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NOVEMBER 2022 Tuesday 1.11.22 All Saints’ Day A notification from the RWA telling me that my painting Guiding the Bear has sold at the Annual Exhibition. Wednesday 2.11.22 All Souls’ Day I remember all the dear people that I have loved, known and lost. Thursday 3.11.22 Ellie comes in her large Paragon Gallery van for a cup of tea and a chat. She’s fascinated to see that we have the same kettle that they have and whilst all our Le Creuset is in Volcano orange, a lot of theirs is in greys or white and she says they are addicted to collecting it. We explain that we’ve been fortunate enough for all of ours to have been gifts from the family, particularly to Richard of course because he loves to cook. It’s interesting talking to her about galleries and the way in which they work and She obviously knows a lot of them as has been enterprising enough to found the Fresh Art Fair here in Cheltenham and more recently also in Ascot and is currently negotiating another. She’s passionate about art and running her gallery and has got a very amiable attitude. Friday 4.11.22 Busy working on the miniatures and have now grown to eighteen but all very much in progress. Some very small roundels and a tiny hare in a square. Some of the larger 5 x 5 inch and some rectangular 4 x 6. ‘Phone call from Henrietta who has had a good week at Goldsmiths especially since she has now completed the chapter of the book that she had been asked to contribute to a Routledge book. Next week she will be doing a photography class on cameragraphs which she tells me are a bit like lunar photographs where you use different resists. She and Kev are just off for a meal at the Royal Nepalese as both boys have already eaten and have had a good week at school. Nathan rings shortly after. He’s back from Bulgaria where the project seems to have gone really well. He tells me he’s looking forward to the prospect of working on a film in Scotland next year as he loves the country and could take Bea with him. In between that he will be working in South Africa on another project. Saturday 5.11.22 Busy working in the studio on the charity miniatures. In the evening I hear and see the bangs and flashes of Bonfire Night but paint on regardless. Sunday 6.11.22 Richard has been preparing the large window that Albert made for my studio ready to paint on the outside. He managed to fill and sand yesterday and today he’s got the centre panel painted in undercoat before the deluge. Monday 7.11.22 It would be interesting to be at COP27, how different countries approach the same problem. A lot of the undeveloped countries are rightly complaining that they haven’t caused as much destruction of the climate as we and other developed nations like the USA and China etc, have. And that there should perhaps be reparation payments to help them overcome the effects may have suffered - flooding, drought, fires but the USA says they have already given payments and aid to them although all sound empathetic. The raging war in Ukraine is increasing those effects with Russia’s continual strikes causing explosions, fire and massive pollution. But perhaps we can hope that the shortage of oil and gas etc that normally comes from Russia might accelerate exploration into clean and green energy. Tuesday 8.11.22 Talk at Woodmancote school to their year four children who are 8 years of age and delightful with their enthusiastic and perceptive questions. There at the back is Max who brought this about through our meeting at the Platinum Jubilee party when he enquired if he could see my paintings and later left a beautiful glass engraving that he had made for me on our doorstep Wednesday 9.11.22 Nathan rang Thursday 10.11.22 Busy working on the miniatures etc. Friday 11.11.22 Running through images and ideas for tomorrow’s talk in Solihull. Saturday 12.11.22 Up very early at 6.30 to drive to Solihull where I’m giving a talk to the children’s Saturday Art Club. We arrive in good time but then find we’re in the wrong car park , not the one where Lucy and Nick are meeting us to help us carry up the paintings books and postcards etc. We don’t need the projector and screen as Makesh who runs the class has set up his Mac which is connected to the large TV screen so we only need our memory stick. After a call to Makesh and Lucy we reset the sat nav which then directed us to it again but then Lucy says it is opposite the Crown Plaza hotel and called Torchwood. As we drive in we can see her standing there waiting for us which is very nice. She’s joined by Nick and Sebby who have just taken Corlie up to the class. Mukesh is a very warm and friendly man who with his lovely wife Kamaljit have been running these classes for a few years. Both of them used to teach in a local college of further education were he was a vice principal. They create a lot of amazing works with their classes and this independent community interest company. The children are very attentive and Lucy tells me later that I had gauged it at exactly the right level. Again they ask very pertinent and perceptive questions. It has a lovely warm and exciting atmosphere with student volunteers helping, who were themselves part of this class before graduating to the older group. Lucy presents me with a beautiful vibrant bunch of flowers and a carrier bag with a copy of ‘Welcome to Britain - fixing our broken immigration system’ by Colin Yeo. And a delicious looking box of chocs. They then take us to Carluccio’s were they have booked a table for brunch. It’s bright and sunny for our journey back and we take a detour into Cheltenham to pop into the Paragon Gallery. Sunday 13.11.22 Henrietta ‘phones Working on a new small painting to show alongside the miniatures. Monday 14.11.22 Richard cycles into Cheltenham and when he’s about a mile and a half away there’s a deluge so he goes into the M&S cafe when he’s travelled another couple of miles into Cheltenham to warm up with a coffee Tuesday 15.11.22 Busy on the tiny works... Wednesday 16.11.22 Which are gradually growing in number... Thursday 17.11.22 ...but all still needing... Friday 18.11.22 ...further work. Sunday 20.11.22 Richard collects Masa who advises Hiroko on their sportswear companies and who is currently doing a year’s teaching and research at SOAS, University of London. I had first met him when he had come with Hiroko and her party to my London opening at P&H in 2019. He’s accompanied by his delightful wife Keiko who we haven’t met before. We sit over lunch before going over to the studio. I think he had expected to see more work there but of course most of it is out with galleries. He says what he is really interested in is one of my tiger paintings as he (like Nathan) was born in the year of the tiger. But I only have a small one in the studio so I mention the one I have at Trinity House and we show him an image which he loves and would like to buy it and a smaller work that’s out with P&H for Keiko. Monday 21.11.22 ‘Phone call from Mark of Trinity House apologising for not having let me know yet that they have sold my large Tiger in the Desert painting, which Masa was so excited about buying from me. Oh dear, this has happened once before with the Portal Gallery who had opened up on New Year’s Eve and sold a very large Nightclub painting to an American woman who had already paid while in the meantime I had sold it, thinking the gallery was closed, to another lovely New York collector. This does occur from time to time. Likewise with a painting that I had sent to the gallery who show my work in Canada; my London dealers who had previously had the painting for an art fair, sold it at about the same time as the gallery in Toronto were negotiating with a client there. So, it happens. Tuesday 22.11.22 Still beavering away Wednesday 23.11.22 And trying to refine... Thursday 24.11.22 ...this large but minuscule collection Friday 25.11.22 Cotswold Life has done a beautiful full page to announce my Mulled Wine, Mince Pies & Miniatures charity open studio. It’s such a fabulous magazine. E mail from Helen at the Brian Sinfield Gallery saying she’s just sold my Little Flock to a lovely lady who is a Lady and do I have a couple more paintings she could exhibit in the gallery. I send her images of The Red Cat and The Hare which she is delighted by. Saturday 26.11.22 and says she is very happy to come into the gallery at whatever time we’re passing through on Sunday night after we’ve had dinner with Masa and Keiko. This is brilliant as it saves both her and us from having to do a special journey. I always try to tie in as many things as possible. Still busy on the miniatures and Richard’s now painted one of the windows at the back of my studio in the beautiful pale turquoise undercoat … Sunday 27.11.22 … which I look at this morning before we leave for London. We drive into Cheltenham first to collect a parcel from Waitrose and arrive in London just as the light is beginning to go. I collect the box of little works I wanted back from Pilar who again has walked in specially - I had rung her half an hour before we arrived. She asks if she can keep The Red Cat as she’s just heard from someone who would like it. She says she particularly likes it too. I give her a little box of marzipan fruits. We’d been so lucky to park just at the right end of Cecil Court so are only a few yards way from the Gallery. We have been amazed driving through London at the crowds of people, presumably shopping and enjoying the Christmas lights especially around Harrods and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge which we see on the way to the Chelsea Arts Club. We’re a bit worried when they tell us the Yearbooks are locked in a shed in the garden and didn’t know whether they would be able to retrieve them. There’s a piano recital going on in the bar/billiards room and we enjoy listening to her warming up and were able to claim my free bottle of Club champagne in return for the Cub reproducing one of my paintings on one of their Christmas cards this year. Richard had just put that in the car when Andrea arrives with two carrier bags of the Yearbooks and then two bags of the Chelsea Arts Club sketchbooks that I have purchased. But unfortunately the Christmas cards haven’t yet arrived. Punctually at 6pm Maso and Keiko come through the door having got back from Milan and Florence on Friday where they went to see the Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and then to see Michael Angelo’s David in the Accademia and onto the Uffizi where Keiko was particularly taken with Botticelli’s Birth of Venus which of course she had only seen in reproduction before. We’re sitting in the Ladies Bar having drinks before dinner and give them the bag containing Tickling the Trout (or The Owl and the Pussycat). We unwrap the painting for them and they say it is even more vibrant in reality. Masa is giving this to Keiko for her birthday which is on Tuesday. We then go into dinner and their eyes light up when they see all the paintings en route. Richard puts his hand on the large Club dining table and tells Maso that Monet sat at it with Whistler. Masa decides to go with the Artists’ Menu although we all have the soup from that selection as it is curried cauliflower soup and Keiko remembers the leek and potato soup Richard made for them when they travelled down to Cheltenham. Keiko and I followed this with fish of the day which was skate wings; Maso had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and Richard had sea bream with purple potatoes then nougat and salsa of lime and mango and Keiko treacle tart. Maso and I abstained and discussed the painting I am going to create for him. It’s a lovely evening as they are such a delightful couple. We leave at about 9.15 arriving in Burford at 11 where we are met by Helen, her husband and dog. We apologise for our lateness but they say they have travelled all over the country today visiting artists. I apologise for not having The Red Cat, the second time this week I’ve promised a painting to find it as already been sold. She takes us on a tour around the gallery and tells us about the lady who bought my Little Flock painting. I end up leaving her with four new pieces to compensate for The Red Cat. We arrive home at about 1am. Monday 28.11.22 Still painting on the last of the miniatures as I’m now into the final week. Tuesday 29.11.22 I’ve actually started another circular piece, a seascape with a whale and a white steamer called The Leviathan. Wednesday 30.11.22 We attend the reception and lunch at the Wilson to celebrate the acquisition of Angelica Kauffman’s portrait of Lord Northwick for the Wilson (Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum). Top left, next to my painting Portrait of the artist watching her two children grow. I’m giving the vote of thanks to all the people who have helped in this purchase and have spoken about that journey today including Tessa Jackson from the Art Fund, Charles Sebag-Montefiore who first spotted the painting’s reappearance at a gallery in Bury Street, St James’; Adrian Barlow for masterminding it; Laurie Bell CEO of Cheltenham Trust; Kirsty Hartsiosis and Max Wilkinson the cabinet member for Culture on the borough council.
MAY