Well, here is my first journal entry for my all new web site and I’ve been mulling over what to say as the year so far has been packed with memorable occasions. I think the best place to start is with what’s been going on in recent months, but in future entries I’m also hoping both to share my news, ideas and plans, and to answer some of the questions I get asked when I meet collectors.
As always, there have been some wonderful opportunities to paint some fascinating people, private individuals and public figures, most recently, a lovely society bride called Kashmir for a Channel 4 documentary. Meeting her was a lot of fun, but also very rewarding; she was a young lady with the world at her feet, but she could still be moved by art which I found genuinely touching.
I think I have perhaps met more collectors this year than ever before which has been lovely. The reason for this was that in the summer, I celebrated 35 years as an artist with exhibitions at Clarendon Fine Art in Mayfair, on board Cunard’s gorgeous Queen Elizabeth, and in a small number of Whitewall Galleries across the country. I was asked to create a new collection for this milestone and I think it was one of the most enjoyable series I have ever painted! I included some classic social occasions and some of my favourite scenes of children on beaches which are always an irresistible subject to me.
We also released a revised edition of my book, Your Days, My Days,with some additional images and a new cover from the new collection, and a commemorative magazine. This last was really quite an undertaking but well worth it when I saw the finished product; lovely photographs and all the latest artwork.
Of course life is not all about painting although sometimes it certainly looks that way. I was absolutely thrilled last year to be invited to be patron of the Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival this October. This is a major event for my own local art scene, and attracts actors, writers, artists and musicians from far and wide, ranging from David Suchet to Emma Johnson. I’m hoping to get to as many events as I can – I particularly don’t want to miss the Russian State Ballet as ballet is one of my great loves.
I also received a lovely invitation to a very special birthday party. Five years ago, I was invited to be a guest on the Maiden Voyage of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth This beautiful ocean liner recently celebrated five wonderful years with a special anniversary voyage and I was delighted that once again they invited me to join the party! It was something of a double celebration for me as Clarendon Fine Art, the on board gallery, mounted an exhibition of my latest collection, ‘Lasting Impressions’, and I was asked to cut the official Queen Elizabeth birthday cake which was both a great honour and enormous fun!
As a family we've enjoyed a holiday in our beloved Cornwall, and Mark and I have, as always, been blown away by the achievements of our children. Summer has been a joy with early morning walks every day with my dog Millie and a group of friends. We tramp off up Box Hill whatever the weather, and it’s an exhilarating way to get ourselves into gear for the challenges of the day ahead – I thoroughly recommend it!
I would just add that next year has some very exciting projects planned which I’ll be letting you know about soon. I hope you enjoy having a look around the site, and please do make sure you register for invitations and information if you’d like to come along to any forthcoming events.