Saturday, December 21, 2019



I've devised a quiz which is either irrelevant fluff or serious research. Either way I welcome honest answers  even if the truth is embarassing. I posted this on Facebook as it's more relevant to social media addicts than it is to bloggers' and other sober internet users but here goes anyway.

1. When you have posted something online, how many times a day do you click back to check for reactions?

2. When you check back are you already on your computer or phone engaged in digital activity?

3. If you're not online, do you interrupt whatever else you're doing in order to click back again?

4. How long do you spend, after you've checked your own online contribution, just clicking here and there to see who is saying what about this or that?

5. Do you think your answers to my questions indicate a serious addiction to digital media?

6. What kind of rehab would you, me, or any other addict of this type be willing and able to undertake?

Friday, December 13, 2019


Thoroughly disgusted, revolted and appalled not only by the jaw-dropping choice so many people have made of giving carte blanche to Boris Johnson.....BORIS JOHNSON???....and his gang to decide the future of this country, but by the smug faces of presenters on all the news channels spouting words words words, puffs of smelly smoke signifying absolutely nothing when they should be crying:

Wednesday, December 11, 2019


For the benefit of those who are not in the UK, or who are here but somehow managing to avoid the crucial issues facing us, here are some extracts from the news. They are chosen by me so, of course, you may say they are biased. I don't mind being biased in this case. The facts spek for themselves.








Friday, December 06, 2019


Laydeez Do Comics Art Auction Fundraiser week is NOW live on ebay!
Sixteen brilliant artists, including moi, have donated original work to raise funds for the 2020 LDC Award and you have only until 12th December to place your bid on ebay. Do it now!

And (after you've voted of course) there's a party at the Cartoon Museum on Thursday 12th December. All welcome.

 Below is the work of mine being auctioned online right now:

How Could She Know? Natalie d'Arbeloff. Linocut. Original Artist's Proof, signed and dated.
Mounted, framed & glazed. Size framed: 19 & 3/4 inches X 20 inches. Image size: 12 x 12 inches.

Saturday, November 30, 2019


Coffee, cake and great conversation with Steven Appleby this afternoon and he took home his portrait. So delighted the real Steven and the painted-by-me one will be living happily together ever after.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


I met the Hungarian photographer George Cserna in New York City in the early fifties. I can't remember the circumstances but he asked if he could take some photos of me in the studio I had way downtown in 4th Street.

Then in 1956 he turned up again in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I was a student at the Instituto Allende. Cserna took some more photos there on a day when Reg Dixon (who was teaching ceramics) was posing for the class and I was painting him.

Natalie d'Arbeloff in her studio, NewYork City 1953. Photo by George Cserna.

Getting serious.
Reg Dixon and I got married in 1957.

The portrait I painted in San Miguel de Allende now hangs in the Vancouver home of Valerie Dixon, Reg's youngest daughter, my very dear friend.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


More about that time.
In the mid-1960s and later, Ted Sebley's basement kitchen in Adelaide Road became a gathering place for many people from far and near. How I happened to be included is a long story. parts of which are in the unfinished ongoing online autobio The Burial of Mickey Mouse on my website.

Some of us used to go to the Prince Consort pub around the corner and very often ended up at Ted's afterwards. Every Sunday, every Christmas and many other festive occasions there would be hearty dinners around that table, cooked by Ted. I think some of their flavour is in these photos.

Tom Nairn is reaching for a Christmas decoration. I look like I can't possibly drink or eat another thing.

Left foreground is Jaime Dixon, my stepson (his father was Reg Dixon). Tom Nairn sits between me and Christine Johnson. Ted stands in front of the little b&w telly. I think Peg Mills took this photo.

Another Christmas a few years later. On the left Christine Johnson, Martin Rossdale and Ted Sebley. On the right Tom Nairn and Juliet Mitchell.

                                           Late 1960s
Top row: a teacher from Hornsey College of Art? Tom Nairn, Ted Sebley, Derek Henden, Linda's sister.
Bottom row: Linda Henden, Gerda Flockinger (?), Martin Rossdale, Juliet Mitchell, Christine Johnson.

Monday, November 25, 2019


If you're gonna do it might as well overdo it. Here's more of me as i was then, seen through Ted Sebley's camera lens.

Sunday, November 24, 2019


Still trying (euphemism for not trying very hard) to put in order the room which is going to serve as my Total Focus Cave for giving birth to the full and finished graphic novel. Since I've been pregnant with it for more than nine years, you'd think it would just pop out now without so much ado and adon't. But my distractions are so interesting that I find it very hard to resist the temptation to waste even more time.

For instance, I stayed up all night last night because of making the mistake of opening the blue chest which usually sits unobtrusively under a large table. I haven't looked at the contents of that chest in years and oh my oh my! The treasures! The letters! Family, friends, lovers, colleagues, a whole life is there! The ideas, the projects done and not done, the notebooks, and the photos, the photos! So many photos, some by truly fine photographers I've been fortunate to know. 

Stacks of large black & white prints, from the 1960s to about the1980s, were taken by my close friend and collaborator, the late Ted Sebley, who lectured in photography at Hornsey College of Art. I must admit to feeling quite chuffed right now by how cute I was then. Will post more next time, why not?

With Ted Sebley at Hornsey College of Art 1968

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


Watched the Corbyn/Johnson debate on ITV last night and it was obvious (to me) that Corbyn won hands down. He was dignified, concise, relevant, whereas Boris was only Boris and nothing else. His bumbling, stumbling, childish attempts to evade answering questions by turning everything into attacks on Corbyn were transparently pathetic and his boring repetition of the mantra GET-BREXIT-DONE was an insult to everybody's intelligence.

There was a lot of laughter from the audience at times, which cheered me up no end.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


Strange clouds yesterday.
Do you see what I saw in them?

What if nothing is ever random?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Do you ever think about this?

All the complicated processes which keep us alive function WITHOUT OUR HAVING TO THINK ABOUT THEM.

Heart beats in perfect rhythm, lungs breathe in and out, blood flows exactly where it's supposed to flow, nerves, cells, etc. etc. all carry out their duties without a word of instruction from us. Therefore what I want to know is:

Given that the essential functions on which the body's existence depends generally operate with admirable efficiency without conscious thought, why then does consciousness behave so unreliably?

All by themselves, fingernails and toenails grow with what seems to me astonishing speed. Why doesn't wisdom grow inside consciousness with similar speed? Why does the body UNCONSCIOUSLY function harmoniously whereas consciousness has to strive, struggle, suffer and sweat to achieve just a small portion of harmony?

Monday, November 11, 2019


"It takes quite a while for there to be created in the brain a hierarchy of what's most important in one's life and when finally it is made, and in the auditorium the lights are switched on one by one, the result is, as with all good theatre, true bordering on false. Our biographies are, give or take a little, what we choose."
Marius Kociejowski

Trying to psych myself back into the spirit of Double Entendre, my autobio-graphic-novel-in-very-slow-progress, this absolutely relevant quote from the wonderful God's Zoo - Artists, Exiles, Londoners (Carcanet 2014) spurs me on. 

Sometimes, if there's a welcoming silence around you, voices appear out of nowhere with exactly the right words you need to hear.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Monday, November 04, 2019


Cold, grey, blah day in London. The only remedy is making faces.

Saturday, November 02, 2019


It's one of those days when I want to clear up, make space. If I were a farmer I would plow a field or if I were John Bercow I could shout ORDER OORRDERR!

My studio is too small for all the stuff, all the past accumulated, saved, roughly stored.

In an old portfolio I found this portrait of my sister Annie which I painted in Paris when I was eighteen and she was twenty-two. I like it. I also like this abstract around 1956 in Vermont, during my drawing-with-string period which didn't last very long.

ANNIE AT 22. NdA 1947. Oil on hessian (burlap) 38 x 46 cms (15 x 18 inches)  

CONNECTIONS. NdA circa 1956. Oil and string on board. 35 x 50 cms (14 x 20 inches)

Friday, November 01, 2019


Extremely sad news that Frances McDowall died las week. She was the other half of Nicolas McDowall and of The Old Stile Press, their unique and marvellous creation, lovingly nurtured by both of them since 1979.

My friendship and collaboration with Frances and Nicolas over many years has been a joy and inspiration and it is impossible to think of The Old Stile Press without Frances' calm, strong, positive presence. My heartfelt condolences to Nicolas and his family. I can't find the words at present.

Watch this video of an interview with the McDowalls by Studio International in 2018.

Frances and Nicolas McDowall
Linocut of Frances and Nicolas by NdA. Haiku by Nicolas McDowall, part of a suite of fourteen relief prints by seven artists at the invitation of Bill Garnett in response to "BE STILL" twelve haiku from the valley of the Wye by Nicolas McDowall, published by The Old Stile Press.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Sidetracking from Brexit, elections and other probable major catastrophes I notice that my bank account has been debited with a £7.99 which doesn't tally with anything I've spent but was taken by Amazon Prime. I check my Amazon account and, behold, the sneaky bastards have made me a "member" of Amazon Prime without my knowledge or consent, setting up monthly payments of £7.99. After following their deliberately tortuous path I finally manage to cancel this fraudulent "membership" via a "conversation" with a robotic person or actual robot on the "chat" option.

I think it is simply fraud masquerading as benevolent advertising. It is based on the cynical but accurate prediction that many people will not even notice that they've been conned. Yes, Amazon will refund if you wise up and demand it but have a look at the hoops they make you jump through before that happens. The whole Prime thing was very carefully and deviously designed as a trap and it would be useful to know exactly how many people have unwittingly fallen into it.

Be warned! You are not paranoid. They actually are out to get you, without your knowledge.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


The portrait I've been working on, which is now finished, is of the brilliant cartoonist Steven Appleby. I've always loved his work, his comic strips for the Guardian and other publications, his books, his absurd/astute/surreal/absolutely real sense of humour, very much in tune with how I see things. It was the happiest of coincidences that he was one of the judges of the Laydeez Do Comics 2019 Award for a graphic novel-in-progress and that I won one of the awards.

Iit was fantastic to meet Steven at the prize-giving event at the Free Word Centre on 31 March this year and, of course, to know that he liked my work. I asked if I could paint his portrait. He agreed and we arranged times when he could come and sit for me. In between sittings I worked from some photos I took. 

I think my portrait captures something more inward than outward in his expression. Steven is a man who dresses as a woman. He transvests, not occasionally but all the time. It's who he is. I found this quality fascinating and enlightening. It made the issue of gender totally irrelevant and at the same time crucial. I don't feel there is anything odd or artificial about his appearance, on the contrary, it seems natural and beautiful to see male and female characteristics in one person. Here is Steven Appleby, cartoonist par excellence, proud to call him my friend.

Steven Appleby. NdA 2019. Oil on canvas. 50 x 61 cms (20 x 24 inches)

Monday, October 21, 2019


There's nothing like meeting someone in your actual real life when it comes to friendship. Social media friends are great and I'm truly greatfull (not a mis-spelling) for those I've got to know through this cybernetic window. But a window is just a window and social media is not actual society.

Yesterday afternoon I had the real live pleasure of a visit from Pamela Robertson Pearce. We've only met via Facebook before but her multi-dimensional presence in my own 3-D home space was something really special. She even matched the colours in some of my paintings.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


My absence from this blog should not be construed as absence from this planet. No no! Still plenty of time left on my dance card.....I hope.

 I have simply been busy wih a terrific new portrait (to be revealed next week) and various stupid hassles with (absent) teeth.

Thursday, October 10, 2019


Last  Thursdat night at David's Bookshop in Letchworth Garden City went really well. Wonderful bookshop, appreciative audience, generous help from everyone. In the first half of the evening John Gohorry read his Ile de Ré suite of poems, vignettes filled with seaside atmosphere, light and warmth.

In the second half, Dick Jones, Doug McGowan and I did our Blaise Cendrars thing: reading/video/music, all in harmony and synchronicity. The room was full and the applause sincerely enthusiastic. Later, people looked through a copy of the Old Stile Press livre d'artiste, our TransSiberian book, and understood the difference between a hand-produced limited edition and a mass-produced book. 

Got home after midnight after an odd train journey from Hitchin where I think I was the only passenger in the whole train. Tired but happy, sorry I forgot to take photos.


The other event I'm part of but, unfortunately will not be able to attend in person this time. is the 'Dear Christine' exhibition in Swansea at the Elysium Gallery opening on 4th October. I was at this exhibition's first showing in May this year at the Vane Gallery In Newcastle and posted photos of the private view.

Thanks to the unceasing efforts of Fionn Wilson, artist and creator-curator of this show, it is now on tour and will be in London early next year. Meanwhile, there will be poetry, music, film, talks, as well as Christine Keeler-related art works by twenty artists (including moi) at the Elysium Gallery - if you're in or near Swansea do not miss it.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Two events I'm participating in are coming up very close to each other. The first takes place on Thursday, 3rd October at David's Bookshop in Eastcheap, Letchworth Garden City. This occasion was organised by John Gohorry, poet in residence at the bookshop, who reads his ÎIe de Ré poems, accompanied by Doug McGowan on guitar. Below is the flyer.

The second part of the evening, with Dick Jones, Doug McGowan and myself, is a repeat of the 'performance' we put on at the London Review Bookshop on 6thJuly 2015 to launch the Old Stile Press publication of Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne de France. I've posted about this livre d'artiste before but you can see it all here. A few copies are still available.

I've also made a little trailer (see below). My full original video will be projected behind Dick's live reading and Doug's live guitar. Herewith links to the music composed and played by Doug for this presentation:



Yay!! Boris Johnson officially declared unlawfu!!
Yay!! Impeachment of Donald Trump may actually happen!
Yay!! Jeremy Corbyn could actually become Prime Minister!
Yay!! There's a light at the end of the tunnel!
Yay!! There may not even be a tunnel!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


Whether you believe the universe was designed by Richard Dawkins, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, an accidental merger of incompatible ideas or none of the above, ultimately we just want to talk about ourselves and I must tell you that it's not fair.

Why, at the relatively young age of ninety, should I suddenly be attacked by some of the slings and arrows of so-called "Old Age" when, up to now, due to my exceptionally good genetic CV I was guaranteed immunity? Don't tell me I didn't read the small print because up to yesterday...YESTERDAY.. I could and did read the small print on everything, food, cosmetic labels, advertisements, terms and conditions etc. 

Yesterday, in an eye-testing room at a local hospital, a doctor looked into my eyes and said, enthusiastically: Yes indeed you have cataracts in both eyes as well as some age-related symptoms.

Patiently, I explained that I am an Artist and that my excellent eyesight has been my life-long pride, joy and necessity. The doctor speaks softly into a microphone attached to his computer and gives it information. He then tells me I'll get a letter in a couple of months with an appointment for cataract surgery in the left eye and then a couple of months later, for the right eye. On the form I take to the desk on my way out he has written "Artist" under "Occupation".

Self-Portrait 2018

Friday, September 20, 2019


Another tooth kicked the bucket today, the dentist's bucket. This leaves me seven wonky ones of my own and one more pretender to be added but not before next week because, you know, these things take time.

The current landscape of my inner mouth looks like Stonehenge with larger gaps, less symmetry and no ancient myths. I will embarass myself by taking a selfie but use your imagination (if it's not otherwise employed at the moment) to get the full inside picture.

Have just consumed half a tub of coffee ice cream in memory of the choppers I've lost over the years. Good riddance you badly designed bastards.

Monday, September 16, 2019


Street party in my neighbourhood, always a joyous occasion organised by the people, for the people, with the people, weather cooperating brilliantly yesterday.

Great home-cooked food, wonderful music by Kentish Town band the Sandersons, magic show for the kiddies, dog show for the doggies, live spiders, snakes and bees for children and adults to learn from, Scottish dancing to prance to, film show and much more, all on the street where I live.

The party has taken place on this particulart street every September for the past twenty years. Yesterday was its anniversary, Long may it continue to live and enliven the community.