Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Two years on.

It's two years since I started the blog. It followed an exhibition at the Albany Gallery and was an idea of my family who thought it would be good to see what I was up to particularly during my time in France. In fact they rarely look at it. Why would they when texts, e-mails and phone calls are more immediate ways of keeping in touch? It made me re-think the purpose of writing it at all.
Then I started to write it for myself, documenting the things that were happening around me and to me as I was working, knowing that these things would be reflected in my paintings. I had kept these images in my head but now I could note them down, look back on them and link them to various pieces of work.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Old Arcade

The Old Arcade, Cardiff

In the end there was really only one place to watch the match. The Old Arcade stands next to the covered Market in the centre of Cardiff and has been a pub since 1844. Yesterday it was crammed with people wearing red rugby shirts and holding pints of beer. The noise was deafening, the singing loud and everyone in the place sang the Welsh National Anthem along with the team at Twickenham. Even with all this solid support Wales almost didn't pull it off but nearing the end came the try and the the whole place erupted. So Wales have the Triple Crown and next month will meet France at the Millennium Stadium. I will be at the Stadium with my two sons to see it and I can't wait!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Millennium Stadium

My studio is in the Castle Quarter which also includes the Millennium Stadium. It's constantly in my sights as I walk to work - in fact it's very hard to miss. Wales play England tomorrow, not here but at Twickenham.
Cardiff will still be full of fans with every bar showing the match on TV. Big screens erected in the centre of Cardiff will show the game too. I am meeting up with a friend for lunch and with this amount of choice the question that's occupying my mind is - where's the best place to watch the match.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Rain and more rain.

St Marys Street, Cardiff.

Whilst all the forecasts promise high temperatures and sunshine for February - we have rain. But that's alright.
I walked to the studio yesterday in the rain and and on the way stopped to talk to a couple of people I know. Once in the studio it's the same ritual: radio on, fire on, paint overall on and then I consider the work from the previous day. All thoughts of rain forgotten it's always a surprise to emerge from the studio at the end of the day and find myself having to battle my way home through a blustering wind and heavy rain. I am still engrossed in the work I've just left so it doesn't seem important.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Back to work.

It's my first day back after a break in London where it felt like Spring. Now I wake up to rain and a cold morning, almost as if the last 10 days were spent in another country. Nevertheless I am anxious to get going and resume work on the canvas on the easel. I had a photograph on my phone which I studied during my stay away so I have ideas for where I take it next.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Taking a break.

I'm off to London for a few days and I'm really excited at the thought of going to the Lucian Freud exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. The last time I saw his work it was at a retrospective he shared with Francis Bacon at the Fondation Maeght at Saint-Paul-de-Vence in the South of France. On that visit I also remember going to the Matisse chapel at Vence. I had been before and I have been since and I am always entranced with the place. I thought at the time how lucky to find the work of these British painters showing in this beautiful part of France.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

New paintings.

At last I feel I am getting somewhere. Two paintings finished and a new one on the easel. It's very disheartening working in a studio with no paintings on the walls, it imposes a pressure that is hard to shake off. But this is a start and it will get better with every painting I finish.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Red studio, red dining room.

The red studio is not that far removed from my red dining room. I'm taking a fresh look.
The Cézanne and Boncompain Ceramiques posters I have had with me a long time. The Cézanne exhibition in the Tate in 1996 created a lot of excitement at the time. The Boncompain poster was cellotaped to the door of a small bar in Antibes where I was having a last drink before the flight home. I was very disappointed to have missed the exhibition and as I left the barman removed the poster from the door and gave it to me.
The black and white poster I bought at an exhibition in Biot in the South of France. The photographer was there and signed it for me. This man had been friends with many of the post-war Paris painters who had inspired my work and I was in awe of him.
The Dubuffet poster from the Guggenheim which Alan brought back from his sabbatical in New York in 1973 hangs on the wall above the stairs.
Finally, the Giacometti which Stephen bought me when he was barely a teenager and is now due a new frame.

The Red Studio

Yesterday a painter friend told me I should keep the studio red. He reminded me of the Matisse painting "The Red Studio". Food for thought.

Brass monkey weather.

I've been dithering all morning feeling a bit of a wuss. The sky is full of snow and the forecast says it's coming. I've been sitting here wondering whether to go into the studio or not. It's a bit of a strange situation. I never know what the weather will be like when I emerge from the arcade at the end of the day. Heavy snow could mean that getting home will be tedious - what a dilemma!
I lived in Finland for a year - why am I worried about a bit of snow? When I reflect further I know what's stopping me - it's just too cold out there!
Anyway - it's starting to snow - decision made!