Just me, checking in from my bubble, where things are peaceful. If you are also bubbled, feeling bubbly, in a bubblebath or just blowing bubbles, I hope yours is a place of comfort while the virus continues to rage around us.
Luckier than some, my years of solitude at the easel have inadvertently prepared me for a locked up, locked in, locked down life. Being semi-reclusive anyway, my days are not so different, I am painting again; it’s a good feeling and a nice way to escape into different worlds. I've been keeping busy with commissioned pieces but I am shortly due to resume work on the more feral, free-range art that I do.
At the risk of doing myself out of a job, I’ve been monitoring, with pleasure, a renewed focus on personal art projects in the wider community. If the canvas shortages are anything to go by, the numbers dabbling since March, have boomed. Helping the mood along, Grayson Perry’s ‘art club’ was lovely bit of socially engaged television (still well worth a watch, if available) it showed amateur artists being given a chance to share their lockdown experience and have their work seen in public. Covid has created an appetite for self expresson and the pursuit of activities we might not have otherwise had time for.
Special mention here for Lesley (usually works in IT) and one of her creature comforts:
who's a pretty boy, then?
In the absence of live performance and restricted viewing of film and exhibitions, now would seem a good opportunity to stretch your artistic legs and make your own entertainment. You may find it fun or relaxing but ultimately it is therapeutic. Switch off the outside world, immerse and express yourself in paint, poetry, dance, and song, something good must come from this virus.
Although I am now returned to my own easel, I have temporarily abandoned my limited edition programme and won’t be doing my usual publishing before Christmas this year. It isn’t a permanent arrangement and I will, of course, alert my private mailing list when I do get around to pressing ‘PRINT’.
Bricks and Mortar
I recently moved into a new home and I’ve been busy ripping out the unwanted features ( I love a bit of demolition) and doing a spot of DIY decorating. The next room to be tarted up will have a theme of peacocks, partly because I love the blue to green colour spectrum, but also…corrr what a lovely bird!
Peacocks were a feature of my younger life – my parents adopted a pair and they wandered among our extensive menagerie. This may have been quite normal for anyone living on a grand estate or even in a large house; ludicrously, the Szikora peacocks patrolled a 1930’s pre-war bungalow. I do wonder how much the neighbours enjoyed hearing the distinctive call of the birds at dawn and dusk, no question it can be a haunting, evocative sound, but they are also astonishingly LOUD.
This handsomely adorned creature has become attached to various superstitions around the world. India, China and Japan are places where it is believed that the feathers invite good luck into the home. I find this Asian idea preferable to that of our own nation, where, some believe that the bird invites bad luck; the arrogant nature of the peacock is allegedly transferred to the person who incorporates their feathers into décor or clothing. There’s worse news for any unmarried maids hoping to find a husband – you can forget it - displaying these feathers means your Prince will never come. I’ve been known to court risk in my time, so I’ll take my chances, having purchased some feathers, if I am to be an insufferable spinster then at least I’ll have an exotic parlour in which to do it.
Occasionally my artwork is used for illustration purposes and I thought I would give a mention to The Deckchair poets who adopted me as their resident album cover artist. In case they are new to you, The Deckchair Poets, Jerusalem and Zorbanauts are three names used by the same band (don’t ask me why, they’re simply a law unto their eccentric frontman, Lynden Williams) but if you like some noisy prog-rock-n-roll with poignant, thoughtful and often plain funny lyrics, these are your boys and girls - don’t say you weren’t warned.
I’ve been commissioned to paint some horses, a favourite subject of mine.
The Lady Godiva on an anatomically accurate horse, painted ages ago.
Before I saddle up and shift my hooves, let me offer thanks to the people who have helped me through this year, both personally and professionally, If this Covid business is teaching us anything, it is a fresh appreciation of the valued people in our lives - it's also a handy reason to scythe through the riff raff (be careful not to lop off anything good!).
Wishing you a very happy autumn - May your leaves and toffee apples be crunchy and your pumpkins, plump.
Keep nice and safe, ya hear?