Lovely message from New York friends and collectors the doctors Shirag and Gita, inviting us to visit when we’re next there.
Also a copy of the e art bulletin for February which is compiled by the wonderful Niky Whitfield though founded by the late brilliant Bob Freeman.
Reply from Marianne Sweet re the photographs she had requested for my fronting the Longfield Hospice’s charity exhibition Art for Health.
Working on the commission.
E mail from Becky, events manager at the Chelsea Arts Club re my exhibition there in December. Very efficient as it gives dimensions of the hanging spaces and addresses all the relevant details. Interestingly this seems to be one that friends like Toyah and the playwright Stephen Davis have asked to come too.
Also e mail from Yukari with further details of the shippers who will be collecting my work for the exhibition in Japan.
E mail from Gill Henry saying “just at RSC - excited to see Nathan’s name in the programme”.
Message from Adriane, one of Robbie’s art students at Gloucestershire College. asking advice on becoming a freelance artist. She has an exhibition at Gloucestershire’s Guildhall Gallery and wonders if she could come and visit my studio.
Also one from Sue Billington of Deepspace arranging to come over and look at my posters for her to exhibit in the Inprint exhibition by Gloucestershire Printmakers in March.
I’m not sure why things always collude to happen on the same evening but we’re having to miss Dr Dawn’s secret party in aid of the Star, which is a great shame. But Stratford, where Nathan is currently working with the RSC, is calling.
The builders Mariusz and Hubert are making good progress; we go to look at the results of their work at the end of each day reconfiguring my original studio space, having the dividing wall knocked down. We find it very exciting and I’ve now become rather addicted to finding props and other items such as a display cabinet on e bay which means that Richard has travelled all the way to Basingstoke to collect a lovely old mirror. They always help light up and extend a space and are very inspirational and instrumental in the paintings. And a fascinating old french armoire in a rather shabby state needing some repairs so that I can use it for storing costumes.
Busy working on the commission when Nathan rings to arrange going over to Stratford again on Thursday for dinner, Dr Faustus and the press night party.
Richard’s very excited as he’s just received an e mail from Evie at Panter & Hall forwarding a correspondence with James the deputy editor of the Times Literary Supplement. who have been publishing a a dialogue on the TLS appearing in literature then into films and on Thursday they will be reproducing a detail of my painting 29th September. I created this in 1988; it was subsequently spotted in my Bond Street gallery by the art critic Norbert Lynton who was curating a British Council exhibition that travelled to the Far East and was going to China but due to the terrible happenings in Tiananmen Square that venue was cancelled.
Back to commission.
Off to Stratford on Avon to meet Nathan who treated us to dinner in the RSC’s Rooftop Restaurant. It was lovely to catch up with him and he teased me about being early. He’s invited us to the performance of Dr Faustus on which he’s been working with the Royal Shakespeare Company on a video to be projected on the backdrops behind the players so we have brilliant seats on what they call ‘death row’ as traditionally the director, producer etc sit there and the press, to make their critiques. It is wonderfully dramatic directed by Swedish Maria Aberg with set and costume design by Naomi Dawson (who used to share a studio with Nathan and others in Hackney) all of which were very exciting and suitably dark, dramatic. I particularly like the part where Faustus takes off his shirt and rolls it up to use as a paint brush for drawing a large circle on the floor into which he paints a pentangle and various magic symbols. Then to add to the drama he ignites fire into five surrounding cardboard boxes which I know took a lot of experimentation to get just right. The whole production is dark and thought provoking and was as Nathan points out written in a time of belief in witchcraft, magic and devils. Most of the actors play more than one role and even Dr Faustus, played by OlieRyan and Mephistopheles played by Sandy Grierson don’t know which role they will be playing as they interchange roles chosen by the longest burning match as they are thought to both be parts of the same character.
Afterwards we go with Nathan to the first night party where he introduces us to the various members of the team both technical and the actors. Just as with the party after the White Devils that he worked on about eighteen months ago, they serve a wonderful array of buffet food. We stay until about 11.30 to make our way home. Nathan has a little cottage they have given him that he will make his way to at the end of the celebrations. One of the handsome black actors asks us if we’re going to come and see them all in Don Quixote which is the other production. What a lot of dialogue they must have to learn to carry off two different plays.
working on the commission.
An e mail from Martin Bailey of the Art Newspaper telling me he had seen a reproduction of a detail of my painting 29th September on the back page of The Times Literary Supplement and also a call from Michel Storm (a friend and a Friend) saying the same. So R goes out to buy a couple so that we can send one to Ken (Professor Emeritus at the London Business School) who owns the painting.
Back working on one of the paintings that is going to Japan in a few weeks time.
Painting a little picture for Professor Ken as its his birthday on Wednesday - last year I was rather late with his present because the date had slipped my mind.
Working on an ‘Owl in the Metropolis’ for the museum exhibition in Japan
Our two builders / plumbers are still here busily working on both the little bathroom and the big studio salon.
Professor Ken rings to say thank you for the little painting “The book that changed the world” that I made for his birthday which was yesterday.
Working on a large canvas trying to create a mural like centrepiece for the Aston Project meeting room that we are going to decorate.
Sue Billington comes to select some of my exhibition posters for exhibition at Deepspace as part of the Inpress Festival
We take the large canvas over to the police station in Hesters Way for the Aston Project meeting as the Chief Inspector had asked me if I would paint a mural for the room. I was just going to be painting the canvas blue with white clouds as we are hoping to the walls there, to show them how it would look, but then on an impulse decided to make it into a large painting of a view through a window as the chief inspector said he’d always thought it would be nice to have a window in the room. Its a smallish meeting and a good response to the canvas. Things are progressing well with the Aston and a further Aston Project branch has been opened in the Forest which coupled with Gloucester makes three in the County.
Just after we return home I’m upstairs when I think I hear the latch on the gate go and a voice calls out ‘hello’. Its Jenny Mead who organises the lectures for the Bredon’s Norton Art History Society. She says her computer has been down and she has tried to ring me to no avail to remind me that tomorrow I am giving the lecture on my work. I give her a very big hug as I explain I’m so grateful she has come since i’d totally forgotten it was this month! as it was arranged last year haven’t transferred the date to this year’s diary!!!
Its a lovely sunny afternoon as we set out to Bredon’s Norton and am very pleased that we’d allowed twenty minutes to set up as one of the ladies (who has an MA in church history) tells me that last weeks speaker hadn’t got there till 2.30, the time they begin so setting up took until 10 to 3. She was impressed that I had my own man to do the setting up which of course enabled me to chat to her and others. She was lovely and told me that this was going to be a good one as I also had the personality !! which I’m sure helped to give the boost to make it go with a zing. They were a wonderful audience, very receptive, well informed and intelligent, asking interesting and pertinent questions both through the lecture and afterwards. Phew!!!
Working on small painting for Richard’s Birthday tomorrow.
Beautiful sunny day and R looks very happy. After I’m washed and brushed I lay out all the parcels and cards that have arrived by post over the past few days and enjoy watching the excitement of him opening them. in the evening Richard & Lesley Chatham arrive for the triple Birthday celebration his having been just a week earlier and Michael who arrived with Daphne shortly after is on the 1st of March. All such good men after I have brought in the cake with three candlers a glo I give them each a small package and tell them they are my 3 favourite dinosaurs as they each assemble a model of the same!!!
Trying to finish the last painting for my show in japan as need to have transparency made to send them a scan of.
Call from Henrietta they arrived home after their half term break all having enjoyed the holiday. Nathan sends some beautiful photographs he has taken with his Lcica mainly in Ski Lanka and Hong Kong they look good enough to have been in the ‘National Geographic’!
It is a leap year & some say it’s one extra day for no extra pay!