Summer is here with a vengeance

I have just spent a dispiriting hour trying to remember how to add images etc to my website!  Serves me right for not having posted anything for so long – use it or lose it!

We had a fortnight’s holiday in France at the end of June when it rained and was chilly and cloudy and have come home to this heat wave so I am feeling a little cheated!  Still, I am endeavouring not to complain…

…I spent last Monday in Rabley Drawing Centre helping with the admin for the Sketch2013 competition which Meryl Ainslie runs.  I was lucky enough to be in the same room as the judging panel so could eavesdrop on their conversations as they poured over the 200+ entries and was impressed with how seriously they undertook their examinations of each sketchbook, and the discussions they provoked.  It is a very narrow line between a Sketchbook and an Artist’s Book and quite difficult to agree when/if one slips into the other.  As I have put work in the past into various national competitions, it was quite reassuring to see how closely they scrutinised each entry, because you do sometimes have the suspicion that this may not always be the case!  It does feel this is the season for big art competitions as I keep getting notifications through the post of another irresistible opportunity!  I do find putting work in is quite a good discipline as it makes me complete a piece rather than putting it to one side, with a view to coming back to it later.  But it is a bit of a lottery, and hard not to get your hopes up, only to be dashed when the ‘loser’ letter comes flying on to the doormat!

Currently, I am carving like mad – soapstone, so working with rasps rather than chisels. It is interesting to try 3D for a change; when painting you are producing the illusion of 3D, but it is a very different thing when you are actually trying to reproduce something in the round – there is no place to hide! You find your memory about the shape of things is nothing like as good as you think it is.  I am trying to copy a rubber duck from the bathroom at the moment – real fine art! – and its beak looks decidedly unconvincing…more practice needed!


It’s been a really busy week – mostly spent doing ‘good works’ so I rewarded myself on Friday with a morning of retail therapy. I was in Marlborough at 11am and everything came to a standstill; traffic and people which was splendid. A bugle played ‘last post’ and I found myself standing there with a tear rolling down my cheek.  Then like a switch had been thrown, after the silence, everyone carried on as if that small space had never happened.

White Cube opening in Bermondsey

Guess what?  My daughter has been invited to a champagne reception at the new White Cube opening on Bermondsey Street.  That makes me feel very connected with the higher echelons of the art world!  Actually it is because her flat is nearly opposite and everyone local has been invited as a kind of apology for the building disruption over the last year.  We can all dream…


Busy weekend working on my website, with my ‘Webmaster’ sitting by my side reminding me how to do it…feel like I actually left it in a worse state than I found it but I guess that is part of the whole ‘work in progress’ thing. I am really itching to get back to work printing, but must get this to a condition that I am not ashamed to refer people to it first. Blogging does feel like running a radio show, wondering if you are talking to yourself, so if there is anybody out there…


In Cornwall this week at Trelowarren.  I am always struck by the trees here on The Lizard which are incredibly stunted and tortured by the weather; they make the most amazing contorted shapes with very strong lines.  Normally I would plan out a linocut with drawings etc but I think I might try cutting direct ie take the lino out into the field and just try and be a bit more instinctive.  Will put the results up if they are any good.