Date Posted: 24th September 2018

It all began in the Garden of Eden on Friday night!  As opening lines go – you can’t get much better than that - but the dress code was a cocktail dress rather than fig leaf!  The occasion was the Carlisle Living Awards 2018 and I am pleased to tell you that the Kelly retrospective exhibition won the best arts initiative award. It certainly had an impact on Carlisle. It’s hard to believe that it’s a year since we opened that exhibition. It has been non-stop ever since.

It’s Monday morning as I write and I am anxiously awaiting delivery of HAVE A HUMBUG.(*see below). The launch is on Friday 5.00pm at The Settlement Maryport. The book will be available to buy on this web site then and will also be on sale in bookshops, galleries and museums.

Everybody is now talking about the two day ARTFEST event 28 -29 September WHEN PERCY MET NORMAN at The Settlement, Castle Hill, Maryport. The MARYPORTERS who organised it have done an ace job with publicity.  I was there to do a joint interview with Norman Nicholson’s biographer Kathleen Jones, for Radio Cumbria last Wednesday. The wind was so strong on the cliff top the big oak front door jammed shut and we were all locked in. I was preparing to ring the fire brigade when Help arrived which was slightly disappointing. As you know I do like a good story and a bit of drama!

The real drama happened on my way home when I called at the supermarket. As I emerged into the carpark with loaded trolley, the wind swooped down and took my flowers, my salad and was just about to make off with my French stick when I managed to wedge potatoes, onions and melons on top. I looked around to see other shoppers doing the same. It was surreal. We were all chasing our shopping round the car park. It would make a wonderful Lowry-esque painting of matchstick shoppers leaping into the air netball fashion..

The weather is looking much better for the coming weekend. I have been persuaded to fit in another guided kelly trail on Saturday 29th at 12.30 and I am told there are 3 places left. Contact Jan McTaggart for more information and booking 07814677452 or  (I have set up a virtual trail in Power Point just in case the weather changes.) There will be time over the 2 day event for mingling and chatting as well as learning.

There is more … ‘There can’t be I hear you cry!’  'Oh yes there is! ' I reply. You may have seen adverts for another Kelly exhibition at Tullie House.  LEGACY opens on Percy’s 100 birthday 3rd November in a room upstairs in the old Tullie House building and continues through until February 2019.  It is an intimate space where the Art College had the life drawing class which Percy attended in 1962. I will give you more details in the next newsletter.

I look forward to catching up with all you Kelly fans. I’ve been missing you since the retrospective ended.

*  HAVE A HUMBUG - A Percy Kelly drawing book.Tells of the life of Percy Kelly; his childhood in Workingtoh, his house in Corporation Road, his first school, his first job at 14. This interactive book is bright and colourful and comes with a set of Derwent Academy watercolour pencils, a paint brush and a graphics pencil to encourage young people to draw.  Written for children aged 7 - 11 but will appeal to a much wider age range. Available in Cumbrian galleries and museums, bookshops and on line at £15 from Friday 28th September 18.