Under a pile of paper and other items I found a Sunday Times magazine dated February 9 2020. On the cover is another of my favourite artists, David Hockney. I'd been saving it to read a later date and have squirrelled it up to my studio. It's a great article that covers a lot of ground and mentions his new Exhibition "Drawing from Life" that was opening at the National Portrait Gallery on 27 February. This brought on a huge desire to take trip up to London and see some Exhibitions etc. By now I'd have been up there at least three times. I have been reminiscing (in my head) of trips to London this time last year when I'd visit the Tate and the Garden Museum and then Sam and I would eat out together in the evening after he finished work. By and large I've been ok with having to stay put, but I have to admit I'm ready for a change of scene now.
One place I've been wanting to visit for years is Little Sparta, the garden of the late Ian Hamilton Finlay at Stonypath in the peatland hills just south of Edinburgh. It's only open during July and August each year. Little Sparta is really a work of art where Finlay and his wife built, dug and planted to create this unique place. It was Finlay's idea that the garden was a sanctuary of intellectual discipline and beauty. The garden is filled with statues, plaques, poems written in pieces of stone. The American poet Gertrude Stein's dictum "a rose is a rose is a rose" appears in several places in the garden. I first noticed Finlay's work around 2005 on an annual visit to Cornwall. Each October half term we'd take our boys to Cornwall, often staying in Falmouth. These trips hold some of my fondest memories and would always include a visit to Tate St Ives and Barbara Hepworth's house and garden. Tate St Ives sold original prints, in a small edition, of well known artists such as Sandra Blow, Antony Gormley and there were two by Ian Hamilton Finlay. They depict many roses and lettering in an attractive long format. We now have these rose screen print, pictures in our house. They're quite unusual and pleasing at the same time.
The painting today is the beginning of a landscape series I'm working on. This has come from looking at the same view each day - out to sea.