Pie Factory Studios exhibition

A busy autumn period for me culminated in a group exhibition at the Pie Factory, Margate. Though a mere pop-downstairs from the studio, I had managed to volunteer myself to curate the exhibition—I had never done this before.

It is an interesting space, consisting of four unique, joined rooms, each with its own distinct personality. Some walls are flat, painted white, others have original tiling from when the building was a pie factory, while another is raw, crumbling brickwork.

I had no real idea how many or what kind of works would be arranged on those walls until the first morning of the hang. Everything from table mats and posters, to large paintings, to illuminated glass sculpture, had to be arranged into the four rooms with some logical, flow.

I expected some battling with artists, fighting with hanging systems, and a great deal of changing things around until they came together in a form that felt right. In a great part due to the lovely artists involved, It was a far less stressful experience that I expected.

The unique arrangement of rooms at the Pie Factory are a bonus in arranging and grouping the widely contrasting works into some logical order. I thought maybe to theme each space, but that proved impossible due to the diversity of the works. But each room had a distinct feel, and none of the works felt crowded or out of place. Guests appeared to enjoy their visits, and the artists seemed happy with my curation. Phew!

Hindsight brings some reconsideration of some of the hanging decisions, but so minor I doubt anyone would notice. It will be interesting if I am able to do this again next year. The experience gave me a fresh respect for curators, and I want to do more.

Artists who took part:

Neil Dixon, Jenny Duff, Don Eachells, David Mulett, Francesca Souza, Sweet Potato & Friends, Graham Ward, Helen Whitehead, Claire Youngs.

Another one done

Another solo exhibition is done, works are either off to new homes or once again wrapped in storage. Its a strange feeling.

If you have ever put together a solo event, you’ll have some idea of how much effort is involved in making it happen. Most artists will appreciate how much we put into what sometimes appears to be just a matter of sticking a bunch of works up on a wall. It is deceptively straightforward.

This year’s show at Ramsgate’s York Street Gallery was well received, and, thankfully, some sales. I am already thinking about something special for next year.

The current post-exhibition breathing space offers low-pressure creative time. In place of planned, structured, deadline work, the studio schedule consists of random experiments and playtime with different and new materials. There’s usually so little time for such no-pressure playtime.

Drawings by the sea

Much of my past work involves many hours of meticulous drawing. Every stroke of the pencil considered, controlled, directed. An interesting exercise might be to to give up that control.

The Tide Drawings are controlled by the sea itself. Video or time-lapse recordings are taken of tide movement. Each is projected as a still onto a sheet of paper, and the frontmost edge of the water at that moment marked as a simple pencil line.

Uninteresting results are common! The most effective include man-made or natural shoreline features, that form negative-space within the marks directed by the tidal flows.

There remains a slice of artistic influence in the execution of the pencil line, and small decisions made where the leading edge of water was ambiguous in the image.

I aim to extend the scope of such drawings, capturing an entire section of coastline during the full transition of the tide, for example. I will need a high vantage point that can be maintained for 4-6 hours or more. This coastline’s white cliffs might prove useful there.

Two Tide Drawings form part of the current exhibition at the York Street Gallery, Ramsgate until 9 May 2018.

Return to York Street

I’m delighted to have another solo exhibition at Ramsgate’s York Street Gallery, form 2-9 May 2018.


This year my focus has been on The Isle of Thanet’s shoreline borders, the white cliffs in particular.

Paddleboarding at Pegwell
Paddleboarding at Pegwell

While paddle-boarding around the coast here, I was struck not by the cliffs themselves, but how they affect the colour, light, and structure of the sea at their feet. The white cliffs are a common feature for local artists, but could images be created that feature them, without showing them?

The main drawings in this year’s exhibition do just that. They feature not only the reflections of the cliffs, but the expressive nature of the works echo the movements of the water experienced while paddle-boarding there.

Paddle-boarding forms a minimalist platform on which one stands to paddle. The experience of every movement of the water is acute, particularly when tides are driving waves towards the cliffs which are reflecting them back to the sea. Particularly complex wave and tidal flows run through these waters making it a unique experience on the water.