Archive for October, 2007



This is the portrait commission that I am working on at the moment and I will continue to undate as I go along so please dip in for a look. It is a painting of a lovely old man  called Ronald which was commissiond by his son. Sadly Ronald died just a few weeks after I took the final series of photographs. It’s a great commission for me to do because I love painting old people and Ronald was such a nice old gentleman. It just reinforces to me how suddenly, all of the experience, wisdom , opinions, stories and memories just evaporate which is why I am so interested in capturing portraits of the elderly while everything is still there.

October 31st, 2007

The First Emperor: The Terracotta Army – British Museum


I was invited to a corporate reception on Tuesday night at the British Museum. I had watched a few TV shows about this and it looked fantastic so I was very keen to see it. As ever BP put on a good show, champagne extremely tastey chinese style food.

 There are still about 6000 of these warriors still under the ground which is pretty interesting in its self, they are almost like a kind of resurrection and look so much better in terracotta rather than painted , which they origionally were (probably with high lead content paint which Matel still use) , but painted sculpture looks kitche so they look even better now. Reminded me very much of Anthony Gormley pieces when I saw them , all standing , looking at the viewer in the same direction, excellent. I loved their footwear too, I don’t know if the Chinese do the same as the Japanese -(slippers on when you enter the house-what a good idea) but I find eastern footwear most interesting. It was also a beautifully contextualised exhibition, real care had been taken over that.

While I was in London I had a meeting about my commission as part of winning te BP Award last year at the NPG and some pretty interesting names came up but unfortunately I can’t say anything about that, probably until the portrait is about to be unveiled.

October 24th, 2007

Compton Verney – The Naked Portrait.

compton-vern-005-blog.jpgcompton-vern-006-blog.jpgcompton-vern-010-blog.jpgAnne and myself and Jane, Mike and Kathryn went to the opening of The Naked Portrait at the beautiful Compton Verney gallery by Warwick. It was such a good exhibition, so much to see and very well curated/selected, though I would have tried to have got a Ron Mueck for this show, would have been perfect. As ever these days I was increasingly interested in the photography, some great portraits by Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus and an incredible series of tightly edited large self portraits by an elderly photographer (Who’s name I made a special effort to remember but now I’m writing this I’ve completely forgotten)  , they were large close ups of his hands and knees and a very origionnal self portrait from the back with his head seemingly missing (bent downwards) and his hands sticking above his shoulders, almost like a rectangular Rothko composition. Just when you thought you had seen every possible posture for a portrait another fresh one comes along, this is why portraiture is so endlessly  fascinating, it’s about people, internal and external ,and thats all you need to keep you busy for a lifetime. Fantastic.

Anyway it was certainly value for money, I spent about an hour and a half looking around it and was ready to do it again once I’d finished. I love the way it is split up into 3 different rooms, feels like you are walking around someone’s house.The old classics were there, Freud, Bacon, Kossoff, I’m sure there was an Aurbach and some rather interesting contemporary New European photographers who’s pictures really did show up the differences in basic home comforts between new and old Europe. Again I love that idea of portraiture and domestic objects juxtaposed and working hand in hand.

 The pictures show the 5 of us mentioned earlier and me and Anne with our old friend and new (ish) director Kathleen Soriano. 

Make a visit to this excellent show it’s great and the venue is magical.

October 3rd, 2007


October 2007
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