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.