I recently described how I spent some months working in the studio of the late Heinz Koppel when Peter and I stayed with our friend Pip while we were between houses. A studio is a deeply personal space. It was an act of immense generosity by Pip when she invited me to set up shop in Heinz’s. To begin with I felt quite constrained. The ‘painting stack’ lining one wall contained his work, carefully wrapped and stored. The shelves were full of his books and objects he’d selected to put on display. I used his easel but had to be careful not to wipe my brushes on it in the way I do in my own studio. (You can see the mess my easel is in here.) Gradually I settled down and started to work. I blu-tacked my drawings to the walls. The high horizon lines visible from the horizontal, slot-like windows, crept into my paintings.
Here are a small handful of works made in 2006 while I was guest painter in Heinz’s studio. The wooden object in all of them is a fragment of an old yoke that Pip thinks Heinz found somewhere and brought inside. I liked it so much I painted it over and over again. There’s a definite tone to this work that I’m quite sure was down to being surrounded by all things Koppel. I’ve produced little quite like it since.
You can click on Meri’s Beast to bring up a larger version of it.
The ‘Ghost’ in The Ghost of an Ox and the ‘Beast’ in Meri’s Beast is a tiny porcelain figure made by my friend Meri Wells. The ‘Mermaid’ in the third painting is a blue-glazed earthenware ‘salt kit’ that I made with Pip’s help in her pottery workshop. This is how it looks in reality.