How I stopped painting 2

In response to Leonard’s comment on part 1…


My 1980’s paintings abandoned in a garage…


Dear Mr. Bullock

I probably over-egged the crticism of Goldsmiths per se. ( suits wider arguments) as it coincided with a very difficult time in my personal life. I was living in a legalised squat on North Circular London and had lost my studio ( first interview with Goldsmiths was there) so when second interview had to take place in front room of a deserted squat I using as studio it already counted against me. I had no money for rent let alone materials and had split up from a messy relationship…..most people read my paintings of that time as depressive (Horrible Heads Paintings Flash slideshow)…all in all not my best time.I resented then and now the witch-hunt against Fuller from people who nowhere near his ability. When somebody who famous for sexist record covers (Roxy Music) starts lecturing me about fascism I bristle.

It took me twenty years to even get in a financial position where I could actually rent a studio again ( here in Nottingham) and when I did teaching preparation destroyed time to paint. As I think de Kooning said the trouble with poverty is it takes up all your time. It is only because of my current partner’s love and support that I even close to resuming seriously.Now finally I have a glimpse of some space and time and a postgrad course through Derby University to look forward to. Since I attended college an M.A. has become the equivalent of a B.A. in people’s attitudes despite some wearers of that title being less able than they think.Also I have started to find a group of excellent younger painters here who despite the system are keeping the flag flying. I have been virulent in damnation of certain aspects of the art world in those 20 years both from personal angle and because I genuinely appalled at how de-skilled the art schools have become. Even these colleges are now realising that something has gone wrong. But life rooms, recipe technical support and print rooms have all been jettisoned for digital cheapness and replacing them is costly.

Before I go off on another rant about education which better placed elsewhere I will return to my development (or lack there of).

Having lost studio and house in London I returned to Oxford and my parents house in 1989 and stayed there until 1992. In that time I took to the hills..literally and completed a large sequence ( every fine day that summer) by strapping a drawing board to the back of a white bycycle and heading off to draw the chalk hills. This sequence I still have and is my most sustained and complete sequence of drawings. see some of them here…

Call me reactionary then I become an Impressionist:-) Actually I was heavily influenced by Canadian Group of Seven…..many of whom were Brits fleeing WWW1 and Sheffield Ruskin trained…all connects! Also Paul Nash who drew same hills…
I showed them at Rocket Press (now Gallery London) and after blazing row with gallery owner who taught me a valuable lesson in how caring and sharing such people are…..(I ended up painting his walls to repay debts to him!) I ran off with a lovely Spanish lady to Edinburgh where the only art I managed outwith crap temp jobs in banks were some etchings. Then that too ended …I awoke from a daze 7 years later with some music, order some poetry but no art and once again back in my parents and yet again no house, viagra no partner…c’est la vie………it has taken last 7 years to put that right again! Hopefully…

Just visited your artist-guide pages and fascinated by the Edinburgh connection…I massive fan of William Johnstone.

for readers of blog see Leonard’s work at

Published by

Shaun Belcher

Contemporary art critic

3 thoughts on “How I stopped painting 2”

  1. Never mind the Goldsmiths, I just looked at your heads paintings, they are really good, get back painting!!

  2. and I’m back again. Sorry Shaun but after a second look those heads are good. Never mind Goldsmiths seriously get on with it, they are really good.

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