.

Pushing Print – the mirror plates are on, the frames checked, the details written and the packaging done. They sit in the hall awaiting delivery to the friend who will run them down to Margate if I will run hers back again.

The collaborative book – I am not running it – but we can’t find a replacement poet…….nothing I like better than solving every one else’s problems. It anesthetises you to the fact you should be attending to your own I find. So I think and e-mail and my own practice waits like a dog by the door for me to take it for a walk……….

I am just so good at this; running things, empowering people, enjoying the doing of it and ignoring the big brown eyes of my waiting practice…..

Last night was the the first night that the Artist’s Forum I organise met in it’s new home. Twenty four artists all happily chatting and networking and the still dark dog of my own art practice waits patiently by the door………..

My elderly disabled mother makes a sudden impassioned plea to fly with me to Germany to see ‘Kaddish’ installed in the prayer room of the building that gave her refuge as a Jewish child. It feels like a late tackle but the dutiful daughter is now embroiled in passports and carers and wheelchair access and the dark dog has given up on me and has slid away ………….


Four prints accepted into the Pushing Print at the Pie Factory in Margate- thrilled. I would love to make a relationship with Margate- I like its face- it suits me.

‘Accident and Emergence’ run by two of the London artists I exhibited with in the summer have invited me to join them in exhibiting at their One Night Stand exhibition in Shoreditch. Already I feel the old ‘what shall I take/ make’ debate excitement rise.

Exhibition of the week has to be my trip to Mascalls Gallery in Paddock Wood with a printer friend. We stood in the gallery space adjoining the school and just devoured Richard Long’s stone circle. Laid out on the wood floor at our feet it had a magical, brooding presence that seemed to speak of mountains and trees and centuries and seas.

We studied the lines on the green/ blue slate, the glitter of the mica at the edges and the lines left by the cutting machinery. With no one else there it seemed to belong to us.

And then my seismic shock of the week- a funding evening in Sevenoaks led by Lorna Dallas Conte.

I went to the evening as much to meet up with people and spread the word about our new Artists Forum as to hear the words of wisdom.

What an inspirational speaker- five children and a successful art practice – true respect!

I have wondered vaguely about mentoring and whether it was applicable to my situation in the past but I think I have found the moment, and the person. Lorna and I are planning to meet up for some sessions.

I have to say that the thought makes me feel very vulnerable. It’s plainly not worth the doing unless total honesty is forthcoming from me…………but it does feel rather like being asked to take ones clothes off.

But then it may turn out that the Emperor has no clothes in any case………..

But before that work to do- sort my images, re-read my CV, review the statement, do the task already set for me- a series of self- set questions and answers………..

The pressure mounts to redo my group website and put up my planned solo one so reviewing my work together will be easier and I will look altogether more professional and as if I am sorted.

Which I am not; which is why I need Lorna.

But I think we have been here before not so long ago.

The wish to twirl……….the pole dancing Emperor with no clothes………………..

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I have been thinking about this blog. Truly thinking.

As in most things in my life I fall into them almost by default; this blog being no exception. I begun it stung into irritation by the gloss [as I perceived it] of most artist’s blogs- twirls in font of imagined curators with just enough difficulties thrown in to leaven the mix into believability.

Where I wanted to know was my peer group- the artist working from their studio, networking to raise their profile, art managing and teaching to self fund their practice, exhibiting in the provinces, attending endless seminars to meet and greet and improve their knowledge of the art world and their chances of success………..?

Afraid I guessed – of the permanence of putting their virtual words on virtual paper telling the world how it was for them; because it’s not so virtual is it? It’s pretty permanent. Might come back to bite you this blog. Just when you get rich and famous – and look how silly you would feel then- huh?

Well, I would, wouldn’t I?

So it is perhaps no surprise that my class on ‘Abstraction’ has resulted in three e-mails;

“It meant a lot to me to hear you say that actually there was no point trying to paint for anyone else but me. Seems obvious I know, but isn’t it the human condition to seek approval?” “How refreshing it was to talk about why we all feel we have to master ‘perfect rendition’ before we can set ourselves free to follow our own artistic identities.” “More recently I had felt myself trying to bend my style to meet people’s expectations…”

So I answer my own unspoken question.

Onward and upward. The blog goes on. I shall never be the next Tracy Emin, but I can tell it like it is for the lesser guys; and pass on the approval.

And I shall shut my eyes to the fact that Google is storing this in its big memento box in its virtual sky. To unwrap later.


Aha………I owe a thank you to the charming Mr Stephen Palmer who has pointed out the error of my ways. I am now posting to my blog as opposed to starting yet another one! Left to my own devices a-n may have run out of web space….

Well I got to the studio today. I have to say I my studio appears to have arranged itself as an homage to Bacon’s. But I did find the gesso, board, graphite pencil and sundries needed to slate the inferno of ideas that visiting the Jerwood has lit in me.

They sit there unused. Life intervenes, as does preparing a talk about Abstraction which will earn me a very handy £70, but as I personally don’t work this way I feel the need to research. I do have a history of art degree but actually that is a hindrance. Precis, précis, précis as my English teacher used to say………..

I have actually managed to finish two of the three boxes that I have been working on for the Dartford Park exhibition in October. At the moment I feel quite placid about them, but that will doubtless change. They do seem to have a life of their own- somewhere between a child’s theatre set and a Nativity scene.

The last of our studio group’s three exhibitions on the Park this one is focused on the future planned regeneration. Which is to be – boom boom – a return to an Edwardian park.

I am fascinated by this strange double take of regenerating the future by stepping back into the past.

Consequently the work has begun to mix Edwardian fancy footwork with my own preoccupation with loss of freedoms and has sprouted CCTV, listening devices and watchers all claustrophobically corralled in a small wooden box in a strangely coloured futuristic world.

Having flown through the making of the first two boxes as though they knew where they were going and I was just a facilitator I now feel nothing but weariness at the thought of beginning a third. Hard to know now if I am wedded to the idea of a third box just because repetition and odd numbers have become part of my practice or if it is material to the work as a whole. In a contrary fashion I feel I need the third box physically there in order to answer the question.

Alongside the boxes I plan to exhibit map pages- the sort of folded pocket map that was once popular. Each map is to relate to the box alongside. I have a sense of a map that morphs into a drawing and back again across the paper.

The thought of starting work on the maps really excites me but I feel I must finish all the boxes first so that they have a physical presence before I can begin ‘part two’. What is this about? Do others surreptitiously set controls for themselves when they are working?


To London to London to visit the Queen- well not quite. The Jerwood, Threadneedle and various galleries serendipitously en route………

As always I have returned from my wanderings fired up and no longer connected with daily life. My head is now constipated with images and feels in need of a good debriefing.

So – the Threadneedle Prize. The winner of this most lucrative art prize is a tiny, icy nude that looks incapable of gestation without Freud. It is a self portrait of the female artist and on the citation she decribes herself as a ‘small naked frightened creature.’ I wonder in a very un- PC way if I might have viewed it as a stronger work if it had been painted by a man.

Accompanied by an artist friend I meander on down South Bank in the sun, removing clothing layers as we go. It felt like summer, not least because of the fabulous deck chairs that have appeared this year- all in full occupation – and the street performers and the courting couples. Its enough to make you proud to be British.

A lovely time in the Jerwood. Light and airy, beautifully hung, but rubbish photos in the catalogue. Flat dead images like old fish eyes. Truly not worth producing a catalogue if all it does is dissapoint.

I did wonder when does a matchbox with a paper collage on became a drawing, but the collage may have been a drawing. Technical obsessional talent renders things so photographically real it becomes impossible to tell. Which is of course sometimes the point, but then again sometimes not. And its impossible to tell.

Drawing does seem to favour the obsessional, repetitive and meditative. Give me a multi – layered pampliset and I am a moth to a flame………….

Roy Eastland’s tiny worked and reworked figures do it for me as do his seascapes.

Sian Bowden’s strange work labelled ‘palladium on paper’ had me Googling this evening. I am still unsure of the process but it gives an otherworldly feeling of being at one remove. Behind glass. Which it is.

Returning we drop into Gabriel’s Wharf and I spy a gallery with work faintly reminiscent of a friend’s beautiful ceramics. Ever the warrior I dive in and after a brief preamble demand they look at her website which they do.They love it. My good deed for the day.

I am always doing this. If there was a job where I could introduce artists to eachother, and pass on opportunities

a] I would be happy and

b] I would be richer [instead of them].

So – now I feel like immersing myself in graphite – but I have too much to do.

The Artist’s Forum that I ran from our studios has outgrown its present home and we are moving to the local arts center.

More office stuff.

I am always going to reduce this side of things.