This week has been a good solid week in the studio. I go for my swim, go for a coffee and look at the sea and then get down to the studio.

This week has been about planning and developing. And a little bit of printmaking as I am teaching print at Rochester. So, I did some colour mono prints and a reductive relief lino cut to make sure that I could teach it properly (for tomorrow). It was also a nice thing to do to get some of my ideas out of my sketchbook and into some kind of form. I have been a bit frustrated with how conventional my compositions have been, and they need to be more challenging and quirky. So the monoprints allowed me to take a few risks and gave me some new ideas.

I was also keen to get down some of the information I has sketched in my books from all the early morning train journeys: the dawn skies and mythical lanscapes flying past. And also the quirkyness of all those little provincial railway stations. So out came my watercolours for the first time since about March and I proceeded to produce about a dozen quite complex comps and studies. It was nice to see them emerge as I did not expect them to. It is lovely when that happens, especially whe you are not quite sure where they came from.

Another thing happened this week which was quite fortuitous. My Niece, Mae, (7 going on 16) is studying L S Lowry at school and was asked to find out something about him. I am afraid that dreadful 70’s song ‘matchstalk cats and dogs’ had marred my (and probabaly may others) interest in his work. But when I started to look up his work on the internet, I found work which I had forgotten about and saw what a sophisticated interpreter of human life he was. Wonderful paintings.

Talking of wonderful paintings, today I received an invite for a show of my good friend, Joe Fan’s paintings at the the Thackeray Gallery in London. Opening on the 12th October, running to the 29th. I have followed Joe’s work since we both started being lecturers together at Gray’s School of Art in the early 90s. You simply must go and see it. Here is an example:


Joe Fan Constrction for a Dream, Oil on Canvas, 44”×42”

Also, another wonderful figurative painter in Aberdeen, Barry McGlashan has just added new work on his web site, some of which you can see at his solo show at the John Martin Gallery next April. I especially love his new painting The Final Hours.