Jan 28

North Devon Arts Award and Talk

North Devon Open Arts Show: Exhibition, Award and Talk (+ one new work): I went to the Museum of North Devon at Barnstaple for the preview of the 11th Annual Exhibition on January 21st where I have 6 paintings on show, and was surprised and delighted to receive an Award and small bursary for which I'm very grateful (may I now assume the moniker "Award-winning" and thus, it seems to me, join the main throng of creativity?). The event and award is at the behest of the Barnstaple Museum, and it is to them principally, as Stella points out below, that I am indebted, and I am grateful to her for the opportunity to correct that. It is to North Devon Arts that I am progammed to give a talk in March at The Broomhill Sculpture Park.

A friend gave me a superb bottle of Oban Malt whisky in exchange for a painting - which seems to me quite a good deal; he thought so too.

One new painting (Witch Hazel) is on the website, click on the image here to see a larger reproduction.

Witch Hazel

Jan 9

New works and an exhibition

New works and an exhibition In the 11th North Devon Open Art Show at the Museum in Barnstaple there will be several paintings. Details of the show are below. Please note this includes an invitation to the PV; I'm told there is no need to RSVP, just turn up if you can! And since this happens to be the day before my birthday you would be doubly welcome!

North Devon Open Art Show flyer

On view will be a painting which revamps one originally done in 2001 and called 'As she awoke' - not yet on the website.

I’m also working on new paintings for my forthcoming exhibition ('The Constructed Female') later this year at The Plough Arts Centre.

Below are examples (click on thumbnail to see larger image).

Black eyed-upRe-gazedNovember girlJan

Nov 12

Abstract thoughts

Abstract thoughts have been occupying my mind lately and I thought to share some with you in the hope that you might do likewise.

Preparing for a day’s workshop on Thinking in the abstract for the Lundy Art Group in Appledore I confronted once again the old chestnut of what exactly is abstract art and where the boundary lies between this and figurative (or realism, if you prefer) painting. Maybe with the exception of some bizarre anal-retentive form of photo realism, ALL fine art is an abstraction of perceived reality. Painters and even many photographers select and edit all the time. It is merely a case of degrees. Perhaps Rodin on his 172nd birthday would agree.

Philip Guston the great American expressionist towards the end of his life became increasingly infuriated with (‘pure’) abstraction and returned to a more figurative style. In a notebook found after his death in 1980, he said “American abstract art is a lie, a sham, a cover-up for poverty of spirit..." He went on...

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Sep 23

Art for Life and new work

Art for Life logo
Art for Life 2012 in aid of the Children's Hospice. Please see Home page for details of event on the weekend of 29/30 September at The Plough Arts Centre. I think they are hanging 7 paintings of mine.

In the next day or two I will add examples of new work here, including new Sweetpea studies and two tree trunk studies after 1980's sketchbooks. I'll advise when these are up but in the meantime please have a look at the Art for Life website and come to the exhibition if you are nearby.

Aug 25


Unhinged. I'll leave you to decide if this applies to me or just to the diptych I entered for the Westward Ho! & Bideford Art Society's annual exhibition at the Burton Gallery in Bideford. Quite possibly both you will decide. A painting from a couple of years ago but I thought the two parts of 'Making It Up' - click on each picture below to go to larger representations and read a little about their origin - was something they might have liked. It was not to be.


 Making it up 1Making it up 2


They told me I created a problem for them: they were too big (both together were less than one metre), and that I'd stated the works should not be separated. That is so, because it is one work, which to me looks pretty obvious.

The truth lies elsewhere. Incidentally, since these photos were taken I'd made it more clear by starting the signature on #1 and ending it on #2... but you'd have to look to see that.

People look at paintings far too quickly and make snap judgements in most selection processes. The old adage, 'You only get one chance to make a first impression' might be cool business speak but it doesn't apply to anything which demands contemplation. Research shows that most people look at paintings in galleries for a few seconds, half a minute at most. How long do you listen to a symphony? As long as it lasts. But a painting is infinite; it lives on the easel for say 3 days, and thereafter for ever.

Cezanne said, "I have to work all the time, not to reach that final perfection which earns the admiration of imbeciles. And this thing that is so commonly appreciated is merely the effect of craftsmanship."

Nothing wrong with craftsmanship, but if that's ALL there is it had better be up to Pre-Raphaelite standards.

Never mind, my own lonely furrow is enough to plough.