Aubert Park 1    smaller watercolours


The model takes a rest.  We had gone to the Palazzo Alliata armed with a letter, postmarked 1884 and addressed to this very place [view]; costumed and propped for a historical scene set in the grand Sala dello Stemma. Over 480 photographs later still none of the images would work. Except this one, a record of a chance idle moment whilst Sumie took a break from posing.

Watercolour: 370 x 290 mm.   2018

x   still

It is the same day, the same location as the painting viii Villa Salina (see below).

Only later did I notice the mash up of the pattern in the area of terrace we had landed upon to avoid the full glare of the sun - where shadows from the surrounding trees afforded a more saturated blue.

The terrace, which is huge, was re-tiled for the filming of Visconti's Il Gattopardo. The workmen probably started at opposite ends; this must be where they met.

still is a pendant picture to Villa Salina: stillness - movement, stasis - passage.

Watercolour: 370 x 290 mm.   2017 – 2018

Private Collection, Portland, Oregon. 


With reference to 'The Leopard' by Giuseppe di Lampedusa.

Chapter vii 'Death of a Prince' has been transposed in time - from day to night, and in location from the Hotel overlooking the sea to the building next door ie. Via Butera 28 - home of the writer for the last years of his life.

This is where we stayed in Palermo last autumn whilst taking photographs for these paintings.

Different blacks used: an iron oxide mix for the section open to the night to right and Lamp black for the interior reflected in the french window to left.

I love the imagery used in this chapter such as that of the grains of sand which "cluster and then line up one by one, unhurried, unceasing" ready to pass through the neck of the hour glass.

Watercolour: 400 x 267 mm.   2017

Private Collection, Portland, Oregon. 


With reference to 'The Leopard' by Giuseppe di Lampedusa.

The location is the Villa Boscogrande - the Villa Salina in Visconti's film [view].

This was rather difficult to photograph as the sun was so bright, reflecting off that magnificent terrace, the glare bleaching out the blue of the tiles.

It involved Sumie, as the model, walking around its expanse for well over 3 hours.

Passage from light to shade, colour to monochrome.

Watercolour: 400 x 262 mm.   2016 – 2017

Private Collection, UK.


I remember, many years ago, watching a waiter one late afternoon at a small seaside hotel as he went about laying the tables for the evening dinner session and being struck that here was a man who appeared to be entirely at peace with his place in the world.

Photographed at Bellanger restaurant, Islington Green.

Benedictus benedicat.

Watercolour: 400 x 268 mm.   2016

Artist’s Collection. 


The Brompton Oratory, London. This is much the image I had in mind to commence with. Deo gratia I got this chance shot, using zoom lens, of a lady who'd just lit a candle at a side chapel altar. A minute later a priest came to point out that photography was not allowed within the church.
Watercolour: 320 x 220 mm.   2012 – 2013


Scene from 'The Leopard' by Giuseppe di Lampedusa.

"The truth is that he wanted to draw a little comfort from gazing at the stars . . ."

The Ponteleone ball has finally come to an end, Don Fabrizio decides to walk home.

These two works 'Dark Star' and 'Donnafugata' were inspired by di Lampedusa's exquisite novel which shows a man, Don Fabrizio, Prince of Salina as he approaches old age - what he looks back upon and what he looks forward to. Behind him the exuberance of youth, personified by nephew and ward Tancredi, and his betrothed Angelica. The world is at their feet, what kind of marvellous picture will fill that frame . . . although from Don Fabrizio's vantage point, the author muses "Love. Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty."

For the Prince himself the next scene will be death, and here he takes comfort from the immutability of the stars, how their mathematical workings defy the transience of mortal life.

The chandelier in foreground is nineteenth century Italian, my thanks to the lady at for permission to photograph in her wonderful shop.
Watercolour: 320 x 210 mm.   2008
Collection of C & M Taylor London.


Scene from 'The Leopard' by Giuseppe di Lampedusa.

"Those were the best days in the lives of Tancredi and Angelica . . . "

The young lovers explore the vacant, abandoned rooms of the palace at Donnafugata.

Features the same frame as I used for XIII Eclipse.
Watercolour: 320 x 210 mm.   2008


There are a number of very good nature artists with Jonathan Cooper, the gallery where I started showing again last year. Swallows and tree peonies - my contribution to the genre.

Watercolour: 320 x 210 mm.   2007
Private collection, UK.

ii   STUDY

In the holidays during my first year at art school I did a watercolour: similar to this, same Naples yellow telephone on a table at my parent's house. One of the tutors, in a moment of quite surprising observation remarked on how my work was so devoid of figures.

Strange that, returning to painting in my 40's, immediately it was the figure that became my central subject.
Watercolour: 320 x 210 mm.   2007

i   E & O

Marble bust of Quan Yin I found at the Burmese Temple in Penang.
Watercolour: 320 x 210 mm.   2007


Lost Painting.   NUBIAN DESERT.

One of a series of paintings I did following a trip to Sudan in 1981 travelling down the Nile from Khartoum to Kareima. This is where the train makes a stop - Junction No. 10 I think, the line forking to go north towards Abu Simbel, and west to the pyramids at the 4th Cataract.

The following year I exhibited these at the Curwen Gallery and all of them sold, (for this one I received £75). I do know the whereabouts of 2 of the 12 paintings, sadly the others, including this one are places unknown . . . I'd love to know where they are now.
Watercolour: 270 x 520 mm.