Friday, December 31, 2010

Last picture of the old year ...

More beach huts I'm afraid. Don't know why they came to me black, must be my end-of-year mood. So I decided to lighten it with some jolly words. Only maybe they could be taken as ironic and thereby emphasize my black dog (or huts) mood.

I've never done lettering on anything of mine before, so a bit of a departure.
I may have started myself on a trend.

Anyway, enough of Mars Black (they were out of Payne's Grey) ... a Cadmium Yellow at the very least Happy New Year to everyone, and a peaceful and prosperous one to boot.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fleshing up some bare bones

... is how I think of going through some of the more promising pages of my sketchbook with a pen, a big brush and some watercolour sloshings.
It concentrates the mind amazingly to sharpen up some jottings and re-read some reminders.

Some of them were just a few reminder type lines dashed down in the train or bus. Trains, however, are so much more sketchbook friendly than the upstairs of a big red bus. Tubes are to be avoided at all cost except absolute necessity as far as I'm concerned.

 The horse was spotted from the train from Victoria to Chichester, somewhere in Surrey, forlorn on a dazzling carpet of fallen autumn leaves.
Before the snows.

The black-clad women, trailing inches of cloth through the dust, I spied from the top of a bus as we waited at traffic lights near Marble Arch.

I'm waking up to dead silence now (the birds don't get going til sunup which is sooooo late at the moment) and must say, though most will think me mad, I am almost missing hearing the traffic roaring down Kilburn High Road and snatches of conversation as people make their way to work.

To say nothing of the somewhat louder sounds of humanity coming from the North London Tavern at night - particularly memorable were the raucous snatches of Delilah by some merry soul on a pre-Christmas roll one evening.

I daresay I'll acclimatize sooner or later.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm back ...

And it was great. Really great.
Hanging the show
The show was good. Five paintings went to good homes, released into the big wide world. I am so happy that someone likes my work enough to reach into their pockets and pay for it with their hard-earned cash, but I have to say a part of me is always sad to see them go ...

Workaday East Croydon Station in the mother of all blizzards.
 The snow was amazing. The stunning new take on familiar, even mundane places in London is almost worth the cold, the slips and general inconvenience. And the sight of the English rural landscape blanketed in white and swathed in sunlight was simply breathtaking.

The Sussex Downs transformed
 Staying with my crazy daughters was fun, fun, fun and catching up with old friends, new friends and an old new friend was really special.

Then there were the cultural highlights: Gauguin at the TM (absolutely stunning); accidentally stumbling upon a whole roomful of Constable's oil sketches at the V&A (golly, what a find); the 400 Women exhibition at Shoreditch Town Hall (one of the most moving shows I have ever seen); Dame Elizabeth Blackadder in Cork Street and, a few doors down, Miranda Moncrieff's incredible sizzling landscapes, all the more sizzling for coming in from the cold and drizzle. Then there was the cosy afternoon spent roaming around Keat's House in Hampstead Heath as dusk fell  ...

Keat's House in the gloaming.
All in all a memorable and energising fortnight.
Now for something completely different: back down to earth and a bit of work, I think.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back on December 22 ...

... weather permitting.
That is if I get away tomorrow.
All I can say is thank goodness I opted for no private view. Given the present conditions it'd be so private there'd be no one there.
I'm just hoping I get through with the paintings so there's something hanging on the wall on the 6th.
Hurricane-like winds at this end and Arctic blizzards at the other, oh deary me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Picked up the posters from the printer, very exciting. Though I must say I was disappointed that my final instruction: please delete thick black border round picture (which was him slavishly following and amplifying my thin black biro drawing of where to place what) and make my name much smaller, lower case, had only been half followed.

Never mind.
Too late, too late will be the cry.
Rather the shouty name than the funereal border which looked as if someone, possibly the dogs in the picture, had popped their clogs.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Run On the Beach: Exhibition by Amanda White

A Run On the Beach: Exhibition by Amanda White
Here's a link to the upcoming show.
Click to read.

I must say CCN is a wonderful site, a brilliant ragbag of arts news both local and national. I definitely recommend a browse.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Slowly, slowly catchee ...!
The reason for the lull in my postings now becomes clear as mud - much grimacing, much swearing and much cold sweating when I press the wrong button - but I really think this time I have cracked it and it may be a question of all systems go on the website front:

 Wooohoooo, that is one scarey looming-out-of-the-ether photo!
So here's another to put it into my habitually cluttered mess of a context, albeit still glowing eerily:

So far I have three-quarters assembled 3 pages and hope to have it ready before I jet off to the UK. I must say I would recommend Weebly to absolutely anyone who is clueless on the technical front, it really is a build-your-own-site-for dummies and looks pretty good into the bargain. Though I could doubtless improve things even more were I to go from Basics to Advanced.
And the great thing is it's FREE!

Five gold stars to Weebly. Even if it is a bit of a "zany funster" word and I have to tag it onto my domain name.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reality re-ordered

Sometimes, just stumbling around from site to site on the Wonderful World of Internet apart from wasting precious time, you come across somewhere really exciting and thought provoking that sets you off on another series of stepping stones. In the end you forget where you were, which in the case of the interesting blog I came across this morning I have. I shall try hard to retrace my footsteps later on.

But I did note down a quotation that popped up on the first page:
"Art, no matter how minimalist, is never simply design. It is always a ritualistic re-ordering of reality."
I love that. I have inscribed it into my sketchbook
Camille Paglia came up with that gem. I had never heard of her before but will now make it a mission to find out more about her.

In the meantime here is one of my re-orderings of reality, a largish (for me!) (21x26 cms) mixed media on paper which was a take on a tiny (7x10) fragment of another.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My kitchen table industry

I spent part of yesterday resurrecting my cards which had been placed on a very slow back burner some time ago when Life and other things intervened.

It was most enjoyable sitting at the table in the kitchen with my feline helper and my mini guillotine, slicing away at photographs of my paintings, sticking them onto the cards then placing them between books to well and truly stick and flatten them.
Then bagging them up with their envelopes.
My little helper
 A nice shop down in town that sells local produce has agreed to take a pilot selection and I have other outlets in mind.

The trouble is the perplexity with which many (though not all) Spanish people greet the basic idea of a card. Any card. It is still a surprisingly alien concept compared with the UK. The girl on the counter at the shop sounded almost suspicious, as if I were proferring a clutch of hand grenades. "What are they? ... Are they like ... postcards?"

I fear cards, though slowly making inroads, still have a long way to go here before reaching the saturation point long passed in England.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gulls and Bunting ...

and stress.
A lot of stress.
I am eating too many biscuits.
This must mean something.
It does.
I am stressed.....
About the exhibition.
So of course I paint a jokey picture.
It must be a compensatory mechanism of some sort.
There is probably a word for it of which I am unaware.
Golly, what a miserable post.
I'll shut up now and roll myself up into a biscuit-eating ball.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bloomin' bougainvillea and some black cats

Lovely isn't it?

There seems to be quite a blossom bonanza going on with this plant round these parts right now, masses of flowers, masses of colour.
Anyway, I took this photo of the overgrown one outside my studio door about ten minutes ago.
A cheery sight in November.
And talking of bougainvillea (however you spell it), here's a picture (getting back to things arty) I did a few years back which features the stuff. And a family of black cats ....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fun Run

Flat Out, Bracklesham Bay

This is a larger version of a painting I put up here a while back. It was very small and on paper.
This is larger (well 21x27 cms, so you can judge how small the first one was!) and on canvas.

No deep meanings, just hell-for-leather canine fun.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Whippets on the run

I just finished this painting this morning:

I am calling the dogs whippets but maybe they are greyhounds. I am not too hot on canine breeds. Anyway they are the racy sort of which there are a lot in the Witterings area. I may yet return to them to give them large grey spots.

And replace the photo because the ultramarine, though pretty vibrant, is not quite as Mediterranean as it looks here. Much better to take it again on a cloudy day but I was in a hurry to publish it and give it an identity outside the studio, if that makes any sense.

It's got a very clean-cut feel because I originally built up the image clipping out paper shapes and moving them around. I think I have said before how much I love cutting out bits of paper.
Now I'm off to hoover up all the debris and try not to suck up the rejected bits of dogs, birds and clouds that are luking under the table and may come in useful for working out another picture.

Deary me. Is this a proper job for a grown-up?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Red Ball

This sort of showdown is not uncommon on the beach.
Okay, so I arranged it in a decorative way ...
That is my prerogative!

I have been doing a bit of decluttering today ... Possessions are terrible things.
Would that all mine could be condensed into one red ball.

So, this painting is obviously an allegory.
I get it now

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints, All Souls

It was the big weekend for cemeteries in Spain. Seldom sad and neglected anyway and always adorned with flowers, cemeteries come into their own during this double feast when blooms are more exotic and flower arrangements even more spectacular than usual as people remember their dead.

Here are some photos I took yesterday in our local cemetery whilst I remembered mine.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's those pesky crows again

Beach Huts and Crows, Winter

Did this mixed media piece today: acrylic, pencil, collage and ink.
Memories of the crows on the beach in winter.
Early morning. Scavenging for anything edible they can find from the day before. Then squabbling.

Here they are just marching along past the beach huts, having a decko.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sheep and Magpies

Just finished this

It's what you might call a spin-off from my Sussex picture. I foresee a field project coming up.
Of which more later but this has been a bad, bad morning. Our aged dog died.
Then I accidentally deleted about 350 photos from my camera.

Dark day so I will shutup now, keep my head down and hope to duck the third whammy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A lovely surprise ...

... in my mailbox this morning.

This is the colourific invitation to this year's ABNA (Association of British Naive Artists) show which is taking place in November (6-19) in St Ives, Cornwall, a county which must rank as the spiritual home of the genre. And I was lucky enough to have my sheepish Castleton painting included on it (top left corner).

Thankfully I have received word that that big naive parcel of mine arrived in a record time of five days. I guarantee it will take about 5 days to hack through the sticky tape and bubble wrap to get to the paintings inside.
Sorry Judy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Angels round my Sussex church

This is a painting which gave me a lot of angst as far as the colours and overall composition were concerned and which was finished in fits and starts.

It essentially follows my original idea, so lord knows why its execution was such a trial. Funny how some pictures just come tripping off the paintbrush, as it were, and others are a struggle. I think a lot of the trouble was that I stubbornly refused to change the angels from their scarlet frocks, for some reason. Once they changed into their gold - or rather Naples yellow - ones it all came together. Like the meerkat says, Simples. I  must say I like the spiralling movement of angels, sheep and clouds around the rock-of-ages-like church.
For the record here is a photo of my somewhat grubby and dog-eared original same size drawing:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where seabirds soar

I was reading my pencilled in notes in my sketchbook and decided to have another go at the Snowhill mudflats according to the colours I saw at low tide on a darker afternoon.

I am still missing out that almost violent acidic green of the lichen-like seaweed (which probably isn't seaweed at all - I'm not very good on plantlife) that clings to the grasses, pebbles and rusty chains. It's a very difficult colour to cope with so out it went.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dark and creepy?


Beach huts
Can't think why huts and sheds hold such an attraction for me. I have some really weird photos (to an independent viewer, eg. "Mum, what were you thinking of taking one of THAT?") of various garden sheds. Plain wooden ones. 
Anyway, these two are small acrylics on paper with the intention of developing them into larger pictures.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My big fat naive parcel

This morning I finally sent off three kilos-worth of paintings to Cornwall for the British Naive Artists' show in St Ives next month. All I can say is I feel very sorry for the person at the other end who has to unwrap it. Thoughts of childhood parties and pass the parcel came into my head. Never in the field of human endeavour has so much sticky tape been used for so few paintings ...

Unfortunately I was frazzled, engulfed in a mountain of bubble wrap, cellophane and paper and working against the clock and failed to recognise the importance of marking the event with a photograph so that all might laugh at my cack-handed packing skills. No wonder I only lasted a day on the Selfridges gift wrap counter in my student days.

Still, look at my postal track record: gaping envelopes, ripped parcels, lost packages ... to say nothing of one that eventually arrived after a sojourn in the Cayman Islands. So no, I don't trust the postal service. Here or there. I simply place my faith in the great God sticky tape.

So failing a pic of the parcel I am putting up photos of a couple of the paintings inside it. And hope they are winging their way to the west country even as I type. Safely and soundly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A tower in the sea

So okay, the Nab Tower doesn't look like everybody's idea of a typical lighthouse, but I think I prefer it that way.

Dark and looming, mysterious even. A bit grim and foreboding, even on a sunny summer's day. I am trying to wean myself off it but as it is such a part of the Bracklesham Bay seascape it's hard to leave it out of my seaside paintings. So anyone wondering what that black rectangle is on the horizon, wonder no more.

Interesting facts: It was towed to its site in the Solent in 1920.

It rests at a crooked angle on the seabed, is 27 metres high and flashes a white light every 10 seconds.

For history geeks there are some fascinating pictures of the tower under construction, and lighthousekeepers' first-hand accounts of everyday life on it back in the days when it was manned, on:
(Sorry, can't do links!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stressed out seagulls

This is a picture I did today of seagulls soaring over the mudflats of Snowhill Creek - before I got stressed out, to say nothing of locked out, by Google passwords, usernames, blockages and the rest. And a phone call .

I remember a song from my youth beginning Fly, silly seagull ... Ms Mitchell?
Anyway it was a haunting, calming melody and hopefully goes with what I tried to make a calming image. Which would have been quite impossible after 6 pm.

Tomorrow I will post what I intended to post today before I got stymied by techno-horrors and lost my rag.

I will now go and make my peace with the cat who didn't deserve to be shouted at like that.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I have a camera ... again

So here is the latest of the small studies I have been painting whilst on a roll with my sketchbook doodles over the past few days. Done last night with the tremendous sound of the Atlantic drifting through the open door.

The sea here is unleashing all its customary seasonal fury at present. I saw a large ship lit up on the horizon and couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor saps on board who had fallen victim to the advertising blurb about sunny winter cruises round the Canaries...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life's a sandbank

I took this picture in to be framed today in readiness for the December show. It's called Cut Off, and I must say I know how they feel at the moment. Metaphorically that is. I wonder if that's what spending too much time swimming as I am doing lately does to you. Dehydration probably.

Anyway, this painting depicts a famously treacherous stretch of the Witterings coast where such occurences are not uncommon though seldom fatal thanks to the vigilance of the lifeguards. When I was small I was fascinated by tragic tales of long lost travellers (and their horses - my sympathies were all for the horses) being swept away or sucked under as they crossed the sands of Morecambe Bay, so I suppose that is why these images of the cruel sea closing in on hapless souls bubble up from time to time.