NSA member Mike Newton’s exhibition Spring Cannot Be Cancelled is currently showing at the Borlase Smart Room, Porthmeor Studios, St Ives.

Here he explains the genesis and development of the project:

“But you knew there would always be the spring…”

Ernest Hemingway


This series of paintings was undertaken as a response to a series of poems by Mike Stevens loosely based on the theme of Spring. My task was to work outside of my comfort zone (Portraits) and draw inspiration from the poems to come up with a body of work that was still recognisable as my own. The title for the resulting series of paintings comes from David Hockney’s book describing his work completed during the COVID lockdown. Chosen firstly because one of the breakthrough paintings was prompted by a poem written by Mike during lockdown and secondly it seemed for a few weeks that we wouldn’t have a venue to show the work in Spring.


To create my selective responses to a different subject, not just in terms of aesthetics but also feelings, I started by sketching ideas on paper in pencil and then in paint. For imagery I have drawn heavily on the work of others not as copy of the artists’ original but endeavouring to achieve a deepening of meaning through a creative conversation between the poetry and the original paintings, and my own re-workings of them both.


The show runs until Sunday 19th May and there is Private View and reading on Friday 17th May 7-9pm