It’s been a few months since my last communication, so I thought it was time to let you know what I’ve been up to lately.

As mentioned in my previous blog, my portrait of Leonard Cohen is progressing well and I am very happy with the result so far. I think it will be a very interesting piece of artwork, perhaps one of my very best portraits so far. I will present it to you on my website in the near future along with two other portraits I have produced recently: one on paper in crayon and one in sepia of ‘A tribute to David Bowie’, and another one also on paper, in charcoal of a ‘ Lady from Martinique’ reminiscent of my military service days in the French Caribbean Islands.

Apart from that, I have been taking advantage of the great summer we have had in Europe to do a different sort of painting, that of repairing and varnishing all the woodwork on the exterior of our house. Whilst engaged in this process, I was faced with an unrelated, rather annoying problem in my garden, which seriously got on my nerves – our chooks (chickens) who run around freely, loved scratching and continuously messing up the gravel in our Japanese style interior courtyard. I was on a mission … I had to find an anti chook-scratching device, and quickly, as this issued played havoc with my old blood pressure!

Pebble courtyard

This problem-solving exercise drove me to produce an artwork of a different nature, which is a positive thing. Looking at multi-colored pebbles in a garden nursery one day, I got the idea that pebbles, being much larger than gravel, could not be moved by chooks as easily. So, I began to work on a very interesting and decorative ‘pebble installation’ in my garden – one of them a few square meters large and I am pleased to report this new art installation has resolved my ‘chook’ problem! Meanwhile our chooks, Suzanne and Jessica, are mightily frustrated and cannot understand what has happened. They are complaining noisily on this cataclysmic, life-changing event ever since, but they will surely get over it.

In closing and on a different note, France is a great place to be in summer not only for gardening but for its a multitude of art and music festivals taking place everywhere in the smallest villages and towns. Julie and I attended one such concert recently by Ibrahim Maalouf and very much appreciated this jazzman of Lebanese extraction who creates music that is a mix of Jazz and Rock with an Arabic tinge. It was well worth the detour for a great night of entertainment.

I will leave you for now until the next time. Cheers!