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Take my Mum for flu jab and then onto the garden centre to buy a few winter plants although as it has been remarkably mild so far, many of the urns and pots are still in bloom in the garden but we do need to do some real cutting back. My Mum spots Christmas crackers so we both come away with a box of those too.
Make donation through the Big Give via the DEC towards the Ebola crisis. Its very heartwarming that here in the UK the public have donated £4m in the past couple of days, which the government says they will match. This is so urgent with the numbers of patients doubling every few weeks. How brave and magnanimous all the doctors, medics, health workers etc are to so unselfishly give of their time and skills and subject themselves to such danger in helping the ever increasing numbers of Ebola patients, and those who do the unenviable job of going to collect the bodies.
Then its back to work on this nice sunny day. The light’s good in the upstairs studio so make very good progress on the Cantilever commission….
….which is now becoming quite densely populated.
Decide to invite Caroline and Simon to join us for dinner on Saturday with our other two guests, Robert and Toyah, as it would be a good opportunity for them to see their painting whilst still in progress and it may be interesting for R and T to meet them especially as Caroline is related through a half brother to Cressida who with Charles couldn’t come as they had nieces with a new baby coming to visit.
So now am working intensely on the big commission to make as good a progress as I can by Saturday.
Call from Henrietta to tell me that dear little Samuel brought home a letter of congratulations from school as he is having a poem along with of others published.
Such a delightful evening having Robert and Toyah and Caroline and Simon to supper. Both couples seem to get on really well, which is good as they have two of the biggest collections of my work in the country. We all go over to the studio to see the commission I’ve been working on for Simon and Caroline. Simon gives me a big hug and tells me I’m ‘bloody clever’ although I know from experience there will be a few teaks needed. I then show, particularly Robert and Toyah the triptych altarpiece. Toyah says she likes the way that Mary is dressed in modern clothes and the learned Robert gives lots of alternative stories to Judas etc. and also mentioned that it is thought in Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, the figure sitting to Jesus’ right is Mary Magdalene. Its wonderful to have minds that think so laterally giving their opinion.
Richard comes over to collect us for dinner and we spend the evening sharing stories with a great deal of laughter and warmth.
Back on the large owl painting today, which is in its infancy and therefore particularly exciting, not knowing where it will take me.
On 100th anniversary of WW1 remember my paternal grandma lost her first husband & her second lost a finger, my other granddad had a shell hole in his skull.
Lovely e mail from Martin saying he’s just returned from London where at the Houses of Parliament he’s just received an international Green Apple Award for his work as a Green Poet.
Just received letter and Gloucestershire College’s Strategy Plan for 2014 - 2017. So good to be involved as an hon vice President.
Off to The Wilson for the Rock the Cotswolds event. Its already quite full when we arrive. Bump into Jane on the stairs, who says we must have a coffee to catch up soon. We then make our way upstairs. We’re chatting to Oli Christie when Marcus Green, who bought the little drawing I did for the Heart Foundation, come up and introduces himself. Then introduces me to Saurez Art who was painting a canvas about 10 foot wide in abstract curves, gradually filling in the canvas. He, like Marcus, says he is a great fan of my work and invites us over to see where he works in Stroud and have lunch at the Convent. Over the evening it begins to look very like a 60s textile design.
Sue Steele, the lovely vice principal of Gloucestershire College, who has come in Peter White’s place, introduces herself. Interestingly she tells us she had started out as head of art and design there and later introduces us to GC’s head of Fashion. Then chat to Stephen, VC of the University. Lovely Niki Whitfield who is arts co-ordinator for Cheltenham Open Studios (of which I am Patron) who I had invited along appears. I take her over to introduce to Saurez and also Katie B Morgan who is an amazing Fairground artist which she studied for many years and has just completed an enormous roundabout with horses for the Black Country Museum, taking it back to the way it was originally painted
Then its back home for supper and to commence work.
Work on the altarpiece triptych during the afternoon and evening. Round about midnight start making another large table cloth as Richard met our lovely friends and collectors the Doctors Charles and Emma Slosberg (from Sussex) in Waitrose which means we will be fifteen for dinner and we will need the other extension on the table. Then I have another hour or so on the new large owl painting whilst Richard’s preparing the pheasant casserole with three brace from Sudely Hill Farm.
Richard’s busy all day preparing the food for the feast tonight, particularly schuking the 6 dozen oysters. Pete arrives about 6 with his splendid dish of marinated raw salmon with chilli and some divine figs baked with a little honey, brandy, liqueur, lemon etc.and is an enormous help. He’s also brilliant at serving the champagne when people start to arrive as they do about 7.30. Stephen, Tony, bishop michael and Alison arrive together followed shortly by Charles and Emma. Then Nicky and Karin Mander a little before Nick, Mags, Martin & Maggi who have driven up from Bristol.The house is buzzing with conversation and laughter. I then invite everyone over to the Studio to see the Altarpiece which Bishop Michael invites me to talk about before giving it a blessing in the form of a prayer. Some of us chatter on whilst Pete, Martin & Maggi go back over to the house to keep Richard company and sample Pete’s salmon & Richard’s oysters all of which were delicious I discover when sat at table. but before we start R takes Tony in to see his antique Litho Press which Stephen also goes to see. Most guests go for the pheasant casserole whilst three of us have the Fish and fennel casserole followed by the theatrical with lights out Flambeed in rum raisins & almonds. I get Martin then to perform some of his ‘green’ poems which are very funny, a little rude but much laughter and I don’t think the messages are wasted on anyone. We move onto cheese followed by Arabian coffee and mint tea with dates stuffed with walnuts. I ask if anyone else has a party piece they’d like to do and Charles says he has one for which he needs a piece of A4 paper and a pair of scissors; he commences to tell us the story of St Peter at the Gate and Mr Goodman who SP gives a ticket for Heaven to reassure him who in turn meets Mr Badman who Mr G cuts off a piece of his ticket for but who still feels its not quite enough so he cuts off another part. But Mr Badman sadly dies in car accident next day and when he presents the two pieces to St Peter, which have now been passed down the table for me to open; firstly I open two letters L so immediately realise the other two are H and E. Sadly Mr Goodman meets a similar fate next day. I open the remaining piece of cut paper which reveals itself to be a cross. It goes down very well and most people want paper to learn how to it. I then clink my glass to grab everyone’s attention and announce that I’d like to say a few words as Bishop Michael is on the eve of his retirement. I thank him for all the love, help and ministry he has given us here in Gloucestershire; the Bishops Breakfasts; the pilgrimages; for being a fellow patron of the National Star College and of LINC and being pro chancellor at the University when I received my honorary doctorate; for allowing me to paint the image for his Christmas and organising the exhibition in the Cathedral last year from which he selected his Christmas card design for 2013. I thank Alison too for all those years of commuting as a doctor and palliative care specialist; then give him one of Richard’s engravings of my angel and tiger image and Alison flowers. He’s very gracious. in his response. We then look at Richards wood engraving block ( used for the Angel and Tiger print) whilst R describes the process. We chatter on before people begin to depart.
Now the big miniature paint run up to the charity open studio events on 6 and 7 and 13 and 14 December.
Opening of new Fashion Department at the University
Star Bistro for lunch with Kate and gill to discuss the charity open studio and donating through the Big Give
Up to London to Henrietta’s
Over to Nathan’s for lunch
Hon Co AGM and supper Kings Head Cirencester
Lisa comes from Artworks in Leicestershire to collect Badger and the Hare for their collection. R takes my Mum up to London to Henrietta and Kev’s
University of Gloucestershire for lunch and degree ceremony where I present my award to Abby Phillips to help her to obtain her dream of doing an MA in London after receiving her First class honours degree. Exciting today as Steve Winwood receives an honorary doctorate and all those brilliant young students and their families celebrate their achievements.
Attend Higher Award ceremony Gloucestershire College in the Cathedral after buffet lunch in the chapter house. It is wonderful to see Greg Smith and Dick Stroud receive their honorary vice President awards, so there are now seven of us.
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