Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Bluebell Painting

I'm working on some larger pieces at the moment, one of them being a painting of bluebells in the woods at Dalkeith country park.

Here's one in progress.  Apologies for the shaky phone pic!!


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Her Majesty Finally Arrives

Looking in distinctly better shape than last year, and bang on time, here's my beautiful Queen of the Night tulip, brought as a bulb from Amsterdam.

Hullo again! 


You can have a look at her regal progress from 2012 onwards HERE.

PAI Award

And here it is...


Friday, 13 May 2016

Paisley Art Institute Prizewinner!

Yes, not only have I had two paintings accepted for the Paisley Art Institute this year, but it turns out that I have won a prize!  (Apparently, they were trying to get in touch with me to tell me this for the last 10 days, but I was of course off touring with a rock band....)

I've won the Glasgow Art Club Prize.  This consists of a one year membership, plus a solo show in the famous Art Club itself, with its Charles Rennie Mackintosh friezes.

I'm not sure which painting has one the prize, but it's either this one...


Eastbourne Pier (Mixed media, 30 x 24)

or this one...


St Pauls with Cranes (Oil and mixed media, 36 x 36)

I'll find out tonight at the prize-giving!!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Yes at the Royal Albert Hall, 10th May 2016

It's always a fine day when you are going to see Yes that evening at the Royal Albert Hall.

Here's Jon, looking a little tired, in a kaftan which unfortunately more than adequately covered his midriff.

  Jon Davison, singing 'Machine Messiah'.  Jon gives a much more nuanced, fluid and emotional delivery to Drama than the brittle, staccato, punky superficiality of Trevor Horn's original 1980 recording, which, to be fair,  very much reflected the time in which it was made.  
Thirty six years later, Jon is only reinterpreting the album by giving it a warmth that it previously lacked (no mean feat faced with lyrics that are a pile of twaddle), but the rebooted tempo that Billy Sherwood brings has cranked up the power and urgency of the piece. Not only does this bring Drama to the notice of a new generation of listeners, but enables old fans to finally make peace with an album that was yanked off the turntable years ago and thrown away into a corner in disgust.

Steve Howe.  You'll have to forgive the blurry photos of Steve - they're from the sixth row Billy's side, with my little Olympus camera.


Billy Sherwood chose to wear tails, in a change from the black draped coat he had been wearing for the previous 9 dates.  

(The coat had suffered a wardrobe malfunction during a swift bass change in Birmingham, meaning that a large portion of the Sherwood midriff was on mesmerising display right in front of me, including, it has to be said,  Mr Sherwood's billy button.)


Having seen the first shows with Billy last year in America, he is now much, much more relaxed.  Then, he obviously had to tread an extremely fine line with regards to Chris's legacy, and he did a wonderful job under the difficult circumstances and expectations of the fans.  Even in Glasgow, the first date of the tour here, he cried after The Fish because of the pressure and the overwhelming, positive reaction of the crowd.

 However now he is playing as part of a group of musicians who are clearly enjoying themselves, and who, for the first time in years, have picked up the tempo and are really rocking. I wasn't looking forward to Drama ten times on the tour, but this line up have given it substance, emotion, and a rip-roaring delivery.

   Here's a change of outfit too for always-too-low-in-the-mix Geoff as well, but he kept the silver sparkly scarf. The whole ensemble was a much better sartorial choice for the low-crotched one than the creased turquoise number he'd been wearing for the previous 9 shows.

Geoff came out from behind his keyboards to read a special introduction to his fellow Buggle, Trevor Horn, who was to be guest singer on Tempus Fugit.

Geoff isn't a natural orator, so it was rather sweet that he had his notes with him.


Hear Geoff's announcement and the Royal Albert Hall Tempus Fugit HERE.

Yikes.  It's Trevor.  Buggles glasses alert.

I 
"It's been 36 years, maybe some of you have forgiven me by now", Mr Horn had said at the Oxford show the previous night, thus addressing all those still scarred from experiencing his 1980 Drama tour, when his voice had cracked, and the universe as we knew it was rent asunder.

"Screeeeeeeeeeeeeech!!!" 

Jon hung about, kept his head down, and shook a tambourine at the back of the stage. 

Fortunate that he did.  For Mr Horn does not have the range to reach the notes at the end of the song, and Jon had to step in and help him out.

Trevor.  We remember the Glasgow Apollo in December 1980.  And we do not forgive. 

They played a beautiful, mellifluous version of Time and a Word, sung as a tribute to Peter Banks.  The album artwork is in the background.

Billy was cranked up far too loud, but he was enjoying himself hugely.

Incidentally, Roger Dean, who designed the Yes logo, was in the audience in Brighton on Saturday. 

The second half of the set was the whole of Fragile, the 1971 album more suited to Jon's emotive voice.  Because of the one-off support from Moon Safari, the Albert Hall gig had Yes playing Drama and then Fragile with no interval between.   

There had been a number of car crashes in Sheffield a few days earlier, not only Five Per Cent for Nothing (where Jon doesn't sing, so he had time to do a little wormy dance behind Alan's drum riser), but also a truly jaw-droppingly catastrophic We Have Heaven.  However, all went well at the Royal Albert Hall, thanks to a super-strict, eagle-eyed Steve, The Man in Charge

Lovely, lovely, under-rated Geoff, the guy who just gets on with it.

Billy Sherwood, enjoying himself perhaps just a little too much. He's a wonderful guy, interacting with the crowd, but as a result he does just tend to lose that little bit of focus (much to Steve's frustration).

 They also played, for the first time on the tour, Soon.  It was quite a moment, until it all started to fall apart in an under-rehearsed way at the end.

Twaaaaaaaaaaaaang!!!!!!!

And then it was all done.  The last note was played.  The lights came back on.  The UK tour was over.  

Back out of the rabbit hole again, until next time. 

Hey hey hey.

See my other photos of some of the gigs on the tour here - 
 Brighton
Birmingham
Liverpool

Yes at the Brighton Centre, 7th May 2016


Chris Squire's bass centre stage as 'Onward' is played.  It's an emotional tribute which opens the show.

Jon Davison, singing 'Machine Messiah'.  Jon gives a much more nuanced, fluid and emotional delivery to Drama than the brittle, staccato, punky superficiality of Trevor Horn's original 1980 recording, which, to be fair,  very much reflected the time in which it was made.  

Thirty six years later, Jon is only reinterpreting the album by giving it a warmth that it previously lacked (no mean feat faced with lyrics that are a pile of twaddle), but the rebooted tempo that Billy Sherwood brings has cranked up the power and urgency of the piece. Not only does this bring Drama to the notice of a new generation of listeners, but enables old fans to finally make peace with an album that was yanked off the turntable years ago and thrown away into a corner in disgust.

Geoff Downes, playing his own music at last.

Billy Sherwood, relaxing into the role and really enjoying himself.

The rarely spotted Alan White, who's upped the tempo on this tour.  Hold on, Alan!!


Steve Howe, man in charge.

Steve, possibly a little behind, possibly just over-twiddling a bit.

Big hands.

 Twaaaaaang!!!!!! 


I again had a photo pass for this show, and the set up of the stage meant I was able to move around and take a better variety of shots.  All of these are taken with a teeny-weeny Olympus SZ-31MR.