Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lovely, lovely...

This is the sort of thing that makes me excited... still!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

At the studio...

After a few days of indulgence (thanks to my lovely family) I am now down the studio to indulge myself in a different way. I'm intending to immerse myself as much as possible in my studio before the usual routine kicks back in. Let's hope I can resolve a few things and get going. I have surfaces to prepare and decisions to make... here goes...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011


Yesterday I needed to pick up an undelivered parcel from the Post Office. At first I couldn't think what it could be... however, I was so excited when I realised that it was my Manifest INPA1 catalogue from the States. I took the parcel back to the studio to open it in anticipation. I was so thrilled with the outstanding quality of this book. It has actually exceeded my expectations and is also much larger that I thought too. The photos here are taken on my mobile phone - so do not do it justice. The standard of work included is very high and I feel privileged to have been selected for this prize.

"... the INPA 1 Manifest received over 1200 submissions from 430 artists in 46 states and 26 countries. The publication includes 129 works by 79 artists from 30 states and the countries of Canada, China, England, and Germany. Essays by Patrick Adams, Charles Caldemeyer, and Blair Vaugh-Gruler are also included, along with an introduction by Manifest's Assistant Director, Tim Parsley.

Ten professional and academic advisors qualified in the fields of art, design, criticism, and art history juried the first International Painting Annual. The process of selection was by anonymous blind jury, with each jury member assigning a quality rating for artistic merit to each work submitted. The entries receiving the highest average combined score are included in this publication."

Friday, November 18, 2011

entre chien et loup (between dog and wolf)

I have been really busy recently helping coordinate the Art Space Portsmouth International Residency - and tomorrow we are celebrating the end of the third successful residency with Dominique Ghesquiere's exhibition 'entre chien et loup'. The work is on show across three venues: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, aspex, and Art Space Portsmouth (GASP). All welcome - details below. I will be back in my studio soon.

Preview times – Saturday 19th November 2011:
2pm to 2.45pm - The Mast Pond, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, PO1 3LJ
3pm to 4.45pm - Aspex, The Vulcan Building Gunwharf Quays, PO1 3BF
Includes an artist's talk by Dominique Ghesquière
5pm to 7pm - Art Space Portsmouth (GASP), 27 Brougham Road, Southsea PO5 4PA
Please note: A minibus service will be available on the day for those who require transportation between venues.

Exhibition continues:
Art Space Portsmouth (GASP), 27 Brougham Road, Southsea, Hants. PO5 4PA
Sunday 20th November to Wednesday 23rd November, 12 noon to 4pm

Aspex, The Vulcan Building, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth PO1 3BF
Saturday 19th November to Sunday 11th December 2011, 11am to 4pm daily

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard*, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth PO1 3LJ
Saturday 19th November to Sunday 11th December 2011, 10am to 5.00pm daily

*Please note there will be an admission fee to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on 25th, 26th and 27th November during their Christmas Festival.

The Mast Pond is located on the right hand side after entering the Historic Dockyard.


The residency is generously funded by Arts Council England and Art Space Portsmouth and run in partnership with Aspex and the University of Portsmouth. Art Space Portsmouth would like to thank the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust for their additional support to realise part of this final project.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Painting, painting and more painting....

Richter, Sasnal and Mottisfont...

Mottisfont House
Last week I finally made a long-overdue trip to London. I was in my element, spending over three hours scrutinising the Gerhard Richter exhibition Panorama at Tate Modern and then the Wilhelm Sasnal show at Whitechapel. I now feel suitably inspired (and may have to visit the Richter show again). Work in my own studio is slow at the moment, partly due to the Art Space Portsmouth International Residency project. However, I am very pleased to be working with Dominique Ghesquiere on this exciting project that will culminate with an exhibition across three venues in the city, starting on Saturday 19th Novmeber. I will post more about this event soon.

And finally, I managed to visit Mottisfont House where a couple of my paintings were on show as part of the Mottisfont Open 2011. I was unable to attend the preview, so was happy to see the show in their newly refurbished gallery before the exhibition closed on Sunday.

Mottisfont House & Gardens, Nr Romsey

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In memory and honour of Phil Turner...

I recently made a trip to the East Midlands to see 'Visual Narratives' an exhibition by Phil Turner.

Phil was a very good friend and fellow artist who sadly passed away last month. Phil was working hard towards this solo show and with much courage, his family's wish was for the exhibition to continue. This was an emotional event - but I wouldn't have missed the opening. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to honour the promise I had made to Phil to see his new paintings. Phil was an extremely dedicated and very talented artist, who is sadly missed by many people. The exhibition continues until the 12th November at the Brewhouse, Burton-on-Trent.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A 'snip' from the archive...

During my recent studio move and major 'sort out' I stumbled across many almost forgotten artworks. I was pleased to be reacquainted with my 'cut & paste' scissor sculptures (there are seven of these in total). They were sand cast in aluminium and then heavily polished.

I made use of an existing hole in the wall this afternoon whilst giving my latest paintings some thought. The only thing missing is the black dotted lines on that go on the wall (and across the floor and ceiling) - which is an intrinsic element of these sculptures.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mottisfont Open Exhibition 2011...

I have two paintings selected for the Mottisfont Open 2011. A group exhibition in the newly refurbished gallery spaces.

Exhibition - 15th October to 30th October.
Open daily 11am to 5pm (there is an admission fee to the House and Gardens)
at Mottisfont Abbey (National Trust)
Nr. Romsey, Hampshire SO51 0LP

Google Map

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wax combs...

Wax combs
My Little Pony
A couple of people have asked me what the bright coloured objects are hanging on my studio wall (see post below). They are in fact enlarged replicas of 'My Little Pony' toy combs. I made them as part of a series of work 11 years ago for an exhibition, 'This town ain't big enough for the both of us'. The combs are made from candle wax, and were scented - however, the scent has now worn off. The combs have been packed away in boxes for years and many damaged over time (they are very fragile). So I threw the broken ones away in my recent studio clear out, saving the ones that had survived. I am now giving them away to any visitor who would like one! They are simply hanging on the studio wall in order to save on space. The combs were originally hung alongside two large paintings, 'My little Whistlejacket' and 'Morning Glory'. Both paintings are based on the work of renowned horse painter George Stubbs and combined with 'My Little Pony' toy figurines.

Please see images of the paintings below from my archive.
Apologies for the quality of the images but they have been scanned from old slides, however, it gives an overview of the installation and scale of the work.

My Little Whistlejacket and Grooming Kit installation shot

Grooming Kit and Morning Glory installation shot 

My Little Whistlejacket - Oil on canvas, 2000

Monday, September 26, 2011

Finished and ready at last...

Finally the studio is finished. It's been really hard work... new stud wall, new storage rack, painting walls and floor, moving and sorting all my work and 'stuff', trip to the dump... however, at last an amazing space to work in... feeling very lucky indeed!

Thankfully I had plenty of help.

Now time to get down to business...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Phase two ...

Four days in and perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel. Now just need to sort this lot out, either by launching it, or finding a space ... moving studios is not to be recommended. However, a chance to get rid of 'stuff' perhaps!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

A hard weekend in the studio...

As previously mentioned ... the time had come to start moving my old artwork and equipment into the new studio. This process starting on Friday afternoon and as predicted the lovely space was slowly taken over. Only half the contents have been moved so far, but with a very good friend, we set about making a new storage rack today. Needless to say we were both aching by the end. However, good progress was made and tomorrow I have to move the rest ... I may have to start seriously culling old artworks, and I'm glad I have started to scale down my work recently. I'm quite pleased with myself, as for the very first time, I managed to cut a full length (8 foot) piece of chipboard with a hand saw ... it took ages!

The beginning - 10am

The end (some paintings rehoused) - 7pm

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New studio...

I have a new studio at Art Space Portsmouth, shared with artist Jeannie Driver. It has the most brilliant natural light as it has very high ceilings and skylights. I've had the studio officially for a week ... I've built a stud wall and painted the walls and floor to freshen it up. Today I decided to bring my latest work to the studio and view it in a different space (away from my make-shift temporary 'white-washed conservatory' studio). Working at home had many benefits and I'm glad that I tried it. It's good to know there's a fairly suitable back-up plan. However, it was a little hot most of the time throughout the summer and a little restricting size-wise. At the moment I have the luxury of a clear space - which unfortunately won't last for long once all my artwork is taken out of storage. I'm going to have to build some serious storage racks next. But in the meantime I will enjoy a week of luxurious space...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Touch and Trace: Kate Smith...

Touch and Trace: an exhibition by Kate Smith
Derby Museum and Art Gallery, The Strand, Derby
Exhibition runs until 30th October 2011

Kate Smith: Touch and Trace installation view

I've just got back from a flying visit to Derby and Kate Smith's exhibition. The show opened on Friday night, alongside Jayne Falconer's exhibition, 'Eighteen', both exhibitions run until 30th October. The two shows complement each other beautifully and both Kate and Jayne will be in conversation in the gallery on 29th September between 1-2pm. Kate also has a simultaneous exhibition at Deda, Derby which opens next week and also runs to the 30th October.

I met Kate whilst on the Jonathan Vickers' residency 3 years' ago. I first saw her work at an open studio event at Banks' Mill, where I waited ... and waited ... to be able to speak to her. I couldn't leave without discussing her work for which I am a massive fan. The works are very highly detailed and each piece takes months to complete. My photos here really do not do the work any justice. If you can, I would strongly recommended a visit.

Kate Smith: Touch and Trace installation view

"Kate Smith in particularly interested in the physical contact of the hand with the surface and the multitude of ways in which the activity and gesture of drawing can result in marks and imprints.

She examines indicators of human presence - a worn piece of fabric, a footprint in the sand, or a furrow in a field - as well as marks and residues left behind as the result of conscious and unconscious action or gestures.

Kate investigates the idea of drawing as a form of contact between artist and medium, artist and audience and audience and work. She is interested in the literal and implied connections made between individual pieces of work and how these are orchestrated through exhibition and installation.

She explores questions and thoughts such as: the difference between a mark consciously made or unconsciously recorded; impressions left with intent or as a result of spontaneous actions and gestures; intimate marks which imply the presence of another and those which do not. These are unravelled, examined and re-examined over a long period of time and represented through a variety of media, scale and dimension."

Kate Smith: Touch and Trace installation view

To find out more - Kate's website:
Kate's blog:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Photographing artwork...

Optimised - Jpeg noise

Today I have spent quite a lot of time re-photographing my paintings. Although I have a very good Nikon digital SLR camera and tripod, I haven't been happy with the results. I'm not an expert photographer by any means, but I get by. I've been photographing the work in my studio / conservatory which has beautiful even daylight defused through a polycarbonate roof. I haven't been using any studio lights, just using daylight with the built-in camera light meter, using the 'auto' white balance setting.

My paintings had a very blue cast, and I wasn't happy with the adjustments I was making in Photoshop. So, I set about spending a lot of time trying different white balance settings, and finally through trial and error, I seem to have found a better setting (which has needed very little adjustment in Photoshop).

I have now replaced the images below of the road paintings, which are far more accurate colour-wise (although I know all computer screens will look different anyway). On to the next problem... I have been using Blogger for many years and I have always optimised my images for web in Photoshop before uploading. I have noticed recently that although the optimised photos look fine in Photoshop, that something nasty has been happening when posting to blogger, fairly significant colour and contrast changes and lots of Jpeg noise. However, I know that Blogger has made a lot of changes with the editing and designing options that have given far more flexibility - but I am wondering if they have added a built-in compression for images, as the only solution I can think of is that the images are being compressed again!

However, despite this - I have just been able to upload my full-sized images without any bother (I was never able to do this in the past) and this has really helped. Has anyone else had any problems relating to this. I would love to know?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Road 4 ...

Oil on wood panel - 18cm x 24cm

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Road 3 ...

Oil on wood panel - 18cm x 24cm

Friday, July 15, 2011

Road 2 ...

Oil on wood panel - 18cm x 24cm

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Road 1...

Oil on wood panel - 18cm x 24cm

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday... from the (hot) studio...

Tilly - helping me with my
I am half-way through a luxurious week of working solely in my studio. I desperately needed a week to get my 'head in the right place' again after a break due to other commitments. Don't get me wrong... I'm not complaining as work has been very exciting recently. Planning Open Studios and the next International Residency at Art Space Portsmouth AND being fortunate enough to have work teaching Fine Art at the University of Portsmouth - which was absolutely brilliant, working with third years preparing for their shows - a great time of year to be involved!

So, Monday: I had a total disaster trying out something new. It all went very wrong (I know it is part of the process BUT)...  anyway, I then decided to stop trying to reinvent the wheel and just work on something that I wanted to do. I often find myself over-anaylising and thinking too much - which on occasion gets in the way of creating. So I'm happy, for the moment anyway... painting.

Working in the new studio (white-washed conservatory) at home is working out quite well. It's great as I can work into the night without interruption, stop for a dinner at any time, and get the washing done. The down side is that it is just too hot most of the time AND there are too many cats' hairs sticking in my paint - hey-ho we can't have it all can we!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A little surprise...

One in a million
Today a surprise: my work is featured in "Your Paintings" on the BBC website, in partnership with the Public Catalogue Foundation. The two works featured are in the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award collection, hence my inclusion (the colours are a little saturated though). The blurb states:

"Your Paintings is a website which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real. It is made up of paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions around the country."

Heaven's Above!
I thought it may be worth a mention and link as so far 63,000 paintings are online with a target of 200,000!! So the likelihood of them being viewed could be very slim ;) Nonetheless, it made me smile. That's a lot of painting - and just the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Work in progress...

Graphite and oil on board - 18cm x 24cm

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I've been working very late in my studio... and actually think I'm getting somewhere. Happy for now :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A great turn-out at the studios ...

Tiffany Robinson's installation in
the Richard Spurgeon Studio.
Image copyright: Tiffany Robinson
There was a great turn-out today at our annual Art Space Portsmouth Open Studios weekend... really busy with 160 visitors in 3 hours - buzzin'! So thank you to all the visitors and artists who made today a success.

If you missed it, or would like to come back for more, we are open tomorrow (Sunday 22nd May) from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. All welcome (children must be accompanied by an adult).

Art Space Portsmouth, 27 Brougham Road, Southsea, Hants.
You can find us here.

And on a completely different 'note'... a blast from the past
I have just found my Uncle's band from the 1960's on YouTube - The Storms. He's Rob Tall - the singer, the one in the middle wearing the white top. The band were originally from Leigh Park - but this recording was made during their time in Germany (in fact he has lived there even since). Another recording here pictures a poster from 1965: What's new in Garmisch-Partenkirchen? From England, The Storms...  ;)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Who's afraid of red, yellow and blue...

Norwich players and fans celebrate on the pitch after securing
automatic promotion to the Premiership

Last night I watched the last Pompey home match of the season that saw the 'Canaries', Norwich City win 1-nil and secure a certain place in the Premiership. An artist friend recently told me that more people visit art galleries in the UK than attend football matches. I was quite amazed at this and thought it not possible! However, there is evidence here that confirms this is true. This made me smile :)

Barnett Newman, Who's afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue IV, 1969-70

Today I was thrilled to discover my new art materials had arrived, and that two lovely brown parcels were waiting for me in my back garden. I still get excited about opening them (hence the need to share this irrelevant news here), even though I know what's in them!

Guess what's in the box? Hmmmm!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Art Space Portsmouth Open Studios 2011

Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd May, 1.30pm - 4.30pm

On the weekend of Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd of May 2011, over 40 members of one of the UKs most respected and longest established artist studio groups will open their doors to the public for the annual ‘Open Studios Weekend’. Art Space has managed studios for artists at the converted chapel on Brougham Road in Portsmouth for over 30 years. Each year, the building is opened to the public who are invited to meet the artists, to see and hear about their work and buy directly from them.  

Visitors will be invited into over twenty permanent artist’s studios and workshops and view artworks on display in the GASP (Gallery Art Space Portsmouth) exhibition space and around the building. A series of unique artist’s postcards, commissioned by Art Space will be available to purchase for just £20 each as will a special selection of original works for under £100. Visitors will also be able to meet this year’s Sponsored Studio Award Winner, Fareham-based artist, Alannah Barker and enjoy refreshments in the Art Space ‘urban garden’. 


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