Monday 11 September 2017

Please note my blog has now moved to my website

and click "Studio Diary"

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Daubers Trip Feb 2017

So for me it seems everything needs a reason to be, a reason to do. 

Although the time away from the studio unsettles me, I allow myself ‘painting holidays’, but I still angst about them being a ‘waste of my time'.

But looking at my Tenby attempts to respond to all that sea and sand, although they didn’t capture the seagulls, the warm breeze and sun as I sat on cold morning sand they did make me think of colour. They made me look. They made me look at colour and learn. And while learning their can be no angst there. That is not a waste of my time.

So when we daubers meet for another painting holiday, when they come up to Wales to paint landscape in 2 degrees and a northern friend, the lazy wind, blows from the north east, from Yorkshire, I decided I want to paint ‘my figures’.

I knew if I was going to start the sculpture for my 25 Year Show next month I needed to immerse myself in form. As discovered in the life drawing class on the monday, an elbow, a thy could be my landscape.

So we painted and ate and talked, and painted and ate and talked…it goes like this. The rhythm. Its really very good. 
The daubers left, having commitments in Bristol and I remained cramped over my little table, the fire crackled and the dog snored and as the eastern breeze took hold, bringing white snow and sleet, here was my opportunity to play with colours. All over the place was colour. Yellows from Barcelona, oranges from Loas and this blue green that seem to come from nowhere.  

Then, out on my bike, the white winter sun exposed blue and purple hills and I realised that the landscape is the colour. Llanigon Green at home out the window and on my bike ride, Herefordshire Blue, Whitney White on the bridge over the river Wye who was the deepest dark blue purple. 

So yes to looking, yes to walking, even yes to painting holidays, and yes to Laos because they all appear in my work. And most of all I need to chill out about it, as Graham says, 'it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t give yourself a hard time about it!'

Friday 17 March 2017

The logistics manager.

There have been tensions in the camp this week.

The logistics manager has got very angry with the sculptor.
The sculptor has been ignoring the logistics manager.

The pr lady is impatient to show the new work off
but she is waiting on the photographer,
as is the person who updates the website.

The accounts department is struggling to cope
under the hours they have been allotted.
The person who orders the materials is getting anxious.

The writer who seems to be always allowed to do what she wants
and has now taken up precious time
so the finisher/polisher/packer
will have to work the weekend.

The finisher/polisher/packer is now miffed.

The painter is sulking.
Someone let her see the light,
she managed to open the door,
just a crack.

Look! Look!
Its really very exciting through there…
very exiting indeed.

But here comes the logistics manager.

No. No. No.
One week is all you get my dear,
come back my dear.
Your time will come.

But she has broken her promise.


So the painter is sulking.
In fact the painter is very upset indeed
and tears well up in her eyes as she tells the writer.

The draftsman is more patient, she knows the sculptor cant work without her.
She is waiting for her day.
For monday life drawing class,
all day,
she hopes.

If she is allowed to go.

But the logistics manager is not sure at the moment.

The logistics manager probably won’t let her
and then the draftsman will also be sulking.
And next week she will mess it up for the sculptor,
on purpose.
Just to strengthen her case.

The sculptor is the most challenging for the logistics manager to control.
Because she cant manage without her.
“But this is the most important thing” she shouts.

She turns her back on the logistic manager.
She can feel the logistics manager’s eyes boring into her back.

But the sun is on the sculptor’s side.
It’s also strong.
It shines hot light on the clay forms.
Who can blame the sculptor for moving into that light
to play with the darks and lights of the silky clay.

Fundamentally it’s the events organiser fault.
She got a bit excited because its her 25th year.
She has booked a lot of things.
Quite big things.

Eventually, by thursday,
the only person who can solve the quarrel,
the upset, the swollen eyes…
is the social secretary.

She organises a few beers for the whole team.
The CEO swans in, takes the credit
even though it was the social secretary’s idea.
But the CEO does pay for the drinks
and the accountant doesn’t mind the expense.

They all laugh at and with each other,
they respect each other.
And on friday they wake up happy.

They are all resolved that
this is just how it is running a small business
on your own.
And they all get on with the job
a little less fractured.

Friday 27 January 2017

1st morning back Jan 16th 2017

Oh drawing I have missed you.
You are the best of who I am.
You are kind,
not short, not irritated.

Without you I am wanting
but with you I can see.

Without you I am anxious
but when I slip back
between your sheets
I am at peace.

Your relentless lessons
have taught me to be humble,
without flare. With you today
I will learn again.

Without you I am a vacuum
filled only with self doubt,
insecurities and need.

You are difficult, for sure,
but with you I see beauty 
and in form finding, a quiet.

In age you see the history, 
the girl and the woman.
In attitude
you see fragility.

You search for the truth.
You are inquisitive.
Sometimes you conceal
but you never lie.

Approached with caution,
with respect
and you are a true and
honest friend.

I am yours.

Be mine 
and drawing
please don’t ever leave me.

Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

Slipping back into your velvety graphic
I feel a peace.

Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

Blue water, coral and sparkling fish
can not compete with your calm.

Lapping azure cannot 
ease me like your lines.


Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

Only by seeking the truth
will you reward.
Style, fakeness, cleverness
is punished.

Talking about drawing. A4 Drawing Unspecified 1st morning Jan 2017

I am held by your tranquility
and suspended
I am calm.

A4 Drawing No.12 Jan 2017

In your practice I see
beauty. I am kind
not short, not irritated.

A4 Drawing No.13 Jan 2017

Naked she sits.

I have the privalidge
to see her truth,
the truth drawing shows me, life.

Muscles of a life lived
through time sits
still here with us
as we learn
from her form.

Privileged we are
to have this time
to learn from life.

A4 Drawing No.13 Jan 2017

I am a drawer
not a snorkeler
not a deep sea diver
or cliff top rider.

I am a viewer
a looker.
Not a doer.

A4 Drawing No.15 Jan 2017

How could I have been so stupid to leave your lessons, to empty my head of all but anxieties.
Thank you for staying.
I will not leave you again.

4 Drawing No.16 Jan 2017

With you I am
who I am now,
here, not who I
could or should
or want to be.

A4 Drawing No.17 Jan 2017

Truth is rewarded 

A4 Drawing No.18 Jan 2017
A4D18 Jan17

The peace you give
has to be earnt,
has to be taught
from time with you.

It can not be bought
can not be faked.

You are generous
but take you for 
you are cruel.

It's a beautiful
but not straightforward 

For me the immediacy in front 
of life can not be

Lack of courage, laziness
is punished.

Wednesday 29 June 2016

No politics or religion at the table please.

Pick pick, the farage kite
tears soft underbelly
from an upturned 
sheep too gorged
to stand.

Blood red pudding
spills on a white tablecloth.
It pools in silver spoons
as much as it drips from formica.

Pick pick. Lie

Lie. Until the red guts of
‘well you’re out’
come spilling out.

And redcurrent clots
and stains Ikea’s pure bright worktop
and walls of elephants breath 
and chalky downs.

Pick pick, tear.


My sweet ‘england lost
‘forever friend’.
Clotted, blood red pudding.
You have a bitter taste today.

Monday 13 June 2016

Drawing from life

Drawing from life, an unconscious reaction to form - written in the life room today 13th June 2106.



Like a race horse needs oats, it’s fire, I need drawing to put a light in my belly. But it’s also calming, it narrows the options on the day, straightens the path.

To start the week with drawing signposts me in the right direction, it tells me that the new bathroom is less important and the accounts can wait. It puts back in the cupboard all the things that tend to spill out all the time and take over and quietens a discombobulated mind.

Just as the air becomes too stuffy, to hot to think, drawing is like rain. It cleans and it nourishes.

Representational, reactional drawing you have to approach with respect, you can’t fake it, you can't be clever. Humility in learning is the correct approach. It brings you back down to reality and of course, it makes you see everyone is beautiful. The wobbly bits are life’s adventures, the stains on the flesh are years of summers. Youth’s lean smooth forms have an attraction but history has layers and stories.

After the excitement of my London solo show, the work and the drama of it all, today I return to the life class and it feels like magic. But then of course it is not. That time in front of the model, that 1 minute or 5 minutes of drawing is a reaction in time, never to be repeated. Hand to eye, that look, that seeing, just then, captured on the paper.


But of course its not, its better than magic, its craft. It’s learnt, it’s practiced. And like the deceiving hands of the magician it’s quick in execution because of thirty years of practice, thirty years of interest, thirty years of craft, graft, in front of life.

….and then just as that vanity talk rises in my head I ruin a drawing with flippant arrogance, punished, I get back down again. But I smile with the joy of it.


Saturday 16 April 2016

London Solo Show 
Woolff Gallery, 89 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PU
Preview 12th May 2016 , show continues 13th May - 3rd June 2016
An essay about the show

Red Leather Jacket
In a recent interview Edwin Heathcote described Zaha Hadid as having ‘...a kind of facade that she had to put on to be forceful enough to get her work built…in a way, she developed this crust, which got more solid and thicker’ as her career progressed.

Every few years the theme of armour comes into my work. It manifested itself when I was living in London, years ago. Lonely, battered by my own doings, I had wanted to buy a red leather jacket. I didn't, as it seemed too silly, or too expensive or something. But later that day, when someone bumped into me and spilt my tears, I realized I did need it. My red leather, my armour.
Years later I made Armour Girl and then Personal Army. The armour reappears now in PetalOlder and not so self consumed the protective crust belongs to nature. And maybe for her, not for me, she will be red. 

Today I see in an old film of my work and (although I cringe at listening ) I see that red has been a constant visitor. It's underneath the gold in Armour Girl, figures loom out of it in 8 x 4 ft canvases but never has it been allowed to settle in sculpture. Its like I am frightened of this strange guest.
In Barcelona I pretended that I was playing with colour, as a 'practicing' artist I used the word ‘play’ to try and trick myself into an exploration not a definitive end. Despite the deception, colour made me feel strange, it's power on the gut. A peach became a receptacle, it was ‘cut’ and was ‘bleeding colour’. 
I went there, into the ‘squelchy flesh’ of colours, bruised, ‘dented through white cloudy bloom, deep purple’ …. and then I ran away. 

In my blog I describe flamenco like how I felt too adrift to make paintings, to use colour; quickly I find a get out and blame it on the location. 'I am adrift when I am painting; in Barcelona I am just too much adrift already…too far from the shore for me to feel ok'. And the drama continues 'I had put so much pressure on myself to be Rembrandt in a few days and I only had this one chance here to do it, now. It was wearing me out. Like Chesil beach with its slippery pebbles...half drowning in shallow water.' 

I enjoy form immensely; the swell of a line, the movement,  the drawing in the clay, the drawing of the varied bodies of folk that model at life classes. I draw, a lot. To get myself up to speed. To see. But one drawing seems to be the stem of a lot of the work 'in cuitadela park, the people had the same shapes as the leaves behind and disappeared into them'. The drawings then became impossible sculpture paintings likeFamily Tree.

So the colour I played with in Barcelona, through form, did seep in. 'Like strong red tea in clear hot water, a puncture of the hot surface and in, the colour seeps, curls, drifts, creeps round the glass and finally disperses changing the liquid completely, into something delicious.' 

This week I am painting some of the new pieces. My still life seemed so disjointed with my sculpture but slowly now they seem to be making sense. The hollow forms of Petal echo shapes in the paintings of flowers, the Loquats nestle together on the plate like a couple, their orange skin leaps onto the figure inLeaves. The apples in Eve remind me of the still life paintings I lust after.
In form there is a safety, a freedom to take risks, 'with my sculpture my raft is large, I can enjoy the turbulence, lie back in the sun and feel the movement beneath, not care if I go into deep water, just think its funny and exciting.'  Its what 24 years of making does to you, there's a comfort, a confidence in the history that enables you to push on into the new, to run so fast you can't sleep from the excitement of it all.
A flurry of new techniques percolated every part of the studio with nasty plaster dust. But history has a habit of circulating up through time, invisible lines reach far back and far forward.  While making Red Scarf  I see an old friend and so 'Carpe Diem' comes along too. 

The new plaster forms seem to have a life of their own and change shape with a speed of a drawing. While making Leaves I see an abstract sculpture I made in my second year at college, it amuses me but also gives me strength as I run down hill, I do so on historically strong legs. And in my sketchbook I speak as if I am the sculpture and at the end of a long monologue, who's excited insanity I will spare you, I say 'What fun this is!'
As I watch the gulls out of the window, I realise the studio has been an influence. Breeding from the glut of our mess, oblivious to reproach they glide and scream and soar over the valley of low tide and wash white bodies and grey wings on its muddy banks.  The blues and greys of flight will appear in Plain Girl.  
The bright colours from Barcelona sit with the reds and lime greens of the our new found, much loved Wales, who’s high mountains I feel strangely hefted to, its a peace that seems more than just a lovely walk in fresh air; as if the the moss and rocks are a receptacle to the becks of home.  Distant relations of Grandpa's sheep, another line in history, come to our window here, the lambs are inquisitive but with a noise from mother they run back. Nothing comes from nothing and everything comes from nature. Sculptures below Heft and Flock:
Doing this new work has given me such courage. If I can believe a little in myself  I don't need my red leather jacket. I hope that I can show some cojonas and the colour will be there by the 12th May.
Preview 12th May 2016 

Show continues 13th May - 3rd June 2016

Woolff Gallery, 89 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PU
Gallery Opening hours:   Monday to Friday  10.30am-6pm     Saturdays 11am-5pm

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Bird Bath ( Lifesize )






Colour choices

Grey and white/cream - In bronze this would be a patina, in resin this would probably be a painted finish. I haven't ever done one life-size in grey so its a bit more risky but if I were to do any of my pieces it would be this one.

Dark brown - This is the most traditional looking finish, it's our perception of what bronze should look like, think Rodin etc.  In bronze and resin it is done with patination, using chemicals to change the colour of the surface of the bronze or bronze resin. There will be a variation of tone in the low and highlights. I think this piece would look nice in dark brown with a green tint to the bowl. If the bowl is left to fill with water it will naturally do this overtime anyway.

Light brown Bronze Resin - This is standard finish at the moment, the bronze resin is rubbed down to reveal the particles of the bronze powder and then waxed. The dark wax in the lowlights reveal the highlights so show up the texture. Eventually over many years the wax on the surface of the piece will wear away with weather etc but the colour usually stays the same with the dark colour in the lowlights. 

The photos below are of the small bronze version so they may look a little different in resin so its just a guide.