E mail from the Chelsea Arts Club asking if I will paint a 16 x 12 inch canvas for their charity auction in aid of the Artists’ Benevolant Fund and the Club’s fund for students bursaries. I don’t know how I’m going to fit it in to the long list of charity items in my studio - Herr Schubert for the Cirencester & Cotswold Hare Trail who will be auctioned for the National Star College in October; the two large 3D pigs for the Gloucester Trail in aid of the Pied Piper Appeal for sick children; the ukulele to be played by the ukulele orchestra of Great Britain for the Hepatitis C Trust; the postcard for the Royal West of England charity fund and I recently sent off three painted cards for the Jack &Jill charity for sick children in Ireland. The trouble is I don’t feel its possible to dash something off that’s not up to standard and they are all such good causes that it would be very hard to refuse. So it does mean one’s own work has to take a back seat or be painted in the early hours. But then I’m very fortunate that people want them.
painting on all fronts
Nathan sends us a link to the wonderful film he worked on in Sierra Leone in February. Remarkably beautiful especially as it had to be filmed in just three weeks which is amazing for a forty five minute long film.
Working very hard on the big newspaper painting for Panter & Hall to show at the forthcoming Fresh Art Fair as we’ve already seen a full page advert featuring ‘Cosmopolitans’ the newspaper painting that sold during my last London show in December!
Henrietta and the boys arrive early evening. They are coming to stay whilst Kev is walking with his Dad in the Peak District. After supper the boys play us pieces on the guitar.
We take a boat on Pittville Lake with Richard rowing to start with then both boys also take a turn, either with Henrietta or Richard. We are encircled two or three times by a magnificent swan whose wife and young we imagine are on the island, so he’s giving us a little warning not to go too close. We then go to visit Herr Schubert in Regent’s Arcade who has his own security roped square around him.
Kev and his Dad arrive, John staying on briefly before driving home.
Despatch the commission to Western Australia via Federal Express.
Back on the large newspaper painting for Panter & Hall and the Fresh Art Fair
Henrietta, Kev and the boys arrive from their week in Devon all looking well and healthy.
Nathan and Clemantine can’t be with us this year as he’s working in Barcelona for three weeks and she has gone out to join him for the Easter weekend which is nice.
Henrietta and Kev leave fro London about 10.30.
E mail from Edward telling us that he had seen Paul Williams, vicar of Tewkesbury, who had been to visit Bishop Michael who Edward says ‘his time for leaving us all is very close “…..
…. so I am not surprised when we receive the sad e mail from Alison telling us that Michael died at home yesterday., surrounded by his family; having received the oil of chrism and watched the Easter Sunday Eucharist from Hereford Cathedral. Her e mail is very moving and she tells us about Michael’s having made his own Easter journey. Attached is Michael’s last letter to us all.
After they have had their breakfast, Richard drives Isaac and Samuel up to London where he is taking them to Cornelissen’s, my artists materials suppliers in Great Russell Street, where Kev will meet them and take them for lunch. They help Richard select my paints and gessos from this company that has been in existence for years, where artists dating back to Sickert have bought their materials. He had his canvases stretched and prepared by them. It is now owned by a lovely man called Nicholas Walt who used to teach at the London Business School with Professor Ken.
Richard had to deliver the boys back today as tonight we are having dinner with the doctors Charles and Emma in Castle Combe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. So R has to drive straight back. Meanwhile I.have been painting a tiny circular seascape. ‘Doctors Ahoy!’ as a gift to celebrate this special day. Its a lovely evening to drive there and Castle Combe is an exquisite village and the hotel, where they had their wedding reception, is beautiful. We also had tea with them here some years ago; the food is superb and they are the most brilliant company and such dear friends.
Our new copy of Cotswold Life arrives and it is again featuring my painting Cosmopolitans on one of the half page ads for the Fresh Art Fair in May.
E mail from Paul in Western Australia to say that his commission has arrived safely after having been held in quarantine by customs for a week.
We notice on Nathan’s Instagram page he says the film he worked on as the production designer, is being premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Lovely Beverley pops in; haven’t seen her for a long time although we exchange e mails, so its good to catch up in person.
Still busy working on the large canvas for Panter & Hall to show at the Art Fair.
Jane Boot and Anne Farthing of the Friends of the RWA come for lunch and to do a studio visit prior to my giving a talk there in couple of weeks time. Delightful in their enthusiasm, Jane used to work for the BBC in London but loves her choice of Bristol to move to. They take photographs of me in the studio.
During the evening start the Chelsea Arts Club canvas for their charities and then return to finishing off the large newspaper painting for Richard to take into …..
………..The Darkroom at 8.30.
E mail from Paul in Australia who as now hung his new painting which he says looks down on him whilst he plays the piano.
E mail from Martin Renshaw of the Friends of the Wilson committee enquiring about the length of the film ‘Rolinda, Painted out of History’ based on the life of the artist Rolinda Sharples as they would like to have a special viewing for the Friends and perhaps the Film Society too.
After doing a little more work and varnishing the canvas I have painted for the Chelsea Arts Club auction, Richard makes a box and packs it up to send special next day delivery to the Club.
In the evening we drive up to Bristol for Martin Kiszko’s CD launch of the fascinating music he’d composed for Zastrozzi a TV mini series starring Tilda Swinton. As it says in the New York Times, Martin’s music is haunting and there is a stage towards the end of the evening when he plays two of the pieces from the series on a grand piano and a man and woman take to the floor in a series of waltzes - elegant and graceful they are obviously professional dancers and the routines are exquisite. Part the way through the evening I feel a little tap on my back and its Nick who has touchingly taken a break from filming to come and support Martin, even though he is very tired. One of the other joys of the evening is one of the sponsors when giving his talk mentions that he was told about it by Lee Cox at which my ears prick up and Richard points out that she is at the other end of the hall. Lee directed the film on Rolinda Sharples - ‘Painted out of History’ in which Toyah played Rolinda and I played myself as a present day equivalent. I haven’t seen Lee for many years so this is such remarkable coincidence having received the e mail from Martin Renshaw about the possible showing of the film only yesterday.
Still working on the big painting for Panter & Hall for the Art Fair and a smaller work in a similar vein.
Statement from ACS saying that they had just made a payment into my account for the Artists’ Resale Right on one of my paintings that unbeknown to me, had been sold at auction in December. The interesting thing is that it had been bought by a gallery and had already resold.
Phone call from Becky at the Arts Club confirming that they have received my painting and it is ‘amazing’.
A week to go until my talk at the RWA. Am currently still working on the newspaper paining for the art fait that opens the following week.
Drive up to Bristol to meet Martin, Maggie, Nick and Mags for lunch at Bill’s in Queen’s Road. Richard drops me off and I am the first there, bearing flowers and Lily O’Brien chocolates as a belated birthday present for Mags and a box for Maggie too. For such a small frontage it stretches back a long way. Martin and Maggie arrive shortly after then R who has been parking the car. Nick and Mags have come from the train station as she’s travelled all the way from Preston this morning where she was for Joe’s birthday yesterday. Its great fun and Martin calls the waitress over to order a fish pie as it looked like most people were going to order that and he teased that he wanted to be sure that he got one. But after she has assured us that there was enough for four of us to have that house returns to the table to say there is actually only one fish pie which seems rather ironical. Nick and I had already ordered sea bass so weren’t put out but R, Mags and Maggie had to think again. We all have spritzers.
After lunch we all go back to Maggie’s beautiful house which is very open plan, modern and has the most glorious view through woodland which is part of her garden, over the gorge. So Nick who is an ardent birdwatcher, has got his binoculars and shows us by using an app on his phone that plays birdsong, how he can attract blackbirds by playing their call. The fascinating thing is that it worked almost immediately. Mags tells us that he bought her binoculars for Christmas