Sunday, 21 November 2010

christmas cracker 2010 exhibition at byard art in cambridge

An inspirational Christmas collection of paintings, sculptures, original prints, ceramics, glass, textiles, craft and exclusive jewellery will be on show in the gallery.

I will be showing three paintings at the show (see two below) and the opening times are:

Byard Art, Cambridge Monday – Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm & Sunday 11am – 4pm Closed on Bank Holidays
Please contact me with any queries.

Byard Art Gallery

14 King's Parade
United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1223 464646

Finchingfield Essex

St Johns College Cambridge

Whitechapel Road

A christmas show at panter and hall

When I plan my paintings of the gardens, allotments and such I often do small studies for reference. Secondly i have begun to collect those dreadful discarded ornaments that are found in charity shops. I suspect these are just picked up in house clearances and handed to the shops en masse. They all have a story to tell I am sure and i rather like them.

Anyway I put the two together and painted a few still lives. These whimsies have been spotted by those nice people at Panter and Hall and they have requested five for their Christmas show. So here they are. Do pop along if you are in the area.

Friday, 29 October 2010

William Cashmore recalls his family’s annual trip to Sutton-on-Sea

 I have had alot of feedback about a painting i did of Sutton-on-Sea. To add fun to the mix here is a great article by William Cashmore about his younger years holidaying in Sutton-on-Sea in the sixties and seventies. This featured in 'The Spectator' in 2008. 

I grew up in Portsmouth myself and can relate to much of it. Lord the water was defiantly colder then.

William Cashmore recalls his family’s annual trip to the Lincolnshire coast
The end of an era this year for the Cashmore family. My mother sold her holiday house in Sutton on Sea, a small, unassuming seaside place (not resort) in Lincolnshire. From 1956 onwards we went there every year. Many of my contemporaries had their favourite holiday destination, but theirs always seemed smarter or trendier — Rock in Cornwall or Aldeburgh in Suffolk. We had Sutton. Not picturesque, not lively, but a sandy beach, bathing huts and, above all, glorious simplicity.

My father always made the same joke packing the car before the drive from Nottingham. ‘How many months are we going for?’ he used to say as my mother wobbled out with another duffel bag or famously, in 1973, a big bowl of beef dripping which she couldn’t bear to waste.

All six of us crammed into the Austin Cambridge which had a wonderful bench seat in the front. We were allowed Five Boys chocolate but had to listen to my younger sister saying, ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ for most of the journey. We often stopped for cheese cobs just over the Nottinghamshire–Lincolnshire border, but one year we were late setting off so had fish and chips in West Bridgford, less than two miles from our home.
The first evening we always took a stroll along the front, admired the beach and the flat North Sea and felt the health-inducing wind battering our faces, but really we were more interested in the ‘changes’: repairs to the sea defences, erected after the floods of 1953, or the appearance of the crazy golf next to the bowling green. In 1970, I actually wrote a postcard to my grandmother announcing the appearance of ‘garrish’ (sic) red chairs in the Corner Cafe (or ‘Cayfe’ as we pronounced it to make it sound more upmarket).

Sometimes we rented a huge house called Norbury and shared it with another family; the Tansleys or the Marwoods. I love that putting of the definite article in front of the family name. It reminds me of the story of the keen gallery attendant at Tate Britain who helpfully asked a lost-looking family, ‘Are you looking for the Turners?’ and they stared back in amazement and said, ‘But we are the Turners.’ 

We spent hours on the beach digging huge walls to ‘beat the tide’. No poncey sandcastles for us. Although the poncey factor went up when the Tansleys, egged on by my elder sister, arranged a beach wedding ceremony. I married Philippa Tansley 11 times one summer. At four o’clock we were called up from the beach for iced buns; bread rolls with a great dollop of icing sugar. My brother once got sent back for the spades and when he came back the buns had all gone. It was the last time I saw him cry.

Mind you, we strayed in 1975 when the Woodsends, a posher family, persuaded us to go to Robin Hood’s Bay. Exciting place, but not Sutton. Right at the end of those school summer holidays, my mother could bear it no longer and bundled us all into her Triumph Herald. We had milk shakes in the Corner Cafe, rented a council beach hut and paddled to our hearts’ content. The quintessence of absence making the heart grow fonder.

As we became grumpy teenagers we went less but my mother and father battled on, especially after 1983 when they bought a small terraced house near the beach front. I was up at Cambridge by then but, despite the allure of global escapades with more worldly-wise undergraduates, I usually gave Sutton the annual once-over.

But it was the beginning of the end. New in-laws couldn’t see Sutton’s attractions. Houses were being bought in France and grandchildren didn’t want ‘that sort of holiday’. My younger sister kept at it until a year or so ago but even she tired of her own daughter’s insistent, ‘Are we nearly there yet?’
Last year I made a brief, probably final visit. I can always stay in the Bacchus in Sutton or the more upmarket Grange and Links in Sandilands if I want to go again. But I guess it’s best to leave it alone and let the memories do the work. Prince Philip, after those floods in 1953, said, ‘I can’t understand why anyone would want to go on holiday there anyway.’ My father never forgave him for that. But he would forgive my mother for selling up. After all, ‘How many months are we going for?’ Not so many these days.

Monday, 25 October 2010

New web blog

I have recently joined a new blog advertising British Artists. The creator describes it as a ‘fine art encyclopaedia’ and is beginning with around 100 artists and hopes to grow it from there.,

The web address is at:

My small contribution is at:

Do drop by


Tuesday, 31 August 2010

the whitechapel road

This is the Whitechapel Road in East London. I have painted this scene a number of times and i am still drawn to it. A street like this will at first site appear static, unchanging. Though on closer observation you notice it is in constant flux, some changes are subtle, some obvious. There is however a commonality in these refinements. They are forced by necessity.

It would be very unlikely that a change occurs purely for the aesthetic. The windows are renewed because the others were rotten. The signage replaced because the previous business went broke. The walls are painted because their prior shabby state was affecting trade. And ‘Those satellite dishes’ have to go... It’s all cable now’. The rough hands of commerce squeeze hard here. High competition to the right meets low margins to the left. Constant change without ever looking new.

For at least 700 years this road and its human players have been on a permanent ‘Make do and mend’ ticket. This tension creates vibrancy and excitement as living on the edge tends to do. Combine that with the mix and match architecture and you have a unique cocktail. Walk here and you will get wrapped up in the sell and the thrill of the £1 purchase. You can’t help feeling that you HAVE to buy something, ‘Of course I need two kilos of tomatoes and a nylon zip up bag just to keep them in, doesn’t everyone?’

The earnest need for trade also generates a feeling of acceptance, all are welcome here. Consequently the rejected of London are drawn to this place. They come to be with the like minded, to feel normal. It’s most famous outcast being Joseph Merrick (The Elephant man) who allowed himself to be exhibited in the shop second from right and later lived over the road in the Royal London Hospital until his death. If the Whitechapel Road was in need of a saint then beatification would certainly go to this hopeful, charming, wounded man.

Monday, 30 August 2010

a painting in sutton-on-sea

I have recently been commissioned to paint a scene in Sutton-On-Sea. The client’s mother used to own a house in the town though she is now too elderly to visit so he thought a painting which would recall many a happy holiday would make a nice present for her.

I had never heard of Sutton-On-Sea though after searching in Google I discovered that it is in Lincolnshire. I could not find much more information aside from adverts for pubs and chip shops. The largest contribution about the town was in Wikipedia which said:

'It is host to a post office, a few public houses, a Spar store, a hotel, and a paddling pool on the front. The A52 to Skegness runs through the town.'

So in so far as the ever growing internet is concerned the core function of this community is to provide a road from somewhere unspecified to Skegness. I couldn’t wait to get there!

I left London at around 6am and planned to be on site by around 9.30 and thankfully the journey was uneventful. My client had carefully marked some key points which he felt would be interesting subjects to paint. He had chosen about a dozen or so and most were down the High Street which in itself was only a few hundred yards long. The buildings were a mixture of Victorian and 1970’s architecture. And just as Wikipedia had promised there was a Spar too.
The choice was simple. Nicks Knacks junk shop. A building rammed with a genuinely brilliant clutter of ‘stuff' that seems to spill into the street. The chap who runs the place (Nick?) is a fine fella and supplied me with cups of coffee all day and a chair too. Nick's Nacks appear to be a more that just a shop. It is a meeting point and general focus for the many of the locals. I quickly sketched them as they passed or paused outside to pass the time of day. Often with a bag of chips in hand.

It would be very easy to miss Sutton-on-Sea if you are on your way to Skegness from somewhere unspecified, though if you do go, then pop into Nick's Knacks and lose yourself for an hour or two.

I hope you like the painting.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

In the royal academy summer exhibition for another year

Really pleased that the Royal Academy has again accepted one of my paintings for The Summer Exhibition. And I am happy to say it has sold before the opening.

This allotment by the sea may seem fantasy though the site is not entirely fictitious. It is based on my mum’s allotment in Portsmouth which is located right on the beach front. A lovely spot though rumour has it developers are poised to snap it up for luxury housing. This ‘rumour’ is the basic siege rumour of all allotments in England so a pinch of (salty sea) salt can be taken with that… I hope!

You can find more details about the painting in a previous  Blog.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

A visit to betws garmon, wales

I managed to do a few paintings on a short break to Wales, staying in a tiny village at the foot of Mount Snowdon, Betws Garmon. An idyllic place to the point of surreal. Of course you had a view of the perfect mountain range from the front door step, in addition, however, you are also provided with a clear as glass bubbling stream full of trout. And a steam railway at the end of the garden, which (wait for it!) you can thumb down for a lift and hop on when you like. As far as I know none of these things are available in Hackney where I live.
Just around the corner I painted a caravan in a field. The owner pops around each evening and mows the field. The field is tended so well you could bowl on it. I asked him what he was preparing the field for. Tourist camping maybe? It turned out to be nothing whatsoever, he just seems to like mowing. He mowed I painted.

We popped over to Bangor for a while. There was a chap and his wife running a small kiosk on the pier. They sold crab lines and tea towels etc. He was not Welsh so I asked him what brought him to Wales. 'Ohhh' he said with a worried face. 'I couldnt' stand the rat race of Dorset!' No need to ask whether he had ever lived in London.

Just down the road was the local church. I am generally used to painting empty churches. This one was full. Full of song as much as people. Big rousing Welsh chapel songs. Very tidy! I sat painted in the churchyard all the way through two services. I had company mind. A mouse, it which flitted in and out of my feet looking for scraps. They have plenty of these in Hackney.

Monday, 11 January 2010

watercolour and oil painting exhibition in London

Latest news.
I have an exhibition entitled London Scene, A Capital Exhibition at the Llewellyn Alexander Gallery in waterloo. Exhibiting both watercolour and oil paintings. From the 11 January - 10 February 2010.

Gallery Open 10am to 7:30pm Monday to Saturday:
124 -126 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LN UK
(Opposite the Old Vic Theatre)
Tel: 020 7620 1322/1324 Fax: 020 7928 9469