16 July 1954 – 2 December 2018
Remembering Charlie Watts on his birthday,
Charles remained through life, my dear friend , a gentleman, artist and an enlightened teacher.
We met whilst studying at Gloucester College of Art. He was on the Foundation Course with Mick Maslen as his Tutor, and I was on the sculpture Degree Course. On my twentieth Birthday we got together, and remained so for 20 years, and so began our life long friendship.
As young art students together, we never had any money, always lived in cold houses in the middle of no where.We made the best out of what we had, if we had land we grew veg and kept chickens, and when we had plum trees we made jam and wine. When we lived at the cottage in Redmarley, Charles painted in the old cider press , which was a lean to, but in the winter the snow drifted onto him through the roof tiles so he had to dress up in layers and come in frequently to thaw out his frozen fingers so he could paint . I worked in a tiny room upstairs with an old cat for company , and a little window which overlooked a few dwellings and fields towards Gloucester.
We were so excited when Charles won a place on the Masters Degree Course, at Royal College of Art in London. His tutor was Proff Peter De Francia, whome he greatly admired. For his interview we had driven up to London with his big oil paintings tied with ropes to the roof rack of his Dads old renault the whole car shook as the wind caught under the stretchers when anyone overtook or if he accelerated too much.
While attending the RCA Charles lived with other RCA students in a squat , coming home to the cottage at Redmarley and the views of the Malvern hills some weekends. Often bringing his friends. A lively and varied group of young painters . I fed them on pasta and home made wine , they were full of confidence and ideas, and hungry for more. They all chatted and argued about art until the early hours and then made a bed where ever they could, jammed into every corner of our little cottage.
Some years later , Charles was offered a Fellowship at Falmouth College of Art and Design, and so we headed for Cornwall with our few moth eaten possessions, and lots of paintings in a rented van. To begin with, we lived in a converted single story farm building and studio owned by Josephine Gooden , next to her Lizard farmhouse . It had for many years, been the home of her close friend Bryan Ingham who continued to visit on his old motor bike. Josephine was a kind woman, who liked the company of artists and introduced us to John Wells once when he visited her for tea .
At this time we also acquired a little rescue dog named Ruby , and she and I would go as often as we could to my rented Acme studio in the old net loft, Breageside, Porthleven . Soon Charles would join me there. But again the rooms were bitter in the winter, this time from the sea wind which blew snow through the worn gaps in the loft doors and made any floor carpets whistle as they lifted. In the summer though it was lovely , and to make money we held a summer School there and I sold paintings in the local galleries.
Eventually we had just enough money for a down payment on our first home, a little cottage in Praze an Beeble, beside the methodist Chapel . We each had a room for a studio , and taught part time at the local colleges to pay the bills.
We finally parted, but always remained close friends. Charles met and set up home with Potter Linda Styles in Falmouth. It is where he died, December 2nd 2018 .
To see the gallery of work he put together before he died, go to :-https://www.pinterest.co.uk/charliewattsart/
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
By William Stafford
Canon Nigel Marns lovely book, the ‘Cornish Celtic Way’ had a great review in the Guardian .
It highlighted one memorable quote by Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. “Love the animals, love the plants, love everything,” it urges. “If you love everything you will perceive the divine mystery in all things.”
Raise a glass to those we love who are no longer with us.
And tell those close that you love them while you can.
Wishing you my friends good health and happiness in 2019. x
Today we remember those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for us.
Few families remained untouched by the First World War . My own Grandmother lost her beloved Father, Thomas Henry Hearder Perring , of the Devonshire Regiment . They lived at the time at the Barbican Plymouth, in upstairs lodgings which remain almost unaltered, as it is now the museum.
When I visited the house with my Grandmother before she died she explained how they had lived, where her fathers easle stood, and the yard below where the local boys played football with a makeshift ball . Thomas Perring a scenic and landscape artist studied painting under Opie in Plymouth until one day he left and never returned. A stretcher bearer killed in action on the front .
This is a little painting I made of his son , my Uncle Coyte, a man I knew and loved .He served in the second world war, and did come home. He wrote poetry in quiet moments and this painting includes one of his I discovered in his small note book, long after he too had died.
We remember them.
This Papier – mache sculpture that I made in the 1980’s, (having just left art college), is coming up for sale through Chorleys Auction house Gloucester , at 10 am on May 15th 2018 . I used to sell through Rooksmoor Gallery Stroud at that time …. estimate £60 – £80 .
Lot 361: Zoe Cameron . Seaside Beauty/signed and dated to base 1981/papier-mâché, 56cm high
This small watercolour is of my old embattled cat, once a stray. Now in his dotage, he is my constant companion . As I watch him in deep slumber, warm and safe, his paws and whiskers twitch as relives his youthful adventures .
Taken from a poem about a cat by Pablo Neruda –
Sometimes it grew so much in sleep
Like a tiger’s great-grandfather,
And would leap in the darkness over
Rooftops, clouds and volcanoes.
I would like to wish my dear friends a Happy Christmas, and a healthy & peaceful New Year x . Raise your glass to all those we love that are no longer with us, for they remain in our hearts and thoughts x.
Me and my friend Mark, playing Lady Penelope and Parker on the village green in the 1960’s.
Christmas is a time we try and spend with our families. It is also a time of year I especially miss loved ones that are no longer with us .This painting made in 2009 , depicts a small group of female members of my family.
I have placed my grandmother in the centre of this picture wearing a hat, and wings to denote her passing . She is painted as a young woman before she married and went on to have 7 children . To her left is her beloved sister Dora who died in childhood . My mother is on her right , wearing a ballet dress, she has always loved dancing, especially when she was young . I am the child on the far left , wearing an Hawaiian costume that my Grandmother made for me to enter a fancy dress competition, memorable because I was chosen to give the lady Mayoress flowers , it seems I had a nice curtsey . On the ground close to my mothers ballet shoes is a heart shaped pendent , which holds the picture of my much loved little sister who now has her own daughter . We stand in front of a distant horizon , as girls or young women , before starting on our adult life journeys .
Film maker Buttz and I spent time this year, on a warm summers day at St Breaca Church , Breage , Cornwall. It’s a beautiful ancient Cornish church that houses some wonderful early Christian murals. This space holds for us all, a peace and tranquility, that for me can only be found in nature or other ancient churches.
I was sad to hear the news about Cornwall Councillor Candy Atherton . I met her many years ago when I painted a her portrait .
We met the first time at her home in 2002 , and I remember there was some excitement, as she was about to be married, and showed me her pretty wedding dress. I then began working on ideas for this painting, and felt at the time, it was important to include her engagement ring within the final portrait, to mark that happy time in her life.
Here are some of the pieces that left my studio in December 2015, destined to become Christmas gifts.
A Portrait commission – oil on wood. This triple portrait was painted onto a pine wooden box, designed to be both useful, and a reminder in years to come of the families happy times. Inside the musical angel is symbolic for one of the family.
Two painted wooden tea boxes.
Two cases designed to hold spectacles, painted with angels.
‘An angel singing to birds’. Oil and gold leaf on board.
I was sad to hear of the death of 82 year old Cynthia Payne last Sunday. She was a real character and a sweet lady with a twinkle in her eye . Some years ago I met her at one of Lord Bath’s Do’s, at a London Embassy. Before parting she gave me her card , when I turned it over it had this message on the back …. she was cheeky !
The ancient Church of St Breaca , found in the Cornish village of Breage , is known for its beautiful medieval murals one of which shows St Christopher carrying Christ as a child on his shoulder .
Last year I made a painting for Godolphin Chapel in St Breaca Church , it depicts Mary with Christ as a child. My hope was that by hanging the painting on the wall, originally to the left of the altar , that the image of Mary and Christ might in some way welcome visitors that enter , particularly as the space is also known as a healing chapel. For that reason I did not paint Christ as a babe in arms, as to me, this is a demanding time for any mother, rather, I chose to present them more informally, Christ as a small child, wrapping himself in his his Mothers cloak, compositionally freeing Mary , to ‘connect’ with the visitor .
On 1st Nov 2015 , we attended a Sunday Service taken by Father Peter, a small part of the ceremony marked the refurbishment of The Godolphin Chapel ,( which is connected historically with the Godolphin family and Godolphin House, now a part of the National Trust) . The little Chapel now has new chairs, kneelers , an oak altar rail and wooden chest made by Trefor Bowen and I am pleased to be able to say that ‘The St Breaca Madonna, now hangs permanently in the Chapel, to the right of the altar by request. It seems the congregation wanted to be able to see her in the chapel from their seats , while attending service in the main church .
Last weekend we had to take down Ivy that had grown on the house walls. It was causing real damage . The problem was that our much loved resident sparrows had made it their home, so, after a sleepless night, listening to the rain lashing outside and imagining them clinging on to bare twigs in the dark and rain I made them these. I cut up old boxes , reassembled them, painted them up and today they have been put up in the porch ready for new occupants.
Cathy came to visit me at the studio last week and took a new selection of my paintings back to The Square Gallery. So if you feel like getting some fresh air, blow away those cobwebs, watch the boats bobbing on the sea and pop into the Gallery. You will receive a friendly welcome and get to see lots of inspiring work by Cornish based artists.
As the BBC are presenting ‘All Change at Longleat’ this evening at 9pm. I thought I would look out the study I have, which I made of the Marquess of Bath in 2002. It was painted at Longleat, in his private apartments.
He was a very sweet host , happy for me to check out his wardrobe for colours and fabrics I thought best suited him , but more than that, he was a very patient sitter and interesting to chat with as I worked away mixing colours , reworking parts of the painting as I tried to catch his sparkle and a likeness.
Back in my studio in Cornwall , I used the painting as reference for the large oil portrait I made of him with Boudicca his dog . It now hangs at Longleat House.
Having heard on the news this morning that an Abattoir in Yorkshire was being investigated for cruelty to sheep and lambs, (kicking them in the head) . I thought I would post details from two larger paintings , that honour these beautiful animals.
1.‘Cornish sheep farm’ . I painted this in January, where the lambs and sheep are happy, well cared for and warm .
2.‘St Breaca Madonna and Child’ detail, a painting made for the Godolphin Chapel Breage.
The image of the lamb is a symbol that dates back to early Christian Art , eg The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, a sacrificial offering, John the Baptist, and many more references .
A small collection of my paintings are available from Haluna Gallery.
Last week a client and I picked up a commission that had been framed by Eat Art. Mark and his team did a super job, on this frame he used walnut and gold leaf, the finish is beautiful. It is always interesting deciding how best to frame a piece of work, on this occasion the client was a designer & maker, so between the three of us we had plenty of ideas to throw into the pot .
As the weather was so pleasant this summer, I decided to spend some time painting the work for Breage Church in the garden, it was lovely and the paint dried quickly, a bit of a luxury.
Recently working in the shed , with the door ajar I could hear our flock of resident sparrows arguing in the bushes as I prepared and primed boards ready for my next body of work.
These photographs record the chapel as it was on Saturday 30th August 2014, decorated with paintings and flowers. The painting Madonna and Child will remain on site .
Thanks to everyone who helped, came along and took part on Saturday, it was a busy and very enjoyable day, and importantly, raised funds for the church.
The ‘St Brecea Madonna & Child’ is currently only on view during services because of concerns about security , however if you would like to view the painting , you are welcome to contact the churchwarden Trefor Bowen to arrange a time . Telephone – 01326 562 521
Photographs above. Ian Kingsnorth Photography.
Below photographs by Trefor Bowen
One of the most striking pieces depicts the war in Syria and represents conflict in the world. It is accompanied by flower paintings on either side, which act as symbolic memorials to the suffering and loss of war.
Zoe, who lives near Helston, said: “This painting was inspired by a news report I heard in June about a woman living in Syria. She told a reporter that in the morning she was making breakfast for her family when she heard a helicopter flying over her house. They dropped a bomb which destroyed her home and shattered he husband’s leg. This troubled me, and I decided to make a painting about it.
“So when this opportunity to put work together in the chapel at St Breaca Church came along, it seemed appropriate to show the painting there for the first time.”
Several of the pieces going on display in Breage this Saturday feature angels, including two small paintings about St Ives.
“Canvases of Adam and Eve will be fitted into the chapel’s oak entrance doors, the subject intended to remind visitors of the biblical creation story,” said Zoe. “A large Madonna and Child will hang to the left of the altar, in which Jesus is depicted standing as a small child, almost absent-mindedly wrapping himself in his mother’s red cloak. And under their feet, the decoration echoes the worn pattern found on the Godolphin Chapel wall.”
Zoe has worked as a lecturer at Falmouth College of Art and Design, Cornwall College, Plymouth University and Exeter University, and led workshops at Tate St Ives. She has held solo shows in Bristol, St Ives, Saltram, Truro, Topsham and Penzance, as well as contributing to numerous mixed exhibitions.
Describing herself as “a believer”, she added: “Although this may be something of a generalisation, I do believe that most Christians are trying to make the world a better place.”
Paintings by Zoe Cameron can be seen at St Breaca Church in Breage, near Helston, on Saturday, August 30, from 11am to 3pm. Admission is free and much of the work on display will be for sale as part of the village’s fundraising event.
Read more: http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/s-Religious-paintings-reflect-traditional-modern/story-22820677-detail/story.html#ixzz3Bs2uelAC
Read more at http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/s-Religious-paintings-reflect-traditional-modern/story-22820677-detail/story.html#LRQTiMv8T56FdRHF.99http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/s-Religious-paintings-reflect-traditional-modern/story-22820677-detail/story.html
A range of work will be on display. Angels are present in many of the pieces, and in the two small paintings about St Ives on the window ledge. Canvas’s of Adam with a serpent, and Eve are fitted into the chapels oak entrance doors , the subject intended to remind us of where it all began in the Bible. A large Madonna and Child hangs to the left of the Alter ,in which Jesus is depicted standing as a small child, almost absent-mindedly wrapping himself in his mothers red cloak. Under their feet, the decoration echo’s the worn pattern found on the Godolphin Chapel wall .
Recently while watching the news , a woman in Syria was interviewed, she said that in the morning she was making breakfast for her husband and children when she heard the sound of a bomb falling , the next thing she knew her house had been destroyed and her husband had lost a leg . Troubled by her story, I made a painting.
A friend of mine is going to Mount Athos, The Holy Mountain . There are twenty monasteries in close proximity and no women for over 1,000 years. I found out more on this YouTube film.
An interview with Donna Birrell, BBC Radio Cornwall on Sunday morning, 20th April 2014. Recorded at Truro Cathedral , talking about the paintings, The Stations of The Cross.
The interview, including her conversation with Canon Philip can be found at 02:37:12 during the program. http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/p01x3dgg/
Sorry no longer available on BBC.
A kind friend at Truro Cathedral sent me this article to read because it reminded her of my painting of Veronica .
It is a dilema as a figurative painter , what to put in and what to leave out, especially because it seems, as the article suggests, almost human nature to want to see as much as we can of God, through Jesus face as a man, even as means of contemplation. It is I suppose, something we learn as babies , the face is the point of focus where we read each others feelings and thoughts . Bach’s chorals in avoiding visual imagery in favour of music , words and imagination perhaps offer a more uncluttered route to meditation, it seems close in many ways to abstract painting , a bit like using colour, shape and our imagination.
This small, simple piece of work in the form of a travel diptych, interprets the stories of St Christopher crossing the water with Jesus (as a baby) on his shoulders, and to the right, Christ on The Cross.
The oil paintings leave the studio next week, destined for their new owner.
The ten site specific oil paintings of ‘Stations of The Cross’ , will be on view this year in All Saints Chapel, Truro Cathedral , Cornwall from 3rd April until 21st of April 2014.
The booklet that accompanies the work, combining prayer and ancient poems, will also be available during this time.