Friday, August 27, 2010


times when one manages to complete things in a satisfactory way... one always seems to remember those breakthroughs rather than the long slog to get to the point where you decorate the whole things with a final cherry on the top.
The large piece with Sir Cornelis is getting closer to completion and I finished a smaller panel that will be added to the large piece, a very satisfactory moment.
This trigger is an actual rifle part from an old .303 rifle that came into my grandfather's possession toward the later part of the Boer War. There is quite a long story behind it. Its a wonderful metaphorical component to the image.
Positive, very positive.

Monday, August 23, 2010


just what do people imagine one to be when they discover that you are an artist? Is it registered as a kind of condition, much like being blonde or flat footed? Could it be that because there are so many people who claim to be artists that it has lost any kind of meaning? There are those who have bought a pad of paper and a set of pencil crayons and have the urge to draw.... but dont. They claim to be artists.
Its time they regulated this title. Not that many fakers claim to be doctors or space scientists.
It leaves me dumbfounded when people see my work and utter "I never realised you did that..." I make art...I paint...I am not sure what they imagined. If I were a wine maker...would people be surprised if I produced a bottle of wine?..."I would never have imagined that you ACTUALLY make wine...fancy that!"
I rest my case.
Meanwhile I have been making art. Much to everyone's surprise. I know.... "and for my next trick..."
Sir Cornelis continues...gets darker and partially disappears. There are other things happening to that piece you cannot see. Its a surprise. I am doing something using paint. Completely unexpected.
I also began work on a red telephone. It may cause people to lose consciousness when they find out. Please show it around responsibly.
Hoarknockle is back and I suspect that he may have become contaminated by liberal ideas from his visit to Lord Pfaff.
Lady Sandra is packing the Maybach in anticipation of sending our boy off to university.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

where from?

where do ideas come from? I have no idea. Really. Thats why the relationship with the muses is so important. One does not want the muses to cut off your ideas. Ever.
Ive often worked on pieces which have not cooperated ... resisted my best efforts and seemed to have a mind of its own. And then, without warning something will happen...Ive seen this a lot... and I can tell when its happened, but never how to make it happen. An elusive thing it is. Its a thrilling feeling to suddenly see it come to life.
Here is a close up of part of the picture... its the image of Sir Cornelis fractured and inside small square spaces. Its still in process...but close enough for it to look like something.
The progress is positive.

Monday, August 16, 2010

insurrection and paint

A friend and fellow artist called me from one of the old colonies, the United States, in fact. He has been having some awful trouble with his servants who seem to have formed a union and refuse to work. Seems they are under the impression that they have rights of some kind!
I immediately got Hoarknockle to pack emergency relief supplies and commandeer his friend Alphonse Gorefinch to travel to the distant land and offer my help. They have packed cases of claret and some of my burgundy and a collection of fine hunting WW Greener matching pair as well.(I do hope they remembered to pack some foie gras for dear Kurt)

I havent heard back from them as yet. They set off a day or two ago in the Maybach.

Meanwhile I have been working like a trojan, doing everything myself. I have even discovered the kitchen, but did draw the line at making anything myself. I now have a scullery maid who waits on me.. she carries a small portable radio device from which I dispense orders for her to comply with. Not quite dear Hoarknockle...but she will do for now.

Here is some actual painting I managed to do. Its Great Grandfather, Sir Cornelis. (Lady Sandra says I look just like him..without the beard of course.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

crackle...etc etc

the studio is full of pieces in differing stages of work.
Bad paint flaked off a large panel and there was some swearing and scraping. New primer turned out to be a solvent based paint and is a reminder that spectacles should be worn when buying paint, even when the can is among others of the acrylic persuasion.
The image of crackled paint is something I did... its not actually old.
Household enamel paint is horrid stuff. I'm not perturbed by the's due to consistency and stickyness and its unique ability to hold a static charge and flick off the brush and land in places its not wanted.
On the conceptual front there has been steady progress and ideas keep turning up and knocking on the door. Who knows where they come from? Right now I dont care, as long as they keep coming.
Its going well.
I quite like the look of the Diana Dors 1949 Type 175 S Delahaye going on the block soon. I am tempted. It would look quite lovely if it were covered in paisley design....Its such a beautiful car... Lady Sandra would just love it...I can see her in it, her blonde hair blowing in the wind....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

lots of white

it takes time to layer on enough paint to approximate the kind of build up found on indoor surfaces that takes years and constant abuse. Old enamel paint used to drip and dribble and leave marks and then eventually dry to a glassy finish which cracked or splintered and chipped to reveal ghastly older colours beneath.
This is all part of the concept I am working on for my exhibition.
Imagine arriving in a different culture and trying to explain yourself. Even if you get the language right, you struggle to convey ideas because there are many small obstacles like words having subtle differences and accents which have all kinds of meaning inside them.
If you come from a different culture, even simple things dont necessarily hold the same meaning or value. The ability to use a verbal shorthand is lost because the whole construct of understanding is based on very different values and historical knowledge.
My work deals with the issues and obstacles of telling my history story. Every time I am in a situation where I need to explain or tell about who I am, I figuratively unpack all the boxes I travelled with. Sometimes the stories follow a different order and different things are emphasised and there are subtle differences in meaning from one occasion to the next. The configuration changes although the essential truth of it all remains the same...but the constant reconstruction of the larger story allows the nature of it to change.
My works revolve around this "telling of history story"
To show this I am working in and on boxes...painting objects which will go into boxes, painting onto actual boxes and special boxes which have been purpose built to show many ideas, but the panels obstruct each other. Other works will be built from collections of loose bits, rather like a quilt. (no...not a quilt!!) There will be repetition of imagery and sly trompe l'oeil trickery to add a confusing element.
Right now I am in the process of making and preparing the various objects and surfaces onto which I want to paint. The want to look old and used and I am going back to my recent career as scenic artist in film and TV to use techniques of breakdown and aging which will make everything look used and well travelled.
It is taking some time... be patient....Hoarknockle is trying his level best.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

paler shade of white

its takes time to build a good layer of paint thick enough to look like years of paint build up. Hoarknockle has been faithfully working away at layer after layer, day after day.
The image of the squares with the surfaces set into them are a box with pigeon holes into which I have set small pieces of card and layered on thick paint which has now cracked rather delicately and beautifully. Onto the smaller card surfaces I will paint an image which will collectively become one picture. The pigeon hole box will be mounted on a larger wooden panel which I have also been working on.
The other image is an old piece of board with a door cut into it...and this piece is also currently undergoing the layered paint treatment. There will be an image on this board and another, possibly contradictory image inside when the door is opened.
I have also been working on sketches and concepts and more priming of boxes with mysterious hidden panels.
The preparation is tedious but allows much time for thought and making of plans. Working on a number of pieces at the same time also avoids time spent watching paint dry.
Lady Sandra and I took the yacht out on the lake last night, sipping a delicate Gosset champagne while watching the sun set . Most soothing. I highly recommend it.