Friday 2 .11 .12
Final effort through the night.......
Saturday 3.11 .I2
...until R leaves in a large hired van with the works at 8.30 am. when I call it a night or day!
Wake at about 1.30 worrying about the Big Wave painting. Phone R and he’s already finished at the gallery where they have hung the exhibition and is just on his way back form Pret a Manger buying soup and sandwich. He says the show looks really well in the gallery but I ask him if he could bring back the big Japanese painting and the smaller owl for me to finish, all of which I wanted to add a little more to. He says its no problem and that he’ll go back on Monday morning with them for me.
Meanwhile I’m still working on the sides top and bottom of the frame of The Doorway but as soon as Richard gets back with the Big Wave, I transfer my energies to that. Particularly the frame that needed more light and shadow. Turn in about 3am.
Work intensely on bigger wave and Night Flight until........
R sets off with them, The Doorway and Following The Dog
A lovely Collector called Saul cycles over to the Gallery for an appointment at midday shortly after R has rehung and put “The Doorway” up Which soon has a red spot as Saul (who owns “Menage a trois” ) has decided to add it and The Toast” to his collection. Simon who is the Director of the gallery has also earmarked a small work. Then just as he is about to set out ( after a visit to Pret a manger ) he spots a very amiable American that he had met in the Gallery on Saturday whilst the show was being hung who had purchased Quintet “ Cacophony” and the small “Seaside Swimming Pool” looking at “The Hare of Tiree” which he
also decides he wants to own.
Preparing for tomorrow’s opening
Its such a joy when shortly after arriving at the gallery for my private view, Jane Dover née Philips Bell comes through the gallery door with her mother Professor Mal Lancaster. Its wonderful to see her as she has been very ill recently and her Mum tells me that on receiving my letter she had promised to bring her to the next private view I had. Jane was one of the first students of the National Star College I got to know way back in 1986 and we have remained friends ever since. Jane and her husband Steve now have a beautiful son called Aiden who is seven or eight years old.
The gallery soon fills up with lots of familiar faces like Dr Hilda Lewis, her son David and Gerry Lewis, Bruce and Barbara Fireman, Professor Ken and Nancy, Martin (of the Art Newspaper) and Alison Bailey (of the Orient Express), Saul Barrington, Maeve and Ian Richens, my dear friend from student days Joyce with Avalon Corrine and Sam and Sue who I’ve known for almost as long and John Raisbeck with their son Gary and his lovely girlfriend. Martin Horwood our MP and my beloved Henrietta ( with friend Libby), Nathan & Ruth and many more dear friends like Daphne.
Afterwards we go for dinner at the Chelsea Arts Club, taking Maeve and Ian; Daphne; Wallace and his colleague George; and Martin Horwood. They all get there before us and when I ring to say we’re on our way but won’t be long, Martin says they are all in the bar and he has bumped into a friend called Simon Mundy the poet who’s also written books on people like Elgar and Purcell, is eminently placed on many boards and was director of the National Campaign for the Arts. It was a jolly meal and Simon made sure there was a taxi to take Martin to the station to get back to Cheltenham as tomorrow he is taking Mia to a film set where she is appearing with other children in a film being made by Marc Quinn’s wife (where they also have educational tutors on the set so that the children don’t fall behind in their school work).
After the party has broken up we join Ian and Maeve at the Hilton where they are staying, for a drink in its top floor Window Bar as Ian wants to show us the panoramic views.
We are staying at the Ryder Street Chambers and when we get there the key isn’t in position it should be. I go back to the car to keep warm thinking we might need to drive home to Cheltenham but after a few minutes Richard appears with the key that must have been taken up by one of the other tenants.
Luckily I’d popped two tiny picture frames and board in on which I’d made a beginning as all the small works bar one had sold and that one had been reserved. So I work on those until we go out to see the Bronze exhibition at the Royal Academy which is truly breathtaking, particularly the first exhibit which has only recently been recovered from the sea and dates back two and a half thousand years - the Greek dancing satyr just over life size. The exhibition celebrates the extraordinary historical, geographical and stylistic range from around 3700 BC in the ancient east to the present. At the same time however such a display is bound to offer constructive parallels across time and space as well as a more general richness and diversity. It goes right through the history of bronze sculpture to Picasso’s ‘Baboon and young’, Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Spider IV’ to Anish Kapoor’s copper alloy and lacquer untitled disk of 2012. It is so extensive that it deserves another visit.
Back to the gallery to greet any visitors who couldn’t make it on Thursday. Delighted to see Stephen Marston and Tony Broad; Tony, a printmaker, had come on Tuesday with a fellow exhibitor in an exhibition reuniting MA students from Camberwell at the Bankside Gallery. He and Stephen had also just been to see the Bronze and like me I think they also thought that the Dancing Satyr was one of the exhibition’s highlights. My sister Gill comes in shortly before Ren Hudsmith, who has bought the Angel and Fisherman to add to his collection; he’s just been to the National Gallery to see the Richard Hamilton exhibition. I’m really thrilled as Henrietta comes in with Isaac, having travelled by bus and train from Greenwich - he had wanted especially to come and luckily Richard and Gill arrive back from having panninis round the corner in time to see them before Gill leaves. So Richard then takes them for a bite to eat at Morris’s too. In the meantime a very nice couple who are looking at the exhibition introduce themselves to me - its Vince Russell and his wife neither of whom had I met before; Vince bought the little water-colour I had donated, from the Injured Jockeys Stand during the Cheltenham Gold Cup festival last March. He later contacted me about Just the Ticket which he now also owns. Its so nice to be able to put a face to the correspondence we had at that time; his wife seems equally nice . All the smaller paintings have now sold apart from the two tiny works that I finished last night and I am delighted as they go for The Wager! Shortly after them another couple come in and she says “you don’t recognise us do you” and I’m very pleased to be able to say yes, you’re the Bermans.
Very pleased with the wonderful coverage Weekend has given the exhibition, featuring the Hare of Tiree on page 3 as well as a little photograph of Richard and I saying "Take a peep at artsit PJ Crook's stylish home" under Interiors. And there we are on pages 22 and 23, me in the upstairs studio with circular window and Richard and me sat on the late Victorian brown leather and mahogony sofa; a view of the painted piano with all the family photographs plus one of the kitchen and one of the dining room with my bronze Horse and Winged Man reflecting in the large 19th century Roccoco mirror.
Back in studio painting miniatures for December’s Open Studio charity event
We’re very excited as Simon e mails to say he’s just sold two more paintings - which means that seven of the works will be making their way to America after the exhibition closes.
Painting miniatures for December’s Open Studio charity event
We’re off to the Races to spend Countryside Day within the beautiful Beaton Box as the guests of of Jackie and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen - Laurence had designed it a couple of years ago. They are wonderful hosts and its very nice to be reacquainted with many of their friends and business colleagues - heads of companies that Laurence designs for etc. Smashing food, lots of little meals like fish pie, sausage and mash or fish and chips in paper cones, served by some lovely very young Gloucestershire College students form the Catering Academy who were (as always) very efficient and attentive. I had asked Jackie if Sally Rowley Williams (chair of Women in Racing and Director of Racehorse owners association) can pop in to say Hello and in her generous spirited way said yes do get her to come in for a drink. Whilst I’m talking to Sally and a very nice friend of hers I spot Katie Jarvis (chief writer for Cotswold Life) and her son Ed chatting to Richard so I take Sally over to introduce her feeling that it might be nice for the two to meet. have a very interesting conversation with Ed who’s in his second year at Bristol University also a keen cyclist. Later when we’re sitting talking to David Prosser who we got to know at the charity dinner Jackie and Laurence held in aid of LINC last December and his partner Dennis, Richard receives a text from Simon at the Gallery who has just sold my Gloucester Old Spot painting.
Working in preparation painting miniatures for the charity Open Studio in three weeks time.
Off to the Cathedral for informal lunch before Gloucestershire College’s Higher Awards graduation ceremony. We bump into Peter White who when I enquire about his MBA tells me that he graduated last week from the University with distinctions in all areas. The food has been made by the Catering Academy students and staff who are also serving it. For some of these delightful youngsters it is their first experience of working with the public. One girl I speak to is only fifteen and is studying at Launchpad, the College’s Tewkesbury campus which specialises in vocational courses and training in partnership with schools. The Cathedral is the most magnificent venue but a huge space to fill with one little voice (being mine). Its a lovely ceremony with a wide age range of graduates; its particularly noticeable when the students are from the arts Academy as most of them are wearing wonderfully exciting high heeled shoes one pair are almost Psychedelic. Its lovely to see so many of them presented with their hard earned awards by the smiling guest speaker Richard Denny who has the reputation of being the millionaire maker. This enormous building is really quite cold but I resist the temptation of slipping on my faux fur coat, keeping it on my knee as I don’t want to be hampered by it during speech and have tried to put together an outfit that would look fairly dramatic including a black leather jacket and small black hat. I’m pleased to be able to clap so vigorously for each award as it help to keep my hands warm. After this splendid procession of students is completed, Matthew Burgess the vice principal calls me up onto the circular platform whilst generously reading out describing me and the ways in which I help the college, which it has always been a great privilege to do. Then I’m at the lectern trying to be as animated, interesting and relevant as I can in the examples I give, building up to the conclusion where I ask the students to go out, be inspired, be dedicated be determined and making your own golden opportunities ending with ‘you can do it. I know you can - you’ve been a student at Gloucestershire College and today we’re celebrating your achievements. Well done, Bravo, Good Luck and very many Congratulations.” I’m pleased as people come up and comment on how inspiring it was, including two of the Governors.
Painting miniatures for the weekend of 8/9 December Open Studio event, ‘Mulled Wine, Mince Pies and Miniatures’ in aid of the creative arts at the National Star College and the new development at the Museum.
Off to Highnam Court where I am the before lunch speaker for the LINC ladies Christmas lunch. Its a lovely occasion where they have indoor stalls offering Christmas fare and gifts in the splendid music room. A very nice young woman called Susan Mortimer comes up and introduces herself to me; she’s the in house artist for a local primary school and says she’s come along especially to meet me. I’m so touched. Also see lovely Peta Hoyle who is a great supporter of many charities and almost always comes to things that I organise. Roger Head who is the magnanimous owner of Highnam Court (who’s generosity has made this event possible) comes along to greet me and gives me a Christmas card containing a dvd of the glorious garden which he has developed, showing how exquisitely it changes through the seasons; he also takes us to see the magnificent collection of paintings in his library and the grand stair well.
My talk goes well with Richard operating the slide projector. They are a very good audience. The meal has been beautifully prepared and cooked by four ladies who I think cook 20/30 meals each and bring them into the Highnam Court kitchen. Its turkey casserole with orange and chestnuts. All the meat etc has been donated so I think it all goes to LINC, the brilliant charity that Dr Gill Rouse founded with her colleague Dr Robert Dalton who sadly died at the age 49 but I’m sure would be very proud of Gill, her team and supporters, for continuing to fund not only facilities and psychologist for people with Leukaemia and the intensive chemotherapy fund but also two research fellowships in the name of Robert Dalton. I sit next to Gill on a table of doctors and medics, one person being a governor at the National Star College. Richard has volunteered to be a waiter along with Roger and several of the husbands of the wonderful cooks. I can’t believe that I win two prizes in the raffle, a children’s book ‘Shhh!’ donated and signed by the author Sally Grindley and a pack of four perfumed candles (which I will contribute to the raffle we do at the Open Studio along with a bottle of champagne and tin of biscuits etc). Its a lovely event at which we meet some very nice people.
Still painting miniatures for next weekend’s Open Studio.