The Drawing Room Biennial will be held from the 2 March- 26 April this year. The Exhibition & online fundraising auction of over 200 unique works on paper. My drawing , 'An Open Secret', can be viewed online and at the Drawing Room, Unit 8 Rich Estate, 46 Willow Walk
London SE1 5SF. Follow this link to the Drawing Room
New painting I made of George Michael's car. The car was parked outside his home in Highgate. Every day the abundance of flowers, cards and balloons increased to such an extreme level I began to wonder if this car had become a grief magnet not just for George but for all the celebrity deaths of 2016. My floral monolith of loss.
Making a new painting and an unbelievably large portrait for a stage set, 'The Glass Menagerie'
...'it's all make believe, isn't it..''
One Day in June
My exhibition, 'One Day in June' opened yesterday. It is a series that is dear to me and after seven months of work, here they are.
One Day in June
A selection of paintings from the upcoming exhibition are now on Artsy which allows the viewer to zoom in for super detail
Grace O’Connor: One Day in June
My exhibition is a Pick of the Week on the Royal Academy site.
Paul Stolper Gallery, London, until 22 April
Grace O’Connor’s lyrical painting series records an afternoon the artist spent with an unnamed musician she had admired since childhood. These reproductions of fanciful memories imply that subtle and seemingly arbitrary moments in time are often the ones that resonate the most. The hazy imprecision of the brushwork and often muted palette reflects the uncertainty of these memories, which often veer into the realm of imagination. O’Connor takes both loaded and mundane gestures (from a hand on a hip to the pulling up of a sock) as her subject, giving them equal weight in a narrative which blurs the line between reality and unreality.
A Cure for Loneliness
I was commissioned to paint the iconic Peter Wolf for his utterly fantastic and well rounded album 'A Cure for Loneliness.' There is not one dull song on this beautiful record and I like to think the artwork has lived up to it's unique sound and feel. I am very happy to be a 'Peter's Pick' on his site as well.
I have been a bad blogger but for good reason. My new exhibition of almost 40 paintings opens next month at Paul Stolper, London. The show is entitled, 'One Day in June.'
Paul Stolper 31 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LH
Private View: March 23 6 – 8pm
Exhibition: 24 March – 23 April 2016
Paul Stolper is pleased to announce Grace O'Connor's 'One Day in June' an exhibition about memory and music. Grace O’Connor spent a day in the company of a songwriter and musician that she has respected and adored since she was a teenager. The work emerged from processing the memories of their intense and inspiring afternoon together. O’Connor uses their conversations interspersed with lyrics from his songs as the subject matter for the paintings. The resulting work unfolds like a narrative, a tapestry of memory threaded with beauty, communion, honesty and empathy.
In conflating past, present and the never was, O’Connor proposes a narrative about two people who connected with each other fleetingly, allowing the paintings to play with the layers of reality and unreality that characterise both the encounter itself and the memories that followed. The paintings possess a humour and darkness, laying bare the romanticised figure of the songwriter. The patchwork of imagery is tender and tough, groping towards a fractured narrative where O’Connor’s uncertainty and longing provides the raw material from which this work was made.
The exact identity of the songwriter is immaterial. His significance is felt throughout these works, and he emerges as a ghost, felt and traceable through his words, on the canvas.
For more information, please contact email@example.com
Open Studios Weekend
ACME is hosting an Open Studios weekend.
Long before Walter White and his big underpants were first seen in a landscape, Lucy Hilmer began photographing herself. Forty years of photographs in her big white underpants. Beautiful.
Kiss Me on the Bus
''Your tongue, your transfer, your hand, your answer...'' My dedication , the Replacements at the Roundhouse
Could there ever be a better character than Curt in American Graffiti? He is so full of longing and anxiety, 'Somebody out there wants me! Somebody roaming the streets wants me!'
Alice in Wonderland
The Museum of Childhood has an exhibition of Alice in Wonderland related things, including this wonderful 1960's Beardsley inspired drawing for 'Alice Boots' designed by Paul Christodoulou.
I have been thinking of this painting I once made. Maybe Wordsworth had a brief encounter at a mailbox...
'Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind..'
You lit a fire in me..can't seem to put out
Paul Westerberg 1989, Paul Westerberg 2015..maybe growing up is not so bad after all.
BP Portrait Award 2015
This painting, 'My mother, my sister' has been selected for the upcoming BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery, London. According to the press, a record 2,748 paintings were submitted of which 55 have been selected. This is the accompanying catalogue statement:
My mother has Parkinsons and as a result of this debilitating illness, she requires assistance in every aspect of her life. I chose to paint this scene of my sister, Deirdre, showering my mother because it shows the love, care and self sacrifice which encompasses caring for an elderly parent. I found that bathing my mother was so deeply personal and it was,at first, a difficult thing to do. My mother raised seven children and her care has become the duty of two of my sisters and my father. I wanted this painting to be a tribute to the courage of my mother and my sister.
Drawing Room Biennial 2015
Exhibition: 5 March – 30 April · Auction: 16 April 10am – 30 April 9pm DRAWING ROOM
Tannery Arts, 12 Rich Estate, Crimscott Street
London SE1 5TE
The original small drawing of 'Huddle' will be included in this exhibition of works on paper.
More Book Bench
A really lovely article came out on the Cass Art web site about the fabulous Book Bench. Please click here for the link.
It wasn't a town in north Ontario but my own little corner of London SE1...''and in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there...''
My beloved studio for the last fifteen years has gone to the developers. When I first entered the Clink I was just about to have my first big solo exhibition at the Paton Gallery. So much has happened since then and I will always miss this strange and historical building that I grew to love. The wonderful double doors as seen below in the best old Jack the Ripper film, the only spot to get a phone signal, the last pictures of me on moving out day and a final drawing with my daughter saying one last goodbye to the skeleton in the cage whom the kids lovingly called 'The Hot Man.'
Critical and Leslie Carron
I was very excited to see a screening of the drama, 'Critical' which my husband filmed before it is screened on Sky next week. It is an exciting,disturbing and deeply tense drama. But at the screening I met a childhood idol, Leslie Carron! Being obsessed with Hollywood musicals thanks to having a mother who loved and raised us to appreciate the great ones, this was always a stand out film for me. She is still incredibly beautiful with those cheekbones and lips. What a lady. I'll never forget my favorite scene when she is in training and presented with a little bird on a plate whereupon she is instructed, 'Today, you shall learn to eat ortolan'. Only Leslie Carron could make munching delicate bird bones look tasty.
Two Amy's in two days
Yesterday I saw the moving Marlene Dumas 'Amy Winehouse' portrait at the Tate. Today I passed an altogether different Amy on the Regents Canal, which doesn't have quite the same effect as the Breughel 'Icarus' but it made me smile.
A new painting shown with Paul Stolper at the London Art Fair 2015.
I spent the day at my son's school helping the children in year 4 to create their story bench based on the book 'Wild Boy' by Rob Lloyd Jones. They loved to paint their interpretations of the characters and we combined the images like a patchwork quilt so each of the 28 children would get a chance to add an image.
The Grimm's Fairy Tales
I took the children to see the very creepy and wonderful Grimm's Fairy Tales at the Bargehouse. The favorite was the story of faithful Johannes the servant but equally memorable was the girl with the thousand fur cape, the ghost with the duck and the witch who crept under the ladder in Hansel and Gretel.
Happy New Year
Ahhhh...the joys of glitter glue!
Most Random Backstage Crowd ever...
I found these photos in an old magazine..Andy Warhol and Truman Capote backstage at a Ted Nugent concert...What was the conversation topic between Rick Derringer and TC? Did Andy like the concert? Is Edgar Winter checking out Andy's hair color? These are questions which need to be answered! I love the caption underneath one, ...'What a crew!'
Cara Delevingne makes an excellent Grumpy Rapunzel in my drawing. What a good name for a band- The Grumpy Rapunzels.
So sad to see that a wonderful artist has died and little has been written about him. I only know of him thanks to a lovely man who showed me his collection at his NY apartment and this brilliant double portrait. He told me how he had bought the clothed portrait but unfortunately, the nude was owned by a priest. When the priest passed away over ten years later, this man's wife tracked down the painting and at last, there they were reunited on his wall. Here it is!
2001 A Space Odyssey
The BFI screened 2001 last night. Although it sadly was digital, not a proper 70mm print, and lost some of the depth of color as a result, it was majestic to see it on the big screen. The cocky astronaut in his underpants was like Malcolm McDowell in his underpants in A Clockwork Orange.
You can't help but make connections with his movies and this was just one small one I couldn't help but notice.
Walking past a house with a big water stain on the side. It looked just like the old Banksy mural of Pulp Fiction.
I was interviewed for the Royal Academy site by the very lovely Daniela Bragato. Here is the Interview Link and a photo from the article.
I finished 'High Rise' by JG Ballard. This book never left my mind and disturbed me so much. I found the old paperback cover which Chris Foss created. It is his most intriguing artwork even though it doesn't remind me of the book at all. What does come to mind from this book is that great painting, 'The Source of Life' by Leon Frederic. The end of the book made me think of this.
The wall of small paintings from my show...
Viggo Mortensen 'Juaja'
'Juaja' is a film which, rightly so, Viggo Mortensen said will, 'haunt your dreams.' Here is the little trompe l'oleil painting I made of 'Juaja'
Edie in color
I know this spread so well... Edie in Vogue. Recently I came upon a color photograph of the b/w image. How beautiful to see her in color.
From my show..I love these balloons!
I bumped into a friend of mine yesterday who showed me a George Condo painting hanging in Spreuth Magers which was equally stunning and creepy. I couldn't find a picture of it anywhere so I tried to remember it. What it resembled was the horrible bunny man in the Shining, which I had a drawing of already. Oh! Those George Condo giant teeth-the stuff of nightmares.
The Third Wife
Lisa Jewell's new book, 'The Third Wife'...I spent the whole of a flight to Canada devouring this book. Lisa is so talented! And to top it all off, she thanked me in her credits. I couldn't believe it.
The Real Eloise
I saw this amazing little girl, walking down Conduit Street in the morning, wearing a bright blue satin kimono over a little Rick Owens jacket, chatting away happily to her butler or driver who was dutifully pushing the pram of her sibling. She really was Eloise come to life. The kimono was the intense blue like the girl in the William Merritt Chase painting.
The Most Beautiful Fabric Ever!
Creatures of the Wind have very kindly made an outfit for me to wear to the opening of the exhibition. When it arrived and I opened the box I felt like Charlie Bucket finding the Golden Ticket. Actually, in keeping with that there is something of that great 70's candy store look to this fabric. I want to be a Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar!
Robert Plant at the Roundhouse
Robert Plant performed at the Roundhouse last night. Click his name for the link to the interview from the Nine Lives DVD where he is seated in front of the huge Arthurian painting which he commissioned from me many years ago.
Airplane drawings! 'Only Lovers Left Alive' was shown on the flight. My favorite scene.. Tom Hiddleston dresses as a doctor to collect the blood from the hospital...Dr. Faust. What a great film and who wouldn't love drawing Tilda Swinton's exquisite face.
Creatures of the Wind 2015
Creatures of the Wind are amazing. Here is a drawing from their next collection and I was utterly delighted to be there.
At the children's theme park, Lake Compounce, I saw a mother pushing her stroller and noticed the tattoo under the edge of her bikini top. It said, 'I am horny'. It's at times like this I am glad to have the sketchbook in my bag. And wherever you are in the world there is always the ever present bedraggled male Zep fan.
Only Lovers Left Alive...more!
I never knew about 'steelbook' DVD's but now I do. An 'ultra special limited edition steelbook' sounds and looks great. The DVD can be purchased from zavvi.com
The number 13 bus
I took the number 13 bus today and had to draw this beautiful man. He was like a vision of Ralph Fiennes. Every time the sun caught his face in the reflection I swooned.
Preparing for September show
A little peek at one of the new paintings which will be in my next exhibition in September
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow. Things should start to get interesting right about now...
I made this portrait of Bob Dylan for my sister. I loved painting Bob!
Ballerina in the Bat House
I was at the zoo the other day and saw the most beautiful thing. In the dark underground rooms which form the nocturnal animal world, a beautiful French student in a group just spontaneously used the bar to do her ballet!
John Moores 2014
This is my painting, 'Girl Fight' which will be in the John Moores exhibition in Liverpool opening July 2014.
This little Warhol polaroid of Debbie Harry in her Sprouse is just beautiful.
The poster for 'Only Lovers Left Alive' had a good mention in Skye Sherwin's A Good Look in the Guardian newspaper...Grace O’Connor is an apt choice to create a poster for Jim Jarmusch’s vampire-rockers film Only Lovers Left Alive. Her previous paintings include portraits of a gang of metal kids who once ruled teenage hearts in her small American town but never quite accepted growing old.
The greatest SQÜRL alive. To quote the girl in 'American Graffiti'....'ain't he neat.'
Have to include beside him my old squirrel painting, 'Hunters Gatherers' from 2000.
Only Lovers Left Alive
I have designed a limited edition poster for the new Jim Jarmusch film 'Only Lovers Left Alive' which will be released in London on Valentine's day. He is such an amazing director. The film stars Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska. There will be two posters for the film, the other is designed by Christian Marclay.The poster is available through www.corianderstudio.com and www.sodapictures.com
London Art Fair 2014
New set of paintings showing with Paul Stolper
Thanks to my friend, Sarah Allen, an incredibly talented flautist and an all round wonderful date, I met Mike Scott. The Waterboys performed one of the greatest albums of all time last night at the Hammersmith Apollo, 'Fisherman's Blues' which also included gems which I had never heard, such as the exquisite version of Ray Charles' 'Come Live With Me' ..(yes, I would, any day). In 1996/7 I exhibited at the Royal Academy summer show an etching of 'Strange Boat' which had been inspired by the Waterboys song of the same name. This is the large scale painting of it.
James and Wolf
My little James looks so overjoyed. This is a great picture of him and Peter Wolf's band. I love the comments on the facebook page. Here is a link to an amazing guy. Peter Wolf
When visiting home recently, I found that some of my best portraits were of my sisters. Sadly, I only have two of these paintings. But here are some highlights, 'New School Shoes' 'Watch Hill' 'Ellen' and 'Margaret and Mary'
When Britain went Pop!
I went to Christies to see the When Britain went Pop! show with my friend Rodney. There were some good, some bad. After we left the show we walked past the windows of Victoria's Secret. Rodney pointed out that the Peter Blake tattooed and jewelled woman from the show was a premonition of things to come.
Balthus at the Met
I was fortunate to be able to see the Balthus exhibition at the Met in New York. I have been waiting forever to see these glorious paintings in person. I found the sign at the entrance warning that..' viewers might find the paintings disturbing..' to be a little over bearing as this show did not have any seriously risque Balthus paintings. It had the best of Balthus, including his drawings of his beloved cat Mitsou which he made at age 11. A profoundly beautiful exhibition. 'Theresa' in person was a revelation.
Watching 'The Shining' on the airplane was so much fun. I made some sketches while I watched, including 'KDK1 calling KDK 12' and Delbert Grady, Danny and Tony, Scatman and Shelley Duvall looking like a beautiful Dutch painting.
My first haircut after being de-ponytailed when I was a kid was inspired by Martha Plimpton's classic Calvin Klein ad. What a great look to have aspired to. I thought of her today after watching 'The Goonies' for the eighty millionth time and made a quick sketch of her face during the film.
My Favorite Postcard
I have had this postcard hanging on my studio wall for ten years. I bought a set by the artist at the Camden Arts Centre in about 1992. I always mean to look at the back for the artists name but can never remind myself to do so.
John Travolta in 'Welcome Back Kotter' was so great. This dude from my "Trinkleyville' show was part Vinny Barbarino and a dash of Matt Dillon
A mousetrap dress
Oh the fun when devising new ways to get rid of mice- the cheese dress
Oh I wish I could sew!
If I could I would make this bathing suit, and just like Esther Williams, complete with a cape.
A Real Pre Raphaelite Portrait
Mick Sweda, Bulletboys guitarist extraordinaire, with his portrait circa 1989. I came across this gem of a photo, bulging biceps and all, in my treasured photo box. I also have the two watercolours which formed part of the groupie wall in the exhibition at Phillips. Its too bad the kneeling girl biting the apple in his hand isn't visible in the lower left corner.
Christopher Plummer was gorgeous
I loved Mr. von Trapp, even though I can still hear my mother at her ironing board saying, 'Oh that pompous bucko.'
Creatures of the Wind
I am a huge fan of the designers, Creatures of the Wind. This is a top which was nearly impossible to track down. Here it is on the runway but I love to wear it with my old treasured 60's Aubrey Beardsley print skirt. I bought it at a shop in Hamden, Ct. called 'Duds' which I still consider to be the world's greatest vintage store. It sadly must have closed down about 1989. My sisters and I used to refer to it as 'Needful Things' like the Stephen King book about a junk shop which carried whatever you desired. Duds was like that: completely random things. On the drive over I'd say to myself, 'wouldn't it be great to have a whole Beardsley outfit' and shazaam, it would be there. Ridiculous but true. The list is endless.
New Big Drawings
I have too much fun dressing up my little Elizabeth, so much fun that I found myself drawing her outfits or phrases when I am sitting on the tube. In the end there was a stack of doodles so I made a little blog. I am hoping to post a new one every day. Here is the happy link to LittleBettyPeggy
A Great Face
I love this statue at the V and A
There is a touch of the 'Jacob's Ladder' about this clip but heaven has surely got to be this: young Marilyn floating around the stage, looking impossibly young and gorgeous, singing 'Anyone Can See I love You'..
More fun little black and white line drawings...
Could Peter Wolf be any cooler...
I truly wish this image did not have the type face over it...Terri Toye, Andy Warhol and Peter Wolf. I love how Andy is touching PW's arm. I remember Terri Toye modelling all the early Stephen Sprouse. We were obsessed with Sprouse and I still have the original punk band graphic tights and a matching Sprouse silver duffel coat and mini dress from early pilgrimages to his Wooster Street store. Here is Terri Toye wearing Sprouse...I remember staring in total disbelief because I could not believe she was a man.
My sister recommended a book to me which I thoroughly enjoyed and still need to finish. I didn't expect it to be as interesting as it is, 'Little Girl Blue' the story of Karen Carpenter. I had never known that she grew up in New Haven, Connecticut and the book has some wonderful descriptions of the Connecticut neighborhoods of the late 50's. There was far more to Karen than what one already knows and it is an excellent book. Here are some pics of Karen looking pretty foxy.
John O'Connor reads 'Picklepuss'
This is a link I must share. My father, John, reading 'Picklepuss.' What a joy to see my father and hear his lilting Irish brogue.
Every Picture Tells a Story...
Although I didn't use the Rod album in the album cover still lifes from the 2009 'Trinkleyville' show, I used two which perfectly represented the dudes which were the subject matter of the show. I found a photograph I had set up for one still life of the dude paraphernalia, although never painted: dirty looking Y fronts and Ray Bans on an Overkill album. Instead I did the classic Warhol cover Billy Squier album and a Metallica. What you see on top of the Squier is a baseball cap replete with the words, 'Life's a Beach.' A dude whom my sister had been dating as a teenager often wore this hat which always provoked a good laugh in my house and a Cult 'Electric' beer can which we never opened (who knows what is inside it). This is one of the beer cans which Ian Astbury kicks over in the video for 'Love Removal Machine'... every picture really does tell a story.
I met a snake
I had just finished this enormous painting, replete with snakes in the grass, badgers being eaten, owls eating mice, frogs eating butterflies, all of which are invisible in this tiny photograph. The end of this painting coincided with a beautiful python who came to my son's 7th birthday. To quote the girl in American Graffitti, ' Ain't he neat.'
Rita Hayworth and John O'Connor
In a series of drawings circa 2010 I chose iconic hairstyles without the face. Amongst them, Farrah was a good one, Veronica Lake was amazing and here is my father sitting in my sister's apartment underneath Rita Hayworth.
I decided to hang this painting again. It's about ten years old but its one I always loved. When my sister and I were teenagers we took our Thelma and Louise trip to Los Angeles, not in a gorgeous dude car, but in a Yugo. It doesn't have quite the same effect in a painting. And here as well is a small drawing of my sister, Nora.
I love to revert to my early infatuation with Aubrey Beardsley from time to time. It's fun to draw without any pencil sketch underneath, just using a fine marker and taking it wherever it leads. Here are a few new ones and drawing of Elizabeth, fast asleep.
Paul Stolper is having an exhibition about the life of Joshua Compston. I was always intrigued by him though we never met. His life would be an amazing film if someone would only make it. I have my dream casting already: Freddie Fox. Now, if only I could write and direct.
My son Thomas won a little prize this week. His short story, Picklepuss, was published in the Daunt Books Children's Short Story competition. It's a sad story about a girl called 'Picklepuss' who is a real grump for various reasons. The award was presented by Cornelia Funke who is a lovely woman as well as writing some truly inventive stories for children. Here is a link to Daunt Books and a picture of Thomas with me at the Burgh House, Hampstead for his big night!
A few years ago I read a fantastic article in Vanity Fair about the songwriter Jimmy van Heusen. It contained a small photograph of a party with Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Errol Flynn and his wife Nora Eddington. Perhaps it was her name (my wonderful sister is a Nora), her angelic face and coloring or the fact that she tamed, briefly, Errol Flynn. I was reading the autobiography of Flynn and I wish there was more written about Nora. Here are some images of her.
Isabel Bishop Taxi Driver
I love Isabel Bishop. Her wonderful drawings are just not as well known as they should be. The figures in her drawings, prints and paintings feel alive- as if they were just freshly drawn. From her studio in Times Square she would watch all the girls on their lunch breaks and draw them. It suddenly occurred to me that Jodi Foster in Taxi Driver looks straight out of an Isabel Bishop. The seventies style which harked back to the 1940's is perfectly in keeping and I wonder if subconsciously Scorcese had her work in mind.
An old groupie painting, 'Burned Out Paradise' of the two metal chicks sitting against the wall waiting for the band. The title came from the Guns song, 'Rocket Queen' ...
In this burned out paradise
If you turn me on to anything
You better turn me on tonight
I like this slouchy girl, a little drawing of Libby and a painting of my sister Deirdre
My Own Personal Jesus
I was given this amazing 16th Century Jesus as a birthday gift from my dear friend Rodney. This Jesus has a beautifully faded pink/ blue coloring and a slightly Asian face which reminds me so much of a Balthus.
A new painting
My wonderful friend Lucy Barlow has consistantly made the greatest and most wearable hats...ever! I lived with her as a teenager new to London, she patiently listened to my neverending teen whinging, introduced me to the man I would eventually marry and even made the wedding dress too! Lucy has a new web site (and another one with her sister, Nyati) Click the names for the links.
A Portrait of James
This is a new portrait of my son James
BP 500 Portraits Book
The book '500 Portraits' has been published by the National Portrait Gallery. This painting of mine 'My Father Praying' is included.
The Blow Monkeys
Ah....Dr. Robert. The Blow Monkeys played a concert last week and performed their great albums, "Limping for a Generation' and 'Animal Magic' in their entirety. What a joy. Dr. Robert was my tweenie crush and I will be adding some old pictures from 1986 once I trawl through my photo box. I loved the way he pronounced Grace as 'Gwace' and his little straw boater.
The perfect album cover for 'Animal Magic' and the gorgeous 'Death of Marat' painting.
London Art Fair
I am showing some new paintings with Paul Stolper at the London Art Fair, 16- 20 January. Here is a sneak peek!
The painting of this gorgeous boy from my Trinkleyville show is featured in a magazine article about the home of Joanna Berryman. Here is a link to her site and the painting. http://www.matrushka.co.uk/
Drawings from the Museum
I will probably label these later but here are some highlights from Vienna's museums. My favorite is the funny little Bosch baby, partly because this cute little Bosch baby has on the reverse a terrifying Bosch crucifixion. I found the most tormented figure in a Bosch- this elderly leather booted man about to be tortured, the horror in his face was so real. A strangely footed little head which seems straight out of 'Adventure Time.' Some amazing faces, as well as a boy I made up, and this wonderful fat woman from Klimt's Beethoven frieze. So many faces to draw but I had to include Arcimboldo's lemons from Winter.
Tom of Finland and Durer
When I saw this Durer bathhouse picture it reminded me so much of a Tom of Finland. I chose a Tom which is not too explicit just in case.
I took myself off to Vienna to fulfill a lifelong mission to see the Breughels. Vienna had every art treasure I could have ever hoped to find. From the buildings to the museums, it was the trip of a lifetime. I have too many images to add. Starting with the Breughel paintings, just a few highlights, the beloved Hunters in the Snow and my small sketch of two figures from the Carnival of Lent.
Schiele was so gorgeous, like some cute little urchin James Dean. Here are some images, including my sketch of the Embrace. It is very handy to have a sketchbook when museums don't allow photography. His actual little horse statue beside the painting was wonderful.
Tonight I went to the premiere of the Led Zeppelin film, 'Celebration Day.' Having been to the concert at the O2 Arena in 2007, it was amazing to see the big screen version. Robert Plant commissioned many paintings from me over the years, some of my best. One of which is shown behind him throughout the interviews with him on the 'Nine Lives' box set. When the Royal Academy held the show of Victorian Fairy paintings in 1997, quite a few were from Jimmy Page's collection. One of which was 'The Enchanted Fairy Tree' by Richard Doyle. He is also a collector of the sometimes too diabolical artist Austin Osman Spare. My dear friend Rodney, a long time collector of AO Spare, told me this. Here are a few gems: the Doyle and a few Spare's (hint: it's Joan Crawford)..Pics and my bag with the wristband..
The Judas Kiss
I will call this the Rupert kiss..Having just seen ' The Judas Kiss' at the Hampstead Theatre, about the relationship between Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, I was amazed by Rupert's performance..He became Oscar Wilde and it was exhilirating and incredible to see his transformation. When in the midst of a desire to look like a combination Marilyn/Ruth Ellis, I waited for Rupert outside the Garrick Theatre when he was starring in 'The Vortex' in 1989 and gorgeous dude that he is, happily obliged.
I accompanied my father to the Poughkeepsie Bridge. It was a pilgrimage of sorts. He was a train engineer for 40 years and this was his most treacherous route: bringing coal trains across the bridge which is 212 feet (65 metres) high and 6,768 feet (2,063 m) long. In order not to derail the train he had to slow it down to 7 miles an hour on the approach , because there is a dip in the track before it climbs up. If he didn't do this the train would crash off the bridge into the Hudson River below.
He had to make it across the track in 12 minutes, often with up to 100 cars of coal, weighing 100 tons each. The reason he had to drive slowly with a time limit is because a spark from the train could have caused the wooden bridge to catch fire, which it eventually did, but as a result of arson.
It is now a public walkway and we found the old tracks in the woods. It was very moving and I will post a link to his talk about the bridge soon.
The Paraphernalia Dress
I am about to surprise my sister with a real gem. She always loved the dress that Edie Sedgwick wore in 'Ciao! Manhattan' and I found it for her. Romanticizing it even more, I wondered if perhaps it might actually be Edie's. Betsey Johnson was the designer for Paraphernalia in the sixties. We loved her clothes in the eighties and once at Penn Station, about 1986 my sisters and I spotted Betsey Johnson hauling her luggage through the station when it had all but closed during a ferocious snowstorm. I rushed up to her, as any gallant eleven year old would, and offered to carry her bags. I was thrilled. I hope my sister is as thrilled with the Edie dress- I am!
I love drawing people at the beach. This was the most interesting bikini by far. Composed of tiny strings on either side and a patch at the back, coupled with the MaryAnn from Gilligan's Island braids..here she is.
The Boss and Paul. In concert, in London...what a dream come true. Until the plug was pulled by the powers that be. The two together brought to mind the age old dilemna- who would I pick for a romantic dinner for two? Like having to decide between a young Paul Newman or a young Christopher Walken. ( A picture because I can never decide)
The Boss brings to mind my favorite song, 'Blinded by the Light'. In the groupie show from 2007 one of the best paintings was entitled 'Fleshpot Mascots' a line which I took from 'Blinded by the Light'. But if you look closely, the backstage passes (copied lovingly from my own ) that the girls are flashing are of an amazing band called The Four Horsemen. They released two albums, the first of which, 'Nobody said it was Easy' was AMAZING. I will never forget seeing their shows, gorgeous Ben the bassist (far left in picture) and how the drummer, Dimwit, referred to me as Big Bird because at the time my hair was yellow. I loved this band and still do. Here is an image of the painting and the Horsemen. A happy coincidence is an image from my installation at Phillips which contains my sister Katie and the Boss and in the upper corner, barely visible, my sister, Nora, sandwiched in between Haggis and Dave of the Horsemen on their bus.
I met Paul McCartney
Last night I fulfilled my lifelong dream- I met Paul McCartney. I was at a screening of the film 'Comes a Bright Day' when the once in a lifetime opportunity arose. Paul was handsome,charming and needless to say, I am still in shock. As a toddler I remember running in from playing in the woods and seeing the television advertising the latest Wings album when I stopped cold and stared.The moment stayed with me forever. I fell in love with Paul, which could also be explained by my childhood infatuation with James Darren who played Moondoggie in the 'Gidget' films. In later childhood I would stare for hours at the 'Back to the Egg' album cover which I am sure accounts for my love of art deco. To a child who collected amphibians, hearing the term, 'my salamander' in the song 'Getting Closer' couldn't have been more meaningful. Here is Paul circa my childhood crush, Paul last night, 'Back to the Egg' and Moondoggie- I couldn't resist!
Woody Allen Documentary
My friend Eve Gabereau at Soda Pictures invited me to a screening at the BFI of a super documentary about Woody Allen. The director, Robert Weide, did a q & a afterwards. He provided a wonderful insight into Woody's work and life, especially interesting is Woody's idea drawer. He keeps a million scraps of paper on which he's written bare ideas and when the time comes he develops some into scripts. I always keep an idea box with doodles. It's surprising how some things work now and some things work better much later.
Here are some glorious images: Meryl's hair never looked better than in 'Manhattan', a beautiful image from 'Stardust Memories' and poor old Virgil and his cello from 'Take the Money and Run.'
A Strange Shape
The Observer had a competition to draw a picture from a strange shape. For fun we made some drawings and the paper published mine. A girl sneaking home at night.
Waterhouse and Dorothy Lamour
Waterhouse was unusual as a Pre Raphaelite painter in that his women were not always the traditional pale red heads which feature so predominantly in that style. He truly excelled in strong, sweaty and sometimes hairy woman. I found this image of Dorothy Lamour. She could easily have been painted by Waterhouse. She was however painted by Vargas. A few images of Dorothy, Waterhouse and Vargas.
Royal Academy Summer Show 2012
I have a small painting in the RA Summer Show which opens this month. Here is the little jewel, 'Huddle.'
I am alone in my total love for Robbie Robertson. Once the guitarist in the Band, Robbie remains as pompous and gorgeous as ever. When I watch his film 'Carny' which I do at least once a year, I hear a groan of horror emanate from my husband. In the 'Trinkleyville' show from 2009 I made a small portrait of Robbie. When asked who he is, I always say, 'My dream man!' Here is the painting and a few classic images of RR. http://www.robbie-robertson.com/
This photograph of Kerouac looks as if it could have been taken today.
My friend Lisa Jewell is an amazing writer. I was given the honour of reading the proof of her new book, 'Before I Met You' which comes out in July. This is her best ever and if you want to feel as if you are on an adventure between a London flapper's life in1920 and a Soho girl in 1995 then this book is it! http://www.facebook.com/LisaJewellofficial
Edie was known for having the most beautiful legs...'legs that didn't quit.' I have always been fascinated by her perfectly shaped feet. Here is a drawing of those wonderfully aristocratic feet.
Hockney Soylent Green
Yesterday I went to the Royal Academy to see the David Hockney exhibition. In one room there is a large screen which runs the length of the wall. The film shows the forests of Yorkshire as a car with multiple cameras drives super slowly along the lane. As I looked at the crowd, who sat staring in amazement as if they had never seen trees or would likely ever see them again, I was struck by the similiarity between this room and the film 'Soylent Green,' when the man chooses to die he is brought to a room where he gets to see the world in all it's glory one last time. I have found a link but in the meantime here are three images: Hockney and 'Soylent Green.'
Here is the little known photograph of Marilyn Monroe wearing jeans. This is the image from which I made the 'Marilyn's jeans' drawings. This bottom will hypnotise you.
I was wheeling the baby along Willow Road and passed a great looking group of people. They called out, 'Grace!' and I turned to see that lo and behold it was Paul and Talita from the shop Koh Samui. I had not been there in many years so it came as such a happy surprise they remembered me. It was once the destination boutique in Covent Garden at a time when there really weren't any. When I won the Hunting Prize in 1994 I bought my first big art party dress there: a black halter neck with white go faster stripes down either side. It was a time when super sporty looks were in. I was thrilled with the dress and until the first party guest arrived and said, 'Why are you dressed like a big sneaker.' Here is a photo of Koh Samui which brings back fond memories. Paul and Talita have a web site so take a look at some lovely things: http://www.kohsamui.co.uk
Matisse and Jimmy Dean
Two quiet images: Matisse in his study, James Dean in his submarine-like New York apartment. Both photographs are little peeks into their private world. I feel like these should be snow globes - you can almost feel the Rankin- Bass snow effect like Frosty over each.
Poor Andy Gibb. He was so absolutely adorable, then Victoria Principal broke his heart and everything went downhill for him. I realised how like the dude paintings from 'Trinkleyville' he was. Its very hard to find photos of him on the web but here are two gems (and some dude drawings)
Last week snow, this week rain. On a rainy day in London the Replacements bring back memories of Connecticut. In a section of the wall of groupie drawings from the Phillips auction you will notice a tiny Tommy Stinson in a green jacket.But what this topic really brings me to is the glorious Paul Westerberg. Absent from this image is the watercolor of PW and me, aged thirteen, when he uttered my favorite compliment ever, 'Hey, I like that pink leather jacket.' I only have a close up of the photo from which it was based along with one of the drummer, Chris Mars, holding the Mats painting I made for them. Below is a link to Paul's exceptional show in London, 2004. I fought my way to the stage for the spot next to him on the sofa for 'Skyway'. Look on Youtube for 'Achin to be.' I am sure every artist chick loves that song but this artist chick always loved it the most.
London in the snow
Unusually it snowed in London recently. This photograph of my street was taken at night. The sky was an unearthly pink.
I also made a silhouette.
Hair has always played an important part in my work. I grew up with sisters with amazing hair: a blonde, two brunettes, a red head and one with true jet black hair. All natural each and every one. Here are just a few images of hair as it has appeared in past works.
Andy Warhol Autograph
When I was a kid, I adored Andy Warhol. Worshipped Andy, completely. When the nightclub, The Palladium, opened it was the hottest disco in New York. My sisters, being extremely cool and hip, planned their outfits for weeks and went to NY on the second night the club had been open. I gave them a stack of my drawings with our address on back because I was convinced they would bump into Andy and he would love my pictures. Andy was there, my sisters were so thrilled, they thrust the drawings upon him, over excitedly talking about their little sister who loved him and he gave them his autograph for me. A few weeks later a package arrived from NY with a card from his assistant saying how much Andy wished me luck. The autograph went missing a few years after and every time I would go back to the States I would look for it. It became a quest, until just recently I opened a book I never before checked and there it was, the green paper. I felt just like Charlie Bucket finding the golden ticket. I made a painting of the autograph. On the other side is written in gold pen..' your pictures are really great.' Here is the painting.
Rainbow over Bridgeport, Ct.
I took this photo from the train. Bridgeport is a place long remembered from childhood and not especially lovely, but on this day as the Amtrak went past it was glowing.
We'll Take Manhattan
The fantastic BBC drama 'We'll Take Manhattan' will be shown this Thursday, the 26th January, on BBC4 at 9. In the States it will be shown on Ovation, February 11th. Aside from being wildly entertaining and beautifully written/directed by John McKay, it has also been shot by my husband
My secret source of inspiration, well, not so secret anymore, is the amazing album by Peter Wolf, 'Midnight Souvenirs' This should come with a warning label: highly addictive.
Peter was in J. Geils, whose video 'Centerfold' is an all time favorite for not just the song but the incredible hair.
New Year New Website
What a great way to start the new year 2013. Thank you to Simon at Essydesign.