'Audrey' Acrylic on canvas 12" x 9" 2012
Anyone who has bothered to read my Biography & FAQs page may be puzzled by the sudden appearance of a portrait of the blessed Audrey Hepburn seeing as I was so dismissive about the plethora of images of her currently doing the rounds. All I can say in my defence is that this image is based on a publicity shot for the sweetly funny Roman Holiday rather than the truly horrible Breakfast at Tiffany's (hey folks, prostitution can be cool!). Plus it's (nearly) Christmas and if ever there was a time to indulge in some naked crowd pleasing commercialism, that time is now. So Audrey will be making her first appearance next Sunday 16th December in Tavistock's Pannier Market at the final Bank Square Arts Market of the year. She'll be joined by some other ladies of note, such as the immortal Louise Brooks, the divine Katherine Hepburn and the incomparably sexy Veronica Lake. All before they make an appearance here or in my Etsy shop so be there or be square! Cards and prints will also be on sale, as will a very few exclusive 'Stan & Ollie' T shirts. And for one day only there will be 10% OFF normal web prices for all original paintings.
It was probably Oscar Wilde who said something like, 'nothing distresses me more than the success of my friends' (and it was definitely me that said, 'you can waste your time googling misremembered quotations, I can't be arsed.'). But this is an example of a rare instance where the blessed Oscar (or whoever) and I are not in agreement. I actually get a kick out seeing those of my acquaintance (whether perfunctory or perpetual) doing well, getting on the world or otherwise achieving things that I haven't yet got round to. Such as being a prizewinning poet and Booker shortlisted novellist like Gerard Woodward who gets a whole page to himself in today's Guardian Review.
I was at Falmouth with Gerard in the early eighties and have fairly vivid memories this particular scene,
'The climax of his abortive artistic career was the construction of a "giant rubbish tip with a sausage roll on the top, and the names of tutors on various bits of litter: my clumsy way of saying the college was crap and the canteen was the only good thing about it.'
I didn't necessarily share his views at the time (personally, I was having the time of my life), other than about the excellence of the canteen but I could definitely see where he was coming from.
The last time I met Gerard was one of those surreal occasions where we were both in the middle of doing something else and were introduced to each other by someone who I knew slightly and he not at all. The resulting three way conversation (with added time constraints) was a puzzle to all of us. It's one of the few discernible benefits of facebook that I've been able to make contact with him again and been able to blag a freebie of his new poetry collection , The Seacunny. Not only that but he has kindly inscribed it with the unique dedication 'To Dave (not for resale on ebay)'. Incidentally, that Booker nomination was for 'I'll Go To Bed At Noon' one of the few books that I've actually bought multiple copies of to give to friends (although they were from Poundland, sorry Gerard). I'm tempted to wonder if the single anonymous 1 star review on the Amazon page was from a disgruntled ex tutor from Falmouth.
Anyway, enough with plugging other people's work, make a date in your diary for Sunday 16th December when The Picture Palace will be at Bank Square Arts Market's final event before Christmas, undercover and in the warm (I'm happy to say) at Tavistock Pannier Market. New work, cards and a maybe a little tinsel will be on offer.
I've been working on a couple of large pictures of one of my heroes lately (the illustration on the left being a not very good phone snap of a detail of one them). If you don't recognise the face I can hardly blame you, Harry Relph is no longer the household name he once was. Before Chaplin he was probably Britain's first globally known superstar. A cinematic pioneer and recording artiste, the highest paid entertainer in Europe, star of the Folies Bergere , the man whose best known routine Jacques Tati described as 'a foundation for everything that has been realised in comedy on the screen' and whose stage name, far from being a tautology, actually gave the English language the word 'tich' meaning 'tiny'. Ladies and gentlemen I am proud to present, the incomparable 'Little Tich'.
For the moment the wraps are still on for the destination of these paintings but I'm hoping that they are going to get some significant online exposure, probably before I post them in full to this site, so keep an eye out for further announcements here. In the meantime here's the man himself in that routine that Tati was talking about (which also happens to be probably the oldest piece of synchronised sound film still in existence), enjoy!
A new post and less than a month to wait for it, you must have been good to merit this! Anyway, in the previous post I mentioned that I was about to watch the Olympics Opening Ceremony and expressed the sentiment that it was likely to be 'a bit pants' in places. Soon to be Sir Danny Boyle, I was wrong, frankly I loved every minute of it (at least until Paul McCartney turned up at the end to take the shine off things). Sadly the closing ceremony couldn't match it and reverted to the default, 'we've got pop stars and we're going to use them' setting as seen in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations (is there anything that Annie Lennox won't turn up to?). The star of both shows for me was undoubtedly the other Beatle at the feast. Lennon's 'Come Together' was eerily performed by the Arctic Monkeys at the opening ceremony and Lennon's own version of 'Imagine' was interpreted by a signing choir at the closing ceremony. Both accompanied by some of the most impressive visuals of their respective events. And the two weeks sport in between the two shows was pretty good too!
So, team GB done good, world records were broken, a single school in Plymouth produced four Olympians, two of them medallists, the sun shone (mostly) and Bradley Wiggins was officially crowned as the new Modfather. What, you are asking yourself could he possibly find to complain about ...
I'll tell you, partly it's the graphics. We had several years to get used to the aberration that is the official London 2012 logo and it's accompanying gaffer taped, utterly useless typeface. Not being privy to the brief given to the designers (although I can imagine the words 'dynamism,' 'vibrancy' and 'inclusivity' being in there somewhere) we can only assume that it's demands were somehow met. And, in a way, it doesn't really matter what it looks like, the designers had a virtually blank slate on which to create a brand. Presumably the only elements that needed to be included were the words 'London 2012' and the Olympic Rings. We all know that the Olympic Rings should be different colours (to represent each of the five continents if memory serves, but essentially they're a trademark owned by the IOC) but there is enough precedent in the design elements of previous Olympic logos to justify incorporating a monochrome version in London's logo (and it would presumably have to have been OK'd by the IOC anyway). So, overall verdict, ghastly logo, truly horrible typeface, vile colourways but it gets the job even done whilst looking shit.
Now, compare and contrast Stella McCartney's official Team GB kit designs, which I'm sure we all admit looks the biz? Except, what's with the monochrome? That's the Union Flag, the banner of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and as such all of its elements, without exception, hold meaning. It is a piece of heraldry, not a logo, trademark or 'brand'. If you change one element, you change the whole and it loses meaning. Its significance does not lie solely in the shapes created by overlaying crosses and saltires. Simply because our Island nation(s) is blessed with a geometrically interesting flag does not imply that ignoring the coloured bits that don't fit your particular design idea is somehow OK. This is annoying enough when it occurs on the chintzy Chinese made patchwork 'Union Jack' scatter cushions that seem to be everywhere this year, when it happens at a global sporting event it's more than that. It means somebody somewhere didn't think it mattered enough to care.
However if Stella's feeling a bit got at, she's not the only guilty party. Step forward the English FA who commissioned their coat of arms, since used as a badge by the England football team, from the College of Arms in 1949. That's right boys, it's pukka heraldry, every element has meaning, including the colours, remember? So what the bloody hell does this mean then?
If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog and would like to moan at somebody about them I'll be at Tavistock's Bank Square Artist's Market on Saturday 1st September.
Yesterday I was reminded by a loyal reader of this blog (no, we're not related) that it was about time I blew the cobwebs off it and posted something new. And I was forced to agree with him, not because he's bigger than me (I reckon I could take him anyway) but because he was right. Since then I've been rehearsing an opening paragraph talking about depression and melancholia and ennui and other whiny bits of self justification for my inactivity and negligence which have all gone out of the window as soon as I sat down to type (not the actual depression, melancholia etc just the desire to talk about them here).
What has already happened today is that Paul Chambers' appeal against his conviction in the so called Twitter Joke Trial (#TwitterJokeTrial for all you social networking technophiles) has finally been upheld. Let's hope he now gets ample compensation for having his life ruined. And as an aside when are the bloody Yorkshire Post going to stop using the phrase 'bomb hoax' in connection with this case? There was never any bomb hoax, intention to hoax or mention of a bomb in his original tweet.
I expect you're getting bored with all this real world stuff by now and want to see a picture? Well, here you go.
'Sans Titre (apres Rene M)' 2012 Acrylic on canvas 12" x 9"
This is the latest in a line of what seems to have become an annual commission and will be winging it's way to a new (and hopefully appreciative home) round about tea time on Sunday.
In other news I'm happy to announce that RESURGAM now has a permanent home in St Andrew's Plymouth. The next Bank Square Arts Market will be Saturday 4th August. Please note that I will not be at the August event owing to it being my (and mrspicturepalace's) silk wedding anniversary that weekend (go one google how many years is 'silk', I had to). I will however return (in triumph) on September 1st.
I should also perhaps mention at this juncture that next year (2013) I will having my first one man show (cue modest applause) at Ivybidge's impressive Watermark Centre. It will be in the run up to Christmas so start saving your pennies now!
PS. If my use of the words 'melancholia' and 'ennui' at the top of this post conjured up a vision of some floppy haired Victorian romantic for you please dispel it from your mind. Depression in all it's forms (even the comparatively mild symptoms I've been experiencing recently) is quite simply a bugger, and no fun at all!
Yep, it's a Cliff Eurovision, quote, Rik from 'The Young Ones' would be proud of me. Two events (neither of which would normally trouble me) in the space of a week or so are occurring, or have already happened. The first, Eurovision, has come and gone without troubling my viewing habits in the slightest. I only mention it because of the Spanish entry's openly stated desire not to win because it would be too expensive to host next year's competition. Back in the early nineties when I attended the Celtic Film and TV Festival fairly regularly this was a common complaint from Irish film and programme makers, particularly when they won three times on the trot, as hosting the whole shebang apparently immediately swallowed 10% of RTE's annual production budget in one go. And irony is piled upon irony when one considers that the Spanish have a history of (allegedly) buying the contest to ensure a win. In fact in the very year that the sainted Cliff came second with 'Congratulations.'
The second event of note is naturally HM Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee or, to those of my generation the thirty-fifth anniversary of this going to number 2. In fact, at least as far as I remember it, this was another instance of official shenanigans as the 'Official' BBC/BRMB chart was allegedly rigged to make sure that arch royalist Rod Stewart remained at no. 1 whilst the Sex Pistols (who were of course banned by the BBC) remained at no. 2 to avoid embarassment to Her Majesty (God Bless Her!) and presumably those BBC and BRMB types in with a shout of a knighthood. All the other charts had them ahead by miles. By merest coincidence this weekend's 'once in a lifetime event' (the third jubilee I've experienced so far) coincides with the next Bank Square Arts Marketthis Saturday, back in the normal place following May's one-off excursion to Bedford Square. There will be bunting (but bring your own frolic), I will have a very large Union flag on my stall and there may be a special one-off, once in a lifetime, diamond jubilee special edition memento/souvenir type painting at the special jubilee price of £60, one for each of Betty Windsor's Sixty Glorious Years (if I can figure out what to paint and finish it in time).
Okay, I know the post title is a song from a Fred Astaire movie but wasn't Vivien Leigh absolutely beautiful? This picture is one of three, all from 'Lady Hamilton' (1941), Churchill's favourite film (there's an apocryphal story that he even wrote Nelson's speech about Napoleon/Hitler) and one of the few period propaganda pieces Britain produced during WWII. Being a typically British movie it was naturally made in Hollywood by Hungarians. Director and producer Alexander Korda got into trouble with both the US censors (for making about a film about an adultress) and the US Senate (for peddling British propaganda to neutral Americans). He got round the first by cutting in a scene where Nelson admits to his father he's been a bad boy and is very sorry (but only in the US release where the film was called 'That Hamilton Woman') and evaded the second by the fact that the US declared war on Germany the day before he was due to appear before a formal hearing (thanks to the Japanese and Pearl Harbor).
All three incarnations of the lovely Ms Leigh will be on show this Saturday at the Tavistock Arts Festival Arts Market in Bedford Square 9.00am - 4.00pm and at a very affordable price. I should also have some framed prints ready (at an even more affordable price!) but lets face it, you want the original don't you? Go on treat yourself, less than £50, what's not to like? Also making its debut will be 'Johnny Frenchman' (1945) which will probably be the nearest I get to producing a typical west-country subject in that it features a fishing boat.
In other news Resurgam continues its run at St Andrews Church, Plymouth until May 11th so hurry along, there's only a week to go. If you can't make it to Plymouth I can sell you a postcard at the market on Saturday (I did mention the Tavistock Arts Festival Arts Market didn't I?).
And finally, just thought I'd share this on the blog as well as the Links page, the British Council is digitising it's film collection and making it available online for streaming and legal download. 80 films from the 40's and 50's available so far here British Council Film Collection I'm just staying in for a while, I may be some time.
Apologies to Lennon and McCartney for the post title. But here I am (warning contains close up photo of artist looking.. um well I'm not sure really I was just trying to avoid the 'Gordon Brown smiles' effect) http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/Exhibition-inspired-determination-Blitz-hit-city/story-15838613-detail/story.html
Just a quick one to announce that 'RESURGAM' was safely installed at St Andrew's on Friday (13th!!!) and that the press launch is Monday at 11.00am. Come along if you're interested. I'll be there being sociable and trying to think of soundbites for the assembled multitudes of the fourth estate (assuming they turn up). 'RESURGAM' is being shown at the west end of the church at the foot of the tower and there will be postcards and suchlike. If you're too cheap to pay for a postcard there are 8" x 4" rack cards/flyers scattered all over town (last Friday's other job), try the City Museum and Art Gallery, Central Library, Plymouth Arts Centre, Tourist Information office and pretty well all the galleries in the Barbican if you want one of these rare (ie. I've given them all out), limited editions (I could only afford to get 100 printed). Here's a view of the painting as installed in the church (on it's own custom built easel no less!).
It's in extremely good company as the west end of the church is also home to one of John Piper's magnificent windows. I don't feel overawed at all!
Greetings, no Latin post title this time you'll be glad to see, we're back to the Godawful puns instead. Did you expect better of me?
OK, the exciting stuff first. As you can see from the picture 'Resurgam' is finally finished. Not only that but from Monday 16th April to Friday 11th May you can see it for yourself in the flesh at St Andrew's Church, Royal Parade, Plymouth. Which of course is only fitting as it was there that the whole 'Resurgam' meme was born before it did the wartime equivalent of 'going viral.' It was a member of St Andrew's congregation who first suggested I exhibit 'Resurgam' in the church itself back in September when I started work on it at the British Art Show 7 live event in Plymouth Piazza. Everyone I've spoken to at St Andrew's has been extremely helpful and encouraging about this project and I'm delighted to have this opportunity.
The church is open to visitors Mon - Fri 9.15am - 4.00pm and Sat 9.15am - 12.00pm and there will (fingers crossed) be postcards of 'Resurgam' available from the church gift shop (proceeds will go to St Andrew's rather than my pocket). So please drop in and take a look, even if you don't like my work it's a beautiful building and the John Piper windows are absolutely stunning.
In other news, I may also have a solo exhibition slot coming up at a well known Devon arts centre. Of which, no doubt, more later (but I'm really excited about this one!).
And so to the 'decor' aspect of the post. Yes, I've been decorating, seemingly for weeks. You know how it is, you think (or in my case are told), 'It's about time we did something about that appalling artexed ceiling in the living room'. So you find a plasterer, you move all the furniture out of the room, he plasters the ceiling, it takes a week or so to dry, it's painted, the room's still empty, and you think (or are told), 'We could do the whole room.' So you do, and three weeks later you've finished (almost). Having in the meantime re-lined the entire room from floor to ceiling (some of it twice, did you know you can get insulated lining paper which then needs to be papered over again before you can paint?), given everything two coats of paint and built a fire surround. And by the way B&Q, if you're listening, your one coat satin paint for woodwork takes over two days to dry (including using a de-humidifier), not 16 hours, 'doesn't do exactly what it says on the tin.' Anyway, nearly there.
Work in progress and other stuff that happens.