Sunday 25 November 2018


In my third post in this series of four celebrating Louise Donovan's textile art exhibition in the Crypt Gallery, St Ives (November 10-16), the focus is on two pieces that have been inspired by the Greek island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea.

Louise and I first discovered Patmos in the summer of 1988 when we spent two weeks staying in the Patmian Hotel (now the Patmian Cultural Centre) by the waterfront. We loved the peace of this holy island with its important Greek Orthodox monastery at Chora (Hora), overlooking all. Next year we returned for three weeks. Since then, whenever we could afford the time and money for a vacation overseas, we have come back to Patmos for rest and recovery - and reinvigoration. Our privilege has been to savour nineteen Patmosian summers in the thirty-one years between 1988 and 2018. We have seen the island's bus driver grow old and retire, his hands no longer on the wheel. Instead, the two little children who joined him for the rides in the late 80s and 90s are now the island's bus drivers. By the 90s, the Patmian Hotel had closed and our vacations were spent in the Skala Hotel, a few metres away, where we enjoyed the perfection of being welcomed and looked after and respected, year in and year out.

The view from Chora downhill towards Skala on the island of Patmos

As a couple, we have travelled less widely than many others - but the opportunity to know local people over such a time-span has been such a gift. Michael and Elvira Kessetzis became the jewellers we always went to for a holiday purchase and soon they became our friends. The battering that the Greeks have taken from their northern European Community members has left so many people ruined; Michael has moved his business to Kos to make ends meet. Elvira and Michael's permanent

Friday 23 November 2018


I have a number of audiences for my Jago Stone blog-posts and one of the most important are the American readers - in particular the men and women who knew Jago the artist when they were serving their USAF tour-time in the UK at RAF Upper Heyford in the 1970s and 1980s and their children. I have been granted access to two USAF webpages and I have been reposting my series of 'JAGO STONE - THE AMERICAN CONNECTION' posts on their sites over the last few months and they have been read by over a thousand Americans and liked by eighty to date. 

Here - in AMERICAN CONNECTION - PART 9 - I am using material from an October 2018 blog post  called:'JAGO' - ANOTHER UPDATE ON THE PATH TO PUBLICATION.

This in turn was recycling material from my October Mailchimp Newsletter that had been opened by 34 subscribers. Hopefully, this will be a fruitful way to widen the circle of those who have heard the continuing good news about the path to publication and gives me the chance to tell again the Scheid family story that came my way through cyberspace. Here's the post:

'There are now, as I promised, more Jago stories and images from the other side of the Pond. Here is one that came my way in late August this year. On 22 August, 2018, Gene Scheid made contact through Facebook and gifted me a couple of images of the painting that Jago had made of the family house in West Adderbury, Oxfordshire. In response to my request for more detail and stories, Gene replied: 'Sure! My mother, Roxann Cummings Scheid has a great story how he came about painting this for us and I am sure she would be happy to share.' Here is Roxann's tale (dated 29/08/2018): 
'Absolutely! I've been meaning to get on and tell you! I loved this man. When we moved there wasn't much television. It was shortly after they had added the "Breakfast Shows" and Jago was one of the featured guests on one of these shows. He told about his painting of Sulgrave Manor. He did it for the Flying Tigers to present to the President. My memory is cloudy about this next part but I believe it was for Gerald Ford.' [Yes - the year was 1976 and it was Jago's gift to mark the bicentennial of the founding of the USA. Sulgrave Manor was the ancestral home of George Washington and not far from Upper Heyford.]

'At the time I saw this broadcast it was still hanging in the White House. I was so taken by his story that I researched how to contact him. I asked him to paint our first home in England - #1 St Amends, West Adderbury. Now we were living on Whitley Drive on RAF Upper Heyford. We commissioned him for this piece, he did it - and 

brought it to our home. Money was never discussed. This would have been around 1982. [The painting is dated 

Thursday 22 November 2018


In my second post in this series of four celebrating Louise Donovan's exhibition in the Crypt Gallery in St Ives, Cornwall (November 10-16), my focus is on Louise's political textile art. In the first post - press this link here - 'The March for the Alternative' (2012) was highlighted. Now, in this blog-post, there are two more examples of political textile art from the exhibition that warrant closer attention.

First, here is the piece that Louise exhibited in the NEC Birmingham in 2015 at the annual Festival of Quilts: 'Gaza' (2015).

Gaza - Louise Donovan (2015)

The original inspiration for this work came from a newspaper cutting - a Sunday colour magazine page - that showed a devastated urban landscape in Gaza, the buildings flattened, with one piece of red, velvety fabric covering a pile of house debris in an otherwise grey picture of devastation. That image is lost. The picture below carries a similar message of hope and life amid the destruction - red

Sunday 18 November 2018


Louise Donovan is my wife but put that relationship to one side and enjoy her works of art for what they are - the fruit of a singular talent who combines a striking command of colour and form in her abstract textile art with the traditional stitching by hand that means each piece emerges from many hours of loving work.

The March for the Alternative - Louise Donovan (2012)

This is the break-through piece when Louise becomes the textile artist, creating in abstract form the real events and feelings of an historic event in 2011 - the mass protest against Austerity. 

Her first solo exhibition has just drawn to a close here in St Ives at the Crypt Gallery, Norway Square. It ran from the 10th to 16th of November - seven hours a day for seven days; 49 hours of

Tuesday 13 November 2018


Some of the material for this post was first published at the beginning of November in the Jago Stone monthly newsletter. I am, as ever, seeking to widen the circulation of news about the research into his life and the forthcoming biography.

'And as the publication trail got hotter, the American Connection links cooled - until the last few days. Here is the story of what has come my way from across the Pond through cyberspace in the shape of Facebook:

Three days ago, Carol Baker left these messages on my repost of 'Jago Stone - The American Connection - Part Seven' using the USAF veteran's webpage: RAF Upper Heyford Brats and Friends:
'From Washington look what I found on my mom's living room … We lived in England 74-78 in Sherington.'  Accompanying the text were these two images:

Banbury Cross, Oxfordshire - Jago Stone water-colour - 1978

How exciting to have two more images to add to the collection - and Jago paintings from 1978 have been thin on the ground. 

Cottages at Wroxton St Mary - Jago Stone water-colour - 1978

Yesterday, the commentary at the bottom of the reposted American Connection - Part Seven was further enriched by this message from Dianna DAiello:

'My dad has 2 pictures from Jago Stone, one has my name in it. He painted them in our living room. I remember that he was a very interesting man. I will send pictures to you today, I'm at my dad's now.'

And there they were. Two magnificent Jago Stone palette-knife paintings from 1976, the same year that Jago painted the palette-knife now in the collection of Keith and Joan Goodenough in Virginia - see my two palette-knife blog-posts on my website, using these links:

As Jessica Raber, the American artist who appeared in a Jago painting aged 5, commented yesterday when she saw these images: 'Wow! Cool palette knife pieces!'

I am blown away by being gifted these images and seeing yet more of Jago at his 'post-prison expressionist best.

I obviously hope for more detail and stories and sharper images - but I am so grateful for what I have got - and the opportunity I now have to share this find with you, my Mailchimp readers.' 

And so the news is recycled to wider audiences still.