Colour Theory

I decided to start the year with a short refresher course in the craft of painting. The one I chose is at the Slade and built around the colour theory of Josef Albers ‘Interaction of Colour’.

Each exercise involves using a warm and cool version of the three primary colours with a hint of white where needed. There’s something very satisfying about painting these simple still life set ups using just three colours.

The first image shows a piece of scrunched up grey paper on a strong colour background – it’s just about mixing greys. Very good practice!


Sigmar Polke, Tate Modern January 2015

I knew nothing about Sigmar Polke when the Tate announced this huge retrospective, so I thought I should go to see what I imagined, must be an important artist to warrant this sprawling show.

I found myself wandering through these rooms feeling quite bewildered, puzzled really as to why he is so highly regarded.  Polke’s work comes across to me as a though he had more ideas than he could find time to follow through to finished pieces. Most of it looked half thought through and unfinished. I accept that many artists have many different strands to their work and am a huge admirer of Gerhard Richter’s work for example. Interestingly Richter and Polke studied alongside one another in Düsseldorf, but I would say Richter’s work is vastly superior.

I wondered if I was missing something and so looked at a few reviews:

Adrian Searle writes in the Guardian: “Tate Modern’s retrospective takes up 14 rooms. And it’s barely enough to contain the messy, druggy, unfathomably elusive and wondrous art of Sigmar Polke.”

Richard Dorment writes in the Telegraph: “If Polke’s art feels messy and opened-ended it is because he aimed to do nothing less than to embrace the whole of human experience, from sex and drugs to art, science, mysticism, history and current events.”
But he goes on to say: “When the viewer doesn’t have a handle on the moral or cultural context that made the image important to him, we switch off. In the end, it’s best not to over think this work and just enjoy the show as giant, constantly shifting kaleidoscope of photos, films and paintings, very much in the spirit of the 1960s.”

Hmm, well in the true spirit of the sixties maybe it would be more enjoyable with help from psychedelic drugs. I wasn’t impressed. Here are a couple of examples of diverse styles….

Sigmar Polke 01 Sigmar Polke 02

Allen Jones Exhibition

Royal Academy, London

December 2014

This is a wonderful exhibition, tracing Jones’s development from the late 1950’s through to the present and showing us his amazing versatility.

I’ve always particularly loved Allen Jones paintings and it’s a shame that they tend to get overshadowed by his iconic controversial sculptures. The paintings are exuberant, joyful, sensual and drenched in colour.

Here are some of my favourite paintings and sculptures.

Thinking About Women, Allen Jones 1961-62 Tumble, Allen Jones 2008 Sun Plane, Allen Jones 1963 Waiting on Table, Allen Jones

Stones Project

A change of subject and medium for my next project. This piece is going into an exhibition of KAOS artists work at the Kingston Museum in early December. Each artwork will be something to do with Kingston upon Thames and will use stone as a base.

My concept involves the history of Kingston and it’s symbolic location. Kingston lay on the boundary between the ancient kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia until in the early tenth century King AEthelstan was crowned there and united both to create the kingdom of England. Two more kings were crowned in Kingston in the tenth century – Eadred and AEthelred. The original coronation stone is still in the town in the grounds of the guildhall.

So my three stones represent AEthelstan, Eadred and AEthelred and the images are inspired by ancient illustrations of these kings.

Three King Stones

Life drawing

I try to find time to do some life drawing regularly. I get together with a group of local artists to share the cost of room hire and model. Here are a few of Charlotte done a few days ago….IMG_1039

Paintings in private collections

I’m delighted that over the last few weeks four of my paintings have sold to private collectors. One has gone to North Yorkshire and three sold at the Landmark Art Fair, which was a very enjoyable experience.
Garricks Temple Riverscape 2Riverscape 1IMG_0922small

Landmark Art Fair

I’ve just finished setting up my stand at the Landmark Art Fair, Teddington. Thankfully I managed to get all eight paintings into the small space without it looking cramped. I’m looking forward to the weekend and hoping lots of people turn up!

Landmark Oct2014 02 Landmark Oct2014 01

Mantua: Historic city

Mantua is an overlooked Renaissance gem; a mini-Florence, rich with art. Where Florence had the Medicis, Mantua had the Gonzagas. Unlike Florence it isn’t bursting at the seams with tourists and so immensely pleasurable to stroll around the medieval streets, such as Piazza Erbe…
Piazza Erbe, Mantua

I came across this wonderful painted house façade, ascribed to Andrea Mantegna’s workshop. The decoration begun in 1495, has only partially survived and was restored between 1992 and 2001.

Mantua facade 01

Basilica di Sant’Andrea –  Lodovico ll Gonzaga hired the Florentine architect Alberti to design this beautiful example of early Renaissance architecture which contains the tomb of Mantegna. Once again, not many tourists inside and I managed to take a couple of photos.

At Andrew's Basilica, Mantua



Chiesa Santa Maria del Giglio, Venice

I’ve just spent a wonderful week in NE Italy, visiting Verona, Venice, Mantua and several small towns on the shores of Lake Garda.

In Venice there was the usual long queue to enter the Basilica di San Marco, so instead I walked around the back streets and came across this small Baroque church – Chiesa Santa Maria del Giglio. Inside were paintings by, Tintoretto, Veronese, Zanchi and Rubens (the only one in Venice apparently). There were only three or four other people in the church – such a contrast to the crowds in the Basilica and so nice to enjoy the atmosphere in peace.

Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to take photos inside but here is one of the exterior….

Chiesa Santa Maria del Giglio


My series of abstracts continues with ‘Nebula’ and ‘Elements’ …..