For this assignment it is necessary to develop a series of five pictures. We can choose the subject and method of our choice and for me the choice is simple, it will be about making a connection with life.

It is not about imagining something new, but rather looking beyond what we already experience of life, the relationships we have and listening to life, starting with the ones that feel most honest to us, less trying to agree with us just to please us, but honest and true, to life. In a world that seems to be designed to work on formulas it is difficult to find truths that are not distorted, but that is what I try to look for and that is what my paintings are about. They speak, if they speak at all, in the language of my own experience, but they are not about me.

Remembering that life is in everyone and everything makes it a challenge to know what to decide; life demands and deserves our respect and I feel we are not equipped to make decisions based on our own needs and wants. I think only life can have the overall picture and so trying to connect with it is of vital importance. We can all do it, we can all just talk to life and listen to how it talks to us, which is likely to start with whatever grabs our attention most, and can develop into a stronger connection.

Hopefully that is what my series of pictures will be about.


Assignment 5 (1a)

Study in pencil_ 28 June 2015_

12 x 8 cm

Assignment 5 (1)

                       Assignment 5 (1) _ 28 June 2015

                                                               56 x 38 cm


Assignment 5 (2a)


Study in pencil_ 3 July 2015

8 x 12 cm


Assignment 5 (2)

                                                    Assignment 5 (2) _ 3 July 2015

                                                                                        38 x 56 cm





Writing on this blog makes me think of “One Voice” by Barry Manilow. I like the lyrics but I would change one word in it, I would sing “and then this One Voice” rather than ‘that one voice’. It is a trap I fall into easily, my pride would like me to feel that I am one voice, but it is not so, no no. I am the second or the millionth, as the case may be, but definitely not the One Voice.

Assignment 5 (3a)


Study in pencil_ 8 July 2015

12 x 8 cm

Assignment 5 (3)

                            Assignment 5 (3)_ 8 July 2015

                                                              56 x 38 cm



Assignment 5 (4a)

Study in pencil_ 14 July 2015

8 x 12 cm

Assignment 5 (4)


                                             Assignment 5 (4)_ 14 July 2015

                                                                                  38 x 57 cm






Showing what a connection with life is in a painting has been a bit of a struggle, mostly because I don’t want the image to be limited to my personal experience, but that is almost impossible to do. It is difficult for me to portray in detail what that connection might be for others as it is totally individual for each.

For me life is both very clear and confusing. It can be found in the glance of a bird, the movement of a leaf, the shape of a cloud or the word of a person, in fact any number of things, including music. But it could be anything at all, the rust on a wheel, a sequence of numbers, anything; anything that makes sense to the individual that notices it.

I have been trying to forge a stronger connection and that is where the confusion enters. It is like learning a new language, though it does not have to be just words. My greatest difficulty is in letting go my autonomy, self-determination or independence. I have always treasured those and I find it difficult to let someone else or something else guide me, especially when I am not always sure I have understood the instructions correctly. I feel however that it is wiser to make a mistake whilst trying to get it right than try to fabricate an artificial reality of my own design. Best of course not to get it wrong.

The first step is to ask the question, though not a request, that is bullying life. That is also hard not to do. Then to listen and gradually to hear. The answers are not always clear. Practice makes perfect, eventually, I hope.

Assignment 5 (5a)


Study in pencil_ 20 July 2015

12 x 8 cm

Assignment 5 (5)

Assignment 5 (5)_ 20 July 2015

56 x 38 cm



These paintings were painted in collaboration with life. That is probably true to some degree of everything that I have ever done, or that is done in the world, but these paintings were a more deliberate collaboration than I am used to and this was a new challenge for me.

Life chose the images, the colours and the brushes used. It was with me every step of the way. They reflect my experiences of wonder and awe with life. I found the process infinitely thrilling and joyful, but also frustrating. I would have liked the paintings to be abstract, but that did not happen. Maybe next time.

This assignment marks the end of this part of the course. I feel that I have come a long way as a watercolour painter and look forward to the next part.

Thank you for being with me.


edit 13/08/15: 

This assignment was not about 911, for the record. The scenes are in a park, where there is also some destruction going on; entire communities do get devastated because a particular tree gets in the way of a particular view, for instance, but I had no desire to depict destruction. The people who carried out 911 also claimed to act under the guidance of a higher power. They called it a different name. It occurred to me that some might be offended by my use of the word Life. I hope it does not offend. I chose it because, though some may still be able to make dubious claims to their Life being better than someone else’s, at least we all agree that all living things have Life. It does not depend on shape, form, colour, provenance, destination or route taken. If we exist, we have Life, simple.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Life really minds what you call it (and it seems to agree) as long as you respect all Life.