This time of year is always tricky for painting – short days, poor light and cold fingers combine to prevent making much real progress, even if the impetus to create is there. However, all is not doom and gloom.
Dartford museum has accepted a painting of Sir Peter Blake which I completed a few years ago and, hopefully, it will appear now and again in its collection. The library next door has a Peter Blake Gallery and it seems appropriate that the museum should possess something about the artist who was born and brought up in the town in his early years.
Sir Peter Blake is one of my artistic role models and much of his whimsical work brings a smile to my face; pin-ups, wrestlers, musicians and film stars were part of his world. Perhaps one of my favourite pieces is “The Venuses’ outing to Weymouth”. His diverse output of work is prodigious and Dartford should celebrate his achievements just as much as it has done with Sir Mick Jagger, particularly as Dartford Creative has recently been launched to stimulate local creativity.
The Dartford Creative project recently staged an exhibition of works by emerging young artists and very good they were too. The show entitled “Revival” featured Amber Anderson, Rabia Aqueel, Matthew Atkinson, David Auborn, Anthony Elliott, David Houston, Lewis Moran, Martin Newman, Jasmin Page, Sam Taylor, Kate Withstandley, Nicola Yuen (and me!) The combination of illustration, graphic design, installation, painting and photography worked well and was an excellent opportunity for the new artists to display their talent. Let’s hope that the initiative and its programme of events will breathe new life into the town centre.
My latest task has been a triptych, which has taken me slightly out of my comfort zone, as it entailed straight lines, circles and a much more ordered graphic design style rather than the freedom of expression that I normally enjoy when painting. The assignment, which is the second of its kind, shows some of the well-known buildings to be seen along the river Thames between central London and Woolwich. This commission is “Thames Triptych 2” and is virtually identical to the one shown in the “Places” gallery.