You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Me’ category.

Orchard Studio

April 05 – June 20

Orchard Studio Farewell

A white room
My footsteps echo
All has gone

Pause. Deep breath
Silent reflection……….
Time to leave

Nothing lasts forever and earlier this year I was given notice to vacate my lovely studio. It has now been sold, so for the last few weeks I’ve been packing everything up. It’s been a seriously big job. I wasn’t expecting the task to be easy but social distancing measures have made finding an alternative space more awkward. However, now I’m a proud ‘rentee’ of a large storage container, so at least everything has a place to go.

As for a new studio, let’s just say that it’s on my ‘To Do’ list. My next space, which will be studio number 6, will be my last. I don’t like having to face this sort of upheaval. It gets worse every time.

I’ve rented this space for 15 years and it’s felt like home. It was a very sad moment to walk out the door for the last time. Over the last few weeks I’ve found several reminders of the state I was in when I moved there, the place has meant so much to me and it’s saved my life.

Anyway, now I have another new beginning to make happen. It’s tough, it’s unsettling and it’s discomforting, but in the end it all boils down to determination. We all must try our best not to fear change or what the future might hold. Hokusai always looked forward, and that’s the big secret to learn from him. The past is simply the experience gained to assist the work yet to come. The more you look over your shoulder the less you see what’s ahead, and the more likely you are to trip up!!!!

Orchard Studio – Before……During……& After……

“From the age of six, I had a passion for copying the form of things and since the age of fifty I have published many drawings, yet of all I drew by my seventieth year there is nothing worth taking into account. At seventy-three years I partly understood the structure of animals, birds, insects and fishes, and the life of grasses and plants. And so, at eighty-six I shall progress further; at ninety I shall even further penetrate their secret meaning, and by one hundred I shall perhaps truly have reached the level of the marvellous and divine. When I am one hundred and ten, each dot, each line will possess a life of its own.”- Katsushika Hokusai, the old man mad about painting

25 albums that shaped my life

I don’t think it’s ‘Cabin Fever’, but since the lockdown I’ve had some very strange dreams. They often have very surreal storylines featuring people and places I wished I’d taken more effort to try and visit, and they’re always so very mixed up. An interesting one I experienced recently was one where I travelled through a Dali-esque landscape of my past life as well as my overburdened ‘To Do’ wishlist, accompanied by a musical soundtrack overlayed with a succession of album covers.

Obviously my Facebook newsfeed was to blame for this, over the past few weeks I’ve noticed several friends making selections of a series of albums which have been important in their lives. More often than not though, they’ve restricted themselves to only 10 choices, which I would find impossible. However there needed be a reasonable limit, but instead of trying to fit into the 10 album strait jacket I decided I’d allow myself the luxury of slipping into an XL of 25 (of which one is actually an EP).

While it was fresh in my mind and thinking it would be an interesting memory lane exercise to indulge in, I thought I’d reconstruct my dream as a musical self portrait blog. There’s no particular message to accompany them, they’re just personal time capsules that spark memories, which I’ve played to death over the years, and the ones I constantly return to. There’s time aplenty right now to remember those special people, places and moments that’s been a part of one’s life, and the perfect excuse if ever I needed one to share some good memories as a musical message.

Anyway, it’s only a blog of dream inspired lockdown fun, but nevertheless I’d be more than happy to have these as company on my Desert Island. Click the links………..and enjoy!

Golden Age of Lonnie Donegan – Lonnie Donegan

Please Please Me – The Beatles

Nice Enough To Eat – Various Artists

This Was – Jethro Tull

Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France

Death Walks Behind You – Atomic Rooster

Hunky Dory – David Bowie

Elgar – Cello Concerto (Jacqueline Du Pré) & Sea Pictures (Janet Baker)

Led Zep II – Led Zeppelin

Every Picture Tells a Story – Rod Stewart

Split – The Groundhogs

Skid – Skid Row

With a Little Help From My Friends/Joe Cocker! (Doubleback Series)

Innervisions – Stevie Wonder

Kind of Blue – Miles Davis

Beethoven – The Nine Symphonies

The Art of Segovia – Andrés Segovia

Mingus Ah-Um – Charles Mingus

Rattus Norvegicus – The Stranglers

Specials – The Specials

This Year’s Model – Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Stop Making Sense – Talking Heads

Hot Fuss – The Killers

With Love & Squalor – We Are Scientists

Two Parts Diamond – 3 Parts Dirt!

Landmarks & Milestones: A Painter’s Progress

5-29 October 2015 • The Castle, Wellingborough NN8 1XA

Our lives follow a meandering path, taking us in different and unexpected directions. This retrospective exhibition is an opportunity to reflect upon a painting career that has incorporated a variety of subjects and activities, with dramatic changes in scale.

From early formative works through to more recent painted and drawn images, it also includes examples of monumental mural paintings, a recurring feature of the artist’s output since 1977.

My painting is me
A kind of biography
Written in pictures

Landmarks & Milestones: A Painter’s Progress
5-29 October 2015
Exhibition Wall & Gallery
The Castle, Castle Way, Wellingborough NN8 1XA
01933 229022
www.thecastle.org.uk/colin-slater

The Oak and the Reed

20 August 2013

An afternoon visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and, as has become habit, after walking up the steps and passing through the swivel door main entrance I immediately made for the first floor galleries. My first priority each time I visit is to find a small painting by Achille-Etna Michallon, ‘The Oak and the Reed’. Some paintings can be easily passed by but others have that special kind of magic that makes them leap from the wall and speak, and from the moment of our first meeting many years ago this one grabbed my attention.

Not a famous painting, nor on a grand scale and not painted by a well known artist it hangs quietly amongst others in a corner of the central gallery and could be easily overlooked. As I sat close by to enjoy its company today many visitors didn’t even give it a glance. Yet for me it is the most important and thought provoking in the collection.

SLATER-O&R1    SLATER-O&R2

It was painted in 1816, is quite dark and relatively small at 43.5 x 53.5cm. A wind ravaged figure in the left side corner stands in shock beneath a tempestuous sky as a strong and sturdy oak is destroyed by an overpowering storm. In the foreground, reeds sway and bend with supple flexibility as the full force of nature vents its rage and fury on the scene.

Perhaps this work has become so important to me because, like a good friend, it whispered life affirming advice into my eyes at a time when my world was falling apart. Its simple message put me back on track after problems with depression had caused me to slip into a very deep and black hole. My work as a lecturer, once so enjoyable and rewarding, had over several years become increasingly demanding and had made me very ill. To paraphrase a Hungarian expression, “a béka segge alatt”, I was at the bottom of a coalmine, under a frog’s arse!

Life can be quiet and undemanding, it can also be difficult and devastating, who knows what might be hurled in our direction. It can be littered with ‘perhaps’, ‘might have beens’, ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’. There are demands and challenges to be faced, and we have to deal with them as best we can but sometimes even the strong can be broken. Perhaps the secret to resolving some challenging situations is not to stand one’s ground and risk being destroyed, but to bend and adapt.

Michallon is not a household name in the history of art. He isn’t mentioned in the Larousse Dictionary of Painters, The Oxford Companion of Art or the Penguin Dictionary of Art & Artists and he died very young, in 1822, of pneumonia aged only 25. To me however, thanks to the message he sent through oil paint and his brushes almost 200 years ago, he is a colossus.

As a teacher one of his students was the very well known Camille Corot, so perhaps there is something more to be learned here too. The teacher may not be the one that reaps success, but if he’s a good one, his students might. Today I have relished standing in the shadow of a quiet master whose teaching and advice is still alive. In my heart of hearts I’d really like to think my previous life as a teacher was worthwhile too.

For as long as I remember I’ve had an ongoing battle with a ‘black cloud’ but I certainly experienced some very dark days when my work as a lecturer triggered years of depression. If only I’d forged a relationship with this painting before my world in education began causing me problems things might have turned out very differently, I’ve been a casualty for too long. There is power in painting, one can learn much from it to inspire and enrich one’s life.

Perhaps, in my dark distant past, I was an unhealthy ‘oak’. Now, hopefully, I’m a much stronger ‘reed’.

SLATER-O&R3

ME

Self Portrait a Day #200

I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself,
And Then Make A Change………………….

    Haze. Sleep. Dream. Nightmare
    Suddenly. Without warning
    Prostrate. Hanging on

    A deep rooted pain
    Aggressive and insistent
    And out of this world

    Air gasped through gritted teeth
    Ribs crushed tight in hot barbed wire
    I refused to leave

    The other side called
    I almost lost ev’rything
    But wouldn’t let go

    My spirit tested
    But Black Sunday came too soon
    – I wasn’t ready

On 21st November 2010 I suddenly found myself lying on my living room floor, tied up with red hot barbed wire crushing my chest like a garotte. At least, that’s what it felt like. I was fighting for every breath in excruciating pain, the like of which I’ve never experienced before nor ever want to again. When asked its strength on a scale of 1 to 10 by a paramedic, I replied “89!!!” – to have simply replied “10” would have been far too tame, this was well off the scale. I haven’t the faintest idea how long I had been on the floor, all I can remember is how hard I had to concentrate on dealing with the pain and trying to breathe – and the realisation that my wife Henri had saved my life. I was in shock, confused, and hanging on by my fingernails until the second injection of morphine kicked in. From nowhere, and without warning, I felt my end had come and the only thought in my head was about staying alive. It was a nightmare, and I wanted to wake up. Unfortunately the nightmare was reality, I had to accept that it really was me in that desperate position. I thought I had a heavy cold coming on, instead it was pneumonia and pleurisy, and when I arrived at hospital the x-ray showed I had only one lung working. I developed other complications too, and was in hospital for 23 days. When I left I felt I’d entered another world. The reflection in the mirror was changed, winter had arrived, everywhere was covered with snow and the price of petrol had shot up by 15p a litre!

8.12.10

Now, twelve months later, to describe this event as life changing would be too predictable and melodramatic. Nevertheless it’s certainly given me food for thought. What happened that day turned my world upside down. There has been plenty of time for reflection, contemplation, rumination, deliberation, consideration, meditation, and frustration – but most of all, the last twelve months has been about recovery, and starting again. It’s been a very strange year, and a long one, but at the same time it’s passed in the wink of an eye. Life can be like that sometimes.

    From out of nowhere
    Something came to collect me
    The choice wasn’t mine

    Parcelled up in pain
    Unsure of destination
    Bound, weighed and measured

    For Delivery?
    For Recycling? Or Disposal
    Promised land? Or Dump!

    But winged ‘Postman’,
    Celestial ‘Bin man’ or
    ‘Courier’ no-showed

    With address unknown
    I was returned to sender
    For collection later

Categories

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 Athletics 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 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 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 Iain Erskine Ian Anderson Ice Hockey Impressionism iPad Iron Curtain Jacob van Ruisdael Jacques Brel James Abbott McNeill Whistler James Ferrara 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 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 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

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.