You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Elton John’ tag.

Caverstede Early Years Centre Mural
– 11 Years Later

It might be fate, it might be bad luck, but over the many years I have been building a digital version of the photographic archive of my paintings I have experienced hard disk crashes on three occasions. The last time this happened my back-up system failed too which caused a large swathe of material to disappear into the ether.

There’s nothing one can do in this situation but to begin the task once more however amongst the numerous writings and photographs lost there are always some pieces of work that can never be retraced again. As far as written work is concerned it’s like having suffered a fire and the same could be said for paintings if they have been sold, and if they are mural paintings they may have deteriorated beyond recognition or even been demolished.

One painting which ‘disappeared’ and caused a gap in my archive was a ‘Bigger Picture’ painted for Caverstede School, Peterborough in 2003 so a couple of weeks ago I made a tentative contact in the slim hope that the painting might still exist. There was a terrific sense of relief when the response was positive. I was told there was a large painting in place at the school, however knowledge of it was very limited as there had been significant changes since my painting was installed, with both Head Teacher and many other staff members having departed.

Back in 2003 the Head Teacher was Christine Parker, who asked if I would paint a large landscape based composition for the outside area of the school. She loved the landscape she drove through as she travelled to work each morning and wanted to share these special features with the children, who she felt may not have witnessed the countryside beyond the city. Several details were mentioned in our discussions about the painting and I then produced a working drawing for her to consider as ‘A Capriccio view of a Cathedral City on the edge of the Fens’. I presented a composite image which suggested the appearance, elements and specific features of the Peterborough landscape without the viewpoint being from a particular location.

Guildford Pencil WD R 1


My working drawing showed that although one side of the city was very flat, on the other side the landscape became more undulating. Flat land also presents large skies with the opportunity for spectacular cloudscape formations, and features such as the cathedral, bridges, shopping centres, parkways, industry, the Flag Fen Bronze Age site and several others were included as integral elements of the composition.


When the painting was installed in its original position it doubled as a climbing wall, so I was particularly surprised to see the painting still standing and in such good condition 11 years later. I was so pleased I was able to photograph it in situ again. The painting had been moved as a new extension had been built and it had been modified too, with some sections cut out to accommodate the architectural features of the new building.

SLATER-Caverstede Edit

I wouldn’t describe the painting as damaged, it has simply been adapted in order to work in its new space. The rainbow is missing, but if you weren’t aware one existed in the original painting you’d never know, its removal hasn’t spoilt it. This certainly isn’t the first time a painting has been altered in order to fit somewhere new and it has happened to far more important paintings than mine, ‘The Night Watch‘ by Rembrandt being an example that immediately springs to mind.

This was a particularly special project for me because Henri, my wife and better looking other half, worked with me on the project too. She had a tougher task to complete though, spending most of her time on her knees as she worked with cement to produce a decorative footpath. To continue the theme suggested by Christine, Henri produced a footpath to appear as though it was an archeological dig revealing clues to the industrial heritage of the city. One section used timbers to suggest the footbridge at Flag Fen, there were tiles as a reference to our Roman past and she also included many old tools, cog wheels, horse shoes, bicycle wheels etc. both as impressions as well as being set into the path to illustrate past occupations of city residents in agriculture, construction, engineering and brick making.

Meeting up with this painting again felt like coming across an old lost friend. As far as Henri’s ‘Heritage’ footpath is concerned, it’s a little uncanny that within the last couple of years archeological excavation work has revealed a grand Roman Villa at Itter Crescent less than a 10 minute walk from the school.

Caverstede Nursery School, Caverstede Road, Walton, Peterborough, PE4 6EX

George Bellows (1882-1925):

Modern American Life


SLATER-Bellows p4

An afternoon with George Bellows at the Royal Academy, and an exhibition of contrasts.

Gatherings in open spaces, and in claustrophobic cityscapes and interiors. Freezing winters, suffocating summers. Powerful, stark structures of a city metamorphosing into a modern age. The rural idyll of fields and sea. Urchins bathing naked or hurling cans at each other in slum gutters. Rich crones and pampered socialites playing tennis or skating. City inhabitants stacked in tenements and as a human tsunami wave surging through streets of high rise. Countrysides for relaxing strolls in sun and snow. Crowds with blurred and smeared faces cheer on boxers disfiguring each other in brutal combat, their blooded flesh painted like carcasses hanging in an abattoir. Portraits of the clean and well dressed ‘Nouveau Riche’.

The dark and sordid, the light and happy. An artist of opposites. Early works bristle with risk and sweaty energy, later compositions with safety, calm and tranquility. Regardless of the subject, the successful pieces for me were active and animated, physical configurations flourishing with exuberant brushstrokes and vigorously scribbled lines – and Life! With a capital L. That’s the Bellows I’ll remember. A painter with an adrenalin rush of mark making!

SLATER-Bellows p1   SLATER-Bellows p2   SLATER-Bellows p3



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

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