My Life as an Artist (2) | Smile! You’re at the best site ever


Smile! You’re at the best site ever

Source: My Life as an Artist (2) | Smile! You’re at the best site ever


At a time of division, wise words from Nelson Mandela

“I am fundamentally an optimist.   Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say.   Part of being an optimist is keeping one’s head pointed towards the sun, one’s feet moving forward.     There were many moments when my faith in humanity was surely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair.    That way lays defeat and death.”    Nelson Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom’

Portuguese woman – 201620-11-15 - 1 (199)As a portrait painter, I have been fortunate enough to work with people of all ages, nationality, faith and gender from around the world.

Quentin – Brittany, France – 1995P1150314

What I have learned is that we are intrinsically the same.    We have the same needs, hopes  and fears.

Young girl – Mission Hill School – Boston – 2013


When we look at life only through the lens of different cultures we tend to see the surface.    However, when we get past the veneer, we are able to learn and gain so much from different customs and ways of doing things…….and in doing this we also learn about our similarities.

Zebedee – Crickhowell, Wales – 1995

1077572_10151794329765396_713720459_oI wrote a blog recently about my childhood in England after WWII – when the powers that be were beginning to integrate the young people of Europe with the hope that it would prevent more terrible wars.       It was a time of hope and of bringing people together from many different cultures.

Peter James Redmond – USA – 2012

192175_10151147549835396_728758025_o Today we are seeing the UK and Europe suddenly divided – something that did not have to happen.     I personally feel that the British public have been made pawns in a political poker game, regardless of how they chose to vote.       

Akyaka, Turkey  – 2008


I am very clear that nothing is perfect and that throughout our world today there is much misery, hardship and danger  – and yet I am also clear that there are times in history when humankind has stepped backwards….and I fear that we in the UK have just taken such a step.

However, I will continue to hold onto my belief that the creative process in all its many forms, which in essence is all about communication….is one of the key elements which can lead us towards emotional, physically and spiritually wellbeing, regardless of our social identity.

Margarida – Portugal – 2016

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And so I for one will keep heading towards the sun, keep moving forward…..and like a magical hummingbird endeavour through my work to soar above all the madness:)

976253_10151660779970396_1579837650_o-2 no sig


A bientôt


En Bal D’amour – Nantes- Part II

‘I think it’s because it was an emotional story, and emotions come through much stronger in black and white.    Colour can be distracting, it pleases the eye but it doesn’t necessarily reach the heart’   Kim Hunter. 

Photographs are by French photographer Denis Rion. 


As soon as I saw these black and white photographs of the cast from  En Bal D’amour my heart missed a beat or two.       Through these images Denis Rion has captured a moment in time charged with emotion.


These portraits have reminded me of the power within a monochromatic image, be it a photograph or painting……

As a ‘colourist’ – I sometimes find it soothing and a way to switch off a part of my brain and yet sharpen another part, when I  observe black and white images.


Greater emphasis is given to light play and form.


When I observe people in workshops becoming confused about ‘colour and tone’ – I recommend they make a colour photograph of their subject and then turn it into a black and white image, allowing focus on  light play, form and tone.


There is such drama in these images.


My friend Claudia Nottale – director of the play.


Charcoal sketch of Claudia Nottale- 1995. 


I am off to Dorset this weekend to visit my friend Maureen….who I went to art college with  way back in the early sixties….

Here we are in 1964 – posing in front of the newly opened Commonwealth Institute in Kensington, London.       It was such a simple, wonderful time to be alive.  

906544_10151599885970396_50596696_oWishing one and all a beautiful weekend.

A Bientôt

En Bal D’amour – Nantes – Part 1

‘The world of reality has its limits;  the world of imagination is boundless’.   Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

20160529-En bal d'amour (313)After my visit to Port-En-Bessin – I took the train to Nantes, a city in western France located on the Loire River.

This was my first visit to the City, and I was most impressed.    With it’s wide boulevards large squares filled with outdoor cafes, multiple green spaces and superb public transportation system, it’s a city where I felt that I could breath.


Once a major commercial harbour, today the harbour is filled with creativity, restaurants, and this now well known forty ft tall mechanical mammoth which resides along with other remarkable sculptural ‘puppets’ built in the city.     elephantnantes

I hope to return to Nantes, for the sole purpose of exploring…however this post is about the very special experience I enjoyed when observing and sketching the cast of En Bal D’amour as they rehearsed for a production.               I

I stayed with my dear friend Claudia Nottale director of the production.     I worked with the cast of ten performers for two and a half days – an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and one I would like to repeat.

(all photographs from the production are by Denis Rion)

20160529-En bal d'amour (289)

In observing the group as they moved from their daily persona into that of a clown, I witnessed a metamorphosis.       The clown persona became a vehicle which facilitated theatrical expression of the imagination.

20160529-En bal d'amour (212)The play focuses on the most elemental theme of human kind – the need for Love.    Through the clowns we recognise the universal signs of falling in love…..boldness, timidness, shyness, jealousy, sadness, fear, humour and euphoria.

20160529-En bal d'amour (349) Along with rapid movement sketches, I made watercolour portraits of each member of the cast.     By the end of the second day,  I was just getting into my stride….Ideally I would like to have worked with the group for a week. 20160529-En bal d'amour (283)Three examples of  portraits….Silvern20-11-15 - 1 (371)Jo20-11-15 - 1 (330)Claudia20-11-15 - 1 (368)I plan to share more of the sketches at a later date after I have done more work from my observations.

Before the metamorphosis

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In  Part 2 – I will show some of the superb black and white photographs made by Denis Rion during the production.  

Wishing one and all a lovely weekend

A Bientôt


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