Sunday, 28 November 2010

People Watching

This was really my first proper film made in 2009. Since then I have made about 25 films varying in length from about 2 minutes to 30 minutes. I didn't really get into it until the middle of this year when I bought an HD camera and Sony Vegas editing software which has totally transformed my ability to make films.

People Watching from Philip Edson on Vimeo.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The end of painting?

I wonder if painting as one of the great cultural movements of the last two thousand years is coming to an end and indeed perhaps has already done so.

I say this for a variety of reasons:

Firstly, following on from Rothko, once paintings had been stripped down to almost just ‘plain white’ is there anywhere left for painting to go in terms of something new? Are we left now with a constant rehash of what has been done before with every single possibility already achieved in the medium?

Secondly, the trend seems to be away from passive consumerism. We live in an interactive world where the Internet is now helping to drive cultural change and revealing that what seemed rare is in fact relatively commonplace. The existence of a wide and more universal talent is now obvious. Musicians, for example, must now realise that the days of copyright and exclusivity are now just about over. More and more people can make good music and are doing so. Diamonds have always been marketed as if they were rare although it is absolutely not the case – perhaps the same applies to musicians and artists. The marketing of a few exclusive people does of course create enormous wealth and perhaps that is what a lot of it has been about. For my own part I download music direct from musicians these days and I have never had such a diverse and interesting music collection. That says rather a lot in itself.

Thirdly, technology is changing just about everything. It is increasing used in art galleries and also allows the opportunity for people to create in a way that was either not possible or just too expensive. Technology is providing empowerment for people to speak with their own voice. It can also be highly participative. Some of my recent photographic exercises have been collaborative with a guy in Canada whom I have never even met.

I have come to this opinion over a period of time. The world is changing more rapidly than perhaps any of us can conceive and perhaps we are witnessing the fall of the Roman Empire all over again – not just in terms of the terminal decline of western economies but an inevitable change of traditional culture and means of expression. No doubt people will continue to paint but I seriously wonder if it is in fact all coming to a gradual or even a quick end before too long.

After a visit to the Tate Modern in London a couple of years ago I left feeling that I had just visited a mausoleum to art rather than a living, breathing entity. I decided there and then that I would no longer visit any of the big galleries and see, yet again, the big names in art. Museums are, well, just museums about history. Important though they are that period of my life is now over. My mind is now turning to new things and the new possibilities reflecting the times in which we live. It is very exciting with so many things now open to me. I may even start making my own music too!

Any thoughts?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Long Abscence .....

After a very long abscence I am back! My paint brushes have been hung up to dry and I am not planning any more exhibitions.

My time now is devoted to short HD films.

The music is very important so please play at a reasonable volume.

Agua-tst from Philip Edson on Vimeo.

Friday, 21 August 2009

People Watching Video

I have finally finished 2 video shorts on the subject of 'People Watching'. One is about 10 minutes long and the other a little over 20. I hadn't realised that this is such a popular passtime but there are even blogs dedicated to this subject. I have always been an avid people watcher and this is a favoutite activity when sitting at a cafe. I could spend ages just watching people walk by and often do!

This is very short example of a clip I didn't use. It felt contrived to film in locations I don't normally use so in the end the final versions where just compilations of places I normally frequent.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Swamped with ideas ...

Well I have overwhelmed myself with work at the moment. I am drowning! What shall I do with all this stuff?

Monday, 3 August 2009

Older Work - Evidence Of Change

Mixed Media
60cm x 60cm
2006 and 2007

I am showing these older works as I have been reviewing my work of the last year and I think I have achieved my two obejctives of:

- using a broader range of colours
- developing my style

I still like this kind of work but I don't see myself repeating it. I am so enjoying making my current 'People Watching' video short - I now have almost 40 shoots to edit comprising over one hour of footage - that I think I might dwell some more on video. I am getting well into this!

I received an invitation today to exhibit 3 works at a Gallery in Barcelona. However, they wanted a fee of €350 (publicity, etc) and there is a requirement to pick up the work afterwards if it isn't sold. If nothing sold the cost to me would be about €1000. It just doesn't make it financially worthwhile so I have declined. Pity really.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

More in the series .....

These are 3 more from my new photo series. They were taken at our annual Fire Festival a few weeks ago.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Google drives me crazy....

Well, Google has finally driven me crazy. For some unknown reason my password for this site stopped working and I have had to jump through what seems like 100 hoops to gain access again. At this time of year with temperatures at a record 100f I have been feeling rather frazzled with all of this. However, I am finally up and running again (I think!).

Well, in spite of the heatwave - at a time when it is normally too hot - I have been very busy creatively. I am working on a new style of photo that is intended to capture movement as well as the passage of time. The above is an early example. I have also been recording video shorts for what I hope to turn into a 'People Watching' film that will last about 20 minutes.

In addition, I am hoping to form an art association in Alicante that will allow me to use the studio for private functions - this means we can have a bar, music and art events such as exhibitions and workshops. My studio was formerly a bar so it feels right to do this. All depends on permission of the local council and I hope to have this by October. It will give me a great deal of work to do if it comes off. By October it should be significantly cooler again and I will be able to get good night's sleep again. Global warming? It's here NOW in Spain!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

60cm a 60cm
Mixed Media

My paper works finally led to a work on canvas which took me almost 4 weeks to complete. It was subject to many changes but looking at it now I can't understand why I spent so long on it. It is a combination of high art and low art and colours I feel that represent Alicante in the summer fiesta season. To me this is 'Alicante'.

A small collection of my recent paper works. I am more excited about doing this kind of thing than I have been for a long time. It's a new voice for me!

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


This was the first of my small 'autobiographical' paper works which began as doodle. I now have it framed and hanging on our second lounge wall alongside several others. It was this that inspired me to do the picture below and several other similar works. For the past 4 weeks I have been totally immersed in transfering ideas from this to canvas which seems to have taken an age to complete. For some reason I find it hard to be this free on canvas.

This however explains my relative absence from blogging! I haven't enjoyed working this much for awhile and have been on a roll. Lots of things seem to have suddenly come together!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

New Direction

I have been totally absorbed for the past few weeks working on a series of auto-biographical paintings on paper that also incorporate collage from my own photographs. I think is a natural progress from my street art paintings and something that I am thoroughly enjoying. I plan a series of about 15 and have completed about 7.

I have also been busy teaching my art process which has been both enjoyable and exhausting. I need a holiday!

Friday, 6 March 2009

The Wall

60cm x 60cm

I can't believe a month has passed since I last posted anything here. I guess I have been sidetracked with sorting out my music collection which has now been transferred to a Media Player (brilliant invention - no more CDs!!) and catching up on D.I.Y jobs around the house which I have been putting off for far too long - mainly because I hate doing it and regard myself as fairly useless!

Anyway during this time I finished my 'Wall' painting shown above which is the first time ever I have painted from a photograph. I have also been working on a large scale painting (unfinished) which is to the right in the picture below. In between I have been working on two small works on paper (0ne is one the easel but which I intend to show here separately in due course).

I'll hope to catch up on the blogs I normally visit shortly.

Studio Photo 2009.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Decaying Paper

My latest photo project is taking close ups of decaying newspapers and magazines. I was especially pleased with this one.

For the first time ever I have just completed a painting based on a 'wall' photo - I never work from photos so this was quite a challenge. I will be showing that next.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Electro Dark Disco

Electro Dark Disco
24cm x 30cm
Mixed Media

Not one of my most cheerful paintings to say the least! I don't know why but a couple of weeks ago I felt I just had to get this idea out of my system so I broke off from a much larger painting to do this.

The painting contains the first line of a poem by Constantine Cavafy called 'Walls'. I first read this poem about 20 years ago and it is one of those that has stuck in my mind. The first line goes "With no consideration, no pity, no shame, they've built walls around me, thick and high".

There are of course lots of circumstances that this can apply to - prisons in general, the Berlin Wall, Guantanamo Bay etc, etc. In my opinion these often demonstrate the worst of humanity. My other enduring thought about this poem though is about the rules that we often create for ourselves, often unnecessary and unhelpful, that can keep us locked within our own walls.

We all do it to some extent but it often strikes me that the walls we create in our minds prevent us from doing and exploring so many wondrous things. For example, it saddens me when people say that they have no imagination although such a notion is, of course, complete nonsense. For my part, I continue to learn in life and hope to do so until the say I die. My values may remain the same but my opinions always remain subject to change in the light of new information, experience, play and experimentation. I am not exactly "wall free" but would claim to be a very long way down that route. Do you have any thoughts on this?

My next picture - I hope - will be rather less serious!! I do like the colours of this one though and feel that I am fulfilling my objective of using a wider range of colours this year.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Photograph or Painting?

Well, it's a photograph actually - from a collection of about 300 I have taken of walls over the last few months.

Sometimes people say to me that they don't understand the language of modern art as if it's some kind of 'secret squirrel club'. Well, I am not sure what there is a great deal to understand and, sometimes, I think that I must live in a parallel universe! This photograph could easily have been of a painting - so what is reality and what is abstract? Is it really so different from the monoprint below this post?

Friday, 23 January 2009

Last of the Monoprints

Untitled Monoprint
20cm x 20cm on paper

This is the last monoprint I produced from a series of about 20 which I made in the summer of 2007. It was produced by painting on glass and then transferring it to paper by a very simple printing method.

I enjoyed the diversion from my normal work (painting on canvas) but don't have any plans to repeat this in the near future. One of the problems I have is being able to theme my work. I flit from one idea to another and it therefore takes me a long time to get a body of work together for an exhibition. I am not one of those artists who can produce 20 pictures based on a theme and have to keep going back to an idea then adding to it - going around in repeated circles if you like. I don't seem able to work any other way.

At the moment I have no plans for an exhibition and I am enjoying the freedom from what can be intense pressure. I just figure I will be ready when I am ready. I enjoy my diversions and experimenting with new ideas - hence my recent 'ice' project. To me it's the only way to keep on learning. I would hate to look back over this year's work and feel I had not moved on. What do you think? How do you keep on growing?

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Blast From The Past

I took this photo of myself in 1986 at a time when I was living in the small historic town of Needham Market in Suffolk. It was a time when I knew I needed to move on in life and do something different - hence the gazing out of the window. I was working as a Tax Inspector at the time (makes me cringe just to think of it now!) and had been given a gentle warning by a senior manager who told me that 'this organisation does not need people who think'. I guess he was right!

Strangely enough it was not long after this that I was promoted and moved to live and work in Central London and the next 3 years were amongst the most hectic, stressful and rewarding periods of my life. My new job - working on departmental management policy - allowed for a certain amount of creativity and was very stretching for me. After a spell working at Tower Hill the office moved to the South Bank where I was able to take full advantage of the South Bank Centre and in particular the Hayward Gallery, The National Film Theatre and The Royal Festival Hall. I often spent my lunch break visiting exhibitions and wandering around the area.

I guess this is another 'alternative self-portrait'.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Ice, Ice Baby

Following my Ice Man post (below) Chris (Out Of Mind Abstracts) suggested that I might like to consider using paint in ice as an alternative to just freezing images in water. This immediately sounded like a really good idea and straight away I saw it as a challenge! Then, of course, I had to think long and hard about how to approach this. Not as easy as it sounds!

Anyway, after a week spent creating a block of ice that was frozen , re-frozen, added to and so on and so forth I ended up with a block of ice that took over 4 hours to melt! Over that time I took 305 photos - mainly close-ups. It will take me an age to sort through them but above is a small sample. It was a fun exercise to do and I learned a lot in the process.

It is always nice to get constructive suggestions so thanks to Chris for his idea. It certainly kept me busy this week and has given me much food for thought!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Bits of Me (Alternative Self-Portrait)

For some reason I was thinking about the fact that many artists do self-portraits and how much the idea does not appeal to me. Anyway, as a result of this short contemplation, I came up with the idea of assembling a few objects of mine which might, perhaps, say something about me but in a different way. So, in a way, this is my alternative self-portrait. The wooden box contains a number of items that I use on a regular basis - some daily. I wonder if I had done this 30 years ago how it might compare with now!

Friday, 9 January 2009


I spent a totally disproportionate amount of time on this very small painting and it underwent numerous changes (even for me) over a period of 8 months. I don't know why it frustrated me so much but it was after this that I decided I needed a long break from painting.

25cm x 25cm
Pigment and Acrylic

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Cabo de los Huertas Landscape

24cm x 30cm

I suppose this is about the nearest I get to doing landscapes. Cabo de los Huertas is about 6km from where I live and is a very rugged part of the coast. I usually go there about one day a week when it is sunny as I find it is a place where I can completely forget about the madness of the world in which we live and simply contemplate life, the universe and everything. I have spent most of my life living near the sea and I can't imagine not being able to to do so.


A few months ago I joined the social network group Facebook. There are some really good art groups and I have seen some really excellent work as well as having posted pictures of my own work - mainly photographs.

I was keen to see what the fuss about social networking is and was intrigued when several people sent me a message asking if I would like to be their 'friend'. It is impossible to see the person's profile before accepting but I thought there is little to be lost by doing so.

One of the artists that invited me to be a 'friend' , I discovered, had more than 2,500 'friends' already and I quickly realised I was just an addition to the number. Needless to say I have never heard from her again and she has shown no interest in my posts. Fortunately I have had some more productive experiences with a few other people.

So what have I learned? Well, my definition of what is a 'friend' seems to be rather old fashioned and out of date for some people but I think I will stick with it anyway.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


After saying that 'S0' (below) was a one-off - I have done another!

I am dedicating this to all those people who talk incessantly about themselves and yet glaze over within seconds when you say something. I seem to meet too many of these people these days - me, me, me and more me. What they are really saying is that their lives, problems, ideas, etc. are more important than those of anyone else.

People who talk but can't listen lose out big time in my opinion and these days I feel inclined to give them a wide berth. I don't expect every conversation to be 50/50 but when it comes to 99/1 - I ask you!

20cm x 50cm

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Ice Man

I am experimenting again! This time it's a digital image I created that has been frozen in water. It has given me lots of ideas on how to develop the idea further and I may do a whole series of things in ice.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Hard Times

In this period of economic difficulty I have decided to try and let my studio and gallery to other artists for a couple of days a week. I have been discussing this with local art groups and hope this will begin in January.

If all goes to plan one of them will be the local artist from whom I bought this work about 6 years ago:

Another group will be making ceramic sculptures. This is an example of the work:

I also have interest from a group that make musical instruments from found objects. I am told that a dustbin lid can be made to sound like a violin!

Although this will obviously restrict the amount of time that I can use the studio, it will be interesting to have a variety of artists working here for part of the week. They will all be teaching small groups. Part of the agreement is that I can watch what goes on and take photographs. So, I am hoping that this all comes off and is very much a success. It could be a new source of inspiration for me and I might just learn something.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


This is a new painting that is in a different style for me. I also used the colours yellow, green and orange which are three colours I rarely use. It is loosely in the style of Solbes Arjona who is one of my favourite Spanish artists. I did it as a one-off for the purposes of learning and doing something with a wider colour range.

20cm x 50cm

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


I have decided to stop describing myself as an ‘abstract artist’. I have come to the conclusion that the term doesn’t especially mean or illuminate anything and is a fairly meaningless label. One of my pet hates in life is being put in a box as my immediate and automatic reaction is to get out of it if anyone places me in one. I have also concluded therefore that by describing myself as an ‘abstract artist’ that I am also boxing myself in. We live in an abstract world on all sorts of levels so I feel I am simply reflecting the things that I observe and interest me in life if that makes sense.

When I meet someone new and I am asked what I do for a living, I usually say that I am a painter. The assumption then is that I paint people’s houses so then I have to explain that I paint on canvas and my work is of an abstract nature but I kind of resent having to say this. I feel it doesn’t really describe what I do. I don’t really enjoy trying to describe my work as I am not really sure what it is myself. Words just don’t seem to fit somehow. I think this is because creativity is a language in itself and it is pretty hopeless to try and translate it into words that are often ‘loaded’. Take the term ‘post modern’ for example – what does that really mean? Just as bad – ‘contemporary art’! These terms mean nothing to me in all reality.

I have also decided to avoid debates about what is art and what isn’t. I have been involved in some pretty heated debates about this in the past and I am finding the debate increasingly tedious. Who has the right to say what is art and what isn’t? I am willing to accept anything as a work of art if it is presented as such and that is the end of it as far as I am concerned. How it is was produced and what medium is used means nothing to me. It’s just another box I feel inclined to get out of.

Getting this off my chest helps me to feel free to do whatever I want so I needed to say it. Will it make a difference? To me, yes. At this moment I want to pursue anything that appeals to me in any way that appeals to me. Can you relate to this? Do you find labels a help or a hindrance?

The photo attached to this article was taken at Alicante Marina recently. It has been cropped to make it square but not manipulated in any way. What is it? I don’t know and it doesn’t seem to matter – it just is and I like it.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Street Photo

I think I have taken about 300 photos of crumbling walls, posters, graffiti and various textures over the last few weeks. It's all part of my search for new sources of inspiration. One of my objectives is to paint in a broader range of colours than the last few years and I am finding photographs a big help.

More to come!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Cool cat with sunglasses

To be honest the title of this painting only occurred to me after it was finished! I haven't used metallic paints for some time so it was fun using lots of bronze.


After posting this picture here and living with the painting for awhile, I think I may do more to this painting. It's a bit of a one-off for me and someone said it was very 1950's but I am thinking now its a little plain for me and needs more depth and detail. I'll live with it for awhile longer before I decide. Any opinions?

50cm x 50cm

Sunday, 16 November 2008


40cm x 40cm
Mixed media and acrylic

This painting was a real challenge because it represents a change of style and something new for me - combining collage, paint and graffiti. It is meant to represent a familiar site in Alicante City - especially in the old town known as El Barrio. It stressed me out on a number of occasions which illustrates, to me, that it was just the kind of challenge that I needed.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Light Graffiti Art

I came across this amazing web site when I was checking out the history of graffiti and urban art. Click here if you would like to see more of this.

This is an example of 'Light Graffiti' by Cenci Goepel and Jen Warnecke.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Graffiti Experiment

I decided today to try my hand at graffiti and the result is show in the slide show below.I am not attempting to become a graffiti artist or a vandal - this was done purely to try my hand at this and to enjoy the experience of using spray paints. The work was done on brown paper stuck to a wall with masking tape in the patio just off my art studio.

I was thinking of doing this onto a ready painted canvas but it is not as easy as it seems especially as the paint comes out quite 'wide' and I would have to use a very large canvas to use this method. Of course, I would have only one chance to get it right and might easily ruin the work that had already been done. Well, I will just have to give this more thought. Good fun though!

A couple of hours later I decided to add some brush strokes of acrylic paint.

Graffiti Experiment

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Graffiti and Crumbling Walls

I have had what seems like a very long break from painting – it has been at least six months. I realised I need a break when the last two paintings I was working ran into the ground. Throughout this time I have taken no interest in art whatsoever apart from wondering sometimes if my interest had gone for good although I really hoped it hadn’t.

Part of the time was spent on a much needed holiday in The Gambia where I came face to face, for the very first time, with extreme poverty. It was an experience that will haunt me for the rest of my life and one which has occupied much of my thought and resources ever since. I could write pages about it and the total lack of working together by all those that are trying to help to improve things. It is, in my opinion, a human tragedy which would be relatively easy to solve but like so many things in this world it needs some joined-up thinking and that still seems to be an ever elusive human quality.

For some unknown reason my interest in art returned in the last few weeks. I decided it was time to experiment again and found myself thinking back over some of the articles I had read on Jafabrit’s blog on the subject of graffiti and urban art. So, one day I took out my camera and took loads of photos of graffiti, crumbling walls, peeling paint and torn posters that are plastered all over Alicante. Since then, I have become really quite turned on by all of this and found it a real inspiration. It also brings into question what is the difference between abstraction and realism. The photos are of abstraction and yet are total reality. ‘Go figure’ I think the popular phrase is.

Jafabrit said she would like to see some of the photos so in response to this I have put together the following slide show. It was great fun taking these ‘abstract reality’ photos and I am sure they will influence my forthcoming work enormously. I am definitely in experimentation mood and my head is buzzing with ideas. I hope that you enjoy them and see what I see.

Photo Slideshow

Thursday, 6 November 2008

New Painting

This is my first painting following a much needed break of about 6 months.

30cm x 30cm