Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Norman Rockwell Museum

While I was in the states I met up with a lot of friends. Among them are the Tolkes. Some of the nicest people I know. Cathleen and Barbara are in this photo with me outside of the Norman rockwell Museum. It was an amazing experience. I never thought I would get a chance to visit here. Thanks to them I did. He was a fantastic artist. Really, really fantastic.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Apres Expo

Oh my head. I hope everyone else woke up feeling the way I do. That is, I hope they had a good time :)
There was a great turn out last night. About least sixty people came from those we invited and a couple of people wandered in from Bastile because they had just come from another vernissage. Thursday is a very popular evening for exhibition openings. Thanks to everyone who came. It was a great evening. Not easy being the host and answering questions and pouring wine all evening, all at the same time. Perhaps next time I'll get someone else to take care of the wine and food side of things.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Carlton Arms-North Wall

Some more friends and the painting on the north wall of the tombs etc.

Behind Ron, Barbara, Katz, Hugho and Ariel is the bar on the first floor of the hotel. The bar is an actual guest room. It has to been seen to be believed.

Carlton Arms-Some details

The godess painting (Aisling withthe Apple branch) on the left and some friends (my brother is the one with the beard and no hat) in front of the reception area of the Carlton arms.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Carlton Arms-Room complete

We had a great evening last Monday. The room is finished and I've been invited back next year to do another.
It's a great place and I felt right at home.

On Monday the party was great and went on till very late. Lots of friends came from far and wide and the guests in the hotel joined in. The Carlton Arms knows how to throw a party.

I'm sorry that I didn't take more photos of the event but I'll post the few that I have later. There's a sense of anti-climax now that it's over but I had a great time.
I return to France on Friday. New York is great.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Latest Update

Latest update. Looking good for Monday. Carpets coming in in the morning and the last minute touchups after that. Lots of little grass stalks to paint between now and then.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


If you are reading this post you are invited to a party at the Carlton Arms hotel to celebrate the completion of the room. It's Monday 4th of December 6-10pm, 160 East 25th street. The red door on the corner. What rooms of the hotel are not occupied are party space.

See you there :)


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The painting in the Carlton Arms is going well. I've got the guts of 2 walls done. Lot's more to do of course but here are two sections that are almost finished. I discovered that Banksty has done a room here and a wall of one hall too. Good company.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

New York-indisposed

I won't be available for assignments from the 14th of November to the 7th of December. I'm painting/decorating a room in a New York hotel. There's a site below that gives you a short history of the place. I'll be staying there and exploring New York and it's surroundings in the time that I have free. Thankfully I've found a good place to go for lifedrawing. I'm really looking forward to it. After Paris, New York is my favourite city.

If anyone wants to call me using a local number in New York, there is a telephone number on my website. I'll always be contactable through that.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


This is an image I like. The sculpture of the man and someone that looks like he could have been the model. Perhaps that's Erwin Wurm himself. This piece had a price tag of €85,000.

On the right:
The sculpture of the woman posing with the exagerated perspective is something that you normally see only in paintings or illustrations for comics. It's the first time I've ever seen the like in a 3D object. It works. Wang Du made several of these which were on exhibition.

Interestingly most of the sculptures are cast in resin, making multiple copies possible. But it also suggests that most people accept that plastics are more stable than bronze and will last for hundreds of years. Bad for the environment but good for art.


Today and yesterday I visited the work on show at FIAC. The contemporary art fair held once a year in Paris. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of very good work. Some was surprising and there definately seems to be a two tiered system at work. In the FIAC Louvre exhibition the work is not so dynamic, if at all. The impression you get is a mix of student work and pretty good images or sculpture. It wasn't really impressive and almost put me off visiting the FIAC at the Grand Palais. I did enjoy the buzz at the Louvre though. There was some really bad, cheap looking, shock orientated/attempted stuff there. Bit sad.

The Grand Palais was a completely different affair. The Palais itself is an amazing building. So the setting was perfect for this event. As I entered the first thing I was drawn to was an exhibition of paintings in the gallery Landau (to the right in the photo). It has contemporary work with feet firmly planted in classical. Sometimes painting mixed with photography. Other pieces of glass sculpture which are abstract and interesting. The rest of the galleries had very impressive work too. Some excellent combinations of sculpture and painting to create optical illusions, others with very daring pieces of art.

Observing the body language of dealers was especially interesting. Some seemed to be almost like accountants, dressed in suits and lost in their computers, calculating the value of the work based on the insecurity of the stockmarket. Others were genuinely relaxed and aware, very human with the people they encountered. Particularly the Parisian galleries. I was impressed by the dealers and the work they had on display. Everything from latex abstract sculptures to beautiful portraits and digital prints (going for enormous amounts of money). It was a very worth while two days of exploration. I'll post more photos, perhaps.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Day in the Louvre

It went well. I've had my day in the Louvre. It was stressful but there was a very good attendance. Though I didn't enjoy it one bit. I was totally stressed beforehand and the space was so huge that everyone felt lost there. There were 20 artists and a huge amount of space between each one. It was part of the rules and regulations that we not cause a crowd or block exists etc so we had to be very spaced out. It looks great great on a CV.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Coming Events

Here are some details of upcoming events. If you would like more information please get in contact.

November 2006: New York, Painting a room of the Carlton Arms Hotel. Return December 2006

January 2007: France, Montreuil, 93100 Opening Life Drawing school. Monday & Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

January 2007: I am teaching a two weekend long course on exercising the left, creative hemisphere, of the brain.

If you are in Paris and would like further information on any of the above courses please send an email to with the name of the course in the title, your name and contact details.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I just got word today that I have two paintings and two drawings in an exhibition in the Carousel du Louvre this October. Pleased I am :)

Monday, September 25, 2006


Do you know that Bridget Bardot is still going strong and writing pretty provocitive and honest books on social issues these days. I never really thought much about her until I met her son recently. We were working together in an atelier here in Paris. He's a decent bloke and talented. This photo is from an apartment that he was decorating in Paris. No particular reason for posting this, other than I found the photo while I was cleaning up my iphoto files.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Before and After

Click the photo to enlarge

It's been a while since I posted anything here. Been very busy. It all started about 32 years ago. That's when my wife decided that she was going to be a montessori teacher and have her own school. Her mother said she intended to have geese and goats in the school too but she seems to have changed her mind, for now. She was six when she first had the idea so you could say she is tenacious. Somehow I think there are goats on the way.

We took a ten year lease on a property in Paris. The first floor of an old warehouse. The lease was agreed about a year ago, long before we had permission to do anything with the property for education and long before we had the bank loan.

Finally when everything was in place and a month and a half before the school was due to open, we began construction. The guys who did the ceiling, wiring and the wall work were great. Seriously impressive. Money was getting tight and I designed and build the furniture. My father was a carpenter and I trained as a miniturist modelmaker before I decided to paint for a living.

Building the furniture saved a lot of expense. Besides that it meant that we could customise it for the schools particular needs. Each unit is on rollers and double sided. So that each has another set of storage units facing the wall. These can be turned around very easily and convert the class into an art room for life drawing and art classes and more importantly protect the montessori equiptment which is stored on the shelves. The life drawing and art classes will be on weekends, Wednesday afternoons and during the school holidays.

We worked weekends and each weekday till late. No breaks. Amelies parents came to help. We couldn't have done it without them. Her mother cooked so that we came home to a hot meal in the evenings and had a picnic during the day and her father did all the varnishing of the wood. That's about 800 planks and shelves.

Amelies montessori school will be for children aged 6-12. The life drawing and art classes are for adults except for on Wednesday afternoons when they are for children.

It's an adventure.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I painted this in oils for my own pleasure. It's quiet small measuring about 14 inches x 8 inches on canvas. Recently I painted some desert scenes for a client and it made me realise how beautiful the desert is and how totally different the life and light is there.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Apartment on the rue de Seine

This project is in rue de Siene in the 6th of Paris and the client is Laurent Taieb the famous Parisian restauranteur. It includes the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and reception. Lot's of gold leaf, patine and faux pierre.

I'm working with Francoise this time and we are starting with the kitchen, giving it the atmosphere of an old chateau using faux pierre (fake stone) in relief on the walls. It's kind of a double cheat as it really is an old chateau but the previous owners modernised it so this brings it back to something of it's previous state.

It's a lovely apartment and huge, taking up the second floor of a chateau which hides behind large stone walls and a massive gate in the centre of Paris.

Laurent is a nice guy and it's surprising how much respect he gives everyone that works with him. He's very chatty but forcefull. Not the shy type. The rest of the apartment is being worked on by carpenters and electricians and we come in after they move to another room. Everything is done with military precision.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Finished the sub last week and here are some of the views through the portholes. The wall is a metalic finished patine designed to look like rust and so are the frames of the portholes which are made of wood but to see them, even close up, you would think they were rusty iron.

The paintings are done in oils. Unfortunately I didn't have good light to make decent photo's of the work but here they are anyway. The themes are at the clients request. Don't know why the desert is in there but they are happy, which makes me happy too.

Flea Market

It's flea market time.
Every June in Paris and around the city there are flea markets which last one day and don't come again for another year. The best has to be around Nation in the centre of Paris but the local one here in Champs sur Marne is pretty good too. Everyone who lives in the village is offered a stand where they can sell off their collections, oddments or things that they don't have the room for anymore. It's really interesting to see what people have been hoarding in their houses. Sometimes you come across a real gem.

The image on the left is the view of the local chateau where some social events take place but mostly it's a museum. Great gardens.

The middle image is of a group of neighbours sharing lunch in the front of their house while people view their stall.

On the right is a woman shading a curious buyer with her green umbrella. Her colour coordination and the light just made this a photo worth posting.

You can enlarge by clicking on the image.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I've been working late so much recently that now I can't sleep. It's 11.35 and I had to get out of bed and try to do something to make myself tired to back to sleep.

Amelie is out like a light after a really tough time on a camping holiday with the children she teaches. She looks like she didn't get much sleep. The phones had to be disconnected to let her relax. She gets school calls at 1opm regularly. I think teachers are mad.

So what happened today. Well I went to luch with a new client and saw their amazing apartment afterwards. It's in Boulevard St Germain. They are a husband and wife. She is a decorator but doesn't do Trompe L'oeil or anything like that and he owns a few restaurants in Paris. I visited one of then called, Kong when I was meeting some friends. It's an amazing place in Chatelet.

The apartment is the entire second floor of a chateau or hotel as they were called. It's hidden, like many others behind enormous wooden doors that don't give any clue to passers by of what is behind.

Previous owners had made it look very functional but the current ones want to restore it to it's previous grandure. They mentioned making it look like Versailles a few times but I don't think their budget or time frame would stretch to that. Lots of gold at any rate and cherubs etc. That's a bit of a turn off for me to be honest but they are good contacts and seem creative enough. He claims to know everyone. They spent last weekend with Leonardo DiCaprio so I guess they know a few people alright.

Here's a photo or two of the apartment as it stands at the moment. It's not a pretty sight as workmen have been gutting it.

Anyway if my leg wasn't mangled I'd go for a jog but I think I'll read instead.


Monday, May 29, 2006

End of one intense period and into another.

It's been very busy again. I've finished a very intense demanding project.

However, now I have to concentrate on finishing the paintings I began two weeks ago. They are for the client on Avenue Wagram and are very important for a lot of reasons.

On the 7th of June there is a very large project starting which will last a month and a half so everything has to be out of the way for that.

In place of anything else to say here's a photo of the studio where I work.
On the left are some of the paintings I've been working on. Behind them, the computer where I am sitting now and to the right the work bench with my paints etc.

I took this photo while levitating on the ceiling. It's always happening. I do some meditation and the next thing I find, I've floated up onto the ceiling. Shish!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Time off

I'm working on some paintings at the moment for a client in Avenue Wagram (subtle plug there). It's been three days so far so I decided to take some time off to visit a friend who has soirees in Paris, on the ile Saint Louis. The speaker this evening was Janine Di Giovanni, a war correspondant who is driven in her work.

She reminds me of my wife Amelie in her drive to set up a school for Montessori despite the odds.

While listening to her speak about her experiences and the book that she has written I did her portrait. Her book is called 'The Place at the End of the World'.

She was kind enough to inscribe a copy for my brother Matthew. I think it's the kind of book that he would enjoy. It's a hard one to put down and I suspect it may have a few dog ears on it before this copy gets to him. Worth reading and she's a really decent person. No airs or graces about her. Just down to earth. It's published by Bloomsbury.

Friday, May 19, 2006

EuroPCR congress in Paris, 19th May 2006

The Congress is over now and all the doctors have gone home. It was quiet an event and my definitions of luxury have been adjusted upwards. Some stands at the congress were over 8 millions euros, just for a week. The doctors were pretty hard working and the companies were there to woo them to their products.

OrbusNeich staff are sincere about what they make. I overheard some discussing how lives could be saved if they could just get the doctors to be aware of their applications. It's not how we visualise sales folk discussing getting product on the shelves.

As soon as a client entered the OrbusNeich stand and spoke to the sales staff I began drawing their portrait. Most were doctors. Some were what were called 'hero' doctors. There were especially important to do portraits of as they were highly respected in their field. The congress is the most important for Europe but most doctors whose portraits I drew came from all over the world. Indonesia, Japan, the USA, China, Holland, Switzerland, Turkey, Pakistan, and Palestine among others.

I knew that I was doing well though when a que of women formed for portraits on the last day. I had intended focusing only on the clients of OrbusNeich but they didn't seem to mind me doing the portraits of anyone who wandered in.

It was a hard week. Very tiring but very exhilerating too. Most days when I went home my hands were shaking and that was from how much energy I felt rather than tiredness.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Drawing Portraits

Last evening was busy. I drew portraits for four hours in a private dinner for doctors and others who work in the medical profession. It took place in Hotel Prince de Gallesth on Avenue George V.

There were about fifty guests all connected in some way to the medical profession. We had a great time. I enjoyed doing the portraits and got a good response from the people there. Brilliant fun. It's surprising how when you are doing the right thing for you that you just don't get tired. I had more energy at the end than I had before I got there. Or maybe that was the champaign.

Today and for the rest of the week I am in Palais de Congress in Place de la Porte Maillot to draw portraits of doctors and marketing people. It is to attract more attention to the stand of OrbusNeich, a large Dutch company specialising in the development of tools for coronory proceedures.

They wanted an artist at the stand because they have a theme that is developed around creativity and painting.

Monday, May 15, 2006

We all live in a metal submarine

The submarine guide which we will be using for the wall of the apartment.

It's drawn to scale. The original which the client saw was drawn in pencil so that it would be easy to make adjustments to, while we discussed the content. This drawing (created digitally) is for the other artist who I will be working with as much as anything else.

While she is laying in the wall colours and metalic effects I will be working on the paintings which will be seen through the portholes. Then when I have completed those we will work together on the creating of shadows and highlights on the pipes and the metals, getting them to shine and have the correct shadows for the light that will enter the room.

There will be a painting of a cat at the base of the wall. He's standing guard against maurading mice and is based on the family cat. Who in reality lives across the street in the families other apartment.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What a day

Yesterday was what most people would call, full!

Most of the time I am working and don't get a chance to meetup with people, view Paris or chin wag with others but yesterday was different.

It started with a meeting in an amazing cafe/shop/library on the Champs-Élysées at 12.30. It's called the Publicis Drugstore. The meeting was about portraits which I will be drawing in the hotel George V this coming Monday evening. It will be a dinner with 70 guests and for those who want their portrait drawn I am to be the artist.

This shop is really interesting. On the ground floor it's a very posh restaurant with lovely decor. Lots of security guards etc but they are friendly and the atmosphere is welcoming. We met there and went downstairs to a lesser known tea room where they serve extremely unusual teas for free. Sounds good. The problem is that they are really good and also very expensive. I had a very interesting cuppa made from the flower of La Petite Amarante. The closed flower is placed in the hot water and it's petals open to reveal a red flower inside. You wait a while and then when the flower has completely opened you have your tea. Delicious but I have to admit that the flavour is extremely subtle. It's looks extraordinary. Best served in a transparent glass teapot to get the visual effect.

So they sell the glass teapots and the tea (EU20) for a bag. I bought one for this weekend.

Beside the teashop is a wine, whiskey and cigar shop all rolled into one. Facinating place and the staff are very free with their information regarding the wines and cigars (I don't smoke but find cigars facinating). They only have Scotch and American whiskey, I like Irish whiskey too much to capitulate and don't like American whiskeys.

After the meeting I went to my French class. One hour of French lessons and then the teacher (Valerie) and I went off to view the Portes Ouvertes d' artistes de Belleville. Valerie is an artist in glass as well as an French teacher. We saw parts of Belleville that I never knew existed. I met a lot of artists and saw their work. You see inside their ateliers and view the works in progress. Few of the artists work in the same building so you have a map with which you find them and their studios. It leads you down little alleyways and through streets that have no cars and the names are interesting.

Nowadays streets are named after intellecutals, musicians and scientists but originally the names of streets were loaded with personal information and each name is a key to the original history of each street. Facinating!

Unfortunately I could only be there for 2 hours. but I have the address's of most of the artists now and can come back again. It will be necessary to make an appointment as the portes ouvertes happens only once a year.

At 5pm I went to les Jardins de Luxembourg. Beatrice and Sabine were waiting. We had been students in an atelier here in Paris for 6 months studying painting techniques. Beatrice works (for the moment) in a creperie in the gardens and she force fed us crepes and coca cola. Very enjoyable. She will be working with me on a Trompe L'oeil in June for a month so we needed to talk through a few details.

Sabine is going out with the guy who administers the school where we studied. Great to see them together. There is something that changes when they just stand close to one another. She is tiny and he is over 6 foot tall. It is his birthday today and we went to Thimy Leabs place for a Barbeque to celebrate in advance.

I designed Thimy's site and I don't think it will ever be finished because he never gives any information about himself other than to say that he is the son of the prince of cambodia and that he has never been back since the revolution. none of that is on his site though.

Thimy has been very lucky in the place that he lives in. It is directly opposite his school and he has the ground floor and gardens. Finally he has somewhere to put his paintings. There are four rooms, a decent sized kitchen, a beautifully maintained garden in front and a lovely enclosed garden in the back. No windows, even in the upper floors of the house, look into the garden. It's extremely nice with well maintained plants and grass. There's a workshop and a red tiled roof to a storage area, which has no walls. That used to be for storing wood. It runs all the length of the garden and will be a good place to paint outdoors.

Mostly other artists and their friends came along. There was a barbeque and wine, naturally.

Tanguy, Thimy's brother, sells very impressive wine and caviar and he brought along a few bottles to celebrate Goathies birthday. We had a great time. I had to leave at about 12 as there is a lot to do today and I didn't want to be wrecked completely but it was a great day and interesting.

Today will be letters and painting. Lot's to clear out of the way for the coming weeks. Writing gives me a chance to reflect and stop for a while.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

And for my first post.

Hello and welcome to my art blog.
Lets start with an aquatic scene.

I am painting a large circular scene for a client in Paris. It's an underwater view of a school of fish with kelp in the background and will be done using oils on fine linen.

The drawing doesn't give an idea of the luminosity of the scene in my mind nor the colours that I will use.

I need lots of shadows to help create the luminosity I'm after so I used the kelp as a swaying curtain to create the contrast between the light and shadow. The light will filter through the kelp to the scene below.

There is a sense of a fish eye lens in the drawing but that's caused by the shape of the canvas being round and the view being taken from under the fish looking upwards. The swaying kelp helps to give that impression too. It should take a few days to complete. Hopefully it won't be a problem to photograph when it's wet and shiny.

The inspiration for the painting is a Trompe L'oeil which I am working on with another artist in the 5th, in Paris. It's an apartment which is a gift from a mother to her daughter who is getting married. The daughter loves submarines.

For this woman, as a gift to her daughter we are painting the hall of the apartment to look like the interior of a submarine. It will be dark and metallic with many different coloured metals. Copper, tarnished and rusty iron, brass and some silver for artistic license and to lighten the mood.

The portholes of the submarine will look out onto a fantastic world. Two views will be under water and two will be of landscapes. One man made, of NY and the other desolate but beautiful, of the Saraha desert.