Tuesday 29 September 2009

I woke up this mornin' . . .

Actually this was about two months ago, but the same things apply. Blank canvas and the blues. I don't know what it is about blues songs: Blind Willie Johnson, Frankie Half-Pint Jaxon, Memphis jug band, Pine Top Smith, great names, great songs. Can't remember which one it is, but how's this for lyrics: 'she's got ways like a mowin' machine.' wow!
The one on this film starts with words about blood-spattered walls . . . REAL blue, but somehow I find it cheering?
Is it the familiar format of the tune? The true heart of the words? Dunno, but if I'm ever challenged with the start of a painting or massive overload of housework . . . on go the blues.
This film features my studio (corner of sitting room at the moment), two very hot summer dogs and procrastination cookery (start of apple sauce).

Saturday 26 September 2009

Cloud appreciation

I love clouds.
I tried to join the cloud appreciation society recently. Its costs a mere five quid or so, and you get a badge and info about cloud phenomena. The computer, however, decided not to allow the transaction — will try again soon.
Here's a good one. Seen on the coast near Narbonne, a wonderful area of etangs, scrubby landscape and leggy flamingos.
I think it looks like Maggie Thatcher, or a vast furry anvil.
The best cloud description I ever heard was from Ezra when he was about five: That one looks like Daddy eating a piece of cake.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

No 3

In the series, 'fenêtre du train' which I am told should be 'vitre' not fenêtre, now I have printed some cards of them — however I'm sure its very quaint.
My favorite mis-translation of French created by myself was years ago when I worked in a French restaurant in Farnham. The rotund clog-wearing French chef had an incredible temper. When he really worked himself up into a state - like the time I tipped over a vat of white chocolate and brandy sauce behind the two ton freezer - he would hop from one clogged foot to the other and shriek 'au bord de la mer'. Or at least that's what it sounded like to me at the time. I felt sorry for him, he obviously worked far too hard and needed a holiday at the seaside . . .
(bordel de merde = shitty whore house, or near enough).

Monday 21 September 2009


Greetings dog lovers and dog non lovers.
Just thought everyone should marvel at the shape of our tiny dog.
This is Satie, an exceptionally small (runty) Italian greyhound. Think I'll start a book about his ear positions soon; there are over 50 including, ears of fear, alertness, dinnertime, walkies, cats, birds, relaxing in sun, worry about the future etc etc.
Satie was actually named: 'Donatello des tendre calins' (Donatello of the tender cuddles) but as calling that over the garden would be daft to say the least, we changed it to the name of a favorite composer. Incidentally, Satie used to only wear grey velvet suits — he had twelve of them; this little dog looked like a scrap of dark grey velvet when 'new', hence his title.
If anyone needs to re-home a huge black greyhound, we might consider it to go along with the titch and the medium sized one.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Vide greniers and fruit gathering

Actually its Sunday, but I liked this image.
Good day today. Not productive in personal work fashion, or even cleaning house/garden fashion. Just a nice Sunday with family and friends.
Mark and I did both wake at the puritan hour of 6.00 am, and were watering trees on our piece of land by 7.30, but after that it was just a day hellbent on pleasure . . . well, a vide grenier (car boot sale) at Cepie, and a relaxed lunch; not exactly mooring the sleek white boat at St Tropez and nipping off for a spot of lunch with various Hollywood mates.
Would we want that? No!
The V.G was fun, full of unused fondu sets, exercise bikes and spa foot baths. Mark bought a boxed set of Edit Piaf albums; Ezra a non-functioning but attractive watch, and myself, a beautiful solitaire set with huge semi-precious stone marbles, which everyone has fiddled with a lot all day.
Friends bought a massive tray of quiche and other lovely stuff for lunch, then later we picked figs and plums up the road for one of the last jam experiences of the year.
Mark now has guilt for having enjoyed himself in so relaxed a manner all day, and is hard at work on a music program, mixing sounds of himself walking up a mountain in the Lake district combined with eerie sounds of a distant church service. He has also made at least 10 pots of fig jam, and I consider this to be a fair achievement for a Sunday afternoon . . . will go and ply him with fizzing wine in a minute.

Thursday 10 September 2009


Ooo long gap. Have been very involved with 'La rentrée, and all that entails in France. College rather than school for boy person, new school of music pupils for the tall one and endless lists of things that have not been achieved after everything went a bit 'baggy' over the long holidays.
All house appliances decided to give up in celebration of the tax fonciere bill, and much time has been spent trying to fix things in Cuban style with some success . . . never throw out your 18 year old cooker as it attempts to shuffle off this mortal thingamy, take it to Parchemin (excellent recycling place in Limoux for those not familiar to it) where they will probably manage to repair it.
Anyway, history, yes.
Everything is history, is it not — the sentence I am writing will be history as I put in this full stop.
Not quite the falling of the Berlin wall, but some sort of history.
The painting here is the second in the 'train window' series — based on a sketch I did from a train in 2006 from London to Poole. The forms seemed to suggest mainly the greys of travel through London outskirts and industrial areas around Poole. When I had nearly finished the painting I found the 2006 diary and looked at the day. Oddly it been a 'greys' day, in weather and the fact that I was going on a quickly arranged journey to see my mother who had suddenly become seriously ill.
Historically it was an important day for me. My mother is normally of a strong constitution, and the uncertainty of what awaited me was a new and worrying feeling. Although the sketch was created by hazard - my hand trying to capture lines of passing buildings and structures, the anxiety seems to be captured in the turbulence and spikes of the image.