Jasper Johns must have been a gardener.

Or at least a man with a shed.

For those not of an artistic persuasion, you should know that Jasper Johns was, and perhaps is, a great American artist.He’s still with us! I recall in my late school days loving his work. As I understand it he went out of favour later on in his career, though I claim no special knowledge. He has an exhibition on in London at present at the Royal Academy, so I presume that those in the flow of these things, consider it’s time to resurrect his reputation.

Jasper Johns Exhibition at the RA

I am going to go along for old times sake, and to take a look at the people looking at the work. Great place for people watching.

There’s something slightly ‘up cycling’ about his stuff to me. He makes common objects into things of beauty, but then I think many common objects are. Perhaps it’s just that he makes us look, or at least helps us look. The RA says this about his stuff: “His treatment of iconography and appropriation of objects, symbols and words makes the familiar unfamiliar, achieving this through the distinctive, complex textures of his works.” Anyone know what that means in plain English?

I was reminded of his work as I strolled back from my allotment. There I was “appropriating objects”. Perhaps he was a gardener too?

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Jasper Johns: Ventriloquist, 1983.

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Paul Davies: Sheddist 2017

Some of my friends have gone…

Travelling in leatherweb

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These chaps above have all gone to new homes as well as the finished version of the one below. In many ways I prefer the one below to the final. I’m sure they’ve all gone to good homes. The bike drawing has been sold for charity, so I am particularly pleased about that. It was bought by a chap who’s friend is greatly into motorbikes. The charity that will benefit is Headway. This one’s for charity

Hoping for a fine day today so that I can find new homes for some of the others, but it’s been a good week anyway.

Interestingly, the drawing that has had the most reaction is the one on the poster below and still no one mentions the bear,like it’s normal to have a stuffed bear in the loft.

A quick tour of the exhibition.

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Thanks to all those people who have dropped by in the last few days and to those of you out there worldwide who have dropped in here.

You can see more of what’s on in the show right here:My site where you can buy prints of many of the images that I have in the show.

Cornfield singing

As a change from my drawings about the British here’s my chum Robin singing about John Barleycorn, in a cornfield near to the River Severn in Gloucestershire. It’s all part of the British Character, and we talk a lot about marmalade. It’s important.

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What’s happening to the French?

Just been there and before I go on about them let me say that there’s something I like a lot about the French. In fact, there are many things that I like about the French. They tend never to apologize, we are always saying sorry. They tend to think that the response to something going wrong is, of course, your fault. It may well be, but in France, it is always the case. Even when it’s not.

Another thing I like about the French is the food and their attitude to it, but here something is going terribly wrong. The French are able to cook like almost no other nationality, and they have exported their skills. We’ve learned a lot of them, and put them into practice. We’ve learned from a lot of other people, as we had no one to learn from over here. Apart from Saint Delia and that geezer wot is saving our kid’s school dinners. Elisabeth David brought us olive oil, and a load of recipes from the Med, when the prevailing wisdom here was that olive oil should inserted in the ear for an earache. Now we actually use it on salad in place of salad cream which was not cream and was not pleasant. Our salads were n’t up to much either.

One could get a decent meal almost anywhere in France, and motorway service areas served food that was passable and coffee that was so strong it would enable the sleepiest of drivers to stay awake and alert for at least 400 miles per cup. And it was served in a white china cup. Not anymore. Service areas are awash with coffee machines and if you do go and get a ‘cup’ from the counter, it will more than likely be a paper one. Whereas over here our Service Stations are better than they have ever been. The one in Gloucester, where there is no branding of any kind is a beacon of good taste and a magnet for local people searching for good food items.Take a look or call in Gloucester Services and these days one does not have to go far to search for good food in the UK. It’s everywhere. Whereas in France they have taken backward steps.

It’s time for them to learn a few of their own lessons from us. To import what they exported to us: the love of food and coffee. I am naturally hoping that their new President will be reading this and will be taking steps to improve matters quickly before it’s too late.

I’m not expecting him to apologise. They never do. That’s one thing that will never change.


 

Another feature of my trip was a meeting with a French woman who was an English teacher. She spoke superb English without the slightest Fench accent. Yet we have Frenchmen over here who’ve lived here for years, like that chef Raymond Buerre Blanc or whatever he’s called, sounds like e as joost left le bateau een Porsmoof. Now there’s a word in English that the French can never pronounce: Portsmouth. It’s torture for them. They get their own back by naming a French south western seaside town : Royan.This is a word beyond the ability of an English person to pronounce properly. So we’re even.

Au revoir. Vive La France!

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This is me in typical French holiday fashion gear, it was chucking it down.
As we say: We brought the English weather with us. Yes, I’d packed it with the
shorts I’m wearing now I’m back in England.

 

 

British Railway Station kiosk reader, is this accurate today?Perhaps not.

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Another in my series of black and white drawings about the British and reviewing this today, it seems perhaps that it may be a bit dated. Artists sometimes talk about their work in terms of how they have been inspired by others, and what they were trying to do. Well this is supposed to be about those people who’s job is to sell  newspapers and magazines, none of which are normally of great literary merit. I imagined that perhaps there exists somewhere a newspaper seller that spends his or her ‘downtime’ reading the classics whilst surrounded by all the other stuff.

Our man here is reading ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ a favourite of mine in the literature stakes. It’s interesting to note that Thomas Hardy who wrote this classic, wrote many of his stories in episodic chapters, to go into ‘journals’ that would no doubt have been found at Railway stations a little like this one, for passengers to read on their journey.

This Railway station is an amalgam of places like Paddington and others where large column dominated. The soot from the previous train generations cooked them into  areas lit sometimes only by the light of the kiosk. This has changed and a recent visit to Birmingham’s New Street station with it’s acres of carefully designed and beautifully lit concourse gives the lie to this drawing, perhaps. However, there was something quite romantic and mysterious about these old Victorian Sooty monliths.

I’ve always had the feeling that these people who inhabit these little workplaces are never closed and perhaps live in an underground shelter beneath.

This drawing, along with loads more, will be in the Exhibition in August which is from 16th August to the 22nd at the Gardens Gallery, Montpellier, Cheltenham. Come along and say hello, I’ll be there every day.

More about the theme of the show can be found right here: Pont: Graham Laidler, and the British Character

Bookseller

My drawing was probably inspired by this sort of thing seen in the Guardian, except in my musings I expected the bloke behind the counter to be something a little more intelligent than smoking, false hope perhaps.