Friday, 28 October 2011

Small Piazza Painting

Piazza (work in progress)

I never tire of painting bits of Venice and my impression is that people never tire of seeing paintings of Venice. This first stage went quite quickly but proved difficult to photograph. In part, this is because, on a whim, I decided to use gold oil paint in the mix for the main building. It reflects very well, of course, but rather too well for the camera. Once it's covered (no Gustav Klimt here!), it should be easier to photograph.


Driftwood (Charcoal and pastel on cartridge paper)

In an idle moment in the studio yesterday I came across a bit of scrap paper and decided to see what I might make of this image of driftwood I'd seen on Holy Island. The paper was a bit lacking in tooth, so the pastel didn't take well, but I think I see something here that may work its way into a painting.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Sad News

I learned recently form Jamie Sutherland, the owner of the Di Rollo Gallery in Edinburgh, that his father died suddenly in September. It was his dad whom Pat and I first talked to when we were checking out galleries last March and he was such a friendly man that we instantly felt comfortable being there, not always the case in galleries.

On the few occasions when we met him subsequently, he confirmed our first impressions. Our condolences are offered to Jamie and his mother.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tram with Prickly Pear (Soller)

Tram with Prickly Pear (Soller) (Oil on canvas, 24 x 24 ins.)

And there it is. When I stopped working last night I thought I would have to do just a little more today, but I find I'm satisfied with it the way it is.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Prickly Too

Tram and Cactus (work in progress)

More work done on the cactus, a really enjoyable task. There's such a great opportunity to find colour within the overall greenness of the plant.

Next: development of the tram passengers and adjustment of the windows which seem to have become differently sized.

Sunday, 16 October 2011


Tram and Cactus (work in progress)

Although I'm making some tentative, slow progress towards a new, or at least different direction, nothing seems good enough to post right now.

What is occupying me at the moment is this new painting. Although I intend to show older work - the Vaporetto and Tram series - in the upcoming XIV show, I thought I should make the effort to submit at least one new painting. This is an image I made from a photograph of one of the trams of Soller together with one of the local prickly pear cactus.

I started it on Friday night and painted more on Saturday afternoon. Too wet to work on it today, but I think it's going to be finished in time for handing in next Friday. And I think it has the potential to be a good one, but then I'm biased.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Lest you you should think I've fallen into the Slough of Despond or simply fled the field, I'm taking advantage of a day when my computer is working, to post some details of this upcoming show I'm taking part in. With luck, the computer problems I'm having will be resolved today, or at least by next week.

Meanwhile, here's Bill Varley on the exhibition:

'The fourteen artists featured in this exhibition were mostly participants in a university sponsored course I ran and when its four years were over, they chose to continue - for twenty years or so. Over time, some have left the group whilst others have joined: the injection of new blood has invariably been rejuvenating. They are diverse in their backgrounds: some are fine art graduates, others are post graduates; some are teachers, and there is even a sprinkling of civil servants. What unites them is the belief that art is indivisible: there is not one kind of art practised by the masters and a lesser art practised by everyone else. As a result they work with the utmost seriousness, informing themselves by visiting exhibitions, acquiring a knowledge of relevant examples and patiently and undogmatically developing their own form and content.

As a result the work that they have produced is also diverse. There is everything from precise evocations of Tyneside landscape to clotted painterly hints of domestic interiors, studies of swirling dynamics of water to post modern abstractions which are hybrids of wallpaper patterns and sprayed and splashed paint. (Their great grandfather was surely Kandinsky.) Add to this biblical narratives and painting which share the metaphysical speculations of Caspar David Friedrich and you have a very rich mix.

The painters are not, you will have guessed, novices. Indeed they share with the former distinguished Director of BBC's Radio 3, John Drummond, something invaluable. When a young suit at the Corporation explained to him that his services were no longer required, Drummond asked to know why. "Because you are tainted with experience." replied his assassin. Drummond was so tickled by this that he made it the title of his autobiography. I am pleased to report that the fourteen are similarly tainted.'

--William Varley

The show runs from 1st to 30th of November (open Tuesday to Thursday, 12 -5pm). Opening Reception is on Wednesday 2 November 12 - 2pm.