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Gozo Trilogy

Harking back to my earlier triptych joke, I finally got round to posting photos of the three paintings in question:

Clip-clop, Bang!
Clip-clop, Bang!

Clip-clop … bang!” was inspired by a small section of wall at Xhajma racetrack, Gozo.  It was created from Acrylic paint, a finger plaster, ink, dust, blood, sweat and plastic primer on canvas, measuring 20*20cm.  The initial name for the work bounced between “They shoot horses, don’t they?” and “Blood on the tracks” – neither of which was fair to the race track, owners, horses, or spectators.  Part of a joke that I told some friends whilst on holiday in Cornwall in December 2000 came to mind and the title was thus decided.



One Star In Sight
One Star In Sight

One Star In Sight” is a brief exploration of what it means to me to be living in Ghajnsielem, Gozo.  The main motif is the village’s flag which represents the sun, sea, and the spring (or Ghajn) after which the place is named.  Despite the apparent order in the original, the reality is a little more wobbly, but it – and the village – all hangs and sticks together through everything.  The unicursal star ties in with the title, shared by a poem that ends: “Behold within, and not above,  One star in sight!”  The background is symbolic of the darkness, chaos, and inchoate thoughts and feelings that bedevilled me before coming to Gozo.  They are ever-present but usually kept in check.  All this in acrylic paint and plastic primer on canvas, measuring 20*20cm!


Previously” was inspired by the earliest art – especially given the preponderance of rock on these islands –  and the retrospective column in the Times of Malta.  I imagined the headline: “10,000 years ago in the news – first cave painting unveiled to a mixed reaction.”  This piece is formed from acrylic paint, plastic primer, and papier-mache (Times of Malta and PVA) on canvas, measuring 20*20cm and weighing about a kilo, so not cheap to post.




These paintings are for sale at €80.00 each, or €200.00 for the set.  Please contact me if you are interested.  Postage & packing will be added to the total price, so do check first; I will post these almost anywhere at cost price.

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When is a triptych not a triptych?

When it’s unhinged!

First joke of the reanimated blog. Apologies for the awful pun, but – trust me! – it is relevant.

I had just completed the third of a set of paintings focussed on ‘life in Gozo’ under the notional title of ‘The Gozo Triptych’ when it struck me that joining them together, physically as well as thematically, was going to pose some problems.

  • The canvasses are all the same size, which does not allow for the typical folding arrangement.
  • The colour schemes of the three works are completely different from one another.
  • The topics are similarly diverse, the only commonality being their inspiration, namely life in Gozo.

What had brought about these glaringly obvious oversights?  Probably not focussing on the project as a whole; instead fixating on an idea and attempting to tack as much vaguely-related ephemera on as was humanly possible.  That has historically  how I have set about most of my paintings – why settle for one thing when you can have them all? Alas, that way lies if not madness then, at least, confusion – even if everything is ultimately interconnected.  The aim should have been to abstract one concept per work, no matter how tempting it might be otherwise.

Thinking about these potential problems, until just now, I was the only person to know of this fell trichotomy or even trilemma.  If the Ancient Greeks didn’t have words for such difficulties, they certainly do now.  Being a resourceful bunch, I am sure that they might have asked, ‘What Would Plato Do?’

‘There exists in theory the perfect or ideal triptych,’ he might reply, ‘but this isn’t it.’

‘How about a trilogy?’ I would counter.

‘Well, I’m game if you are, dear boy … Go for it!’

So, herewith, or soon after, ‘The Gozo Trilogy’ which covers some 10,000-odd years of loosely recorded history in three small squares:

  • ‘Blood on the tracks’ (or ‘Clip-clop, bang!’)
  • ‘Those were the Daisies’ (or ‘Previously, in the Times of Malta.’)
  • ‘One star in sight.’

All these are available for sale, reproduction, or exhibition – jointly or separately.  Details and photos to follow.


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Last day at South West London Recovery College

As it says on the tin, 31 December 2013 was my last day working as a Peer Trainer at South West London Recovery College. I joined, as a student, in 2009 and took the “Taking Back Control: Planning Your Own Recovery” and “Telling Your Story” courses. The recovery process seemed to work for me and, my teaching and training talents being noted, the College offered me work as a sessional trainer. By 2010, I had undertaken the “Train The Trainer” training and let loose in my new guise on an unsuspecting world; or at least to that part of it in Southwest London mental health services.  I have also undertaken the Knowledge & Understanding Framework (KUF) for working with Personality Disorder, and have been delivering that training to staff at South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust. A path of mentoring and tutoring that restarted through IT courses at Croydon College and Merton Adult Education’s art classes took pace and there was no stopping me. I blossomed through art and Imagine Mental Health eventually invited me to run their art sessions. This was the outwardly visible start of rebuilding my life, as I found I could use my previously untapped empathy and experiences to help others. Classes and exhibitions of artwork followed, giving confidence in both mine and others’ recovery. Later the MACS drug & alcohol project further extended belief in my artistic and mentoring skills, and lead to me volunteering for the online forum that Rethink Mental Illness provides. I put longstanding IT skills and online experience developed as coping mechanisms, to better and wider use. RethinkTalk is an online community for everyone affected by severe mental illness to exchange ideas, opinions, artwork, and support. My roles there as moderator, guide, advocate, activist, friend, mordant artist, and occasional wit, have hopefully also helped others explore their situations in a safer, more supportive environment. Other artistic adventures through The Green Canteen and – lately – Expressive Salon 57  CIC have allowed me to run art groups and curate exhibitions to fill gaps in service provision for people with more challenging life experiences, who tend to feel excluded from the mainstream.  Having moved to Lambeth from Merton, I also got involved in my local Mental Health Trust, helping SLaM in co-developing and co-delivering two courses or their Recovery College. 2013 started with me stepping down from a number of voluntary and community positions to focus  on another passion: English Language Teaching.  I finally took the CertTESOL course at St George International for which I had registered some years previously, achieving a B and 4 As.   This qualification allows me to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages.  At Easter, we went to Malta – the hub of English Language Teaching in the Mediterranean – to explore places to work; Tunisia’s political stability ruling that out as an alternate location.  Having sought out potential employers, I returned to the UK and took up a part-time role teaching with EC English in London.  A further visit to Malta for interviews led to work offers teaching there; which is to where I am heading in January 2014. The moving boxes are almost all packed, the cats are awaiting their fitness to fly certification, homes are being found for art equipment, I’m building a bonfire of the old diaries, and plans for Malta are all in place … … so this should be another interesting year!