It was Fate, that brought me here ………


Fate: The Three Moirai.

Oil on Canvas, with found watch dials and sand built into the frame, Image size: 49,5 x 39.5cms., Fame size: 69.5 x 51 x 5cms. Completed January 2020, inscribed bottom left, signed on the land the tangle eft side of the canvas on stretcher frame.

The Moirai were three ancient Greek Goddesses who embodied the destiny and fate of everyone. They were Klotho, the spinner who spun the thread of life, Lahkesis who allotted the portion and Atropos who cut it short.

The three ribbons in the work allude to each of these facets of life and the tangle we struggle with daily. The spheres are symbols of life and living, and whilst much of the time I feel in control of my destiny the more I look back the more I see how much chance and circumstances play in our lives. Some choices we make will be successful and seem to be made completely by our will but they are also dictated by the circumstances around us at the time, and at other times it seems we cant achieve or get to where we want to be because of circumstances beyond our control.

in a few parts of the image the ribbons purposely do not follow the correct visual path and seem to go through what should be the solid vertical stripes of the background.

On a personal level I have never really had a destination or sacred achievement in mind for my life, just seem to enjoy the journey, but it is extremely important to me in my own way to try to leave the world a slightly better place than when I arrived all be it in a small way, and it will be a small way!  Sometimes when I see what is going on in the world I wonder if making art is a positive contribution, but this world is a wonderful place, so I keep trying. I am aware that for a great many people this is not the case but when I think about the complexity of the natural world with its diversity of species, the ability of man to create history through language and learning, (animals don’t have histories), and to develop the world though politics, this world, this universe never ceases to amaze me, and the very fact that I exist, given the random nature of reproduction over generations never mind the last three or four millennia or many generations is remarkable and able to contemplate this world and universe is something that inspires me. The world I aspire to better is more than just the physical world but the world as imagined by all humanity, how we see and deal with each other, how we see the universe, who decides what we are taught, how : and annotated by humanity. Making sense of this imagined world is what interests me and inspires me to make work.

These seems like “grand ideals” but they are in fact just life.

About the Work: The work is oil on canvas in a handmade frame with old pocket watch dials built into the top of the frame, the first of which I found on the beach nearby. Time is a human construct and has to pass for the “Fates” to act so the hands there are no hands the dials, there are four hands on the bottom left of the frame hinting at different timescales as to how and when things occur. In the painted image there are a few parts where the ribbons purposely do not follow the correct visual path and seem to go through what should be the solid vertical stripes of the background.

A Quiet Word ….. in your shell like!


Shells (01-04) in frames


I was collecting these with my grandson when I noticed the small kidney shape that is found in each shell, it is like they all have a very similar start in life but end up completely different because of the circumstances through which they develop. The circumstances may be very similar but the outcome for each individual is so different. It is the nature or nurture argument; I always think it is a good dose of nature followed by a great deal of nurture and that nurture is not always good. I listened to a scientist explaining the forces from which the entire universe developed recently, only four of them apparently, (this is one view only, I suspect there are many more), they are 1. The Strong Nuclear Force, 2. The Weak Nuclear Force, 3. Electromagnetism and 4. Gravity. It amazes me how such a complex place like the universe can develop from only four forces, where do mathematical formulae come from, were they created in the event they call the “Big Bang” or did they exist before, I have so many questions I will never know the answer to but I keep on looking and it is that search that I enjoy and invigorates me.

It seems there are so many examples of how our own lives develop but the shells one I found close to hand on the local beach, the ridges on the shells mark the passing of each year, the kidney shape the visible starting point and then washed up on a beach to be ground down to sand by the action of the waves. Kandinsky spoke of the “spiritual” in art he writes,” In each picture is a whole lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes and joys. Whither is this lifetime trending? What is the message of the competent artist? …To harmonize the whole is the task of art”.

This set of four paintings are my humble effort to show my own spirituality, that is not a religious spirituality, but a spirituality born out of experience and being, I cannot nor do I know from whence this comes but it is something I do experience, it is something inside me that art,  objects, places and people amongst other things that inspire me to make art.

Below are larger images of the individual paintings in their frames:



I’m Back!

Acrylic on panel

It’s been a year and two months since my last post, I have a condition called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, but was lucky enough to get on the transplant list and was given a left lung transplant in June this year. It has been a slower recovery process than I anticipated but I have been drawing regularly and the image above “September Evening, at Chapel St. Leonards” and is the first painting I have completed since the transplant. I live by the coast, I have for the past 30 years, and so I have used imagery and memories that were close at  hand to research and draw upon. A few friends have had beach huts here and I have enjoyed many good days with them on the beach. The image below “Beach Huts, Chapel St. Leonards” is the second completed from a series of six I will complete.

Acrylic on panel.

Hope you enjoy them and if you have any comments about the work would love to hear from you. Both images are Acrylic on panel and measure 50cm x 50cm.

In the New year I have plans for two exhibitions in 2020 and a couple of Open Studio events, so keep looking in for info or indeed follow me and I will keep you up to date.

In Search of the Purple Fish.

“In Search of the Purple Fish”.

A contemporary sculpture and assemblage.


“Our English word purple comes from Latin purpureus, which comes from Greek porphyra, a noun denoting the purplefish. This sea mollusk, properly the purple limpet or murex, was the source from which all purple and red dyes were obtained in antiquity. But the purplefish had another name in ancient Greek, namely kalche, and from this word was derived a verb and a metaphor and a problem for translators. The verb kalchainein, “to search for the purplefish,” came to signify profound and troubled emotion: to grow dark with disquiet, to seethe with worries, to search in the deep of one’s mind, to harbour dark thoughts, to brood darkly”(1).

I first came across the term “in search of the Purple Fish” in Anne Carson’s book Float. In the section “A Right to Remain Silent” the text varies slightly but the explanation and source is what started this piece of work. I think it was the idea of a colour expressing the depth of ones thought that appealed to my painterly intuitions.

“Tyrian purple may first have been used by the ancient Phoenicians as early as 1570 BC. The dye was greatly prized in antiquity because the colour did not easily fade, but instead became brighter with weathering and sunlight. Its significance is such that the name Phoenicia means ‘land of purple.’ It came in various shades, the most prized being that of “blackish clotted blood”. (2)

It is also an idea that has always accompanied humanity, that introspection, as we seek to understand ourselves and our place in community, society, nation and the world. Something the greatest minds have laboured with; that artists have explored, composers and musicians come so close to touching and although it is something which I cannot explain or answer it is a joy to have that sense of being that the search stimulates.

About the Work: like most of my work the initial idea springs from a simple or small intuition or recognition of something which is outside the normal perspective or meaning of an object or text, something I see differently.

This piece began with the piece of dead wood which reminded me of outstretch arms (see below), but it became someone crucified, when a family member found the piece of wood that became the crucifix, but although I use the term crucified it has nothing to do with crucifixion but the idea that most things are on a spectrum, when it comes to ideas nothing is precise the placing of the outstretched arms halfway between the cross and the base, it is whether the idea is worthy of raising up to the top with merit or lowering to the base to be lost.

outstretched arms

But this was a search for the “purplefish” and so I wanted something to make that journey on so I created something that reminded me of the bridge of the “Star Ship Enterprise” that bold went forth to explore the universe. (below).


The old fashioned chair on the flight deck is taken from a painting by Van Gogh which has his pipe and tobacco on it, a whim on my part and a nod to my painterly self. Also I heard the painting of the simple rustic chair as Van Gogh’s homage to the poorer and overlooked in our society.

Below the top deck is a section which is loaded with pebbles (see image below), that the figure in the piece is collecting this is a reference to all the personal opinions, grudges, biases, loves, affinities both good and bad that we gather through life and influence how we look at others. These are important ideas that we use to be who we are but can sometimes hold us back from seeing what is really before us.

flightdeck_detail 01

The final part of the work is the light which is in a Perspex ring case which is guilded (roughly, I did not want perfection) and painted with a transparent purple paint. The light is connected to a PIR motion sensor so that it comes on automatically when anyone ids detected near to the work. It stays on for a minute then goes off but will come on again if anyone stays in the vicinity. The sensor can be seen in the image below in the crate being dragged from the sand.


The light which can be seen in the image above, also shows the distressed guilding of the perspex casing.


I could spend a great deal of time explaining in more detail the meaning of the work but even when I who created the piece goes onto explain about the work I seem to loose the essence I saw when I was creating the work and hat I feel when I look at the work now so I will stop here, adding only that I like the idea that as long as the light continues to come on humanity continues to exist, unless of course it is not a person that triggers the light but the cat!

(1) Anne Carson – from “Variations on the Right to Remain Silent” from A Public Space, Issue 7 / 2008

(2) Wikipedia.

The Kindness of Strangers

“The Kindness of Strangers”

(An assemblage of wood, sand, bought and found objects, dimensions in cm.: W26 x D30 x H43)

This work began life as a piece about place, there was two reasons for this. Firstly a curiosity about the influence place has on who we are and secondly the object that started the piece on which the glass bowl is held is a holder for a mobile phone to use it as a Sat Nav. in a car, which I bought but it turns out I didn’t need it.

There is a theory and idea with which I have sympathy that we are very much shaped by the landscape and environment in which we develop, but the more I looked at this and my own feelings it was not so much the landscape that shaped me but the other people I met in those landscapes. Especially those who have been many who have shown me a great deal of kindness and support in many ventures I have undertaken.

So the work is about my journey, all the places I have been to that are prominent in my memory, but not just place names, names of buildings, descriptions of places without names and of some of the people I have met. It is like life is a mechanism that has been churning out events and circumstances I have responded to and they have influence the places I have gone to or lived in.

However the more I got into the piece I discovered that the places that most readily came to mind were places where I remember meeting someone who influenced me, and so on the back of some of the place name in the glass bowl is a record of who that person was. The one that springs most readily to my mind frequently even today after about fifteen years was a meeting with a priest in Padua, Italy.

I was visiting Venice and on a day trip to Padua to look at the paintings in one of its famous churches saw that there was notices everywhere to say there was no photography permitted.  Not a problem I enjoyed the paintings and in the afternoon went to view some paintings in another church.  I was walking round the church with my camera hanging around my neck and this priest came up to me pointing at the camera, I hastily babbled “Non” “Non” which the sophisticated amongst you will realize is French, the only two Italian words I knew were “Si” and “grazie”. Anyway I kept trying to make this priest understand I was not taking photographs, without much success because he kept going on at me, he obviously did not speak English, and I did not have a phrase book.  This seemed to go on for a long period which was probably only about seven or eight minute but when you seem to be at loggerheads with someone it is a long time. Anyway after the said eight minutes in desperation the priest took my camera in his hand and proceeded to take photographs saying Si Si! At last the penny dropped and what he had been trying to tell me for the past eight minutes was that it was OK to take photographs in this church. What struck me was that having decided to do me a kindness despite the language barrier and my lack of common sense he persevered until I understood, most would have given up after about a minute.  A small kindness but always remembered.

It is like life is a mechanism that has been churning out events and circumstances I have responded to and they have influence the places I have gone to or lived in.  In 2013 I was diagnosed with something called Pulmonary Fibrosis (it has a broad range of outcomes) and so the timepiece is indicative of the finite time we all have. But what I realized making the work is how little towns, countries and places influenced me and how much people have.

A Diversion, but a very enjoyable one!

The Young Sebastian

The Young Sebastian,  (Oil on Voile 76cm x 111.5cm)

I have enjoyed drawing and painting the human figure in many guises throughout my career, in most cases through a loose and expressive technique. It is as pleasure to introduce “The Young Sebastian” one of my grandchildren completed in a more traditional manner.

Nine Point Circle

Opus 6: Nine Point Circle
“Opus 6: Nine Point Circle!. There is no circle in this image but it was created because of a shearing effect determined by two of the points in “the Nine Point Circle” that can be found in every triangle.

Nine Point Circle

There is no circle visible in this work but the shearing of the triangle was made using two of the points from the nine point circle.

The Circle Explanation:

The nine point circle is a mathematical phenomenon sometimes referred to as Feuerbach’s Circle, Euler’s circle, Terquem’s circle. Every Triangle has within it and through it a nine point circle.

The nine-point circle is a circle that can be constructed for any given triangle. It is so named because it passes through nine significant concyclic points defined from the triangle. These nine points are:

  • The midpoint of each side of the triangle.
  • The foot of each altitude.
  • The midpoint of the line segment from each vertex of the triangle to the orthocenter (where the three altitudes meet; these line segments lie on their respective altitudes).200px-Triangle.NinePointCircle.svg

                     Feuerbach’s Circle

Not being a mathematician that’s the best I can do with the technical explanation. The  following are my thoughts on making the work.

My thoughts that gave birth to the work:

“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two extremities of darkness” this is the opening sentence from Vladimir Nabokov‘s book “Speak, Memory”.

Two paradox’s of my comprehension gave birth to this work and others in the “Opus” series. The first is the idea that the infinite behind me is the same as the infinite in front of me as I move from one to the other and the second is that as some scientists think time did not exist before the “Big Bang”, although theories change all the time. No pun intended!

The two extremities of darkness for me are both infinite, and the small crack of light that is my life I am moving through, so the infinity behind me should be getting bigger and the one in front of me smaller but I am told that the infinite is always the same so can the one behind me remains the same as I get further away from it, no matter how miniscule in the universal eternity that may be.

I am vaguely aware that some scientists say before the “Big Bang” time did not exist but I can’t comprehend that, before the “Big Bang” the entire matter that makes up the universe was supposedly the size of a pea, and in my mind no matter how small anything is it needs space to exist and if it exists there must be duration and so there was always what I would consider time.

Now at this stage many scientist’s and cosmologist’s will be tearing their hair out at my ramblings but these thought whether right or wrong give rise to my thoughts and imaginings and the universe is realized through the thoughts and imaginings of  humanity.

These paradox made me wonder therefore if the “Nine Point Circle” existed before the Big Bang or was the theoretical phenomenon of life born with the physical. In my mind they must always have existed, but then my mind doesn’t half come up with some strange and wild imaginings every now and then, so reader beware!

So here is the simple premise for the work, I created a random triangle which can still be seen, created the nine point circle and using two of the nine points sheared the triangle on those points and then moving out created the pattern which  I then painted. The spacing and colour in the work apart from the shearing distance are completely intuitive and so that aspect of the work mirrors the idea of the universe being imagined by humanity, whilst the pattern is the creation of something that has always existed  imagined by myself.

Colour and Shape


Colours and shape:

The universe and world around us is imagined entirely by humanity, the colours we see around us are as a result of the cones at the back of the eye, cats who have fewer cones and more rods see a very different greyer world but this helps them to hunt at dawn and dusk in poor light when their vision give them a sharper view of the world around them.


Bats can see fruit bats have quite good eyesight but some species especially those that use echo location or ‘sonar have poorer eyesight, when you research this information you find people saying bats use the echo location to create a ‘visual image’, but do they or is that just us describing this system as visual, a term we understand, because we cannot comprehend or imagine the world as the bat does.

There may be experts out there who would question the voracity of my explanation but what I am exploring is how light which is similar to radio waves is revealed to humanity as colour simply because we have cones which perceive light waves as such. The amount of light, the angle of the sun, our position, the frequency of the light reflected from objects all combine to provide a colour map and with this map and shape combined we produce a three dimensional imager of the world around us.

Here a though, if the only form of life with this vision system is on the earth there may be no colour anywhere else in the universe.

This is the primary reason I stared making my series of geometric paintings they explore a system that allows us to position ourselves within a space, in addition to this it positions us in the present because seeing is an immediate experience.

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht explores this phenomenon in his work and writing, in today’s world where the past continues to invade present because everything is recorded on social media and stored almost permanently it is harder to forget it, and concerns over things like terrorism, global warming and energy shortages brings the future ever closer to us and so today it is harder to live in the present.

Making these paintings is an act which keeps me in the present, I start with a drawing which intuitively develops from a simple shape or form, this is then transferred to a canvas and the first layer of colour is created using masking tape, I have for some reason never been happy with the edge I get using tape and so once the tape is removed I go over the edge with a clean brush with white spirit to give and edge I like. This process is entirely personal and I cannot explain the preference. The colour is then built up in layers to create varied and graduated shapes of colour which reflect the complex seeing process rather than areas of flat colour, but after the first layer of colour much of the work is done without the aid of tape which requires considerable concentration and this concentration keeps me in the present, which I enjoy, but also gives the work a handmade feel which on close inspection reveals the imperfections in my ability to follow freehand a straight line.

The first of these works ‘Laths l’ can be seen in the previous post.