martin davis artist

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


Well for the second time in as many months I find myself ill and feeling much too ropey to attempt any creative stuff in the studio so I’ve had to content myself with a bit of cleaning & tidying up in there and doing a bit of stocktaking. Hadn’t realised I was running so low on canvases, especially the bigger stuff.

Soon as I’m better a shopping trip methinks!


Oh lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz!

Well that was a strange evening at the charity event Mercedes Benz Derby yesterday!

Not a huge crowd and the people who did make it were clearly there just for the cars. When it came to the art auction interest was almost non existent and most works went for a song mine included , some didn’t sell at all.

Ah well I did think it was strange mix.

Mercedes Benz charity auction

No they’re not giving away any Mercs anytime soon but they have organised an art charity auction at their Derby branch tomorrow night 7-9.00pm. They contacted me a few months ago to see if I would be prepared to paint something for auction, something that embodied the iconic spirit of Mercedes Benz. All funds raised are going towards rural kids in Zambia, in particular towards their education – so having caught me a little off-guard I said yes sure! when normally I might have been more circumspect, at least initially.

Glad I did it though. Two months down the line this is what I produced:

watch over me

I call it “watch over me” and-based on the corporate teddy bear with motif on sale in their shop-I wanted it to focus on the softer, more feminine side of motoring. It’s intended to suggest the trust and security in the brand that attracts its customers, some of whom -like this little girl-may feel they have a guardian angel watching over them when they drive a Merc. Well I quite like it! and I wanted it to stand out from the usual petrolhead stuff.

I’ll be there from 6.00 with some other stuff on show too – so if you wanna see it you know where I’ll be.

Derbyshire Artists Guild et al

Been my usual inactive blogging self since well before the turn of the year. Unfortunately my submitted piece did not make the final cut-off for the Threadneedle Art Prize exhibition at Mall Galleries in London. Pity really the exposure would’ve been nice, and I never expected to be in with a shout at the 1st prize – that would be dreaming! but that elusive last step into some kind of national exposure continues to be just that. Happy to get so far and in the knowledge that my work is good enough to warrant serious consideration.

On a more upbeat note Oct last year saw the inception of a new group of artists in Derbyshire – Derbyshire Artists Guild (there is a facebook page) and yours truly is a founder member. Only managed one exhibition last year but not bad from Oct to end of Dec eh? actually the second day was snowed off at Baslow Village Hall so I s’pose you could argue even that didn’t happen. This year is off to a flyer though with no less than 3 events already booked;

  • 31st Mar-2nd Apr – group exhibition @ Baslow Village Hall
  • 26-28th May – Derbyshire Open Arts @ Old School House Swanwick  DE55 1BL
  • July – tba
  • 17/18th Nov – group exhibition Baslow Village Hall

Trust me there will be more from DAG. I am v keen to be a progressive member of a progressive art “collective” in my home county.

Also working on two commissions, at various stages of development;


the usual art workload just goes on as normal. Next up some still life. Hopefully!















Ceci n’est pas une bouteille

As promised in my last post, here it is! Thanks to my customer/fellow artist the lovely Lynne Evans who supplied this photo of my Magritte inspired installation piece “Ceci n’est pas une bouteille” taking pride of place in her garden. Thanks Lynne!

You can just make out the title on the card inside the bottle, but what you can’t see is that on the other side is the tag #CleanSeas – a UN sponsored programme to clean up international waters chiefly from plastic such as the bottle in the centre of my artwork. There is no price tag for this art as we are all already paying the earth! Thanks Lynne you’re a star!



….and second?

Oh yes where was I? the second significant development over the last few weeks…….. well up until now I’ve always felt that “art” is more or less a solitary kind of thing for me, and so it is when it comes to actually creating something. I need to get in the zone and stay there. Music can sometimes help and even the radio, but what I don’t need is company.

That is still the case but I realise now, having been doing this for a few years, that when it comes to getting out there and promoting myself and doing the commercial side of things a bit of a support system is no bad thing, especially since it’s the side of the business that I don’t like much. “Selling is not for me” just about sums it up – so any help I can get I now welcome.

Anyway in the last few weeks I have become a founder member of D.A.G. Still in it’s embryonic state Derbyshire Artists’ Guild (I know) has been set up with exactly this kind of support in mind. At the moment it’s just a few like minded souls such as myself but hopefully over time it will grow and be a great success.

Don’t look it up yet, there’s not much out there yet, not even any visuals. But there will be and no doubt I will be penning a few more lines over the coming months.

Oh yes and one more bit of news. In my time I have created only one piece of installation art and today it sold (I make that a 100% record) for the grand sum of £5.00 to charity. The title of the piece – with much help from Magritte – is “Ceci n’est pas une bouteille” and it consists of a plastic bottle on a board with some well positioned beach debris and driftwood. Inside the bottle is a card with the title on it and on the reverse the link #CleanSeas. It was priceless, literally no price as plastic litter is already costing us the earth.Politically charged art, whatever next?

And I must have a picture of it somewhere! maybe next time when I’ve found it.

and second?

Well I’ll come to that in due course. Must dash………

Columbia Threadneedle Prize 2018, etc.

Been some while since I posted a blog and things happen when you least expect it. First I found to my great surprise that one of my entries for the Threadneedle had actually got to first base this year. Instead of outright rejection, which I must say is the norm and something I’ve come to expect, one of the three pieces I submitted this year has actually been pre-selected (shortlisted – or more accurately I guess longlisted) from the many thousands of entries they must get every year from gullible idiots like me. Which means I have to deliver the painting to them on 28th Oct for further consideration and hopefully final selection for the exhibition in the new year.

Well as they say you don’t win if you don’t apply! Actually I find such minor critical successes as this provide a huge shot in the arm of confidence and self belief that I must be doing something right somewhere along the line……if only I could pin it down whatever it is and bottle it.

Oh and the painting? That’ll be this one then – “Kiss”


Being pre-selected for such a prestigious thing as the Threadneedle also confirms me in my own belief that this little painting is probably the best thing I’ve yet painted……and it was quickly done……and it’s in acrylic, not my norm! my own judgement of what I do can’t be that far adrift then? Wish me luck for the next stage.


200 years ago in a village near here

I was approached  with a commission proposal more than 2 years ago now by a member of a local history group who were planning to commemorate the bi-centenary of an extraordinary event that tends to go unremarked. That group is The Pentrich & South Wingfield Revolution Group ( – check this out for a potted history of the Revolution).

Back in April I reported on the launch of the event – see April 8th post- in Belper which I attended. Now the group have fulfilled yet another of their commemorative intentions – erecting an official “information board” in a suitable location in every town and village involved in the event (and there are a few!), providing a permanent reminder of that place’s involvement in the historic events of 1817.

I am absolutely thrilled that my small contribution (my painting “Alfreton arise” – see earlier post 8th April below) has been included on the board erected in Alfreton, outside the entrance to Alma Park opposite the Watchorn Church.


I had no idea a detail from the painting was going to be used in such a permanent and public way and I can’t thank the group enough for that decision………. so proud!

Buxton Spa Prize winner announced

Source: Buxton Spa Prize winner announced