Free studio space – but what to do?

I’m very lucky where I work, the Programme Leader for Fine Art (an eminent curator, writer and blogger herself, Tracey Warr) has arranged for one of the studios over the summer to be available for staff within the school to use. I desperately want to take advantage of this offer of space, something that comes at a premium in our small end terrace house, and use the studio to make some bigger work. I very rarely get the opportunity to make bigger work and I have some huge paper tucked behind a wardrobe as well as some large rolls of paper that could be utilised. This has certainly got me thinking about the possibilities of what I could do, but I honestly am at a bit of a loss. Which is silly, I was burning with ideas just a few short weeks ago.

Having been focussed on my teaching course as well as my job for a few weeks has taken the wind out of my art sails a bit, but I am determined to huff and puff some back in there.

I’ve got my copy of Esther Woolfson’s ‘Field Notes from a Hidden City’¬†¬†here beside me and it is creaking at the edges with page markers.


Perhaps, I could make a series of drawings that visualise these passages that I’ve marked to be digested at some un-known time, perhaps I could start the project with a series of large mono printed landscapes. Perhaps, perhaps, I’m driving myself a little mad with the lack of motivation to just bloody well get on with it. I need to adopt the Taoist mentality that I continuously advise in my own teaching, ‘First thought, best thought’. Not, because necessarily, the first thought is the best thought, but because it is the thought that gets us moving, making, creating some work.

Time to get the sketch book out and take some motivational inspiration from my busy, ever present, garden birds.

Please feed the birds.



I wish I had a pensieve, for those of you who aren’t fans or readers of Harry Potter, you won’t know what I mean. A Pensieve is a wonderful object, it is a bowl of your thoughts, wishes, fantasies, wonders, passing ideas. When your brain is over loaded with many things, you put your wand point to your temple, remove the thought (it comes out of your temple in a silvery strand) and pop it into the bowl, to be mused and thought through later on. Fantastic. I only wish it existed in the real world and not one of J K Rowling’s imagination.

This is a long winded way of stating that I have a lot to say. I want to write a blog that is dedicated to the BACubed exhibition that is currently showing at the Glass Tank Gallery and the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes. I will write a proper review of this show and credit the artists who are showing work next week, but for now, if you are anywhere near Oxford in the next week then I urge you to go and see this show. It is nothing short of gob smacking in so many ways.

I’ve been mostly concentrating on my teaching course this week, as well as taking a bit of time off before things start to get very busy again. The summer school that I lead at Oxford Brookes will kick off with aplomb very shortly, as well as assignments to hand in, Bucks Open Studios to take part in at St Tiggywinkle’s and I am thrilled to announce that I will now be associated with The Tube Gallery (Once the gallery manager and I have managed to meet and I can show her some work!) and will be taking part in two Travelling Tube group shows shortly. There are more group shows and auctions to come and I will say more about that soon.

For now, I continue to feed the birds who are now becoming used to my presence in the garden. I’m thrilled by this, it’s also led me more to muse on how our relationship is so mutually beneficial. The birds are relying on me for food that they desperately need at this time of year to feed their own young and keep themselves going. I am relying on them for joy in the most simple of terms, the joy of being close to them and being able to observe them and their behaviour at such close quarters. Laughing at the wood pigeons wobbling about, the sparrows taking their chances and the gorgeous starlings dominating everything that is going on. They’re eating me out of house and home though, no sooner have I filled up the fat feeders with home made fat balls, the seed feeders, the peanut tray and the bird table they are empty again. (Some within half an hour!) I don’t care. I get immeasurable joy from helping them. It’s mostly left overs that are going over, old cheese, old apples, stale bits of bread!

You too, can have this.

Please feed the birds.

Posted in Art