R brings up the laptop to show me the page of the Chelsea Arts Club’s Forthcoming Events for my talk there ‘Artists’ Confession - PJ Crook in conversation with Brenden Neiland’
Today he brings up Cotswold Life who have devoted an inside cover to a large reproduction of my Black Nativity painting with the headline ‘PJ’s Festive Fundraiser’
E-from Andrea saying that they have been into the gallery to collect their painting Time Running Out and that it is now hanging on their wall where “It looks Fabulous” which makes me feel very happy!
Paul and Adrienn visit the studio. She hadn’t known where they were going so it was a surprise for her. They are particularly looking at the prints. as he spotted my work in a gallery and was too late to buy an Angel Tiger & Dove wood engraving. Adrienn attends printmaking workshops and is particularly interested to know about the process Richard uses to cut the blocks.
Have been looking on the internet over the past few days to find a large 4 metre diameter garden parasol to fit outside my studio french windows in between the two pavillion-type deep red tents that we will put up for the Mulled Wine, Mince Pies & Miniatures event. I’ve also bought another heater and a Teppanyaki hotplate to put the mince pies and the jug of mulled wine upon.
E mail from Paul in Western Australia letting me know that the two works he bought from my London show, The Metronome and The Albatross have arrived safely… says “they look stunning”. They are off on holiday next week to a part of Australia I hadn’t heard of, Margaret River, a wine region with a beautiful coastline that is a three hour drive away.
Hear from Gary in California that The Lamp has been delivered ,is now on his wall and he “Loves it”; pleased and relieved as it took longer than it should have to get there:I think UPS were having problems.
Finish reading Hazel’s book ‘Painted out of History’ about the artists Ellen and Rolinda Sharpes who lived in Bristol, Ellen’s collection and legacy founding the Royal West of England Academy.
Mark from Trinity House rings about an enquiry from a Frenchman who is thinking of aquiring one of my paintings as he noticed that there is another painting very similar but it had a Lamb in the foreground whereas this one has a shetland pony. I explained to Mark that I often make quite radical changes to a painting if I manage to get it back! He also tells me that he, his wife and three boys had Covid recently though the eldest boy who I think is about 12 didn’t show any symptoms.
We drive down to Bristol in the afternoon to attend the launch of Hazel Gower’s Painted Out of History, a wonderful account often with drawing on the diaries of Ellen Sharples and her daughter Rolinda both portrait artists who lived mainly in Bristol although they did travel to America twice with Ellen’s husband James Sharples who was a portrait artist who had taught both Ellen and Rolinda and her two brothers James and Felix. James, the father, sadly died during their second trip in 1811 but had made his reputation particularly painting George Washington and other important figures of the new republic including four other presidents and Andrew Hamilton. Hazel had written the script and Lee Cox directed the film Rolinda - Painted out of history a drama documentary for HTV and I acted as a latter day example of woman artist making her living now. So the talk takes the form of Lee asking Hazel questions and they showed clips of the film = it is strange watching oneself there on the screen with Rolinda (who was played beautifully by Toyah). I was pleased to see Alison, director of the RWA which Ellen founded by leaving her collection of paintings and a legacy. She and Rolinda had also put money into building the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Today we set out in the car for Stroud as we’re going to visit our lovely friend Joyce who was an art student with me many years ago as was dear Janet who arrives only seconds after us from Worcester with her lovely husband David. It’s so good to see Joyce waiting at the door to welcome us all. We all have a delightful time reminiscing about our life and time as students. We are joined by Joyce’s handsome son Shane who for the most part is living in London. I feel very fortunate to have had these dear friends for so many years. Janet and David leave about 6.30 and we stayed on ’til 7.30.
Busy painting miniatures for our charity Open Studio
‘Phone call from the Chelsea Arts Club saying they are a bit concerned about me giving the artists talk in the Club on Monday as after the October one at least eight people went down with Covid so we postpone. We decide we’d still need to go up to London to collect two painting from Bonhams from the collection of my erstwhile dealer Theo Waddington that we bought back in an auction a couple of weeks ago. Particularly as they both look as if they left the studio before they were completely finished so I want to rework them
Drive up to London arriving early evening and in time to have dinner with Henrietta Kev, Isaac & Samuel. It is the first time we have seen the Canopy above the french Windows that Kev Erected for us after our last visit. He has also bought a beautiful out door rug which looks stunning on the terrace.So good to see them all over such a delicious supper
Richard drives into Knightsbridge to collect the paintings from the auction house.
Dedicate the evening to inspiring Isaac with a new digital sewing machine I’ve bought which embroiders letters and patterns etc.
Drive to Ramsgate to visit Nathan and Clementine and meet their new puppy Bea. She’s enchanting and does amazing leaps and turns in the air. Nathan prepares us poached eggs, smoked salmon and avocado before we go off for a long walk along the front to the harbour then an exploration of the town via St George’s church where my great great great grandfather was married. Then on to a lovely square with a small park in the middle where all the houses are very beautiful and quite different to each other. They seemed very reminiscent of some of the villas in Cheltenham. It is Dark when we walk back to the sea front and stop in a bar/cafe called The Little Ships which is full of photographs of the little ships leaving Ramsgate for Dunkirk in the bid to rescue the British Expeditionary Force from France in April 1940. The young man who comes to serve us says the chef has just made his first pot of mulled wine so we all opt for that, our first of the year.; it’s delicious and very warming. Bea is nestled asleep on Nathan’ lap. As we make our way back at a higher level along the guest houses overlooking the sea Richard and I notice that there’s a plaque say that the poet Coleridge stayed in this house as well as two others at different times along that terrace. Also Wilkie Collins. When we eventually get back to Ravensmere Nathan starts preparing the dinner, an enormous sea bass for our dinner served with tiny fried potatoes.
The large painting or him and Henrietta as children playing chess now looks as if it belongs there.
Say good bye to Henrietta Kev and the boys on their return from school before travelling back from London in the evening.Home about 10 pm.
We contemplate Richard’s talk tomorrow at Waterstones in Bristol about his illustrations for Martin’s book on Invertibrates and remember his letter from the NHS warning him to avoid crowded indoor spaces so decide that perhaps he would be foolish to give a talk in a space where people are unlikely to be wearing masks. So he writes an e -mail note of apology to Martin.
Ben our accountant comes and whilst he’s here is enquiring about whether we’ll be doing our charity Open Studio. So Richard brings a large flat basket from my studio with several of the miniatures in. He’s very taken by the Toyshop and asks if he might buy that as it reminds him of his own childhood.
Ben contacts us to ask about the charity account into which to make payment.