Meet Jock. He’s a hot water bottle.

280118 - JockI was inspired to draw / paint this after visiting the Rachel Whiteread exhibition at Tate Britain last weekend. She had cast quite a few “Torso’s” by filling up hot water bottles with various materials, plaster, resin etc. and then, presumably, removing the outer rubber “skin”. It’s alright Jock – I wouldn’t dream of doing that to you!

I must admit, if you did lop off the head, arms and legs of somebody (please don’t try this at home, or anywhere else for that matter!), then yes – you can see the resemblance to the inflated insides of a hot water bottle.

Rachel Whiteread likes turning your mind inside-out and back-to-front with casts of stairs, windows, sheds, baths, bookshelves (I liked these!), and rather infamously a complete terraced house (sadly now demolished under rather controversial circumstances). It is the voids, the spaces inbetween that she captures so well.

The papier-mâché shed end exhibited here took me back to seeing the inside-out shed installed in the grounds of Houghton Hall in Norfolk that which we visited last year. In particular, I liked the cast detail of the bolt from the inside of the shed door, especially as a caterpillar was crawling up the side (bottom left of the right hand picture). It made it seem so real!

280118 - RW TBLastly, I have to share this with you. This is Rachel Whiteread’s “Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)” from 1995, which filled one of the main Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain. Each of the 100 pieces is a cast in various coloured resins of the underside of a found chair. Really beautiful!

Tonbridge Dragon Boat Painting

100917 - Dragon's Head

Dragon’s Head

The Loudspeaker. The starting line. The lining up of the two boats – forward, back, forward. The pomp of the glorious costumes. Hats and wigs straightened.

Pencils, brushes, paint and paper are ready.



BANG! They are off. The digging in and the clash of the paddles. The water boils and spray hurtles upwards. Dragon Boat Racing is upon us.

They are round the bend now. Still in the distance. One slightly ahead of the other. Preliminary scurry of drawn lines. Pencil meets paper.

The drum beat! Smothered, dampened thuds at first. The cries and whoops of the crowd as the boats come scampering down the river towards us.

Drum beats get louder. More frantic. Boom…boom…boom! Brushes, watercolour, splash – get those colours down on the page.

They are upon us! Yelling, bellowing, a heaving mass of bodies, paddles, water, spray, dragons, pencils, paint, line and tone.

The drummer beats and shouts. The artist frantic – hands a blur.

It is close, very close, too close to call! Dragon heads straining forward, pulling and diving towards the finishing line…

Bang! Bang!

It is over now. Paddles are shipped, and arms raised. The drums fall silent. The helmsmen serene, as the boats slide under the bridge.

The artist survives the carnage on the page, and the paint begins to dry.

100917 - Dragon Boat Racing

Dragon Boat Racing