Today I presented a painting to Doncaster Royal Infirmary in thanks for my treatment last year.
In March 2008 I was invited to the No Boundaries International artists’ colony in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. In June I was diagnosed with a colon cancer and thought my chance had gone. Thanks to the skills and care of Mr Khetan and his surgical team and the staff of Ward 20 I had a successful operation and made a full recovery in time for a memorable trip to America.
Today, exactly one year on from my flight out, I was pleased to be able to hand over a painting of Captain Charlie’s Cottage on Bald Head Island where the artists’ colony was based.
Sheffield Children’s Hospital has launched an appeal to raise money for a new CT scanner and I have a creative plan to help them along.
I am keen to support this because, when a large tumour was found in my colon last year, it was a simple CT scan on the same day that reassured me that the problem was isolated and my chances were good. This almost instant feedback meant so much to my family and myself after the shock of the discovery.
A canvas will be divided into many squares and people will be invited to paint something into one or more squares (or ‘Patches’) for a donation of £1 per patch. Depending on their skill or confidence people may paint a picture, a pattern or just fill it in with their favourite colour. They could even commission me to paint something for them. The result will be an intriguing mosaic of ideas and images that will be displayed in many venues around the town and possibly further. The important thing is that people are using their creative skills for a very good cause. All materials will be provided.
Please come and join me at my Open Studio Day (Oct 31st), in the Shop Window (2nd to 13th Nov) or just pop round to the Brevon Gallery on Bass Terrace, Thorne Road, Doncaster DN1 2HZ. Any questions – contact the gallery on 01302 366133 or e-mail me email@example.com .
The start of this project has been delayed while waiting for official permission to proceed. That has now arrived but it would be better for me to now launch it in January 2010. Watch this space!
From the 2nd to 13th November 2009 I will be painting in the public eye in a shop window in the Waterdale Shopping Precinct in central Doncaster.
On weekdays from 10 till 4 I will be working on paintings and chatting to visitors in the old chemist’s shop (more recently a bedding shop) on the corner of KIngsgate and Princegate. The council have taken it over for a few weeks to promote their services and have invited various creative types to use the window as a showcase. Members of the public will be actively encouraged to pick up a brush and paint!
On Wednesday morning, 4th November, Nathan and Katherine will be joining me for a few hours of ‘Dynamic Painting’ where all 3 of us will be working on the same canvas at the same time and, hopefully with the same purpose. Anything could happen.
Saturday 31st October 2009 10.30 – 16.00
For the first time all 3 Brevon artists will be in residence for our Open Studio event. Katherine, Nathan and myself invite you to visit us in our studios, look at what we’re working on and have a chat about all things art. There is also the chance to view the new ‘Halloween’ exhibition of humerous skeleton paintings by Dave Foley on the first floor of the gallery. Phone the Brevon Gallery on 01302 366133 for more information.
Welcome to my new studio
I am now fully settled in to my new studio space above the Brevon Art Gallery.
It is on the second floor (4 flights of stairs and no lift I’m afraid) with a small but lovely view of Christchurch and Thorne Road. I have been joined in the next-door studios by artists Nathan Turnbull (www.overawall.com) and Katherine Milns (www.katherinesgallery.com) and we are holding regular Open Studio days. Visitors to the gallery are welcome to drop in on other days too if we are in residence. The gallery is usually open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.
For more details contact the Brevon Art Gallery, 6 Bass Terrace, Thorne Road, Doncaster DN1 2HZ – telephone 01302 366133. www.brevonart.co.uk
Anyone seeing my studio over the last few weeks may wonder about the direction I am taking. A large proportion of the paintings on view are of quite traditional landscapes in contrast to the vigorous scribbly drawings also on the walls.
I have recently been revisiting my love of landscape as a way of refreshing my vision before I start on a new theme. Early in my career I was advised that the imagination is rather like a bank account – you should put something in before you take anything out. Some of the paintings are developed from sketches and photographs while others have been completed on location, ‘en plein-air’. The starting point for this was a “Paint Doncaster” challenge from the Brevon Gallery where I have my new studio.
The great thing about working en plein-air is that there is a sense of quiet urgency about the work. There is a serene tension that I have also encountered while fishing with rod and line – things can change in a moment. There is the added pleasure of meeting the people who dare to be ‘nosey’. They often bring snippets of information that get woven into the picture and add to the quality of the work.
The return to landscape stems from my American trip to the No Boundaries International colony on Bald Head Island, North Carolina. I had gone with the intention of painting my usual encrusted studies of old walls and stone buildings but found sleek wooden buildings and massive amounts of sky, sea and open air. I was a little rusty at plein air work but thoroughly enjoyed painting a couple of large beach scenes. I knew there was something there that I wanted to explore but it took several months to bring it into focus. After the intense close-ups of my Venetian walls I wanted to try to capture a sense of space – the air between the objects more than the objects themselves. This led to some drawings which, for me, have exciting potential. By layering and erasing random marks in a personal calligraphy I am creating a depth of space that forms can inhabit – sometimes planned by myself but very often created in the imaginations of the viewers. The origins of these marks can be seen in the dancing haze of “Pellicciolli” and “Lucatello” drawings of 2007 or earlier signs in “Lagoon” from 2005. However, my first attempts at trying to show the air between viewer and subject stem from student days in Durham and the river-mists that shrouded the castle and cathedral. Just how the new work will develop over the next few months remains to be seen but I’m glad to have rediscovered the buzz of plein-air painting. Weather permitting I’ll be out to invest in my imagination again soon.