Below here are journal entries, usually written last thing at night. 
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Monday 09/10/23
Update on the storm: 125mm of rain fell in roughly two hours. To give you an idea of how much that is the average annual rainfall for the UK is 800-1400mm. The power still hasn’t come back but I’m buying a generator so we won’t have to decamp to the main farmhouse again as we are currently doing. Another week without electric which also means another week without water to the house as the pump can’t be powered to get water pumped up from the well. We luckily have a clean well though so can manually get water if we need to go back home for any reason.

Thursday 05/10/23
Electrical Storm

I’m sitting in our house, on the sofa, writing this in my notes app on my laptop. We have just had a huge electrical storm. A shit tonne of rain fell in the last hour with really strong winds. It has knocked our power out and there’s water coming in through the kitchen and side doors. I just had to shut the front door as the wind was blowing rain in sideways under the veranda roof. Wifi is off, I just hope the wind hasn’t blown off the antenna, my phone is out of battery but I had some left on my laptop so am able to write here. It’s nuts here when there’s a big storm like this. Although our little house is protected by the hills of the pasture and is essentially in a valley of sorts it feels very exposed when the heavens open like this, especially with strong winds and thunder as it feels like we are getting battered from outside. It makes you realise how insignificant we are in the midst of natures grip. The water that comes down the hill in front of our house after these storms is now flooding the bottom of our land where our well is and a small river that runs out through the field to the side. It sounds and looks like some river rapids and a waterfall. It’s crazy how much water there is. My father-in-law always says if over 100mm of rain falls in a day it causes havoc - roads to local villages and the main farm house are usually un-passable. The rain in the tropics is humbling.

I have two candles lighting our living room, Paula is asleep on the bed with Stella and all three dogs are inside, escaping from the storm. As I had to shut everything the smell of wet dog is starting to get a bit strong but I feel too bad to make them go outside now. Even though the rain seems to be coming to an end and the storm, I think, is passing, everywhere in the garage and the balcony where they usually sleep will be flooded.

It actually makes a nice change to be able to write like this, with no distractions or interruptions. Writing needs complete solitude, I just can’t get into it even if someone comes in the same room and doesn’t say anything. As Stephen King says you should close the door when you write your first draft and open it when you edit. The storm is definitely passing now. The thunder is travelling South East by the sounds of it, having come from the West. I took a couple of quick videos when it was still some way away from us beyond the hill to the front of our house. I’ll try and post them tomorrow if our electric and internet returns. I really hope the antenna is still up on the roof..

I just got up to check on Stella and stepped in a puddle of water in our living room. Outside I can start to hear a few cows bleating now the rain has died down. Our bed is covered in bits of dust and small debris where the house shook when the lightening cracked. It’s noticeable coming from Rio, where we stay in an apartment on the fourth floor of a seven story building - when it rains like this there you are protected, the electric usually stays on, you don’t have trouble with the water the following day. It’s a step away from nature. Here on the farm, and especially in our place, you feel everything that comes your way and you have to deal with its consequences afterwards. I’m convinced this separation from nature that living in the city provides has some sort of effect on us as individuals. How I feel here in the midst of a storm, even though it’s not pleasant, is something like how I feel lighting a fire or climbing to the top of a mountain. It’s a bit exhilarating. Even though the comfort of being safe and without any problems in a metropolis is nice, it’s good to experience these extremes of weather (obviously if we can remain safe that is). It’s a privileged position to be in to live this close to nature. Something just ran by in the wet outside, most probably a cow but I’m going to check it out so will leave this here for now.

Monday 17/04/23
I realised recently how much we’ve achieved and changed in four years since moving to Brazil. Although it wasn’t really a fully planned ‘move’ when we left London in December 2019 we have actually just uprooted and stayed here. What was initially meant as a six month sabatical turned into a full time move fairly naturally. The pandemic hit Brazil in around February/March 2020, three months into our supposed six month stay here. Our flight home was cancelled and we quickly realised that we would be here for perhaps a foreseable length of time. It’s incredible how adaptable we have the capability to be, even if this is only realised truly when our hands are forced. I always knew we were capable of handling change well, especially after our eventful 2016 when we had to move house four times while dealing with chemotherapy and I was studying full time after quitting my job. It’s also impressive how little we actually need. My wife and I came to Brazil with clothes for 6 months and a few needed items. Yes we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff again in the four years since arriving but I can barely remember what we’ve got in storage in London and I’m pretty sure most of it we don’t really need.

Today we have things we can’t put in storage and life feels so much fuller. It hasn’t been smooth a lot of the time but I’m convinced some of the sacrifices we’ve had to make are what gives us this incredible wealth in the way of completely natural surroundings, a renovated little farm house we can call home, three incredible dogs, beautiful horses, some cows, a car and our little daughter Stella. I’m sure the times when I felt like giving in and going back to London, getting a job and living what could be described as a more ‘normal’ life were the times that tested me and enabled some sort of delayed gratification. Planting seeds and toughing out a winter or two for them to grow into a tree. These tough times were a test and the results weren’t instantly recognisable, but now I have seen them for myself they are more full-filling and longer lasting. And the tests only make us stronger, I’m sure of that now, it’s not just a cliche’d saying repeated. I opened myself up to those tests and have gone somewhere I never thought possible.

Thursday 22/09/22
Been some testing days recently, but I must write here more. I know I’ve mentioned this before here but I have to work at my mental health, just like my physical fitness too, and lately i’ve not been disciplined and didn’t have the buffer i needed when some really bad news came in. i’m writing this here as a sort of guarantee to myself that I will have to do this, and if not I can go back and tell myself ‘i told you so!’ Just that for now but expect me here more from now on. 

Saturday 15/07/22
Seems like everytime I write here I haven’t written for a to be more disciplined and write here regularly, both for my work and my health. Anyway, back to things here. I’m fully immersed now in Web 3, namely Solana through the brilliant platform Exchange.Art. I’m really enjoying it, not only because of the ease of transactions and the intractions in the community both with  other artists and collectors but also because it’s breathed new life into my art making. I’m trying new things, taking risks and feeling a bit out of my comfort zone. Yes most of the work I’ve put on there so far is different to what I’m actually making today but I now more than ever want to try and slim down what i’m doing. Blockchains are great for me as I can put all my previous series of works on them and now focus on bringing everything together - so my physical and digital output are more alligned. At the moment it might be hard for new viewers of my work to make head or tail of it. Another reason why I came up with a sort of alter ego for my surrealist collage pieces. I don’t want to just forget these works I’ve made in different styles - I’m very proud of them, some are better than others, but i need to come back to my identity within my work. that has been something very difficult since moving to brazil and in particular the ranch. I went from being a Londoner, living and breathing the city and making work so identitcally tuned with it that coming here I almost had to start things again. my work was always a result of my surroundings and i don’t think i really appreciated how much until we got here. Now i’m in line with this again - I live in one of the most unbelievanle places imaginable - surrounded by mountains, green pastures, horses, cows, views that stretch for miles - so I need to go back to what I was doing in london and use my surroundings. I guess i have been doing that with my latest abstracts using food packaging, jute coffee sacks and wooden crates but now i’ve had my eyes opened to new possibilities i feel like this can be improved. i’m still pleased with the work ive been making, very much so, but it can be alligned better with both my identity and my surroundings. i’m looking forward to what is to come. 

Saturday 23/10/21
It´s been a while since I wrote here and a lot has happened
in that time. I haven´t been writing here mainly because of various connection
issues – no laptp, wifi or decent signal where we now are – but partly also due
to me losing a bit of discipline both with aspects of my practice and my mental
health. I´ve realised over these past few years that I really have to work at
my mental health to be able to function well. I can´t just sit back and hope
that I´ll feel contentment or fulfilment with what I´m doing. I need to
exercise very regularly, meditate, do breath work and take cold showers every
day (thank you Wim Hof – a game changer for me). Even in doing all that I
sometimes have a wobble and everything feels hopeless but generally if I keep
disciplined in this and also write down my thoughts here, it helps keep the
demons at bay. Perhaps me not writing so much has attributed to a bit more of a
struggle as well?

One thing I do think I need to improve on is my gratitude.
Being grateful is always a trait of those I come across in this life that seem
happy, more content and more whole. Having gratitude for what you´ve got rather
than thinking about what you want, it sounds so simple but I find that doesn´t
come naturally to me and it´s something I have to work at (another thing I have
lost a bit of discipline over).

We´ve now moved to the ranch, I think we´ve been here about
two and a half months now. It took more or less a year, from thinking about refurbishing
this little house to actually being able to move in – and there´s still a fair
bit to do. It is an idilic life, we are very remote – the nearest other house
around 2/3km away. We don´t hear anything other than natural sounds from the
surrounding pastures – birds, capybarer, horses and cows. When our dogs bark in
the evening it echoes across the neighboring farms. The stars at night time are
breathtaking on a clear night, stretching from one horizon to the other, the
galaxy arcing above our heads. It´s all sometimes so dream-like I don´t take it
in. And that brings me back to gratitude. Life isn´t easy here – on a ranch. It
can be an unforgiving environment and living with and looking after animals
aways presents various obstacles. The flies on a warmer day are relentless and
many. The rain turned the one dirt road out of here into a mud bath which we
couldn´t pass on. Water got into the house, through the underside of the doors
and the roof. The combination of the mud and three dogs makes it almost
impossible to keep the clothes you have on clean and we had a visit from a
scorpion. My work suffered, our power and wifi were knocked out in a storm and
in turn I lost a lot of perspective. But being grateful for the simple things,
however cliche that sounds, it works. The situation I find myself in here is
not a regular one and it´s something I realise more when I speak to family and
friends back in the UK. Things I´ve already taken for granted, that I would
never have experienced staying in London, I need to mark both mentally and by
writing them down – and be thankful. Being grateful. It´s a cliche because it´s
so true. They usually are.

Monday 12/07/21
Part of me doesn´t want to be writing this now but the other part knows I need to get something out while this pain is still raw. It´s not even 24 hours since England lost on penalties to Italy in yesterday´s Euro 2020 final, the first final of a major tournament England have reached in 55 years since 1966. Being abroad throughout this tournament has felt strange. I´ve watched various England games over seas before but never a whole tournament, always having the odd group game or maybe a quarter final loss to watch in a random place, wondering what I was doing and why I wasn´t watching this with my mates back home in the pub. But then again I never really liked watching football in the pub. The experts talking nonsence, the straining to see a screen, queues at the bar, wondering where to watch the game - in the end for the 2018 World Cup I started watching the games at home and enjoying them more. The only downside being not physically sharing the highs with more people - the sense of communal jubilation when we scored and if we won. I´ve now been out of the UK for almost a year and a half and the homesickness I sometimes get hit with can be difficult, but following this England team throughout this tournament, from where I currently am, has been more emotionally intense than I could ever have imagined. This could be a lot to do with being away, but it could also have a lot to do with the fact that England finally have a team that are good and we can be proud of. Whatever the reasonI have never felt the intensity of feeling watching England play football as I have these past few weeks. 

Wednesday 28/04/21
Our lives are so convenient, especially in the city, and spending time in a rural setting, being surrounded by livestock and seeing what comes along with that makes this even more apparent. It´s one of the reasons I´ve been interested in learning about hunting and fishing, something I was always quite against. There´s something in those activities where you are taking on the responsibility for yourself - the gruesome parts of life are not being carried out for you. It´s real. I´m still not sure how I would feel killing a larger animal if it ever came down to it but it has me thinking. Farm life is full of death. Dealing with things dying, it´s part of working with livestock. Even with plants and trees, things are cut back, eaten or destroyed because they can be hazardous, then they grow back again. One is closer to the cycles of life. 
There is a hidden part of our way of life that is more obvious here. Alot of what we don´t ever have to deal with is apparent. That´s what I want to convey through these latest collage/paintings - that a lot of the rougher sides of life are white-washed for us. When you live in a metropolis, everything is at your fingertips, it´s all convenient. You don´t see the grime that´s gone into the work of achieving this convenience. In using found food sacks and materials this is a direct association to the part of the world I´m working from - the rural. In turn the presentation - minimal, abstract - is a direct association with where the work will most probably end up - the city. The mud and guts of the farm, to the white walls and minimalism of the gallery. It´s actually something I might try and do when we finally move full time to the farm house - start a ´Farm Gallery´, where only the cows and a few others will see any work that´s on show - a gallery with no white walls located in a field, in the open air. Let´s see, might be good as an Instagram project?? 
Process - these latest works always start with the collecting of materials to use as surfaces. I want to get the feeling of covering-up, hiding or painting over with these surfaces so the texture is important to how the piece will feel. These surface are layed out, usually with a canvas or wooden panel on top, and cut to size. The composition is something I will have been thinking about for a little while before starting on the piece. Once the materials are cut, I glue them, which can be quite a lengthy process waiting for each section to dry. Then each section that is to be painted or worked on will be taped off. I usually use a layer of gesso, then two layers of the desired tone. This last smaller piece I just posted on Instagram had two layers of different colour which I wasn´t keen on so painted over. This one also has a wood trim frame with another layer of trim inside to create a small gab between the frame edge and the work. This can also be quite a lengthy process but I enjoy the labour in it. The current paint I´ve settled on dries matte, which helps to give that covered-over effect I wanted - almost like when something has been covered in snow or by a sandstorm. I want the textures of the surface to be apparent, but not all completely visible, covered up and paint-washed over, to mirror the subject matter of the works. 

Friday 16/04/21
Following on from what I was rambling about yesterday, I want to give a bit of context into the current work I´ve been posting. I´ve always used items from my surroundings, found objects, usually things that have been discarded. Subconciously I feel this is the most relevant way for me to express what I´m thinking and feeling about life, what I see and my surroundings. In London this would come down to me usually making work with a heavily city-based aesthetic - I loved the chaos, the ripped, the torn, the used and lived in. My scratchcard series of works I think mirrored this notion or feeling of displacement and loss that a city can sometimes exude. Coming to Brazil, and especially knowing we would be spending time in rural parts, surrounded by nature and wildlife, I was curious as to what my output would look like. Aside from this I have been writing a lot of songs, I believe from the time away from distractions at home and due to having lots of space. But in terms of my visual work I had no idea what it would turn out like. I was happy to feel the environment, do some contemplating and just make, paint, draw or whatever when the feeling arose. Unsurprisingly, spending a lot of time on a cattle farm, I was thinking and talking a lot about food - production, consumption, the history of and migration of people and what they ate. In the local areas, I was seeing the left over evidence of food transportation - large discarded sacks, wooden crates, string bags. These were the remnants of life here, the story of the people. In London the story was different. Life is different. 
At the same time I was drawn to the mark that appears on packaging here, a circle printed with ´Brasil´and the Minestry of Agriculture. Unlike the UK most things are made here, the production of most food items you can think of happens inside Brazil. In England most things are imported, fruit and veg at least. Travelling around rural Brazil you get a real sense of the size of the country - in Goais soya fields stretch for what feels like miles, Minas has farms larger than the town I grew up in and the old coffee plantations in the Vale do Cafe in Rio are unimaginably vast. And so I was drawn heavily to the subject of food consumption and production, something that was probably rather inevitable spending so much time on a farm! This was a million miles away from the white-walled galleries and the art world of London and it felt like it too. I´m very good at adapting to new surroundings and living the local life, fitting in and experiencing a place fully. But I struggled at first with art making - is it OK to just produce the same work you have been making in a new environment? When you are drawn to using found materials in your practice this didn´t feel right. I was void of ideas and inspiration for a while. As always happens with any sort of creative block or what is more like a quiet period, the best thing to do is not panic and keep working. If it´s songwriting just keep strumming around, don´t ever force it, just play and enjoy it. With art making it´s the same - just keep making, or enjoying what you are doing, play around without worrying about the outcome so much. Eventually it will come. What came to me eventually here was the idea that these two worlds - the farm, and the gallery - were so far apart not just in terms of aesthetics but also in value structures. Really, in everything, the two worlds were so seperated I just wanted to bring one to the other. In part just out of a selfish practical desire to try and fit my two worlds together and also in part because I felt there was a lot of underlying subjectivity there - there was a lot to contemplate. To be continued, now I´m off to satisfy my obsession with the story of the American West and watch The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...again. I was definitely there in a former life, I can´t get enough of the history and stories from that era and part of the world. I can feel it so strongly. This maybe a reason why I´m here at the moment, riding horses, living remotely. Maybe I´m going back to somewhere I´ve already been. 

Thursday 15/04/21
It´s funny how things come to being sometimes. In 2018 I was interviewed by DATEAGLE Art about my work and influences and I remember them asking something about the materials I use and how it might relate to my surroundings. Having only ever worked in London I remember saying it would be interesting to see what my work would be like if I lived in a field. Now that statement will be turning into a reality. We are soon to be living in an old refurbished farm house, on my wife´s father´s farm in rural Minas Gerais, Brazil. Already, and over the course of these last 14 months of being in Brazil I can see my work has changed, while I think also not too much so that it feels un-attached to what I was making before in London. When you use found objects in art making it is natural that your surroundings or the place where you find the objects will bleed into the finished artwork - this is part of the process, depending on the type of work one is making - I don´t think the location of Duchamps urinal has the same importance as say Mimo Rotella´s decollages for example. But my work has been informed by my surroundings here, initially just through making large scale, bold, bright abstract paintings that were influenced by the colours people here paint their houses and buildings. These works now seem almost like they were a bridge or something that enabled me to get to what I´m doing now. I work in series, so these current collage/paintings do feel like they sit on their own but also they feel like an extension of the abstract colourful paintings and previous work from other series that used similar materials. My reasons for using these materials has altered and developed within the work I´m making and, importantly for me, in the why I´m making it. This brings me back to the living in a field part, which I´ll expand on tomorrow as now it´s late and I have to turn off this screen.
Until tomorrow.

Tuesday 06/04/21
This is the first entry in what will be my online journal - a blog of sorts, giving a bit more insight into work I may be making and generally what I´m doing and what I´ve been up to. It may not be regular, it might not even be that interesting but it may provide a bit more context into the things I feel I need to make. 
It´s now 14:53 on a Tuesday afternoon and I´m currently in a town called Tres Rios in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It´s about 120km from the Rio everyone knows. My wife and I are refurbishing an old farmhouse about 20km from here, where will be based my new studio and our new home, for the time being. It´s a million miles away from London, the city where I was born and the place I still feel in my bones. We´ve been here since December 2019, a year and four months, the longest I´ve ever been away from the UK. One strong bout of homesickness hit me around Christmas time and lasted about a month but the strength of nature has a way of dissolving these feelings if they start to resurface. The cloudless blue April skies, the Serra mountain ranges and the view of the Two Brothers from Arpoador are just three things that quickly come to mind. 
Now time for coffee. 
Until next time..