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At the end of February I acquired my first Gibson Les Paul. I've always wanted one, mainly thanks to Jimmy Page and The Bluesbreakers 'Beano' album. It was Johnny Marr that really spurned me on though. Reading his new book 'Marr's Guitars' and watching a YouTube interview I was gobsmacked to learn that he used them extensively during his tenure in The Smiths.

So now I've got one, Im going to put it to good use. My son and I have always jammed and messed about musically since he was little. Now he's taller than me, we've formed a cookin duo The Gadgets: Danny is on drums and I'm on vox/guitar duty. We are kinda like The Black Keys playing Sun era rockabilly, fronted by a Eddie Cochran/Lee Mavers wannabe.We have our first gig in August, I'm very excited by this...

In many ways, I've come full circle. In 1993, when I started, all I aimed for was to be a guitar player. I've ventured far from this: down winding pothole strewn paths and dark back alleys. Its good to be home.

Julian & Margery 2023 Acrylic on Canvas

I have always enjoyed art. Galleries have always had an almost reverent effect on me and in the last couple of years (thanks to Louise Verity, the human I love most) I have seen, read and learnt more about art and artists than ever. As a result, just before a trip to Paris last summer, I started to paint. At the time of writing I have painted thirty six canvases. I feel like I have embarked on a new creative voyage, that whilst not having been fully charted or mapped, will see me through until I transition out of this world. Yes, it has been that impactful, not only on how I now live, but how I see the world and my place in it internally and externally.

Music and my desire to be a musician has been my lodestar since I picked up a guitar in 1993. I have developed my ear and technical facility to express myself beyond anything I thought possible. Yet, the immediacy, the application and completion, not to mention the sheer joy I derive from putting paint on canvas, completes me in ways I am unable to describe adequately.

As I near my fiftieth year, I've had to come to terms with physical limitations that I did not expect just yet. The vessel is starting to creak a bit and confront me with the stark reality that eventually I will not be able to sing or play as I do now. And whilst there is still lots more music within me, I truly believe that I am a painter and not only that, I always have been.

I first encountered Lee Krasner reading about Jackson Pollock, who thanks to The Stone Roses, was the first artist I’d ever really taken any notice of. It was an even bigger revelation, sitting in Northampton Library one Saturday in 2005, to discover that his wife was also an artist. And that it was her efforts and unwavering support that helped bring his work to wider attention and acclaim. Also, her work is absolutely stunning.

In a career spanning over fifty years, Lee Krasner moved from painting murals for the WPA in the 1930’s, to her Little Images of the late 40’s/early 50’s to a series of enormous, vibrant abstracts in the 1960’s some of which were painted with her left hand (she had fallen and broken her right arm). In many ways, this encapsulates the bold, independent and innovative artist and human being she truly was.

Her singular management of Pollock’s estate after his death in 1956, led to the creation of the Pollock/Krasner Foundation, which works supporting and nurturing artists today and is a fine example of her enduring legacy. Had Lee Krasner been a man, her work would be as familiar to us as Picasso, Pollock, De Kooning, Klimt and Matisse. In 1984, she became one of the few women artists given a career retrospective at MOMA in New York. She acknowledged the accolade saying:: ‘I was a woman, Jewish, a widow, a damn good painter…’

Lee Krasner is my favourite artist. Here is a poem I wrote about her.

The Eye Is The First Circle

i.m. Lee Krasner

I came across a photo of you

the same age as me:

August, nineteen fifty six,

two weeks since your husband

died in a car crash. Prophecy

is by your side. I read

that you wept as you carried

on. Using all of your five two

sweeping and slashing line,

form and colour as only you

can. I wept at Little Images.

Afterall, it was you who said

in painting and life there

is no separation. I understand

now more than ever.

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