7 March 2017 – exhibition in Gainesville, Florida.
14th to the 17th of April 2017 – Artist Guest of Honour at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel: Eastercon.
20 June 2017
I want to thank the ESFS (European Science Fiction Society) for the award they have just given me. It’s a life achievement award. I’m entered in a tie with Aurélien Police for best artist in their Hall of Fame award this year, 2017. (And what a stunning companion he is!) Thanks to everyone involved.
21 June 2017
The touring for “I Can Spin a Rainbow” has finished this June 2017 and Amanda has given me signed copies of the Vinyl and the Cd: they are signed by Amanda Palmer and Edward Ka-Spel of course, but also by Patrick Q. Wright who played the violin. What a delight to have done this artwork for them.
And here is the back of the Vinyl:
31 December 2017. Art note – how I got to where I am now.
I feel that I’m still that same human-creature/machine-in-harness that I discovered myself to be, back in the 1950’s. In English class I learnt about T.S. Eliot. He helped sort some of the confusions around me. I was a child born during WW2. I was, like many others of my generation, safely away in Canada, specifically kept from any stories of the war that had just finished. I was part of the clean slate. But that wasn’t going to work, was it? My Darkening Garden theme started then, although of course I didn’t put it in those words. When I was at school I was reading not only about WW2, but also about some of the awful things that happened in WW1. How to make sense of these terrible losses and all the others around them? A world of big sadnesses. Then T.S. Eliot and The Waste Land. And a little later, Science Fiction and Fantasy. Books, all sorts of books, but mainly fiction. The stories we tell ourselves: they all feed – present tense – into these big rooms, my inside factory where art happens. It’s all a-hum in here. And so I’m still making paintings. Just the way I used to.
But back in the day when I was starting out, I noticed, for instance, Joseph Kosuth, a young American painter of my age, rejecting painting and going a quite different path. I saw him sailing off from “my” pond arguing that only ideas mattered in art. Fine: we’ve already had Marcel Duchamp and his urinal in 1917. But that moment in the late 1960’s had me smiling and crying because the rift was being clearly set up between “ideas” on one side and “making” on the other. I felt somewhat depressed by painting being lessened in that way and not until the 1970’s in London did I get to grips with my problem. I got John Clute to help me with my titles. I wanted people to see that there really was thinking embedded in the craft of making these works.
Titles. They should help you as you look, reassure you, that you can interpret as you choose. I give open-ended directions. But that’s not to say there isn’t an element of mystery. In this context I’d like to pass on a neat observation by Peter Viereck in his play, The Tree Witch: “Truth is not graph and glare, but fluff and side-glance.”
13 January 2018 – A note on blood synchronicity: a painting, “So Tell Me I’m Wrong”, from early 2017 and the cover artwork for the record “Yo Mae Leh” currently being played on radio 6.
I like the record and especially the strand of chanting which seems to reference Native American ceremonial singing. And I do wonder if it is synchronicity in the artwork or perhaps in fact, I myself, am being referenced. Either way, I’m happy.
29 March – 2 April 2018 – Eastercon (Follycon). Poster for my work below. John Clute and I drove up with Stan Robinson, writer GOH, to Harrogate and I set up a small selection of etchings within the gallery arranged by Selena Culfeather with her partner, John Wilson. I sold 5 out of 12: a 70 % reduction made it possible for Eastercon fans to buy. Then John Clute and I went to Knaresborough, famous for its beautiful 1852 viaduct crossing the Nidd Gorge. It is depicted on 1930 travel posters. And also special to Knaresborough are a few old buildings with sections painted in black and white squares. It seems that the old manor house, was treated to this pattern on its upper sections in 1832 because the then owner was mad about chess. Then a few other buildings were likewise painted in this most striking checkered pattern.