Friday 30 December 2016

30 Dec Friday 2016

Early start - the only way to deal with the endless interruptions and subsequent frustrations. Have now got the VSM book to a state where I can take it to Rome for a preliminary viewing, hurrah hurrah, though I have slightly more cooking and may continue if time holds up. Tomorrow looking good. Fairly cheerful as a result.

Wednesday 28 December 2016

28 dec weds

 St Naffanianus - martyred with Faustinius and 7 companions in North Africa - and St Agnes, 13 years old at her beheading for refusing brothel work.
That's it then - at least, that's all for the moment - had enough of these tragic people and their brief lives.
Off to stack the garage. All the paintings that are downstairs - several hundred - have to be moved to the balcony upstairs. Bob and Tris are doing the schlepping, I shall stack.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

27th Dec 2016 Tuesday

Good day, for a wonder. Started late - simple fear - and having a deadline just cracked on . Three hours, all good. Cup of tea and a kip, couple more hours; finished 2 saints (I think) then drew an orchid. Cleaned palette. Now going for a bath.
N.B.Using a 50/50 linseed/turps rubbed into a heavily gesso'd and sanded surface. Gorgeous. Have to finish from life and not sure what the surface will be like then but will find out. Just assuming the next layer is a bit richer in linseed. Forgotten traditional techniques.

Sunday 25 December 2016

26 dec Monday

It being holidays, decided to stop working. Been most effective. Empty headed. Very odd, not having some issue squirreling around my brain. Began to get bored yesterday. Not bad.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

20 dec 2016 Tuesday

A whole day, starting at 6.00am and breaking for meals. And breaks. Bloody lovely. 5 pages of the cartoon done and more in my head, no painting and am so tired eyes closing.

Saturday 17 December 2016

17 12 2016 sat

Been flattened with 'flu - or something excluded from the 'flu jab repertoire, anyway. Asleep for 20 hours yesterday and only up under sufferance now since I had a sitting this morning. Unable to perform but took a lot of preparatory photos so at least can get the bones down. Since both me and client are away a lot in the new year and there is an absolute deadline.
Back to sweaty sleep now. Ashoo. Oh internet on in house so at least I'm warm.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

14 12 2016 Weds

Long silence due  to lack of internet which is till lacking. It is possible to connect in Bobs house which is of course closed for the winter and where I am now. V cold. Occasional use only -

Have today given Jim the texts and photos to put up a 'saints' page on my site plus a 'buy a catalogue' page. Small achievement but mine own. Now have to find paypal info to get him to make a button.

Have photocopied the VSM book as far as I've got and am still researching... getting easier, though whenever I think that another dark pit opens. Cnfident that there are the bones to show in Jan though would like more of them.

The Rome conference want me as artist-in-res which is a Good Thing; allows me my hat (not Staffords) and gets me some dosh.

Pretty much junked the last two saints. Well, re-prepared them. We'll see.

Friday 2 December 2016

03 12 2016

Got two little saints to finish before I photograph the set and write up their stories; and CAN'T DO IT. They've both been finished twice and then fucked up again, twice. Think I will leave them as loose ends and proceed with the project without them, though it rankles.
Who is boss here?
Done 27 pages of the VSM book.; which make represent 6 actual pages if I use 4 per sheet. Fear the rest of my life is now spoken for.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

30 11 2016 weds

The very glamorous St Genesius of Rome; patron of musicians torture victims printers actors epileptics lawyers comics clowns converts dancers - and others

He was on stage when he was converted (by grace). Refusing to renounce, he was beheaded by Diocletion in 303.


Tuesday 29 November 2016

20 11 2016 Tuesday

St Conrad of Picenza - poor chap started a fire which burnt everything. A peasant was tortured and confessed to starting the fire - was killed (I think, can't remember all the story) Conrad owned up and sold all his stuff to pay everyone off. Became a hermit. No mention made of wife who also was dispossed. He had the gift of healing, was a miracle worker (summoned cakes for his bishop ) was surrounded by birds. After death was found to be incorrupt.  Patron against hernias.

Comic book cracking on.Got to 1960 and America. Read the American diaries; marvellous!!
Bob in England for a few days.

Monday 28 November 2016

28 11 2016 monday

Yet again I'm skipping life drawing to engage with the VSM book... its so hard. Always the sense that completion is close and then, will o' the wisp, poff. Fear I'm making a meal of it,.

Further interruptions; trying to book the Rome trip, coach website no working, have to go to bank, then can book room - its a jigsaw puzzle and each unit takes forever. That and the fact that Bob is off to UK and many things must be arranged before he goes.


Wednesday 23 November 2016

23 11 2016 Weds

Quietly smug, ish. Done a few more pages though some need re-doing but more importantly I'm really getting to understand the subject - finally.
In a quandary about the saints. At least three that are waiting to be finished may well be really actually finished, but are in so different a style and method that they don't belong in the set. Leave them and call them something else? Uneasy.
Have started a triage, setting out the ones I prefer and questioning the dodgier ones. Bah. Not my metier.Need an editor.

Sunday 20 November 2016

20 11 2016 sunday

Cracking on with the comix... finding ways  to join the dots is the tricky bit, but getting there.
Not visually, BTW. Why one episodic event leads to another. It comes clearer but takes a fair old amount of research.

Saturday 19 November 2016

19 11 2016 Saturday

No work yesterday - stuff to do in house - nor Thursday, when I formally do house work and then visit Andree. Today I go out to lunch, then swimming. Evening in... not much time available on Sunday either. All rather disturbing though it does give me head-space to think things through.

One of the pleasures of the VSM book is that its finite. I'm not sure where the end is but there is one, and a project that is NOT open ended is very comforting.

Fixed on finishing the 3 or 4 saints I've started and will then pause. Will have about 30 and can write their stories, ask Jim to put them on the web site. Then worry about what to do with them, poor souls :)

Wednesday 16 November 2016

16 11 2016

Day off yesterday; good thing too, ideas re-ordered.

Sunday 13 November 2016

13 11 2016

St Walpurga; bridging the gap between pagan and christian ethos. Obviously.

Saturday 12 November 2016

12 nov 2016

Finished Walpurga, photo to follow when I think of it - and more pages of the comic book done. Not flowing though, all rather uphill. Dreams!! Blimey, they are worrying. Fear my poor old psyche is tired of oppression.

12 X1 2016

Galloping on. Good clear day yesterday, stared before 8.00am - its been a while since I've been able to do that - as a result the comic book is now several pages long (-can't remember) despite delays to actually check facts. And having to watch some youtube videos on symbolic logic, which I did for 'O' level (twice - failed) to get the timbre of the drawings right.
The saints are ok, problems with Conrad but Walpurga is nearly -or possibly actually- there.

Wednesday 9 November 2016

09 11 2016

Spent the day re-homing my presses since they took up too much room in the space we use as a  winter living room... took both Tristram and Bob to move them in bits, then to reassemble them. Here's the little etching press. Lots of cleaning and rearranging which was a mercy given that today the Americans elected the loosest cannon on planet to govern them; the activity took our minds of it all.
No painting as a result but another page of the comic book.Condensing info is the hardest part and gets done in my sleep. The illustration follows and I try not to think of it - I'm telling a story, not painting the Sistine Chapel.
Cleaning day tomorrow, Andree visiting day and then swimming. No way anything can get done. Except condensing info for Fridays illustrations.

Got several saints to finish too.
Cant resist adding Ounouhs contribution - most succinct.


Monday 7 November 2016

07 nov 2016

Walpurga skipping along; Genesius is slight but rather lovely; Conrad of Piacenza already overdone, sigh.
Missed drawing to take Gracie to doc., referral to dermatologist to follow.
Have started on the dummies guide to VSM, long delayed. Two pix up; so far, so good.
Cleaned storage space to move etching press into. Thats ready for Weds. Tomorrow is a major shopping trip to Andorra. Going to be hard to work this week, evidently. But it ticks over in my head.

Saturday 5 November 2016

05 X1 2016

 St Hilarion b.291 d. 371  Companion to St Anthony of the desert, afterwards a solitary hermit. Miracle worker. My notes say he stunned crows but it could be that he shunned crowds.
The ever-popular St Arnold of Soissons (c 1040 - 1087). Soldier, hermit, abbot, bishop. Patron of BEER. Tried to escape the honour of being abbot but was chased back by a wolf.

Friday 4 November 2016

04 11 2016

St Adela; disciple of Boniface, a Frankish princess, daughter of King Dagobert (656 - 705), who was widowed and founded a convent.
Fucked up St Hilare who was nearly there - how to stop fiddling? - primed 3 canvases. After that I'm out of materials so when whats there is done I will stock-take.

Thursday 3 November 2016

03 11 2016

So who chose the models for the nine muses?


I talked to Tim Wallace-Murphy about the Renaissance models (hes working on symbolism in Renaissance art) and he told me about the contracts between sponsor/paymaster/commissioner and the artist which are very detailed  indeed (I've since looked, on his advice) Notwithstanding, it seems the choice of model was at the artists whim.The contracts are about the artist having to do the work and not farm it out to apprentices, how many figures doing what. Though of course from time to time the sponsor is shown, kneeling by the virgin, whatever - and in many cases the artist crops up, silently judgmental.
The roof in Greenwich, of course much later, springs to mind - the Great Hall - poor James Thornhill,  messed about by monarchs dying and being crowned and dying and... and either he painting himself badly (not inconceivable) or he used the old devise of putting his left hand where his right should be, to indicate deceit.

At the Beaux Arts yesterday (Carcassonne day out) I found three saints. St Anthony, 18 century Naples, by Giovanni Riolla: Les Larmes de St Pierre by Juseppe Ribera (1591-1652) and AUTOPORTRAIT en Jean-Bapiste, by Henri Jean-Guillaume Martin (1860 - 1945) So spanning three centuries, one straight saint (didn't say which St Anthony nor were there clues in the picture), one saint in action (crying) and one saint as the artist pretending to be a saint.

They all three have loose handling and impasto, both of which I have in buckets, which pleased me - it seemed to allow for lack-of-control interventions.
afterwards I thought this may not be a characteristic of the genre but of the selection committee at the gallery... next time I'm there will see the dates they were added to the collection.

Liked all three.


Wednesday 2 November 2016

02 11 2016

St Fulgenico of Otricoli (I think - lost my notes) He went to plead for Orticoli with the invaders and they drew a circle around him and said if he crossed it they would kill him. It grew hot. The rain miraculously came but not in the circle - you'd think it would be more useful the other way round?
Of to Carcassonne now in search of a clear head.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

01 11 2016

 interesting view of the studio floor...
 and St Zita (redone)

St Votus,who with his brother Felix from Saragossa became hermits with John , so founding the abbey of La Pena (op sit)

Have been disproportionately knackered today, wondering if the turps is finally getting to me. Every time I sat down to look at what I'd painted, l'd fall asleep.

Monday 31 October 2016

31 X 2016

morning drawing... Chantal modelling. Felt good though results frightful Thirteen artists there, lots of them extremely good and challenging which helps; and doesn't, of course.
Sat next to J who started puffing and snorting and scratching as if his pencil was chalk on the blackboard. Got sweaty teeth. Managed to move away between poses and after that it was very paradise.

Saturday 29 October 2016

29 10 2016

 St Peter Regalatus; Franciscan educated in Valladolid, gifts of bilocation, prophecy and miracle working . Exhumed incorrupt in 1782 ( so he'll be around somewhere, I could go and see what he looked like)
St Devota, member of the household of a Roman senator, imprisoned, tortured and martyred on rack c. 303.

Thursday 27 October 2016

27 10 2016

St Agileus...a martyr and companion of St Augustine. He lived in N. Africa and was martyred in Carthage. That seems to be all. But any mate of Augustines is bound to be, erm, forceful - he certainly dictated this image (or something did)

Got trouble with Zita, so overworked as to be porridge, and Felix, co-hermit with Votus and John. He persists in prettiness and its too camp.


Tuesday 25 October 2016

25 10 2016

Spent the day by the sea looking at dead jellyfish on the sand.... mist and low cloud and rain, perfect.
Tweaked this later; finished.

Monday 24 October 2016

24 10 2016

Finished - possibly - a hermit called John.
I can tell when these things are finished when they start to communicate in some way - become recognisable as the person I think they were, which is often improbable.They start answering back. Half-baked notions ...begun at drawing (Ian modelling) when I used a Pope Francis biro to see if that would make a difference.
---Immeasurable, of course.
Really sad today, dunno why. Autumn - things ending - suddenly no energy or delight. Despite it being actually a good morning, nice group, old friends and one new artist who was very pleasant. Fear I was the only disruptive influence. Ian worked really hard.
Afternoon painting came fluently.
Taking tomorrow off to go to the sea.

Saturday 22 October 2016

22 x 2016 sat

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-reviews/5345000/Fabiola-Francis-Alys-at-the-National-Portrait-Gallery.html

After all these years, found a Fabiola!!! How appropriate that as I embrace the painting of saints, one should (finally) turn up. Been looking since 2009.
And this one (2" in total) is as distressed as my paintings aim to be - and as intermittently shiny-  from a vide grenier on our local sacred mountain, Bugarach. Nice:)

Apropos...
the question underlying the Saints series is one of attribution.
All artists and probably musician and writers and for all I know pastry chefs enter into another head space where things are made. You know what you are producing is OK when you come out of it and see what has emerged. Nowadays I've heard it called The Zone. There are other names. But at one time it was called inspiration and  sometimes divine inspiration.

So; who does the work? The unconscious kicks in with the hard-wired motor skills? Picasso claimed - somewhere- that he felt the presence of all the artists who had every been painting through him. Is there an art pool where it comes from?
... join the dots, these questions and those that follow on are not original but I've never seem answers that have satisfied.
One of the Catholic sites I visit to check out saints refers to them (saints) as our extended family in heaven. Hope it ain't them doing the work -
Which is ticking  over fairly well BYW. Half a doz coming up for completion.

Monday 17 October 2016

17 x 2016



Done... others trotting along.

Drawing Mamadou this morning, hes a beautiful man. Was tempted to do a portrait but anchoring myself on a particular human would never do. His proportions are so weird, terribly long with stick legs - don't know his background but the phrase Bushman of the Kalahari was going through my head all morning. Since he's french, this is improbable.

All rather exhausting.

Friday 14 October 2016

14 10 2016

grinding on - thats how it feels at the end of this day anyway. hard work. Plus the incense I persist in burning set off the fire alarm and disturbed me dreadfully - it seems you have to dismantle them to stop the terrible noise -   but hey. Things are moving on. Not finished though.

so, St Volusian, Bishop of Tours, d.496; chased by Arian Visigoths (?) into Spain though died in Toulouse. He had a nasty wife.

Heres  St Lydia of Thyatird, called Purpuraria because she sold purple dye for a living. St Pauls first convert in Philippi. 
St John called her an 'angel of the church'

And St John, a hermit of the Pyrenees... (he chummed up with Votus and Felix of Saragossa of whom more, no doubt, later) They lived in a hermitage that became the abbey of St John de la Pena.

St Vulpiax, a Syrian executed in Tyre under Diocletian, 284 - 305 by being sewn into a leather sack with a snake and a dog and hurled into the sea.

All rather dispiriting, pondering these folk...

Rang Oumough, wants to keep the work on expo till the end of November when hes hiring out the gallery to writers or booksellers, can't remember. Terrible year for him, no-one rich left in France. Dawns on me that I have a history of beginning to do well just before a major financial collapse.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

11 oct 2016 Tuesday

Got back yesterday, wrecked - still am - lot of trouble breathing in the UK which got worse the norther I went. Can still taste the place. Horrible. Lodged in my sinuses.

Anyway, back. All behind me. Survived.

And today bought 11 box canvases 30 x 30 as Bob says I should carry on in the same size - as does Oumough - despite that fact the series already has a number of different sizes. It suits me though, does 30 x 30.
Studio been OK in  my absence. Still standing and slightly humming with latent energy.

Lots of bits and pieces to catch up with in general maintenance and so forth - and Yuri arrives tomorrow for a week - but will no doubt start work again soon.

Thursday 15 September 2016

15 09 2016

Think she'll do... surprising, how many images of the Magdalene exist and how haunting they are. Most of the decisions that made this pic are references, either accepting or denying - in future I'm sticking to the unlauded or at any rate unpainted.

Another three saints are plodding on. I'm not too focused; things looming. Bobs return, London trip, talk at Leeds. Shudder.

Tuesday 13 September 2016

14 09 2016

No painting done but have cleaned studio - that is to say, restored some equipment to its homes and hoovered up bird seed, paint and parrot shit.
Rather intimidated by it now. Looks enormous.

Saturday 10 September 2016

10 09 2016 Sat

 Voila; St John of Beverly, advisor to the Hairy Hermit and banner maker; and St Ann, matron, mother of the BVM. Magdelene on the go.
Decided I dont like Zita but will wait tillmore done to have a cull.

Friday 9 September 2016

09 09 2016 Friday

The worst thing about the saints' paintings in not usng their symbols. Thats how they are usually identified and I decided early on not to, just to do the portraits.
Might have to change this stricture - or I end up with a bunch of heads. With texts.

Stilll struggling with St John of Beverly whom I like so much I am reluctant to part with (that is, finish ...)
Hacking away at St Ann, mother of BVM.  In the day she was shown as triumverate - her, holding Mary and JC. Very like a female balance to the trinity sculptures. Her emblem is, of all things, a door. Enticing! Though it stands in, I think, for the archway under which she and Joachim (?or whoever) met and 'recognised' that she was pregnant.

Beautifully under-documented; crops up on the Protoevangelium of James,( regarded as 'unreliable' by 4 Popes so can't be all bad - ) I only knew her as the woman who taught Mary to read which must have been a remarkable thing at that time. It waas only the artists that carried on that tradition.

...custom and tradition. Thats what Im looking for. The Magdalen fits the brief...

Tuesday 6 September 2016

06 09 2016

Beginning to panic at what is and isn't being achieved... been getting material together for Jim Barty to make my new website (vanillabeer.co) Trying to knock it together before leaving for London, when I trust I will have a fancy visitors card to leave about the place.
So what was a simple notion based on Peter Clossicks admirable site has already become complicated. Can't help it. I thought a tool bar with Available Work, Past Work (no more than 10 per section)CV, contact and links would do fine. Then in crept notions... censored is now another button, which required essay writing and research, and Jim says to illustrate my CV and hes right.
For the censorship stuff I had to get the year from my CV; look up the press book for that year; go through my engagement diary ditto and uncover the whole story. Emotionally knackering and time consuming but censorship is an issue that figures - just sent him all that anyway, now for a walk to clear my head and on with the art.
And to put all these files away.

Saturday 27 August 2016

27.08 2016

St Benedict The Moor (1326-1389); African ex-slave who shone with celestial light; another food-multiplier

and Longinus who famously pierced Jesus' side on the cross and had his eyesight restored. He in turn restored the eyesight of the governor who was having him beheaded. Who had been blinded by demons driven out by Longinus. Etc etc. Read Spear of destiny (again) 


Wednesday 24 August 2016

24 08 2016 Weds

 Maybe finished... first black african saint Ive found (he glowed in the dark)
Zita here, done. Enough. Died in bed under a bright star, after a lifetime of servitude.
 And St Margaret of Antioch, swallowed by the devil who coughed her up because of the cross she wore but was decapitated by the infidel anyway.

Monday 22 August 2016

22 08 2016 monday

Sabina (mistress) and Serapia (servant). Found the notes.
No work done though ideas fizzing.

Friday 19 August 2016

19 08 2016

 Re-did Mary of Egypt , finished St Tatwine, continuing Maragret of Antioch and St Zita, finished Seraphine and Seraphina.
Not sure those are their names and have lost my notes; checking the catholic sites, looks rather as if I've made them up.
Improbable; not my sort. Maid and mistress, one converted the other, both decapitated.

Tatwine, below,  much more fun. Seems to be known for being archbish of Canterbury and writing riddles. They are not funny. They exisit in The Exeter Book - heres a sample, not necessarily by Tatwine -
 Ic eom wunderlicu wiht   wifum on hyhte

neahbuendum nyt;   nægum sceþþe
burgsittendra nymthe   bonan anum.
Staþol min is steapheah   stonde ic on bedde
neoðan ruh nathwær.   Neþeð hwilum
ful cyrtenu   ceorles dohtor
modwlonc meowle   þæt heo on mec gripe
ræseð mec on reodne   reafath min heafod
fegeð mec on fæsten.   Feleþ sona
mines gemotes   seo þe mec nearwað
wif wundenlocc.   Wæt bið þæt eage.

(Answer; an onion. Obvious when you think about it. And read it in English)

Actually its been interesting digging up Tatwine, more fun than reformed sex-lovers; I'd no idea riddles were really a basis of theological debate. Not all, of course (see above)

This of Margaret of Antioch cant help but be commic. The devil vomited her up because the cruxifix she carried tickled his throat. Yeah. Whatever.


 Heres Zita, patron of servants. She made very free with her employers property, giving it to the deserving poor, but god always made sure she wasn't punished - multiplying the given away stuff, mostly. This isnt finished - she looks more like a film star - there is a star there that blazed during her death in the attic room she'd lived in patiently all her life.
 -and the maid and mistress duo. Very sinister.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

16 08 2016 Tues

Ounouh emailed these of the expo in I'isle sur La Sorgue - he makes them disturbingly tasteful :)
Still no work done but getting some drawing in, as and when.









Monday 8 August 2016

08 08 2016 Monday

Oumough came and chose many paintings but could only fit 17 into his car... very tiring and emotional for me, he came and overnighted with Paul and it was fine but with a continual sense of being under the microscope.
Have spent this afternoon, after the selection, doing the notes for each picture in French.
Was supposed to print off and send and have run out of ink.
Had to go through all my notes to write about them and am enmeshed in old bollox.

So the show will run till the end of Sept., when Bob will collect the leavings.

Going out to drink a lot now.

Wednesday 3 August 2016

03 08 2016

Ridiculously relieved to have been rejected from the NOA competition, worth 20 quid to not bother with the process.
Which rather begs the question about how to move on the commercial campaign to sell a garage full of paintings.
August show? -I dunno, no contact from the powers that be though they are still (allegedly) coming to get the work. Yesterday, if memory serves.
Managing to get away to paint occasionally; family will all be gone on Friday and there are a couple of clearish weeks.

Saturday 30 July 2016

30 07 2016

Done Margaret of Cortona - who mutilated her face because she was too pretty - Theodosa, who was
tortured and killed very nastily and 'recieved her crown' on 2cnd April [Butler 301]- Mary of Egypt who could prophesy and walk on water but only ate the odd lentil and was in continual penance for her life as a prostitute, which she undertook because she liked sex. She was buried by Zozimos (the abbot, not the alchemist) and a helpful lion.
Started on Tatwine - bishop and riddle-writer - and two girl saints that I might scrap.

House full but everyone else doing house stuff, Im sequestered in studio. Great.