Thoughts & Sketches

Questions are the answers…..

I think that before I have the right to speak that I should have all the answers; but I don’t.
Does only God know the answers?
Do you keep your mouth shut or open it and let it spout?
Shot down in flames, or ears like satellite dishes turned on, tuned in to listen?
Vacuousness spouts and Wisdom listens and knows it knows no-thing.
Speak and fall?
Speak and find answers?
Speak and ask questions?
Wisdom knows questions are the answers.
Questions lead you forward.
Put it out there and a reply comes back.
If I open my mouth will a noise come out or eternal silence?
Fish-mouthed silent ‘o’ bubbles…
Opening ears may find answers; but I need to find questions……

‘Salute’ – My poem to be featured in publication

My poem ‘Salute’ has been selected to feature in a book by in which people from around the world have written about being inspired by museums. My poem came about from a visit to the ‘Flesh and Bone’ exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum – Oxford, featuring Francis Bacon; a great inspiration. This is where I came across a painting I recognised from long, long ago….


Everything stops.
The beat of my heart, the squeezing of my lungs; synapses ceased.

Within the anechoic, charcoal-black room,
Only he,
And I,

Not a flicker of recognition, but a fireball.
Sinews ignite; lightening; burning.

I had known him for 20 years;
But I never really KNEW him.

Back then he reached somewhere deep inside me;
Deep inside the shadowy chamber where DNA dances, tangling with passion and soul.
He spoke to me in delicious tongues that he,
And I,
And no-one else I knew,

I took a copy.

I was no longer alone,
Suffocating in the dank-stench of isolation.
We sat in the darkness together;
He showed me the beauty within it.

Life jeered.
People sneered.

‘Being an artist is a waste of time’, Concurred the cloned.
The mythical gavel of ignorance fell.

I folded up my friend and identity and filed them away under -‘Sneering’
He was all I kept of ME.
I limped away.

Wandering in the wilderness, the mask of acceptable normality slid around and buckled on my face.

But here I stand,
20 years later;

I no longer ignore the screaming of my soul,
unfolding myself,
I put my friend back on the wall.
He sings again.

I am not afraid;
I dance inside.

Everything stopped.
The beat of my heart, the squeezing of my lungs; synapses ceased.
I slid into the anechoic, charcoal-black room,
Where only he,
And I,

I hadn’t known who he was,
I hadn’t known who had painted him,
But there HE was;

‘Flesh and Bone.’
Study For Portrait III (After the life mask of William Blake’) 1955.
Francis Bacon.
A name for my taper.

Slicing through the stillness, tears of gratitude salute.
My song roars freely.

And now,
Side by side,
On the wall of my studio,
Hang my tattered photocopied friend and my pristine postcard from The Ashmolean;
One and the same.

The Full Circle.

I paint until it hurts.
I smile.

How I created ‘Resonance – Series 1′

The ‘Resonance – Series I’ Collection evolved from a series of charcoal drawings created at St Mary’s Church, Painswick.
My aim was to tune in to and capture the memories, stories, and experiences of the people who had passed that way. The very vibration held within the church and the land.

Without intent or idea I began each piece by drawing with white pastel on white paper, without being able to see what was being drawn. Then I added and removed layer after layer of charcoal, always without trying to influence what was beginning to emerge. Eventually images would begin to appear which I then teased out.
Once I was happy with the image I photographed it within the church, capturing the energy, vibration, light and atmosphere of the moment.
At home I painstakingly built the image layer by layer on the computer. There was no technique or format, each piece was moulded individually and uniquely.
The whole process felt very much like delicately capturing a memory and rebuilding it, piece by piece, back into physical form.