Monthly Archives: October 2017

Winter Series – day 2

Two works in progress (right) today for the Winter Series which launches on 25th November.

This project is a collaboration between myself and composer/cellist Atzi Muramatsu, who’s creating twelve two-minute pieces for cello on the theme of winter. I’m responding to each piece with a painting.

I decided to make two paintings in response to the first piece of music, just to see which works best! I can always paint over the one I’m not keen on. At the moment the one above on the left is working more for me, or at least it reflects the mood of the first piece of music more.

While listening to it for the first time I immediately felt space, height and distance. The mood is sombre yet soft – very still. There’s the sense of cascading, or gliding downwards, maybe looking downwards from a great height, either as a bird or a human.

Bear in mind I don’t know what Atzi has in mind other than winter, since we agreed he wouldn’t reveal his ideas until after the exhibition – it should be fun seeing how the paintings corrrespond to his ideas behind the music!

While painting today (which was a pleasure in my new studio space – more room, better light) I had the two-minute piece of music on a loop so I’m very familiar with it now. There’s a moment that feels as though it’s going to melt into something warmer, which reminded me of one of my favourite bits from Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, by Vaughan Williams, so I tried to suggest that hint of warmth and gentleness, though overall the music is very still, wintry, with a feel of introspection and solitude.

I appreciate music, but my knowledge of musical terms is patchy – I must remedy this by asking Atzi and other musician friends more questions!

More of the new series on Monday …

Portrait of Richard Demarco … preparing.

I posted a few weeks ago about a portrait I’m working on of Richard Demarco (previous post Here )

Having made some preliminary sketches (some of these below and right), I’m taking time to develop ideas in imagination before making a final work which will be on a 30×30″ wood panel. Also to look at the work of some favourite portrait artists, including Auerbach (more on that below).






I’ve made hundreds of portraits over the years in the form of sketches, probably only three or four finished paintings though, and for this portrait there’s so much to consider. Despite Richard’s connection to the world of avant garde and mold-breaking art, I don’t plan to make it a strongly conceptual work since that’s not my usual mode these days, so it will be more about expressing my understanding through line, composition, background and so on.

The themes I keep returning to are ideas about layering, also emerging. The reason being that this reflects my understanding of Richard’s character, work and life, but it also lends itself to my usual style of painting which involves layering, scraping back and building texture. I also know that it will be monochrome, or with very little colour.

For the moment though, I don’t want to say anything about what those layering and emerging ideas will be, for the simple reason that if I’m worth my salt as an artist, those ideas will be evident or discoverable by viewers when the painting is complete! (That will be in December after I’ve completed the Winter Series)

In the meantime, I’ve also been looking at portraits, my favourites being those by Frank Auerbach. I’ve included a short video of an interview with Auerbach below (far better than me havering on about him!) He comes across here as fairly modest – likeable. In his mid 80’s now, he’s still painting  …

On the left is ‘Head of E.O.W. IV’ by Auerbach, which is in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, what you can’t possibly see in reproduction here is the deep, sculptural layering of paint (though you see his paint technique clearly in the video) – the portrait changes as you change viewpoint – some people don’t even recognise it as a face.

On the right is ‘Head of Leon Kossoff’, from a private collection. (Kossoff was a friend and fellow artist). Video below paintings …








Edinburgh Art Fair

This year I’ll be showing with the Limetree Gallery at the yearly Edinburgh Art Fair (EAF), which runs from the 17th to 19th November at the Corn Exchange.

It’s Scotland’s premier art fair and the largest in the UK outside London, so I’m excited to be a part of it. It includes around 60 galleries from around Britain and admission is £5 per day, but if you want to attend the preview evening, it’s £15 on the door, or you can buy tickets for £12 here – Tickets

The Limetree Gallery will be showing four of my Canalscapes series, and ‘Hawk, River Tweed’ which is one of my larger works (image and link to video showing the process of painting ‘Hawk’ below)

‘Hawk, River Tweed 3’. 40×40 inches

Hope to see you there!






Video –