The last Brighton paintings

These were the last paintings I did in Brighton, at Smart club with Jamie. I would have sworn that I had absolutely no ideas at this point, but now looking back maybe I did.

These were all on small canvasses, and were exhibited at the Elementree Studios pop-up shop in the Laines in Brighton in May 2018. The show started as part of Open House, but ended up being open until about mid-July. It was a time of positivity, when we got together with some old friends, and made some new ones. We took it in turns to man the shop, and sometimes did some painting there. I sold quite a few paintings, including the big Wheatley one which I wish I still had now..but isn’t that always the way? Not only because he is no longer with us, but also because when you held it up to the light it had the most amazing effect from the combination of brush strokes and metallic paint.

I’m not sure if this is the finished version , as I remember fussing with the tail for quite some time. I need to paint another one in remembrance of our beloved puss cat.

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#sillyoldwheatley acrylic on canvas -April 2018. 70x70cm approx

Crow- May 2018

This was done at #smartclub and was purely to put into the shop. I sold it too, the first sale for me. I do like painting crows.

Crow- May 2018Crow- May 2018

 

three snails sitting on a stylised moon painting
snails on the moon

 

I painted this at #smartclub. It was a bit of a rerun on my Jerboas on the moon painting from years ago that I sold, and it turned out it was bought by a lady who ended up being my best friend’s girlfriend. He went to her house and saw it on the wall…that happens a lot. I love finding out who bought my paintings when they are sold from galleries, and not to friends.

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I painted this at the pop-up shop. There was a piece of three dimensional art in the shop which was made from a tuba. I have a great love for the aesthetic qualities of musical instruments, even though I cannot really play any of them. I am still hopeful that one day I might learn to play something. I have a lovely guitar, a full size accordion, a mini accordion, drums, a tambourine, a viola and a toy piano. I am a proficient kazoo player mind you, and I’m not bad on the drums and percussion. One day I hope to have a tuba and a french horn. I also have a penchant for chimera cats…’the face of two beasts’.

Chimera cat and tuba
Acrylic on canvas

 

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Nijo jo cat. Acrylic on canvas 30x30cm approx 2018[/caption]

I painted this from a photograph I took in Japan at Nijo castle. It was the tree’s shadow cast on the wall of the castle, and I added the cat as it was my current motif.

 

charcoal picture of cat on back
wheatley

 

Charcoal drawing of Alan RIP
Charcoal drawing of Alan RIP

After not doing any drawing or painting for months, and wondering whether I was an artist or not anymore, I was inspired by Sophie’s single line drawings and decided to try it with charcoal. The first cat #sillyoldwheatley came out remarkable well considering, and so I decided to try and draw Alan the black cat as well. He was Wheatley’s mate, and was also murdered by the cat killer. I have become friends with his human Kath, and so I gave her this drawing in memory of him.

Hare and moon miniature 20x20cm
Hare and moon miniature 20x20cm

This hare and moon is just a copy of an old painting I did, one that I sold immediately and then missed forever. I could never redo the original as it was so experimental and a thing of chance, but it is an image I have also remade in linocut form and seems to be popular. I thought I might sell it at the pop-up shop which is what i painted it for, but it came back home. I expect I shall give it to someone as a present one day.

hyperspeed
Hyperspeed

This was also done at #smartclub. It was based on a star chart. I started making it up, and then when I looked it up on Google it was actually a thing which I was very pleased about. It was really just a painting for paintings sake but I do rather like it.

the vaguest of timelines. Started a long time ago and finished in 2019[
the vaguest of timelines. Started a long time ago and finished in 2019
This painting was started on a lonely rainy night at the Hangar (the old studio in Providence Place). I was painting the rain and the bright lights on the window. It got left for a long time and then I took it to #smartclub to finish it. I was particularly uninspired at this time, but came up with this reflective timely, where some of the things do not reflect at all. this painting has since been hung the other way up from how it started, and looks better that way. It looks so good in face that someone wants to buy it. Hurrah!

2020…A new dawn!

So it’s 2020, the year that sounds far away in the distant future..practically space age.

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So much has happened since I last posted. 2019 was a terrible year artistically and personally. The disappearance and murder of my muse and loyal friend #sillyoldwheatley left me a shadow of my former self, plagued with depression and anxiety and I did not produce much work in nine months. We did have a couple of #smartclubs when I did manage to do a couple of small paintings but my inspiration seemed to have fled the building with no sign of returning and I was left honestly wondering if that was it. Was it possible that one day you woke up, and you just weren’t an artist any more? I didn’t know what I was, but felt like a bit of a failure mainly in all departments.

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I won’t dwell on that, but it is my reason.

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Help arrived in the name of a move. We left Brighton and moved to Faversham, like the countryside in comparison. From party town to sleepy town, and we love it so much. We have a forest in our garden and we are surrounded by nature and generous spirited people. People told me I should love Brighton, and I knew that technically I should. But somehow I never felt it was my home, and bit by bit it crushed my soul and my creativity. I was ready to give up on everything that I had ever been good at, and did not feel I would ever be able to teach or run workshops again. I had no spark, and no self esteem. I could not wait to get away, I felt like I was trapped in hell.

There was another salvation by way of a pen pal. A series of fortunate events.. . its a long but good story and deserves to be recorded and shared. We had a band play at our wedding, and I got in touch with them to see if i could buy a copy of their CD for my Dad. I was so bowled over that Mark (the guitarist and song writer) sent it as a gift that I offered to try and get them some gigs in Brighton by handing out some CDs to local pubs. This was in January. Following on from this we started messaging regularly and found ourselves becoming ‘virtual’ friends. We started swapping life stories and he sent me a copy of the book he had written about the story of his daughter who has cerebral palsy, and also happens to be a very talented artist. I loved the book and looked forward to meeting Sophie one day. I received a beautiful calendar of her work, and followed her on Facebook ( Dreams on paper) and in time we knew so much about each other that we all practically knew each other before we had even met. I was still living in Brighton, and just about to move to Rochester when the house we wanted fell through. Not to be put off, we got straight off to look at another house that a friend had told us about in Faversham which as it happens was a place I had  been dreaming of moving to even though in actual fact I knew very little about the place. Just that I had a few friends living there and the people seemed extremely friendly whenever we visited. So we decided to go for a complete change and went ahead with the move. Meanwhile it transpired through our daily messaging that Sophie had also lost her artistic mojo and desperately wanted a new art teacher/mentor. As it turns out they live close to Faversham and so after the chaos of moving and unpacking boxes into our new life I finally met Sophie in September and became her teacher.  She has been such an inspiration to me. I think she deserves a separate entry, as I should like to explain exactly how extraordinary and amazing she is.

Since then everything has changed. I started drawing (my stuffed crows mainly) in a large sketchbook and have filled about 50 pages so far. We have set up an instagram account together “sophieandandi’ where we record the work we have done. Suddenly my work features the much avoided and estranged C word… Colour. I have become so addicted to drawing, scribbling and doodling that I cannot quite believe it. It would seem that I’m back!