Saturday, 14 April 2018

JAGO STONE - THE PRIZE-WINNING PALETTE-KNIFE PAINTER - PART TWO

This blog, like last month's, is using material already posted in the current Mailchimp newsletter, my monthly update on the research and production of the biography of Jago Stone - and I've added some detail that has arrived since April 1st. Here's the link for anyone who would like to add their name to the list of Mailchimp newsletter subscribers - it's free and it helps support my presentation to literary agents and publishers in my bid to get 'Jago' into book form. Please press here.

You can also use this page to access my Jago Stone blogs.

Copies of 'The Road to Corbyn' can be purchased at a discount using this link: http://www.robdonovan-author.co.uk/TheRoadToCorbyn.html

I have a Residency at the Redwing Gallery in Penzance in June this year which means that I'll be present for 2 hours every Tuesday and Saturday morning for four weeks, answering questions, giving talks, doing readings, and other such literary things. I'm looking forward to the experience - and hoping I can sell more copies of 'The Road to Corbyn' and get even more people interested in 'Jago'. 

I promised last month to keep the focus on Jago Stone palette-knife painting in this Newsletter and I showed the two palette-knifes that the parents of my wife, Louise, commissioned Jago to paint. They also bought two others that in the course of time have become part of our collection. First, there is this study in blue that is signed and dated, Jago Stone, 1968 and has the inscription 'Bardon'. We cannot be certain but we think that this is a reference to a Grade II listed building, a farmhouse  dating back to the 16th century (now a house) that lies in the village of Williton in West Somerset on the edge of Exmoor. The village of Monksilver is close by and that is where Jago was interviewed by Kenneth Griffith, especially sent down from London for the purpose in 1969, in the village pub 'The Notley Arms' - see Chapter Nine, 'Jago on Jago' in the hopefully soon-to-be published biography. We know that Louise's parents made a journey to the west country to see Jago in his studio. They went with another couple from Gerrard's Cross who had supported Jago and arranged an exhibition for him in a gallery in Eton High Street. Jago had been given his studio space in a disused barn by the owners of the Bardon farmhouse . And Louise's  parents returned with this study in blue.



Last month, I quoted from the communication I had received from the American art-collecting lawyer who had been moved to buy a Jago Stone palette-knife painting at auction by its power. Here it is again: 

‘… As one retreats from the painting to a distance of, say, three metres, the way it coalesces into a readily recognisable street scene is quite remarkable, and the colours, though not typical of such a scene, are absolutely appropriate. It is difficult to imagine how the artist, who obviously had to work


at close quarters, achieved this effect. We should be interested to learn the approximate number of palette-knife works by this artist that are extant. He and those particular paintings deserve public recognition.’     



Agreed. But this, I suggested with evident reason, was no ordinary street scene emerging from a more distant perspective. And here - in Bardon 1968 - is a picture created by an imagination resonant with images of prison landings and walkways and yards, the movement of prisoners free at least for a while from their cells. 

The other palette-knife painting of Jago's that my wife's parents acquired at this time we know as The Lady on the Stairway. It is untitled, dated 1969 . I think it is perhaps my favourite Jago work. Led Zeppelin's masterpiece: 'Stairway to Heaven' keeps coming to mind when I gaze at this work.  





And to close this Newsletter, an image of the painting that Jago gifted my wife's sister when he left the Gerrard's Cross area in 1970. You may recall Louise was given one painting and Caroline, her sister, was given this: 





All that remains for me to say in this edition is that 'Jago' in its first draft state is now in the hands of four literary agents and I await feedback. Any comments or information do get in touch - my email is robdonovan@waitrose.com. 
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So there you have the April Mailchimp Newsletter that now in this blog has the potential for a wider circulation than the 55 subscribers I have to date. It's intriguing wondering about this wider circulation. How many more people access the blog? And who are they? These are questions that are very immediate for me after looking at my statistical feedback for views on my blog yesterday. My most recent post: THE PRISON WISDOM OF JAGO STONE AND BARON GIDDENS had been published on Sunday April 8 and already has 41 views - but by Thursday the viewing figures were declining. Yesterday - Friday April 13 - a strange thing happened. Only one more view for my most recent post but by the end of the day, my stats tell me that I had had around 80 views for JAGO STONE - THE PRIZE-WINNING PALETTE-KNIFE PAINTER, published on March 18th 2018. All the audience were located in the UK. Why so much interest in one day?

My stats for the past month tell me today that JAGO STONE - THE PRIZE-WINNING PALETTE-KNIFE PAINTER has had 147 views - around 70 more than any of the other five blogs that I've published this month that have all had between 70 and 80 views in the month. Who are these new viewers? Answers on a post card or better still in Comments on this blog most welcome. The blogsphere is a strange place sometimes but open to investigation - (we trust!).

Jago Stone in 1976 - in the centre - on either side American officials from the US embassy, I think - the occasion is the presentation of Jago's gift to the American President and people of his water-colour painting of Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of George Washington. The year - 1976 - saw the bicentennial celebration of American Independence. A very special thanks to Mark A. Donohue for his permission to use this image.



I promised I would include more detail about Jago that has come my way since the beginning of the month. My post about THE PRISON WISDOM OF JAGO STONE AND BARON GIDDENS owes its creation to the discovery of a letter from Jago Stone that the Guardian newspaper published in 1975. That was quite a find - here's the link to that blog: press here. I have also had email contact with someone - Rod Brown - who knew Jago over a period of ten days or so when the gypsy artist was seeking commissions in his neck-of-the-woods in Northamptonshire in 1971. Rod is now in his 70s but remembers Jago very clearly. The charismatic artist made an impression - Rod drank with him on a couple of occasions at the pub where Jago was lodging. Rod remembers Jago using a bike and the bus - but no car or van was evident during that time.  

And so the stories keep on arriving. I think that's an excellent twist of fate, celebrating a remarkable man and artist.