Wednesday, 23 October 2013



Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson, 1 June 1926 – 5 August 1962)

Marilyn Montroe was found dead in the bedroom of her Brentwood home by her psychiatrist Ralph Greenson after he was called by housekeeper Eunice Murray on 5 August 1962. She was thirty-six years old at the time of her death which was attribut to "acute barbiturate poisoning" by Dr. Thomas Noguchi of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office and listed as "probable suicide." Many questions remain unanswered regarding the circumstances and timeline of her death after the body was found. Many elements of this timeline have been brought into question, most notably the discrepancies in exactly what time the actress either made or received her last phone call and at what time during the late night and early morning hours of August 4th and 5th her body was discovered. Eunice Murray volunteered that on the night of the actress' death: "When the doctor arrived, she was not dead." Eunice Murray died in 1994 without revealing further details.
Many detectives — including Jack Clemmons, the first Los Angeles Police Department officer to arrive at the death scene — believe that she was murdered. The death of the actress has since become one of the most debated conspiracy theories of all time. 
I wanted my portrait(s) to reflect her tortured existence, controversial death, undead aspects and intimations of an altogether less glamorous life than is normally asssumed looking only at the surface. An old friend and established artist in her own right, Laura Harold, commented on first seeing my treatment of Marilyn Monroe:
"Visceral. Looks like you've peeled her skin off."
I sought to expose something less obvious, something certainly more visceral, which pealed away the layers of superficiality and illusion. Glamour today is usually taken to mean the quality of allurement or attracting by a combination of charm and good looks, but it used  to mean magic, enchantment, spell and witchery. Marilyn cast a spell over her adoring public, but it should be recognised she was also under one herself.

Anthony Hill, another old friend from way back who greatly appreciates art, had this to say:

"You have really got it with Marilyn. It has everything, all the pain and the tragedy is there, and so much emotion. A stunning work of art. It will be difficult for me to watch 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' without seeing that harrowing face."


Sunday, 13 October 2013



At the beginning of modern jazz, as it became defined by bebop, was Bird. The first two records I bought as a youngster were by Bird (alto saxophonist Charlie Parker). Those two EPs (extended playing vinyl discs) were followed by a 78rpm of See You Later Alligator by Bill Haley and his Comets with Paper Boy on the B side. Sadly, the brittle 78rpm did not survive, but I still have the treasured EPs which I continue to play.

My portrait of Bird (whom fellow jazz aficionados of the period within my circle also referred to as Chas P), is inspired by the first saxophonist to impress me. Others followed, but Bird remains indelibly stamped on my musical memory and remains as potent as ever. If you love the music, it is impossible not to love Bird.

My first horn was an alto which I played briefly with a band around the age of fourteen before quickly moving onto a tenor saxophone which I felt more comfortable with for the next half a century. Then I evolved into a baritone and bass saxophone player, but I still play alto and, of course, tenor saxophone as required.

I kept the portrait simple and sincere, concentrating on those elements personal to myself and the period. Above is my first impression and below is a more worked version which I personally prefer out of the two:

Bird is now on permanent display in the small gallery which exhibits pictures relative to the period, expressionistic sensibility and mood:


Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my lifes esteems;
Even the dearest that I love best
Are strange — nay, rather, stranger than the rest.