Daubers Trip Feb 2017

So for me it seems everything needs a reason to be, a reason to do.

Although the time away from the studio unsettles me, I allow myself ‘painting holidays’, but I still angst about them being a ‘waste of my time’.

But looking at my Tenby attempts to respond to all that sea and sand, although they didn’t capture the seagulls, the warm breeze and sun as I sat on cold morning sand they did make me think of colour. They made me look. They made me look at colour and learn. And while learning their can be no angst there. That is not a waste of my time.

So when we daubers meet for another painting holiday, when they come up to Wales to paint landscape in 2 degrees and a northern friend, the lazy wind, blows from the north east, from Yorkshire, I decided I want to paint ‘my figures’.

I knew if I was going to start the sculpture for my 25 Year Show next month I needed to immerse myself in form. As discovered in the life drawing class on the monday, an elbow, a thy could be my landscape.

So we painted and ate and talked, and painted and ate and talked…it goes like this. The rhythm. Its really very good. The daubers left, having commitments in Bristol and I remained cramped over my little table, the fire crackled and the dog snored and as the eastern breeze took hold, bringing white snow and sleet, here was my opportunity to play with colours. All over the place was colour. Yellows from Barcelona, oranges from Loas and this blue green that seem to come from nowhere.

Then, out on my bike, the white winter sun exposed blue and purple hills and I realised that the landscape is the colour. Llanigon Green at home out the window and on my bike ride, Herefordshire Blue, Whitney White on the bridge over the river Wye who was the deepest dark blue purple.

So yes to looking, yes to walking, even yes to painting holidays, and yes to Laos because they all appear in my work. And most of all I need to chill out about it, as Graham says, ‘it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t give yourself a hard time about it!’



The logistics manager.

There have been tensions in the camp this week.

The logistics manager has got very angry with the sculptor.
The sculptor has been ignoring the logistics manager.

The pr lady is impatient to show the new work off
but she is waiting on the photographer,
as is the person who updates the website.

The accounts department is struggling to cope
under the hours they have been allotted.
The person who orders the materials is getting anxious.

The writer who seems to be always allowed to do what she wants
and has now taken up precious time
so the finisher/polisher/packer
will have to work the weekend.

The finisher/polisher/packer is now miffed.

The painter is sulking.
Someone let her see the light,
she managed to open the door,
just a crack.

Look! Look!
Its really very exciting through there…
very exiting indeed.

But here comes the logistics manager.

No. No. No.
One week is all you get my dear,
come back my dear.
Your time will come.

But she has broken her promise.


So the painter is sulking.
In fact the painter is very upset indeed
and tears well up in her eyes as she tells the writer.

The draftsman is more patient, she knows the sculptor cant work without her.
She is waiting for her day.
For monday life drawing class,
all day,
she hopes.

If she is allowed to go.

But the logistics manager is not sure at the moment.

The logistics manager probably won’t let her
and then the draftsman will also be sulking.
And next week she will mess it up for the sculptor,
on purpose.
Just to strengthen her case.

The sculptor is the most challenging for the logistics manager to control.
Because she cant manage without her.
“But this is the most important thing” she shouts.

She turns her back on the logistic manager.
She can feel the logistics manager’s eyes boring into her back.

But the sun is on the sculptor’s side.
It’s also strong.
It shines hot light on the clay forms.
Who can blame the sculptor for moving into that light
to play with the darks and lights of the silky clay.

Fundamentally it’s the events organiser fault.
She got a bit excited because its her 25th year.
She has booked a lot of things.
Quite big things.

Eventually, by thursday,
the only person who can solve the quarrel,
the upset, the swollen eyes…
is the social secretary.

She organises a few beers for the whole team.
The CEO swans in, takes the credit
even though it was the social secretary’s idea.
But the CEO does pay for the drinks
and the accountant doesn’t mind the expense.

They all laugh at and with each other,
they respect each other.
And on friday they wake up happy.

They are all resolved that
this is just how it is running a small business
on your own.
And they all get on with the job
a little less fractured.

Wether to paint mountains


6th February 2017

The writing seems to be in a poem form but I am not trying to be a poet here. Its just as it comes, in part shaped by the space at the edge of the paper. So in typing it out I have kept it similar, thats all. Some of it makes me cringe when I see it and my naive and basic understandings. It takes me a while to catch on*.  Most of it shouldn’t be shared but I have such a terrible memory and my mind scatters about so it gives me structure to have it written down, in print as it were. Formalised.


A4 Drawing Scan 36a –  Wether to paint mountains  – Later hands


A figure has certain rules.
A mountain not, its


A4 Drawing Scan 38 – Wether to paint mountains – foot drawings x2


This is not a casual discussion
these are not casual concerns.
It’s not about blackcurrant or damson.
It’s not a decision about toast
or the everyday.

These decisions are
worried, picked at.
They are buried by work but surface
given the tiniest of light.

A fracture, a glint
and they bubble ferociously.

They worry.



Is a valley more exciting than an instep?

A person,
a toe is specific
but there are rules.
It’s not just random shale
and fallen boulders.

I ache as I watch light
glide over a mountain.
Is it the light and the mountain,
or is it the feeling of the light
on the mountain?

My god this person is alive
and so true is it
that this person will
once not be.

Maybe that’s
the difference

The mountain will stay.
Its different everyday
but it will stay.

This foot will not.




So inevitably its about death…. of course.

Thats why its beautiful.
Thats why it makes you cry with the confusion.


A4 Drawing Scan 44 – Wether to paint mountains

Today I have found
a mountain in a foot
a rock in a hand
a valley’s flank
in a thigh.


A4 Drawing Scan 47 – Wether to paint mountains

So if it’s about showing people beauty.*
if they won’t see it line then maybe try colour.

deep maroon base, yellow bright red





*Edgar Degas

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”


*Dolly Parton

I’m a little bit slow to catch on

But when I do, I’m caught on

Have a word


23rd January 2017
Written at life drawing class


A4 Drawing No.18.2 Jan 2017  

writing about drawing

You are hard
and sometimes cruel
but with you I am
the best that I can be.

Not the shiniest, most famous, most admired
but the best of me.



Back of A4 Drawing No.15 Jan.2 2017

Its all I want to do
Its all I should be



A4 Drawing No.16 Jan.2 2017

I have been life drawing since I was about 15 and over all those years I have learnt to be kind to myself, to drawing. I am strict, yes but not so full of self loathing, not so cruel, not so disappointed am I, when I draw. I let myself play, make mistakes, maybe its because I am learning not performing.

Life drawing is a shared experience, a small community all responding to the same object but individual stimuli.

January, after holidays, I am not interested in the colour of an apple.

I just want to draw.

I suffer from terrible loneliness, partly carrying my business alone but isolation hounds me. I have plenty of friends to visit but it’s work I want. Drawing in a community; that energy, makes me happy, makes me kinder to myself, less reproachful. It’s then that I can meet up for a beer and enjoy it. Only then.



A4 Drawing No.16.2 Jan.2 2017

Be patient.

Don’t be so angry
with yourself and
so full of self

Be kinder.
Be more sympathetic.



A4 Drawing No.17. Jan.2 2017

Stop being
so cruel.

No wonder
your crying
all the time.

The one person
who you are
with all the
time is

Gives you a
hard time.

Feeds your

She makes you
lonely and fills
you with self


Have a word
with her.


A4 Drawing No.20 Jan.2 2017

I often say that drawing is mediative, but its not quite, there is way too much dialogue going on.

‘Fuck off’

I can hear my self reproach as my mind drifts to complimenting, confident, or even arrogant thoughts.*

*sometimes you can think, wow, this is going to be a good drawing, or “i am getting good at this, look at me go, and then the drawing shatters around you into fake pride






A4 Drawing No.22 to 34  Jan.2 2017

No writing, written after

And as the day slips on the voices, thank god, start to quieten. Wether its the work or the talk amongst the group, or the gathering of similar minds, the voices quieten and I just draw.