Friday, 29 May 2009


I'm very proud to announce that I've had 3 pictures accepted for this year's RBSA Prize Exhibition. It's an annual open exhibition held at the Royal Birmingham Society of Art's lovely gallery in near Paul's Square, Birmingham. It's about 10 minutes walk from New Street Station, off Newhall Street (where the old Science Museum used to be). Although I've exhibited in this open exhibition before this is the first time I've had 3 pictures accepted and I'm extremely proud and happy.

The pictures I've had exhited are all new works, two pen and ink drawings and the third an experiment with pen and ink combined with colour, it's called Silver Birch - Red, and I blogged about it earlier this year.

This little drawing here is an oldie, unfinished, but I liked the fragment and kept it in my portfolio. I thought it was St Ives in Cornwall, a place I love, both the place itself and the memories it holds for me, but now I think about it the drawing might be of Mousehall in Cornwall. I'll have to hunt out my reference material! I.e. my old photo'!

I've been spending a lot of time at Andrea Joseph's blog lately, I love her wonderful pen drawings, a fantastic blend of skillful observation and imagination. I do like it when she incorporates writing in her images, as combining words and pictures (storytelling to a certain extent) is an interest of mine.

Via Andrea's blog, I travelled across the webosphere to Flikr, and have at last given myself a kick and signed up for an account. I've posted a few artworks there, and was thrilled to find a few comments waiting for me there. Although I don't spend a vast amount of time on-line, I can see what an immense networking resource Flikr is. There are so many groups to join and so many talented artists displaying their work. My only problem is motivating myself to visit as often as I should. I try not to spend too much time on the PC these days as my ol' eyes aren't what they used to be. Also, I'm one of nature's hermits, and I'm afraid that I'm not as conscientious socially as I should be either. Nevertheless, it's heartening and inspiring to see what a wonderful creative place the Internet is these days.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Black and White

I've been busy getting pictures ready for competitions and open exhibitions I'm hoping to enter. One pen and ink piece I'm just about finishing, based on a photograph I took back in 2004 (5 years ago! Time frightens me) of a Cornish NT garden called Glendurgan, a beautiful sub tropical garden that leads down to the sea.
There's a place in the drawing that troubles me where the detail's got a bit fuzzy and any defining contrast has become lost. I'm thinking of trying to add a bit of definition with white body colour, but I'm afraid of causing more harm than good, so although my deadline is next week, I'm trying not to be too hasty. Once the deed is done there will be no turning back. That's the one thing about pen and ink, you have to get it right first time more or less, it's very difficult to right your wrongs.
I'm ever aware of the lack of colour in my work, and yet at the moment, just as the impulse is to draw instead of write, it is also to work in black and white as opposed to colour. So far my attempts to buck the trend have fizzled out as my enthusiasm fails me. One attempt, the Neolithic barrow I posted last month, is unfinished, though there are things I like about it. Another, below, in coloured pencil, has failed to spark my enthusiasm. Here's the work in progress then, but I'm not promising that I will ever finish it.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


My 'studio' with various work in progress or waiting to be delivered to open exhibitions and competitions.

Today my friend G drove me to the Patchings Art Centre to deliver the 2 artworks (one mixed media piece and one pen and ink drawing) I've had accepted for the Artists section of the Patchings Exhibition. The weather was atrocious, and visibility down to almost nil on the motorway, and it took us almost 3 hours to get up to Calverton, just up above Nottingham, where the exhibition's being held. The arts centre seemed like a very nice place, based around a courtyard with a series of small studios, shops and a restaurant. Unfortunately we didn't stay long, but hopefully will return to see the exhibition next month.

Although it rained most of the day, we managed to visit Rufford Abbey and Country Park. The Abbey is maintained by English Heritage. Until the mid 1930's it was inhabited, and pretty plush too judging by the photographs on display on information boards, but since then it has declined and is now barely more than a shell. It's amazing that this can happen over the space of what is really the blinking of an eye. Makes you realise how fragile everything mankind puts on this earth really is.
Rufford Abbey Country Park also has a really lovely art/craft gallery space and an art school. I loved the gallery in the orangery, a beautiful, tiny space at the head of the formal gardens. When we visited there was an exhibition of ceramics accompanied by a soundrack of ambient music, looking out upon the rain drenced gardens made for an extremely peaceful and transporting experience.

On the way I enjoyed listening to England actually doing well at cricket. I discovered cricket during the Ashes tour of 2005, introduced to it by my father. Since my father died in May 2005 (3 years ago Friday) it's been too painful for me to listen again, but now I'm finding it a comfort. Radio 4 or Sport Xtra coveridge only though, as I don't have Satellite TV.

I do have Digital TV however, and watching the amazing Cesar Milan on the Dog Whisperer re-runs is helping me cope with the loss of Rossie. That man is amazing and the dogs are gorgeous.