Rome update – and the joy of losing oneself!

Well – what can I say? Change of plan. The print exhibition around Italy is to go ahead as planned but I am no longer required for the opening of the Rome shopping mall and have been told to postpone the Logo!  To be honest, I’m not really sure what’s happened at their end but my trip is off!! A disappointment – I was looking forward to the adventure – but a relief at the same time!

However, they do still want an original work to tour with the prints and I’ve just completed making the close up of Klimt’s The Kiss. I am grateful that the imminent deadline gave me the impetus to get back working again. The painting is such a beautiful work and I have loved studying it’s construction and colours. I have enjoyed that wonderful feeling of losing myself and all track of time in the moment of creativity.

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Feeling Better!

I was feeling a bit down about my work when I posted last time but am pleased to report I’m much more positive again! I’ve been working sooo slowly since Christmas – can’t believe I’m still playing around with the 3 pieces I blogged about in January! So here’s an update…

I finished the Monet Waterlilies. However, exactly as anticipated, the smaller size with ‘less buttons, more stuff ‘ requested by the client resulted in a more abstract final piece.   As a result, the client told me that he no longer wished to buy it as he hadn’t realized he’d need to stand back from the picture to make sense of it (which you have to do with Monet’s original paintings too!) Quite a disappointment but I’ve learned from the experience – I’d had my reservations about the smaller size and should have gone with my gut feeling.  Anyway – here it is (65cm x 65cm + frame) currently for sale in Words and Pictures Gallery, Teignmouth.

The Mermen piece got off to a slow start as I couldn’t visualise how to do it. However, it’s now almost complete and I’m really happy with the fantasy underwater world I’ve created. Awaiting final glue layer and then I’ll post an image.


Unfortunately, the 3rd piece – the lion – isn’t working for me at all and may end up being deconstructed. But it’s not for a particular client and can be put to one side for now…

In the meantime, the exhibition of prints has been shown at 2 venues in Poland and will continue in various European venues.  Another set is being printed for 10 venues in Italy, 5 for 2019 and 5 for 2020. The first Italian exhibition will be in Rome in July, inside a new shopping mall owned by the Aqua Group. I’ve been asked to go out for the opening and to create a piece of art in situ – the logo of the Aqua group – 2 arches of a viaduct.          I need a variety of interesting rectangles and squares, roughly the size of a domino tile – red/brown/black /gold/green – can anyone help?!

I am preparing everything in advance so that I’ll know exactly ‘what to put where’ when in Rome. 100 local schools are involved in Recycling Art projects at the same time and the event is to be televised – all pretty terrifying (but exciting too.) The organisers have also asked me to make one original piece to go with the prints so that people can see a ‘real one’. After much discussion, we settled on a cropped close-up of Klimt’s The Kiss – so even more rectangles needed!! Plenty to keep me busy!


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Creativity Can’t be Forced

I know it’s been a while since I posted any news…

My family circumstances have been difficult lately and I’ve simply had less time for Art. That, coupled with a downturn in the flow of creative juices, it feels as if my muse left me for a while after Christmas. I wrote about this to one of the kind people who send me materials from time to time. She wrote a lovely reply with the words “creativity cannot be forced”. How true! So I’m just going with the flow and enjoying playing with ideas and materials for a while.

I’ve been working very slowly on the commission of Mermen which finally seems to be coming together after a slow beginning.

I’m also about to make a commission of a mounted brooch to be given as a wedding present. Some of you will know that the collaged pictures I now make evolved from brooches which I made for my final degree project – please see the profile page on my website for more info. The original inspiration for the brooches came from religious festival headdresses from Ecuador – so quirky and blingy – I love them!

In my final degree year I developed a series of brooches entitled ‘Weathered and Worn’ using antique braids and recycled materials. These were hung on a weathered ground to go on the wall as a piece of art. The brooch can be removed to wear and replaced on the wall after use:











In the example above and right, the brooch is removed to reveal embroidered flowers underneath which mirror the colours and decoration on the brooch. (Hope this makes sense!)

Anyway, I am now playing with ideas for the new wedding brooch having found a beautiful antique Italian frame for its mount at an Antiques Fair on Sunday. I feel the muse returning …

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Update on 30 Tonnes of Buttons!

I have had a few comments/enquiries about the buttons so here’s what I’ve heard today…  If anyone wishes to collect some buttons, it will need to be before next Friday.                  The contact number is on the factory link on previous Blog post.

One of my Blog readers (who happens to live quite close to the warehouse) very kindly offered to collect some buttons for me. She emailed today:

It turned out that what’s available to take at the moment is mostly in a skip at the front of the building, but he did give me a large bag of mixed black buttons. From the skip I retrieved quite a large amount of plastic buttons, mostly in neutral colours, and I also found some wooden toggles and a few wooden buttons that I think were samples.

I also heard this today from Sarah (sister-in-law of factory owner) who made the original contact:  Yes we’re overwhelmed by postal requests so people will need to come to the warehouse by Friday (15th) as we’re shutting up the warehouse and clearing by then.

I’m so pleased that at least some will not be going to landfill. Good Luck everyone!

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30 tonnes of buttons for artists

Today I received this email:
“My brother-in-law’s company ‘A Brown & Co Buttons’ is closing down.
104 year old button company specialising in plastic, metal, glass, pearl (real and imitation) and wood buttons is sadly closing down.
We have approx 30 tonnes of buttons that we really don’t want to send to landfill.
We thought maybe artists might be able to use them?”
This is a tragedy – a warehouse full of buttons about to go to landfill – has anyone any suggestions?
The warehouse is in Croydon, near London, UK
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At home with Leonard

As far as I’m aware, this is a first! A lady recently purchased a print of Leonard but felt that her cream wall didn’t show him at his best. He needed a more vibrant background so she re-decorated the room to suit him beautifully. What an honour!

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Pictures from an Exhibition

Images from the exhibition of prints in the shopping mall in Breslau, Poland – until March 18th. (Then Gdansk Mar 21 – April 2.) The lady top-left is Marta, the manager of the mall and the man bottom-right is my agent Aldo, who has made the exhibition happen. Hopefully there will be more venues in Europe to follow – currently awaiting decisions from 2 venues in Denmark. Aldo approached me after seeing my work in a book Creative Extremes which came out in 2017. He was the agent for a hand-painting artist also featured in the book. (Did I Blog about that? I can’t remember!)

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