My on-line diary began in the 1990's from my studio in the North of England. After a lapse of ten years, I resumed posting from my present studio on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

From the far beginning, the intention has been to give an insight into my working methods, and to share the triumphs, trials and tribulations of work-in-progress.

My diary pages are followed by thousands of artists, art students and art lovers in over 50 countries.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Let’s talk about art

All day yesterday and all day today, I am part of a team presenting workshops on art: yesterday for teachers, today for students. 

I woke in the early hours of this morning with thoughts of how to excite the latent creative spark that lies deep in the makeup of all of us.  Lectures and instructions might make a want-to-be artist more technically able but without passion, that spark will never ignite the flame that will in turn cause an earth-shaking explosion.  

It was when the formal sessions for the day were over that the otherwise passive participants burst into life.  They began to talk about their own perception of art and the message that they themselves (not me) wanted to get across.  How well I know that overwhelming feeling of release that comes from revealing your deepest visions to a group of like-minded souls.

Yes, the thoughts are muddle, just as today’s sketch and this entry may seem, but with a sympathetic eye and ear the meaning becomes clear.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Agony and the Ecstasy

I have stolen the title for today’s post from Irvin Stone’s 1962 biographic novel on the life of Michelangelo. I look forward, in the next world, to sharing a glass of wine with Michelangelo, and a host of other artists, who have lived and painted with a passion. 

I can feel their presence as I struggle with a new collection of figurative watercolour paintings.  Giving birth to a painting, involves an agonizing struggle against the odds.  At best, a watercolour is an accident waiting to happen.  Add to that, the difficulties of working from life; for only rarely can an artist find a muse and model that is able to inspire beyond the dreary norm.  If you then consider the chances of each reaching a creative high at one and the same time, the betting is in the region of a thousand to one against.   

As with making love, the creative spirit often at its best after a fight.  If that holds true there is hope, for my model and I are good at fighting.  And if not by making love, we at least make up with a determined burst of ecstatic energy. 

The picture is of today’s painting, still dripping with emotion. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Wanted: A Guardian Angel

This is a detail from the painting featured in my last post "He made a mess of dat".

It represents one of those rare occasions when a water colour, through the very love of life, comes as close as possible to that miraculous accident that does sometime happen. The painting is awash with suggestion, thus leaving the image open for you to enter into the creative process.

To give thanks for the miracle, the proceeds of the sale will go towards helping a gifted five-year old little girl from my island of Dominica who suffers from autism.  This young lady could well be another Stephen Wiltshire (Google the name to find out more). As I am dyslexic, I feel a bond with my autistic brothers and sisters.

My painting of Roseau Market measures 16” x 13”.  It is for sale at the bargain price of US$650 in the hope that the proceeds will enable a guardian angel to come to her rescue. 

Delivery by DHL or FedEx is included in the price.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

He made a mess of dat

Forty years ago, I sat sketching the fishermen off-loading their catch on the beach that bordered the Bay Front at Roseau, Dominica.  Yesterday I sat sketching on the same spot.  But forty years on, where there was once a beach, there is now a berth for cruise ships and the Bay Front is now a restricted boulevard for tourists. 

After pleading permission from the on-duty police patrolling the area, I was allowed to set up my sketching stool and easel.  By turning my gaze towards the Old Market Square, and turning a blind eye to the knick-knacks that littered the stalls, I was able to rekindle the spark of old times. 

In addition to the sketch I was able to pick up one gem of a comment from an onlooker.  “O dear, he made a mess of dat”!