#442 theoldmortuary ponders

Procrastination gets a bad rap. I absolutely am a procrastinator. I have always felt that procrastination, done well, is a force for good. In the exact opposite of current psychological thinking I believe procrastination is a force for good in my life.

Yesterday I definitely procrastinated, deliberately and mindfully. There was a small list of things that needed to be achieved but I delayed starting them. Then a whole new task arrived which required action and the use of old skills. The task was completed in a couple of hours. That squeezed the required tasks into a more compact time-frame, which made me sharper and more effective. Art got done, the washing was done, the dogs were walked and I felt like I had achieved.

There was also a bonus for someone. My delayed dog walk meant that they stopped a little earlier to poo. In a pile of leaves they have never bothered with before. As I rummaged around collecting their morning offerings I found a small gold ring. Someone else’s lucky day.

Positive procrastination, positively powerful!

#403 theoldmortuary ponders

It is a misty murky weekend in the Tamar Valley. I’ve been overwhelmed with a virus and have had to watch on as my fellow bobbers took to the water on the one day that our swimming zone was not treacherous.

But out of the gloom came a red dot indicating that I had sold a piece of art at the exhibition where I caught the virus earlier in the week.

I am super pleased as it was one of my experimental pieces with alcohol inks. Alcohol is also involved in other art projects this week. My ongoing urge to draw a Dublin back street complete with inebriated man having a pee. He is not so much the focal point, more a piece of street furniture as nearly every historic back street had at least one man relieving himself in a pool of light. I will spare you the Google images that I will be drawing from but there are days when I am glad my artistic researches are no longer tracked by the NHS IT department. There is a funny old system of on- call where you are only paid for emergency work that you actually do. In theory it can be done from home but often it was just easier to stay on site and do self interest work/ study in between cases. Mostly I did work related study but sometimes when I was doing arts courses. I would knock out a Fine Art essay. Me and IT got particularly close when I was researching ‘ Finding the Erotic in Nature’ . The nature of work in the NHS means that almost nothing except actual porn gets stopped by their filters. But fleshy looking plants really set the IT logarithms on me. Thankfully I had a good relationship with IT mostly because some of my colleagues could not keep their fingers out of the Porn Sweetie Jar that is the Internet, even at work. So they alerted me when my colleagues had transgressed. The quiet ones are the worst!

This plant, which makes beautiful tea was a very awkward search.

#394 theoldmortuary ponders

A busy day in the beautiful Tamar Valley helping to set up an art exhibition has given me no free time for a blog today. There have been some amazing pieces of art delivered, and I will share some stories from there next week once the curators have worked their magic.But one picture caught my eye today. When I moan on about greige weather I should remember that not all greige is dull and tedious. Sometimes it is as beautiful as this painting.

Late evening Dartmoor by Paul Kemp

#393 theoldmortuary ponders

Art Exhibitions don’t always play to my strengths. Face Value which starts on Friday, naturally calls to Portrait painters. I love painting portraits, I just don’t do it very often. This is the only true portrait I have submitted. ‘Fred’ is a fondly remembered school friend. He is a singer and can sometimes be found performing in Neds in The Hague.


For the rest of my submissions I took myself off in a wordy direction. The border lands between Devon and Cornwall are home to some of Britains few remaining areas of Atlantic Rain Forest, quite a stretch of ‘Face Value’ but I painted a portrait of the forest floor in October.

The third submission is faceless and undervalued. The Tamer Valley is famed for its important role in the Industrial Revolution. Mines from this area exported minerals all over the world. The mines and the miners who worked them are celebrated all over the Tamar Valley.

Rarely mentioned are the women who worked in the Mining Industry. Bal Maidens we’re consider to be low skilled, manual workers. In this painting I have designed a commemorative Stained glass Window to honour the women who played an essential role and rarely get a mention.

And finally a tongue-in-cheek image. Landscape with Coffee stains. Mugs of tea and coffee are a regular sight in the studio. There is nothing more irritating than putting a mug down on expensive paper. Today I just thought a bit laterally, saving face and getting good value.

#367 theoldmortuary ponders.

©Sue Rigg Instagram @sdrigg38

Our days in Wimbledon are a blur of activity and stasis. Our adult timetable rescheduled to the needs and desires of a two-week-old baby. Her timetable runs on four hourly shifts, adult activity continues on our 24-hour night and day schedule. The two do not run in an entirely compatible format and the one that shifts is the adult one. Slowly we are gaining more adult achievements. Walks to coffee shops, supermarket visits, a farmers market and yesterday an art exhibition. Charging my phone is one of the adult activities that sometimes gets out of synchronisation, so my apologies to Worple Art Group, I didn’t capture every artist in my hour long visit of a fabulous exhibition.

©Jeanette Carr

There was a good crowd of visitors when we called in and some of the artists were there to talk with. The great thing about visiting a group art exhibition that is completely unknown is the anticipation of what you might see. Not all Art groups are capable of putting on a great show but the Worple Group were showing some really interesting work. The group consists of 20 artists of which 14 were exhibiting.

©Kevin Williams

Kevin was the artist I spent most time talking to, although being an artist in Wimbledon, just 6 miles from central London is a very different proposition from the rural/ urban mix of the Tamar Valley where I live and create art. He expressed the same changes and challenges of being an artist in the Covid and post-Covid world as The Tamar Valley Artists have experienced in Devon and Cornwall.

From being a plein-aire artist he was forced to paint indoors. His subject matter became what he dug out of his garden.

©Kevin Williams
©Kevin Williams

We are a very small family, our other portion of family live in Hong Kong so the painting below caught my eye too.

©Mark F Lodge

Far too soon the needs of our small family member and my lack of a camera battery drove us out into the streets of Wimbledon but I will be sure to be back in time for the next exhibition.

#353 theoldmortuary ponders

Despite declaring the arrival of autumn yesterday.

#352 theoldmortuary ponders

Autumn put in a very summery face, today, for my visit to Cotehele, despite being in the midst of Drawn to Cotehele, two more exhibitions are in the pipeline. We sat in the bright autumn sunshine planning a winter Portrait exhibition. It was our inaugural meeting, time for the curatorial team to get together and set a schedule. As if on cue, as we were discussing 3d art, we were visited by a chap called Alfie.

A very fine example of flesh and blood 3D.

Cotehele was looking gorgeous.

But you can see from peoples clothes that the seasons are on the turn. Spring and autumn sunshine is sharper than baking hot summer days. The clarity of light gave me one of my favourite ‘ it’s complicated’ shots.

The exhibition we are currently running at Cotehele was bustling with visitors and the red dots, signifying sold work, are stacking up. The art is constantly restocked so the exhibition looks fresh every time I visit.

©Jane Athron

This one by Jane Athron sold really early on but has been replaced by another vivid picture from Jane’s studio. Another Jayne, Jayne Ashenbury is also selling well.

It is such a pleasure to have Cotehele as a base for Drawn to the Valley for a month, I am not sure when I last looked forward to meetings quite so much. Maybe I wouldn’t feel the same if it was raining but I am really excited to see their pumpkin harvest display towards the end of our time with them.

Yesterday was just so lush, bright sunshine and glorious pools of shadow to give contrast and relaxation after the stimulation of early autumn colour.

Zoom meetings were never like this.

#348 theoldmortuary ponders.

Yesterday was a surprise. Dawn was mighty fine and then I went to work at a gallery/exhibition that had been running for nearly a week with no publicity. I definitely anticipated a slow start but was pleased to see that there had been a few sales.

Red dots at a gallery signify that a piece of art is sold. The work is either taken away at the time or left in the gallery until the exhibition ends. A mix of both greeted me when I arrived and soon after we had a steady stream of visitors through our, quite remarkable, door.

There must have been something in the air because both myself and the other steward each sold a piece of our own work within an hour of being there.

Obviously, we couldn’t do the traditional artist happy dance of backflips and somersaults because we were in such an old and precious building. But the sentiment was the same without risk to life or limbs. I have a feeling this is going to be a memorable exhibition.

My plan for when the exhibition was quiet was to take loads of photographs to share our beautiful location on this blog. Now that has to be a job for another day. If you live anywhere near the Tamar Valley a trip to Cotehele in the autumn is always a colourful experience. Our art group has just added a little bit of extra interest.


#347 theoldmortuary ponders

©Mark Fielding

There is an irony to this blog. For the last ten days I have had loads of time to do Social Media for an art exhibition at Cotehele, a National Trust Property on the Cornish side of the Tamar Valley. The National Trust asked us not to do any Social Media during the mourning period for HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Today I am actually at Cotehele and free to do Social Media and I have two problems. Firstly we are really busy and secondly there is hardly any signal. This blog will be published by me visiting the bowling green, hopefully, or perhaps by waving my arms at the Dovecote. Another touch of British eccentricity if the last ten days have not seen enough of it.

©Peter Ursem

Working at a National Trust property is always a treat, I am sitting in a room that was a bed chamber in 1485 or possibly earlier as that date is the first of the recorded redevelopments.

©Gilly Spottiswood

All of the work here is inspired by either Cotehele House or the Tamar Valley. The website of Cotehele is below.


For now my lovely readers I am off to wave my phone on the bowling green. Failing that, who could begin to guess, this is a medieval house there could be somewhere even more delightful to get a signal.

©Michael Jenkins

#331 theoldmortuary ponders


Back to work. I’m showing work in a month long National Trust exhibition soon. Three paintings of four were completed before the holiday, although not yet framed. This one took shape today, it is not an accurate landscape but is a reflection of the landscape around the National Trust property. The area on the borderlands between Devon and Cornwall. For the most part views are obscured by Cornish/ Devon hedges . Tall hand built dry stone walls that are topped by0p small trees and other hedging plants. But every now and then the walls dip and the landscape falls away towards the sea or the River Tamar. Then drivers or horse riders get a peep of distant views, on this occasion at sunset.

#302 theoldmortuary ponders

Hang out the flags. The Print exhibition I have been curating and managing, with others, has come to a close. With its closure comes the end of the most delightful commute of my life. Just a ten minute walk from home, today I took my car and parked even closer, under this bunting which was caught in this tree during the Queens Jubilee during a windy spell.

At 8 am the gallery was very peaceful before the take down team arrived.

Despite our best efforts of restocking after prints were sold some gaps have appeared but we only started to rum out during this last, very busy, weekend.

Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard was a new venue for our art group. It has been a completely positive experience for the curating team and the Printers who took part. Our work has been seen by many of our regular visitors but we have also had a completely new audience and many international visitors. The next event for Drawn to the Valley is Open Studios.

The brochures for this Tamar Valley wide event were leaving Ocean Studios like the proverbial ‘hot cakes’

On a personal note I did sell enough prints to recoup my costs but I also bought quite a few prints so there may be a financial imbalance, but my house walls will thank me, I’m sure. And at last the purple note book and my emails do not need to be by my side or checked regularly.