Friday, 23 December 2016

Lemon Quay, Truro  2005    Happy Christmas          

John Bampfield                  

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

In my world, art is important.  Not least of all because I make the larger proportion of my living by selling my paintings.  Not just for that reason but because I'm able to enjoy painting and paintings.

I often wonder why anyone in this modern world of fast changing images on our television or dvd screens, this 'see what you want when you want, as many times as you want' culture would want a painting on the wall.

It stays as it is, it doesn't light up, its not the latest impressive piece of technological wizardry, it makes no sound........

As I sat comfortably yesterday evening, relaxed and looking at my own paintings on the walls of our lounge I was able to drift away into a dream world,  a quiet, non changing, non flashing, non advertising, non demanding, non licensed, non taxed, non tick boxed, non accountable, non prejudiced,
non to be.

A don't have to buy a license, plug it in , or search furiously for the remote to press the mute when an advert comes on, or pops up.  You can enjoy it at your leisure.  See it how you are.  Think what you like about it, allow yourself to feel how looking at the painting affects you, why you probably bought it in the first place.

It won't'  beep' at you, adverts won't flash across the surface every two minutes, it won't know that half an hour ago you were searching the internet for a new washing machine, and relay that information to every other painting in the universe that you might look at.

It's just a painting.  And that, surely,  IS the joy of it !

When you view work on line unfortunately the experience is not the same.  Looking at a back- lit image that just might beep at you, usually smaller than the original, maybe surrounded by washing machine ads.....etc.  But it might just wet your appetite to go out and search for the real thing.  But even then I suggest that you don't settle for a paper image either, a print, unless you love a painting but couldn't possibly afford it and feed the kids, yourself, and the cat.

Art is food for the soul, and after all, when you're hungry, you probably wouldn't settle for a photograph of a sandwich.

Of course, in my case, it also puts food on the table.  It seems to me that I have the best of both worlds.

I put images of my paintings here for you to look at for free, in the hope that you might one day own an original of your own.

Nice, if it happens to be one of mine, but anyway if not, something that may give you a 'gentle' pleasure for many years to come.  And some public galleries are free to enter, and although one or two 'pieces' might light up or beep at you, most of the the paintings probably won't.

jb :  )

'A painting'    by   john bampfield

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

back to basics !

Dividing my time between painting and counselling can be challenging at times.  I'm the sort of person who usually prefers to concentrate on one thing at a time.  I realize as I get older, that I want to do so many things, but I want to do them all exceptionally well.  This calls for an investment of time and energy that is being stretched to the limit.

"I may have to settle for doing one or two things as well as I'm able to", I say to myself.

"And then again', I say, "variety is supposed to be the spice of life!"

Painting and Counselling will always remain the two things that I want to excel most at, and they are the two occupations into which I've put more of myself, my time and my energy than any other.

I think that it will stay that way as both provide me with the greatest amount of challenge and satisfaction.

North Cornwall         100 x 100 cms.     John Bampfield

Saturday, 15 October 2016

The Search

My previous post wasn't  an advert for Counselling and Psychotherapy.  I wrote it to say something about myself, while hopefully making some people aware that they can get help to deal with those often unspoken feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, pointlessness, as well as feelings of overwhelming confusion, anger, grief.........

These are the less acceptable aspects of being human.  Less acceptable to others and often unacceptable to ourselves.

The social media is awash with images of people laughing, smiling, partying.  The Hello Magazine lifestyle that people aspire to, or make out that they've already attained.

I wouldn't mind betting that some who have even attained it have found it to be a hollow experience at times.  Not at all what it's cracked up to be.

And 'cracked up' might be an appropriate phrase here.

To keep up that 'happy' image takes energy and sometimes drugs.

The human mind is the most incredible piece of intricate bio-technology on the planet.

Nothing compares.  The I Phone is pathetic by comparison.

Yet, what we do to our minds we wouldn't do to our I Phones.

We pour alcohol, which is a strong mind and mood altering substance, into the system via the blood stream, we put drugs of all sorts in the mix too, and expect that our minds will continue to work at full capacity.

Even a few drops of water into an I phone would stop it working completely, let alone gallons of booze and a hand full of pills, dope, crack, etc.

What's prompted me to write this?

When I was 49 I went to University in Bristol.  Too old really, but something I felt strongly that I needed to do.
I've been a surfer since I was 19.  Mostly surfing from my local beach in Cornwall.  And I've loved it.
Some people in Bristol assumed that because I was a surfer, I would also smoke pot or take drugs.  This infuriated me.  If anything, I'd originally chosen a surfing identity over that of being a mod because of the ever increasing use of drugs amongst Mods.  Surfiers seemed to me to be living a fresh, wholesome and a healthy lifestyle.  But apparently, I was naiive.

There's plenty of evidence to suggest that quite a few 'top surfers', and some not so 'top' take to using excessive amounts of drugs and alcohol.

To ride a wave is an incredibly exhilarating experience.  It calls for fitness, nerve, and balance, strength and flexibility.  When you take off on a wave with any size to it, it's a great feeling.  And when you ride it well, it's a real thrill.  But the ride ends.  The intensity of the thrill fades.  Normality is restored to the body. A satisfying relaxation occurs.  And a feeling of being at one with life and the planet often ensues.

But for some, it seems, this isn't enough.

In the search for more, they settle for less.  Drugs and alcohol eventually limit their choices.  The 'sharpener' eventually dulls the mind.

Not just for those surfers who take that route, but for all the kids in search of something more than their life has to offer.  Kids from all backgrounds, not just poor kids, but rich kids too.

Surely it's time to look at the reasons behind this behaviour.  Why is there an apparent need in so many human beings to get off their faces.  Why is it that life is not enough as it is lived by many of us.

There must be a fundamental flaw somewhere when even 'top surfers' with access to money and thrills that the average person could only dream of, need more.  To the point where they are prepared to ruin their health, future, and mind, in searching for it.

Rip Curl, the surf wear manufacturer, has the motto,' The Search'.  Perhaps they mean the search for the perfect wave, the ultimate thrill, or the Endless Summer.

Some are searching for answers that might help rid quite a large proportion of this planet's population of the NEED for drugs.

That's the problem as I see it.

Back to the easel.

                                         jb  circa 1971                        Photographed by M. Haines

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

When I'm not painting, (surfing or playing my guitar),  I work as a counsellor.

I feel privileged to be able to help people who, for one reason or another, are having difficulties with life.  There are many things in life that can cause a person to feel lost.  Bereavement, divorce, redundancy, debt.......just a few.

Our society isn't really geared up to help people to feel good about themselves though we are more aware today of the causes of depression.

Life is a wonderful phenomenon and most of the time most of us can cope with what life throws at us, good and bad.  Sometimes though, things can overwhelm us and cause us to be anxious and depressed to the point that we're unable to access the joy of life.

I learnt this following two serious bereavements of my own.  My mother and my sister, five years apart.

Grief was a stranger to me, I had never experienced it before and I needed help to deal with it.

This was how I discovered Psychological Therapy.

Without it I doubt that I would have been able to continue living a full life.  One filled with joy and sadness, love and laughter, as well as grief and tears.

Life is a package deal.  Most of us will experience happiness and sadness, pain and pleasure, and most of us won't ever need counselling or psychotherapy.

I certainly didn't think that I would but I am so grateful that it was available to me when I did need it.

It's more available now than it ever was, so don't suffer in silence, talk to helps.

Monday, 3 October 2016

All done !

This was the last painting for my recent show at Gallery 65 in Bournemouth.

And it was the biggest!  It was completed in time for the private view on the 18th. September, and it was hung on the wall literally minutes before the opening.

Rebecca and Andrew have an eye for paintings, as you'd expect, and how to show them.

When I arrived at the gallery, I was overwhelmed by how my work looked.  This might sound big-headed but I rarely get to see so much of my work, finished and framed, and hanging in a fabulous sunny gallery.  I could hardly believe that I was the artist.

The private view went well, and two of the larger and more dramatic paintings were sold that afternoon to people who I know will appreciate and cherish them.

Artists, of course, usually have to sell their work in order to continue to paint, and to pay the bills,  but what any artist wants most of all is to have his or her work appreciated.  This is what makes it all worth while.

My thanks to Rebecca and Andrew for taking the ride with me, it's a roller coaster of emotions, and for all the friendly and enthusiastic people who came to the private view, and those who have visited the gallery since.

Now it's time to recover, and plan my next show, which will be in the summer of 2017, in West Penwith, Cornwall.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

with love

I have a show running in Bournemouth from Monday 19th. Sept for a few weeks.

at:  Gallery 65, Westbourne, Bournemouth

I've had few shows during my 47 year career as a painter......probably because it's very hard work, and scary!

Painting is a solitary occupation most of the time, and it has to be that way really.  Much as I want people to see my work, and to share my sense of joy and wonder, sadness and confusion, and all the other feelings to do with living, my paintings are sort of a part of me.  Putting them on show is like opening myself up to inspection, and possible rejection.

I have a good friend, a surfing buddy, who, when we look down the face of a largish wave, before taking the drop, says, "if you don't go, you won't know! "

You might make it, and reap the rewards, the thrill of the ride, or you might wipeout.

That's how staging a show feels to me.  It's an emotional wave of huge proportions.

And I'm going for it!


Monday, 11 July 2016

Just back from the Isles of Scilly where I have ten paintings on show at Gallery Tresco.

left to right.....Pamela Harrington, Anna Parkes, Maggie O'Brian......and me!

It's always a treat to visit the islands.

Pamela's felt work, Maggie's paintings, and my own, can be viewed on Gallery Tresco's web page.

Anna Parkes manages the gallery, swims in the sea all year round, and loves living in the Isles of Scilly

It's the nearest thing to being on a Carribean island and it's practically on our doorstep.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


Symi, watercolour and ink. ...John Bampfield

I was reminded today of a holiday that my wife and I had, some years ago now,  when I did this little pen and ink drawing of an old distressed and faded doorway, on Symi, a Greek Island.

It was fabulous.

The food was affordable, the sun shone every day, swimming in the sea was blissful. The local people were friendly and helpful and we made some friends.  What more could you want?

We returned there about ten years later to find that some things had changed.  Nevertheless,  the sun shone and the sea was still a delight to swim in, and the locals were still friendly.

My hope is that they'll remain that way.

Yesterday, we drove through a town on the South Coast of England, Weymouth,  where I went on holiday with my parents when I was a boy.

It has changed too. Inevitable I suppose.

It's always risky to go back to somewhere where we've loved being, and with people we've loved being with, who may, perhaps, no longer be alive.

Better, sometimes, to stick with the present, and hope for changes that bring improved quality to all life forms, including ours.

Change is inevitable, but it doesn't always have to be for the worst, does it?

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A quick sketch that I did on my return from a visit I made a few weeks ago to the Isles of Scilly.

The rainbow, for me, symbolizes 'hope'.

It often appears when the sky is at it's darkest. 

Let's all hope that one day we'll all live in peace and harmony together on this planet............soon. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year !

Recently I was learning the lyrics to Bob Dylan's 'It's All Over Now Baby Blue' .

In one of the verses he wrote the words:

The Empty handed painter from your streets
Is drawing crazy patterns on your sheets..........

Afterwards, I painted this.  Not a planned or conscious decision, it just sort of happened.

It's unlike anything I've ever done before.

I called it 'Guitar Tango' after the Shadows hit from the sixties.

For me, it seems, Art and Music are linked.