Sunday, December 4, 2016

Like shining from shook foil...

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge |&| shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast with ah! bright wings. 

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Watercolour on 600gm paper

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

kursunluhan- karakoy 

It's been a busy month. Setting up an Arts association here in the city of Istanbul has proven to be an interesting experience. There's nothing like grappling with officialdom to get to know a country and culture just that little but more. The approval for our application came through at the beginning of October and we've been getting utilities set up since.

So it's just in the last week or so I've been able to turn my mind to the work of painting. The Kurşunlu Han near the waterfront at Karaköy still brings me much inspiration and is a break from the rusted pieces of metal that usually inspire me. The old Karvansaray apparently has Byzantine roots and its second floor is attributed to Mimar Sinan the most well known of Ottoman architects. Over the years I've painted a lot of this particular place, maybe one day we could try a pop-up exhibition there. 

Watercolour on 600 gm paper 
For sale

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The place where much is said...

I have a love hate relationship with my car. It’s big, a thirteen seater minibus. Its old, about sixteen years now. It just about manages to get through it’s road test each year although it has left me red faced by the side of the road too many times for me to forgive.

One occasion was when the handbrake wouldn’t release, imagine lurching down the road with the rear wheels locked. Another occasion was when it over heated on a freeway. I had to drive it the wrong way down the emergency lane to attract the attention of a policeman who managed to call me a pick up.

I had noticed that the exhaust was a little noisier than usual. After a few short errands the nosiness had evolved into a deep guttural growl befitting a Ferrari but not a Kia minibus. So I headed off to the auto repair centre where my faithful and long suffering mechanics profit from my reluctance to buy a decent car.

“It’ll take about half an hour to fix the rotted pipe” I was told.
“Ok, I can pick it up after Namaz” I said, mindful of Friday prayers.
“ You can sit here, drink tea, go shopping, wait until after prayers, do what you like, it’ll be ready soon.”
“I’ll take some photos” I said and smiled.
“Do whatever you want” these guys are used to me perusing their workshops for subject material, camera in hand.

So here’s the chair they sit on…..

Watercolour on paper.

Friday, August 26, 2016


So there’s a new bridge being opened today, that will be three across the Bosphorus straits. I have a feeling that it will instantly become a heavy traffic jam, the considerable growth in car usage here over a generation means investment in transport will always be lagging behind. 

We on the other hand are all praying fervently for the completion of a new metro line from Üsküdar to Çekmeköy which will alleviate the need for tens of thousands of commuters to be squashed into minibuses for a torturous journey into the Anatolian hinterland of the city.

As for drains. Well apparently I am not the only one to be captivated by the sight of a good drain cover. It turns out the the leader of the British Labour Party (the opposition to the Conservative government of the UK) also loves drain covers. One article in a British newspaper explains the leaders passion for these large metal sculptures that adorn our streets.

Watercolour on 600gm paper - for sale.... £350

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bad Timing?

Watercolour on paper... unfinished...
Watercolour on paper... unfinished...
Bad timing?

So I’ve decided to start an arts association, here in Istanbul.

This is basically a club where artists and creatives can get together and do things co-operatively. 

We can exhibit together, share the cost of hiring and putting on events, have times where we meet around the work of one or more of our members and generally enjoy promoting one another. 

There is an official way of doing this here in Turkey, one can register a group with a few other people lay down some aims and have some level of official status which makes things easier when approaching galleries and official bodies.

The question at the moment of course is whether the present situation is amenable to new ventures of this type at the moment?

Who knows? I have great sympathy and concern for the good people of Turkey at the moment, they deserve better than to have had to go through the appalling events of July 15th with all it’s sadness and mayhem. In their honour I think probably the best thing is to try and carry on as one has planned and give energy to the effort to bring back normality.

If you’re in Istanbul and you’re interested in joining with us in our association, drop me a line on

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Handcarts, chaos, and Georgia O'keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe Oriental Poppies 1927

As the world descends into varying levels of chaos, violence and mayhem all around I am in the relative peace and calm of 'post-Brexit' Britain (Britains exit from the EU).

The Brexiteers speak now of free trade, internationalism and boundless prosperity awaiting the the United Kingdom, or what will remain of it when Scotland has decided what to do, oh, and Northern Ireland for that matter.

The B’remainers are emerging as from a particularly nasty hangover bleary eyed and unsure what to hope for, if the country really is going ‘to hell in a handcart’ as many predict they could smugly play the ‘told you so’ card, on the other hand no-one wants economic meltdown either. Whatever the case, it’s too early to tell and probably will be for the next five years!

All the hand ringing in the UK can’t help appearing as a storm in a teacup compared with the events in Turkey in the last ten days. The shocking events that gripped us all from Friday night on-wards have changed the political landscape. One only feels deep sympathy and concern for my Turkish friends as they bravely continue on that long and painful road to democracy. I salute those who stood in harms way to safeguard their way of life.

Georgia O’Keeffe was a welcome breath of gentle meditation in all the chaos. The Tate Modern London is showing her works until October. I felt that I understood her creative journey and resonated which much of what she’d done.
I have a few half finished works awaiting my attention back in the capital of the world, in a few days we will be together again.

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