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We drive to Stanway with its ancient Tithe Barn were Edward and Alyson have invited us to a post wedding lunch. Siobohn their lovely eldest daughter and her beau Matthew were married yesterday. Later Meurig, director of the music festival, tells us that HG Wells and Percy Grainger used to stay here when Percy was walking the Gloucestershire countryside collecting songs and inspiration for his music (for instance from Winchcombe workhouse). But he also enjoyed riding in HG Wells’ car. Its lovely to see Meurig and Rachel’s beautiful little daughter Raffi who is now an adorable three year old with an enormous mischievous smile - it doesn’t seem long since we were at her christening. But the very first people we had bumped into after being greeted by the bride Siobohn were Mark and Julia and Anita Syvert who we sit with for the first part of the lovely lunch in this magnificent Tythe Barn built in the early 14th century with its massive beamed ceiling. Later we bump into Graham and Eileen Lockwood - Graham has worked hard on the development trust at the Museum and is chairman of the Holst Museum and was previously the vice chairman of the Music the music festival having written a book of its history to celebrate it’s 60 th year (on which he reproduced the painted quartet I created for the Music Festival that year). Its a lovely sunny day so most people move in and out of the barn at different times. At 1.30 we all give three cheers for the bride and groom who are leaving in a very beautiful open top Morgan for their honeymoon. It is a little reminiscent of when we watched a bride and groom depart from the piazza in San Gimigniano a week ago, that time in a little open top Volkswagen where they were driven by someone who looked as if he might be their best man and his wife. Of course the piazza had been full of strangers who were visitors to that beautiful hilltop town but as with the guests here, everybody applauded. Edward gives me one of the beautiful floral table arrangements, almost spherical full of soft muted pinks and mauves.
Back home to work.
Start two new pieces today inspired by the Italian trip.
Phone call from Paintings in Hospitals asking if I would donate a painting to their charity auction and dinner in November, as I have on previous occasions. Last time I think it was through my lovely friend the late Andy Curry who was one of their trustees. Paintings in Hospitals also have a couple of my works in its collection; one of them was at one time in the cardiac unit for children in Leicestershire.
Nice e mail from Karl telling me about a painting coming up for auction.
Have started three new works in the last couple of days!!
Jess e mailed to say she has already sold the Card players that she was showing at the art fair 20/21 at the Royal College next week so wonders if there is anything else she can take too.
Hear Martin Bailey who wrote the book on my work on several news programmes and the arts review programme Front Row as he uncovered a photograph in a Japanese Museum of one of van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings that had been destroyed in by the Americans during the war . This one had six sunflowers and was framed in a simple wooden frame that he had painted himself in bright orange, which makes Martin feel he was in the avante garde Martin who is an art historian, writer and arts reviewer who writes for the Art Newspaper, originally trained as an economist then an investigative journalist with The Observer winning ‘journalist of the year’.. It was he who discovered the missing panel and frame work for the Hereford Mappa Mundi.
Matthew from Panter and Hall rings to say he has someone who might be interested in one of the paintings and also wonders if I might like to have an exhibition with them next year?
Still working very hard on the pieces for the forthcoming show at the Alpha in London in October.
Phone call from young Dr Matt asking if can he and Elaine come and visit on Sunday afternoon.
Working on a piece for Jess to show at Art 20/21 at the Royal College in London and other pieces for the exhibition
Matt and Elaine (who is also a doctor - an anaesthetist) come in the afternoon for a cup of tea and to collect their painting with which Elaine seems equally pleased.
Then its back to work om the newspaper painting for Jess right through the night -
- I turn in at about 8 and Richard gets up a couple a couple of hours later going off to London via Stow.
I get up at 2.30 and after my bowl of blueberries, apricot, bananas and muesli! I continue work on paintings for the exhibition.
Big bash in studio
Over to Gloucester to the church of St Nicholas for Artshape’s AGM where having just become their Patron, I am speaking. Its a lovely building just opposite the Folk Museum in Westgate. The churches Conservation people are working in partnership with Artshape to raise the money through the Heritage Lottery Fund to make it Art shapes home. With the addition of toilets a kitchen and heating it will make the most wonderful environment for Artshape in which to work perform and exhibit. I’m really delighted to meet Rob ex Star College student, who I remembered from his wonderful dance and acting performances there. He tells me that he’s directing a play at the moment. Later when talking to Mike (tutor) he tells me how proud he is of Rob. Meet lots of very interesting and enthusiastic people, some being volunteers who help working with the clients and sometimes in the office so that they get a feel of the whole purpose and process. I also meet board members and their chairwoman, Elizabeth who also advises their up and coming staff and students on possible ways of making a living from their work. She also chairs the AGM after I’ve given my talk/slide show. I am really moved by how dedicated they all are.
When we get back home my Mum has already arrived as Richard is driving her up to London to stay with Henrietta, Kev and the boys for a few days. In the meantime I’m working on the pieces for the exhibition.
Rupert, director of the Alpha Gallery, is coming down from London to discuss details of the exhibition so Richard goes to meet him from the station. Rupert is amiable, charming, knowledgeable and very on the ball. After lunch we look at the work in the studios before finalising the dates. The private view is Thursday 24th October running till 16th December.
After Rupert’s gone I return to the little charity painting I’m doing for the Rotary Club raising money for their Stop Polio Now campaign
Off to the New Club (but established in the 1860s!) at the invitation of Sir Michael McWilliam. A charming man who was chairman of Cheltenham Festivals after being director of SOAS, (the School of oriental and african studies University of London). He has invited me to lunch to discuss the Arts & Heritage group of the Honourable Company’s policies. He’s taking the role very seriously and has visited places like the Cathedral’s stone masons yard , the Pangolin foundry, Quenington Court, Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen and Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. I tell him about the arts charities that I am Patron of such as the National Star College, Cheltenham Open Studios, Artshape and President of the Friends of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. The New Club’s wonderfully quiet and although not still in its original home, next to the Town Hall, it has a fairly timeless feel.
Afterwards pick up a few things in Cheltenham and return home to work on the little painting for Stop Polio Now to be auctioned and also used as a print or poster. I’ve been working on it for over three months and even took it on holiday with us but because of the pressure of other commitments am rather late in finishing it. Richard takes a photograph about 1 am and we then spend the next hour arranging it in the centre of a poster and e mail it to Roger.
Working in studio during the day then change, to go down to the Tithe Barn where I am presenting cheques to the four charities that Bishop’s Cleeve street fair raised money for. I’m really thrilled as one of them is Linc of which I am a Patron and lovely Dr Gill Rouse (Linc’s founder) is there to receive it. The other charities are Gloucestershire Air Ambulance. Gloucestershire Heart Foundation and Gloucestershire Down’s Syndrome Foundation. They all give short presentations so we learn a little more about each charity. Its a lovely evening with wine and refreshments and many interesting conversations; its good to catch up with Gill too, she’s always very busy organising events for Linc. Tomorrow there’s a bike ride and probably some of the Cheltenham half marathon runners will be sponsored for Linc too.
Good day in the studio working hard finishing things to be photographed tomorrow.
Richard takes the paintings en route to London to collect my Mum from Henrietta’s.
Roger from the Rotary comes to see the little painting and asks if I can unveil it on Saturday for them in Montpelier Gardens.
E mail from Sir Michael Parkinson’s PA asking if he might have an invitation to the opening of my exhibition at the Alpha Gallery.
Also e mail from the Imperial War Museum ... I wanted to write and let you know that we currently have this work on display in our Director’s Boardroom – a meeting room used by IWM staff and also a space hired out for corporate use. The hang of this room is intended to showcase striking works from our contemporary collection, and your work is shown alongside works by Jock McFadyen and Diane Roberts which relate to the Falklands Conflict.
She also says that .....We have a request in to include it in a children’s book about war artists which is being published in association with IWM. This is a Collins Big Cat book intended to engage children who are experiencing difficulties in reading but whose age requires more sophisticated content.
In dialogue with Dee at the Cathedral about the opening of the Presentation at the Temple exhibition.
Michael rings. he’s over from Philadelphia researching at the British Library on Vaughan Williams’ last (unpublished) opera and is going to come to visit us on Friday.
working on the exhibition
Richard goes to collect Michael our American friend and collector from the station. Michael’s been in London doing research on Vaughan Williams’ last opera with his wife Ursula at the British Library. R takes him to visit the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham - a splendid little museum run by volunteers with only one part time paid member of staff which he really enjoyed. Then brings him back to meet me and for an early supper. Its really interesting to get Michael’s reaction to the paintings for the exhibition - he bought the Hare of Tiree and two other smaller works from last years Alpha Gallery exhibition. He’s a delightful man who has a doctorate from Harvard in English Literature (John Cowper Powes) of which he was assistant professor before doing his law degree and is passionate about English music particularly Vaughan Williams and after supper we go as his guests to the Pump Room for the opening concert of the English Music Festival which also includes works by VW, Holst, Howells and Bliss. Its rather fortuitous as we meet Graham and Eileen who are also passionate about music - Graham is also chairman of the trustees for the Holst Museum and touchingly, like Michael they also own some of my work. They kindly say they will look out for Michael at tomorrows EMF events in in Upper Rissington (where Holst was organist) and Cheltenham, as we are unable to attend due to other long-standing commitments.
We take Michael back to his hotel and I come back home to work on the little Stop Polio Now painting which had been pictured in today’s Echo but didn’t show the top bottom or sides of the frame where I am now painting palm trees, clouds and shadows.
We arrive at Montpelier Gardens only just in time as I had forgotten the little scarf for unveiling the painting. Its a wonderful sight as we get to the Gardens as all the coin strips, have been laid in rows which if stretched out would measure almost a mile, being part of the Rotary Club of Great Britain “Mile’Itis Challenge. I’m in time to pose with the Mayor and the Rotary’s regional president for photos. Its a huge achievement and shows the power of the people when many give a small amount as they have raised over £14,000 which will enable .thousands of vaccinations. Bill Gates has pledged to double whatever they raise and from Rotary Clubs all over the world this has become several million. Roger Champness from Cheltenham North Rotary has done a brilliant job of organising this and I’m particularly delighted as Dr Gill Rouse founder of Linc, is also their President (her husband Dr Michael Rouse had asked me to be Rotary’s speaker two or three years ago).He is a wonderful enthusiast. We also meet Nick and Brenda Ebdon from Cleeve Vale Rotary; Nick has also been organising this event. We have an unveiling of the painting in the bandstand where Mike the photographer from the Echo and Jim Hart from Radio Winchcombe are also recording the event.
Back home for an hour before setting off to the farewell party at the Hoyles for their lovely daughter Sarah and husband Drummond who are going to live and work in Singapore. It takes us some time to find it so I ring Peta who talks us in. Its a fun party and lots of the youngsters are in fancy dress. Interesting conversation with Sarah’s brother John who works as a developer for the Duke of Westminster and is currently working on a development that includes a gallery space for the Gagosian Gallery and Alan Cristea.
R goes to collect Michael from his hotel and takes him on a tour of Winchcombe and Stanway before bringing him back for lunch. We ask him about the three concerts he went to yesterday and are very touched that he spent quite a lot of time with Eileen and Graham. He wants to go to the studio again to take photographs of a couple of the works to send to his wife Anne in Philadelphia. I’m rather sad as I write her a nice e mail attaching the two images but unfortunately she doesn’t receive it so try again later in the evening when Michael, who has returned to London after R drove him to Gloucester (the train already having left from Cheltenham) where Michael says Richard managed to get them before it arrived. He’s a hugely Knowledgeable and perceptive man and over lunch our discussions range from literature and music to politics.
In the evening return to work on two of the pieces for the exhibition working through the night for Richard to take to.....
.....the photographers, to have transparencies made.
Notice a payment has arrived in my account! royalties from the Bridgeman Art Library.
Statement arrives from Bridgeman showing a wide range of usage's from books to prints.
Email from lady Arabella saying that her Husband Sir John Kiszley had been at a trustees meeting at the Imperial War Museum (where we discover that he is Vice chairman of the Trustees) and that when he saw my corrugated painting “Other Mothers Sons” hanging in the Boardroom he took all the other trusties over to see it.
Lots of e correspondence re the Presentation at the Temple exhibition .in Gloucester Cathedral
Beavering away on the works that need to be photographed for the catalogue for my London show.
Continue in studio then over to Gloucester in the evening for Stephen and Tony’s house warming party which was fantastic - their beautiful town house has been converted back from an accountants set of offices to a dwelling and was bulging at the seams with guests engaging in lively conversation and enjoying both the ambience and the food cooked mainly by Tony. Leave bit early as I need to do more work on paintings for the catalogue.
working intensely on the Fox, the Tea Dance and The Meal. Work through the night so that Richard can take them to the photographers first thing...
.. now trying to finish the Fairground, Angel Horse & Dove and Dance.