Monday, April 30, 2007

Street - Sketch

I risk becoming a 'Drain' as Preeti would call it..I am troubled. It seems to follow that after an exhibition there is always a down make matters worse, I am between pictures just now. To make matters even worse, all my intention is to put to paper a composition I have been working on for a year now..I've had a couple of goes at it but have failed each time..(then there's the railway picture 'Lines' I've got stored waiting the final spark too) I've come close to starting it, but once again can't find the special something that will ignite it into being. So as is often the case these days..I settle on something 'safe'..plundering my 'Derby Street' photo shoot from last year that gave rise to a few recent pieces..I've started on the preparatory sketches for a crowd scene in St. Peters Street in my city. Despite the fact that it is a 'safe' shoot..I actually love crowd scenes. Please excuse the absolutely rubbish photo of the first bit of pencil work..I am to start dotting soon so I just wanted you to see it at the very beginning.

Sunday, April 29, 2007



Here is the opening sequence from my all time favourite TV series UFO. Produced by Gerry Anderson who also produced Thunderbirds , Captain Scarlett and Space 1999, it defined my childhood experience!!Especially Gabriel Drake as the purple wig wearing Moonbase Commander LT.Ellis!!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Think again!

Here is a bit of writing I transcribed from a scrappy piece of paper given to me by Roy Ray.Roy is the Principle of the St.Ives School of painting and is a widely exhibited and respected artist. As a young Man I took along some of my early work to show him whilst on holiday in Cornwall. He gave me this to encourage me, and I have treasured it ever since...basing a lot of what I believe art-wise on.Please take some time to read and then think again!..maybe you really are an Artist!?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Finished Antimatter

Alright...I don't like it...but tomorrow I doesn't matter!'s Antimatter.It symbolises a time for me..I will remember when it was created and why.

Years ago when I had spare money..I used to buy an LP (remember them?) or a CD every week..then I became a Father. Each one I bought carried the date inside when I bought it..(I do the same with all my books.) You know the odd thing..I can be sitting wondering what to listen I pick out a piece of music..put it on and settle down..then I read the date of often it turns out to be something like Seven years ago to the day..or one year to the week etc...For me I put great significance on music and the things that inspire me..they embed themselves on my mind. With some of my pictures I can point to parts of the picture and remember what was playing on the CD player/radio at the time. Art and music do things to us..they colour the world and the way we see it.. and become part of our experience..our memory..our life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Antimatter 4

Does anybody these days read their children stories about 'Brer Rabbit?' I was enthralled by the stories about Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox..stupid Brer Bear etc as a child, and have since managed to track down copies of the books to read to Annie. I decided to take one of the books to school for story time. None of the children had ever heard one of these stories! I am rapidly gaining the reputation as being the 'Brer Rabbit' man. An accolade I am happy to carry.Usually funny and often with a moral attached, Brer Rabbit is up against the sneaky Brer Fox and ravenous Brer Wolf. The Rabbit always manages to out Fox the Fox and leave Brer Bear with a headache of some sort...Written by Enid Blyton for me they have lost none of their charm that had me hanging on every work my teacher read to us as a class...way back in the 60's now!

Speaking to Julie the head Teacher today I realised what a bold move it has been for her to employ a man who has never taught before, and put in charge of a whole class for an afternoon. Like me, she believes in the positive power of art..that the engagement of the child in artistic activity and the production of something that brings praise gives the child increased esteem and identity..a sense of achievement. With in the class are quite a few children whose first language is not English. We even have a Latvian and a Russian who are though not able to speak English..can draw in the language of art...which all their classmate can understand! Though it is a difficult and immensely challenging thing I am doing..I actually find it a terrific honour to be able to put something wonderful into the experience of so many children.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Antimatter 3

I'm sitting in a darkened dinning room. writing this. I can see through the patio's dark but for the solar powered patio lights. Jan has just got home from filming scenes for a TV series called 'Doctors'. The boys are settling OK at the end of the day.Annie is fast asleep in bed.

Today was my third teaching session at school.Year one...I have swung between confidence to gibbering wreck and back again. I have worked with the seriously mentally ill..I've worked with ex-convicts who are drunk and violent..I've worked with teenage delinquents..but nothing has prepared me for the onslaught that is 25, 6 year olds!! Let us just say that the learning curve I am currently on would give a Space Shuttle pilot a headache! "How on earth do you do that?" I asked a gentle female teacher who walked in to my rapidly deteriorating lesson and immediately had silence without uttering a word..she very humbly told me " I am just an old Dragon"..Mrs. Cripwell..if you are reading this you certainly are no dragon, but someone for whom the children have the utmost respect. I would sell my kidneys to achieve that level of bearing! (perhaps not both kidneys...well actually not any of them..but you get the drift!)

Guess what..I'll be back doing year two tomorrow..I will be doing the learning!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Antimatter 2

Went into town with Jan this morning. We needed to pay a few bills and take samples of my work to a shop which sells fine art prints. The shop have agreed to stock my work and sell initially on a sale or return basis. this is good news as I don't currently have a permanent outlet for my work outside my website. I made contact with the shop in question during my Guildhall exhibition in March. I will provide a selection of prints which will I hope sell.

I continue to work on 'Antimatter' which is interesting,,but I am preparing to initiate a new 'symbolic' work..the subject of which has been in sketch form for many years. I have to consider that this new piece will come before my 'Cromford' pieces in late May/June,,then on to hopefully the start of my Arboretum residency after that.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Antimatter 1

I've spent so much time working on intricate carefully executed pieces recently, I have decided to produce something which is almost the opposite of what has gone before.Here I have posted an edited area of a picture made entirely by little scribbles...I've called it 'Antimatter' because as opposed to my previous piece in which every dot this it doesn't matter as there are no dots! I'll just let the colours dictate what happens.It's a bit of a carefree workout which won't be timed.

I've just been out with Annie.she had some pocket money and wanted to spend called in at our local Woolworths where she bought a 'Tinkerbell' fairy doll..only little but it was exactly what she wanted.As I mentioned in earlier posts, I like to encourage my children to save for the things they want to buy.I know Annie will look after her toy with more care because she saved for it.

It's funny how money is such a motivator..As in most homes..we lost the TV remote control...(remote by name and nature)..over two weeks of absence had me baffled as to where it had got to..So as a last resort (having shifted every piece of furniture) I announced to my children that the finder of the remote would earn themselves £2 reward.Do you know, I had that remote controller back in my hand within 10 minutes!!?.

I'd like to thank Oskur for looking after things yesterday..he's a very enthusiastic primate and is keen to write more. I think we'll be hearing more from the little fella soon...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I am Oskur dur Wyld monky

Ello..I m wrtting bkoz th masta iz avving er rest..i em in chaj,,,i hav tryd too get a thouzund monkeiz t elp me tou writ dis..but i doo not av a fouzand tip wrytez..neel wul bee bak toomorow.

luv...Oskur dur wyld monky.

pee ess..i liyk neelz pikchurz

Friday, April 20, 2007

Finished Corn. Exhibition day 12 - The End.

Declared this one finished at last!!!151 hours 35 mins! I've spent ages worrying about the fact that the tower appears to lean over to the left...I've checked all the angles and it's's due to the less than accurate way the builds in the city have gone up over the centuries...
I've decided to show two halves of the picture but to be honest, the resolution doesn't show it any better when'll just have to come to one of my exhibitions yourself to see it...or of course order a print direct from me!!

The exhibition is now over and all the pictures delivered to the school and old peoples home.Today was one of the busiest..I had around 50 people call in..this included Hardwick years 1 & 2 who just happened to be on a nature trail outing to the park..

I think one of the saddest things for me was to close the door on an empty 'gallery' knowing that for the foreseeable future nothing will hang in there save for a few spiders...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lots of talking - Exhibition day 11

This is my place of work!If I stand with my back to my studio..this is the view I get!! If you are wondering where I am with the progress towards moving in to the Grove Lodge Studio...well they (council managers) have reached the details in the lease stage..I hope soon to hear when I can officially move in..will post photos when that is confirmed!
Here's my favourite Black Walnut Tree again..I've added no filter to the sky or lighting in this was taken just before 9:00am this morning..and what a morning it was...Beautiful!!

School brought down all children from years one and two. Here I'm showing some Y1 children my nearly completed 'Corn' picture.

Y2 children mill about seeing if they could find their own works in the display.Some of the children never attended the 'Art Club' which I ran..They were very keen for me to run another!

I spoke to the children about how many people in the community had commented on how much safer the park felt with an exhibition on..also that many people were cheered by the colourful pictures on show.I wanted the children to realise that their art had affected people and therefore changed (if only a little) the world in which they lived!

The children were attentive to my words and sat quietly whilst I spoke. I later went on to teach this class later in the day at school.
Tomorrow sees the end of the exhibition.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Reception in the park

I'd like to begin this post with a picture of Edith..a gentle elderly lady who has produced the most amount of pictures over the time covered by the project. Edith has never complained..always joined in and has proudly shown her work to her fellow residents.Her family were amazed.Apparently she has never ever shown any interest in creative artwork.Her daughter said she had never seen this side of her Mother.
The reception at the exhibition today was attended by various people..most importantly..the artists!!Here Tommy Greatorex holds a photo of him working on a painting.Unable to verbally communicate you can see he felt proud to be there and given the honour due to him.Others attending were around six residents and carers from Arboretum House, 12 children from the school, Julie Carter: head teacher and Judy Hall: classroom assistant and my right hand help for all the art sessions.Sue Jacklin from the funders 'Small Change' arrived with a few of her colleagues, The Head Ranger of the park Paul Shrigley, Local Councillor and others..Thank You Colin and Thelma, Chrissie and Karen's husband!!!!!!

Jan is serving biscuits and drinks..

A photographer from the Derby Evening Telegraph takes a picture of Floyd who worked on this tree picture.

A line up outside saw other children from years one and two proudly hold their creation for the cameras.Left to right:..Diane,Nathan,Floyd,Joshua,Oriel and Natasha.
Sorry no photos of me..I had the camera! It was a hectic morning. I had to draw the time together by making a speech..I've never been one to write my speeches down..I sat last night to do so, but decided to leave it to form itself...I often feel emotional at these sort of gatherings and feel that if I speak from my heart instead of off a page, it will have more impact.I think this was the case here. The main objective had been achieved..the children and elderly people had seen their work being adored by others..they had received praise and had been recognised as a positive influence on the life and environment of the area!Well done was a pleasure to be involved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Exhibition day 9 - Say it with flowers

There are a few subtle progressions here. Firstly I've added the yellow ochre to the sky and have started work on the final figure (Bottom left)..I don't know how the signature will turn out but that's part of the fun!

Time at the exhibition began this morning again at 9:00..the park was beautiful in the slanting light of the sun..the grass being cut and Paul; the Head Ranger calling in for a chat.He's a lovely gentle and knowledgeable man who has worked at the Arboretum for less than a year. He confirmed for me that the park is actually THE oldest public park in the world!!

I had a number of visitors today including the local Police. Gill was interested to here about the responses from the public I'd had saying how much 'Safer' the park felt with the exhibition.Art has a soothing effect in this context it seems!

I later had around 8 children as well as parents in from the school..I can tell you now how good it was to see children whose work is framed and hanging on the wall proudly show off their pictures to their parents.

On returning home I found a note through the door telling me that a parcel had been left in our recycling bin..inside we found a box from 'Next' containing these flowers..and the best thing was..they were for me!! I can't remember ever having flowers bought for me..and so as the result of some humorous blog chat with my friend Kay in Scotland..these arrived.They are so very wonderful and made me feel very special. Even more welcome as I'm beginning to feel nervous about tomorrow. We're having our 'big' reception at the exhibition..lots of stuff to organise..speech to write..then after that I start my twice weekly teaching job at the school.

I find myself in interesting times. where will it lead I wonder?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Exhibition day 8 - The Florentine Boar

Applied the final section of blue to the sky..then a second layer of green, then third layer of red then final layer of more blue...needs some yellow next.Will then move down to the figure in the bottom left and my signature to finish..should be done by the weekend!!?
This is a photo of the plaque which commemorates the Florentine boar statue

This Cherry Tree has blossomed only since Friday.

I can't resist including lamp posts..

Just to the left of the boars snout you can see the Orangery where the exhibition is!

Annie just back from school gives it the thumbs up!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Exhibition day 7

Progressed well with 'Corn' today..maybe it looks close to finish but I can tell you there is lots more to do. Having put down a basic layer of blue for the sky there needs to be a layer of red and green dots placed in between the blue ones..these graded towards the horizon gradually introducing yellow ochre.Have completed 14o hours worth now..
Here's yours truly hard at work!

The sun made the park seem bursting with life this scene with one almost in the same spot a couple of days ago. Of interest here (but very small in the picture) is the Boar..a bronze statue on a plinth. If you enlarge the photo you might see it just over the 'bird bath' thing in the centre of the pic. I must try to remember to take some closeup photos of the Boar tomorrow

Here's the 'Black Walnut' again (to the right of the lamp post)

Two Holly trees directly outside the gallery.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Corn..Saturday exhibition day 6

I know it looks wonky..but this is the fault of the photographer...he'll get it right one of these days!! It was a wonderfully sunny and warm day here in Derby today. The park was busy with people taking time out to relax and sit in sich a wonderful place.

I had lots of visitors today.among them was Karl Smith..a 'Scroll Saw Artist '.A young man with a skill and desire to work using this skill.I have met a few individuals who all in some way or other create art work/craft. It dawned on me that it would be a great idea to form a central point of contact for the artists around the park and enable the opportunity to exhibit work. I think that when i move into my studio on the park, I'll attempt to do this!...I've met some lovely people this last couple of days. If you're one of the visitors who I 've chatted to this week..please leave a comment on this blog or email your address and I'll let you know about future events and ideas.

One thing I am particularly encouraged by is the wide range of cultural and ethnic groups I've come into contact is a real tool in bringing people together.

I often use this picture (created by the children of St. James Infant School) to illustrate that no matter how insignificant one might feel as an individual, when brought together with others, the picture we make is beautiful , weather as a small group or community..we are all different like these little drawings, but we're all made of the same materials..each of us has something different to say.. together, we are special.

I'd finally like to mention one thing that means a great deal to me at the moment. It's having friends who support and encourage me. Today Allan, Sheridan and Honor called in followed later by my BrotherTim and Wendy. I'd just like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your support.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Corn..Friday..Exhibition day 5

Not a lot seems to have happened here..but it took three hours non the less! Joana...sometimes I take a break from my work and everything appears grainy ..I really do see spots before my eyes!
Ok,'s a very dirty's at the back of the gallery at the Arboretum..but I thought it was interesting to see my reflection!

Some trees have already started to put out leaves..

These ornamental cherries are fantastic!

There appear 'clouds' of colour as new buds ripen and blossom prepares to changes each day!

The tree next away from the lamp post is a 'Black Walnut' I'm is the oldest tree in the park and is the tree in the back ground of my picture 'Hope..the last candle'

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Thursday..exhibition day 4.

At last the sky is beginning to take shape!!Have topped 130 hours work making this probably the most labour intensive picture I have ever been involved with.
Today a Mum brought one of the boys involved with my art project.It was wonderful to see him impressed with his picture hanging in the exhibition. Meanwhile his little brother and sister were taken under Annie's (sitting in the middle) wing outside to play school...Annie wants to be a teacher when she grows up so wastes no time finding pupils to practice on!!

Some early blossom

There's something very Japanese about this's gorgeous..

The nature reserve area is still 'asleep' and bare.

Looking back to the nature reserve

There are quite a lot of these urns around the park..some now planted up with bedding plants.

The commemorative statue of the parks benefactor..Joseph Strutt who donated the park to the people of Derby in 1840.