Blog

Like a bird on the wire

For much of this past year an imperfect Mistle Thrush sang from first light to last, in the tall trees that border the field behind my home.  Imperfect in that he had only one leg. Sometimes, in the afternoons, he would leave the swaying branches at the tip of his favourite ash, to sing from... Read more »

This is not our finest hour.

This is madness. What is going on? I make no apology for the absence of paintings in the following.  As the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish wrote: “what place poetry in a time of catastrophe?” This piece is about racism, assumptions and my despair at finding so much of the former still festering in the country I... Read more »

It takes a stout heart.

The end of the year and, for some reason, my mind turns to Cennini:  FUNDAMENTAL PROVISIONS FOR ANYONE WHO ENTERS THIS PROFESSION CHAPTER III You, therefore, who with lofty spirit are fired with this ambition, and are about to enter the profession, begin by decking yourselves with this attire:  Enthusiasm, Reverence, Obedience, and Constancy.  And... Read more »

Printmaking

There is something wonderful about printmaking.  Often thought of as the poor relation of painting, it is hard on the hands, messy, brain-tanglingly difficult, (you work in mirror image) and frequently frustrating but to those of us who love it …well there is nothing quite like it. However difficult it might be to explain why... Read more »

Entomology

I didn’t mean to do this drawing and I can’t bring it home with me.  It’s in the ‘visitors’ book at the studio here in France.  When I started it, I thought to just draw one or two interesting insects on the page and write a thank you message to the owners.  But…while here, I... Read more »

On not knowing what to do

This is my studio for the summer. In January I had the great good fortune to meet a man whose passion for art extends far beyond acquisition.  Over the years, he and his wife have quietly and consistently looked for creative ways to provide practical support for working artists. This place, on a hill in the... Read more »

Thinking of the darkness to follow

For just a very few days a year, a cherry tree flowers in Halwell churchyard. The ground between the graves is a tapestry of primroses, celandine, violets, cowslips, ground ivy and daisies – a sight magical enough – but the huge flowering tree with its chaos of bee-filled, pink and white petals, is something else... Read more »

Unto the wild bird’s throat

I have walked three fields before I notice that I’ve noticed nothing.  Well, perhaps not quite nothing.  I had, with some glee, registered the frost on first stepping out and I’d enjoyed breaking the ice in a puddled tractor rut near the barn in the second field.  Other than that, by the time I get... Read more »

Other lives

It is hard sometimes to see any good in humans.  Listen to too much news and it can seem as if we do only harm, contaminating all we touch.  Echoes of King Midas, who, we are reminded by Aristotle, died of starvation – an ‘unforeseen consequence’ of his own vainglorious wish. At the moment I’m... Read more »

Re-connecting

Late in the summer of last year I had the great pleasure of re-connecting with my old tutor from Oxford – Nicholas Mann.  After a happy exchange of e-mails, towards the end of August, he and his charming family drove down to spend a day with me here in South Devon.  I remember pale sunshine,... Read more »