Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Middle Age and Heavy Metal

My little brother is 50, which makes me bloody old. Seems he had a huge party and is only just recovering.

I spoke to Dorothy last night and had quite a good long chat. Dorothy saw a documentary film called "Anvil" or something. Anyway it's about a heavy metal band who have never made it and keep plugging away trying and hoping for a breakthrough though in their fifties. Apparently it is a fab documentary and I should see it. Maybe there is a DVD of it. Seems it is a bit Spinal Tappish but real. Hmmm. May take a look at it. I have signed up to be notified by Amazon when a DVD is available. It has a good review on Amazon.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Alzheimer's Dream, Cat Poo and Statins

Glad to be up - had a depressing nightmare where I found myself wandering the streets and suddenly realised I was wearing my nightclothes and slippers. Standing outside M & S could not decide whether to go in and buy something I needed or whether to get a cab back home and change, started to panic a bit and woke up. I wonder if Alzheimer's strikes while you are asleep?

Fed Mavis last night and this morning. Got rid of Malvolio's poo station as he tends to go in there and leave all the poo exposed so the whole flat smells appalling until I have disposed of it. I think he can manage to go outside since it's not freezing. I don't think he caught the goldfish. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.

Have been working on a small, rather sketchy view out of the studio window. It is total crap so far - but a work in progress.

Much publicity about the virtues of statins - thought a friend of mine had discovered these, but his was something a bit less developed, called eotaxin. I remember him getting very excited about that some years ago. Something to do with asthma. Oh well.

Evil Cat

- not sure whether it was Malvolio or another cat, but I found the corpse of a goldfish outside - fished from the pond. I don't think it could have been Malvolio as he is a bit old and decrepit and I think his eyesight is not good enough for fishing. Only two fishes left now.


This is the latest effort, finished this morning.

Definitely Monday Morning

Dear me! I had far too much to drink last night with a consequent lowering of the tone of conversation, so I am hoping that everyone else had also drunk too much and forgotten most of the proceedings - particularly since a wonderful old whisky was produced at the end of the meal.

We started with an Italian salad of orange slices with black olives and fennel strips which was very refreshing with a very pleasant white wine. We then went on to the main course - delicious beef casserole with pommes dauphinoise, carrots and cabbage. James produced a very good rioja to accompany this, and then on to my trifle, and Gillian had cleverly found a dark pink dessert wine to match. We then had coffee with mints and the aforesaid whiskey. Nomad's flat is a lovely modern flat in Shad Thames with a huge ceiling to floor window overlooking the Thames - a lovely setting.

I feel somewhat jaded this morning which is hardly a surprise. Must get upstairs to feed Mavis when I have fed Malvolio.

Quite funny - just fed Malvolio and was unlocking the upstairs door when a voice called out -'don't worry, I haven't gone yet!' - I was sure my neighbour was leaving last night, but fortunately he is still here and will feed Mavis this morning - just as well, in my hungover state.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Sunday Morning

Nibby has finally got herself onto Facebook. I suspect a daughterly influence, since Saff has been staying with her. Well done, nevertheless.

I did the earth hour thing last night, but peeped out and no one else in our street - at least on the other side - seemed to have turned out their lights.

Wondering if I can make it to Elephant for a coffee and to buy a paper. Will consider this further after a bath. Must adjust clocks - fortunately some already OK from non resetting last time.

I have ordered more paint from Artifolk online as I couldn't get to the local art shop yesterday. I think I have enough paint to last for a bit.

Just had a long chat with Nibby who is well. Her next grandchild is due in three or four weeks. She will miss them all when they return to UK. Made myself a hot cocoa with three drops of Camp coffee essence in it which sharpens up the chocolate taste. Mocha ...mmm.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Trifle Done, Knee Done In But Good Lunch

Made trifle but buggered my knee somehow going down stairs despite going v. slowly. The pain was excruciating. My later attempt to hobble off and buy a newspaper failed, so staggered into Lye Torng for a morning read followed by lunch. Ray kindly purchased a paper for me as I could not move.

Left to return home and the rain started immediately, but this did not affect my total lack of speed, so arrived a bit drenched. I am supposed to start feeding the upstairs cat tomorrow night, so may have to ascend and descend the rather steep stairs sitting down. Fortunately there is a lift at the Butler's Wharf flat where we are dining tomorrow night.

Friday, 27 March 2009

SE1 Lunch and DVD Afternoon

Very pleasant lunch at Lye torng with Plum. Came back and made some bread. Ocado delivered this morning - will make the trifle tomorrow. May leave out the custard, and just soften the mascarpone and sweeten it a bit with icing sugar before folding in the whipped double cream. Normally the Italian trifle would also have alcohol added to this and beaten egg whites to lighten the topping, but decided not to risk raw egg whites for dinner, and the alcohol is purple so would not look too appetising mixed with the cream etc. With a normal Italian trifle using chocolate and coffee I would use almond liqueur and garnish the top with ratafias.

Watched A Mike Leigh DVD I recently ordered called 'All or Nothing' which I thought was very good. Certainly puts today's vapid films such as 'Love Actually' etc. by Curtis into perspective - apparently the new one about Radio Caroline is pretty hopeless.

Last Charles

I can't face him any more. The uniform really does look like scrambled egg. Never mind. Onward and upward!

Challenging Charles and Crappy View

couple of days work, but home again. Charles is proving a challenge, so may abandon, at least for a while. Somehow not right - it may be the angle of the head - which is where life drawing would come into its own rather than using crappy snaps.

Nibby sent me a gorgeous painting of the view from her house. Unbelievable. No wonder she lives in Kangaroo Valley. It's a lovely painting too. Wish I could do complicated computer things like cutting and pasting so I could reproduce it here. Never mind. You can have a 'view' from my sodding window in Elephant and Castle!

Lunch club at Lye Torng today - and I may be the only taker, despite hints from others, we shall see. Dinner party club on Sunday, I shall make the trifle on Saturday, to give it time to mature.

Pierre from Canada is reading my blog as part of his convalescence - let's hope it works!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Comic queen

Back to work today. Cleaner coming so I must tidy the place up a bit. I shall ask her to keep out of my new studio, so less for her to do.

Have been playing with photobooth again.

And This is with Flash

A bit harsh but more like it, unfortunately.

Had another go at the Queen

and given her more chin and a larger lower lip. Will snap tomorrow. Actually decided to try in artificial light - this is artificial light. Gives it a warm cast which I quite like.

I read on Twitter that we are meant to turn our lights out for an hour at 8.30 on Saturday - something to do with saving the world. I can see the attendances at A & E departments increasing exponentially as old bats like me stumble over the furniture or tumble downstairs, or maybe set fire to the curtains like Miss Havisham while lighting their candles. You read it here first.

Plane Tree

I do like these with their monochrome hanging baubles. In fact I have a bit of a 'thing' about them and get rather excited every time I look up at them - like springtime tree decorations.

Had another go

Shut the mouth, increased the chin and a few more adjustments. A bit rough, but there you are. BTW James, I measured the ears, but v. funny anyway!


Oh dear, I may give up for a bit. Things are getting from bad to worse. I blame the snap.

Mum's Day Flowers and Unsuccessful Choc and Coffee Cake

Here's my Mother's Day flowers.

After finishing the Queen and deciding the chin was too pointed, nose too long, etc. etc. did a sketch of Prince Charles, presumably with the same faults, then digressed to make a Nigel Slater chocolate cake with mascarpone coffee and maple syrup icing. Somehow his recipes never quite seem to work: the icing was far too runny. Next time I shall use less maple syrup, stronger but less coffee or even Camp liquid coffee, and just stick to butter icing with lots of icing sugar. I shall also make a coffee cake with walnuts and put walnuts on top. The one I made has firmed up a bit in the fridge, but I think I will slice it up and freeze it to serve with ice cream as a kind of pudding. At least the exercise made me buy some matching cake tins which I did not own before.

I have ordered the ingredients for my next dark fruit trifle which I shall make on Saturday and decorate on Sunday for the SE1 dinner party club, this week meeting at Nomad's flat at Butler's Wharf. Again, rather upmarket for us Elephant denizens.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Monarch 2

I've now finished with it. Decided to address the 2d issue by darkening the ground behind the head.

Monarch 1

What I did yesterday. The nose is a bit long but it buggers up the rest if I shorten it.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Cute Little Truck

parked in our street today.

Mother's Day - Daffs £1


Just back from ma's day dinner at a Szechuanese in Charing Cross Road. Totally fab and fiery food - we were the only westerners in there.

I received a huge bunch of pink and red roses from Dorothy and Julian, and an Alessi taste-huile - individual olive oil taster. Stainless steel shaped like an olive on an olive leaf, designed I kid you not by Lorenzo Piccione di Pianogrillo and Kobi Wiesendanger in 2007. A most elegant and useful addition to my kitchen.

I've been painting the Queen as part of my 'pensioners' group. I shall finish it tomorrow and take a snap. Dorothy thinks I should draw people from life and then paint them later. He is against using photographs, which I understand, but sometimes I don't have any option.

Nibby Again

Got rid of the blue nose, toned the lips down, adjusted shading and other bits and heightened the colour. I think it is a little better, if nothing like the subject!

Mothering Sunday today, apparently. Dorothy and Julian have kindly invited me to their favourite Chinese place in town for an early dinner/late lunch at 6pm.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Saturday Painter Again

I am having trouble with Nibby - the nose is all wrong and the wrong colour, the mouth is all wrong but the eyes are fine. The face looks shorter again. Will have a further attempt before abandoning it.

Saturday Painter - Work in Progress

Kate forgot we were supposed to be going to Roxy's house and Cat had decided it was ghoulish, so I made Kate ring them and say we weren't coming, as I certainly wouldn't go alone, especially as it would cost me about £40 in taxi fares which I can ill afford.

I am now working on a portrait of Nibby, a recent 'pensioner' which will be titled 'artist' for that is what she does. It is crap as usual, and not helped by being from a black and white photo. I have noticed that I am somehow inclined to foreshorten faces and wonder whether this is something to do with my position at the easel. I shall think about this. I must try and get a sitter some time to see if this makes any difference.


Had quite a struggle with this - not a good snap and her eyes are shut, but she is very chirpy and enjoying herself. Her hair is very full and curly but with little wisps around the face here and there which are tricky. There is too much contrast - flash photography again.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Voice from the Grave

Afraid I was taken in - like many more, by a fake Marx quote.

However, with a not dissimimlar meaning, Marx wrote in the Chartist newspaper in 1847 as follows -'Is that to say we are against Free Trade? No we are for Free Trade, because by Free Trade all economical laws, with their most astounding contradictions, will act upon a larger scale, upon the territory of the whole earth, and because from the uniting of all these contradictions in a single group,where they will stand face to face, will result in the struggle which will itself eventuate in the emancipation of the proletariat.'

A lesson for our times perhaps?


Oh dear, have been looking at other blogs and realising how Pooterish I am. A bit ashamed of mine, really, revealing as it does the shallowness of my existence. Even the people I am following on Twitter seem to have much more happening in their busy lives. Apart from LOLcat, which is possibly the best thing I am following IMHO. Nearly always makes me laugh. Oh well, we can't all be intellectuals - who would empty the dustbins? not that I have emptied any lately.

These days I write this blog like a diary - partly out of boredom, but partly to remind myself when things happened, memory proving less efficient than formerly. Also to remind myself what I will be doing - this weekend I will have a sad trip to Roxy's house as I have been invited to see if there is any small thing to take as a memento before the house is sold. Kate and I will go, because we feel we have to. Then Mother's day on Sunday and I think Dorothy and Julian are taking me out for a Chinese meal in the evening. Tomorrow is lunch club at the Royal Oak, and later, starting on my next painting.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Drunken Lunch with Good Trifle

Roxy's memorial lunch today. All went well, but we became rather tired and emotional. Fortunately Julian turned up and helped clear up the chaos. Far too much food and drink. However the dark fruit trifle went down very well so will make this for the SE1 dinner party club.

Julian thinks I should try some paintings with a limited palette as an exercise. I hope she will email me some suggested colours. Otherwise I shall continue with the pensioners. Julian helped by bringing a table and a chair in from the garden so I have nearly everything I need.

Thursday - back to work for one more day - then FREEEEE for a few days to get some painting done. Hooray!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Ripper, Art and Dunces

Just discovered that one of our trustee's wives (not sure that this is English) is a writer who wrote a book about Jack the Ripper - a diary from someone called James Maybrick who may or may not have been the Ripper. Obtained this from Amazon and it's a ripping yarn anyway. Have just heard about Vivienne Westwood sneering at some new book - a fiction about the current art world - soon due for publication - maybe that means it's good, so will purchase just in case, and report back. In between, I keep returning to my current favourite: A Conspiracy of Dunces. I love that book. All human life is there. Or quite a lot of it, anyway.

Marx, Malvolio and Madeleine

Have a look at April's Oldie mag - you don't have to buy, just browse - Voice from the Grave feature - incredibly apt quotation from Karl Marx Das Kapital. Left my mag at the office or I would quote it and save you the trouble. Anyway.

Up betimes, tortured by Malvolio, who has now quietened down a bit after his diabetic breakfast.

Madeleine was rather concerned about my knee. Life goes on, even if I don't, so I shall attempt to stagger about and adapt a bit, hoping normality will eventually return.

Good news - the SE1 lunch club is meeting at the Royal Oak this Friday so we shall have some good old-fashioned food. I do hope I won't be dining alone. Juliet and Plum have promised to be there. We shall see...

Knackered of SE1

Back home to prepare for Roxy's memorial lunch tomorrow. Apart from cleaning the flat i have to make bread, trifle, put wine in fridge, sort out other food, clean silver, make boiled orange cake, etc. Could be rather challenging as my knee finally screwed me while banking a cheque. Limped out of the office to return home and spent several embarrassing minutes trying to haul myself into a taxi. Fortunately the driver also has a bad knee so was sympathetic.

I will have to leave the front garden and chair outside as i don't want to risk even more injury as I am due back in the orifice on Thursday. Taxis to and from work at the moment, and possibly for the foreseeable future. Julian gave me a most beautiful little cushion filled with lavender from Liberty's which I am desperately sniffing at in the hope of a little tranquillity. Actually Malvolio is showing some interest in it now.

Made a loaf of bread and a couple of trifles and put wine in fridge. Boiling oranges. Just realised I probably made my knee worse yesterday by doing Times spelling bee on my laptop and sitting awkwardly.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Rock'n Roller

Oh dear. Finished the portrait which does not remotely resemble the victim. Since it wasn't commissioned and the victim did not know I was painting it, this is a good thing, but does not bode well for future portraits. I think it may have something to do with only having one snap taken with flash on but then I would say that, wouldn't I?

Start of First Pensioner Portrait

This is a bit rough, but a face is definitely emerging from the canvas.

Finished First Portrait

New Studio

Here's the rather messy new studio

Lazy painter, Nibby and Talktalktalktalk

I am so lazy. Will bring the heavy chair in later. Will put back the windowbox later. Started a pensioner portrait. I am getting more confident in painting from a photograph which I find much harder than life painting, but seem to be getting the knack.
This is a black and white snap of Nibby, which I may paint into colour or just paint as grisaille since I think it is rather sweet, but then, she is my sister.

Chatting on Saturday in Lye Torng with a very interesting guy called Philip. Trouble is, once I start talking....and he was nearly as bad. I really will have to 'curb my enthusiasm.' Oh well.

Sunday, 15 March 2009


Lunch in Lye Torng. Poor Andrew had left the freezer off, defrosting the wonderful new puddings so I had a couple, free. He says he won't get any more because he wasn't selling enough. Shame, I think he should have tried a bit longer. They were so much better than the in-house offerings.

Discovered a chair in the garden which is a bit heavy but I will try and get it down to the studio if Dorothy doesn't turn up this weekend - no sign so far. I shall also attempt to lift the window box up to the lower windowsill and tidy the area at the front of the house. I would like to have this done before Bren's memorial lunch here and will have a go at it tomorrow.

Have had a final go at the portrait. I definitely have some ideas for further portraits so will see about these.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Friday 13th and Sick Malvolio

I was the sole diner at the lunch club. I hope it was the Friday 13th effect and not my choice of scent. Hopefully it may be the Royal Oak next Friday which will attract a few no doubt.

Afterwards, strengthened by the food, I managed to fold the sofa up and put the cover on it. I shall spend the weekend moving my studio into the basement. Quite exciting.

This morning (Saturday) poor old Malvolio had his breakfast, then let out a strange cry before throwing the lot up just outside the kitchen, unfortunately on floorboards which are rather wide apart. I rushed in quite quickly and prevented any puke from descending between them, luckily. He seems OK but will keep an eye on him - last time he had a fit of incontinence and pooed on the floor, but hopefully it was a one-off. He did seem quite disorientated at the time so it may have something to do with insulin. We shall see.

Changing Rooms - Or Trying To

Just tried to fold up the bedsofa and it keeps crashing down again. It is very heavy and awkward, so have emailed Dorothy who bought it originally to try and get some help. I am so fed up with it that if Dorothy can't help I shall have to try and get someone to come and take it away, which will no doubt cost quite a bit.

If I could get rid of it, or at least get it folded up, I will have plenty of room in there for painting. The light is not ideal but adequate.

I do need the sitting room clear for Bren's memorial lunch next Wednesday. Someone has contacted us to invite us around to her house to pick an item to remind us of her. Not looking forward to that. But still, a kind thought.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Home Break

Finished for the week. Trustees meeting only just had a quorum. Fortunately we appointed two extra trustees. All we need now is another four from the council and we will have a full complement.

Not sure about lunch club tomorrow - two have dropped out. May go anyway as they do a good lunch.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Pomegranates, Portraits and Trifles

Nibby says she has painted lots of pomegranates, so I am looking forward to seeing these done by a real painter. Madeleine says she likes mine, which is very kind.

I am having a bash at some portraits. I have a couple of photographs and have discovered it is very difficult to paint from these as opposed to life, but will persist. This is my first attempt. I think it has improved a bit since yesterday. I am next going to paint some older people as an exercise, which should be a challenge. We shall see.

The number of painted canvases and general mess has spread across the room so maybe next weekend I will take a serious look at it all. However I mustn't forget to try and think of a pud to prepare for the end of the month. I feel a trifle coming on, but something like Nigella's Anglo-Italian one with no custard but mascarpone and eggs. I am rather hesitant about the limoncello though. If I make it with blackberries or blackcurrants I do have some rather pretty violet pieces to strew over the top with silver balls. I could use a blackcurrant liqueor. Mmmmm....will have to think about it.

Today's Painting

Is so crap I have removed the snap so you will have to wait until tomorrow for the attempt.

Just Can't Stop! Just Can't Stop!

OK last one for the time being!

and it does plain black and white, too! And - you can put it in iphoto and edit it.

...and here's another


this icon popped up on the screen and it turns out it takes pics of oneself, so did a few for fun.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Aaargh - Pomegranate Seeds - Great to Eat - Vile to Paint

God, the seeds are even worse! They don't look like something you could eat - more like shiny little plastic things. Perhaps I should have picked one and propped up a large magnifying glass in front of it and done it properly. Don't know whether I am too blind or lazy to concentrate enough - I think I shall abandon this kind of macro thing. Well, I can't always be brilliant, can I?

My painting corner is becoming very mucky. I think I will have to attempt to fold up the sofa in the spare room, put lots of rubbish away clear it out a bit and use it as a studio. I may possibly have mentioned this before - put it down to the onset of Alzheimer's. I would really like to do it but don't think I can at the moment with my knee being awkward. It would be good to do it soon, especially as I am hosting an SE1 dinner in June, so a nice empty room upstairs would be good.

Halved Pomegranate


This was a nightmare. Basically, I just got fed up with doing it. May try one or two of the seeds next.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Saturday Painting Again

Took my new mac down to E & C for alteration but the place was closed, despite the owner having told me they were open on Saturday. Annoying as it was heavy to carry there and back. Had coffee and a croissant and bought some milk before returning later for lunch at Lye Torng. Knee really bad, but I found a trendy little wide elastic belt that Julian had given me last year to support the other knee, and wound it around twice. It still hurt like hell, but felt supported at least.

Bought a pomegranate and painted it whole today. Tomorrow I may cut it in half and paint the halves. Was reading something by Baselitz saying he had been determined when he started only to paint ugly things. Funnily, I was thinking of painting fruit first fresh, then rotting in several stages. May still do this. Bananas would be ideal. I may do some spotty ones next, then some blackened rotting ones. We shall see. Some of my paintings are also 'sinking' a bit so may prime them a bit more.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Good Lunch, Bad Knee and Possibly Worse Painting

Two new people: Steve and Sidi, to lunch club today. Plum came and then Jo turned up so five altogether. We had a good lunch and discussed the dinner party club and I showed the snaps from this. Lye Torng next week, after which we will venture back into the Borough area no doubt. We must find some new places to try.

I purchased four more canvases today. Unfortunately my right knee has decided to be awkward, in a similar way to my left knee last year. This time I have no idea what has caused it, but I have to say I can hardly walk - the joint is very wobbly - agony if the leg straightens, and the tendons at the back hurt like hell. It is a bloody nuisance. In fact I omitted to buy more milk at the supermarket as I could walk no further after the effort of getting to Rockingham Street for lunch, and staggered home to rest the leg. Last year the hospital put it down to 'wear and tear' so I shall not bother to consult them again. I am lying on the left side in bed hoping to rest it a bit, but if it does recover I know it will take ages, like last time. I am even getting a taxi home from work, as well as to work, but needs must.

Found a red onion in the house which I painted today. I am not entirely unhappy with it, but daylight will no doubt reveal the awful truth. We shall see.

Dorothy rang for a long chat earlier this evening - all about work, and his proposal. I hope it is accepted and goes ahead, though it will definitely be rather stressful. At least he will be gainfully employed - a good thing in these times.

Kiwi Time

Painted a kiwi cut in half last night. Very difficult. Oh well, I keep trying. I had to install some new Firefox thing last night which seems to have adversely affected my ability to find any snaps - 'pictures' just shows a small random selection now so I need to know the roll title, which fortunately I did. What a pain. Lunch club at Sorriso today, so I shall pick up some more canvases while I am at E & C. I am becoming drowned in finished paintings, which I shall store in bags under the sofa first, then under my dining table etc etc.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Finished Peppers and Small World

Hmmm. Finished peppers on blue ground. They are definitely a bit dubious.

Extraordinary - Lisa at work was talking to me about the painting she bought and it seems that I was at college with the artist, whose husband is Lisa's husband's oldest friend from when they were both at Toynbee Hall many years ago. She is a Polish artist called Elizabeth, who always had very smart openings with lots of rich people buying stuff. She is a very flamboyant, fun kind of person, but was not a close friend. She is overseas for six months of the year these days, so I haven't seen her for quite a while.

Evon, David (until he left for St. Martins) and Kate were my closest friends at college and Margot my Irish friend was my favourite artist there.

Lisa said that my class must have been an interesting lot. We were certainly quite varied: there was a very senior retired social worker; Christine, who had done masses of very different things such as breeding Rottweilers, clothes designing, house underpinning, racing car driving and engineering; there was a former architect; a scientist; Gaitskell's daughter; an ex BBC arts programme person; and masses of others. It was an interesting class - most people had had quite a lot of different life experiences.

Compared with my fairly organised foundation course at Kingston, my college was rather a mess - the course kept changing - we had enrolled for a degree in Art, Design and Visual Communication, which split up after the first year into, design, graphics, photography, jewellery design and Fine Art. It was a part time degree - I am not absolutely sure that it didn't change yet again. There was no room to work or store things and the place was chaotic. Still, we survived five years of all this and many went on to MA courses afterwards.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Long Peppers and Painting Prices

Purchased a couple of those long red sweet peppers which are surprisingly difficult to paint, not the shape but the texture, and started them last night, so they are 'in progress'.

I may cook the models tonight with some minced beef and onions. I shall study the onions to see if I fancy painting them first. Haven't seen any kiwis.

About fifteen years ago I used to sell small paintings for £50 - £100 and larger ones for about £300. Once or twice I sold groups of small paintings for £1000.

Nibby recently sent me a website of an artist who is selling small paintings from £1800 to £3000, the oils being the most expensive. However, since he is a full-time artist, and apparently they are selling, good luck to him. But everyone thinks they are very expensive indeed.

Someone told me that her friend, an artist, told her that a particular painting cost £400. After much thought she decided to buy it, and to her surprise the price suddenly increased to £500. She said she thought her friend would know she would be too embarrassed to ask about this increase and she rather reluctantly bought the work. I am inclined to think that, like most artists, the friend was a bit vague and had forgotten the price. I certainly would have queried it. Pricing work is always difficult. Art seems to be priced by size conventionally, but how much to charge? I can't remember whether it was Whistler who said he was charging 'for the experience of a lifetime'.

Having seen some young artists 'encouraged' by greedy agents to keep churning out a particularly financially rewarding type of work, I have always been fascinated by the relationship of art and money. In fact, I decided to write my dissertation on the subject at college, but was rather naively surprised when this was refused by the college authorities, presumably based on their relationships with well known galleries and artists. I had to hastily think of something else and wrote a rather dull treatise on art teaching in London.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Vic Again

Vic turned up again to return some money she had borrowed the other day and stopped for some tea. We chatted for quite a while so no painting was done. I have now run out of fruit to paint so will raid Sainsbury's on my way into work tomorrow. When I graduate to fresh fish I shall have to paint fast in order to eat my models, but this won't be for a while. I quite fancy cutting some kiwis in half and painting those. And of course the compulsory halved lemon, since I have already done whole ones.

More Eyebrows

I have discovered you can buy a kit with several shapes of brow stencil, some pencils and brush and powder for filling in, so when I have received and tried these, I may or may not appear in public with beetle brows. We shall see.

In America they sell much more of this kind of stuff, including false brows made of human hair. However I think these are probably intended for people who have lost hair due to medication.

I never cease to be surprised.

Love Eyebrows

In between all this painting I managed to purchase the first copy of Love, a new 'fashion and fame' magazine, which seems to mainly consist of ads and puffs. However, on page 287 there is a pic (no you don't have to buy it, just browse it) of someone called Sara, 22, who could only be a fashion design student at St. Martins. I quite liked the retro specs, was amused by the Isabella Blow lump of blue hair stuck on top, but what really caught my attention were the deeply wonderful eyebrows. Either you can now get eyebrow transplants, or she has made a kind of stencilled eyebrow and filled it in with either brown powder or paint. However it has been done it has marvellous sharp edges and is definitely worth imitating - beware of an old bat in SE1 appearing with heavily stencilled black eyebrows. It WILL happen.


I just don't know when to stop. This morning, (before I eat the models, apart from the pineapple which is unfit for human consumption) I decided to have one more go at the remaining fruit, so put it in a small bowl and painted it fairly quickly.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Pineapple Progress

I bought a rather manky pineapple for £1. It was really too drab. That is it, sitting on the chair to the left in the snap. I painted it looking drab, then got a bit carried away and made it completely unlifelike but rather jolly, I thought. Actually the real one looks a bit off, so it is one model I shan't be eating.

Fruitless Day

Had a strangely quiet day. Chicken green curry in Lye Torng, chatted a bit, then back home to veg out in the afternoon. Painted a rather daft slice of watermelon in a primitive kind of style, but fun to do.

I must attempt to purchase some more fruit today - I seem to paint my models, then eat them. Must purchase a real watermelon and paint it some time. I am hankering after a pineapple at the moment, but doubt my chances of finding one in the local Tesco. We shall see.