Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Night Watch

When I was young I used to slide into my Wellington boots, grab a torch and venture out into the dark woods that encircled our home. There always seemed a stillness at night, apart from the almost imperceptible snuffling of Hedgehogs or the brush of the Badgers stroll. I would Illuminate Tawny Owls perched on the high branches of Beech trees and observe Tiger moths resting on forests of Rosebay Willowherb. my wanderings would not take me far from home but such a distance from the bright transparency of my daytime excursions. Some times the Moon would light my way and I could walk silently down to the rivers edge and watch the faint trembling flight of Pipistrelle Bats and Sea Trout, their nose upstream, waiting for any insect floating down the murky water.
It is incredible what there is to see at night, that is once your eyes have become adjusted to the darkness . On late summer evenings the magical flickering dance of nocturnal moths, their presence lit by the farms window lamps, their camouflaged wings exposed against the black curtain of the sky. Beetles scurry to avoid the eager tongues of my ponds frogs and the Golden Rudd weave elegantly around the lily pads.
For the last year or so I have been trying to capture some of these nightly happenings. In a way, shining a light on the magic of darkness. Sometimes my own colour palette makes dark images. All too difficult to hang on the neutral based walls of a country house. To me though they might simply hang like a window at night. One from which if your lucky enough might reveal the beauty of raven black and some of the life that inhabit it. Some where in a field near to where we live, Harebells light up and Bees and Crane-fly and Ladybirds and voles, declare a truce and gather round its glow. Hush, go quietly and don't tell a soul.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Love and Respect

As the last few years of hard work and artistic development are reaching fruition, in the sense that the work itself is becoming more confident and assured, I have found that sales are increasing and awareness that I even exist is the rather happy result. I am by no means self sufficient yet, but with luck and the help of my best friend, Mary, we do hope some day to be able to pay our bills on time and reduce our somewhat long working days. We still get excited by a single sale, whether its a large painting or a few cards. They are as we believe 'small victories' and certainly give me more confidence to reach ever deeper and produce work that I am proud of.
All this said, like most Artists pursuing their 'selfish' fate, they would achieve very little without the support, encouragement and hard work of their loved ones. i have known and loved Mary for 12 years now. She has often settled my painting supply bills, driven for miles to deliver work that was worth less than the cost of the petrol, spent hours day after day building my web site..... The list could go on and on. I have paid her very little. I do pick up the bar tab but her wine is cheap and my whiskeys large. I do give her paintings that I am dissatisfied with....One might say she has the worst collection of MR work around. To add insult to injury, this year I finally found the courage to ask for her hand in marriage hoping that the rest of her body might approve also. I am glad to say it did. I am hoping that the work i produce will in my own way exemplify, the optimistic and ever growing love I have for this friend and that my sales will in some way go toward a furthering of an exciting life shared.. up until now she has only received paintings whilst giving in return the most precious jewel, her Time.
Much respect to Her.

Hobnobbing with Royalty

On the 21st of July, His Royal Highness Prince Edward, opened the 'Forge Studios and Art Gallery' in Allendale. I was commissioned to produce a journal cover to mark this special occasion and as way of a thank you and as a memory of a wonderful day. The Journal represented a months work and was Hand carved and painted and is entitled 'All the beautiful creatures of the North'. It references the fauna and wildlife that can be seen locally. The inside plates details the Royal crest of Wessex and the flag of Northumberland in the form of butterflies. During the five minutes or so that I spent with the Prince, he showed a keen interest in the craft of leather carving and expressed his delight in receiving the gift, promising to use it regularly. As a member of the 'Forge' project my work, both carved leather and paintings can be seen throughout the year in Allendale.
All in all a perfect day.