Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Balance- Feather with Fur

“In the end, the object is just a catalyst to a thought, however big or small, a discussion, debate or whatever it might be.”
Cornelia Parker, artist,sculptor

Balance- Feather with Fur

About the work- start of new series working with natural objects.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

How to rescue a Still Life

Found  a very old painting which looked abysmal . I was on the point of throwing it out when I decided to photograph it and push it and through photoshop. Pleasantly surprised by the result.

Monday, August 14, 2017


Experimenting with ink drawings pushed through Prisma app.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Body Art - older feet

I am fascinated by the ageing process of the body.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Boredom and creativity

View from my writing desk - why staring at the mountains might be good for me.

As an artist/writer I have noticed that periods of boredom are often a prelude to a creative spell.

I have often suspected this and have learnt not to be afraid of it.
Now its official.
When we are bored we are forced to think outside the box, do something different.

Some research at the University of Virginian published in the Journal of Science in 2014 found that students left alone in a room for 15 minutes gave themselves mild shock on the ankle to alleviate boredom.
Another study (reported in todays Guardian) found that students who had been given a boring task, copy numbers from a telephone directory, and then were asked to come up with creative ideas on different ways to use a pair of polystyrene cups, were more inventive than those who didn’t do the boring task.

Dr Sandi Mann, one of the authors, said we should embrace boredom “ to enhance our creativity.”
Maybe that’s why so many creative folk say they get their best ideas when walking….

Friday, October 16, 2015

Mud glorious mud

Our local paper, the Stirling Observer, carried this photo I took ( or rather a member of staff at the Macrobert took it for me on my iPhone).
After getting no coverage in this paper of my solo exhibition in Dunblane museum last month I was beginning to think it would be impossible to get any arts coverage, something I know most artists are forever comaplaining about.
So, what's the secret? to be honest I don't know. What I do know that in this age of massive cutbacks in newsrooms throughout the land
you have to send stories and photos in to the paper literally "ready to go". They have neither the staff nor time to do re-writes.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Censorship of the arts

Political correctness gone mad! I’ve been asked by the Macrobert arts centre in Stirling to remove a hashtag because it might reflect badly on them. It refers to a cartoon drawn by a member of my mud workshop of Cameron and a pig.

Are they devoid of a sense of humour? Whatever happened to artistic freedom of expression?  

What’s more this workshop forms part of Luminate Scotland’s festival for Creative Ageing- not that you would know that in the Macrobert arts centre.

I asked if they might give our workshop, which was highly successful, some publicity- and was told to do it myself!


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Mud workshop - part of Luminate Festival

We had  a very successful mud workshop yesterday in the Macrobert Arts centre, part of the annual Luminate- Scotland's Creative Ageing Festival.

I must sdmit that I was very worried that nobody would turn up because the day before the event only two people had registered! however I knew several had said they were coming.

We created a scroll and a mass of mud paintings- everyone loved the freedom that mud gave them to be expressive and not to worry about making "correct" marks.

I briefed them with the words:"Anything goes."

And they came up with some surprising results, including a cartoon in homage to our Prime Minister, David Cameron and his "pig" .

Monday, September 21, 2015

"Of the Earth"

Well, I have been so busy with my exhibition, "Of the Earth" in Dunblane museum that I have not had time to update this diary.

We had a very good launch night with lots of people including the dancers who took part in my video:
"Time Passing".
(link to YouTube)

At one stage someone said there were more dancers than artists there!

Having this solo exhibition has been a steep leanring curve - you ge to see first hand what the public lke or dont like about your work.  I am in the gallery part of the time and if  I manage to engage peoplei n conversation then its great, especially when you discover that so many are visitors, often from abroad, seeking out their roots.
In the grand scale of things ( three month world tour) its understanable tht they are not going to spend much time with my exhibition therefore I was really chuffed to find in the Visitors Book a comment from an Australian visitor who had enjoyged the diversity of my work- it rnges from mud paintings to mobile art ( created on my iPhone).

How do you judge a success of an exhibition? by media coverage? -apart from a single column in local freesheet, nothing. By works sold? - two. Or by interaction with the public?  - in which case good.
My installation and inter-active text/box :"Getting Older....what does it mean to you?" has resulted in a flurry of contributions which I will turn into a text piece, maybe a small booklet.

This ties in with an article I read in the latest Tate magazine that says museums/galleries in the future will be multi-purpose spaces where all kinds of events would take place.
They would no longer be places where you walked in to stare at objects.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Poster for exhibition

"The Journey"
digital print

Busy getting ready for my solo exhibition in Dunblane museum next week. Decided to use this image for the poster. Thankfully so much can be done online these days. How on earth did we manage without the internet.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Cuba and Tania Bruguera

Photo: Hemingway and Castro in Cuba*

I was interested to receive from David Harding the book, which he wrote in collaboration with Ross Birrell and Douglas Gordon “You like this garden?”

It was a gift in return for my giving him a copy of PaolozziRevealed.

His work in Cuba brought back my own experience of the country.  On a brief visit I shot some video footage, which resulted in a couple of videos now up, on my YouTubechannel.

Only one am I pleased with -Guests from the Future-
but it has got the least hits on YouTube. Not sure what that tells you about (a) public taste) or (b) artistic merit.

More importantly though it reminded me of the time I worked with Cuban performance artist TaniaBruguera now an internationally acclaimed artist and political activist.

We were in the same class at the School of the Art Institute Chicago and she was in the throes of developing Burden of Guilt, an epic performance piece and she needed recordings of sheep. Well, I come from Wales and would be going home for Christmas so I did some recordings of sheep on the family farm. These were later used in her performance though after they had been manipulated in the sound studio I hardly recognized them!

There was one surreal morning in the School of the Art Institute when the building was filled with the sound of hundreds of sheep being moved from one field to another.  It brought folk scurrying out of their offices to find the source of the commotion.

These memories came flooding back yesterday after reading David’s book.

* I took this photo of a photograph in Ernest Hemingway's house in Havana.