Saturday, November 30, 2019

STEVEN APPLEBY'S PORTRAIT GOES HOME

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

FURTHER BACK

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

STILL LOOKING BACK

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.
aption

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

MORE FROM OLD BLUE CHEST

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

OLD BLUE TREASURE CHEST

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

CORBYN/JOHNSON ELECTIONEERING DEBATE

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

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

What if nothing is ever random?






Wednesday, November 13, 2019

THINK ABOUT IT

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

THE RIGHT WORDS

"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.

Monday, November 04, 2019

FACE-MAKING

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





Saturday, November 02, 2019

MAKING SPACE

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

FRANCES MCDOWALL R.I.P.

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.
https://vimeo.com/289765518

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.