10 Jun 2018

14 May 2018

Life in session.

I’ve continued to attend the Monday night life-drawing sessions at the Malt Cross. As probably already stated, they don’t provide the social aspect I was hoping for, but I have started to enjoy them more, and the habit of drawing direct from observation without the aid of photography. Drawing is one of the few things I have. Perhaps the only thing which is mine.

This evening, after the session, I sat for a while in the still sunny Old Market Square listening to a busker free-forming on guitar and vocals. Very pleasant, in a city which continues to recede in my memory.

9 May 2018

And the rejections just keep on coming.

So much for my exhibition plans for 2018. As already stated elsewhere, two galleries in particular I wanted to have a go at are not doing an “Open” this year, and a third is dubious. That left the Royal Academy (rejected, see THIS LINK), and Patchings, who have rejected me again.

I post here details of expenses incurred for my own personal records and those who wish to know more about such things. As always, I have no regrets about spending the money. However, it’s clearly not a pursuit I see much sense in pursuing in the future.


View from the Hill (limited edition digital print).
Pub Cat (limited edition digital print).


Printing: £5.08 x 2 + 20% VAT = £12.192.
Framing: £44.17 + £37.37 + 20% VAT = £97.848.
Entry Fee: £18.



26 Apr 2018

Building Bridges; Coffee & Kindle to follow.

The current art trend on Twitter is #BuildApril. I think that's been recurring for a few years now. Such trends are a good place to get involved a drum up a little support. I drove over to Thoresby with my sketchbook.

Above top: Green Bridge, Thoresby Estate.
Above bottom: 7 Ton Bridge, now referred to as Thoresby Bridge.

More historic details of both these bridges on THIS LINK.

 Above: Malt Cross Inn, Nottingham. Still a favourite place for a bit of coffee and Kindle. It's a place I sketched many times before, as can be seen on THIS LINK.

19 Apr 2018

Drawing and Deer, Victoria Embankment, Nottingham.

Finally, a couple of days warm sunshine. Warm enough to go sit beside the River Trent for some sketching. It proved eventful. I had no idea there are deer living in the actual City of Nottingham. Couldn’t quite believe my eyes until I got home and checked with the internet. Got in touch with Nottingham Wildlife, via Twitter. Then at their request filled out the following report:
Small deer. Looked like a Muntjac.

19th April, 2018. c.11.30a.m.

OS grid reference:

Latitude: 52.937889 / Longitude: -1.1529979

Location name:
Victoria Embankment, NG2 2JS

How identified:
I was sat sketching on Victoria Embankment, about 80m east of Wilford Toll Bridge. The animal suddenly sprang from (or dashed through) a cluster of Daffodils behind me and ran at great speed, heading west, down to the riverside steps, dashing under the bridge and, keeping to the steps parallel to Riverside Way, didn't drop the pace until it was soon out of sight beyond the bend. I identified it as a small deer from the way it ran. (I grew up in Thoresby Park). The short legs looked very much like the pictures of a Muntjac. It was certainly not a dog or a cat.

How many did you see?

16 Apr 2018

April, Come She Will.

Feeling at a bit of a loose end. Weather still rather too chilly for outdoor work, and not too inspired regards starting any paintings. Have decided to return to the life drawing sessions in town, but will pick and choose which nghts depending on the model involved. Such sessions, drawing from direct observation, certainly increase and sustain one's skill levels. They're not (for me at least) a time to be producing actual Art.

15 Mar 2018

Right Royal Rejection.

No shame in being rejected by the Royal Academy Summer exhibition this year. One has to have a go. For my own records, and perhaps to give others an idea of the costs involved in trying to get one's work "out there", I have given an account below:



Clockwork Mary & Stone Circle (digital print).
Dawn (digital print).


Printing: £10.17 x 2 + 20% VAT = £24.404.
Framing: £58 x 2 + 20% VAT = £139.2.
Entry Fee: £70.



Had I been accepted to the second stage there would also have been the substantial expense of train fares.

28 Feb 2018

#art #thedailysketch on Twitter.

I had hoped this month to be entering for 5 Open Exhibitions. However, 2 of those galleries are not holding one, and a 3rd is more or less closed down. Therefore, having put submissions forward for the remaining 2, I've been at something of a loose end. Quick sketches for the Twitter hashtags has been my only art activity. The mixed media helps them function as a pictorial journal.

31 Jan 2018

"Dawn" (Piper at the Gates of).

My interest in making an image by drawing each element individually before assembling them in Photoshop, began when making video frames for an animated piece on Goose Fair. Collage is not the same. My process here is more akin to recording a piece of contemporary music. Each part can be individually edited, repositioned, re-scaled, even deleted, leaving decisions about a final "mix" until the very last moment.

In the early stages of this piece I envisaged using half-tone for the shadows, but I am reluctant to use anything from the internet not of my own making. As an alternative I came up with the idea of scanning pages from a previous long-hand journal of mine, and using the written words as “tone”. This literally added a more personal ingredient to the composition.

The statue is from a study I made in the grounds of Newstead Abbey. Casual observers there assume it must be the devil, but of course it is not. Hence “Dawn”.

17 Jan 2018

Something for nothing.

A request today had a familiar tone. They are not uncommon:

“I found a picture of your painting on the internet and wondered how much you charge for one of your paintings? I think it would look nice framed on one of the walls in the pub”.

I know the establishment well, it being at one time a favoured haunt of mine. But I had reason to be cautious. In c.2009 I made a painting of the jazz band which performed there and took them a few hastily made photocopies to see. Although of very poor quality, these copies drew a small appreciative crowd of musicians plus the Inn’s management. The landlord asked if he could use my image. I consented, providing all concerned with an internet link by which they could download a high quality file suitable for printing. (No-one offered to purchase the original). Short weeks later I came across the results: They had not only just re-copied the already poor photocopy I gave them, but also reduced the colours to sepia tones, enlarged the whole thing to blurred proportions, added text, and taped it up by the entrance to the gent’s toilet. It was a lesson learned.

Returning to the present day: I asked which painting it was they were enquiring about, there being several studies of that building in my portfolio.

“The water colour, drawn from one of the tables in the beer garden”.

The painting in question (above) is a sketchbook piece, probably destined to obscurity in my studio drawer. So I tell them they can have the painting itself for free. However, being mindful of past experience, my condition is that I supervise exactly how the picture will be mounted and framed, in readiness for public display. To this end I get a very reasonable quote from the framer of £28, and inform the Inn that if they are willing to pay that, I will deliver the finished item it to them.

That is, of course, the point where silence always descends.


15 Jan 2018

All in good time.

 I usually plan on a painting taking two or three weeks to complete; a time scale born of necessity during the years I was a full time teacher relying on the school holidays in which to concentrate on my own art.

Thoresby Hall was probably one canvas too many of my Thoresby Estate themed paintings, and obviously inspired by my childhood there. I started it in the late 1990’s. As the painting progressed my enthusiasm diminished and, never sure of what to do with the bottom right hand corner, it was soon abandoned.

The rectangles in the composition were a probable result of my video making with a group of students in the 90's. It was all about what was in the viewfinder. Indeed, during that pre-Internet time, my sole reason for buying a computer was to edit said videos. Strange to think now that back then even the video camera had to be rented.

The rectangles also provided a way of putting a sense of time-lapse into the picture, something I’d been doing years previous when depicting the Primary School on Thoresby Estate.

During these recent weeks of January 2018, strolling around Thoresby, I noticed for the very first time how profuse the growth of mistletoe is on the uppermost branches of those trees nearest the Hall and the River Meden.

There was my solution. After c.18 years I finished the painting.


10 Jan 2018

Clockwork Mary and the Stone Circle 5.

In December 2017 I had thought this oil painting finished, and posted it on the internet accordingly. However, seeing it across from my bed every morning during my waking hour, it became evident the technique by which certain elements were depicted was less than acceptable. So I returned to it this month, repainted much of the lower section, and now consider it a 2018 piece.

It may seem like a big departure from the recurrent forest paintings of recent years, but the process here can be found throughout my portfolio: The collage style approach of assembling images with no regard for perspectives, a method often used in my late 1980s / early 1990s work, and the origami details (here on the butterfly), from music videos I made c.2009. Also present is a part of the Nine Ladies Stone Circle, Matlock, which I painted in 2006, not to mention a polka dot mini-dress I encountered in that same town a couple of decades previous. You can see the start of the above painting on THIS LINK.

EDIT: Before re-painting the lower portion of the above piece I made a second version by scanning the preparatory drawings into Photoshop and re-arranging them. My original intention was to have much more white space, and so this second version in my opinion was much more successful:

3 Aug 2017

"The Thrill Is Gone". (B. B. King said that).

"The white heat has gone from the iron and the glow from the coal". (F Scott Fitzgerald said that).

And so it was that 2017 staggered to a close.

21 Jun 2017

Summer Solstice

There is something both sad and slightly disturbing about the Summer Solstice: The realization that, just as you thought the warm summer season had arrived at last, the longest day is nevertheless now over. Imperceptible at first, the sun has started taking its tiny backwards steps towards the far fence in my garden from whence it came last December.


5 May 2017

Rejected 2017.

Between 2007 and 2014 one gallery in particular hung at least one of my pieces in their annual exhibitions, published me twice in their magazine, as well as their “newsletter”, and extended many  RTs, Likes, Faves, and Comments etc., on social media. So when they then offered to pay me for an article about my recent series of 12 oak paintings I was obviously rather pleased. However, halfway through writing said article, they rejected those very same paintings from their latest exhibition. Go figure. Needless to say, said article followed their rejection slip into the recycle bin.


30 Apr 2017

“April love is for the very young”. (Song lyric).

I can’t remember a month in which I was less productive. My best intentions to get out with the sketchbook amounted to just one day in Clumber Park (above), and Thoresby Estate with a camera (below).


29 Mar 2017

Time Marches on.

March went by so very quickly. I had intended this year to get out and see more of the sunlight than last year’s oak-painting marathon permitted. So far that’s not an objective I’ve achieved.

I’ve pretty much abandoned the intended series of paintings mentioned on THIS LINK. It seems pointless locking oneself away working so hard on such canvases that, in the end, are shown to so few. The only lasting passion I have is drawing and painting, more from direct observation only. So, for the moment, sketchbooks are the order of the day.


28 Feb 2017

February, not enough days in the month.

It's been a busy month. Or is it that I kept myself busy? There is a subtle difference. Whichever, there's been more than enough work to keep me happy.

My main art activity has been the making of an animated music promo for a musician friend of mine (above)  who I’ve worked with in the past.

I have continued to attend the Monday night life drawing sessions in town. It has been a good activity to get involved in. I don’t attempt to “make art” on these occasions, but rather develop and hone the practice of looking and drawing, mostly in short concentrated sketches.

Also this month I have been asked to write an article for Painter’s magazine, the same publication which has included me twice before. (See THIS POST and THIS POST). The subject I’ve been asked to write about is my series of oak paintings from last year, and for which I would receive a fee. This will be an interesting task indeed, especially as I don’t regard myself in any way as a landscape painter.