I don’t know why this became known as Borchid. We just started calling it this, for fun. It’s a picture of Bee orchids on Reigate Hill looking in the general direction of Box Hill. I was asked to do this for Caroline, a field botanist who has happy memories of this place. And although it isn’t my usual thing, I found it enjoyable. I’m assured that Caroline likes the picture. Phew.
At the moment I am beginning to work on a piece for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who happened to see my work in a surgery while visiting Bridport. I received an invitation to his house, deep in the Devon countryside. Hugh explained that he normally buys artwork from people he knows and likes, rather from just anyone with a reputation. Good start, I guess! It was lovely to meet his family.
The kitchen was long and big and as you would expect from a chef with a shelf of his own cookery books. Lots of jars and bottles and a lovely old oven, plus plenty of cooking utensils!
Hugh liked the idea of a family portrait looking as natural as possible with the family around the kitchen doing what they usually do – the kitchen being the place where they spend most of their time and where, unsurprisingly, there is plenty of interest in the culinary arts! While I was there, one of his boys began filleting a fish while the other prepared a pesto sauce.
I managed to get some good ideas and get some decent images and I really appreciate the free hand that I have been given to create my own work
The end of last year was such a rush. Especially having to put together four new paintings for The Discerning Eye exhibition. The Exhibition was not a complete success, for me, though I did manage to sell one picture (Head on a Plate). There was such a lot of good work on show – and although I was a little disappointed at the positioning of my pictures (they were scattered high and low) I was very pleased overall to have been part of things.
At the moment I’m working on a couple of private commissions.
Last week I was lucky enough to be able to visit Clyde & Co to see my artwork on display; and to see the amazing work of the other artists chosen for their annual exhibition. I was not allowed to take pictures of any of the amazing work on display. But the building, St Botolph’s in the city, is worth a visit, just to go up and down in the lift! There are two lifts in each,er, column, which is pretty unusual. They’re colour-coded and I was told they never bump into one another. Phew!
Still going on with work for the Discerning Eye Exhibition. I am pleased with the way Sirens is going, so far. The Sirens are a little strange, in a way. I don’t want them to seem anthropomorphic, in a Disney way. Somehow they have to seem rougher and more natural. We are women, we are birds. It is a hard thing to do well. I want to get over the weirdness of the music of the sea. And I also want the old man of the sea, as I call him, to seem both modern and ancient. I think that the fairly modern clothes and bare feet should do the trick. But again, I’m not sure. It’s a kind of experiment, in a way, though I have not time to experiment, really. But all I can do for this exhibition is paint what is in my head as best I can, just get it out there. Hopefully, in the future there will be an opportunity to come back to these ideas.
I’ve got an idea that I’m working on for a new picture. I love the idea of sirens. And there are so many good pictures, already. They tend to fall into two camps:
There is the William Etty glamour-girl style of siren. Plenty of examples of this kind of thing.
And then there is the Waterhouse siren, much more sinister, somehow, relating back to the images seen on Greek vases. There’s also a painting by Victor Vasnetsov in this latter tradition, called Sirens: the song of joy and sorrow (or something like that!)
It’s this latter one that I’m planning my painting around. I like to think of a battered hero, adrift or tied to a post, still being taunted by these creatures…
Long way to go yet, but here’s an early image of the idea.