You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.



Snow gone, temperature up and following a week of preparing the boards, a start has been made with drawing. First job of the day however was to place the sections together to ensure the better sides were selected as painting surfaces.

R2B9h   R2B9d

R2B9g   R2B9c

Painting will be a challenge with each section being painted separately. A grid was drawn across the 7 sections in order to assist alignment and accuracy when transferring the working drawing.


The process of drawing the individual elements has begun and the first item drawn was the Fulbridge oak.


The sections aren’t feeling any lighter as each day passes, but the tango dance steps are improving. With good luck, a full sail and a fair wind the drawing process might be completed tomorrow.


We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray…….

It’s not surprising that ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ is bouncing around in my head after several days painting boards with white primer and today with a base of white emulsion to give the foundation of the painting more body.


It’s an interesting variety of thoughts that filter through when engaged in a repetitive activity, however necessary and important that process might be to the end result. I’ve had thoughts of Sir Ranulph Fiennes next adventure, to Captain Scott and Vaughan Williams’ ‘Sinfonia Antartica’, Alec Guinness, The Beatles’ ‘White Album’, Kasimir Malevich and others too surreal to mention……… well as Procul Harem.

The groundwork is now done. Next week it’s down to the nitty gritty!


All 7 sections have now received two coats of primer applied by brush and are prepared for a base coat of emulsion. I’ll relieve the monotony tomorrow by using a roller!

The same boards – but not necessarily in the same order!

R2B5inside   R2B7b   R2B7c


Not only is it a scene of white outside, it’s white inside too.

R2B5outside      R2B6

View outside studio.   View inside studio


R2B5temp      R2B5

Drying time is an awkward and time consuming part of the process but there are other things to be done before I begin the task of drawing in the design. One job has been to prepare a plan to assist the transfer from drawing board to plywood sections.

Fulbridge Drawing

Some adjustments were needed to prevent a couple of elements being distorted owing to their position across more than one section of board. Use of a grid with this project I think is imperative as I will be unable to assemble all the sections in the confined space of my studio.

It’s a little worrying that I won’t be able to view the end result until it is in position at school, but if the groundwork is done properly, all should work out.


With rough edges sanded, the boards are ready for the first coat of white primer to be painted.



Last weekend I paid a visit to Fulbridge School with Henri to measure the entrance one last time, I needed to give myself peace of mind I had the correct figures for the size of the gable. Recently I’ve had a recurring dream that the panels are painted and ready to be secured in place only to find that I have painted the wrong size and shape!


With those figures confirmed I delivered a drawing with cutting plan to my local materials supplier earlier this week and today the delivery of 12mm thick exterior plywood arrived. The painting will be in 7 sections and the studio is filled with the smell of freshly cut wood.

Jan13Delivery      Jan13Delivery1

First job was to measure the individual pieces and check that they fitted together, next the task of sanding rough edges. The boards are now prepared and ready for priming.

Jan13Sanding1   Jan13Sanding2   Jan13Sanding3

For me this is always a special moment. My first art history lecture when I began art school was a discussion of a painting by Georgio de Chirico, ‘The Enigma of the Hour’, and I am reminded of this presentation whenever I begin a new piece of work. I had never seen the painting before, which had such a strange, ambiguous and mystifying atmosphere, nor did I have any knowledge of the artist, but since then I have made a point to pause, and to recognise and appreciate that moment when something special is about to happen. This sensation can perhaps be compared to the seconds before a penalty kick is taken in a football match, the outcome of which will alter the balance and momentum of the rest of the game.

What happens from now on changes everything. It could be magical, the best thing ever, but right now they’re just a collection of plain wooden boards. It is all about visualising the possibility and potential of the next step.

The Fulbridge Entrance project is underway. Not that anything is painted yet, but a space has been cleared to accommodate it. The dimensions of the painting will be 72 x 420″, my studio floor measures 220 x 174″. It’s going to be a challenge, like playing a game of chess with very large pieces. I’ll be inventing more new dance steps for the ‘Studio Tango’.

In January 2012 the studio looked like this:

Jan12Studio4   Jan12Studio3   Jan12Studio2   Jan12Studio1

Following a couple of days of lifting and shifting, it now looks like this:

Jan13Studio4      Jan13Studio3

All is prepared for delivery of plywood panels tomorrow

A new year, another bigger picture project. It was suggested toward the end of last year by Iain Erskine, Head of Fulbridge School, Peterborough. ‘I’ve a job I’d like you to think about,’ he said, ‘for the gable over the front entrance’. I’ve painted gable ends before but never within the confines of a triangle, so it was new territory.


The subject of the painting was to celebrate the conversion from school to academy status, as well as an opportunity to upgrade and perform necessary maintenance to the front of the building. It would also highlight and promote its reputation as a school of creativity.

The school’s mission is ‘Unlocking Potential: We believe that if we give children the roots, they will grow wings and fly’. Being an avid follower of Jethro Tull since the late sixties, this concept naturally caused their 1995 album ‘Roots to Branches’ to spring to mind and images began to fill my head. A composition I painted in 1981 also became an important source and influence too. After discussing ideas with Iain I began producing a variety of designs based primarily upon these two themes before presenting him with an initial scribble, which was then taken further as a coloured visual.


The central motif is based upon the Fulbridge oak tree logo, with entwined roots spreading far and wide. White doves are scattered around the composition which increase in size as they take to the air. The school motto reflects and softens the angle of the gable and the new academy name takes pride of place. Two small child figures are located like bookends to each side, holding a paper chain of figures. There are many cultures and languages spoken within the school, and this motif shows that all children entering the building are as one, with an equal opportunity to shape their own future.

The painting from which these two figures were taken was painted in sepia tones, and I decided I would employ a similar palette for this project. The gable of wooden boards has been in place for several years, so I felt there shouldn’t be a dramatic and stark change. After all, the school is already ‘outstanding’ and its policy remains the same, there is no need to make it appear that it has become a different place. A sepia tone would not only look similar to the wooden boards but would also have a timeless quality, which was why my original composition was painted with such a palette.


The image began life as a drawing commission from a chum to illustrate an apolitical ‘social ideal’. It is titled ‘Imagine’ and was my response to the assassination of John Lennon. It illustrates a simple but enduring message, one relevant to every generation if we are going to live together in harmony and with respect for each other. It was painted in oil on canvas and I wrote a poem to accompany it.


Imagine a time
with no mass unemployment
Imagine a world
without nuclear deployment
Imagine all people
respecting each other
Imagine them living
as sister and brother
Imagine all countries
without class distinction
Imagine world wildlife
with no fear of extinction
Imagine no hunger
no greed and no poor
Imagine no hatred
no malice, no war

It is a sentiment that is never out of date, and relocating the figures from this painting to the new composition was like passing the baton. It felt the right thing to do.


3 Parts Dirt! 10cc Abba AC/DC Achille-Etna Michallon Ajaz Akhtar Alberto Giacometti Albrecht Durer Alice in Wonderland Amsterdam Andrew Wyeth Andy Warhol Antonio Vivaldi Arctic Monkeys Art History Atomic Rooster Banksy Beatles Benjamin Marshall Bernard Cribbins Black Black Sunday Blondie Bob & Marcia Bob Marley Boxing Brushes app. Caesar Cambridge Camille Corot Cancer Canned Heat Castle Caverstede Early Years Centre 'Bigger Picture' Chalk Pastel Charcoal Charles R. Knight Charlie Small Children's Books Christo Claude Monet Coldplay Corinne Bailey Rae Coventry Creative Partnerships Crete Cricket Daniel Lambert Darren Fraser David Bomberg David Bowie Deacon's School Dennis Creffield Diego Velάzquez Discovery Primary School Django Reinhardt Dogsthorpe Academy Drawing Dr Strangely Strange Edgar Degas Edvard Munch Egypt Elizabeth Vigée Le Brun Elton John Elvis Costello en plein air Epping Forest Europe Eurythmics Evolve magazine Exhibition Fitzwilliam Museum Floella Benjamin Foo Fighters Football Forest Schools Fosse Mead Primary Francesco Guardi Frank Auerbach Fred Astaire Frida Kahlo Fulbridge School Garage Door Gary Moore Gene Wilder Gentle Giant George Bellows Georges Braque Georgio de Chirico Gerry Rafferty Gian Lorenzo Bernini Gingerbread Man Giovanni Bellini Gladiator Glasgow Boys Glenn Frey Gnarls Barkley Greece Gruffalo Gustav Klimt Haiku Hands Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Hercules Brabazon Brabazon Hiroshige Hokusai Ian Anderson Impressionism iPad Iron Curtain Jacob van Ruisdael Jacques Brel James Abbott McNeill Whistler Jamiroquai Jazz Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Jean-Francois Millet Jethro Tull JMW Turner Joe Cocker Johannes Vermeer John Constable John Lennon Johnny Kidd & the Pirates Juan Sánchez Cotán Jurassic Way Killer Shrimp King's Cliffe Endowed Primary School King's Cliffe Primary Kit Downes Quintet KT Tunstall Lanchester Polytechnic Landscape Landscape painting Lascaux Laurel Barbieri Leningrad Lenny Kravitz Len Tabner Leonardo da Vinci Lewis Carroll Little Red Riding Hood Loch Craignish Lonnie Donegan Luke Steele Lynyrd Skynyrd Mad Hatter Madness Manfred Mann's Earth Band March Hare Marvin Gaye Meadowside Primary School Media Media Archive for Central England Michael Jackson MichelAngelo Modest Mussorgsky Mosaic Moscow Mural Muse Music National Gallery Newark Hill Primary Nickel Creek Nick Ward Nina Simone Oasis Obsidian Art Gallery Owl Painting Panda Panorama Paul Cezanne Paul Gauguin Peterborough Peter Paul Rubens Picasso Pieter Bruegel the Elder Pirates Pleurisy Pneumonia Portrait Procul Harem Queen Radio 3 Essential Classics Rafael Alberti Rainforest Ray Charles Red Hot Chili Peppers Rembrandt van Rijn Rene Magritte River Nene Roald Dahl Rock Music Rod Campbell Rodrigo y Gabriela Rod Stewart Rogier van der Weyden Rolling Stones Romans Rome Rowlatts Hill Primary School Royal Academy Roy Clark Russia Salvator Rosa Sarah Walker Scotland Seascape Self Portrait Sheryl Crow Sistine Chapel Small Faces Sport St. Brendan's Primary School Steppenwolf Stereophonics Talking Heads Terry Jacks The Automatic The BFG The Crooked House Himley The Editors The Jam The Killers The Moody Blues The Red Deltas The Sensational Alex Harvey Band Thin Lizzy Thomas Faed Tina Turner Titchmarsh School Titian Tom Jones Totem Pole Trompe l'oeil Tuscany USSR Venice Vienna Vincent Van Gogh Volcanic Voyager Academy Warmington School We Are Scientists William Hogarth William Law Primary School Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club YouTube

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