Finished the set up today! As always it takes longer than one thinks. Fingers crossed for tomorrow’s breakfast PV. Croissants, tea, coffee and fruit on the menu.

The Margate School, Former Woolworth’s Building, 33 Lower High Street, Margate CT19 2DX

Beachtime stories: An exhibition of intimate 100 ink drawings of beach-inspired scenes by Clare Smith in the Line Gallery. Most of these seaside scenes are in Kent. The drawings are based on the artist’s huge library of photographs which she realised were asking to be used as a resource.

“Like many children, I spent happy times on the beach and remember the Lone Pine Hotel in Penang. In my mind, the sand there is spotless and the sea is the most wonderful blue. The adults sit and chat and the children play. Years later, the sand is not at all spotless, the sea is brown, churned up and full of sea snakes. Swimming has to be done in the hotel pool reserved for guests with rooms.

Living now in Dover, near to the sea after many years away from it, seems no accident. The sea is potentially an all too familiar subject matter, but the very vastness of the oceans and the sea allows for a never-ending fascination, renewed interpretations and personal responses. Human beings have lived by the sea, on the shore for thousands of years. According to John R. Gillis, the “shore was the first home of humankind’ and shores (natural environment) have now in many instances been transformed into coasts (man-made environment).

For Gillis, “the beach was the last part of the shore to be discovered and settled.” They are places from which we look out to sea; the beach is an edge, the land is behind us, it is an ever-moving, ever-changing boundary separated from the land “over there” by the sea, which without a boat, is a hard-to-cross border. With a boat, the sea suddenly becomes a connector between two shores; it becomes possible to go ‘over there.’” (Clare Smith)

The coast is not just a shifting ribbon separating land from water. It is a place of opposites, of conflicting ideas and feelings. These paintings, done over a period of a hundred days, of different locations, inevitably reflect the fast-changing moods of our coastline. They bring us sun-kissed promenades and beaches filled with tourists and sea-bathers, but also recall stretches of wind-packed sand and empty shore-front car parks lashed by rain. There is a romantic nostalgia for childhood holidays in the images of families playing on the beach and dogs splashing through the waves. But behind all that, peering at us from the beautifully pooling washes of dark ink, is something more oppressive. The bleak shorelines depicted in some of the pictures evoke our fear of the open sea. There are hints, perhaps, of the dangers that await us when the weather and tides are against us, whispers of the industry and ports that once dotted our frontier with the sea, and shadows too perhaps of the threat from rising sea levels. (David Frankel)


Despite the slight muddle with the technician not realising how much help I needed the show is almost hung despite getting muddled myself with the numbering in places! Tweaking tomorrow….


I’ ve just got back from a wonderful weekend focused on drawing …

First stop the opening of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize at Salisbury Museum. It was interesting to see all the work in a different space – mine had one of the same neighbours as in London. Had a wonderful chance meeting with two artists and an opportunity to talk about the process behind my drawing.

Then the next day we took in Salisbury Cathedral and I managed to catch a demo of the clock. Great to see Barbara Hepworth’s piece Construction (Crucifixion): Homage to Mondrian back on permanent display in the South East corner of the Cloister Garth.

I visited Drawing Projects UK for the first time and saw Simon Woolham’s installation and drawings, Drawing Out the Canal, and enjoyed his performance with Nick Sorensen & Joanna Harvey – a wonderfully melodic, poetic and political extension to the work, which I really loved seeing for real after only seeing it online.

Finally I went to 2B or not 2B at Messums Wiltshire with Anita Taylor, Charles Poulsen, Alice Motte-Muñoz and David Alston. Fortunately the discussion did not get stuck around “no-one teaches drawing any more.” I’d have liked to hear more about what makes a good drawing but there was plenty to think about in the attempts to define what drawing is or what qualities make a drawing a drawing  … immediacy, intimacy (drawing is different from painting in that painting always has a public end), the “left trace’ (evidence), thought in action, a relationship between 2 points, material thinking, touch of a surface, beginning to end of a thought,  …. which left some in the audience struggling to get to grips with the wide spectrum of definitions and others nodding in agreement. I wonder what the balance of artists to general public was in the audience.

Anita Taylor pointed out that we call everything from documentary reports to Sanskrit texts writing!


Really pleased that a piece of mine was included in Michael Borkowsky‘s (fellow a-n blogger) exhibition Perfume as Practice AW19. I wish I could have gone along to see it but having to make 30 more drawings for my Beachtime Stories exhibition and health issues plus other plans for a long weekend made it  trip too far. I love the idea of bringing scent and the sense of smell into art practice and the idea of a voyage as relating to both personal journeys as well as trade. Seems very pertinent at the moment. Also like the way in which it stretches the idea of identity and that through the medium of perfume (which I assume is liquid – hope so anyway) it is suggested that identity is fluid and made of many different components.