Friday, 30 April 2010


The South London Women Artists Group had a fascinating visit to see this small museum, near Russell Square tube station, in Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury.
The museum is not in the original building that was designed for the Foundlings in the 18th century, but nevertheless it was extremely interesting to read about the philanthropic gentlemen including William Hogarth and Captain Corum, who started up the charity.
Even more interesting was the work on show of Paula Rego, one of our top women artists in London, who has made a series of pastels and an installation with reference to the Foundlings. As usual her images shock and surprise, scenes of rape, and giving birth outside under a lonely moon, putting babies in a well, and generally ill-treating young women. I found the preliminary images downstairs in the basement particularly disturbing, without an element of humour which has lightened the earlier work of Rego.
Also in this temporary exhibition at the Foundling was some monotype drawings by Tracey Emin, some installations by her of baby clothes, and some excellent photographs by Matt Collishaw.
We were a small group of artists, and the visit was organised by the wonderfull Julie Bennett. After looking at the museum, some of us had a very good snack in the museum cafe which I can recommend.

Thursday, 29 April 2010


The South London Women Artists group exhibition Private View was last night. The gallery was the Bankside Gallery, Hopton Street, London near the Tate Modern Gallery.
Masses of people arrived towards the end of the evening.
At first it was just possible to look at the art work, and have wine and salmon nibbles, but later it was just very hectic. Atmosphere electric, everybody talking and enjoying the buzz.
I sold my painting on show, Smithfield Nocture Cycling, which was very good news for me.
This painting you can see on my web site,

The exhibition ends on Monday next, 3 May, so get along quick. A total of 16 works have so far been sold.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


The London Marathon is great!
One of my photo will be attached later but I went there to do a drawing of the event, so I can make a painting fairly soon. But it rained!
Despite the forecast weather being very hot, it did rain so my drawing got very splodgy and I had to stop.
Took a lot of photos though, and some are on my Flickr page.

I went up The Mall early Sunday morning while it was still busy with the children who had run races first, from all over the UK. I think it was a 4 kilometer race.
Up by the Buckingham Palace the road was blocked of course, with metal barriers, and there were security guards (friendly ones). People started to mass all along the road side and climbed on the base of the huge scupture of Queen Victoria in the middle of the road.
First the wheelchair winners came past - the Brit favourite did not come along as he had two tyre punctures. Then the women elite runners, two Russian women won, then the men elite runners - this was the exciting bit. We could see the race before the runners made it round the corner, because there was a screen up by the park, showing the course. The Ethiopian guy who won was running with huge power and determination - he is a small man, apparently 5ft 2 inches.
After that, I walked back and took photos of all the red medals and red plastic bags waiting for the mass competitiors to claim them. Everywhere was written up 'Virgin Money' - over and over again.
The St James Park looked smashing, green and delicious, with deckchairs out but it was too damp to sit there.

Monday, 12 April 2010


This exhibition was not on for very long and was excessively popular. Of course I thought I should be able to go on a day that was not attracting huge queues but this was not to be the case.

Sunday was the day I decided upon. Getting there just before it opened at 10 am, the queue supervisors told us that we would have to wait at least two and a half hours. Here is a picture of the Royal Academy queue.

Finally inside, it was well worth a visit, but what difficult conditions! It was crammed with people, and not just people but children and babies as well (are children people?). In addition, those people were quite often making mobile phone calls. The noise was most distracting - why not have special viewing days for people who want to make mobile phone calls, and bring the younger members of their family?

From what I managed to see, peering through the throng, there were some spectacular paintings and drawings. It was excessively interesting to see the change from the early work in Holland, dark and depressing as it was, and over a course of a few years to the work of Van Gogh's last works in Provence and last of all in France. I wondered if the artist had a sense of humour which would have appreciated the crazy situation of his popularity now compared to his poverty and sadness during his life, at lack of sales of his paintings.

I talked to a visitor there who said his letters had been read on the BBC radio and they showed a light hearted and humorous person, so I am glad he was not always in a state of despondency.


Craigie Aitchison bought my dad's Triumph Herald car.
This is a photo of the car, by the village cross in Leigh, Dorset, taken years ago.

We were living then near Wimbledon Chase in South London and I advertised the vintage Triumph Herald for sale.
There was very little interest because the car was old, and I had to state that there was a bit of rust, with various faults that needed attending to, although I had driven it back from Dorset with no problems. My dad, being an engineer, had cared for it lovingly and it had been re-sprayed. He had bought it new in 1958.

Craigie arrived at my door with his little Bedlington terrier dog, wearing one of the ties that he designed and which you can buy at the Royal Academy shop. He liked the car because it was a stylish white and red, and it had the small half-lights in the front windows. This, he said, was the deciding factor because his dog liked to ride with his head out of the window. By then I had recognized him for the famous artist that he was.

We delivered the car a few days later to the tall terrace house in a square in Kennington, not far from the Imperial War Museum. We were hospitably welcomed and admired the lovely, cluttered room where Craigie had amassed so many extraordinary objects. He complained mildly that when journalists came to interview him, they were more interested in his collections, such as Scotty dog electric fires, than they were in his art.

I wish now that I had asked for a painting in exchange for the car, instead of money, but then we were hard up, as usual.

Craigie said "I think being an artist is all about being able to do whatever one wants to do".

Sunday, 11 April 2010


I plan a new painting of the scene at Putney when the 2010 boat race took place. Did quite a lot of photos of the excitement.
Oxford and Cambridge boat race, Putney, 2010.

The riverside had been dressed with bunches of Cambridge blue and Oxford blue balloons and streamers, but otherwise nothing very exciting had been laid on to make the riverside more festive. There was a music festival at Putney though, which meant that a lot of pubs and restaurants had extended licences with music going on until late evening. Also barbecues were fashionable, although mostly indoors!

No rain, so people were strolling and sitting with the beers, some evening trying out a Pims to start the social season. I saw the race crews arrive, and enter the two rowing clubs to get ready. To let you into a secret, I then went home and watched the actual race on the TV, to get a good view. It was exciting, with Cambridge coming up from a poor position, and at the end the cox was thrown into the icy Thames!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010



Just want to tell you about my good friend Julie Bennett. She has been a great friend since we were both at Kensington and Chelsea College.
I am so impressed with her designing skills - she creates wonderful artwork for galleries and exhibitions.
She also is a painter, and is getting very well known as one of the up and coming artists to watch!
But just as important, she has great warmth and a wonderful friendly face.

At present she is finishing a second degree at Camberwell College of Arts. Have a look at this web entry which I have just discovered: Julie Bennett

Sunday, 4 April 2010


I produced a painting of Boat Race day at Putney some years ago, before the area around the bridge had been smartened up and totally spoilt, probably by the local council, Wandsworth.
There used to be a little cafe with adverts outside, for Tizer and Swan Vesta and other things which link me back to childhood, or at least my children's childhood. Now there is a swish modern building selling Thai food, and all the grotty banners and salesmen selling rosettes which used to be there on Boat Race Saturday are no longer.

Here is a picture of the original painting - see image at top of this post.
I am also putting on here a photo of the Putney bridge area as it is today.

I am going to work on a new Boat Race painting shortly - a 2010 version -



Dominic Lawson has a brilliant article in The Sunday Times newspaper, brilliant because I agree with everything he days about the proposed public art by Anish Kapoor for the Olympics 2012.

Here is a link to the article The tower and the Olympic curse.

Particularly interesting is what he says about the bad effect the Olympic games has on tourism in Greece and Australia, and the way we Londoners are having to finance the event, like it or not, and getting very little for it.

He includes a quote from Anish Kapoor who, writes Lawson: 'said he had "referenced" the Tower of Bable when devising his 377ft structure. I'm not sure what he meant - modern artists describing their work tend to defy all attempts at comprehension - ' How true!
I can never make head nor tail of a lot of the 'art speak' attached to pieces in many galleries.

Mr Lawson also points out the disgraceful closure of more than 50 state-school sports fields, which have been sold off, with ministerial approval.

Hopefully I will be able to attend an event (I say 'an event' because of the cost) but have little hope of being able to get a seat where I can make drawings or photographs with reference to painting the sports, which is what I would like to do. I have found no way of expressing my interest of providing such pictures of our London Olympics.

Friday, 2 April 2010


Here is a link to previous posts about art exhibitions and galleries in London, Madrid and Berlin, posted from 2008.


Thursday, 1 April 2010


These are my top seven which I want to visit in the near future, but not in order of excellence! What are your top seven?

The Foundling Museum, Brunswick Square, London WC1 1AZ
Permanent exhibition including works by William Hogarth
Paula Rego, Tracey Emin, Matt Collishaw: At the Foundling
Open: Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 11-5
ends 9 May
The museum is in Bloomsbury
Foundling Museum

Francis Kyle Gallery, Maddox Street, London
Paul Hogarth
Open M/F 10 - 6, Saturday 11 - 5
ends 15 April
The gallery is in Mayfair
Francis Kyle Gallery

National Portrait Gallery, London
Irving Penn portraits
Open daily 10-6, and to 9 pm Thurs/Fri
ends 6 June
The gallery is at the end of Charing Cross Road

National Portrait Gallery, London
The Indian Portrait
Open 10-6, and to 9 pm Thurs/Fri
ends 20 June
The gallery is at the end of Charing Cross Road

Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ
Francis Bacon: In Camera
Open Tues/Sun 11 - 5
ends 20 June
web site includes an interview with Francis Bacon
The house of Compton Verney is a stately home, open to the public, best reached by road
Compton Verney

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Dulwich, London
Paul Nash: The Elements
Open Tues/Sun 10 - 5
ends 9 May
The gallery is in a beautiful building designed by Sir John Soan, in Dulwich Village
Dulwich Picture Gallery

Topolski Century - Feliks Topolski
150-152 Hungerford Arches, South Bank, London SE1 8XU
Open M/F 11-7 and Sunday 12-6
Ongoing exhibition
The exhibition is in one of the railway arches very near to Waterloo Station and the Royal Festival Hall
Feliks Topolski