Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Did you know that peeling an onion cures a heavy cold? Neither did I. But I peeled an onion and cried as usual and then my heavy cold (are there any light ones?) was cured. Today I am nearly cold-free and I could say it's because the onion cured me but it might also be because the cold was getting better anyway.

All you have to do is assert something in an assertive way:

Photo of cold-puffy celebrity peeling onion.
Bright-eyed celebrity interviewed moments after miraculous onion-cure.
Millions of tweeters tweet that they've always known it, grandma used to rub their chests with a raw onion.
Other tweeters tweet that it's all cobblers.
But by then onions have sold out in all the shops.

My cold really is better though. And the onion I peeled went in the chicken soup.

Monday, March 12, 2018


Sitting in the National Portrait Gallery cafe on 2nd October 2007 I noticed Ken Dodd having tea at another table. Having just seen the portrait of him by David Cobley I decided to go over and ask Ken what he thought of it. He was with his partner Ann Jones. Both were very friendly and we had a conversation as if we were old acquaintances.

Apart from occasional flights of brilliant and surreal invention, his brand of comedy was never really my thing. But I will always remember open, unpretentious and gracious Ken Dodd with affection from that serendipitous meeting and the autograph he gave me has been pinned above my desk ever since.

Monday, March 05, 2018


Teeth. Do you want to talk about teeth? I'll go ahead anyway. A bit of torture at the dentist this morning motivates me.

I was born with wonky teeth. They showed up when baby teeth usually show up. Why didn't my parents notice? Why didn't they take me to an orthodontist immediately? Because it was Paris and they were busy having a good time, I suppose but I could be wrong. Anyway I grew up with wonky teeth, too crowded, whatever. Later in America I was the odd one out in school because all the kids were giants with perfect teeth. 99% of Americans have perfect teeth, it must be all that milk. I was (am) short, hated milk, had buck teeth and spoke with a French accent. As time went by I adapted and my smile was good enough, sexy enough to get by in this tooth-eat-tooth world. 

However, there's always a big however if you're born with wonkies, and as much more time went by the wonkiness played up. I'll skip the details but below is a page from my book Augustine's True Confession (1979) just to illustrate this post. If you want to read the book (it's good and not about teeth) I'll send you a copy, signed, for £10 plus postage. Yes that was a commercial break, an honest one.

As I was saying, lots of time went by and now it's today and I've just been tortured at the dentist because another loose tooth had to go. So today I have only 12 teeth of my own, 4 at the top and 8 at the bottom. Yesterday I had 13.

I know I shouldn't be talking about this because it's a secret. We who are afflicted with...um...the D word...it starts with dent.....Got it? We who have those fakes have to pretend they're real. But they ain't, right? Fake news ain't real news and never shall be. That's all for today.

Please note well: the page below (from the book) was written in 1979. I do not have pain in my mouth today. The injection before today's extraction was painful but it's gone now and I'm fine.

Thursday, March 01, 2018


Snow is definitely photogenic. Here's my contribution to the snowstorm of snow pics. No snowflakes were harmed in the process. I was snugly hidden at home behind a window.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


This morning, in the waiting room of a local hospital before my dermatology appointment ( a minor skin thing needing occasional review) I watched the people sitting there in total silence, mostly old, mostly grim-faced, and I had an urge to get up and say:

We're all going to die sooner or later so.....let's face the music and dance!

Then I would dance and sing with each one of them. That was the movie in my head. The urge was irresistible but I resisted it.

Another opportunity to change the world missed.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Tonight, 7- 8:30 pm at the Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, see this the right way round and hear the poems read by their poet, George Szirtes.

I'll be there too.

Sunday, February 18, 2018


The corner of my living room which inspired the setting of the new boxwork and the paintings actually hanging on the wall, mini-versions of which feature in the scene.

 The painting over the mantelpiece is Sonata for Apples and Chairs (2007) - I made a video showing its evolution, here it is.

 In case you're interested, a few other videos I've made are here on Vimeo.

And some are on Youtube.

Of the other two paintings below, one is a self-portrait painted in Sao Paulo, Brazil aged 21.

The other one is Apples Reflected (2011).

Now all I need is a play or an animated film imagining what the angel/paper doll is saying, what the artist is thinking, and what the apple theme is about. Don't ask me, I haven't a clue.


Angel Disguised As Paper Doll Explaining The Artist's Work is probably nearly arguably almost finished. Size: 51 x 41 x 9 cms (20 x 16.5 x 3.5 inches)

I can't seem to get a decent photo of it in any light. The colours are wrong, you can't see that the figure on the right is the same as the painting hanging behind her, you can't read the title written on the frame and so on.

My camera is an old ordinary Canon Power Shot and I think it's exhausted. Will try again when I can say that this boxwork is definitely finished. It's been over a year since I started it....oops,I've just checked ... I actually began building the box in September 2016! Here's the blog post about it.

How it began, 16 September 2016

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


On Thursday I'm going to Norwich to join George Szirtes at the Book Hive for the launch of 30 Poets Go To The Gym, the Candlestick Press publication of his acrobatic poems.

I'll be signing copies alongside him since I'm the illustrator but as they're mostly tiny in the pamphlet, here are the celebrity keep-fitters as interpreted by yrs truly.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Recognition: the number one hunger? To be heard, to be seen, to be acknowledged. To be cliked by facebookers twitterers instagrammers in their dozens, hundreds, maybe more, or at least disliked in equally viral fashion. To prove that we are here, that we are who we are, that our story matters. That the thoughts we think, the words we write, the pictures we paint, the music and movies and moves we make, this little creature we call Me, this little selfie....oh!

Why are we so hungry to be seen? Look Ma, I'm dancing! Ma, I'm falling down! Ma, you're not looking! Is that it? All about childhood? Whether we were recognised too little or too much?

Re-cognition: I am recognised therefore I am. If not recognised I do not exist. True or false? Obviously false but so many believe it. The hunger always twinned with anxiety, the What If.........

Strangely enough, the more time goes by, the less anxious I become and the less hungry I feel. Maybe I should be hungrier.

Friday, January 26, 2018


The more absorbed I am in making art, the less time I feel like giving to facebook or the internet or verbal communication in general. Sometimes, often, I don't speak to anyone for days, not on the phone, nowhere, except maybe buying food or in a cafe, asking for an Americano with cold milk on the side and a pain au raisin.

 I suppose I have hermit-ish tendencies. Not that I want to avoid company or communication, not at all. It's just the way things are. I do talk a lot to myself, not aloud (not yet!) and that can be quite interesting, even informative.

The boxwork I'm absorbed in has a title now: Angel Disguised as Paper Doll Explaining the Artist's Work. Soon I'll post a photo of it.

Monday, January 15, 2018


These two works of mine from the 1960s will be on sale at the London Art Fair this week: 17th-21st January, on the England & Co Gallery's stand (No.34) at the Business Design Centre, Islington.

Ideas on Angel Underground  circa 1967  Oil & mixed media on board. 30 x 20 inches (76 x 51 cm)

Ramona  1966. Mixed media box construction. 18.5 x13.75 x 3.5 inches (47 x 35 x 9 cm) The words carved into wooden blocks are from the song 'Ramona' popular at the time.

Just in case you were wondering but too afraid to ask, my artwork is generally for sale. If you have never wondered about this may I suggest you start? Buying my artwork is a good thing to wonder about, unlike many other things which are not so good or so possible. I have been a fully functioning artist for all of my long life and therefore a great deal of work accumulates. Bearing in mind time's unfair rules I only have, what, ten/fifteen years max before I leave this planet and I think you, the collective You, should be seriously wondering about buying my work. It is totally worth it even if I say so myself (*) and I have a very discerning eye. Contact me privately if you want to visit, discuss prices etc.

(*) If you need other opinions besides mine, you can see some quotes on this page, as well as a partial list of public collections which acquired my work.

Apart from my website or visiting me to view available paintings, drawings or 3-dimensional work, here are two links where you can currently buy examples of my graphic work.

Pomegranate Fine Art:

The Old Stile Press:


Monday, January 08, 2018


Below are the back and front covers of the Candlestick Press forthcoming pamphlet of George Szirtes' witty and wonderful Thirty Poets Go to the Gym which, as you may remember, I was commissioned a few months ago to illustrate.

The original intention was that my images of Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ee cummings, Rainer Maria Rilke, TS Eliot, Lord Byron, Walt Whitman and George himself would be placed below or alongside the relevant poems. However, when the book's layout was being worked out, the publisher decided instead to fit my images on the back cover, with Walt Whitman on the front cover while George Szirtes and Lord Byron appear on bookmarks.

 I would have been happier with the original plan but never mind. May this book have a long, happy and successful life.

Thursday, January 04, 2018


Whew, that was tough but I managed to finish the sofa renewal for New Year's day. Okay it's not perfect but neither am I. It's a bit quirky (me too) and you won't find one like it in the shops (me neither). Cushions will adorn it in due course. Moi aussi, I guess.

When I'd covered all but the seat with the new fabric, I decided I didn't want the whole thing the same colour. Luckily I found exactly the right length of material: a beautiful curtain from a flat I lived in about 20 years ago - the pattern even echoes my new oriental rug. 

It took some deft manipulating and hours of stitching back what I cut off by mistake, but finally it all came together. Trickiest of all were the arms - staple gun fired hundreds of staples into the front panels of the sofa's arms to coax fabric into the required curves. But staple craziness is hidden beneath a solution which I may have invented: traced the shape of left and right arms' front panels, cut the shapes out of thin card, then wrapped and glued the fabric to the card, then glued the wrapped panels in position. Presto, no piping!

Like I said, it's not perfect but it's not bad.