THE YEARS FROM 1987 TIL 1994
AFTER THE BREAK THROUGH – THE TURNING POINT
This vignette focuses on the years from 1987 til 1994 – during which time I produced a huge body of work. Even though I had been painting professionally since 1972, this period was different….a new beginning on all levels.
Because I chose to leave my marriage without alimony – I moved into what was my only asset a that time the studio on Prescott Alley which had no heat or running water! This had been fine when I had the luxury of a fully equipped house just fifteen minutes away but shall we say somewhat challenging without.
I have written a great deal about this particular chapter. It is still one of the more memorable and in many ways interesting periods of my life. I like to say that it is when I grew up and although there were those who thought I had gone mad…I had in fact gone sane. One thing I was clear about…I would not and could not give up painting. Making art was my life work.
It seemed that after the ‘break through’ all sorts of people appeared in my life that wanted to advise and help….To name a few, there was Jean Frohling, Albert Willett, Howard Thorne, Gay Robinson, Alice Johnson, Carol Petersen, Hilda Kaufman and Adze Mixxie. Gay and her friend Lolly Davies would turn up at the studio with hampers of food…..and then there were the wonderful brothers who did the plumbing. I could go on and on….but it proved the point to me the when we are brave and take the right path – it is as if all manner of help appears in ways that we can never be creative enough to imagine.
Autobiographical still life. – large oil on canvas. This was the first of a large series of symbolic still life works (about 30 paintings) that I produced during this period. I chose this theme because I needed to re-structure my life and work and to re-hone my observational skills.
All the paintings in this series represented people in my life at that time.
This still life speaks of two good friends.
Star quilt on white wicker chair….A gift from Uncle Sammy.
At the same time, my art agent and dear friend – Bonnie Paul (who sadly died four years ago) started to get me well paid corporate mural commissions.
Bonnie and I together in 2000 after I had moved back to the UK/Wales – a place she loved to visit. Behind us is the self portrait I painted from the beginning of this period. ‘The Turning Point.’ I keep it with me at all times to remind me that I can rise to whatever challenge is put in front of me.
One of many mural commissions I received through Bonnie. This was for the Philadelphia Heart Institute. These murals paid well which allowed me to paint what I wanted to paint. Christie and I in front of mural
Symbolic mural for the Massara Building, USA. My friend Patricia in front of mural gives an idea of the scale.
Mural in progress. Working from the many watercolour sketches I made for the mural.
Bonnie also got me some really good private commissions....and because in my early years of painting I had been known as a wildlife painter – every now and then this factor came into play.
This large oil on canvas elephant was commissioned by people who went on many safaris and built a room onto their home to house this and other paintings. Wok in progress photographed in the Prescott Alley studio.
At the same time I was teaching at The Chester Country Arts Association and painting watercolour and oil portraits….it was a very busy time.
I have often thought that had I not had to make my own way financially – I might never have done so much of this work.
Ironically I ended up with three studios. The one on Prescott Alley…..another in the Massara Building and one in Jean Frohling’s carriage house …..all within minutes walking distance of each other.
Three eighteen ft mobiles I designed and built for the Massara Building.
Another dear friend the artist Howard Thorne helped me with the installation of these mobiles..
The artist Howard Thorne who helped with the installation of the mobiles. large oil on canvas painted in Howard’s studio. I painted him in front of one of the stained glass windows he designed.
This painting was at the Chester County Arts Association exhibition just before I moved back to the UK.
Artist and friend Charles Jay – oil on canvas. – with me in London.
Watercolour sketch of my dear friend. Sue Hineman – with me in London.
Adze Mixxie the astrologer…..large oil on canvas from a newspaper clipping.
There was so much more. Behind every painting, mural, portrait, workshop were many more often fascinating stories.
This vignette gives an overview of that period….Little did I know at the time that my cousin Lyn would come to visit me from Wales which would lead me to wonderful Crickhowell Wales and to another new and exciting beginning.
In this photograph taken in my Prescott Alley studio in 1987 I am standing in front of one of the large Rock and Nude paintings…which is still one of my most important series of works one I continue to work on to this day.