I know I need to get on with the business of the day but thinking of Barcelona last night, out of instinct I soaked white beans and this morning boil them for breakfast, while still warm coat in an intense garlic, lemon, chilli and parsley dressing to have with ripe chopped tomatoes and peppery rocket from the severn project .

Simple, pure and intense.

As it was then and hopefully will be again.*

As Miro said “for me to gain freedom is to gain simplicity”

“Keep it simple silly” … Grahams words when we first met which I seem to have developed into a catchphrase for him as he has the ability to cut through to the truth, I think of it like chess, he can see the quickest simplest path. For someone who has to walk down all the paths just to see, I think after a bit of said meandering I finally found the right man!

*2 more shows and then hopefully by January I will be able to give self that time again to move this work on.


Not having children I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about my place, where I should live, wether I ‘fit in’ anywhere so going back through a sketchbook tonight it makes me smile at myself when I adamantly reveal an important idea… that later I forget… then implement… and then later wonder what I am doing contemplating living in the studio…my memory is truly terrible.

I wrote this at the Miro foundation after reading “in the summer of 1956 Miro moved to Mallorca. There he was able to work freely in the studio his close friend the architect Josep Luis Sert had designed for him”

I find his work difficult to respect.

I watched people when I went to the museum and wrote down¬†“people are laughing, is it out of joy or confusion…a little of both”. But there is something in the gut of his work that must have filtered through as now when I look at ¬†‘Primary Angel’ I think I should probably call it ‘After Miro’ it has so much of his work in it.

note to self read

find a plot to build a studio, that space to ‘work freely’ no restrictions, would really like to try work live for a bit, rent out flat straight away before we get reattached


Went back to the flat in redland today to do a ‘changeover’ for airbnb as Suzie is away. It was sunny and quiet and I sat. I imagined/remembered a room full of people, shadows left over from a rowdy meal where things got silly…fun times. I know in the garden is the remains of a rose given to me after one of our miscairrages, I planted it out, it died but I know the remains are there…sad times.

The flat is peaceful and has flickers of life left but mostly it is not ours anymore. The studio, the worklive holds more, more potential, a white space for thought, a place where I can fit in. Not the corridors of houses designated for family making, cake baking and walks to school.

So back in my white box the business swirls around me but I make a space for order, for thought as I look at work for my show with Byard Art. A moment caught between the noise. I see my ‘Family Tree’ painting and realise its not a family tree at all its just about parents and me.

The orange pair of leaves is them, as strong and intense in colour as the land. But I am a leaf. They are leaves.

In my sketchbook I wrote about another painting similar to this also a “Family Tree”
“The family members, the leaves float away, become fish or birds or sails. But ever practical there are yellow structure lines suspending a future 3d reality.”
Obviously still confused wether they are paintings of sculptures or paintings.

And then I go on to write about a painting that I never painted it was when I was in the tamar valley which must have also been in my mind, the colours I remembered and sketched them out “It’s blue sky’s and a green bottomed boat with a red sail on blue water backed by green fields all lit by a late day orange sun” 
Then trying to understand the tree painting. The leaves shimmer like light on moving water, or sun haze on fields.
“Its about sailing and flying and swimming and dying”

There is a sculpture called parents as well which was never finished.

I did the original drawing for the paintings in Miro park, then called just ‘Tree’ and ‘Flower’

I wrote this poem when I made the painting, the colours in the painting set off the words

Time Capsule – my Barcelona box

Got my colours out of the box today, its been an amazing few months of shows and excitement but releasing the work, the time, the intense colour from my Barcelona box was quiet emotional, it took me straight back there, to the hill in monjiuc, to the freedom, to the colour.

I think freedom is the operative word here, I have loved being back in the UK, seeing the cowsparsley bud and flower, the first lambs. We have hired a place on a hill in herefordshire and its like nestling in the essence of the English countryside. We have watched Spring explode, full and exuberant and felt it turn to Summer in long nights and bright full moons.

The studio is hot today, like it was in the attico apartement at the sagrada terrace.  We have had a city weekend, sociable and working, we slip back to our old ways of ‘its just easier to work’ as deadlines loom and pressure mounts. But opening my box of colour I see the days of freedom, of playfulness and I understand why artists have to have residencies, ‘time out times’ for exploration.

We have to be strong to be able to work, to think, like running into a room and bracing the door with your back and legs just to see some space in front of you. If you work to other clocks you have no space to work, and no space to work means no work, which means you are no longer an artist. Just a machine thats dead inside. No writing, no thinking just a head full of other peoples plans.

So I left the box sitting on the shelf since September, like saving chocolate waiting for a special day, the smell as you open the box. But this is not the easy satisfaction of soft centres, this box contains experimentation, a mapping down of the intense colours of Baracleona, the smell of oils. There is a playfulness of near insanity of too long spent alone in an attic.

The colours come out and bounce about in the sun of the studio, oranges zing against deep blue, my northern european work looks back quietly in browns and golds.

There are no orders or deadlines in this box, in the time capsule there is a reaching into the soul, a lack of dexterity in translation. My imagination is free to roam in clay, its a language in which I can communicate. But paint and imagination is a different thing for me. Although always challenging, peaches or apples can suggest a conversation between two people, a tomato still attached to the vine has its family tree. Reality excites my imagination and stories evolve by spending time with the form of two softening fruit; over time they give into each other as they soften, the lean, they sag.

With oranges I am given the gift of their exuberant colour, nature is generous, she constantly gives to the artist if we choose to accept. But imagination without the hint of reality, without the changing colour of a pepper to start a conversation has to come from deep within, using past pictures captured in memory. They appear on the page from subconscious feelings, as they do in clay. For other often brilliant painters this is their lifework. For me, with paint, I need to keep some hold on the real.