Thursday, June 20, 2013



Have just spent a beautiful few days on a working visit to the The Old Stile Press to discuss our project of the book of Blaise Cendrar's poem Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France translated by Dick Jones, which I'm illustrating and which the OSP will publish. We are making very good progress but there's a long way to go before I complete 48 images and Nicolas' busy schedule allows him to begin printing what is sure to be a stunning book (premature boasting is allowed in this space). Dick's work is done but has gone through much fine tuning before arriving at its final crystalline state. We're fortunate that Miriam Gilou Cendrars (Blaise's daughter) has been extremely helpful with comments and is very interested in our undertaking. 

Here's a glimpse of a tiny bit of the work in progress - a couple of the relief blocks I'm cutting and trial proofs. The poem's text will be incorporated within the images. The beautiful setting made every moment of shop-talk a pleasure. When the sun finally came out I started a couple of drawings, first on the banks of the river Hay (oops! It's the river Wye) - Nicolas' camera caught me in the distance - then in the orchard, but I'm finishing them at home. UPDATE: Have added the orchard drawing below.

This will be my third collaboration with the Old Stile Press - the first one was an interpretation of Revelation and the second, line drawings on the Life of Jesus - but my friendship with Frances and Nicolas goes back a long way and I never fail to be inspired by them, their life dedicated to making and living with beautiful things and the magical place that is both their home and workplace. 


Sunday, June 16, 2013


The wonderful Eleanor Palmer primary school, just a street corner away from me, organises a Summer Fair every year. This school is such a bright and happy place, your spirit soars just walking past its cheerful exterior and inside, the colourful, stimulating ambiance is one I wish I'd known in my grey/brown early schooldays. 

The school's PTA association tries to raise funds so that the teachers can bring the curriculum to life, organise trips for the kids, hire artists and musicians etc. and an auction will take place at the Fair on July 6th. All sorts of treats are donated by local people and I've given some prints in the past. This year, I've decided to give them a couple of large watercolours and hope they will raise a goodly sum for this very worthwhile cause.

Offering NdA 1985  Watercolour. W 69cm x H 55cm 

I painted the second picture in Canillas de Albaida, a beautiful village in the mountains above Malaga where I was invited to give a printmaking workshop at an art school run by an expatriate American artist, Jack Rutherford. 

Canillas de Albaida, Malaga NdA 1982. Watercolour & ink. W 42cm x H 29cm

Jack Rutherford standing in the dazzling Spanish sun with a local abuelita, 1982. 

Lunchtime at art school, Finca el Cerillo, Canillas de Albaida 1982 .

And here's Natalie, looking uncomfortable next to a portrait of her by a student who probably didn't give up the day job. Anyway I had a great time - it was a happy school too, as all schools should be, for pupils and teachers alike.


Thursday, June 06, 2013


Working every day drawing and cutting blocks for the Trans-Siberian book project, often I lose track of time altogether. A measured work/rest/play balance isn't really my thing, especially since the work I do is also play, even when it's hard and demands a lot of wrist action. But this week the weather became more like it's supposed to be in June instead of an imitation of March which itself was more like December. So I decided to take a break and actually Go Out into the sunshine and the world beyond my window. 

To Tate Modern by my favourite route, taking the underground to London Bridge and then walking at a leisurely pace past Southwark Cathedral and through the apetizingly odoriferous Borough Market where all the food steaming, simmering, frying and bubbling looks and is too delicious to make a decision so I can never decide and end up only having a coffee and sandwich at the dull Tate snack bar. But on the way to the gallery, through the tunnel and along the embankment, I took some photographs.

Fake flames were shooting out of the busker's tuba and I suspect that most of the music was coming from the tape recording he was sitting on - such an incongruous and jaunty figure against that distressed wall. 

 Hard-edged abstraction? Architectural chaos? Pile 'em high and keep adding more. 

Sitting alone in the midst of the ceaseless stream of busy strollers, this thoughtful and kind-faced old lady moved me deeply.

In front of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. The world's a stage, it's a Season of Plenty and all the tragedies and comedies are played over and over again every day. 

I'll be back very soon to re-start the autobio, yes I will.