martin davis artist

Mark making is a primal urge. This is where I explain the ecstasy of painting and why it calms my soul.

Month: January, 2016

A new year a new me?

Already it’s getting on towards the back end of January and I haven’t committed myself to any radical new departures or revealed any new obsessions for this year.

Well the backbone of the year is already set. I try not to bog myself down with too many commitments at the beginning of the year as it gives me less flexibility as the year progresses and intrudes on valuable studio time but I have a small number of events that I intend to make the staples of my year, most years:

  • Derbyshire Open Arts – May bank holiday weekend 28-31st. I will be at Florence Nightingale Hall, Holloway
  • Solo exhibition-Leabrooks Arts Complex, Leabrooks, Derbyshire Oct 17-28th
  • Buxton Spa Art Prize, plein-air in/around the town over Summer
  • Paint out Norwich, plein-air in/around Norwich Oct/Nov


During the months of Feb, April, May, June, Sept & Oct I will also have some work on display at Studio 61 in Holloway with Karina Goodman. And as the year unfolds I will be looking for others if I can fit them in.

In April my work will be represented at the official launch of the Hornshaw Gallery in London at the Brick Lane Gallery Annexe E1. I am fairly confident of this as two of my pieces feature on the official flyer for the event (below) but I have yet to receive details. I am very excited about this as this will really be my first time exhibiting in London.


As far as my artwork goes all I can say at the moment is no new departures, no grand gestures just a continual evolution of what I do. After some gruelling still life recently I am glad to be onto something a little freer and more expressive. In fact for the rest of this year I have committed myself to becoming a lot looser with my work and hopefully finishing work quicker ….and to better effect. At least that’s the intention.





Death of the Starman

I’ve been privileged to be old enough to witness the entire career of David Bowie. Ever since he came to prominence in the 60’s I have loved and followed his music through every twist in the way. But it took his unexpected death and the shock that goes with it (equalled only by that of the death of my father and John Lennon) to make me realise that he was more the complete artist than just a mere rock star. Like Lennon before him he has been a seer for his generation and was deeply loved by many older and younger – a real sign that he has touched the human in us all like few others. What a loss! Artistically I would say he was the Andy Warhol of his time but I fear that might undersell him. In time we will see.

RIP David Bowie, the only rest he will have known.

the first post not the last post

Without looking back over my blogging activity levels of last year I think I know myself sufficiently well to sense that they were “mixed”. I have never been the sort of communicator in any medium who can communicate regularly, or even as some do every day, about something I care enough about or know enough about. I would rather have something to say first even if that means I am less often in evidence – quite a reasonable trade-off in my view.

I hope those of you who read my stuff (occasionally) already appreciate that fact, indeed when I started this blog I made it clear from the outset that this would be no platform for daily blah from yours truly….so this should be no surprise. Yes I know that in theory you should exercise your communication capabilities regularly/daily to keep them sharp, just as you should draw something or paint something every day ostensibly for the same reason….but I don’t necessarily hold with this proposition. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I prefer the less is more approach to output. And anyway I have written enough stuff and painted/drawn enough stuff in my time for this “shout the loudest, oftenest” kind of thing to sharpen me any further. I am quite as blunt as I will always be.

Anyway apart from all that – as my infant granddaughter is wont to say at an alarmingly young age – the fact that here I am on the first day of the new year putting pen to paper may strike you as a bit OTT on my part, given my past record. In fact it is just a bit of a coincidence and not the least bit contrived that I have something worthwhile airing on this day of all days of the year.

So what of it? this something?

I wanted to share with you something dear to my heart. Don’t you just love it when you find something written in someone else’s pen, often about something else altogether that perfectly describes your feelings in a different sphere? a kind of synchronicity. One thing that moves me immensely as an artist is when worlds seemingly collide and literature and painting dance the same dance – to the immeasurable enhancement of each other. It is a major source of inspiration to me, if a little rare, indeed all the more beautiful I suppose for its rarity. It was in just this way that, as I was re-reading a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel over Christmas, I stumbled on the following few lines that brought me up sharp:

In an inhabited room there are refracting objects only half noticed; varnished wood, more or less polished brass, silver, and ivory, and beyond these a thousand conveyors of light and shadow so mild that one scarcely thinks of them as that, the tops of picture frames, the edges of pencils or ash trays, of crystal or china ornaments; the totality of this refraction appealing to equally subtle reflexes of the vision as well as to those associational fragments in the subconscious that we seem to hang on to………”

Here was FSF describing with appalling accuracy my own sensitivity, even obsession, with the focus on light and shade as the driving force in all my painting….the be all and end all as it were (especially when allied to remembrances of things passed) that I have often tried to describe or summarise in innumerable artist statements and always felt I failed to convey. Here it was by someone else’s hand doing a better job of it than I ever could. I still can’t get over it!

The message I suppose is clear for artists – just stick remorselessly to what you know instinctively is why you do art, it is never wrong. Now thanks to FSF I feel I am not alone with my obsession and I am not some mad person.

Happy new year!