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The horror of impending deadlines last week finally enabled me to pull things together. For the past month I’ve been traversing the confidence meltdown that lies along the route to an impending exhibition. I’ve done the avoidance of important tasks, the distraction tactics of making bread/sowing seeds/jigsaws, I’ve had crippling anxiety over every mark made, stress eating, inertia of indecision and so forth. And I am now at the point where the only thing left to do is framing and updating my website, sorry did I say only thing?

However whilst there is little joy in updating a website or framing (for me at  least), there’s nothing there which undermines my sense of self or brings about uncomfortable self examination, besides which they are activities done under the guidance and with the collaboration of my framers (Lamden Felixstowe Road, Ipswich since you ask), and my son. And maybe updating my website will feel like stepping back from a picture to see it a fresh – hopefully.

And think of the satisfaction of it all being done – as opposed to the anxiety of not getting it done 😬before I follow that train of thought, ACTION!


Today finds me on a train between Milan and Basel having spent a week in Padua looking – looking at frescos, looking at paintings, looking at architecture and cake shop windows. I now feel saturated by religious art and delighted by Italian buns.

I saw so much religious art that I began to find it genuinely moving, not everything of course, but I felt better able to feel the anguish and devotion depicted. This was helped of course by so much of the work still being in situ and therefore seen in the context of pilgrims, Mass and serious devotion, in fact it made me feel quite nostalgic, two months in Padua and I would return to the devout Catholicism of my youth. It helped me glimpse something that I’d like to achieve in my own work, but seeing so many paintings, all theoretically aiming to genuinely move the viewer, I can now comprehend how truly difficult that is to achieve. Many paintings may illustrate the Passion of Christ, but precious few can move the unbeliever to tears. But what brings about the difference? Is it the skill of the artist or maybe their piety? Or is it entirely down to the eye of the beholder?

I also very much enjoyed a collection of paintings in the Museum of Popular Devotion, these gems  I think were intended to commend the souls of the unfortunate departed to the care of Saint Anthony. However what they show is a catalogue of ways to die in Padua painted from the 1850s to the 1950s, examples include falling from balconies, being cut in two by trains, road accidents involving horses, carriages and cars, smoking in a shed where fireworks are stored and being struck by lightening whilst hoeing. Great was my joy.