Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Turning my attention to....

CYPRUS. Larnaca this time round.

My pictures pictures are now with the Qsand Gallery in Morecambe ready for the exhibition that opens on October3.

My studio is looking a lot clearer now the main body of work has gone. Now I can concentrate on deciding what I'm going to do in Cyprus. (1) Develop further the Hellenic series such as this Amazon/Artemis image.

(2) Work on the "Cretan Ship" which I've done a few preliminary sketches for. These are based on a replica the "Kyrenia II" which put in to Paphos recently and with a little bit of luck may be in Larnaca ere I arrive.

Now that the more settled weather in England is giving the lie to our ingloriously wet summer, and I am looking forward to a bit of sunshine in the Eastern Mediterranean, what's the news I get?

Cypriots overjoyed at listening to water gurgling down their gutters! After a dry year its raining! At least its warm rain.

Well, I'll be there on Friday so posts may be a bit infrequent unless the studio internet is up and running. Otherwise its internet cafes which don't come cheap.
Καλιμερα. Cheers!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Choral Evensong

One of my favourite programmes on BBC Radio3 is the Sunday afternoon broadcast of Choral Evensong relayed from some Cathedral and sometimes University chapel like King's at Cambridge or Christ's at Oxford.
"And what is a Buddhist doing listening avidly to a Christian Church service?" you may ask.
When I was about nine years old, nearly sixty years back, I was a chorister at the local church in Sunderland. It was through this I developed a love of sacred music. I remained a chorister until well into my teenage years by which time this particular treble (or boy soprano as those across the Pond call it) had transmogrified into a bass. I just love the settingsof the Responses and Canticles along with the Psalms. As it happens, this musical tradition has been taken up somewhat by the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives so even at Throssel it is a home-from-home in this respect. It may be some time I guess, before the John Stainers, George Stanfords, Olivier Messians, or J.S.Bachs of Buddhism begin to emerge.

Sometimes the BBC broadcasts from Lancaster's Priory Church shown here. It stands on Castle Hill behind the Castle itself. They weren't broadcasting from there today but I thought it would be nice to go along for a live Evensong for a change. I wasn't disappointed. The settings by Orlando Gibbons were used and the Anthem was a piece by Palaestrina. The exeunt voluntary on the organ was J.S.Bach's Wachet Auf.

What better way to end a Sunday spent in the Studio?

The Culmination?

Its all coming together at last. The work for my upcoming exhibition at Qsand in Morecambe which I'm sharing with local artist Ben McLeod is now ready. All fourteen pieces are framed and wrapped, catalogued etc. and all that remains is for them to be transported to the gallery tomorrow morning. A friend of mine with a transit van is helping out here. The gallery are hanging the show on September 29 by which time I'll be in Larnaka in the Republic of Cyprus.

It seems to be the story of my artistic life this year, every time I have an exhibition I miss the opening party because I'm elsewhere. But I will be back in Blighty before this show closes so I will get a chance to have a look.

The studio is very busy just now. There are another four of our number with exhibition deadlines to meet in this next week or so. Among other things ideas for my work are flooding in. I'm working on new interpretations of my Sea Pictures which you can glimpse on this picture of my studio space seen from the doorway. I envisage these elongated pictures becoming long horizontal canvasses about a metre or so long by about 30 cms high. There are ideas for more conventional formats where only part of the picture is coloured and the rest is b&w. Like this sketch here.

Then there are the Hellenic figures, - drawings of sculptures made around 500 BC to the arrival of Rome. I was never quite sure what to do with these but I knew how I wanted to paint them. But I think I've arrived at a solution; long tall narrow canvasses, life size.

Now there's no way I can get all this done in Cyprus. Well I can but the cost of transporting large work back to England would prove prohibitive. So the time spent in Cyprus will be spent furthering this line of research and enquiry. Also, there is a commission to paint for a client in Crete. We shall meet up in Cyprus and decide in proper Greek fashion over a coffee how this is to be done.

Oh, and I do have to help with a bit of teaching at the Cyprus School of Art. I don't think there'll be much time for lazing on the beach. Which may be just as well because I learnt today that it has been raining the last few days. But temperatures are still up in the low thirties. I don't mind warm rain.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Happy Chappie

That's me. I saw the G/P a couple of days ago for my annual check-up. I had a blood test a few days before, and after checking weight, pulse, BP, etc. the doctor's verdict reads, "A fit 68 year old with the body of a fifty-eight year old."

Nice to know. It made my day.

There's life in the old git yet.

Just about sorted

Thirteen of the fourteen works are now ready for transfer tothe gallery on Sept 22. The last on is the one shown here. It is called "Surf" and was painted in 2002. The edging needs tidying up a bit and a bit of retouching is needed in the top right corner. This is by far the largest piece of work by me in the exhibition. It is 48" (120 cm) square. Painted in acrylic on board.
There is something of a logistical problem in that my wife's car is a Toyota Yaris and as far as I can guess there is no way a four foot square painting is going to fit in.
At the moment the painting takes up almost all of one wall in my studio while I work on it.