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.



Ok. I’ve been reading Rob Turner’s blog about Cosmo. Let me introduce Mischa my black ex gun dog Labrador. We walk for an hour and a half every day up hill and down dale both with and without friends but I can’t say that it has improved my perspicuity.

Driving long distances does it for me. I know that when I reach down to turn off the radio so that I can listen to my own thoughts that we are truly motoring.

Typical; concepts, ideas, thoughts, visuals, that frisson of excitement and no way can I record a thing……….

Well, I have had my first blog moment. No longer the virgin. An artist friend e-mailed to say he had no idea that I had a Jewish heritage and that his partner‘s father had come from Berlin on the Kindertransport in 1939.

My mother came over on the Kindertransport from Berlin in 1939. We wait to see if they knew each other 60 years ago.

I spy six degrees of separation……..

Today was spent progressing the last of three exhibitions that my studio group are involved in. The exhibitions have been in response to the regeneration of Dartford Park.The gallery is attached to the library and suffers from all the usual problems but I have worked with the skate boarders and manned a market stall to collect memories and met a lot of useful people so it has had its moments.

Not least when rival skate boarders totalled a skater sculpture of mine and I was phoned by the police offering me victim support………

So today was spent manufacturing the first of three ‘theatre boxes’ that will contain futuristic park scenarios. I need them to be a mix of Edwardian elegance in a dark CCTV filled world but today was a Magpie Day. They happen. Everything is translated in to bling. I have to stop myself from covering the world in diamante. I have no idea where this comes from, only that it goes as quickly as it comes and normal service is resumed.

Well, not normal normal. Just normal.



Lists, lists lists……….am I the only one to have hot chocolate and loo rolls tangled up on my lists with the bubble wrap and gaffa tape I need to wrap my big triptych and send it on its way to its new home in Berlin?

What a learning curve that has been, organising, packing, shipping and insurance. It’s when I see clearly why a good agent might be handy.

I shall be glad to see it gone – it will clear a space in my studio big enough to put in the printing press I have talked about for so long.

But do I want the press? Will it just prove to be a distraction? Do I need a new creative opportunity at a moment when I feel my work needs to be lassoed and bought back under control…………

Today I saw ‘Julie and Julia’ at an afternoon screening; that always feels so decadent, like skiving off rather than going out……..I love it.

It made me think about blogging myself into submission.

A discipline.

An audience to be performed to.

A different viewer to disappoint.

A time waster.

Another form of bondage – the blog to be done……….Maybe.