March 2020

I’ve been a fan of the US all my life. I remember as early as 8, wearing Americana and wanting to visit the Big Country. Even now, where I’m writing this from, it still feels like coming home. A feeling I can explain, but it just is.

However this time, when I taking in the dark side of today’s America, I feel my love affair waning.

It’s not the incessant advertising; almost brutal in its TV and billboard bombardment. Neither is it the sensational TV news anchors blowing Ostrich egg sized hot air into stories with a quail of content. It’s really my disillusionment with the American dream.

Don’t get me wrong, that still exists, but when I look around and hear stories from people whose lives have been crippled simply because a family member has had an illness that wasn’t covered on their insurance, that dream seems so paper thin.

Say what you must about the bursting, ailing strain of our NHS, I feel we must do what we can to protect a system that doesn’t demand a valid credit card before your child-in-pain is even looked at, or an urgent life-saving operation is undertaken.

Travelling broadens the mind for sure and on this trip, seeing people in tents under concrete underpasses with wheelchairs outside their zippers, I can’t help feel our most dearest of institutions has it right.

For me, the true strength of a nation is one that cherishes it’s vulnerable and protects its innocent, so my soul-ache for the Americas is wholly compensated by the warm glow of appreciation I have for my own nation’s asset and my deepest thanks go to Aneurin Bevan PC, and those that protect his awesome legacy.

On a more pucker note, let’s look at the astonishing new works your all-time favourite gallery (possibly) has to tempt you with… and boy, are they goodly!

I want to kick off with our newest recruit, Tom Shepherd. Tom has been on my radar for a long time and after he invited me to partake in one of his excellent artist podcasts, I decided to broach the subject of representation with him. I’m delighted he acquiesced and his first batch of work is now live for your delectation here.

On the still-life front, Ben Taffinder popped in with two utterly delightful pieces the other day (along with an awesome landscape). What can you say about that fella that hasn’t already been said. Superb! And our still-life queen, Penny German sent down a whole new collection. Better move fast if you want one of those… they’re already selling like hot-cakes!

Our Bulgarian prince, Angel Angelov sent over what I can only describe as a masterful new collection. Once again he’s outdone himself and I’m excited to get these back from the framers so I can drool over them myself.

Angela Uren, too, has been busy at the easel with three gorgeous pieces and who can resist a drop of Robin Mason? Not me, that’s for sure! And these newbies are just a taster of what’s in store for his exhibition with us from 10th to 12th April!

The delightful Claire Henley came down for tea and biscuits and dropped off a couple of corkers in passing. If these are the first of the season it’s gonna be a beauty for sure! And who doesn’t like a little sea-spray in their hair? Jill Hudson‘s work has that freshness every time and you can smell the brine in these crackers!

And if you’re looking for something truly dramatic, how about this awesome (in size and content) Neil Bolton that’s just gone live on his page? Well worth seeing in glorious superzoom, I tell ya!

Right, that’s it for today. We have new work from Jamel Akib, Hester Berry and Stephen Higton on the easel so more on those and work from at least three new artists this year in next month’s thrilling newsletter. Same time, same place, same channel!

For now, adios from the Americas!


Mark David Hatwood FRSA


February 2020

I want to talk a little about RAK this month. No, not Mickey Most’s record label that spawned hundreds of hits in the 70s (including those of the band I was in) but the acronym for: random acts of kindness.

I was feeling somewhat tender just recently – woke up the wrong side of the bed or had a disturbing dream that I couldn’t shake – and it was really affecting my day. I ended up getting chippy with everything, including a lonesome fight with a cooker into my car to take for recycling… read more.

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