Monday, April 29, 2013

Strange Rib Tree - finished. Sad news today.

Strange Rib Tree.(2013)
10 x 7 cm.

Sometimes sadness, bereavement come along unexpectedly...and stamp their coldness all over your day. Today was such a day. working on the finishing touches to my new minipic, a letter was delivered telling me that an old very good friend of the family had recently died. Anna (far right in the photo below taken at my wedding in 1984) was  a very dear friend. Both Jan and I separately and together had visited Anna in her home town of Southampton and then later when she moved and then married Peter to live on the Isle of Wight. Anna would also visit us in Derby and became friends with many of our friends...many who can be seen in the photo. 

We'd remained in touch over the years, and always thought we'd meet up again...but that is now not to be.It leaves me feeling helpless in many ways, regretful of all the times I could have written...visited...all the forgotten Christmas and Birthday cards never sent.

I'll never forget my lovely friend...I'll never forget.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Finished Minipic ~3

I've now completed three minpics...this is good...I hope I'll be able to match that number or even better it before the Festival next weekend. It's strange this business...when i say 'business' I don't feel like i'm 'in business'...I'm doing what come naturally to me.In fact, and you'll here most artists state, that "If I don't create ...I'll explode!" It's a need..a desire...a is the very reason some of us live. but we have to live...and that means money....and that's something I have very little of. So these lovely ( yes! I call my own work 'lovely' because it is!) little 'minipics' are a means to an end. they are for the purpose of selling because people like them...I like them, otherwise I wouldn't do them!

My kids think I'm OK...they're not embarrassed to tell their friends their Dad is an artist...because artists are cool!...Artists are dangerous people...they think differently...they dress strangely and they see things others often don't. I don't feel dangerous... don't think I think differently....ok , so i dress a little bit differently, I admit. but i don't feel cool.

But i do feel incredibly blessed to be able to do what I do....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Minipix - The Willington job continues.

Dropped Jan at the station early this morning. She's off to India for a couple of weeks working. this means I'm in charge! Have to somehow maintain a hold on the dual role of being a busy ( well I am aren't I?) Artist and a 'Daddymummy'. Dealing with  my son's next trip to Bristol university for interview...this time no hire cars or M42 delays...he's going on the train...but has a poker hand full of train tickets....there are so many things that jostle for attention...the dish washer is now RIP..(Rust in peace!) there's always a mountain of washing up...I could bust a gut getting Will of Annie to do their share...but believe me, Kofi Annan would have difficulty negotiating a rota that would be acceptable! if I do it, there is some chance that the crockery will make it to the cupboard in it's constituent pieces...

Then there's the laundry...our washer is temperamental ...when ever you try to run a cycle it makes you loose your temper and go mental!...It only ever warms up probably one in 20 cycles...and doesn't run a spin cycle. you have to wait till it's finished (sometimes it doesn't just keeps filling up, emptying, filling up, emptying filling get the picture...!) and then programme a spin cycle making sure you press the button when the flashing light reaches 1600 revs...otherwise you have to be content with 800 and a soggy load which takes so much longer in the tumble drier!...which all uses electricity which somehow we seem to be over our regular monthly estimate...( just like the Gas!).

...and cooking ! don't get me started!...tonight for instance, my daughter was out for tea at her friend's house. I was able to cook for myself...I had to use a half uneaten meal from last night ( I say was pizza which had been eaten...and jacket potato and beans which had been left. I just nuked it in the micro wave and then grilled a Moroccan style vegi-burger to go with it. Meanwhile my son asked for a meal to be ready for he and his girl friend. So I made two more jacket potatoes, some tomatoes and cheese and broccoli things which also needed grilling. when they got back, Will ate one of the grilled thingummy bobs...and left the jacket spud and toms stating that he doesn't like potatoes and tomatoes. Oh, and his GF never wanted her meal after all. Grrrrr! I suppose I can be thankful, because I'll get to reheat them for tomorrow evening's meal now!

This of course is the daily flavour of life here at castle bonkers....

Facing the prospect of being a single man and making my way in the big bad world frankly scares me to death...well, not death exactly...that would be silly...although now I come to think about it would certainly resolve the problems of all those prospective ready meals for one and subscription to 'Lonely Guy magazine'...if one exists, which I doubt it...actually I think I'm confusing reality with that  of the Steve Martin movie!

Oh, there is of course the having to prepare for a two day arts festival..make creative..keep up with my running routine and stay sane! Which of course I do, with the help of some very wonderful friends who come under the title of 'without whom'....thank you AY,SY,WY,CBx2,DT,VP,MP,GP,JW,LT,TM,TYand a host of others!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Finished Willington minipic # 1. we go again! I'm working on yet another series of my 'minipix' I'm in the fortunate position whereby my recent stock of work has diminished due to having been sold! in view of the fact that I'm exhibiting again in two weeks at the Willington Arts festival, I need some more pieces to sell! These minipix when framed look wonderful and at £50 - £100 approx are a great affordable way to own a piece of my original and very collectible  Hyperpointillist artwork!
So I need to press on over the next few days and see what comes out...I'll return to Rainbow Warrior at the weekend!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 23

What a strange day! Actually I'm getting used to 'little adventures'...unexpected things that occur during the day. but nothing really happened today. My pictures hang in a gallery where I'm not, something that I've not really experienced before. It's a little like having my children away on a sleep over or a school camp. No...strike that!'s like having my children go away to war! ( remember I told you I'm prone to over dramatising things?)...but today I heard that one of my 'children' will not be coming home. Yes, one of my pictures was sold at the pop- up gallery they're staying at! but unlike a heartbroken mother weeping over a half unexpected telegram , I'm really pleased! To have sold last week was good, but this means so much more, because a stranger has liked my work without the charming me being there! It has been bought on it's own merit! Maybe there is a future in this after all!

I also did s bit of dotting on the's a closer look!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 22 . Art at the Farm Day one.

Had a good few days since I last posted. I might have mentioned that during my Cromford week, i'd been invited to take part in a 'Pop- up' Gallery in my home city of Derby. So I've been preparing my work  and delivered it this morning. Along with a group of other artists, the shop has opened and will continue to run until Sunday evening. I'm not overly hopeful of selling anything, but making contact with the organisers and my fellow artists is very valuable. I've tended to plough a lonely existence as an artist, but longed to be in contact with others. this might provide me with that opportunity at long last!
Below is a link to Studio 61's Blog...they have organised the event and an account of the venue with photos is contained in the post below.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Phew! That's that then!

Not sure what to share with you tonight. I've been up to Cromford and dismantled the exhibition, but at time of writing , I've not long returned from a five mile run only to see the news on television of the explosions in awful! My heart and prayers go out to those who are bereaved , injured.

I was surprised, I arrived at the gallery on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon. It was only going to take a short time to remove all the pictures and labels. but it was actually a very emotional event. It's always sad to leave a gallery which you've virtually made your home over the time you've been there. The stamp of my life taken down from the walls which are now bare. The return home a slow and careful journey as the stacks of pictures would move if I took corners a little too quickly.

This has been the first exhibition that I've had no help with, I planned, organised, arranged, framed, set up...ran and dismantled the show all by myself. I ought perhaps to feel some level of pride, but I find myself missing the support I used to have...not only practical help, but emotional support. Today although I've had a good night's sleep and a bit of a lie-in, I actually feel jaded overall.

Thanks for reading, hopefully back to dotting tomorrow!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 21 Exhibition day 9 ( the last day)

I'm not a fan of last days of exhibitions...whilst I really should be feeling elated by the success of the week, the reality is that i'm tired, and in need of extended sleep. In the past I've found the return to my usual routine difficult...previously I worked entirely in isolation, hardly ever seeing friends and growing ever more unsocial, becoming depressed, drinking too much and generally being a high blood pressured grumpy so and so made me very difficult to live with...even I found myself unbearable to live with! ...of course, i'm a very different person these days!!

Tonight, i'm just tired...tomorrow, after a well deserved lie in, I've got to drive back to the gallery to take my work down, I've also planned to resume my usual running route. I've got to select work for next weekend when my work will be for sale at a pop up gallery in the Park Farm shopping centre in Allestree,  Derby. I also have to plan for the Willington Art festival in a few weeks...I need to create a new series on minipix to sell.

As I've mentioned many times before during this week, I'm very grateful for all the support shown by friends and relatives in the run up and during my exhibition. For those who've purchased my work and those who've commissioned me to produce future artwork. I feel incredibly fortunate to know so many wonderful people...a big thank you if you came to see me.. :)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Exhibition day 8!

Returning to the exhibition circuit has been a big deal for find myself planning, organising, setting up, running and selling the public show of my work has been all my own work..... but actually has it really? To be honest, a lot of it was, but the thing that has made everything function well has been the love and support of a few dear and valued friends who probably don't realise the impact they have made on me, and the support I have felt...not all of these people have been to my show, but for those who have made the journey, given the right words...sat, knitted, drank tea with me, listened to my stories  and made me smile, and even in a couple of instances made me cry! (in a good way!) your love, presence and encouragement has helped confirm in my mind that i'm doing the right thing, that my talent and my gifting is being put to good use!

I'll probably be more effusive tomorrow when I finish my week and my show, but for now, a big big thank you to those who have're like gold!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 20. Exhibition day 7

I honestly can't believe it's been a whole week since I initially set up for my show in Cromford. I'm feeling pretty tired now having talked so much. Don't get me wrong, meeting people, talking about what I do ...why I do it is fun...I get to meet so many diverse people. for instance today almost immediately as I arrived to open the gallery at 10 am I was introduced to twelve Malaysian engineers! Wonderful people who all queued up to have their photos taken with man even asked me for my autograph! Then I was 'invaded' by eight gorgeous French women! Was turning into a very international day by lunchtime!
One thing that is a constant are the amount of families with young children...I love to demonstrate what i'm working on and show people the technique I use, which you'll be surprised to learn is not always understood by those who wander in, have a look and wander back out again. Children on the other hand are inquisitive, and whilst their parents hover at a distance, they come in close to have a look and ask questions. Parents will then follow...I love seeing their eyes widen as I tell of my experiences and stories! 
I'm also struck by people's understanding and concept of what an artist is. On the BBC at the moment is a series called something like 'so what do artists do all day?'...I watched one episode last night which featured Jack Vetriano... very enlightening! I think people often gain their understanding from school art history lessons or else Hollywood bio-pics featuring Kirk Douglas as Renoir...or else they think an artist is a sort of airheaded dreamer who has wafted through life in a whimsical ignorance of what real work is all about.( that is actually probably true in some cases!)...( but not me obviously!!!)..they look a little shocked when they ask how I price my work and include the fact that it's been responsible for where I find myself in life at the moment ( see yesterday for more explanation!) fantastic week! and still two more days to go. I've sold more than any other exhibition I've done and will hopefully sell more over what promise to be two very busy days. See you tomorrow with more !

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 19 Exhibition day 6.

It's all looking a little wishy washy around the star at the moment...but fear not...I know what i'm doing! I initially thought it would be a fairly easy matter to create the star...but looking closer, I realised that I need to convey the impression of the actual stitches...that's what creates the texture of the garment. I also of course need to be available to talk to visitors to my exhibition, so long periods of concentration are not readily available! No worry!

I continue to feel quite overwhelmed, I'm not used to my work being in demand. I really should get used to it. Being the only practitioner of full colour Hyperpointillist work in the UK, I might very well find my work being sought after. I think having gone through so much in my life having lost my health, my wife and nearly losing my mind as a result of my work, has added  something to which people can identify with...I'm not purely a novelty act. My work is coming from a man who's had/ having a life and had come through some difficult and challenging times.....fairly intact and peaceful in his skin.

Today I sold a few pieces. Well established and high earning artists will probably laugh at my relatively small earnings, but I'm chuffed to bits, it's been my most successful exhibition ever!...and having to potentially face relying on what I can earn solely for my own existence is challenging ...but that's for the future. I'm trying to live day by day at the moment. Trusting in my god for all that I have.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 18 Exhibition day 5

Very quiet day at the gallery. And the first day where I didn't sell anything. Still, found plenty of time for dotting! moved onto the coloured star on the front of my jumper.

Now speak to any exhibiting artist and you'll tails of the "I'll be back later in the week" guy. Someone who shows incredibly enthusiastic attention to your work but is in a hurry, so will come back later in the week  giving you the impression that he/she intends to but I'm always excited and fall for the same old story only to be disappointed when they don't show up. today I had a man who showed similar enthusiasm, but stated he was a supplier of goods to some of the shops in the he left he told me he'd be back later in the week...then he said an odd thing. He recommended that I double the prices on all my work!...curious...this was after he learned that I'm the only practitioner of full colour Hyperpointillist works in the country! again i'm not expecting anything, but I have been praying for the right person to come along who can help me marketing my work!

I'll let you know what if anything happens with this chap...but don't hold your breath!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 17 - Exhibition day 4.

I tried to encapsulate the theme of today...not sure what it was really. I had a lot fewer visitors through the please don't misunderstand me, bodies through the door doesn't equate to the amount of  sales...usually I find more sales are made when times are quiet. Much to a certain person's annoyance, I still state that 'the money' is not the most important part of me exhibiting my work. Of course it is important in the scheme of family life and taking my responsibility to providing for my family....and we do have an overdraft the size of a small country ( bit of an exaggeration there !) but times are very tough for us. My aim is to share my passion for my work and it's process, and to enable visitors at my show to enjoy seeing my work in a comfortable non pressurised environment with good lighting and nice music...and I aim to answer all questions as if it's the first time I'm hearing it...Questions like: " I bet you have to have a lot of patience?" ..."how long does it take you to do one picture?"...." how many dots are in a picture?"..."do you suffer from repetitive strain injuries?"..."where do you get your ideas from?" ..."What got you started with the dotting?" etc.....The result this week is that I've earned more in the first three days of this exhibition than I've ever done in any of the previous ones. I'm feeling really blessed!

Of course the lower visitor numbers meant that I could spend a little more time working on my picture. Slowly extending the dark of the jumper down to where it meets the star pattern. hopefully I'll start work on the star tomorrow.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 16. Exhibition day 3

Each day seems to have it's own special's own theme. Today's theme would be something along the lines of love, support, friends and happiness. I'm not going to go into detail explaining why I arrived at the venue feeling quite in need of some human warmth...not necessarily touch, but some kindness...some caring. I have mentioned in my rather overstated kind of way that I'm finding the whole process of 'putting my heart on the wall' quite difficult in many ways. Since things in my life have taken on a very stark and at times painful reality.

A very good and dear friend Alison Beck had arranged to come down to the gallery from York with her son Josh ( who has a very keen and enthusiastic appreciation of art!)  they had kindly invited me out to lunch at the Scarthin Bookshop which is a large three story Victorian house jammed to the rafters with books new, second hand rare and limited editions...wonderful...and a very lovely little vegetarian cafĂ©. It's best described as a 'Straight out of Diagon Alley ( that's a reference to Harry Potter if you don't know) type of building with tiny tucked away rooms to discover all filled with books on shelves after shelves stretching from wall to wall, floor to ceiling.

To enable me to leave the gallery, another good friend, Amy offered to look after things for me. how wonderful was that!? I have known Amy and her husband Chris since they were both very  young ( about 5 years old I think!?) Amy came along with her three lovely children, another friend, Lisa with her daughter. Lisa took the children off to allow Amy to look after things for me. I was whisked off to lunch.

A big helping of Homity Pie...salad and lovely conversation with Ali was just what was needed. I love the fact that with your best friends, you can pick up a conversation immediately even though you've not seen each other for months.

I also had a visit from Christine, her daughter Jodie and her friend Sandra. what lovely very encouraging. ...I've ended my day at the gallery feeling quite warmed, encouraged and supported. I sold another print ( thank you Alison !) and was invited to join in supplying some of my work to a 'Pop up shop' opening in Derby in a couple of weeks! All in all a good day....I left with a smile on my face.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Rainbow Warrior 15...Exhibition day 2

I'm not being melodramatic today when I state that I'm feeling a little overwhelmed...sold more work today....and met some lovely people including my old school pal Richard.( We sat next to each other on our first day at school back in 1967.) I've never sold so much work in such a short time. Quite amazing!

Was funny at one point...there were about 9 people in the gallery quietly viewing, when the string across the back of one of the pictures it fell, the picture dislodged two others. A massive crash ensued which funnily enough didn't damage the pictures...the glass remained intact....can't say the same for the nerves of the visitors though! hehe.

But seriously ...I've gone through quiet a lot of turmoil preparing this exhibition...what to and what not to the end I've decided to stand by what I have, what I've created. It's part of and is me. :)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Cromford exhibition - Day 0ne.'s me again...the artistic version of Woody, that's harsh..I'm not all neuroses...I'm a gentle kind thoughtful caring sensitive if a little gullible and timid individual. but I'm learning...and a wise friend told me today that the last thing I need to do is pretend that I'm anything other than what i am...and she was right...I'm a really nice chap actually! It's true that I've been through a whole heap of life changing stuff/ still going through life changing stuff. Had my heart utterly broken...had my health almost broken, had my mind shrivelled in the darkness...and if I'd thought of trying, I'd have got a degree in melodrama and overstatement! ...but seriously folks, how could I deny the work I've produced that has lead me up to this point in my life?...even if it's not what one might expect 'decent folk' to approve of.

When you look back one day and see how my work has developed, you'll see why it is relevant to consider the products of the last few years...anyway dear reader, today was day one of my 9 days in Cromford. see above and below me sitting at my desk working on 'Rainbow Warrior'!
Today, I decided to hang 3 of my my recent pictures...perhaps you remember
'Cello'...'Quintadagio' and 'Orbits'?....

I also took along 9 of my most recent pieces ( see below ) which remain unframed...but like i said...part of the story of my life.....and guess what?...I actually sold lots of work! I'd managed to recoup the hire charge of the gallery by lunch time and went on sell a good deal more thereafter. Was wonderful to see dear friends and complete strangers who were an absolute blessing of encouragement and support turn up throughout the day.
I feel a whole lot better about things now...I guess really it's difficult to describe to someone who doesn't use visual art as a form of expression and rely on it for their living... If you'll forgive me for falling back on my imaginary degree in over statement and melodrama?...It's can best be described as putting the deepest secrets of your heart and soul on a wall for the public to see. It really is...and the approval or rejection of the viewer is in their mind that of ink , paper and an artists imagination. but to me it's the very essence of my life's experience and expression...the reason i am who i am. Yes folks!...It's that's that important to me.
 Here I am lord!....and I can be nothing else.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Exhibition set up.

These photos show the pictures as I hung them...I've yet to make them all hang evenly and put labels including prices underneath each one. when i began this blog I said that I'd write about the ins and out of being an artist...the highs and lows...well they're all there today. because what I write today may change tomorrow, you'll have to accept that this is a cathartic experience ...writing...but you'll get a better understanding of me as an a 51 year old finding that all he's known for the past 30 odd years has been challenged and turned on it's a man who has lost his faith, and then found his a Man /Artist/ Christian finding himself rethinking the way he expresses himself....

I felt very peaceful about preparing for this exhibition...when ever I feel peaceful about anything, something tries to unsettle it. Wednesday, I collected the hire car to take my son to Bristol for his university interview. I really dislike long American/ fact any of my non British friends will laugh when I describe my definition of a long journey...Bristol is 147  miles from where I and a half hours drive to be there at 2:30 I though to be on the safe side, I'd leave an hour early to leave room for delays. 40 miles into the journey just outside Birmingham we hit a traffic jam....'road works'...I knew we might be in for a delay...i had no idea how long that delay would be. We managed to travel only three miles in three hours! so after calling the uni a few times...we decided it would be better to re arrange the interview for another day...turn round and head home.

Not a great day you'll be surprised to hear...but I was able to spend some time with my youngest son with whom i've found it difficult at time to relate to...we were both sharing an experience which helped us to bond...we talked...laughed and i suppose in retrospect, it was a very valuable time for us.Shame we had to do it in a traffic jam...but sometimes those experiences are only possible in a shared adversity!

I thought I'd done really well...I was proud of the way I handled the situation...sorting the car out...buying the correct etc...But it was tired, slightly irritable and still with a stack of things to do to prepare for the exhibition. I sorted the work that needed doing the next day and sat back looking forward to my wife returning from her mini holiday which she and my daughter had decided to go on.

I quickly found that my exploits were not well received...I'd bought extended insurance for my own peace of mind...which apparently I didn't need...I'd bought a full tank of petrol of which only a quarter was used. We have a spectacularly downward financial situation...well into the overdraft, we are just about broke, and I made it worse...and boy wasn't I told in no uncertainty! so I trailed off to my bed slightly broken...tired and full of anticipation of the oncoming day when I'd hang my work for the first time in three years.

Arriving at the gallery, I unpacked the work i'd decided to bring along. Now I had a bit of a dilemma...still have a dilemma...all the work that i've created over the past six or seven years has leaned to my darker imagination..working out the experiences of an often painful childhood weaving deeply personal themes of religion and sexuality. i think to the casual observer I must seem like some sort of pervert....fetishist....and this to be honest troubles me now. Now that i've given my life back to God, I want to think on things that are good and wholesome...encouraging and Holy. But the work that remains now back home...some of it framed, most of it not framed mainly due to the fact I've made hardly any money in the last three years...I cannot afford to have it framed anyway. but despite the subject work that i am most proud is that which is created as a true and expressive release of my often deeply hidden thoughts .It's also very not what 'decent church people will be happy seeing.....oh what am i saying?....I must be going soft or something!

 So that brings me to exhibition i'm deeply unsatisfied with putting my artistic stamp tells only half the story of me...and is a feeble attempt to satisfy as many people and upset as few as possible.

I think i know the answer as i'm typing to be honest...I think i hear what you're saying to the quietness of your glowing screen. Art has never been about settling for has never been a cushion to delicate sensibilities...

What will i do? What would you do?
to find out...Tune in tomorrow...same Bat time...same Bat channel!
I sound like a right mess don't I?...
i'm off to bed,,,it'll all look better in the morning.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Preparing for exhibition...Thursday. I am....on the eve of my return to exhibition circuit. Whilst I feel peaceful about it...I feel as if I'm taking a step of faith. I have no real expectations as to what will happen during the the past I've been a commercial disaster area....a let down to my family and myself. I've been guilty of having given up hope of making a success of my business and abandoning my dream. So to put myself back into the spotlight this time , i would be forgiven for feeling a certain amount of trepidation...and you'd be correct in that assumption!
This feels it feels  like a new beginning for me in some can read about how things turn out until tomorrow night, I'll say goodbye....

above you can see a selection of the very important tools of my trade...!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Preparing for exhibition.

 I've now finished the mounting and framing of all my minipix pieces produced this year for sale. I know i'm not prolific, but 20 pieces is about as good as it gets for my technique! I have around 100 other older pieces to chose from as accompaniment , some of which i've opted to offer for sale this year. All my black and white pieces dating back over the past 3 years will not be in the exhibition, this is mainly due to the fact that I can't afford to have them framed...i will mount a couple and might show them if I can wrap them in celophane...I'll see. to be honest, I'm finding some of their subject matter a little at odds with the way i'm thinking these days...they are part of my development however and any understanding of 'Me the Artist ' needs to take them into consideration.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Rainbow Warrior - 14

Having pencilled in the sweater, I'm now looking rather priestly...not intended by the way! but my jumper has stretched somewhat after a recent visit to the washing machine! to make matters worse, the jumper is black...that was'll see what I mean eventually...I love the subtle folds in the surface of the material.

Preparations for the exhibition are coming along well. I've bought frames for all my recent minipix...they look great! I have a few more to mount before I can finish the rest of the framing. It's going to be an odd week..Jan and Annie have gone away till Friday...I have to stay and help my son get ready for an interview at Bristol university on Wednesday..he has to prepare his portfolio...he's wanting to enrol on the illustration degree course..( something I wanted to do at his age but I was too timid and didn't want to leave home!) I have hired a cheap car and will drive him there! It will actually be an honour to support him...we haven't always seen eye to eye...but I'm in the process of rebuilding our relationship...much better since my Blood Pressure has been normalised and I've stopped losing my temper!