Tuesday 31 December 2013

31 dec 2013 tuesday

Finished:) Brought it downstairs to hang to dry and Leroy, the dog I'm looking after, barked at it. 
Definitely a result.

Monday 30 December 2013

30th dec monday

bad and disorientating dreams; wrote this on waking, late -

The falling blood fragmented into rubies then morphed to lumps of dull plastic, reddish-blue
He drew on the crystal of my shattered chandelier
over my shoulder, he drew in thin indigo a bicycle with wheels of webs
then a hearse with hollow wheels.

hey ho, just the state to go drawing in. Then the model (s) (Atmo and/or Ceri) were late. Aileen went to see if they were coming and they were in the shower together so she stripped off and posed till Atmo turned up. Tired, bad dreams, slightly panicky disorientation. Haven't looked at the work yet.

Got back from drawing to various domestic panics and then Ryan with the news that his father had died this morning. The wretched painting playing in my head like a developing photo.

Saturday 28 December 2013

28th dec later

grinding on - and have started next, the double canvas london pic. knackered.

sat 28 dec 2013

still looks rough but on course now, l feel -

happy that Im getting so much done despite having xmas stuff and Bob around. Hes really making an effort to  free up my time and not to interrupt.

and yesterday on a whim I bought a scratch card and won 500 euros, five winning numbers of 100 each. This represents a deal of paint:)

Friday 27 December 2013

27th dec 2013 friday

bloody awful picture despite many hours of putting on and taking off paint.
I was trying to describe and understand a time when I was turned into a lion in the face of becoming an accident of medical happenstance - falling into the hands of doctors, who told me things I didn't know about my body.
Sitting on a bus by the hospital surrounded by people in a similar, rather hyper-real, state. The autumn air very clear.

 Next I dream the renaissance lion.

Find now that I have muzzled a beast with a hand ringed with a wedding ring and a wrist tied by time.

The is no lion-ness there except perhaps the  resignation of an animal unsure what to do. But there is an intelligence that belies that.

Bloody silly picture. Its the '70's haircut that's so horrible! Very tempted to take out the bus - isn't working pictorially, makes the whole too chalky - and use the curves to make an italian faux renaissance setting.The only thing I have liked in two days of work is the shift of the shoulders. May be able to build on that.

Monday 23 December 2013

23rd Dec, Monday 2013

Xmas is intruding so not a lot of painting getting done - though some - today was drawing with something  akin to a hangover. Was concentrating on not making a noise and by accident found l was moving charcoal under my finger very softly so that the marks l was making seemed to come directly from my fingertip. Fostering this notion l tried using oil pastels - not so good as too sticky - then tried to draw entirely from touch, sticky, smooth and slidey with graphite. Actually really hard when it got self-conscious, the temptation to press and darken for the sake of it was very forceful.
For one drawing picked up a pencil and drew - it was like being let out of school, joyful in the extreme -

Hard work. Felt all the time that something just out of reach was coming to greet me.
It didn't.

Marie was modeling and before the others arrived she started talking about the difference between eroticism and sexuality. Complicated and in french - Roger arrived and introduced Bataille into the debate so Thanatos and Eros conveniently rounded off the issues though there are things there I want to pursue. Not now. Off to clean up after last nights' party.

Monday 16 December 2013

16th dec monday

Woke from a dream of the lion, very clear - knew what was wrong with the picture and have totally screwed it:) Now realise that a. I don't know what lions look like and b. my dream was the renaissance lion, the lion of the Medici and very stylized.
Off to search for pictures of lions. No of none other than the Kokoscka postcard on my wall, which has  a human face. Did he think he was a lion, I wonder?

 Later, found this on he web - its cut to loose the body, sadly. OK called it a Tigerlion.Can't find any images of lions that are useful to me, shall stick with whats in my head. Have painted in favorite cardigan (gift if Jacqui) and green top both of which I was wearing at the moment of transformation, or at the time of acknowledgement of transformation. Really need to finish soon, Bob arrives wednesday and household stuff tomorrow morning. Afternoon should do it so no pressure then...

Mornings drawing went wellish, Atmo again. I was up and working early so already tired when I got to the group though made time for a coffee first, in the cafe with OB and Aileen, also Mike. Was shocked by the sound of my voice - been alone a long time, it seemed so loud!
Tried to summon as much ignorance as I could and used charcoal to be messy and inaccurate with. HATED the scratchiness - had to keep stopping, too loud, too loud. Result mixed. Like the  medium.

Sunday 15 December 2013

sunday 15th dec

ho hum. Painted in the hospital but need to think about that. Put in wedding ring and watch. Now must clothe the beast but cant think what in.Would like a reference to a bus also - was on the bus when I realised I'd become lion. Good fun though, enjoying it except that Im working standing at the easel and looking up and have the horrific neck pains and headaches that come with that pose.Creaking like a very old ship.
Tomorrow drawing, then can crack on. Just needs attention.

15 dec 2013 sunday

With all this free time, what happens? Yesterday largely squandered on friends, the day before on housework. The housework did reveal the Russell Hoban book, The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz; haven't read it for many years and  re-read as I remember enjoying it. Still did though in these days of magical realism it seems a little slight - a gentle fairy story. No, better than that - and I was pleased by the power Hoban allows drawing and sculpture and indeed map-making. No use in my lion painting however. It did get a few hours attention yesterday under artificial light. Its working out OK, today I think human hand(s) get put in. Glasses? If its a self-portrait it should have them. Then the lion becomes a parody?

Wednesday 11 December 2013


Finished! -And out of studio, where Ive started on the self-portrait as lion. Wanted to recapture - and understand - the strange sensation of being me and not-me, sitting under a mane and being animal and incorruptible that l experienced during the medical  terrors recently. It was like a shield. Clothed in protective armour.
Picture is twice life size and imposing which (so far) has stopped it looking too daft. The cowardly lion form the W of O is there but it must be brave and fearless.
Tomorrow is Thursday, household day. Friday through to Weds good  to paint.

Framed - in a proper big frame - my Greenwich expo poster. Felt outrageously egocentric.

Tuesday 10 December 2013


...taken a lot out, wrapped it in white, will attack with lustre paint when dry. Much happier about it. Maybe the trick is not to hang on - something doesn't work, trash it and find another route to completion that is um, as yet unknown.
Woke early feeling v positive and thought that all I have to go on are visual clues, the thinkie stuff is inbetween times. Mostly before and after. Set about looking closely at things. Most helpful - not that its actually helped, but its given me a great deal of pleasure:)

Later; finished painting at 7.00 when I thought the thing was finished, (but of course unsure.) Watched it for a while; the refrain, find the key playing in my head. It sat there as I ate dinner, looked at mail and fb, then  took the dog out for a late walk. Sniggering at the Freudian overtones of The Key, what key, to what?
In the dark by the river, something glinted.... yup, there it was. Can't help laughing. Will take it to the town hall tomorrow, maybe its important. Certainly to someone. And will keep looking.

Ghesso'd 2 canvases, need more coats before I can start on the Twilight painting. Can however start on the Self portrait as Lion that sustained me during the medical exams recently. Tomorrow

Monday 9 December 2013

monday 9th dec 2013

I know I do moan but after this crappy day have just eaten a whole bar of chocolate and some haribo rabbits, so comparitively cheerful:)

90% of my time is spent preparing for the 10% that fleetingly goes well. It isnt good.

Monday so the morning drawing, Atmo modelling very well. Half way through the morning was struck by the thought that I was learning nothing and that my whole agenda about humans and their characteristics was jammed stuck. Not a helpful thought. Ploughed on with increasing despair; nothing even pretty. Thought maybe I was being caught up again with appearances and took a lot of trouble to overcome the tyranny of the surface pattern. Results at best mediocre.

Only interruption this afternoon was John M coming round to take my bank details to  pay me for the 15 little pictures he bought on Sunday. Perhaps I should spend some? Then I'd have an idea what its all for - yeah, right.
So went for a walk and it was good though my difficulties unresolved. Maybe I will hit the studio after dinner. The ex- Thetis picture is reaching watershed crise time, where it'll get scrapped off and junked if it doesn't start getting better soon. Should turn it to the wall and get on with the next but I can hear it sniggering...

Sunday 8 December 2013

Dec 8th Sunday

 Slowly, slowly... changed Achilles shield into a scallop shell, tethered the cherubs to Thetis. No doubt will know why some day. And in the meantime have found a picture of mine dated 1972, i.e. over 50 years ago. Don't seem to have moved along much. Sigh.

Friday 6 December 2013

6th dec 2013 friday

Doubt and indecision are seeping back into my life... got in a days work, minus interuptions. Coffee, lunch and preparing dinner. Fiddling, is all; on the former Thetis bringing Achilles armour which has been restructured so often that it has no relationship with the original.

Have started to gesso two large canvases, want to use notes from London for a huge pic that I suspect I must just DO and hang it all, the paracticalities and the expence. Two large canvas at 40 euros each (linen) for a pic that will be at best gloomy. Unsaleable and unstorable and not even started.

And the vellum I was stretching has dried wibbly and will have to be redone.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

4th decemeber 2013 weds

 Glory be, back in the studio! Mostly trying to clear up/ find out where things are, but have repainted this pic to my final satisfaction. Last finished in April, I think. Thoroughly like it.
Having a local show after christmas so pulling things together for that. Can exhibit some of the odd ones that aren't in series but are OK - no need to be coherent for the Casino in Alet les Bains:)
Below, vellum is being damped and stretched. Its a drum skin too damaged by being hit hard to repair. The drummers bleed, Im told - the skin is magic, can't wait to see where it leads and WANT MORE (it was a gift from Margaret who has a source)

Friday 15 November 2013

15th Nov 2013, Friday

Got in a full studio day - maybe a little late starting but a decent 6 hours anyway. First for MONTHS> slightly euphoric, sightly shocked. Dunno about the painting.
Also got some drawings organised into folders for easy reference. Some are far better than I thought, I think:)
In fact, since the exhibition and the positivness around it, Im feeling much more comfortable with the work. How strange; actually one does need permission to carry on -
maybe time tomorrow too. Sunday back to england for more medical stuff.

Thursday 31 October 2013

31 oct 2013 thursday

Yesterday did a hard copy of this diary and today read it. Ive been ill ALL YEAR. Its starts in January. Whilst in London after the show submitted to various tests and theres internal bleeding but no apparent source, hence the anemia. Leaving here on Sat to return to see specialist. And in the meantime my brother is in hospital with a stroke (=getting better), other friends are ill - and another has dropped dead in the street of a heart attack. He was so sweet, I met him when he wanted to  film me working and loved my drawing- hey ho.
No  work today. Too much happening around me, housework stuff, health stuff. Tomorrow is the Day of the Dead:) National holiday. Maybe work then when alls quiet.

Wednesday 30 October 2013

30 oct 2013

finished - really - this yesterday. Only a question of fiddling, plus the flags and tightening the angel. Was going to spent this whole day painting but firstly knackered, then the news that my brother is in hospital with a stroke which makes the job of painting seem silly. Don't know what else to do though

Tuesday 29 October 2013

29th Oct 2013

Back at work... or very nearly. Did a couple of studio hours this morning - no, three - and am totally knackered. Perhaps Im not as well as I thought I was (on iron for the aneamia)

Drawing yesterday was a treat, young Marie worked her butt off and I like some of the results.

This is Francesca, done in Peter Glossicks  class in Greenwich. An obvious Death and the Maiden :) but not I think interesting enough to persue. Curious that the elements should be in place, the mirror, the skeleton, the clock and of course the girl.
Will think about it some other time.

Monday 14 October 2013

14 10 2013

Back in Esperaza, allelujia - arrived yesterday, able to go drawing today. Found that the shortness of the poses is a difficulty, fighting against the clock rather than coming to grips with the work. Ryan modeled, very good, lyrical even but I made several pigs ears of it.
Not had a chance to set foot in the doubtless dusty studio yet.
Above from Greenwich Time ...a little bit baffling but enthusiastic:)

Saturday 5 October 2013

october 5th 2013


this from the Greenwich gallery talk - dont know if it counts as work.
Closed the show, very glad to put it behind me. Peter called the business of showing 'the terror'; very good description of putting the head over the parapet that is showing your work.
Other than that have been drawing with Peters group and loved it - fabulous model, Santosh, I think a Tamil - and a body-worker, with swollen muscles and the gentle chiseled face of a buddah. First drawing for an age. One or two have some mileage. Going on Monday night to another group all being well.
Whilst stuck in London (Im waiting on medical tests) doing as much networking at the studiods and visiting of expos as I can. Interesting to see whats about. Not rewarding, not pleasing, not challenging. But interesting:)

Wednesday 25 September 2013

25th sept 2013

still in London, show done well, closes Sunday. Some nice press that I cant download. No complaints, esp as sold 13 pics and can now carry on working with a sense of being able.
BUT the asthma that has crippled me through the summer re-emerged as soon as I arrived in Blighty so I headed for the doctor, who strangely is French. He thinks it isn't asthma, its heart; now Im staying on for tests. Only doing this because Im actually handicapped by whatever ails me. Breathless, exhausted. So it needs to be explored. Oh and Im very anaemic - with luck that's all.
Depressed at having to stay here but will use the place, have bought paper and some materials and will start some studies. Bob leaves for France on Weds... start thurs, I guess.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

4th sept weds

Bob has driven the carefully packed paintings to London, including those that have sold in advance. Get that, eh... A couple from the brochure, five from internet. Many people say they are coming to the private view.  Its quite hard to be negative in the face of all this but naturally I'm terrified and see much horror ensuing.
Have written the notes on the making of some of the big ones, inc supporting drawing - daft and pointless - but done, as requested by gallery.
Oh, Galleries( the listing magazine) have put a photo ad on the contents page which  couldn't be better. Good.

So. Today I laminate the notes so they can be laid on a table or blu-tacked to a wall. Have hoovered studio:) Well, half of it. Can't bear to go in the half that has unfinished work everywhere.

Little packing to do, off on Friday. Back ASAP.

Wednesday 24 July 2013

July 24th, Weds

Not as ill but not well. Profoundly depressed. Wondering if this whole asthma thing is a response to an exhibition I don't feel ready for.
-but done the invitations, they are ready to be sent out; early to catch the cheap postage rate.
Doing the notes for the paintings which the gallery want done, hence the depression no doubt. They look so simple, so always just sitting there. WHY did I have to do them, work so obsessively on them? No-one is interested. Its actually not interesting. Not the product, not the process.

Hey ho. Walked this morning, first exercise for ages, wasn't bad. Think I'II do some more. Dizzy and tired but breathing OK.

Saturday 20 July 2013

July 20th Sat 2013

--Not dead! Just feels like it. Asthma (=pollen allergy) has reared its ugly head in my life, hotly pursued by the side-effects of steroids. No work done at all. Just concentrating on trying to recover what I remember of myself. Its like being possessed  by something/one else. Gradually recovering, can eat again after loosing 5 kilos. Have learned to breathe again. Have accepted the lack of energy and embrace sleep as often as possible. 
Gutted to discover that two of my brothers are full-on asthmatic and have had to deal with this regime all their lives. No idea what they were going through. Sooooo sad for them. Emotional  and tearful anyway.

Saturday 22 June 2013

2 June Sat 2013

Been back from London about a week - been in studio but trying not to engage since there is a lot demanding my attention for the show of Septemeber in Greenwich.
Apart from trying to update my archaic guest list there is the advertising and listings, posters, explicatory texts hahaha, power point presentation for the gallery (are they serious??) stuff to arrange about the gallery talks and invitations to design with gallery talk info. All of it makes my heart sink further.
Oh - and price list. I asked Min how she priced her work and she does costs and 400 percent, which is what a restaurant does. Rather clever. It means your overheads are ignored, your training and time, but its a formula that is consistent and actually makes the work affordable without being giveaway. Maybe I can take the number of paintings a year and divide into overheads to get an idea of the real cost, throw that in - overheads being elec., gas and rates on studio. No rent. No mortgage. Shouldn't be too bad.

Off to explicatory texts now. I'm not even sure what I'm showing till its hung so will have to do a sack full.

As soon as I sit in front of the computer my eyes hurt.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

weds 5th June 2013

In a rare attack of sensibleness, I have been eating properly and taking brief brisk walks; talking to myself seriously about how this is only painting, nobody cares about painting; my next show is the 100th plus and will make no difference to anything. Stop panic, breath properly, calm down, just paint the damn thing.

Its quite a funny picture too, time to enjoy its final stages.

Monday 3 June 2013

4th June 2012 Tuesday

Drawing yesterday a nighmare. Not a good few days in general. Painting turned to wall, back to the ex-Thetis Carrying Armour to Achilles. Today determined to finish something. Yesterday too frightened to set foot in studio because I knew I'd destroy the lot.
Can't work out what went wrong. The model was Marie and she is very ill, shes got hepatitis C; shes gaunt and bony and yesterday seemed to be in pain. Next to me was Kat, just had her gall bladder out and not herself. I felt like a despair antennae. Picked up nothing but anguish and couldn't work with it or make it better. Don't know how I survived the day.
Once again, on the brink of giving it all up.

Later; went through the drawings again and today they look no worse - and no better- than normal. Think I'd just been hoping for more, expecting a leap that didn't arrive. Its all so frustrating! This morning been on the ex-Thetis and its better, much better, not finished but showing a direction. I like the surface scaring from when I scraped it all last week.  Can work into that. Trying to be patient with it is the hard bit, its not going to give me anything unless I coax it and I want to slap it around and make it behave... better take a break, rest the eyes, go back gentler.

Saturday 1 June 2013

June 1st Saturday

 Guests arrived yesterday and are very sweet in leaving me to carry on while they sight see... so a full day yesterday, many changes. Bit like those spot-the-difference competitions of ones youth.
Horribly chalky but nearly there I think. Guests are off to Carcassonne today so I get another clear run. Off I go to the studio.

Wednesday 29 May 2013

weds May 20th 2013

Working during the day and into the night on artificial light just means that the opportunities for fucking up are bigger.
What was quite an interesting pic - the bridge one, based on the Giovanni di Paolo Procession of St Gregory going to St Angelo, I think, had some sweet cross-references going for it, in member's of the procession being identifiable as Great Pictures of Our Time -or recognisably informed by - but since clocking that have swung into all the colours of the rainbow and lost some careful painting under layers of glazes, what the hell am I doing? It all seems sensible at the time.

Had the afternoon off yesterday as a french friend came to visit and then the evening as other friends have turned up. Have eaten; been missing that, rather stupidly. Thought the dizziness was onset of 'flu. Duh.
Dreamed about the use of black; faux charcoal.

All this whilst waiting for the other painting to dry. Glad to say Ive avoided fiddling with that one as the desperateness of the current one makes that one look good.

Tomorrow being Thursday is housekeeping and french visit; Friday Im expecting transatlantic visitors for the weekend. So today, back to the grindstone.

Thursday 23 May 2013

23/05/2013 thursday

...up and alert early so spent most of the morning scraping off the last two days work - its there really, was cross that it needed just filling in so went for the opposite and took off all the surface marks that I could. Difficult to loose those little twists and flicks of brush that made something work, but pleased with myself. Will now leave to dry (properly - using a lot of oil) and finish rapidly.
In the meantime have become enchanted with a medieval drawing of a religious order crossing a bridge. Its up for perversion; started to draw it out.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

21st May tuesday 2013

Writing the date always gets to me - not just that the months are sliding down the year but the year itself; can it be true? 2013??? Impossible, thats science fiction.
But I digress.
No drawing yesterday, it was a feastday in France so the mayor thinks the hall should be closed.
The picture Ive been working on for an age suddenly developed its identity. Happy day! Today, it has got smeared and lost. :(

Its in there somewhere. Too chalky. Kat gave me a new palette so can physically brighten it. Needs to dry really and Im loath to stop fiddling.

Its the picture I started of Thetis taking the armour to Achilles, copied from a very bad photo of a print from 1890's.Whats that all about then...  lovely structure, if self-conciously so, subject fairly pointless and rapidly turning into La Bricollette which was at least amusing. In a fit of insight I scrubbed Thetis and whilst wrestling with the notions of subject/topic/audience made a face in the clouds and the see - the watched, the Jove, the unknown observer. Delighted me, for a while. Now, as Ive said, chalky, overworked, not good.

Back to it.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

may 15th weds 2013

-and so it goes. Just sorting out and finishing loose ends, hoovering cobwebs, metaphysically and physically. This things finished, anyway. Weird reproduction.

Sunday 12 May 2013

Sunday 12th May 2013

Back from Tuscany - seen a deal of renaissance art. Possibly too much:) Still digesting. Did one poxy watercolour and made some hasty notes.
Yesterday did a partial tour of the Artistes a Suivre, a series of local exhibitions that this year seemed to have excluded anyone local. People flown in from all over the countryside. The prevailing view was of 'modern' french taste - designs for decorators, nice house stuff. Bon gout, bongu bongu as we ended up calling it all. There were exceptions - one fabulously good non-figurative painter who could really paint, Yves Marcerou, and a young woman fetish maker, Corinne Becot. There may have been others but these were all I saw. Dispiriting.
Drawing tomorrow. Looking forward to 2 hours of solitude-in-group. What Ive left out en process in the studio doesn't bear thinking about.

Saturday 27 April 2013


Suppose there must be times when nothing is learnt.  Yesterday nothing got done - played host to Phillipe for an hour or two, read a novel. Put on the heating, was comfy and content. Towards the end of the day designed a range of chocolates ('Holy Sweet') on theological themes. La la la.

Its all flowing well today though.

Later; 2 finished.....

Friday 26 April 2013

friday april 25th

 so lazy today.... its raining, I was late in bed, now unfocused. Better this afto perhaps.

Thursday 25 April 2013

25th Thursday

So; interest in Book of Days (see work passim) leads me to try attaching little drawing of Ferren to faux parchment... quite sweet. The real challenge lay in scanning and saving which has just taken longer than making the damn thing.

He appears to be holding a bird.
Another appearance of the white bird?

Painting yesterday not bad - little nudes getting resolved - started a bizarre pic of Thetis taking armour to Achilles. About as faux as mythological painting gets.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

april 24th weds

Hey ho, cheered up - nothing to do but paint, what could be better? Fiddling with paper too, used to make books of old drawings and am thinking of doing that though got bogged down in techniques...

Tuesday 23 April 2013

april 22cnd - mon - 2013

One of those days. Left early for drawing, MJC closed for building work - open on Thursday. Couldn't contact O-B, trotted off to Maire, very helpful but need policemen Barry. Not there. Long and boring story culminating in getting into the space by the footbridge and managing an hour and a half  drawing with Fabinne, the results of which are meretricious.
So that was difficult and depressing... got home to the arrival of the docking port for new computer - succeeded only in closing new machine down, so all that has to be addressed when its up and running again in approx 2 days.
Getting more nervous about the drawing year application and no machine so at the end of a miserable day I opened email in the old computer and saw a message there, cant be opened because of the nature of the problem with the old computer... so rang Kat who let me use hers where I got the usual thanks but piss off notice.
Initially a relief - don't have to do it:) - later paroxysms of doubt and sense of failure.
On the plus side, the little books of the new work have arrived at Bobs and hes enthusiastic about them. Hes unlikely to be critical, however.

What now? I just don't know. I'd applied for this course because I'm empty of solutions and looked to the outside world to provide them.Or at least give me an arena for debate. Now I either have to give up or search myself with more... rigour? I dont know. I am on empty.
Holiday in Italy in a week,will take my emptiness and see whats there. Bloody depressed now.

Saturday 20 April 2013

sat 20th april

Think this is poorly reproduced - cut the no of pixels on the camera - it actually quite interesting. The others are straighter but are also holding my attention. Very ambivalent about the eros and psyche, its dreadful. Will take tomorrow off - market, party - and reconsider on Monday. Whole subject too dodgy for me, the souls animation through sexual recognition. Too naff.

Friday 19 April 2013

Fri April 19 2013

Its getting better... painted out the bars and distant view from the ant/bull (too corny) and he just sits there ---- I like it more because there are internal rhythms that are pleasing. The other nudes are picking up too, l'm not contextualising them, they're just copies of drawings. lala.
Barely sleeping though - last night was absurd, I was sleeping in 10 min snatches and then pretending to be asleep and then waking and wandering about or reading or drinking tea - Maybe afraid of dreams, sometimes that happens. Maybe just a change in the weather, the hot bright light has changed today to a much better grey brightness (its raining). Eating a lot - very hungry. Got a large meal organised for an early night tonight.
Clear day tomorrow, yessssss

Thursday 18 April 2013

18april thurs

There will be no work today and a good thing too- yesterday was continuing the painting of four small nudes bases on drawings that were chosen because they were the right shape - as good as reason as any - and was overwhelmed by distress. One of them, a drawing of Ian where the ink had run and made him into a sort of bull ant, morphed into my dreaming of the night before: trying to get out into a garden where an animal was tethered with a collar and long silver chain, just long enough to smell the v beautiful flowers but not to get at them. Exclusion and imprisonment chief themes. So this ant/bull is sitting behind bars, making a cats cradle or twiddling its thumbs, with an air of dejection and dolourness so strong that l had to stop.
Today being Thursday and housework, people for lunch, French lesson, person for dinner, means avoiding the studio though l confess l'd quite like to look....

Wednesday 17 April 2013

april 17th weds 2013

total shock in the studio this morning - early sunshine on the little window caused a shadow in the dirt which looks just like the arm I'm painting -

Shadow is caused by an improvised  bird feeder make out of hangers and holding bird fat balls, lopsided after the wind blew it apart a few weeks ago.

In my early morning confusion thought I'd painted it there - as I have the sketch of the bird, the dots of paint, etc etc.Prefer it to the arm painting which is a part of the latest Eros and Psyche which I'm abandoning, probably.

Monday 15 April 2013

monday april 15th 2013

Ceri modeled this morning and the results rather pleased me - they were solid and steady, as she is. I used water mostly, tinted with watercolour, touched with pencil and scrubbed with q-tips. No sense of breakthrough but of consolidation, which is enough at the moment.
She started crying towards the end of the session (don't ask) which spoilt the efforts somewhat - remembered Picasso's Madame Z, I think it was called - very mannered piece of woman wailing and teeth gnashing. Tempted but didn't go there. Used to love that picture when I was a girl, not sure why.

Better than last week anyway. The very excellent Jenny was modeling and all went well until a late-comer brought a small dog in with her. Roger immediately asked her to remove it , seems he hates dogs- we all wanted it out, something wandering about is just a distraction - so she closed it into a portfolio where it proceeded to snuffle and whimper. She was asked to put it in her car but wouldn't as her other five dogs would sit on it. Dark mutterings about circuses... at the break I took it to my house, in a vile ill humour. At the end I had to find the owner to get her to take it away - it was howling - and after she'd gone I found the damn thing had shat on my flip-flops.

Sigh. Drawings dreadful, not surprisingly. Certain amount of artists not there today as a result - Bieke, critically (for me) her input is always original. Lost my quick studies, I guess there in the centre somewhere. Don't recall them being any good.

No studio work. Other distractions. Actually, if I'm honest, I'm waiting to have a response from the graduate drawing programme Ive applied for. On the principle that one shouldn't make a decision until the results of your last action are known, I'm a tad paralyzed.  Mind you, fear has the same effect. Rejection! Can I cope?

Sunday 14 April 2013

sunday april 14th

little painting from the studio - having  horrible time painting, rudderless and inept. On the plus side, cleaning up and working on the Ripley Scroll copy.

Just love this though.
Been on the studio window for ever... page cut from a magazine of one of Vincents portraits,
oil spill, viewed from the other side. Which is why its on the window, light has to pass through.

Le Vermo... who are they?

this gouache turned up in the cleaning. Message to self... says 'change is obligatory'. Yeah, right.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

10th april 2013 Weds

Been drawing at the ravine des coleurs, paradise. Saw a kingfisher. Drawing duff. Painting ditto. On three nudes (Jenny) taken from drawings I like but don't see where they are going, I'm just doing them.

Friday 5 April 2013

5th April Friday 2013

Realising that the painting is only as good as the drawings Im using to inform it, have begun restructuring and NOT using the drawings - both are weak. Which somewhat totally undermines my current modus operandi. 
The new canvases arent dry enough to use yet.
So I just bash away at the E and P mark 2 and hope something interesting will emerge.
Because simply being faithful t0 bad drawing is stupid. Possibly being faithful to good drawing is not a lot of use.
Been thinking about retabli - is that the word? The peasant-painted tin pictures of votive thanks or importuning. Real art, magical, touching the gods, informative. Making for the maker from the made.

Thursday 4 April 2013

april 4th 2013

...The Eros and Psyche  pic mark two looks to me like it should be scrapped. Spent most of yesterday preparing some of the new canvases for painting. Feel I'm missing something and trying  to achieve things I cant. Like, trying to keep the paint sparse, thin, luminous but I'm experimenting with structure on the canvas and have to paint out and scrub the surface which interrupts the process. Think I'm going back to the tried and tested pile-it-on-over whats there. Little bit intimidated by the new canvases I think, spent real money on them and now I'm in awe. Hey ho. Show 'em who's boss I guess. Ha.
Not putting in the time either, starting later and later every day. Gone 9.00 am and I'm not in the studio now.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

april 3rd weds

looks rather as if shes about to be lunch... but let it rest. Started on another in the same vein, but quite different. Very interested in the stories... Golden Ass current reading.

Sunday 31 March 2013

easter sunday march 31st 2012

Is it finished?  Is the  Eros head too small? Should Psyche have a butterfly and if so where? And so on...
Been sorting drawings. That's it, really.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

March 26th 2013

...drawing yesterday, Jenny modelling for the first time - wonderful, an athletic sparse body, dancer-like though shes a gardener. Almost everyhting I did of her I liked... charcoal and pencil. But this may be coloured by the painting which has taught me how to use the life drawing so I know what Im looking for now, nearly.
Finalised the new pamphlet today, just been talking with Roger the designer.  Should be OK. He likes the work, at any rate.
And tonight the accountant is picking up the files which I havent finished. Hey ho.

Friday 22 March 2013

Friday 03 22 2013

...all stuff, text, photos,layout, with Roger the designer; that rubicon crossed. Thats a relief.

Show in Nice canceled, a (huge) relief. Always felt there was something wrong with the whole thing. Emails started arriving with bizarre messages - the curator was ill and was handing over to an artist of whom there were suddenly six, not the original four , there was to be an invitation with a carving of a pig (that is outside the gallery) we were to wear pig masks at the vernissage; WTF??
Long story culminating in a phone call from Molly-galleriste in tears; she has decided shes an alcoholic and is going into rehab., has handed on the work to an artist she thinks I know but I don't remember, all she wants is for us to have a fun and a great party. (This is so not useful if you have schlepped a deal of large paintings hundreds of miles, for a bunch of piss-heads dressed as pigs to cavort around.) Everyone has resigned, it seems, and would I like the entire gallery? Its huge and I cant invigilate nor get sufficient work there, so no.
Will have holiday in Italy instead.

Finished application for the Princes Trust, that's all ready to go off  and I'm not thinking of it anymore.

Work up on the RCA website for the Secret Expo. Amusing though this years crop is so heavily text based one might call it a poetry convention.

 Havent finished accounts but accountant seems to have gone to ground.

Done a large drawing of a man dreaming which isn't that good, its too caricature, will fiddle a little and file. Had hoped it might lead onto a new theme but I'm surprisingly distant from it.On the plus side Ive discovered that a hand-made rag paper drawn on with charcoal will take a stiff brush to work the charcoal in to good effect...

Haven't got round to posting/trying to sell  the cartoons Ive done with Rob - must do that this weekend, Sunday I guess- enjoyed doing them and am pleased with the results. Tomorrow I'm in Spain with the Comitee de Jumilage secretly looking for venues.  Tonight is the vernissage of the Toques et Clochers where in the absence of The Phone Call I can assume no one is giving me a prize, again. Be nice to have something positive and encouraging happen.

But at least the weather is lovely and spring is blossoming - strong sense of coming out of a dark tunnel:)

Monday 18 March 2013

Monday 18y March 2013

Still haven't finished the accounts; still messing up over publication, very afraid that I'm getting it wrong but realise this is just because I'm not sure about the work.
Kat just done the portrait, the photos of the art are here, the text should be back corrected soon.
Roger the designer wants it all up on some site I'm frightened of - will ask if I can just send all CDs in post (though post office is closed till mid-April, hey ho)
Apart from a little drawing of Philippe for a possible portrait, no work done - except life this morning which was mixed. Maxsense was playing his flutes and is is lovely but for the noise. And the movement. Hes most determined to be viewed in his own right and not to submit to the will of a handful of cranky artists. Haven't looked at the drawings but I can make a good guess...

Tuesday 12 March 2013

12th March

...coming together slowly. My ideas for the pamphlet are solidifying; the text and photos are allegedly arriving. Photo of me being taken next week by Kat.
Also been redoing cartoons and finding addresses of magazines to send them to.

And painting. Ploughing on with Ophelia which has never really got better than the original sketch - just fiddlier. Now dotted with blossom and flowers and looking far too kitch; will camp up or tone down,  not sure, but today is the last day, I've had enough.

Feeling fractured. Have I ever been anything else??

Later Have signed and dated Ophelia but now very very uncertain.  Will leave and do something else for a few days - accounts, they're due. La La.

Thursday 7 March 2013

March 8th 2013

Photographer exhausting, watching a years work being encompassed and noted is horrid. Lovely man though; got locked out of van so had to stay late with bottle whilst waiting for wife with spare keys to arrive. Spent the next day restoring the studio and have finally managed a handle on Ophelia - shes looking rather good. Begun some studies of Psyche and Cupid which are interesting. Like the eroticism. Realised I haven't looked at a sleeping man for ??? and suddenly feel the lack; remembered that the mountain of drawing books in the archive room have many drawings from my past. May have to unearth some.
Last night got to grips with more drawing that has a useful dimension, in that Rob and I have been talking cartoons again. Think these are good and have created a site to put them on - which is apparently how you sell these things nowadays - you send the link to editors.
Slightly frantic, waiting for Zoes text and the photographer Yahnn's pix, prior to dealing with designer and those issues.

Monday 4 March 2013

tuesday march 5th 2013

Putting off getting up to studio - photographer comes this afternoon and I have to sort through work and prepare space, clean up.
Weekend lost to Raul, who has lathered me with ideas about control and direction, all of which require more thought. If I can learn to trust intuition I will feel the weekend very well squandered.
Noticed the beginnings of that yesterday while drawing at the MJC. Allowing myself to trust the intuitive direction instead of the continual challenges I normally have in place made for a much happier experience  all round. My hands stopped fighting the direction they wanted to go in. Only one drawing any good though so -:)

Thursday 28 February 2013

1st March Friday 2013

It was 24th Jan last year that the photographer Yann came to do the years crop (discovered this  by reading this blog; useful info as anything dated after that hasn't been photographed) This means that I'm averaging 60 paintings (approx) a year, which leads to questions of what are others painters norms? Feel pedestrian.

Did nothing yesterday except mess up Rushtons portrait. Plan to knock it about today, if the surface is OK to work on - so much oil now -  and then, hey, Ophelia and the Heron - don't know why its such work except that I don't expect to get anything out of it that I haven't already got from the initial marks, hmm -
expect I'II just be sorting pix for the photographer.

Later, can barely touch the thing. Millais  worked 'for up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, over a five-month period in 1851' and that was just on the riverbank. Really don't know if I'm lazy or if this is normal or if despair is tiptoeing up behind me; the perennial chant, whats it for, who cares, and - a new one- when I die the whole lot will be binned.

Rushton portrait finished though, perhaps.

Later still; two reasons why Ophelia is hard; one is that it frightens me, the drowning woman: and two, that the composition is dull. All the action happens between 2 vertical lines and the rest is meaningless. 

And the Rushton portrait isn't finished, I want another sitting.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

27th Feb 2013

Been idle. Idling. Pottering and playing. Cleaning a bit. Packaging the drawings and books for the next submission... trying to arrange the photographer to come and take the latest work - there are 60 new images or so since he last took it all this time last year so I'm productive if nothing else. Though some are very small.
Will be finishing JR's portrait this afternoon, hes coming to sit.

Later; sit he did though when he fell asleep it was time to quit. Worked on after he'd gone so its now a muddy mess. It'll be easy to finish Friday, I hope, as I'm dining with him and his on Fri night and would rather get shot of it.

Fiddled again with heron and Ophelia.  Will be able to paint it in one sudden burst, soon, perhaps, I hope.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Sunday 24th Deb 2013

 Its been wonderful finding those portfolios, though of course not that wonderful -:)- have been through them and chosen a short list and am feeling confident and capable - which has enabled me to complete these two aberrations, deviations, departures from whatever is my norm nowadays... the 4 egrets are spaces left white and painted around, I mean the canvas is plain (except for some mistakes) and the Mimosa Queen below and massively out of focus was a series of mistakes that I just kept.
Had a chat with Jim yesterday about the completion of a work. He says leave it the weekend and see if its done on Monday. For me that is a loss of contact with the work that would mean destroying and restarting, probably from scratch. If its out of my head without being finished, its stillborn.

Been photographing the drawing book I made of my fathers death, pretty harrowing. Seeing that great - in every sense - man being reduced to a function of the machines that carried his last human months is horrible. Im glad I did the drawings, at the time I felt there was little choice and Im glad I can look at them now. The book has been hidden for the last decade as too distressing.
-Just tried to upload a couple and lost contact with the server... best leave it that way:)

Friday 22 February 2013

22cnd feb 2013

Hardly managed a thing yesterday though think the 4 egrets is finished - might take a little damart glaze to it today - but in all essentials, done.
Have cheered up massively since Ive found the portfolios of GOOD drawings. Clearly last year I did a selection and packed the good ones away - three little portfolios, stuffed, all useful (at first sight, haven't been through them all) So the hundreds of drawings Ive been looking at are the throw away pile, phew. I was amazed that I could be so consistently bad, thought I was delusional when I remembered being better than that but, phew, I am.
Have to make selections soon.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Feb 20th Wds

Got into the studio. Got offered a trip out and took it. Thats all.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Tuesday feb 19th 2013

Yet again I spoke too soon about my health and spent Sunday and Monday in bed. Been in studio today and managed about 20 mins of pointless dabbling. Can't focus. On  the plus side wandered into the bedroom adjacent to the studio, put on the electric blanket to read a book and fell asleep; slept like the dead for a couple of hours which has been good if disorientating. Will have to relax and allow that this is a fallow time. Try to get my energy back by stealth.
Drawing on Monday cancelled as others ill too -O-B and Aileen laid up -
Been going through drawings trying to find ones fit to submit to the drawing MA thing I'm hoping to apply for. Hundreds of them. I suppose that allowing for a minimum of one drawing a day, that's 365 a year - and I'm 62 - and though I filter and throw regularly, yes, there are hundreds if not thousands. Thing is that they are exercises, like doing scales. I keep them in case they are useful and sometimes they are though one can never tell. Very depressed to find they are nearly all rubbish.
Hey ho. Can't  do anything else so may as well stop moaning.

Saturday 16 February 2013

sat 16th feb 2013

out of focus, colour weird, but its finished. Now working on the ophelia/heron and the 4 egrets. Except Im thinking of doing housework and reading a book and answering my email and ....
cold slightly better, energy restored.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Thursday 14th Feb

---no work done as Zoey G has been here for three days. Today I'm lazing, or rather fretting. This is all about the production of a brochure to advertise my wares for the next two expos. Convinced of course that the work is without merit and finding it impossible to talk about. Been making Florentines; slabs of chocolate stuffed with raisins, nuts, seeds, honey, fruit peel. Feeling a lot better.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Sat 9th Feb 2013

Still not sure about this.... bottom right doesn't work but cant think what to do and all the fiddling has muddied the canvas. Bit I do like; whilst worrying about the scribbly bits put in more and  like the animal quality its given the kneeling figure has succeeded, surprisingly.
Interesting to make the actual subject, the calf, faint and small - the little beast is very appealing which is to the good. It must have some power after all.

Feeling the breath of Kitaj I spent last night going through his old catalogues and getting very nostalgic - poor chap, he was so sad most of the time. I remember sitting on the steps going down to the kitchen after I had varnished the floor, with the young researcher whose name escapes me - Kitaj arrived and she said, hello we are watching paint dry. He solemnly sat down on the stairs with us. I've heard of it, he said, but Ive never seen it done. This was too complicated a statement:) We sat together and looked downstairs in silence. Eventually he sighed and said: I do love you women. Then he rose and went back to the studio.

Friday 8 February 2013

Fri Feb 8th 2013

Woke up thinking, what is the point of reproducing doodles, scribbly personal stuff? Serious talk with self about the authenticity of the response to the nude, a transference between me and model leaving its trace. Which is not unintelligible.
Decided over (healthy) breakfast to change but once in the studio could see what the issues were and they weren't the nature of the marks, not all anyway. Fiddled and changed stuff. Think now its nearly done though hesitate to say so - that was quick

Will leave.

Had huge lunch. This notion of fuel is sound and I don't seem to be putting on weight. Its snowing so will leave after-lunch walk till later in the hope that it stops.

Need to get back to Heron and Ophelia but may just draw. 

Thursday 7 February 2013

7th Feb Thurs 2013

Happily hammering away, pausing for housework, visit to french friend, shopping - by dint of a 6.00 am start and a 7 pm stop, managed to cover a lot of canvas. Taking off more paint than Im putting on.

 Not asking any - many - questions, just waiting to see what'll happen.

For all this is a work-in-progress, bits are OK.

Knackered though.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

feb 6th Tues 2013

Meant to go on the afternoon bus to Limoux to buy linseed and turps and  planned to spend the morning drawing so it would be easy to leave. Filthy day; wet, windy cold. Decided not to go to Limoux and have been happily painting on the golden calf, its flowing and a pleasure. Referencing Kitaj in my head.Makes it feel possible to complete and not muddy.
In they olden days it was customary to illustrate biblical themes with studies done from life and that's what I'm doing - though the market has altered - Very very tempted to put a bar code stripe on the plinth of the calf. Resist, resist!

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Feb 5th Tuesday 2013

hot chocolate break while I try and get my thoughts into order. Stymied on the heron/ophelia painting because it already does what I want it to do as just a turpsy sketch; why go further? Except its not a painting [what is a painting, etc etc ]and I don't have enough info to develop it. The heron, for instance. I saw it, it made me gasp, I will never forget the shape of its head and bill and neck and bow but I didn't really clock the tail or wings, beyond the fact that there didn't seem to be any as it was gliding with its wings tucked in. Beautiful. So I looked it up and it seems that it was a great blue heron - the orange bill occurs briefly in the breeding season. And they don't exist in Europe, let alone in S France where I saw it, unmistakably.

The other painting I'm on is about the golden calf. Such a nice metaphor for that which is not other than material. (I'm avoiding the word spiritual here) Used it before in the painting  4 nudes, their angels and an idol which, possibly in retrospect, I see as a transference of desire. Thinking more, remembering Poussin - who was my bugbear at college - I've painted a sweet little golden calf and now I'm dotting the surround with copies of life drawings. 

Et voila? So what?

-press on and find out, I suppose.

Monday 4 February 2013

Monday Feb 4th 2013

Had a clever thought first thing. Large breakfast - banana and smoked meat and large coffee - followed by another breakfast of espresso and pastry, the large sort with creme and chocolate, in the cafe. Thought if I charged up with sugars and fats I'd maybe have some energy for the work and indeed, drawing was a doddle. Felt confident and capable and capably drew, enjoying the process and the marks I made.
Thought I wouldn't need to eat again for weeks but afterwards heard myself inviting Kat in for a boiled egg as we left the MJC. So, salad, boiled eggs, olives, frommage frais with strawberries.
Then sat down and drew the three postcards for the RCA Secret show, which had to go today to get there in time. No problem; capable, confident, neatly done. (Mothers sunglasses, fathers spectacles, my last glasses) Posted... walked to catch the twilight, downriver, lovely.
Havent set foot in the studio nor do I plan to - dinner then I think a DVD or something.
Happy to bed and deal with the new paintings tomorrow, with as little fuss as possible.
 Ferren, such a good model. Hope they're OK. Hes 83 now, seems more nimble and pliable than me. Hope theres something I can work with amongst them.

Later scanned some; still not evaluating.