Saturday 30 December 2023

30 12 2023


still fighting the roosting cockerels and trying to shift the angst  - but quite like carrot top. 
Went to Carcassonne and spent some money on materials, really will have to use what I've got rather than what I think needs replacing. And pencils!! Going to have to stop using them, at a tenner for 4, two of which I don't want.
Adaption isn't a problem. I'm good at that.

Thursday 28 December 2023

28 12 2023

 Tick tick ticking along... my 'Nature Diary', such a sweet simple idea, has turned into a barometer of external distress, sigh. The anxieties caused by trying to stay alive - in animals, birds, plants - are what I find interesting. I project the anxiety, I hope. Surely a carrot top is not isolated and alone and frightened.... nor cockerels other than managing their instincts. 

Saturday 23 December 2023

23 12 2023

 Got some bad drawing done. Roosting cockerels. Might be salvageable, but only if I focus up and stop fiddling with other pictures, and going out to xmas parties. This may be the pattern for a few days.

Thursday 21 December 2023

21 12 2023

 More nature diary. So much better than the obsessive war stuff. Apropos, the Walking Gods pic is now in Le Healthy Life; tomorrow, who knows!!

Sunday 17 December 2023

17 12 2023

 Ain't this cute? Every now and then my brush runs away from me and does something I actually like.

Thursday 14 December 2023

Tuesday 12 December 2023

12 12 2023

 Got into the studio this morning and again for a while in the afternoon, giving myself time to screw up another painting. Though secretly, I quite like it. It's better than it was. Photos as and when.

Started drawing fish too. Rather chancy business. delicate outline then lots of wax, invisible of course. Then pencil. Was hoping for a particular look - bit like the invisible ink drawings of childhood - but what I got was messed up unpredictable parts with 4B. Secretly rather like that too, though not at all what I meant.

Next stage needs a weak and tender pink. Marshmallow. Pastel, but I so hate pastel. (Chalk in the fingerprints, ugh)

Sunday 10 December 2023

10 12 2023

 Got some time in this morning. Disaster!! At least I've been able to legitimately ask Pete to continue sitting for me.

Thursday 7 December 2023

07 12 2023

Tweaking on... enjoying myself which is tough luck on Pete, who may have to sit yet again. Maybe not, might be able to finish without him now. Aware that I'm not letting go and fiddling for its own sake. Though hat, mouth, chin, eye need attention.


Thursday 30 November 2023

30 11 2023


Thoroughly enjoying painting Pete - another sitting should see it done but may try and extend it for the pleasure of it.

Otherwise, engaged in domestic stuff. German researchers arrive tonight to delve into my Papas stuff so have felt it necessary to clean and tidy up.

Got some drawing to do, too, though right now I should be hunting papers and  photos and the rest. 

Though after a sleep deprived night (=too much moonlight) I fancy going to sleep...

Wednesday 22 November 2023

23 11 2023

 Another sitting with Pete yesterday - will be able to finish next week, I think.

I'm using the scans of his veins in the background, a far-from-faithful reproduction but does the job.

The Nature Diary drawings progress - ha. the kingfisher! - already I'm taking them far more seriously than was my intention when it began. The best outcome is that I have to walk about and look at nature, or there is nothing to do. Though ambling about is also challenging.

Last night at twilight, coming back from the river at the bottom of Rue des Jardins,  stopped in the Place de Republic to chat to Christin, a local poet. Suddenly something dropped over our heads, almost touching us, and fell to the ground by our feet. A big V shape, mottled, and something screaming. 

Shocking. In retrospect it must have been a raptor taking a bird from the plane tree and getting it wrong - not killing it outright, hence the screams - the raptor obviously couldn't let it go but also couldn't fly with it struggling. It tried, short flights across the car park without gaining any height, presumably hoping to tire the little bird which wasn't giving up without a fight We chased it and it got up the side of the footbridge to the side of the riverbank where we couldn't follow.. So no idea who won. 

Was served Quail at dinner later. 

Too many metaphors.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

21 11 2023

 Collard doves on Toby and Leos house. Lot of wrongness about the third along: I overcorrected and then had the scratch off the ink which has ruined the surface. Really don't want to redo the whole thing - will think of something.

Drawing a murmuration now, that's neurotic activity if anything is but I saw a splinter group chase off a falcon and found that exciting. Just seen a kingfisher too. Got Peter sitting first thing so that one can wait. 

Monday 20 November 2023

20 11 2023

Ink and charcoal and pencil - its big and sits well with the pretty (ish) nuthatches - enjoying myself.

Which rather shows in this little oil, featuring two birds. Almost accidental. 


Saturday 18 November 2023

18 11 2023


Yesterdays haul... today is shags. Or cormorants, lovely to see them back whatever they are. Sweet painting emerging too, somewhat fanciful and may never be finished.

Thursday 16 November 2023

17 11 2023

 Pleased with myself yesterday - despite the rain a bird or two came to feed and despite my sundry maladies I drew them, watercoloured them and felt competent. The paper is large, the birds are probably twice life size which pleased me - they aint pretty or in anyway dinky. Need some practical work though, beaks and feet chiefly. Will leave them and do some more...

...and trying to express the pain in hands and feet for my Before Death series (or whatever I called them, I forget) (!!)

Had a go at Petes portrait. Stupid, should wait for the sitting. Turned to wall now.


Later; saw a dipper and trying to paint that now. And remembered my first ever notebook.

-My father had just written his first book and of course designed the cover. (Using my poster paints BTW) That was 1959. He'd been given a dummy book to fit the design to. After he'd done he gave me the book - hard-backed, blank pages. Bliss.

I started my Nature Diary. Trotted about drawing growing things and whatever, solemnly dating and noting. 

Then the publishers - Wiley - wanted the book back. Why?? No idea. Stafford was upset but had to take it back from me. 

Obvs still rankles. Time to have another go?? 

Enjoying using this beautiful paper, gifted by Bernard before his death. Imagine, dying with hand made rag printing paper in your studio, unused. Poor man. It behoves me to use it up. Bernard wouldn't like what I'm doing - I can hear his scorn - but tough.

16 11 2023

 Did a decent sitting with Peter Gregory yesterday, due for another next week - a joy - not prepared to post it yet in case I use up the goodness. As it were.

Want to sit and draw the very frequent visitor to the bird table, the nuthatch - actually there are two - but my hands are hurting after yesterdays exertions. Will put on mittens and have a go. Far better artists than me have managed to work with arthritis. And the new tremor will add a dimension. Sigh.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

14 11 2023


Fine line between slick and assumed gaucherie.  Resolved by tremor and incompetence.

Maybe finished maybe not.

The photo has cut off significant content on the right - will resnap in the cold light of day.

Monday 13 November 2023

13 11 2023

 No photos yet -

Pete, Clare, Ray, Diane came into the studio where the unfinished works live and I was OK with that so maybe they are nearly done.

And today I gave Marcus a quick tour of the more recent stuff in the gallery and felt comfortable with that.

 Probably just means I trust my friends rather than the work.

Thursday 9 November 2023

09 11 2023

 Three war pix on the go, not yet fit for anything - and I'm only going to do these or I'II end up topping myself. What does peace mean, I ask myself... will move onto that topic asap.

I'm grateful to Roy for reminding me last night that this is not a Jewish conflict but a Zionist one. Can stop reading Jewish literature.

(Though interested to note in the Code of  Jewish Law [Ganzfried-Goldin, Hebrew Publishing company NY, 1963] that one should not leave a book open or you will forget what you have read)

Found a nice Kitaj painting; a Jew fighting a Muslim. Choose which is which, he says.

Wednesday 8 November 2023

08 11 2023

 Really should shift stuff out when finished or I go back to it - but glad I did in this case, found a wonderful Prussian blue which was just the job to tighten the sky up. God knows where it came from, one of the joys of clearing up is having to search for things and finding others. Think it was in a (real) lead tube.  Also found a decent gold which responded well to tacky damart and stand oil and is now enhancing the bubbles. Glossed over the too-extreme whites. Job done.

Otherwise I've started on three small Gazza/Israeli conflict pieces. Have read the Pentateuch and the Jewish Code of conduct. The former makes it clear that the Jews as Gods chosen can kill anyone they like -or don't like, rather - and have a long history of genocide. The latter is less clear. In 4 volumes there is no mention of war but a deal about mourning. (And lots of other interesting things.)

These are going to be hard. Whenever I've worked on war before I've become suicidal. Will try and make them quick.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

07 11 2023

 It's taken me till now - 10.00amish - to unpack and gesso (first coat 50/50) 6 little canvases, 60 x 50cms. Nice to feel a brush in hand again but I'm so frail!! Thought I was fine, imagined a great thing, but real life lingers.

Changed bedrooms so no longer sleeping next to studio - too cold - 

Studio too clean. Embarrassed to make a mess. Wearing overalls so as not to get paint on my clothes, what???  Strange times. 

Step by step.

Sunday 29 October 2023

30 10 2023

 I'm back - nothing useful cleaned from the UK but a couple of dreams that might come into play. Wont be going to work for a while though as my brother Matt is visiting for a week :) 

Dearest Gracie has de-cobwebbed the studio and generally restored some order. 

Its a bit daunting.

Friday 13 October 2023

14 10 2023 tidy enough to be hoovered in my absence -  (=asthma, dust)-  off to blighty for a couple of weeks, various missions, hardly any pertaining to art -

Sunday 8 October 2023

08 10 2023


So wish Id planned this better but the heuristics always get me...
Can't remember if I posted this but have changed title; now nocturnal horror. 

Friday 6 October 2023

06 10 2023

 Had to out of the studio to attend to taxes and shopping but managed to get in for enough time to ferk up current drawing. Dammit. Tomorrow  clear.

Thursday 5 October 2023

05 10 2023

Think the Night Attack drawing is finished and the covid one nearly done. Thinking about doing a pre-death book. Alarmingly cheerful: spes pathetica??


Wednesday 4 October 2023

04 10 2023

 Got up before dawn knowing what to do with the drawing I'm on and did it, went back to bed and now find its all good. Have to wait for drying and settling before finishing. 

Next one ready to go.

Monday 2 October 2023

02 10 2023

Finished and my B/P through the roof. Worth a charcoal drawing, night time heart attack stuff. Must move on from death and destruction...

Sunday 1 October 2023

01 10 2023

 On a roll - nearly cracked this one - today should see it done. That leaves two horrors to finish before I go to blighty. 

Saturday 30 September 2023

30 09 2023

 Firmly finished. Enough enough

PS I've been obliged to take my blood pressure regularly because its too high. I took it after finishing the painting and its well down, lower than my normal. Curious coincidence :)

Tuesday 26 September 2023

26 09 2023


Signed and dated - can fiddle with it forever but don't want to. Need to dry thoroughly then photograph properly - now back to the things Id shelved in order to get this one done.

Monday 25 September 2023

25 09 2023


Can fiddle with this forever but am just waiting for the paint to settle a bit before darkening the foreground a bit. 

Sunday 24 September 2023

24 09 2023

 Mystery portrait accepted, they like it. Will post when published. (?Feb)

Gods Walking now nearly finished and though smug still is an attractive painting, for such a depressing subject. Will finish today. 

Which leaves the three unfinished pix I started the Gods Walking to avoid. 

Saturday 23 September 2023

23 09 2023

 Photographed the mystery portrait and ready to send to commissioners; not sure it is a decent likeness but it's a decent painting. 

BUT a nice thing - a really nice thing, for a change - when I happened to be pottering in the studio yesterday morning. As the sun rose it touched the Walking Gods pic and totally changed it. Took my breath away. It was what I was aiming for but hadn't known. 

The wonderful iridescent paints I use have a life of their own. 

Did some hasty turpsy brush notes on top - probably ruined the surface - so I'd remember what's to be done, since yesterday and (so far) most of today is domestix. 

Extraordinary that a shaft of light can be a validation. Was on the brink of giving up as the thing had a smug sententiousness that was hateful and though that won't completely go it will get carried in other ways. 

Thursday 21 September 2023

21 09 2023

 Safely through the covid - surprisingly well, the arthritis seems to have gone with it, is that normal? Perhaps a weeks bedrest is just a good thing. Slept none stop. 

Second studio fairly clear now, been tidying and darting about all the unfinished pieces everywhere.

Made a serious mistake trying to glaze mystery portrait - used caput mortem instead of burnt sienna - how?? - the result looks like a bad case of sunburn. This painting is a catastrophe but i'm getting many lessons from it. Today, more oil and a phylocyanide glaze. And whats left of the caput mortem will hang nicely on the Gods Walking painting.

Wednesday 13 September 2023

14 09 2023

 Got to Aix... saw the shows... came back with covid. 

Thursday 7 September 2023

08 09 2023

 Off to Aix-en-Province to see the Max Ernst show - back Monday - public transport permitting, its bus and train all the way.

07 09 2023

 Plodding on. 

Still dibbling at portrait, so wishing for an actual sitting...

Sunday 3 September 2023

03 09 2023

 Ploughing on... trying, labouring, to make the interdependency point.

Wednesday 30 August 2023

30 08 2023

moving slowly on - done in my wrists and back, so today will change easel hights, stool height and use wrist and back supports - erm, thats it really. Except its good to be challenged. In little ways, stroke by stroke.
Very happy that AB has accepted some drawings for her book! More on that with her permission. 
And the mystery portrait, again unusable until the whole project finished and then with permission, is hanging upside down until the due delivery day, if I haven't slashed it by then. (This on account of the dodgy painting, not for lack of love of the sitter)


Sunday 27 August 2023

27 08 2023

 - back at work, nothing to show but brain cleared and stuff happening.

Baffling and difficult but normal!

Monday 21 August 2023

21 08 2023

 Hot, like all of France - just under 40 - very restricting but manageable. Think the mystery portrait is finished, nearly anyway. I stab at it between times. 

Otherwise all the art generated here is in my head.

Thursday 10 August 2023

11 08 2023

 Getting glib... but he and his mother leave today so thats OK. 
As a by-product, fiddling with portrait of X, seem to have turned a corner. Will see when the paint settles. Be glad to have it out of the studio.

10 08 2023

 Against my better judgement, allowed Theophile into the studio - but he was into drawing, was focused and engaged and despite not enjoying being looked at (at first) I was able to use him as a model. We'll have another go today.

Realise now - at last - why all those guys like endlessly to paint pretty girls. It's a real pleasure being able to study a beautiful young man.

Sunday 6 August 2023

06 08 2023

 Having gardening leave. Tending my garden = tiding the study and reviewing the projects untouched for years.

All my thinking concerns either films, installations or sculptures. Revulsion from paint. Weird. In no hurry to do anything so allowing myself whatever is needful.

Tuesday 1 August 2023

01 08 2023

 Sleepless night with only one conclusion for the Tree of Death and I don't like it nor want to do it.

-But I guess I will. I mean, nowhere else to take it now. Its ferked anyway so if this ferks it more, hardly matters.

Sunday 30 July 2023

30 07 2023

 Absolutely stuck - no idea  of how to move on anything I'm working on. Given there is nothing looming, this scarcely matters though it drives me mad and the dreams are disturbing. Rather fancy spending a week or two in my study, doing whimsical reading (this after finding some texts that'll help come to grips with Wittgenstein) For no reason at all.

My new years resolution of suspending scepticism has been going badly as every time I pick up a daft book I want to through it across the room. Clearly,  clearly, this area needs investigating. Oh dear god.

Friday 28 July 2023

28 07 2023

Been overpainting the previously finished Tree of Death... its better but not quite there yet. Like pulling teeth, this one. Looks too fussy, too.

Thursday 27 July 2023

27 07 2023

 Air con in the studio!! Shockingly bad for the conscience but makes work much easier. May have finished mystery portrait, may have addressed the Tree of Death successfully. Maybe not - but being able to breathe and enjoy painting is most cheering 

Thursday 20 July 2023

20 07 2023

 Actually getting quite a lot done; none of it any good.

Monday 17 July 2023

18 07 2023

 Lazy time; its hot. Not so hot, I've worked through worse - but rather depressed after the last and final show and apart from some fiddling with old work haven't done much. 

Wednesday 12 July 2023

12 07 2023

 Not so much painting as hiding in the studio.

Portrait ongoing, as these things do - thinking that as I have 20 plus photos of the development of it, it might be worth making a piece of all of the them (since end result will be digital -)

Thursday 6 July 2023

06 07 2023

 Got some studio time in yesterday and used it to totally destroy the portrait whose deadline is looming.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

04 07 2023

 Vernissage today; got a bunch of blinis and cream and faux caviar because I like them and I can be occupied assembling them in those awkward moments before the blanquette kicks in.

And this will be my last - keep telling myself that and I suppose its true.

Up with the chin,

Saturday 1 July 2023

01 07 2023


l'Independent, a couple of days ago.... and I have been away drawing in the hills. Haven't looked at the results yet, still in knapsack, but not expecting any surprises. Good break, warm, swimming...

The only studio work has been to turn the current picture to the wall.

Monday 26 June 2023

27 06 2023

Was going to put up photos of the show but too depressed by it - here instead is the view FROM the gallery.

Waiting now to hear from a journalist who interviewed me yesterday. I really liked her, we shared many ideas and sparked each other nicely.

26 06 2023

 Show up in Quillan, hard work, hardly worth it. Given that this is probably my last expo - no energy or inclination - its rather a shabby bit of art.

So was getting miserable when the news reached me of my brother Steves illness. He's in ICU with DKA. (Is it better with initials? ) Poor boy.

A nice dinner out has stopped me actually lying on the floor sobbing.

Friday 2 June 2023

02 06 2023

 Bit frantic; hacking at portrait, fretting about site and show. Off on 4 day hol tomorrow rapidly followed by a fortnightish in the UK. Of course it will all get done, but only if I panic. Ha.

Saturday 27 May 2023

28 05 2023

 Nearly finished the portrait I'm working on - which is a surprise as part of a larger picture, hoho, so no images till another day. 

Another Hommage done, nearly, and though lots LOTS learnt, think its for the shredder.

Got all the framing I'm doing to do, done. Have some notions about the Quillan show.

Monday 22 May 2023

22 05 2023

 Didn't open on Sunday and rejoiced in my solitude :)

Moving paintings about, trying to reform website, done more framing.

Tomorrow going to Quillan to have another look at the gallery.

Got some charcoal, locally made, itching to go -

Saturday 20 May 2023

20 05 2023

 V pleasant day - only visitors happened to be visiting me anyway. Will not open tomorrow, not just because its cold and wet but because Bob and the family are leaving early morning and I'II be on my own on a market day; not comfortable with that.

Have eleven clear days!!!

Friday 19 May 2023

19 05 2023

 People are being nice to me at the OFF which is most welcome. 

Sold two - very flattered as I value Mike Hincs work as an artist and his trust in my stuff.

It is so cold . 

Terrible time to be doing this but when it goes well, its good.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

17 05 2023

Pleased with this mistake; did the poster, wrote OFF down the sides and it didn't show. Tried to do it with a drawing app and couldn't control it so just left as was, above. Lots of postings and re-postings on various social media platforms so that worked then.
Tiding, cleaning, hanging, jettisoning. 


Friday 12 May 2023

12 05 2023

Signed and dated so it must be finished - however, its on the wall outside the studio pending further thought. For which I had to move Divorce, which is still sticky - these layers of oil may last beyond the apocalypse but they take a year to dry. Domestic Life is still there too, though that's pretty much dry - its there because, crickey, I like it. How did that happen.
 In the meantime, bigger frames and more smaller ones have arrived which means searching through the trillion drawings all of which now seem like pointless daubs. Which they are, of course. They served their purpose in their day and its only because I have some catalogues left over from the Deptford show that makes it sensible to exhibit them.

Family arrive today for 10 days. They're pretty good at letting me work while they are here but obvs I can't totally ignore them. Nor, actually, do I want to. Then Bob leaves with them and I have a clear 10 days to finish up and get everything ready before I'm away. All do-able.

Sunday 7 May 2023

08 05 2023

Grinding on... framing (got more frames coming, thanks to a local  buy n sell group -) though no idea if they are hangable; and is the Tree of Death finished?? Well, no. Nearly though.

Great excitement here yesterday. There's a bric-a-brac stall in the Sunday market by the fripperie and the man there had saved some frames for me, which I duly collected. Spotted a bust of Berlioz which looked a bit good so lashed out three euros for it; seemed to be carved out of a solid block of wood and beautifully done.
Got it home and found a signature. Turns out to have been done by a pupil of Rodins, one Seraphin Soudbinine, a Russian born artist who worked in drawing and painting and (chiefly) ceramics, 1867 - 1944. (Rodin did a portrait of him, a sculpture, knockout).
Somewhat blown away by holding this piece of history.


Saturday 6 May 2023

06 05 2023

 ...more of the same, getting a sweet collection of framed things together and fiddling intermittently with the Tree of Death and Rauls pic. It's very warm and very pleasant in the studio. Which will need a good clean when I've finished all this. 

Friday 5 May 2023

05 05 2023

Fiddling... and framing. Trying to get a selection of drawings together for the June show and since I'm away for most of June this all must be done now, in May, or not at all- its not the actual framing (charmingly gauche, is my stance) its sorting through the dust of a trillion drawings for things I can bear to see again. And fitting them to the available frames.

And failing to register a protest about the situation in the UK.


Tuesday 2 May 2023

02 05 2023

 Really shouldn't go on about health here, its like a curse. Having pronounced myself well I've been laid up with a bug. All well, as these things go, but as these things go it's rather scary. 

Slept for 48 hours and feel much much better. 

Now too far behind on the domestic front, despite knowing what I'm doing (of a sudden) Can't see much getting done this week. But thinking clearly.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

26 04 2023

 Despite it all, feel v well - which I attribute to the healing power of art. And the change in the weather.

Saturday 22 April 2023

22 04 2023

 Looks even nastier now, since the afternoons work :) 

Bit of luck though. Since the screaming rat appeared in the Mauvais Cou I've been attentive to errors and opportunities, hence the lines and black marks over the mouth. Long story.... will write it up when I'm awake.