No politics or religion at the table please.

Pick pick, the farage kite
tears soft underbelly
from an upturned
sheep too gorged
to stand.

Blood red puddings
pills on a white tablecloth.
It pools in silver spoons
as much as it drips from formica.

Pick pick. Lie

Lie. Until the red guts of
‘well you’re out’
come spilling out.

And redcurrent clots
and stains Ikea’s pure bright worktop
and walls of elephants breath
and chalky downs.

Pick pick, tear.


My sweet ‘england lost
‘forever friend’.
Clotted, blood red pudding.
You have a bitter taste today.

Drawing from life

Drawing from life, an unconscious reaction to form – written in the life room today 13th June 2106.


Like a race horse needs oats, it’s fire, I need drawing to put a light in my belly. But it’s also calming, it narrows the options on the day, straightens the path.

To start the week with drawing signposts me in the right direction, it tells me that the new bathroom is less important and the accounts can wait. It puts back in the cupboard all the things that tend to spill out all the time and take over, it quietens a discombobulated mind.

Just as the air becomes too stuffy, to hot to think, drawing is like rain. It cleans and it nourishes.

Representational, reactional drawing you have to approach with respect, you can’t fake it, you can’t be clever. Humility in learning is the correct approach. It brings you back down to reality and of course, it makes you see everyone is beautiful. The wobbly bits are life’s adventures, the stains on the flesh are years of summers. Youth’s lean smooth forms have an attraction but history has layers and stories.

After the excitement of my London solo show, the work and the drama of it all, today I return to the life class and it feels like magic. But then of course it is not. That time in front of the model, that 1 minute or 5 minutes of drawing is a reaction in time, never to be repeated. Hand to eye, that look, that seeing, just then, captured on the paper.


But of course its not, its better than magic, its craft. It’s learnt, it’s practiced. And like the deceiving hands of the magician it’s quick in execution because of thirty years of practice, thirty years of interest, thirty years of craft, graft, in front of life.

….and then just as that vanity talk rises in my head I ruin a drawing with flippant arrogance, punished, I get back down again. But I smile with the joy of it.


Longtown Valley

We live on the edge of a valley, each night the theatre unfolds its play of light as the shadows lengthen, the light on our side of the valley is fluorescent deep yellow, the suns warmth highlighted in tall grass heads against the dark shadow of deep greens and further blues of the black mountain beyond.

The mouth of the Olchon Valley is right of stage with its depths in light blues. A field of wrestles sheep make a racket and lighten up the left hand side with noise that is echoed occasionally with geese centre stage. Our sheep usually make near munching noises but tonight they are further down the field. Nigel has been bringing the tractor round to collect the willow trunks so their top pitch is unsettled.

At 5 to 9 the deep yellow light of the evening has gone under heavy blue black clouds that cuddle hay bluff and the drama subsides. My damp trying to get up the hill puffing tea shirt clings coldly now and its time to go in. But the peewit and the sheep calling keep me out on the side of this cup of magic.

The valley has a lump among its middle that we walk over to get to the shop, each side with its own stream, the River Monnow and Escely Brook, leads us down to the string of white houses that huddle sometimes two deep against the road. There we chatter in the shop over bread and cake buying and then to the pub for Butty Bach.

The borders have many beautiful valleys but there is a distance and a nearness to the drama in this one, we have walked most of it, all fields are recognisable, all the different lumps traversed or mused on as the light changed through the day. Soon the bats will be replacing the swallows and swifts and soon we will be gone from here.

Something always to remember is to leave time for space.

Land and Leaves

In Barcelona I painted this painting

“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.”

The other leaves represented sisters and friends, support. But in orange there has always been the land and there has always been my parents.

And leaves have their time and then they are returned to the earth.