Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Maybe it's because of the better weather but this time of year brings out my governmental instincts ie: cleaning up, clearing out, re-organising, making new lists, tearing up old lists, feeling guilty about having failed to do all the things on all the lists sooner, and so on. The local charity shop has received yet another huge bundle from me and my website, the online version of home, is also the focus of my beady-eyed resolve to IMPROVE THINGS BY GETTING RID OF STUFF AND ADDING MORE STUFF IN DIFFERENT PLACES. Elimination followed by accumulation. Turn turn turn. 

My ART pages in particular badly need a make-over. For the moment, I've added a portrait section. You can see some recent faces over there and maybe you'd like to bookmark the URL? I'll be updating it frequently. Thanking you. 

Back to my duties now. 


Thursday, May 20, 2010


Dylan, creator/editor of the brilliant tinywords, has chosen one of my poempictures as the cover of the latest issue of this international daily magazine of haiku and micropoetry. I am lost for words to say how delighted I am, so a simple thank you will have to do. 

Another reason to celebrate is that I've finally reached what seems to me to be a happy ending for a portrait I've been working on lately of Jehane Markham, a neighbour and fine poet/playwright. As The Jehane Markham Trio  she reads her work with a backing of two musicians - a subtle, original and hugely enjoyable blend of jazz and poetry. Rough Winds Productions was created with her partner, the actor Roger Lloyd Pack, "to support the search for pleasure and understanding in the poetic realm". You may remember I did a sketch of Roger reading The Wasteland  four years ago (scroll to April 13, 2006 ). He's performing it again on June 3rd at the Free Word Centre and Jehane will be presentingThe London Series with her trio. I'll be there for sure. 

Jehane sat for me for two hours and I made a good start then proceeded to wreck the painting slowly and surely in the next few weeks. There's no explanation for BUAPGSS (Buggering-Up-A-Perfectly-Good-Start Syndrome) but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I gradually dragged the portrait out of the limbo it was threatening to remain in and did something I haven't done before: I painted words as a background to the face: her words, a poem that I like so much: Fear of Falling. Somehow it all came together then. What do you think? 

The poem is in her collection THIRTY POEMS  published by Rough Winds. The last five lines, hard to read in this photo, are:

if I'm not careful,
I'll fall right through,
knocked out by emerald knuckledusters,
the weight of water,
electric blue. 

Portrait of Jehane Markham with her poem 'Fear of Falling'. Acrylic on canvas. 50 cm x 40.5 cm. NdA  May 2010

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Very disappointed that the Lib Dems didn't get more votes after all the enthusiasm they generated during the campaign. Most of all I'm shocked by the outrageous excuses given for voters being turned away from many polling stations on election night: why isn't more fuss made about this in the media and everywhere? Supposedly, 'an inquiry is under way' but that just isn't good enough. If this were a third world country, there would be world-wide rumblings about ineptitude and conspiracies. But we're a civilised, sophisticated, efficient democracy, aren't we? 


Some of us prefer art to politics and pay more attention to art than to reality and would rather play than work and can find hundreds of good reasons not to do the things we should be doing in favour of things that have no agenda other than fun. So when I saw on Walt's always fun-supporting blog a mention of Julia Kay's Portrait Party, of course I immediately had to go there and now I'm completely hooked. Here are my first three portraits of artist members of that vibrant ongoing all-day all-night party. I drew these digitally on a graphic tablet, using Artrage software for Wally and Blue Sky Day and Photoshop brushes for Allan

Sunday, May 02, 2010


I responded to The Guardian's recent invitation for readers to send in alternative election posters but mine was not among those they chose to print in the G2 section last week. I'm not bothered since I have my own alternative audience right here, haven't I? So here is my take - a Photoshopped montage of bits and pieces borrowed from the internet - on the three-horse race currently taking place here in the not-so-united Queendom.
All politicians, as far as I'm concerned, are endlessly spinning on a carousel which never stops churning out platitudes, promises and palliatives. In the first TV debate between the three current contenders for the top spinning job, the mere fact that there were three of them instead of the usual two (Labour and Conservative) made it slightly more exciting. And when the interloper Nick Clegg began to sound and look like a real human being rather than an airbrushed sound-bitten parody of one, I thought, okay, maybe he'll jump off the merry-go-round and really be the 'something different' his party political message keeps repeating. Besides, he's got an emigrĂ© Russian grandmother, a Dutch mother, a Spanish wife, children with Spanish names, and he can speak more than one language. So I'll vote for him.