Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Autumn Colours

I have been down with a few viruses lately, but the Autumn colours have proved an inspiration. I have been photographing the Lime trees in the churchyard near me and taking more shots of the cherry tree that overhangs some of the grave stones. I have been taking photos of that throughout the year, and thought I would produce a series of images of the churchyard and this particular tree. I've also been taking pictures of the Acer in the garden,

I particularly liked it when after some recent rain and wind, the whole road and pavement were covered in shades of yellow leaves.

A number of cars were also given a thick coating of leaves which gave them a wholly different feel.Leaf covered cars, that could be an interesting design concept and ironic statement if they were still running on petrol.

I've been enjoying lino printing, working on an image of trees and putting leaf patterns on top. It's not quite finished, I'll put it here when it is. I like the cutting away process of lino it's quite rythmic and satisfying in some way. I have an idea to work on some more prints with the fallen Autumn leaves, in various stages of disappearing back into their elements.

Friday, October 20, 2006


This Autumn I've started a printmaking class, just a basic one, but it's good to have the presses and company of other creative souls. This week I am pleased with one of my lino prints, one of trees,

I haven't done much lino or printmaking before, so it's good to explore these mediums a bit more. I am hoping to bring my ideas for artists books together with this printmaking work.

The Candid Gallery near the Angel had a recent series of art fairs and there were some photographers and printmakers that I liked very much. Kate Leney showed some lovely woodblocks and one of my favourite subjects trees. Her large scale work was brilliant and if I had the money I would buy one. They can be seen at

Anthony Bliss was also showing a series of photgraphs entitled Londonhaunts, which were very atmospheric and appealed to me very much. His work can be seen at
It always impresses me that there are so many artists out in the world producing great work. How can we fill peoples homes and workplaces with lots of art?

digital working

Down with some virus this week or so, I have made the most of not being able to get out as much as I'd like by experimenting with some digital processes on some of my photographs and paintings.

This has been very exciting for me as I'm not that good generally on the computer. So I now have dozens and dozens of saved images awaiting printing and some I've sent off for. There are some I particularly like which I'll turn into cards, images here.

Others are rather wierd, but I like them.
I can see this will be a whole new adventure for me!

I am also getting my other cards together to try to sell some more, I am looking for a venue, but haven't had much luck yet. Still waiting to get the web page sorted with some of them for sale.

I will start the cold calling on card shops soon. It's getting the proffessional image sorted, and the practical as well.

Hayward show and new work

On a very wet day last week I met up with a friend to see the Hayward exhibition on British art.
I think it was about showing the range of styles/movements that British artists have been involved with.
It was a mixed bag of work, painting, sculpture, video etc. Interesting now trying to remember what stood out for me there, maybe the Barbara Hepworth sculptures,

The internal concrete walls and stairwell in the Hayward, with their impressed woodgrain patterns from the shuttering used in the construction used to seem innovative years ago. Maybe it was years ago. Now I look at the Hayward and think that it hasn't aged well, despite the refit. I'm not sure what was done, apart from seeing that the cafe is now near the entrance.

I've been working on some new snowflake pictures, just small ones with acylic and pencil crayon. In the spirit of celebration, I might experiment with glitter! some pics here

The acylics that I painted before have been difficult to scan in. Apparantly they stop the scanner working, so I need to take some photos of them first I'll put them up later.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Out of the Box

I have been very busy over the last few weeks since the E17 Art Trail. My friend Clare, who has been recently ordained, and is now Amitajyoti, and I have just lead another Urban Art Retreat at Bethnal Green.
It went very well, some pics here, and I will be putting more photos and the talks we gave etc on the main site under events soon.

I didn't have too much time to do much art work myself over the weekend, but the box I painted gave me an idea for a nother way of working. It had a dark blue background and white drawing on top.
We were looking at the "box" as a metaphor for a limiting way of thinking, for the language we might use and for the ideas we might have about the world and ourselves.
It was great providing people with large cardboard boxes filled with wierd and wonderful things for them to use as a resource over the weekend. As usual some lovely work was produced. In fact the work would have looked good as an installation piece on the nature of perception.

I have another series of evening events comming up, these will be using meditation and positive change methods. They start on 5th Oct.

Ruth has also been working on a page on the main site with Art cards of some of my photographs. We will have Pay Pal facilities on there, so people will be able to buy online.
This should all be finnished in a couple of days, I'm looking forward to seeing if I can sell more easily online then.

I've also started a print making couse and am enjoying experimenting at the moment, I'm hoping to find a way of combining the printmaking with producing some artists books. More details later.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

E17 Art Trail Exhibition

I have just spent the last couple of weeks getting my work finally together for my exhibition.With my sisters help I put the work up on Friday at Woodstreet Library E17. The exhibition is a bit spread out in the library, but with a bit of negotiation about the space on the notice boards, I did manage to hang 3 of my larger photographs and a few smaller ones, along with 2 cabinets that have paintings and painted objects. I also managed to get some art cards together for sale and will hopefully get them out for sale in different places as well as on my main site soon.

I went back on Saturday to take the price list and number the works and it was good to meet a few people looking at the exhibition as they went round the Art Trail. I haven't had chance to look at other exhibitions yet, but hopefuly will this week.

I am also hoping to get a couple of pictures ready to put into the Painter Stainers open competition I see that the Mall Galleries have a summer studio clearance sale, which I might pop into when I deliver the work. I never did organize a studio clearout myself, but it would be a good idea.

Then I need to concentrate on a couple of workshops I'm running at The London Buddhist Centre,Ways of Seeing- Drawing as a Way to the Mind. They are free, as part of the regular Total Health Days the Sangha organizes. And the workhop I am leading with Amitajyoti, who has recently been ordained, at the end of September, Out of the Box. More details on my main site.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Walthamstow Festival

As part of the Walthamstow Festival this year some members of the local arts club have pieces of work in the windows of BHS, which is part of the shopping centre. I have one of my photographs of Epping forest, " A path through the forest " up there. A couple of photos here.

This weekend is the second of a course about contemporary book art at the Tate Modern. It was really good last weekend, we learnt basic bookmaking skills with a very patient and enthusiastic Tracey and went around the gallery looking at work with the very knowledgeable and lively Liz.

I have been working on ideas for the book that I will be making over the weekend and am pleased to have found another art form that I can add to my practise. Look out for book art on this site very soon.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Summer Exhibition

I went along to the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy last week, it was their late opening and the weather was warm rather than the heatwave of late, a lovely evening to be in the city centre.
I took a few photos of the sculptures in the courtyard, the Damien Hirst The Virgin Mother I did quite like, the Untitled Red/Brown painted timber lengths by Phylida Barlow didn't do a lot for me, but the granite Warts And All by Peter Randall-Page looked good, particulaly with the water fountains around it.

Inside I had one of the lists of works and went round making a note of what works had sold, what a bean feast for the R.A, an awful lot of the works had sold, I wonder how much commission they will end up making? I could have a go working it out and make a new piece of work about it.

In some rooms all the work had sold and with the prints a number of editions had sold out and some were 50 to 100 editions. I can see why artists want to get into the Summer Exhibition, I'll have to try next year! Actually I was really pleased to see all the work that had sold, it is hard for most artists to sell work, and it showed that a lot of the more general public must be buying art as well.

I made a note of some artists that I liked, to look them up later and I must admit that I was tempted by some prints including some by Christopher Le Brun, who works with mythical themes But there is no money for that at the moment maybe when I sell a lot of work........

Suprise Audio Download

Ruth has been working to get some audio available to download from this site, I am excited about this new possibility. For the moment it is an MP3 of some of the Dawn Chorus from my retreat at the Seekers Trust in Addington. I was walking in the woods and down the lane from about 4am till 5.30am really enjoying the birds calling and singing and the pale sunlight and slight mistiness among the trees. One of the large Lime trees seemed to be alive with birdsong I wondered how the tree must feel to be vibrating with the sounds.

I went out at other parts of the day as well recording walking down to the bus stop and at sunset, with just a little digital recorder, more downloads hopefully in the future.

I have also been out and about taking posters and leaflets about our workshops in the Autumn, still a lot more publicity to be done. Balancing the business side of my work and actually painting ect with my spiritual practise and home, friends and family, is quite an art. I haven't managed it yet.

Flowers and new work

The Morning Glory flowers from one set of seeds have been amazing this year, they are the deep purple/blue ones. We're waiting with growing anticipation for the other varieties to show their colours amid the luxuriant foliage, in other words they are all leaf and no flowers at the moment.

A couple of pictures here, I really like the semi sci-fi appearance with the pale white centres of the flowers allowing the light to shine through.

Other work over the last few weeks has been finnishing some more of my zodiac series of paintings. I have finnished 6 at the moment, the latest 2 here, Aries and Pisces. I have also been painting a variety of small boxes, some of which have spiritual connections or uses, and will be part of my exhibition in September.

Getting into the painting of objects made me contemplate buying a high backed chair from a junk shop, but the reality of a tiny flat without a spare room came to mind and I resisted, for the moment!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

E17 Art Trail

I have an exhibition as part of the E17 Art Trail this year, in Woodstreet library, Watham forest, E17 of the title.The Art Trail is running from September 2nd till Sunday 10th.There is quite a lot of space and I will show a range of my work entitled Symbols of Life , paintings, drawings, photographs and painted objects, all drawing on the natural world, ecology, and the inner world of symbolism, myth and spirituality.

I am quite excited about this possibility, it's always good to get a body of work together and to see the coherence in the work. This is particularly important for me because my work is not stylistically very similar. It's about my wanting to be free to present what I see in the way that strikes me at that point in time I think. Responding in that moment to what is both external and internal. I used to worry that it made my work not commercial for the usual gallery set up, but I don't worry so much now, in that I have accepted that my work probably won't be taken up by a traditional gallery anyway! So it's about finding other ways to get my work seen.

I've just had some of my SLR camera films back, a few pictures to show here. These are a couple from Brick Lane.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hampton Court Flower Show

Another lovely flower show that I've been able to go to this year, I hadn't been to Hampton court before, but it's on my list to see the actual palace now. More shopping space than Chelsea! Some really nice water fountains made from columns of rock, glass lights and decorations in all sorts of shapes and colours. You can also buy plants from there, which meant buying one of those collapsible crates on wheels to put them in.

The train back to Waterloo was filled with plants as well as people and made me think about having a cariage like a garden on the train or tube. That would make the journey to work a bit different.

I was taking photos, a couple here, I have plans to use the photos I took at Chelsea and here in some way later.

Sitting in the garden the other day I was admiring the dark purple Morning Glory, and got out my pastels and watercolours to do some sketches. The sky was darkening over and the cloud formations changing every minute, I quickly dashed off a couple of watercolours of the sky as well. It's a good practise in just getting something down without thinking too much.

I've just got the leaflets back from the printers for the two urban arts retreats that I'm leading with Clare in the Autumn, getting the publicity out will be ongoing now for a couple of months, I'm thinking about the theme on the nature of perception, that we have for the December retreat and reading Dharma Art by Chogyam Trungpa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Michelangelo Exhibition

I was lucky enough to see the Michelangelo drawings on the last day, thanks to the kindness of a friend. The exhibition was packed as they tend to be these days, these drawings spanned Michelangelo's life and as I went round I was stuck by one aspect of his work, what seemed to be his striving to depict the spiritual, and what that did for his way of working.

There were some of his early male nudes, strong, active chalk and pencil marks,a facination with the body and it's movements. The amazing twists that Michelangelo puts the body in and the confidence of his mark making evoked an active energetic response from me.

Along side these types of drawings were some portraits, sensitive and much softer, and a number of religious studies that were less defined anatomically. The much later drawings of the crucifiction of Christ, including the final ones that Michelangelo made, were so different from his early male nudes that I might not have thought of them as being Michelangelos at all.

This is what made me start wondering about whether Michelangelo was seeking another way to depict the spiritual, the Divine in humankind. There are probably books already written on this matter, but I haven't seen them, nor am I particularly well up on knowledge about Michelangelo.

The problem I had with these Crucifixion drawings even though they were described as devotional drawings, was that I didn't think that Michelangelo had found as equally
strong and vital way of working as he had for his human subjects. So was I criticising the great Michelangelo? I thought to myself. I suppose I was interested in just how difficult it is to try to depict the heavenly or Enlightened, as I in my much more limited way have been finding out.

It actually was quite moving to see the struggle in these final drawings and wonder what was going on in Michelangelo's mind at this time when he was nearing death.

Work in progress
I am still working on my Zodiac series of paintings, and trying to find a venue for the E17 Art Trail in September. I've had a few of my photographs blown up to poster size and that is quite exciting, seeing them much larger than usual. I'm hoping to get a show of them somewhere.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Artists Car Boot Sale

Just over a week ago was the artists car boot sale at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane East London.I took a walk down Brick lane, from the Bethnal Green end, I hadn't been down there for a while and the area was heaving with people. I had't realised how popular the place had become.

The market space had extended to include people setting up "shop" on the pavements all the way up to Bethnal Green road. A few CDs, books or clothes usually made up the stock, with the odd broken bike or bits of electrical gear

Down Brick Lane there are plenty of designer/maker shops and the famous 24 hour bagel shop that I had to stop at on the way down, recommended.I had my digital and SLR cameras, still some what challanged by the fact that the only instruction book I can find for the digital camera is in French!

I and some of my friends have been thinking of an artists car boot for a while, but more like clearing out our studios, selling pictures, frames, materials ect that we're not using anymore, At this car boot it was more a case of artists selling cheaper multiples and having some fun.

In Gavin Turks case it was Rich Tea biscuits in perspex boxes, I could,nt quite bring myself to spend £25 on one. I wonder if there are any for sale on e-bay yet? I did actually like a lot of the stuff though. the glitter domes made in all kinds of bottles and glass containers, with plastic figures like a farmer and cows by Richard Glegg. If I'd had the money I would have bought one of those.

I don't know his name, but I liked the wit and inventiveness of one guy with his boot filled with oranges. They were 50p each with a free photograph( of an orange artfully arranged in a variety of settings. I went for two of those, very tasty oranges, and presented in an orange plastic bag.When Ruth gets back from France I'll get the first pictures up.
As I somehow managed to turn the audio feature of the digital camera on at some point and could't seem to turn it off,! most of the photos will be the old fashioned ones at a slightly later date.
I did however buy a mug, the one with the skull design from Sarah Lucas and Oliver Garbay, signed by them both, they seemed to be doing a roaring trade, there was a lot of the skull type imagery around as well as swear words on badges and goth type images.
It was very hot so I resisted the invitation to squeeze into a saloon car for a performance, but the people inside looked like they were having fun.

I liked a lot of the ideas there and the wit, and I came away with ideas, I was'nt sure what the car with all the black boxes was about, I didn't stop to find out, lets have more artists car boot sales anyone else up for that?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Seekers trust Retreat

I've had a few days retreat at the Seekers Trust in Kent. Staying in a little single flat within their peaceful gardens. I was experimenting, using my digital recorder to record the birdsong and sounds of the place. I might be able to sort out the technology with Ruth and put a sample on here later.

Birdsong seems such an incredible thing, the variety of notes imitating sounds, texture and power, literally the volume od sound that can come from a tiny bird. The dawn chorus was rather mre muted than it would have been a few weeks earlier, but the weather was better, a bit of sunshine and blue skies.

I read some new books, meditated, did some sketches & water colours, got in touch with the more angelic realms and did some work on possible book ideas. All very positive and creative and left me very happy.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Chelsea Flower Show

I was lucky enough to have a ticket to Chelsea Flower Show on Saturday. It was lovely to be there, the rain held off while I was there, with my sister and daughter. We were early enough to get to the front of the show gardens and the Daily Telegraph Garden, which won best in show, was really lovely. The planting of Iris and purple and white flowers gave the garden a certain spiritual air, very uplifting and serene at the same time. I took some photos with both the digital and SLR cameras. A couple of digital pics are below.

Perhaps it was the contrast from fairly cold, wet weather or the busy London streets, or the fact that I haven’t been in the countryside for a while, but I felt myself drinking in all the colour and beauty of the plants and flowers. A real tonic. As my sister said there’s something about being surrounded by beauty everywhere, highly recommended.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sunday 21st May

I seem to have been busy over the last couple of weeks, with plans for the taster workshops and other related business events. One was an event about copyright in relation to photographing buildings. It was a little scary hearing that we were only safe from copyright laws if we photographed flowers and animals!

Though it was said tongue in cheek, it does seem that copyright issues are getting more and more complicated. It did take me to a photography space that I hadn’t been to before that was good. The organisation that runs them is called Own It.
They seem very professional and well run events if anyone needs this sort of advice.

I have my large painting on the elements of form still on the go and I just begun a series of paintings of the zodiac signs, which will be appearing on the main site as I finish them. There will also be a new page on the main site of some of my small watercolour and crayon pieces mostly mystical trees at the moment. Later I hope to put a page of drawings from my sketch books.

Messy Business

I have been working with my water soluble crayons and pastels using the photographs of the cherry tree in the local churchyard and from my imagination.

I was partly looking to see how this medium might work in a place where I couldn’t use more messy materials, as I want to find other venues for workshops and many places are put off by the idea of an art and meditation event because of this.

I was also able to try them out at the taster workshops that Clare and I ran at the London Buddhist Centre last week. The colours are great and we only needed a tiny bit of water for dipping the pencils or pastels in, no terrible mess then.

My quest for more business advice has taken me to a workshop with Nick Williams and Barbara Winters. And a business start up event at the Excel centre. I must admit I was more in tune with the Nick Williams event there were some very good ideas, like having multiple strands to your business, and examples of those and a lot of stories of how they and others have managed to work for themselves in a way that worked for their values and beliefs.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The cherry blossoms are out and seeing them always makes me happy. I've been out practicing with the digital camera, though I still prefer my old fashioned SLR. There is a cherry tree that overhangs a few grave stones in the churchyard at the top of my road. It always looks like it is sheltering or protecting the graves in some way. I've been meaning to take photos of it for ages and have just started, with pictures of the tree in bud and now in flower.

I've also been out in the garden taking pictures of the spring flowers and apple blossom, I have ideas for a series of paintings of flowering trees. Van Gogh's flowering cherry pictures have always ben a favourite of mine.

Last weekend was our Urban Arts Retreat and the theme was the elements. I've been working with the elements for a little while now, there is a Buddhist practise called the six element practise that I have been doing, and I have been reflecting on my experience of the elements both internally and externally.

I gave a couple of talks over the weekend and these should be posted on a new section on my site called events and workshops. There are other written pieces from events there as well and they will give you a sense of the sort of things that I am interested in sharing on these sorts of events.

We always do some of our own work on these weekends and I used some drift wood and other items washed up on the beach to make some little sculptures, I had in mind the earth element when I started, but of course there was the water element from their being in the sea, and the wax I also used had come from the candle burning on the window ledge. The air element was an integral part as the sculptures hung in the air, as with everything, it is only possible to seperate the elements in our mind but not in the physical world.

Lots of exciting work was done over the weekend by the participants, artists and new to art people alike. Hopefully I will be able to post some of the photos on the site soon

On the Sunday we did a collective piece on the elements, all working together, which was great and at times it looked like a ritual dance as people moved around the tables putting paint and pastel and found objects on the mandala circle we had drawn.

Friday, April 14, 2006

starting a new picture

It's the start of the Easter weekend and I've been working on another totally different painting. It's something about the building blocks of form, connecting with the nature of mind and the forms that arise in our minds and are then actualization in the outside world.

I've put a couple of shots of part of it here, in it's very first stage, and now I'm spending a lot of time just looking at it, deciding what is working and what isn't before going on. Fortunately it fits very nicely on the back of the kitchen door! So I can sit down on the sofa and gaze at it.

One of the things that I find with my work is just how different a lot of my work turns out to be. I sometimes worry about this as it seems that most galleries and art professionals want a certain style. I understand this in marketing terms, it's much easier to sell something if it fits in to a particular subject matter or format. But I seem to want to give some form of new expression to the subject matter as it arises. In fact if I had the opportunity I would use even more of a variety of mediums to try to express what strikes me in the world.

I've also been looking at what resources exist for artists online, there is certainly a lot of stuff out there. artqwest seem to have a good site but it takes a lot of time doing all this research. Any suggestions for good sites appreciated, as also good online galleries that anyone has used.

Wishing you all a creative and productive holiday.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Arts Weekend

Sunday 2nd April
Arts weekend for women

Last weekend Clare and I held our workshop for women in Bethnal Green. We were exploring how to find and work with your inner guide, working from the outer perceptions of ourselves as women, and those images of ourselves presented in the media an inner experience of ourselves.

We used meditation, reflection and discussion and then played around with art materials,to start to make connection with that deeper aspect of ourselves that can be a source of guidance and confidence.

Over the weekend we worked hard, enjoyed ourselves and produced some great images of what our inner guide might look like, or found colours, forms and textures that corresponded in some way with our sense of intuition, heart connection or deeper sense of ourselves.
Initial feedback was very good, which was great, putting on events that are a bit different is always a bit nerve wracking I find.

I found myself with imagery reminiscent of folk stories coming out in the work I did over the weekend. Clare and I always demonstrate using the materials and try to do some of the same work ourselves. When I've been on art events or classes I always wanted to see what the tutors did themselves, and they rarely ever showed anything of the process of their work, which as an artist I'm always deeply interested in.
I'm going to follow up people to see if I can post some photos of the weekend here.

I've been reading an interesting little book Class Myths and Culture by Stefan Szczelkun, Ruth must have found it in a charity shop at some point. For those interested in class issues, it is good. I think the bit about the exploitation of artists struck me, as I attempt to start trying to make a living as an artist.
"There is a massive amount of paid workers living off art. Gallery curators, attendants, frame makers, glass manufacturers, auctioneers, critics, magazine and newspaper owners, TV programme makers, local and national arts bodies, publishers, administrators, technicians, tutors, so many people rely for their living on the artist who is paid next to nothing.
And art is defined as NOT WORK. It's play, It's pleasure, It's fun, It's non repetitive, so it cannot be work"

Just a taste of what's in the book.

Urban Arts Retreat
No sooner is one weekend over than Clare and I are back continuing with the planning and publicity for our next event, more details to follow.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Welcome to my first artists blog

Although I have painting for over 25 years, it is only over the last few years that I have been working towards fulltime art practise or creative ways of working. I’m interested in how other creative people manage out in the commercial world. This blog and website is kindly managed by my daughter Ruth who first introduced me to the idea of blogs.

My work at the moment.

I’m working on 4 paintings at the moment, all Spring flowers with dark backgrounds, like some of the Spanish still life painters favoured. I’m working in acrylic, the first time I’ve used acrylic for still life pictures in this way. It’s a bit of a struggle trying to get the effects that I want, particularly the luminous dark background. I usually work in oils, so this is all experimentation at the moment. Any tips gratefully received

The other area of work for me is planning and delivering a couple of weekend courses with a friend that include art and meditation. We have a weekend for women this weekend with a theme of how to find and work with your inner guide. At the end of April we are running an urban arts retreat.

These courses have arisen out of my interest and practise as a Buddhist, I was ordained in 2002 and my interest and work in the arts over the last 25 years. It seems particularly helpful in my experience to have a meditation practise as an artist, it certainly seemed to have helped me get over the psychological barriers to starting work on a picture and to sustain interest and concentration when working.

One of the main difficulties we have come across, is how to reach the sort of people who might be interested in coming along to such events. Being in London perhaps isn’t as helpful as first might appear, as there are so many things on offer, and so many potential people, spread over a large area.

See my work
There are 3 of my photographs a water lily picture and 2 of Beech trees in Autumn in Epping forest, in a great Italian café art lounge on Roman road Chicchis. The owner Alphonso is a really lovely man, who is interested and excited by artists and their work The food is very good to I recommend a visit if your in the East end of London.