Archives for the month of: October, 2010


The original inspiration for the research came from looking at the examplars I made in the classroom to show the pupils a particular technique or idea. I have long thought that showing them ‘one I prepared earlier’ was not very useful as it takes a skilled eye to be able to unpick how an image or object was actually made. It is more useful to see a piece of work being made before your very eyes and so I actually make work in front of the pupils. Whilst doing this, I think about the ways in which I learn to do something; it makes my own learning more apparent and I am then better able to communicate this and the process helps me to anticipate the tricky bits. So, it has been a long-standing habit to make work in front of and alongside the pupils. This sort of work though, made as it is with cheapish gouache on sugar paper or £1.99 watercolours on cartridge paper, I didn’t consider to be ‘my work’. I had my own paintings and other work and then I had this utilitarian work I made in class. I didn’t value it as part of my art practice but then again, I nearly always finished the work and didn’t throw it away either. So I valued it in some way.

I never threw it away because I remember when I was twelve, an art teacher showing us how to throw a pot, then knocking it over when he had done. We were shocked and disturbed that he did this. He said he had lots of pots at home but it still seemed shocking to be able to make something as well as he had but not value the outcome. So I don’t throw them away and I tend to finish them. I give them away sometimes, to adults, not pupils. I let the frost destroy the pots in the garden and I keep the forty-five or so self-portraits in the manner of Modigliani amongst the drifts of work in the art room.

Part of why I value them is because they often have a looseness and freedom that my more considered work doesn’t have. Some of the paintings, made with cheap paints, have a quality that work with acrylics on canvas or board don’t have and I am fascinated by this aspect. Making work in front of thirty children can be less inhibited than work made alone in a studio. I am concentrating very hard on demonstrating the idea and the decisions about why I am doing it have been made at a much earlier stage. I also become very practised at making the particular pieces as I am likely to do the same demonstration four or five times in a. I might not make a mono-print based on a drawing from the Sainsbury Centre again for a year but for that week I become very focused on that particular method. The demonstration is more of a live performance than a studio recording, with more energy in a short space of time and different production values.

Part of what I am doing is modelling the project and giving the children a target but I am also validating their work by showing that it was worth an adult doing it too. I also finish the work for fun, for pleasure and because I am practising making art. I am still running through the learning exercises of being an artist like a musician practising scales. Though now I have set the exercises partly out of a consideration of what I wish I had known about art when I was their age. Anecdotally, art teachers have told me that they have collections of work made in this way. They have not considered these as their ‘own work’ either and we have discussed the possibility of making an exhibition of these ‘lost’ works.

This research project is a subsection of the interest in the artist teacher and much of the initial research was guided by the literature on various artist teacher projects thus far. The development of this interest in the demonstration as a form of art practice is a response to a the lack of detail in the current research about the effect that the art practice of the art teacher can be said to have in the classroom. This project proposes that all art teachers who make demonstrations in the classroom are carrying out a form of art practice. An examination of this neglected or lost aspect of teaching and art practice is the original contribution to knowledge.

The research question, therefore, is ‘Can the classroom art demonstration be recontextualised as an art practice?’

The research process is based in case studies about working in the classroom with pupils aged between nine and thirteen in a middle school. The art practice is inspired by the teaching and learning process in the classroom and vice versa. The work considers the role of skill in art, of learning to draw, the nature of what is demonstrated and learnt in art lessons and the notion of influence as an educational tool.

The art and teaching practice is conditioned by the restraints of the school curriculum. The art practice has been guided by the school projects. The artwork allows the different influences and projects in the classroom to wash through it, trying on multiple artist’s practices. The demonstrations in the classroom have become the whole of the art practice and work made beyond the classroom is seen as a demonstration. What the artist is demonstrating and to whom becomes part of the work. The artist is demonstrating his or her own work to themselves in the studio as well as the classroom. The art practice examines what it is that is being demonstrated and what that might say about the relationship between the artwork and audience.

Case Studies

The research is centred on five case studies. Four of these are based in the classroom and examine different projects over a period of three school terms. Three of these projects use an orthodox teaching method, using the work of an artist as a starting point. One was based on Alan Davie and Sandra Blow, one used camouflage as a theme and the third, called How to Paint and Draw, was based on observational and expressive painting and drawing. The fourth project concerns a visiting artist, Craig Kao, to the classroom.

The fifth case study is the art practice of the teacher. This is the major part of the study. The art practice case study covers a range of work over the duration of the project that relates to the teaching practice and shows a development of the practice based on the demonstration in the classroom. The work produced in this fifth case study relates to initial case studies. An analysis of the classroom case studies and what has been discovered from them provides further material for the art practice. Some of the conclusions and outcomes reached in the art practice have fed back into small art projects in the classroom as part of a dialogue between the two practices.


As part of the research, I learnt how to etch at the art college. This was a way of becoming a learner and putting myself in the position of a pupil acquiring a skill. I had done little etching before, partly because I had not found it a particularly conducive medium and partly because of the technical difficulties involved. It is not of much use in the classroom due to the health and safety issues and I realised that most of the skills I had acquired during my teaching career had come about due to their usefulness in the classroom. In this way my teaching and working in a middle school has conditioned my art practice and guided it in a certain way. Some media and techniques are more applicable than others in the classroom and my skills have been extended in paper-mâché and large-scale cardboard sculpture in a way that they might not have been had I not been a teacher.

The etching process has produced a set of etchings along with writings discussing being a pupil learning a craft skill, the sort of work that has been produced using this skill and how that might relate to contemporary practice, particularly the work of the Chapman brothers and Paula Rego. The etching has fed into the classroom project on Alan Davie and Sandra Blow as some pupils made dry points with a small press and I have shown the etchings to pupils and displayed them at school. The awkwardness of the process and the interest in drawing that the medium has provoked has related to the How to Paint and Draw project.

One theme of the art practice is how one learns about making art and how that learning has informed teaching. My art education and subsequent teacher training, the expectations of the education system and those of the pupils and parents inform what I teach and how. The folklore of art and artists affect what happens and the background that the pupils bring to lessons. The mythologies and common-sense views of art have also affected how I learnt about art and how I went from being ‘good at drawing’ through art college to art teaching and art practice. I have this in common with many art teachers and I see pupils who are ‘good at drawing’ in my classes.

Another theme in the art practice is drawing – notions of good drawing and drawing to acquire the skill of drawing. Drawing manuals and the exercises and clichés of drawing are referenced ironically and are used in the classroom and art practice. I use drawing a lot in the classroom but I use it to express, to map, to imagine and to communicate as much as to observe and analyse. I use a wide range of media to draw including print, computers, paint and clay as well as more traditional pen and pencil. This has meant some arguments with external inspectors expecting evidence of more observed drawing. One of the points against an emphasis on observational drawing skill in the classroom is that it alienates the majority of pupils who find the process difficult and confusing. The intention of a curriculum based on a broad range of artists and media is to try to give as many pupils as possible a positive introduction to making and thinking about art. This is sometimes referred to as inverting the pyramid. This means a project based on colour, collage and Sandra Blow that does not foreground drawing skill will appeal to more pupils than one based on observational drawing skill that values ‘good at drawing’.

Alan Davie and Sandra Blow

This was the idea explored in the classroom project initially based on Alan Davies and the free associative drawing practice he uses to generate ideas and images. We took this as a starting point and then developed imagery through a range of media and techniques including paint, collage, and printmaking. As the project progressed, we looked at other artists such as Sandra Blow whose collages were very popular with the pupils. Alongside this project I made a large number of drawings in the manner of Davie as I developed the project and I made prints and paintings as demonstration pieces in front of the children. I also made three large paintings based on Davies and a series of collages based on Sandra Blow. These have been exhibited at NUCA and in a small show in Suffolk.

An interest in abstract art has been a further theme in the art practice and I have produced a large number of painting studies inspired by Jonathan Lasker and Thomas Nozkowski. This is part of a theme about influence in art and art teaching. The intention is to use the work of an artist as a benign influence in the classroom as a part of modeling or the scaffolding of a learning experience. It is a way to present a historical view of art and to introduce children to the work of artists through the visual. It can serve to introduce a range of voices into the classroom from different times and cultural viewpoints.

Artists have always been influenced by other artists and has been a way to learn about art. Many artists have made work based on or inspired by the work of artists that they admire. Much art is a conversation between artists through art works and this continues into contemporary art. This seems to validate the use of artists in the classroom though it causes some problems with notions about originality and creativity.

I think of the art projects as a series of games with rules in different places. Art can be considered an etiquette, a way of doing things. The use of artists’ work in the classroom introduces children to the idea that art can be made in a wide variety of ways about many things with many materials. This week we are being neat and tidy and staying inside the lines and next week we are splashing plaster bandage around on a large sculpture together. A set of rules allows the pupils to express themselves in a certain way and hopefully think about the work of an artist and acquire some technical insight into a medium or technique.

One of the things that has altered through the project is this methodology. I am experimenting with more tangentially influenced projects where the work of artists has influenced me in the construction of the project and I use the work of artists less. In a way I have expanded my role as an artist in the classroom and used myself more as an interpreter. Previously I have tried to be transparent and present the work of artists in a neutral way. Some of the work I have done with pupils has shown me that my role as interpreter and presenter is considerably more of an influence than the artist I am presenting. When I use the work of an artist in the classroom I bring a l present a synthesis of what I know about the artist and present this in a way that makes it accessible to the pupils. This has led me to think about my role as an art teacher in the classroom and to play with the role of art teacher. Some of the art practice is based around the persona of an art teacher who has become a semi-fictional figure. By stepping outside, questioning and making work about the role, the presentational and performative aspects have become more apparent.

This realization that I am acting as an interpreter comes out of work on the teacher’s voice taken from transcriptions of videos of classroom demonstrations. This voice has become text on paintings and drawings as I explain how the work I am demonstrating is being made. In this way the internal scripts that teachers use become more apparent. A number of works with running commentaries on them have been produced.

Visiting Artist

Questioning the role of the art teacher has also arisen from the fourth classroom case study involving the visiting artist, Craig Kao. Craig was with us for a week as part of a Sainsbury Centre of the Visual Arts project on Culture in the Countryside. We cleared the art room of as much as we could and filled the space with large amounts of found materials. We left the timetable as normal for the week. This was partly to cause as little disruption as possible to the school and to ensure that the maximum number of children would have the experience with Craig. This meant that the artist was obliged to work within the constraints of the teaching structure of a school as a new set of children appeared each hour. Craig obviously found this quite difficult as he was unused to working in this way and has no teacher training.

The week heightened my awareness of my role as a teacher and as an artist as Craig and I worked together on a series of collaborative paintings and sculptures with each other and the children. The results were exhibited at the Cut gallery in Halesworth in October 2009.

The experience made me very aware of the channelling and institutionalising effect of working in a school; how used one becomes to the structures and expectations of the school day. Not that Craig and I really stepped outside them but we moved them around and we did something more unexpected with these strictly allotted hours.


This led me to a take a different approach to some projects thereafter, particularly the Nikki De Saint Phalle project that I did with a group of ten year old children. I decided to try to be an artist in residence or an imagined notion of an artist in residence with the project. We set off with paintings and then made a collective sculpture with a cardboard armature and a paper-mâché and plaster bandage skin. I was much more directive as if I was the artist and the group were my assistants. I split the group into teams for each section of the figure and then we put the parts together and plastered it together. We finished off with acrylic paint and we also made a set of studies of the marks for the surface that made a sort of skin of the figure which we exhibited as a large painting. The result was exhibited at NUCA in February 2010 and at the school.

By being my own artist in residence I mean that I foregrounded the artist aspect of the role and tried to imagine being Phalle working with nine year olds to make one of her sculptures. I went into the room more focussed on getting them to make a very large scale figure rather than on constructing lessons with learning objectives. I worked with the resources I had to achieve the artistic result that was more in my mind than theirs. My improvisation resulted in my getting the size quite wrong and the only way we got the piece to Norwich was by borrowing a builder’s lorry to move it. The pupils got a lot out of it despite the lack of formal learning objectives. They came down at lunchtime to put the plaster bandage on and to paint the figure. The project began to step outside the constraints of the lessons and inspired and esprit de corps in the group that still exists when we work together. The project did generate the sort of excitement that an artist in residence project often does.

The rhythms of the school day and the school year have become evident in the work. The fragmentary nature of the work becomes more obvious as ideas are pursued but only so far, conditioned as much by the attention span of the children as by that of the artist. There is never enough time to be thorough, as the curriculum demands a move to cover a new topic or method. The teaching practice conditions the art practice. How the two have become interwoven or mingled together is part of the art work and it becomes difficult to tell what the art practice would look like without the teaching practice.

The art work, some class work and accompanying writing has been catalogued on a blog over the past year at The art practice and class work has been exhibited at NUCA, the Cut in Halesworth and at Wingfield Barns as part of the SCVA Culture of the Countryside project over the past year. The work has been extensively recorded through a series of learning journals and sketchbooks and there is an extensive photo archive.

‘I have a great love of things that human beings have made. Visual things; some of which are utilitarian, some are made for aesthetic pleasure. I have a great love of weaving; Navaho weaving, for example, and Mimbres pottery too; I love painting of all kinds from all countries; but something happened in the earliest part of the twentieth century – the Duchampian thing about what was, and what was not, a work of art. It was an absolute red herring. I don’t give a toss whether it’s considered a work of art or not. A great deal of what has gone on throughout the last century is to do with that debate and has nothing really to do with human beings making things. I’m only interested in what human beings make and why they make them. As a painter I am constantly learning, but what I’m not learning from is that quite recent phenomenon called ‘art’. ‘Art employs people.’ It is partly for this very reason that Cohen eschews subject and genre so vehemently and without compromise. As he explains it, the artist who subscribes to a genre is ‘guaranteed an audience of some kind’. Similarly, ‘there have always been artists who gather together an audience by having a subject,’ but to paint a picture without a subject or a genre? – ‘I’ve always been interested in things that didn’t fit into genres and I didn’t inherit one, but I think this is something that has played very heavily upon me – I’ve eschewed that whole thing because I just don’t believe that I can function within it. I can’t paint within it… I can’t think within it… I can’t be me within it… If I have a subject or subscribe to a genre, it ensures that I’m not lost, and I need to be lost. I can’t go into my studio to work if I am not in a state of complete confusion.’

via MCKAY-9.

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At the art college for the afternoon and not really feeling like attempting the etchings today. The plate I was trying to use the Lascaux acrylic ground hasn’t gone well and I haven’t been able to use that. I ended up with he stuff too thick on the plate and I have had to take it off and start again. I have nearly finished with the ten copper plates I got off Ernst a year ago and the series is coming to an end. Much slower than I had originally intended. With the opportunity to go over the confirmation report again and a new term starting I have been in a reflective mood and trying to think my way through a summarising process of the work I have done over the summer to redirect the research project away from the classroom, as such, and into the art demonstration as art practice.

I was going to write up some notes in the library but the computers wouldn’t let me log on so I was rather adrift. On a whim I picked up a book on Mimmo Paladino (Mimmo Paladino: works on paper 1973-1987 Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (1987). This was serendipity, looking to fritter some time away checking out an artist who had intrigued me when I was art college 25 years ago. I was wondering what he looked like to me now.

I am aware that he is not very fashionable and you can tell by the number of books there are about him on the shelf that he isn’t that popular or current. Unless all of the Paladino books are out and are being pored over by art students reassessing his work but I doubt it. there are two books and they both date back to the Eighties, Paladino’s heyday. And the time when I was at college trying to negotiate a pathway between the conceptualism of the seventies and the neo-expressionism of the eighties. I didn’t make a very good job of it. I ended up more comfortable with painting and drawing in some form, some sort of mark making which wasn’t very comfortable and hasn’t been since.

Anyway, Paladino. I started drawing from one of his drawings and flicked through the book. In one of the texts by Achille Bonito Oliva there were some interesting lists of everything that Paladino does in drawings and this intrigued me so I copied that out. Oliva makes the point that a lot of Paladino’s work is about the fragment and this started to interest me more and more. I have been thinking a lot about the fragmentary nature of my art practice, where work gets made and then forgotten or even half made as another interest or project comes along in the classroom which redirect the attention. Paladino’s work is made of fragments and I found this very interesting. He is also interested in archaic cultures and free association. I did a series of drawings from the book in a sketchbook. Not really copies as using his work as a starting point to think about what I was interested in within his work. His faces had made some sort of impression on me, 25 years ago.

The night before I had been out to the SCVA and spent some time looking at the Leonora Carrington paintings. Very fine. Beautiful things and I have never seen a set of them before, only the odd one in the Tate or in a show. I don’t write well about artist’s work. I am aware that I am supposed to be working on some sort of critical writing manner but it is not something I am at all good at. I liked them anyway and I want to go back and do some drawings. This goes back to other writing about this habit and the sketchbook that is on the website, this habit of using an artist’s work in my own, of drawing from art in galleries or from books. I was sort of dreaming of Paladino with the pencil, letting something of his work into mine, thinking about what I was interested in about his work by drawing it.

I’m not that interested in his ‘style’. That is never the point, what ever people say. Style strikes me as what illustrators fret about as they establish a trademark style for the market. I am not really interested in that at all. What I am interested in is how the art work shows what the artist was thinking about or was trying to think abut when they made it. That seems to be the powerful thing that objects and images capture and embody. Be that Paladino or Carrington or the maker of a Cycladic head in the SCVA or whatever. And it is that sense of a person working and trying to express some though visually that interests me and that I try to pass on to the children. “Style” is a word people use for an aspect of that.

My own work covers a lot of ground and various categories. I realised a long time ago that I was a bad faker in that I couldn’t get rid of my own mark, I couldn’t ‘hide’ my mark in someone else’s even when I tried to. Whatever I did had a tendency to look like I did it. I didn’t really like the way that happens but I decided that I was stuck with it. The freedom of that is that it doesn’t really matter what I do because it will always look like I did it so I didn’t really need a ‘style’. I had a ‘touch’, I was told. So I have let these other art practices wash across my work and made a hybrid art practice out of what has interested me or moved me. A little bit of all this looking probably sticks, evolves it in some way. This seems to be part of the theme of how I learn about art.

I enjoyed the Paladino book and my drawing.

Back at school I make some larger versions of the drawings on a variety of materials lying around the art room with the intention of putting together a “Paladino Dreaming” image. I have left this behind for the half term and will see what that looks like when I get back.

Picasso Improved No. 3

IDuring my art teaching career I have always made art work in the classroom in one way and another. I have always had some element of my own art practice in the classroom, some project on the go at the back of the room or on a desk. I also make work in front of the children as demonstrations of idea, technique or style. How do you show someone how to make a coil pot other than by making one in front of them? When I was first starting art teaching the art adviser told us that we were the best resource in the room, that we were representatives of art practice for the pupils we taught.

I realised over the years that I had accumulated folders of work made in front of children. I tended to finish the work and often worked on them whilst the children were working on theirs. I was modelling the project and giving them a target but I was also validating their work by showing that it was worth an adult doing it too. I also finished them for fun, for pleasure. I remember an art teacher showing us twelve year olds how to make a pot on the wheel and we were all very impressed. At the end of his demonstration he smashed it with his hand. He said that he had enough pots at home and that he didn’t need another one. We were shocked that he could do that to his own work, that he didn’t value his own work to that extent. I resolved never to do that in the classroom.

Because of this I have accumulated a collection of work which is not quite my own art practice but which I value enough not to throw away. Some of this is kept to be examples next time but I tend to make afresh for each project. In my view learners find a finished art work difficult to unravel and to see a piece being constructed has the most value. Anecdotally other art teachers have told me that they have collections of work made in this way. Not considered as their ‘own work’, work made for a pedagogical purpose in the classroom.

My question is can this work be considered as the basis of an art practice? Can this sort of work made for an educational purpose be re-contextualised as art practice? Is this a lost or mislaid art practice at the heart of art teaching practice?

This project is a subsection of the interest in the artist teacher and much of the initial research was guided by the literature on various artist teacher projects thus far. The development of this interest in the demonstration as a form of art practice comes out of a frustration at the lack of detail in the current research about the effect that the art practice of the art teacher can be said to have in the classroom. This project proposes that all art teachers who make demonstrations in the classroom are carrying out a form of art practice.

The project is based on five case studies. Four of these take place in the classroom and the fifth is the art practice case study, intersecting with the classroom ones. Much of the current art practice arises from an analysis of the classroom case studies and an examination of the role of the art teacher’s demonstrations and subsequent art work arising from them.

The art work is inspired by the teaching process, by questions about how we learn about art and the autobiography of learning about art in school and beyond. The art work plays with the persona of an art teacher playing with the styles and tropes of art education in schools. The work considers the role of skill in art, of learning to draw, the nature of what is demonstrated and learnt in art lessons of the notion of influence as an educational tool.

The practice is conditioned by the restraints of the school curriculum. The art work allows the different influences and projects in the classroom wash through it, trying on multiple practices. The demonstrations in the classroom have become the whole of the art practice and work made beyond the classroom is seen as a demonstration. What the artist is demonstrating and to whom becomes part of the work. Is the artist demonstrating their own work to themselves? What is it that is being demonstrated? If it doesn’t look like art then what is it that is being demonstrated?

The rhythms of the school day and the school year become evident in the work. The fragmentary nature of the work becomes more obvious as ideas are pursued but only so far, conditioned as much by the attention span of the children as by that of the artist. There is never enough time to be thorough, as the curriculum demands a move to cover a new topic or method. The teaching practice conditions the art practice. What would the art practice look like without the teaching practice? Have the two become completely interwoven?

An afternoon away from the hurly burly of school and being head of year eight. Relatively peaceful. I worked on two plates. One the still life that I printed last week of the Day of the Dead classroom and other bits and pieces. I put another layer of ground on it to rework it further. I also dipped the self portrait print that I had worked on in the classroom when the pupils had been working on their self portraits in their sketchbooks.

I had this brilliant idea to use up a lot of paint and the large card that is under a table at the back of the art room. We were all going to do a self portrait project based on Gormley and Quinn and drawing round ourselves and so on. The idea was that the outline was drawn directly from the body rather than being a depiction in the way that Gormley’s things are directly from him. That was my link anyway in formulating the idea. I thought of Klein and death masks and all sorts as I developed the idea. The first groups on Monday were under enthusiastic though and I gave up the presentation after the yawning and gazing out of the window got on my nerves and we drew a self portrait in our books instead. On Tuesday and Wednesday the groups were more positive and they quite enjoyed themselves with the large scale work and the message will have got round to the Monday groups, probably. Anyway, when the first groups were working in their sketchbooks I modelled concentration and observation and drew out a self portrait on a plate I had ready in the cupboard.

In the workshop I dipped it for a relatively restrained 50 minutes and printed from that. The result is OK – sketchy and relatively under worked compared to most of them. I intend to leave it at that and move on to another one.

Self portrait etching drawn from life Monday 4th October in school.

Looking through the sketchbook I can see that the Whiteread show has had an effect. I was varnishing some collagraphs and ended up varnishing some pages in the book and using scraps of spoilt paper as collage. I found some isometric paper on the desk and started using it to draw on as does Whiteread. I drew some improbable structures in idle moments, enjoying the puzzle like way they come together if you can keep using the isometric framework logically. I could see that the drawings might appeal to the sort of kid who is interested in drawing a s technical thing. I can remember being fascinated by the wonder of perspective and spending hours drawing street scenes and girders coming towards me and rockets going away from me and all that. I was always interested in the minutiae of learning to draw and illusionism is part of being ‘good at drawing’. When you are a kid is it much more? There is a sub-section of ‘being good at cartoons’ I guess. As I drew these improbable forms I realised they looked a lot like the drawings I did some years ago as part of a project based on plugs. All these things looping around and coming back to earlier ideas and connecting to the work of other artists and to learning to draw. I can see these insignificant drawings having these connections to learning to draw, inspired by Whiteread to pick up this isometric paper, linking back to an earlier body of work about plugs which I did with pupils and in my own work, and these link to Whiteread’s switch drawings which I had been unaware of. Complicated. And easily forgotten.
And in a couple of weeks I will have moved on to another mild obsession and these pages stained with the influence of Whiteread will be forgotten. It seems difficult to concentrate on anything for any length of time. This seems to be a feature of the work and the research. I have always been a bit like that any way. Discursive would be kind. Easily distracted more like it. This has helped me be a decent art teacher as my interests and influences are quite wide and I am technically versatile. But the downside is that my work flits about from one idea to another. This isn’t helped by the way it is produced within and around a timetable of hours, fitted into broken up days. We don’t let the kids get really focussed on something for a day or two and we don’t allow ourselves to either as we live these oddly fragmented days. I am beginning to realise that the project is an in depth look at work produced in fragments and I am beginning to see that the work can be left as fragments, left as unfinished ideas or partly done. The big self portrait painting I did as part of the Clemente week hasn’t been touched now for a fortnight or so. The last thing I did was put a bit of shellac into an eye. I don’t think it is going to get any further than it is and I think that is OK. It is what it is. I think that if I go over it or work on it more then I will be working on it with a feeling and interest which has moved on to something else.

The Halesworth Gallery has an open show every autumn and I usually contribute something. I am on the committee and have been for the past ten year or so. This is a legacy from when I used to organise art shows in fields and marshes with a friend. In the end I got asked to be on the committees of a couple of art galleries in the town and this has been part of my being active in the local art community. Halesworth Gallery has been there since 1966 in an old alms house in the town. We show from May to September and put on about seven shows a year with a couple of shows of children’s work at the start and the end of the season. And we always have the Open Show.

This year I put in two square pieces which were supposed to be channelling Lily Van Der Stokker . Unfortunately I didn’t get down to Tate St Ives to see the show and they have been tardy in sending me the book but I read about it in magazines and online. I was intrigued by the idea that her work can be seen as being aggressive in its prettiness. I really like it. It appeals to me as it is clearly quite annoying whilst being very ‘nice’.

So I made one piece with water colour on the canvas using a frilly manner of calligraphy. It reads ‘A Painting to Cheer Everyone Up’. The other piece was made with thin acrylic over a layer of clay based house paint. It reads ‘How to Paint and Draw’. This is the title of one of the case studies and it was supposed to sit in the middle of the wall of varied open show type work and be a half question about the work around it. A low key intervention in the show really.