Drive up to Henrietta and Kev’s after having met Lloyd Silverthorne in the lane just as we are about to depart. Lloyd and his lovely wife Sue bought two of my miniatures (for the National star & LINC) in December; a fascinating man who used to work at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. he’s come to tell us that he’s just bought my Angel, Horse, Dog & Dove painting having phoned Panter & Hall this morning. On Saturday 15th March he’s singing at Tewkesbury Abbey whilst recording and filming it with a little help from his friends!
We walk to the Maritime Museum, Isaac riding his bicycle through Greenwich Park whilst Kev takes Samuel to one of his little friends’ go-carting birthday parties.
Working on paintings for the Panter & Hall exhibition
Spend the evening touching up the works that Richard is delivering to London tomorrow. Meanwhile R is finishing off the beautiful Knave of Hearts cards and coronet for Isaac to wear on World Book Day at school.
My Mum arrives at about 12 in readiness for Richard to take her to Henrietta and Kev’s. En route he delivers three paintings to Jess for her American clients to see and also one to Panter & Hall. After supper at Henrietta’s he fits the two large cards onto Isaac, threading ribbons through the shoulders so that they are suspended either side and sends me a photograph of Isaac looking very pleased. He also reads that passage, the Court Scene, from Alice in Wonderland to him.
Finishing more pieces for Richard to take tomorrow.
Call from Jess who has just sold the big Nightclub painting to the Americans.
In the evening Richard picks up Nathan in Cheltenham on his return journey from London, having delivered more paintings to the gallery. Nathan has been to Stratford today as he’s working on a short film for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s forthcoming production of Webster’s ‘The White Devil’. Richard is a real wizard as he not only managed to get back to Cheltenham in time to collect him from the train also to cook the supper
Over to Gloucestershire College to present the skateboard design prizes with Dame Janet Trotter, the lord Lieutenant presenting those for short films of performances by youngsters on You Tube all as part of the big Skills Fest. They have had thousands of young people and parents visiting the College in the past couple of days. They offer such a broad range of subjects to study plus there are a lot of apprenticeships offered by local firms and organisations. Karen, head of the Creative Arts Academy takes us to see the fashion pop up shop with work by the students; a wonderful orange knitted dress, made with large needles by one of their sixteen year old male students.
We arrive back home and enjoy a lovely brunch with Nathan before Richard takes him to catch the 3 o’clock train to return to London.
Trying to finish off the last four paintings for the exhibition; R is going to deliver them tomorrow before..
… he collects my Mum from Henrietta, Kev and the boys.
Richard’s been up to London again today. Though the last part of his journey sat the Racecourse where lots of traffic and pedestrians are emerging after a lovely sunny day at Cheltenham Festival he manages to get back in time to accompany me down to the church where I am speaking to the Parochial Church Council about the very large altarpiece triptych that I am going to recommence working on at the end of April. There is a wonderful atmosphere and attitude amongst the members, many of whom I know. I decide to speak to them from the front rather than remaining seated so surrounded by the semi circle of members and beneath the Rood that I painted for the Church many years ago, I feel a great deal of empathy and affection. I am asking them to trust in my vision although I don’t as yet know what that is until I start a painting and am most touched when they vote unanimously for me to go forward in the way that I normally work, without preparatory drawings or sketches to show them.
work on one of my tiny paintings.
We set out for London at just after 2 when the Racegoers are all ensconced at the course. We make good time, arriving at 5, in time for Matthew to put up the three small paintings. People start arriving just before 6, including dear Nicky who is meeting his daughter Sarra here before they go on to the opera at the ENO. It doesn’t take long before the gallery is full and I’m delighted to see Alison Allden who is also on the Arts & Heritage group of the Hon Co, with three others from Gloucestershire. Wallace, Madge and Eamonn who have come up from Banbury - dear Wallace gives me a Liberty bag containing a present as he always generously does at my openings. But there are also lots of people I don’t know as they are Matthew and Tiffany’s clients. The exhibition looks very good in this large open room with its pillars and arches and decorative plasterwork. The doorman is the actor Ben Mansfield, opening next week in the Trevor Nunn production of Noel Coward’s Relative Values so has grown an Errol Flyn moustache specially which seems rather apt as I had used a photo of Errol Flynn on the large Star for the Star College. All the staff are charming including a lovely woman who was serving the drinks with the barman who twice came up and complimented me on the paintings. A lovely woman called Helen bought the dressing room painting for a 1930’s apartment that she has bought in Barcelona; dressed in red with beautiful bobbed hair and bright red lipstick she looked as if the painting should belong to her. The man she was with bought the Big Screen and another couple bought two of the smaller works and Paul, who already has five of my paintings has added The Punter, making it six. It was so lovely to see both Henrietta and Nathan there, Henrietta with friends and colleague. It was lovely to see a big red spot on the Tango Tea Dance too.
Tiffany and Mathew take us to dinner just a short taxi ride away it is a very nice to get to know them a little better and to discuss the show.
Back in the studio
we hit horrendous traffic before we get to Oxford and are held up for a couple of hours. I phone the gallery to say we will be late and when we arrive there are lots of familiar faces of people who have patiently waited, including Isabelle, Sheila, Edwina and Emanuel, Colin Edelman and his son, who own Sidewalking and Reflections. Peta Hoyle says she’s been in, purchased her print The Big Race, delivered it to the car and taken the dog for a walk (it is patiently waiting outside). Also delightful American couple who apparently came in yesterday and fell in love with the Appointment which they have reserved. Evie measures it up for them. They are both Professors, he at Harvard, she in the public school system. So its rather good that I am able to introduce them to Professor Richard Baillie who having come along with his wife Anne and Jane and David, has just purchased The Deep. Again there’s a lovely atmosphere in the Gallery and its very light being a gloriously sunny day.
Afterwards we drive over to the South Bank to meet Henrietta, Kev and Samuel (Isaac has gone camping with the cubs). Nathan joins us as well which is lovely. We go into the Tate cafe for tea or rather I should say smoothies we then go and see the Richard Hamilton exhibition which is fascinating. Lots of iconic images that one is very familiar with and are often of a different scale to that that I had imagined. The brilliant head of Hugh Gaitskill which seems timeless, and the photomontages so evocative of the Pop Art era and ring a familiar bell with me as that is what I have been assembling round the big Star for the Star. I hadn’t realised how many large walk through installation pieces he had made but they do reflect their time of execution very evocative. I’m the last out Henrietta and Samuel being the first. We meet in the bookshop where I traditionally buy book for Isaac and for Samuel and Tate pens plus the Hamilton catalogue for us. We say our goodbyes and wend our way back home.
Its a surprisingly warm sunny day as we arrive for Michael Shinn’s 80th birthday party so we’re all out in the garden. There are some of the people who taught me, as did Michael, at the then Gloucestershire College of Art & Design. And one who also taught Nathan when he did his Foundation Course there. Its a beautiful house with a large garden big enough to house a half marquee at the end. It is touching to see four generations of Michael’s family as he now also has one and a half great grandchildren. I hear Nick the sculptor comment to one of his colleagues how the beautiful granddaughters look very like Jenny, Michael’s late wife. And they do, as do his daughters. Its glorious sitting there in the sunshine reminiscing and talking about other past students like Paul Day who also shows with the Blondels and now with Panter & Hall in London too.
Working on the large newspaper commission which I started a week or two ago
Into Cheltenham for the 15th annual de Ferriers lecture organised by the Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum ore the newly revamped and reopened Wilson. This year the speaker I introduce is the Oscar winning film maker, historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, a fascinating talk that lasted for almost two hours with film clips of some very early black and white silent movies (he wrote the definitive history of the silent film era, The Parade’s Gone By), passing through the two films made by Brownlow and his colleague Andrew Mollo, ‘It happened here’ in 1963 and ‘Winstanley’ in 1975. through to the ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ made by Tony Richardson on which Brownlow was the tim editor.
Jane and David come back for a bite of supper with us afterwards.
Continuing with the large newspaper commission.
Martin rings. His Bristol book launch was a huge success; the Mayor hugged him and called him Bristol’s green poet but all those of you who missed it will have another chance on April 4th, the last day of my exhibition, as Martin and Nick will be in the Gallery signing books; Martin will also be performing some of the poems with projections of Nicks illustrations (surrounded by my exhibition).
Evie rings re one of my American collectors who is interested in one of the paintings “The Clairvoyant”. Spend the day working on the big commission for the Dutch company.
Have now very roughly worked out a composition over most of the large canvas.
Start firming up parts of the overall composition
Receive my quarterly statement fro the Bridgeman and am intrigued to see Oxford University Press are using another of my images on a second book with Time in its title. Quite a lot of the other images such as Cinema; Rumba and Le Cirque all seem to be being reproduced in books around the world, Rumba for instance in a German publication. The Bridgeman Art Library is wonderful and I’m delighted to say its founder, Harriet Bridgeman was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours. She’s become a dear friend and was at my opening on the 13th where we were able to introduce her to Martin Bailey another longstanding friend, who writes for the Art Newspaper and was journalist of the year in the 80’s.
Nice e mail from Toyah saying she’s coming to the last evening of my exhibition at Panter & Hall which will also be the London book launch of the award winning green poet Martin Kiszko’s new book of poetry ‘Verse for the Earth’ illustrated by four Oscar winning Nick Park. Toyah has described Martin as a genius and I agree.
As I wake I can hear a lot of noise and it takes me some seconds to realise that it must be the man who’s come to fit the internal shutters and although I’d written it in the 2014 part of last years diary I had omitted to put it into this years. So after thinking to myself this is very unreasonable, they should have let us know, I realise it is our mistake.
E mail from Jess who has just paid in the money for the Nightclub painting.
Busy on the large newspaper painting commission for the Dutch company.
The shutter man returns early afternoon to fit another two windows.
E mail from Tiffany to say that my long standing American collectors has bought “The Clairvoyant” and somebody else “The Apparition”.
Spent most of the day and evening on the newspaper painting with a short break in which I started the second of the series of seven small circular paintings to celebrate the centenary of the start of Holst’s Planets Suite. So I now have Mars and Mercury in progress.
E mail from the Star asking if I can take my star up to help launch their Star Day in April.
Glorious sunny day so sit out for my brunch then pot some of the violas, pansies and primulas that we got yesterday. Make large Mother’s day card for my dear Mama
Its Mothers Day so we have my Mum and my sister coming to lunch. Gill arrives bearing beautiful flowers both for my Mum and us. Nathan rings on his way to meet Henrietta and Jai to say Happy Mothers Day. Henrietta rings also to say Happy Mothers Day and is disappointed to find that what she has sent has not arrived yet; Richard and I go to look in the summer house in case it has been left there but as we’re doing that a beautiful hand tied bunch of flowers arrives which my sister carries round into the garden to give me. Its glorious and has an exquisite perfume too. After Gill has left, taking my Mum en route, Richard and I do another few hours work in the gardens but in the evening I’m back working on the big commission.
E mail from a Polish rock music journalist wanting to write a piece on the paintings used by Robert Fripp and King Crimson.
Spend the day working on the large commission.Speak to tiffany who tells me Evie has sold my smaller Owl. Nice way to end the month.