Introducing Leonard

So the final 4 works have gone to be photographed and made print-worthy.                      The new lion is named Leonard after actor Leonard Nimoy (aka Spock) as there are several Star Trek dolls (from a local charity shop) in the mane:

The kennel Shrine has returned from exhibition and is again taking up too much space at home! I’m trying to think of somewhere where it could provide a focus of interest/talking point (not necessarily for sale but open to offers) like a window display to draw people into a shop…

Any ideas???

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It’s been a while …

It’s been a while since I last posted any news so here goes …

I’ve been approached by an agent to submit 14 prints for an international Environmental Photography Festival in Zingst, North Germany in June 2019. (Google it for videos of 2018 – it looks amazing and I hope to visit.) Over the years, I’ve had a few works photographed professionally but it’s too expensive to do this every time. So I have some suitable images (high enough resolution for prints), but needed more to make the total 14 requested.

Two works I have at home can be photographed. Plus, a recently completed commission of Frida Kahlo for a lady in USA will be made into a print.

Currently, I am working on a new Lion to complete the 14. The same prints will be shown in various shopping malls around Europe – 3 in Poland, 2 in Portugal for 2 weeks each time, then Germany and ?New York?? Keeping me busy for now! Then two more commissions which look interesting.

The kennel is currently on display at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey, Devon in an exhibition by recycling artists – TRAIL@14 – until November 27.


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General Update…

One of our cats, Zebedee, has taken up residence in the now fully restored Shrine kennel!



The two Van Gogh landscapes arrived in Oslo yesterday for a cruise ship currently under construction for the Holland America Line II – New Statendam (operational this winter.) If anyone spots them while on their cruise, please send me a photo!






Every time I complete a new work my room looks as if a bomb has hit it. I then have to tidy up to clear my mind before I can start a new piece. After the VG landscapes, it was worse than ever and there was nowhere to stand on the floor…

Tidying up is so boring (!) but it’s now done and I’m ready to start something new. Next a commission of an unknown image of Frida Kahlo for a FK fan in the USA …

PS The picture was taken before I tidied!


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Inspirational Must-Read Book for Artists …

Sometimes a book comes along at just the right time, to give a personal message, meet a need or fill you with excitement about life! This is one of those books. On the train to London to the RA, I was reading The Art of Travel by the philosopher Alain de Botton.  The book asks questions about why we travel and why we sometimes find holidays disappointing.  I’d been intending to read it for sometime.

De Botton postulates  that we sometimes get more satisfaction from looking at a painting of a landscape than the landscape itself – because of the skill of the artist in their selection of what to depict, what aspects of reality to include and what to leave out, rather than a photographic representation.

The last two chapters were such an inspiration – one on Van Gogh and the other on John Ruskin. The VG chapter was about how the artist looked at a place in a different way – how he tried to capture something he saw that others could not – to show us a new way of seeing. In particular, the chapter focused on his fascination with Cypress trees in Provence, which was very pertinent as I’d just been working on Wheatfield with Cypresses for the cruise ship. VG observed the way the wind moved in the branches, making the tree appear to bend along different axes, as if the wind was blowing from different directions at once. “With it’s cone-like shape, the tree takes on the appearance of a flame flickering nervously in the wind.” Van Gogh saw this and tried to make others see it too.

Vincent van Gogh's Cypresses Drawing

The Ruskin chapter was about how to preserve (holiday or other) memories. Photographs and souvenirs do not adequately capture the essence of a place, that feeling of beauty or ambiance that we feel we want to bottle. Ruskin advocated drawing as a means of fixing a place in the mind: the value of drawing as a means of really looking – not dependent on talent. The aim is to learn not how to draw but how to look. Ruskin gave drawing classes to Cockney craftsmen, not with the aim of ‘making a carpenter an artist, but to make him happier as a carpenter.’ How brilliant!

I feel so inspired by this and am determined to put it into action …

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Kennel’s Return!

Well the kennel has been returned, thanks to my Uncle John who drove it down from London. Unfortunately it seems to have sustained some damage in all it’s transportation: the ‘sedan chair’ carrying poles have disappeared along with the bubble wrap. Angels and cherubs have lost their wings – very sad (as Trump might say!) Today I’m working on repairs ahead of the Kenton Flower Festival next week, in which it will be on show.  The theme is Cycle and Recycle Kenton Church, Devon July 26 – 29.

It’s interesting to look again at a work after a gap of some months. There is far more surface glue on the kennel than I remember. I worked on it through the dark days of January, often under spotlights. Now in the clear light of July, little imperfections are more visible!!

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Favourite picks from the RA Summer Show

Earlier this week, I visited the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly, London.  As you might expect from curator Grayson Perry, it was quirky and fun.

Here’s my son Matthew in front of a colourful corner including 2 pictures by my friend Anna Grayson with whom I exhibited last summer.

Probably my favourite piece was The Taxonomy of the Cornflake: a case of specimens in small acryllic boxes, painstakingly catalogued according to size, colour, shape and curl. Hilarious! (Artist Anne Griffiths, £900)

An impressive piece (and winner of the (?Jack Guildhall) Sculpture prize) appeared to be a giant python twisted inside an antique glass case. Created by Kate MccGwire from acrylic and peacock feathers, it was entitled Squall, £42,000.

Next, another work in a deep box: Refuge by Cathy de Monchaux (NFS).

A dark eerie scene of unicorns in a wood,  reminiscent of many a fairy-tale. Created from copper wire and mixed media, the work was about 3m wide. I loved it!

One of a pair of dogs by Timothy Blewitt, this is Rufus 3rd (Wainwright?) Wood, metal and costume jewellery, £12,000. A dog fitting for the kennel I made!









Many people standing by this next piece were chuckling (please excuse the language!) Lightswitch by Jess Wilson (Edition of 75 at £250)

And finally, just to show how barmy the show is, here’s Untitled by Hans-Jorg Georgi. Acrylic, plastic, cardboard and glue, £13,800.

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New work: Audrey Hepburn

Here’s my recently completed commission of Audrey Hepburn which I did not wish to reveal until it had been received by the client…

At one point, I was so unhappy with it that I scraped everything off except her eyes!

Using a looser approach and several items of vintage haberdashery (cards of ‘hooks and eyes’, press-studs etc) I achieved a retro look with which I was very happy. The arched yellow/orange pieces in the background are from an old jigsaw from Portugal, sent to me by the lovely Portuguese lady (Hello Maria!) who cared for my late mother. As the client was also from Portugal, this seemed fitting. He had requested something like Subbuteo footballs for Audrey’s pearls – I couldn’t find any but managed to find some spherical numbered Bingo markers instead!


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