Show me the Monet…part 1

I wanted to write a couple of blog posts about my experience on the tv show ‘Show me the Monet’ as it was such an exciting thing to be a part of but it was all too quickly over. I had to keep it all a secret for so long (up until the point of broadcasting) that I have missed out completely on blogging about the whole thing as it was happening.

I heard of the programme during the first series shown last year and whilst I only found out about it half way through the series I used to watch an episode a day on my computer using iplayer whilst sculpting away. I really enjoyed seeing the variety of work from both amateur and professional artists and the (sometimes surprising) comments and view from the judges. The 3 art experts are known as the ‘hanging committee’ and you can read more about them here as well as more about the presenter Chris Hollins.

It was fascinating to see artists talk about their own work and see how confident people are (or more often not)  and their reactions to the sometimes unflinching critiques of the judges and which works of art they considered worthy of showing at The Show me the Monet exhibition (held at the Royal College of Art for the first series.)  The most prominent thought in my head whilst watching was ‘I could never do that….’ but more often than not I found myself agreeing with the judges and their comments.

So when I found out about the call out for artists to apply for Series 2 via Facebook and after a decision to be braver and try to follow opportunities which were outside of my comfort zone I filled out the application form (albeit with a lot of trepidation and hesitancy). There was a deadline of only 3,000 applications to be accepted so I hurriedly sent it off after rushing through the written sections and questions. Choosing the artwork was easy as at the time I only had 2 recent paintings in my possession having not painted much atall in 2011 so the decision was made.  I have never had any ambitions to be on TV but was quite happy with my new found ‘what the heck attitude’ knowing that I would not even make it past the first cut…..

(continued in next post!!)

PS I have finally added a shop to my website and you can buy the print of ‘A Moment in Time’ (the painting from the show) at a special price of £30.00 until the 10th of August where it will go up to the usual price of £35.00.

Studio snaps No.1

Studio snaps No.1, originally uploaded by gilfling.

As ever I am dashing out the door (to go on a photography course for the afternoon) but just thought I would quickly blog a new series of studio shots that I am taking. I love my studio and as I was working there the other day I was looking at all the little treasures and collections and corners that make it the inspiring space that it is. So I thought I would take some snapshots to show you …one…by…one….

This is a wee boy’s coat … so beautifully made with smocked details and beautifully sewn cuffs and collar with embroidery. Perfect in ever detail. I even love the age spots that dapple the front and back. It is around 60 years old and was actually my fathers from when he was but a wee smidgen of a boy (around 2 I think? correct me if I am wrong dad) and it has hung in my various studios over the years. A precious thing to me and I love looking at it every day that I work in my studio.

*I just wanted to thank you for your lovely, supportive and encouraging comments regarding the TV show – I have loved reading them and am so glad you enjoyed watching it.

** I will begin writing properly about the show tomorrow when I will have more time so stay tuned for that!

At last … Show me the Monet

I have been meaning to blog for so long about ‘Show me the Monet’ and whilst in some ways I worry about boring those who have already watched and heard the story a dozen times,  it is also undoubtably the most exciting thing to happen to me in terms of my art career – so apologies if you have already heard so much about it already…. I don’t want to let the moment pass me by just yet and also want to let those see it who haven’t had the chance already…

Whilst pretty much all my family and everyone I know has been kept up to date with the goings on of me appearing on the show, I haven’t really had much time to promote it on my website and blog etc. There is so much that I would love to write about the whole experience but if I do that all at once it would give the game away (the end result) for anyone who hasn’t yet seen the programme so I thought I would direct you to the iplayer link for the show today and then write a couple of posts about the experience next week.

So here it is….. 

(PS it is only available until 26th July on iplayer so apologies if you read this after that date. Also you may have problems watching it if you are outside the UK – one solution that has worked for other folks is to download the app at tunnelbear which will enable you to view it from most countries)

Enjoy and let me know your thoughts!

x x x

Sculpting Away …..

I have been wanting to play around with making videos of my in-progress work for a wee while and although I would love it if I had something a bit more polished to show you, if I were to wait for that to happen we could all be waiting an awful long time! I took this a few weeks ago when I was in a flurry of making new characters. As it is this took me half a day to even work out how to edit it (I use the term loosely as really it just meant chopping a bit of at the beginning and end) and save it to my computer. But we all have to start somewhere right? Baby steps, baby steps…

So here it is in it’s simplicity (and nope, I haven’t figured out how to embed it into a post yet…so here it is on my brand new Vimeo site)

Sculpting Away

Preparation for painting

Whilst I have many other things that I should be working on at the moment (not least of which is blogging about and linking to my recent tv appearance) I have been spending as much time in the studio. Excited about working on new paintings, it always takes what seems like a long time to get to that stage. I spend a lot of time writing – stream of consciousness stuff – even more time flicking through books and my huge collection of imagery which have gathered over the years and I also of course work in journals and sketchbooks – drawing and painting. So creating new finished paintings is never a quick process, particularly when I am working extra hours at my part-time job at the moment.

Still, I love this part of it. The endless possibilities, the dreaming a d allowing my thoughts to wonder. The freedom of working on pages with no specific finished imagery in mind. I like to see what unfolds.

(I will write that blog post soon!)


There is no such thing as too much practice…. A self portrait challenge


(updating this to now make it a complete post as writing blog posts from my phone with more than image seems to lead to losing the majority of the text!!)

Now that the busy’ness of the last few months has come to an end (hopefully) I am managing to spend much more time in the studio. I had been pin-balling from one event and exhibition to the other with lots of deadlines for my sculptural characters so have had little to no time for drawing or painting. It is so good to be able to remedy that now!

I had a couple of ‘blah’ days in the studio last week where I felt so out of practice and achieved little work and alot of procrastination and staring at the walls. On days like this sometimes it is better to indulge myself a little and not put the pressure on – writing and thinking and dreaming is enough and luxuries that I do not always allow myself.


But there comes a point – always – when I just have to break out of that and get out the paper and materials and just draw something – anything – no matter how good or bad. Work the rust off and blow the cobwebs away and that in time will lead to a breakthrough of ideas for new work and a period of intense painting.


So that is what I worked on. I find that the most limiting thing for me at the moment is confidence in drawing figures and faces and poses – or the ability to take them further than I have before and with no spare cash for life drawing classes I decided to work on a series of self portraits. It is something I have worked on a little before but I wanted to seriously motivate myself so I have set myself a challenge. 100 self portraits – drawn, sketched or painted – taking as much time as it takes. I don’t want to worry about how good they are it is the process that is important and the act of getting in the studio as much as I can. So I will be showing the good, the bad, the ugly and the unfinished. Of course I will over a long period of time do more than 100 but I thought that was a nice round figure to start with and it is always good to have a goal in mind!


So here are the first four with the most recent at the top of the page and the first at the bottom (a really poor effort but not to worry – a reminder that the process is important and not the outcome!) I was so very out of practice as you can see but even in this short time I can see and feel a big improvement. I want to explore many different mediums and challenge my mark making skills so it shall be interesting to see how they develop.

Have you set yourself any challenges lately?