Archives for posts with tag: Michael Munday

Since my last exhibition two years ago (Michael Munday: Through Still Life) I’ve been working abstractly, leaving behind (mostly) images of ‘things’. So there are no stories in this exhibition – these paintings are about shape, colour, line, texture and, sometimes, they venture into the third dimension.

They can be divided into two categories: painted before, and after, a recent trip to Kerala, South India. There I was very influenced by the bright colours of houses, clothes, sky, advertising, temples, and of course, something of the iconography of Kerala. But nothing in the paintings is to be taken literally. Here is a selection from the exhibition.

The exhibition is at Martyrs’ Gallery & Project Space, Star Brewery, Lewes BN7 1YJ, UK. It runs from 3-25 June, Thursdays – Sundays, 12-5pm.

All paintings are 40.5 cm square, mixed media on panel, floating, in white frames.





































5 blocks








San Sebastian: Pintxos heaven!

A five-hour drive from the Dordogne brings you via Biarritz (not stopping there) to San Sebastian, a seaside city with a fantastic bay. And many bars! The bars compete with each other in their displays of pintxos (the Basque version of tapas). They are crowded with locals and tourists, queueing in an almost orderly way to buy these delights. Described as a ‘small snack’, they are each rather a large and elaborate snack: on a piece of toast, for instance, you might find a construction of salt cod and prawns on aubergine, or deep-fried artichoke with cheese and ham, squid pieces in garlic…

Eaten (carefully), standing up, with a glass of chilled red rioja, this is a gourmand’s delight. Amazingly, I find a seat – and start drawing…









two lines

I’m showing nine abstract paintings from the last 18 months in a group exhibition, with Liesha Yaz, Marion McConaghie, and Noura Hardy, at Pelham House Hotel, St Andrews Lane, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1UW. Here are some of them. They are all 45cm square, framed in white.

There are no stories here – no narratives to be looked for; these paintings are about shape, colour, line, texture, and sometimes another dimension.
I love contrast: hard/soft, sharp/blurred, controlled/random. I use observation and play, chance and accident, distress and decay.

Among my many influences over the years are William Scott, Ben Nicholson, Antoni Tapies, and Kurt Schwitters. But you probably spotted that.

The exhibition runs from 19 August to the 14 October. Private view on Sunday 21 August, 4-6pm.


After another three hours rehearsal at The Spire, we’re finally on the beach! And it’s a dress rehearsal, so we’re in costume with our props, and working on the big pebbles. In front of us, the huge shining pole that is the i360; behind us, the sea and the West Pier skeleton. Lea is whistling our changes, and we’re crunching from position to position…

oskar schlemmer triadic ballet


Three Score Dance has been commissioned by the Brighton Festival to work with famous choreographer Lea Anderson (The Cholmondeleys, The Featherstonehaughs) to make a new piece, Tall Tales.The Founder’s Room at Brighton Dome is rather small for a rehearsal for 50 people. No collisions even though we’re all moving rather quickly in different directions (and that’s just the warm-up). Because the company is so large (yes, 50), we’re split into two groups to rehearse on alternate sessions, but we all do the exercises together. We’re looking forward to the finished piece in the Festival, though we don’t yet have an idea of the final shape of it. Working with Lea is really exciting, and her designer Tim Spooner has dropped some intriguing hints about possible costume designs (I’m not telling!)

The piece is based on paintings and designs by the Bauhaus artist/designer, Oskar Schlemmer.

tracesTraces (sold)

Still life: for many years a favourite subject. From commissioned illustration way back in the 1970’s and ’80’s (often food) through to today’s paintings, I’ve loved the composition of the domestic. Initially those illustrations were supposed to suggest a concept (those were the days), but the ingredients – jars, bottles, glasses, bits and pieces from around the house – took on their own life. The shapes were enough to work with. The silhouettes became the material. No ‘meaning’. So working with, from, and through still life, came this series of paintings. All were painted over the last eighteen months, through the joy of shape; through observation, play, and accident. These have become progressively more abstract, yet underlying each is the nature of things.

This is an exhibition of a selection from the ongoing series: just ten paintings. Through still life.

Friday 17th to Sunday 19th July, 10am – 6pm. The Stable Gallery, Paddock Art Studios, Paddock Lane, Lewes BN7 1TW.


Adobe Photoshop PDF

After I illustrated Grace Nichols’ and John Agard’s poems in the November issue of VivaLewes, the three of us decide to make a limited edition screen-print of their poems with a new image to accompany them. The last time I was struck by the poignancy of Grace’s mother closing the curtains on the Bonfire celebrations – is she Guido’s mother, the mother of a Protestant martyr (16th C!) or the innocent mother of a British jihadist? This time I try to incorporate something of the wry humour of John’s poem, but incorporating references to Lewes (the castle), subversion (the mask) and the real person behind the mask, plus a tiny amount of the debris left behind after the celebrations, that has always completely disappeared by the next morning…

The limited edition of 100 prints, signed and numbered, on 300gm watercolour paper, are on sale at readings and performances by John and Grace, and available at Skylark Books shop in the Needlemakers, Lewes, priced £20.

John Agard is the guest on Desert Island Discs tomorrow (Sunday 16 November, repeated Friday 21 November)




To celebrate Bonfire, VivaLewes magazine invites the wonderful poets Grace Nichols and John Agard to contribute a poem each. I am flattered when they ask for an illustration to accompany them, and particularly taken with Grace’s poignant ‘Fifth of November’:


From day-break the build-up,

which I like best, begins to stitch the town –

threads of an ancient ritual.


The boarding-up of shop fronts

in case of shoving crowds;

in case Prometheus’s children

out to commemorate

his hotly stolen gift, get out of hand.


Already the scent of kerosene invades the air.

Street-food vans take up their stand

as ordinary folk become

transformed into Tudor and Victorian ladies,

blackened-faced Zulus, fine-feathered Indians,

the no-nonsense striped-jersied.


Later in the crowded streets

among the bangers, sparks and brass,

we crane our burning cheeks to see –

the procession of lit torches

soon-to-be burnt effigies

wheel barrows of flaming logs.


And now, the whole town

reverberates and shakes

to the crackling booms of fire works –

the cold air gasps at bright spells cast –

fountains of diamonds

showers of falling stars.


Am I the only one to glimpse

at an upstairs window

the pale face of a woman

drawing her curtains on it all –

as if she were the mother of a martyr

or one called Guy Fawkes?


© Grace Nichols 2014. Published with kind permission.


bonfireYes – the two words go together, like, well… they just go together. Ask any Lewesian or anyone who’s come into Lewes for Bonfire on any 5th of November. It’s the big deal here. The members of the Bonfire Societies work towards the 5th preparing floats, banners, the firework displays, and of course, the costumes.

I’m asked to be a judge of South Street Bonfire Society costume competition, mostly on the basis of having no Bonfire connection at all. I think about what to wear and decide on my best suit out of respect. My fellow judge is the radio producer, David Blount (he knows nothing, too – so we’re impartial, you see).

We watch a parade of members in their costumes – mostly colonial pre- American War of Independence and English Civil War, in different categories: Under 5’s (girls), 5-9 (boys, girls), 10-15 (girls, no boys!) and so on. Great imagination and craft have gone into the making of these costumes, and somehow we have to decide who gets the gold, silver and bronze medals. It’s tough. Young Thomas (4) gets a joint bronze. He chews the ribbon in contemplation of…

The Men’s, the final category, and there are only two contestants. In any normal situation, Benjamin would have won. In his perfectly recreated Civil War musketeer’s costume. But Tony (landlord of The Snowdrop Inn) sashays in as a Time-Travelling Steampunk Medicine Man! I say Tony but he’s hard to recognise: his face has been unzipped and opened out, revealing a ghastly skull encrusted with glittering cogs and wheels and gems, the brim of his topper topped with optician’s instruments and a raven’s wing, his leather-strapped coat writhing with worms of light… on his gauntlet is perched a brass multi-barrelled revolver…  No contest.




Kenneth, fresh from his shower, is settled back into bed. Chris, in playful mood, combs his hair into an upswept Mohican look: Kenneth is not that enthralled with the style. I personally think it could work with a little trimming round the edges, but I’m not his style guru. I’m rather taken with the disgruntled pushed-lip look in profile, so I ask him to hold it for a few minutes.

We embark on a series of profile portraits, exploring Kenneth’s modes, as he gets better. None has the clarity or character of the Big Lip Mohican drawing, but he consents to adopt a Quentin Crisp (whom I drew back in the 60s) and somehow I turn him into Anthony Burgess, too.

I give him the drawings, and the staff make a little gallery of Kenneth on his wall. He’s pleased, and I’m flattered, and glad to have found such a good model. Thank you, Kenneth!