Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Painting for beginners

I could spend a whole week encouraging a group of adults to paint water colour..but my group of children don't know how not to do it..so they did it!

Pond 4 (Tuesday afternoon)

Having got the water to a reasonable standard (still needs extra blue towards the bottom of the picture) I can move onto the reeds and grass at the edge of the pond. It's difficult to get the right effect at this scale..usually my works are much bigger and therefore each blade can be acuratley depicted. Here I need to use an almost hazy impression to convey the reeds, and hopefully the deeper shades in the background will almost take shape on their own.

Pond 3 (Tuesday morning)

Intense work on the reflections in the water..very subtle changes in tone..I have to be careful otherwise it will look heavey and indistinct..I want you to be able to feel as if you could step into the water! and scoop the clouds out in a net.

Ears are much better today..just the usual ringing. Children have gone back to school, and I'm back in ST.James later for another art class. Today I'm teachng water colours to 7 year olds! I wish I felt more confident..they'd get so much more out of me.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pond 2

Despite the time of day..I thought I'd post a quick update on this one..In my humble opinion, it's going to be something special!

Pond 1 (Preparitory sketch)

This is from a photograph I took yesterday up at the nature reserve area of the Derby Arboretum. By missing out the immediate foreground, I have allowed the reflected sky to make the scene appear much more open and rural...if Loudon Street can cope with such a description!

At time of writing, my ears are a little better, but all sound seems muffled and amplified at the same time..it's very hard to understand what anyone is saying.

Jan has decided to carry on with plans to enter 3 of my pictures into the 'Open' at Derby Museum. I did not want to bother but she is insistant on doing it. I don't think I'll get very far with them!

Finished walking the dog!

Here is the finished piece. Hope you like it?

I am struggling big time today. Apart from ongoing problems with the way I relate to my family, I woke to find that I'd got some really bad ear problems. I have told you before that I suffer from Tinnitus. That is I hear a loud screaming sound in both ears all the time..sometimes it's a little less obtrusive when I'm feeling relaxed and happy. Other times (like now) it's as if a badly tuned radio is on full volume in my head. To add to this, now in my left ear it's rather like someone has turned the volume up to max..everything sounds like its reverberating through a bass drum..I can't concentrate on any thing..I can't sleep..I can hear loud boomy echo stuff, but nothing else.

The children have an inset day off today, and have argued..I have tried to remain apart from them because I'll only lose my temper. Jan is continuing to feel frustrated with me..she seems to want to take on all that I feel I can't do..ie: applying to enter the Derby open art competition, getting prints made etc...

Dear blog reader..I did warn you that you would have to listen to some pretty downbeat views about myself and life. This is only so that when the good times eventually arrive, you can share them with me! That said, perhaps you will be sad to know that I am probably now at an all time low..nothing seems to matter above getting on with my work. That is exactly what I shall do now.

Thankyou for reading.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Walking the Dog 6 (Sunday evening)

As you can see..I've not done much today..But have managed to begin work on the footpath. All bieng well tommorow I will finish.

Have been to take photos again today at the Arboretum..the trees are changing daily as green turns to yellow, gold and red. I took Annie, she is lovely company and is realy interested in photography..she has a good eye!

This evening we all sat to watch 'The Royal Family' a special one off edition. Special for the fact that my youngest son William saw me crying..he's never seen me cry. If you missed the episode..please make an effort to catch it sometime..(probably on BBC 3)..you will laugh..you will cry.

Walking the dog 5 ( Sunday morning )

If you look closly (click on image to enlarge) you will see that I have covered the grassed area with red dots...on the face of it, it would seem an odd thing to do..but the way colour reacts to light and shade means that you use a contrasting colour for shadow..in this instance, the opposite of green is red.

Today we have wonderful bright sunlight which should look great when it's lower in the sky...I'll be off to the Arboretum yet again to catch the show!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Walking the dog 4 (Saturday evening)

Working on the grass verge in the foreground is interesting..how acurate do I make it?..

Had a visit from my neighbour Elizabeth and her son Jake (Jem) this afternoon..it was lovely to be able to share my work with such appreciative people. They even bought three prints!!!! This left me feeling more possitive as yesterday we heard that Jan was unsuccesful in her application for Arts Council funding for her theatre project. Episodes like today are like the sunlight streaming through the trees in one of my pictures.

Walking the dog 3

Have spent time refining the shades and deepening the colours.It was also good to get the bench in. I'm realy enjoying this one!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Walking the dog 2

There's quite a gentle feeling around the figure here..how fortunate we are to have parks in which to wander..a green oasis in our cities.

Walking the dog 1

Saw this man walking his dog..the light was fantasic.

Finished Avenue

Finished..This shows one of the Avenues close to the cafe area of the Arboretum.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Avenue 1

Pencil sketch for what will be a quick drawing..infact at time of writing it's almost finished!! ..will show you in the morning.

Finished 'Two Trees'

Here is the finished Two Trees...I think I managed to show the sunlight coming through the branches...on to the next one now...I think I need to include a few more unconventional views..lets see what happens!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Two Trees 2

Can't help thinking that I'm covering ground already trod with this one..Perhaps I'll sell it!

I really need to emerse myself in my work..When all things around me are falling apart, the one place where I can be me and find true expression is my work. That said..I can go on to contradict myself immediately by stating that part of the drive one utilizes is the basic dissatisfaction with what one is currently doing. I will never create the perfect work because to do so would render any further exploration of the 'art' redundant!

I am at odds with Jan yet again..The children annoy me (half term hols)..My business partner has decided to finish promoting my work on eBay, I've got no money...And it's raining. I find I have messed up my weight loss diet..My lost weight is returning...Yes..You could say it's a little dark at the moment.

The dance continues..

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Two trees 1

Ok. At the risk of repeating..I will work on another four pictures based around the Derby Arboretum. I don't know if I've mentioned before, but I have been asked to become the Artist in Residence for the Arboretum. Karin Alberg is the manager there and is keen to use a room in a newly refurbished building as an artist's studio. I hope to move in there when Derby City Council has sorted out all the arrangements. I am incredibly honoured to be asked and of course will use the opportunity to chronicle the life of the park throughout my time there.

This picture of 'Two Trees' is another of my photo's from last week. I like taking pictures into the sun..I hate it when I am told that there are rules to photography...my instinct is therefore to break them!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Derby Arboretum Collection

I thought you might like to see the collected drawings of the last week. They are all infact on the same piece of paper and are shown here together for the very first time! Tell me what you think..I'll perhaps manage another set of four before moving on to another project!

Finished Lamp post

Finished with time to spare!..This view is seen towards Reginald Street..the building in the background which some of you will know as once being the Swimming Bath..is now a sheltered housing project. The frontage is preserved as a grade listed building! I used to swim there in the early 70's..my brother an I had season tickets..we often went up to 3 times a week..we'd then walk home via a chippy on Normanton Road that sold fantastic pineapple fritters!

Lamp post 4

Iv'e got a cold..I've sneezed all day..my nose is running and my eyes are red...

Just watched the first two episodes of 'Torchwood'. Not bad..( Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who!). I feel lost in my pictures at the moment. Often when I'm running an exhibition, people come up to me and ask me if I see dots before my eyes..each person thinks they're the first to say it..I try to be gracious... But tonight I looked at the TV and wondered why the picture was grainy..it wasn't..it was my eyesight..having spent so long working I actually do see dots before my eyes!

Still determined to finish this one tommorow..Jan rang tonight..she expects to be home for tea time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Lamp post 3

Just a little update to let you see how I am building this one..

Lamp post 2

Work on the base shades has begun..My aim is to finish by the time Jan gets back tommorow afternoon...might mean a late night..

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Arboretum lamp post 1

Here I go again! this is the fourth picture this week. As I might have said..they are small so as to be sold as prints in a series..hopefully around £7 each mounted.

Finished Bench

Finished this one a short time ago. I'm pleased with it. I've also had a walk down into town. I popped into 'Barnardo's' charity shop and bought a book about Seurat. Did you know he died when he was 31? He only painted for 10 years during his life and left only six major canvases and sixty smaller ones, 170 wood panels and numerous drawings. If you're not familiar with his work..put him in your search engine and find out!

Bench 3

Spent over 5 hours on the picture today. I find I now have lots of time to play with because Jan has gone off to stay with Chrissie and David in Wales taking Annie and Will with her. I had wanted to go and was willing to run the pain of travelling in a car with arguing children (I suffer from Tinnitus ) which I find difficult. I just wanted to be with my family. Jan told me that I probably wouldn't enjoy being there and would do better to stay at home. Sam then said he didn't want to go either..so that decided it..I would have to stay home.

Tonight I feel lost and hurt by it all. I don't resent spending time with Sam..he's a lovely lad and is a joy to be with. This evening we sat eating our way through a ridiculously large plate of fish and chips ..(Father and son bonding excercise!). this at least has been good! Burp!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bench 2

Started this by putting some of the leaves in at the top. Will work my way down to the darker bit at the bottom. Have not spent a lot of time today on this. Went back to the Arboretum this morning because the sun was shining and not expected to do so very often in the next few days..the trees have started to shed their leaves and the colours are fantastic. The cafe there is good too (owned by Karina Martin, an old friend of mine).they sell wonderful whole food and drinks! (maybe I should sell advertising space!)

Bench 1

New day, new picture. Oh how that sounds odd!?.Some of my pictures have taken up to six months to complete. Now I'm on the third this week!! This one is again from a photo I took last week at the Arboretum. Should be fairly quick to do.

An afternoon at Arboretum House.

A group of eight six and seven year olds sat nervously drawning a glum looking 96 year old lady this afternoon. When the old lady realized they had sat down especially to draw her, a smile as wide as the sky erupted over her face. I have been visiting the residents for around six weeks now and never so much as raised a look from this smiling creature I saw before me. She became animated, laughing and bright. The bent and withered frame within which she resided became irrelevant, as she now spent time in communion with childhood. She asked one girl how old she thought she was.."Six!" said little Jade. How being with children makes the years fall away..Ninety of them to be precise!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Finished Tree

Finished just now. 8 hours in all to complete. I usually look at the clock and jot down the time I start work. Then keep a running total of time actually spent dotting. This gives me a good indication of what price to ask should someone want to buy one.

I am now going to put down a pencil sketch for my next piece. Then I'm off to school to take another group over to Arboretum house to sketch residents.

If you'd like to leave me a comment or ask a question, you should click on the word 'Comments' at the lower right hand of this posting .

Tree 5

Ready for the final push to get this finished. The canopy of the tree is turning out to be a little more involved than I thought..I am aiming for a rich and complex texture. I want the overall effect to show the light from behind the tree falling on the foreground.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tree 4

It's been a funny day..I went down to pick Annie up from school ..it was an overcast afternoon, very dreary. Annie asked if we could go on the swings in the park..so we did. Suddenly the sun came out. It was one of those wonderful autumnal late afternoons where the sun slants through the trees and you can see a mist in the air. Such a special time.

This evening I've managed a little bit on my 'Tree'. Hope to finish it tommorow!. Jan is concerning me a little at the moment. An old lady bumped her car into ours today..There was only a scratch on ours(to go with all the others)..the lady's car also had a scratch. But this evening a Jan has developed a really painful neck. Sadly they never exchanged adresses as there was realy no significant damage done. I shall revert into 'nurse mode' and make sure she is comfortable!

See you tommorow.

Tree 3

Just got back from a special event at my Daughter's school where parents can go and eat lunch with their children. Was a lovely time...

Work going well with 'Tree'. Less complicated than the previous one, the mix of colour is more subtle..it almost looks like water. This tree is situated very near to the fountain in the middle of the Arboretum .

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tree 2: Green and more green!

Have only spent around two hours working on my picture today..I've had to prepare and run my art class at ST James. Today I took 11 children to the residential home to draw some of the residents there. I was really worried that I'd judged to situation wrongly and that it would be a total flop. I needn't have worried. My little pupils got to work with such concentration. Spending around 30 mins sketching, it was lovely to see them interact; the old and the young. One man who had the most sad looking face was drawn by a lad called Daryl. He drew the man's frown accurately, but was unhappy at having to show him sad..so he asked me for a rubber (eraser if you're reading this in USA!) but I don't allow them to be used..so he drew a smile over the frown...the result was he felt very poor and he was going to throw it away. Back at school he was insistent that it was rubbish and he was visibly embarrassed by it. His mum came to pick him up. I showed her the picture. I told her that her son had unwittingly achieved what many artists have strived to do. That is to break the rules, and make new ones. He had managed to show this gentleman both happy and sad...she thought he was wonderful.

The Head, another teacher and I went over the pictures..some were absolutely fantastic..there is nothing more poignant than a six year olds drawing of a 75 year old..I wanted to cry but didn't..I felt such a deep sorrow and joy in these drawings. There is true honest and deep emotion in the things we sometimes create. The simple nature of a pencil sketch can move (this man at least) you to tears.

To think that I was seriously contemplating giving all this up. I think I said that I would rather die than lose this forever...it there fore means that the comments I have recieved over the past few weeks ( and non more so than my anonymous friend two days ago) have helped me to believe in myself again. When you sit hour after hour in your room creating something so personal and involved..you lose sight of why you do it..the only feeling is a need to work. So thankyou ..you have helped more than you will know!


Pencil sketch for 'Tree' picture. A lot of green and a lot of yellow to come!

Arboretum Teasels.

Here is the finished picture. First in a series of small works from the Arboretum shoot last week. I will now press on with the next!

*You may be wondering about my signature. I always sign my work before I start dotting. I then work around it (unless it's on a light background), only rubbing the pencil out after I've finished.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Teasel 4 Monday afternoon.

Have stopped work to go and get Annie from school now (walking). Have completed just over six hours on this one. Not much more to do! (the slopey bit at the bottom is due to the camera angle not the drawing!)

Monday lunch break.

Thought I'd post an update now as things are progressing quickly. The reproduction doesn't show the colours off too well, hopefully I'll get a better one for you to view later.

For now..ham and mustard butties...then back to work!

EST 1961.

Ever wondered what goes on inside the mind of an artist? We change so much. Yesterday I wrote about the angst created by lack of money. Today I might write about the smile on Annie's face as she clung onto the roundabout at the park today. It might be the curve of Janet's back or the plate of drop scones Will made. It could be the way Sam gave a cocky grin when I told him he should be thinking of having his bath before bed..he told me he was trying to steal some extra minutes on MSN. It could possibly be that Jan has just said she's off to have a bath..I love to curl up next to her in bed when her skin is still slightly damp. I could write about the way my favorite albums are not in the top 100 being shown on channel 4 just now.

There are so many things crowding into my thoughts as I write.

Tonight one thing has reaffirmed my resolve and desire to work. An anonymous comment posted about The ST. Peter's Street Angel. I usually know who's posted comments. But not this time. Thankyou whoever you are..you may have saved my life!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Teasel 2

Click onthe image for a closer look.

A couple of hours into the new piece and I've progressed well. I don't like working this small, but at least it should be finished in a day or two! I've not felt the 'magic spark' yet!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

less is more

Well, here it is. The pencil sketch prior to any dotting. It's taken from a section of the teasels photograph seen in an earlier posting. More later.

Here is the muse.

A lot of people ask me how I decide what to draw next, how do I come up with the ideas. Today I thought I'd share with you the process I'm going through, the feelings and inspiration that lead to a finished piece somewhere down the line.

Having taken a group of photos at the Arboretum on Thursday, I have lots of source material to work with. This morning I got up feeling quite happy as I looked at the St Peter's Street Angel lying finished on my desk. The only commitment this morning was to give Jan a lift with Annie to her dance lesson. I decided to park in town and go to the cash machine, get some money and visit the charity bookshops..(I love doing this)..I'd also seen a calendar (very cheap) featuring Charlotte Church..I thought I'd buy this (I think she's wonderful you'll be shocked to hear me say).

Getting into the car I was planning to ask Jan for a pound so I could use the pay and display..However before I could ask, she started telling me how overdrawn we had become. She is expecting a cheque for her role play stuff soon and told me that it would cover what we'd already spent. I felt a bit defeated as I got into the car and Jan asked me what was wrong. I decided not to elaborate.

I dropped them off and returned home..Instead of time spent with a paper etc..I got to work editing my photos. Came up with 9 pretty good samples that might make good drawings. I know this sounds all very like MR and MRS Bucket in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' but I've grown use to not having money to spend (I refuse to use a credit card,I don't like owing people money,)..It makes me feel angry not to be able to do the things I want to, but that is life. I am able sometimes (like now) to channel it into my work. The thought that soon I'll not have to be concerned with 'me' but only the form and colour that I lay down on the page. There is a point in all my work when a special something happens. I can be drawing anything, but when that 'spark of magic' ignites, I am off on voyage. Sometimes is as if the picture reveals itself as I scratch away the whiteness of the paper, other times I sweat every last dot out of my soul it seems. To be lost in all that is the most wonderful thing, I honestly feel part of something greater than the normal. I am working in and towards my destiny.

Sadly it's all a rather selfish existence..I get moody and depressed. I feel fat and tired. I dream of driving an E-Type Jag, of having enough room to spread my work out. I'm not very nice to live with. I try my best to be what I should be. I find myself having bigger and bigger ideas for work, but in reality to be successful, I have to make my work smaller and smaller.

It's this discontent and the moment the 'magic spark' ignites that drives me to work. The need to create is something you'll have to realize is for me overwhelming. I would rather die than not be able to do this!

So...What am I waiting for?...I shall go and make a start. Once I've made my mind up as to the first piece..I'll take a photo and keep you up to date with it on a daily basis. Tell your friends and remember to keep coming back!

In the meantime. Why not have a look at my evolving website. It's not finished yet, but James is doing a great job.


Friday, October 13, 2006

St. Peter's Street Angel

Here for the first time is the finished piece. I wanted to get a picture posted today, because I said I would! It could do with photographing in the daylight though (I don't own a scanner!). I bet you didn't think there would be so much space at the bottom of the composition? It's all to do with 'the unknown' that my subject is stepping into. I feel a great fondness for this work..for me there is a richness and myterious quality to the people in the background.

Tonight I'm happy. Jan and I have been to meet Annie's teacher. A lovely warm and encouraging lady. I could not ask for any better person responsible for educating my daughter. She told us that Annie is a star..she wished she had a class full of Annies! I was also able to see a self portrait Annie had done. Totally unlike the drawings you'd expect from children her age, she had got the facial proportions right, and had used the whole page to spead her composition out on, made complicated colour choices and had drawn the sky meeting the land. I was so proud to see what amounts to an instinctual abillity (although rough) showing itself.

Made tuna and with finely choped onions and mayo for the sandwiches today.


Thought you might like to see this photo I took yesterday at the Arboretum. You could be forgiven for thinking this picture was taken out in the countryside, readers who know Derby, will be amazed to see this!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The eyes have it!

Work on the figure to the right is nearly complete. I needed to put layers of dark blue, mid blue, red,and green to give the jeans the correct hue. Then went over each layer a couple of times to get the correst intensity. Will finish tommorow!

I'd like to tell you about an event today that suprised me, it rather took me off guard. William (who'd left for school earlier with Sam) ( who had ham and pickle sandwiches today) rang to say he'd forgotten his rugby kit. I said I'd drop it off at reception later. On the way back through the traffic trying to get into Derby I was stationary in Littleover village when my eyes were drawn to a woman who was wearing a Niqab (please correct me if I've got the wrong name) A black veil worn with a black head scarf and black robes.It's not something you see in the streets of a derby suburb! I guessed the woman (by her gait and fluidity of movement) to be in her 20's. She looked toward my car, and it was then that I saw her eyes, for only her eyes were visible. (I've spoke to Jan about this already) Do you know, my heart jumped and I caught my breath..such deep and gloriously beautiful eyes I've not seen. Dark and outlined in deep eye liner, they struck straight through me.The car in front moved and she was gone.

I'd not encountered this before. I like many others feel it difficult to accept someone who covers their face (either by own decision or worse at the behest of someone else..especially a man)... I was talking to the children in my art class today about portraiture. I explained how we communicate non verbally , our expressions, eyebrows etc. ..infact most of the interaction between people is that. But my very decent and modest young Muslim lady today was (to my very obvious male brain) incredibly sensual and erotic...ironic eh?

Further to my post stating that I am reading The Alchemist: What have I done?..it's such a brilliantly imagined work that (in my case) I will find it hard not to be influenced by. Todays lesson:..(paraphrased from book) ..have you ever noticed that when someone who has never played cards (or any other situation involving chance)..that they almost invariably win?..this is called beginers luck by some people. It is so with our dreams and destiny. It is in striking out to do something new and untried that we invite sucess or a pallpable pointer to the next step..it is in doing the same old thing that assures that nothing will ever change. Now the thing is..will I learn this lesson?

See you tommorow!

A walk in the park

Teasels on border of nature reserve area Arboretum park, Derby.

Have just been out to catch the Autumn sunshine at the Arboretum.Since I have been asked to become Artist in Residence, I've felt a special affinity with the place. I've been through the park all my life. My Mum and Dad would take us through there on our way to catch the train to Carlton in Nottingham where my Grandparents lived. So I feel like it's a place of homeliness and good memories.

The sunlight was amazing. And curiosly enough there was hardly anyone about. Sadly the cafe was shut. I'd planned to sit in there and do some drawing. So walked all round the park and took loads of photos.

On return home I felt full of life, my senses atuned to the briliance of colour I'd just experienced. I now need to crop the images and seek the right material for a series of small drawings which I hope to reproduce as mounted prints for the next Buxton Art fair in December. My thinking is to work on an even smaller scale (less than A5) as this will make prints cheaper to sell. They will also look effective if I decide to enlarge any of them!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Nabis and the sandwich

For those of you new to my postings, I must explain that each one of my pictures is created using millions of tiny dots of ink 0.25mm in diameter. Each dot is individually placed using high specification technical pens and as far as I can find out, I am THE only person in the world who uses this technique to the degree you see here! The above picture is nearing completion, after 43 hours and 40mins, I am now fairly confident that Friday will see the end!

I sat on my own this evening reading The Alchemist, listening to the haunting music of the brilliant and sublime Steve Hackett's new album: Wild Orchids. Curtains were closed and it was dark outside. Annie had fallen asleep in bed after I'd read 'Brer Rabbit and the apple tree', Sam was on MSN.

I imagined sitting on top of a high peak, under a darkened sky strewn with stars. I could hear the sound of city life driffting on the breeze from somewhere down below and I held in my hand the dead remains of a bird. Was that a whisper I caught in the wind?.."Raise up your hands and let me live" I hold up the bird and detect a faint tremble as a heart once still and cold beats again. Then with a suddeness that takes me by suprise, the bird, now white and beautiful flies up into the sky..a silhouette against the stars.

Each day when I stand in the kitchen making sandwiches for Sam and Annie, I wonder where I'll be come night time. Recently, the prospect has been dark and lonely. Today it would seem that once again, I can dream as I did before.

Concerto for a rainy day

Rain pours outside. I spent time with 'Tom' today at Arboretum House..he is deaf and never talks. He was sitting staring out of the window, so I sat next to him and gave him a sketch pad and pencil. He drew a picture of a pine tree and two garden spiders. I drew too. We never spoke, but I held his warm and papery skinned hand. No words were needed. He smiled, I left for home.

Jan was at the computer when I got back. She looked so beautiful..(I need to put her in a picture soon). I'm not sure what she thinks of me at the moment. I've been so depressed for the last week since the Buxton show, I grump around and moan. She doesn't know how to relate to me when I'm in a dark place. However,some healing has occured today (The Marvin Gaye sort!) and I felt the sunshine.

I often get caught in a downward spiral. There was a time when I worked as part of a team..we trusted and relied on eachother to do the job. One ended up off loading all the stresses and strains of daily life to each other. But I tend to work alone now. Hence the rather extreme emails I've sent out to various friends over the months.(They make up for the lack of realtime talk with colleagues!) I like my thinking and concepts to be challenged, I like to pose questions and like others to do the same with me. I've spent my whole life being a 'Good Boy'..don't you sometimes ever want to do something naughty..get in trouble?I actually get fed up with being 'safe'...I suppose embarking on a career that brings in very little money and is traditionally only sucessful once one is dead is a risk! But everyone assumes I'll be OK..I'm usually smilling and cracking jokes....I'm solid and dependable.If only it were true.

Jan has now gone again to Manchester to see her friend Andrea in a play.She doesn't expect to be back until after midnight.

I have to start looking at things in a different way. Today 'Amazon' delivered a book I've been looking forward to reading: 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho. I am a man who deals in dreams, allegory and symbolism. I'm hopeful that I will learn to see beyond my backyard into a brighter sky. And renew my thirst for life and my place in the day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A day in the life

5 hours work today saw me tackle the last figure.

"woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head..." Sometimes it feels as if I'm trapped in a Beatles song!...A Day in The Life..I seem to be passing through a very odd time at the moment. Yes, this morning was more sandwich making as usual: (Ham & cheese not tuna though)..Looked out of the kitchen window..Instead of Icarus Ascending, it was the state of the lawn..Not cut it since Annie's birthday in September.

Sat head in hands for a while wondering where all the joy had gone. Do you ever find yourself stuck in a smooth walled pit that's just slightly too high to climb out of?..Why is it that I can suddenly turn on the charm and nobody has the foggiest?

Jan went off to have her hair cut this morning via dropping Annie at school. I was working on my picture by 9:00am. Worked through until around 2pm..stopping only to drop Jan at the station to catch a train to Birmingham looking gorgeous with her new hair cut. She had an audition to act for a company who do Murder Mystery plays..( They pay well is the attraction).I was then off to St James to do my first art class of the week. Today we looked at portraiture. The aim being to practice in readiness for their visit next week to the residential home to draw from life.The session went well. Julie the Head Teacher helped me for the hour, the children performed well..some of their work was fantastic.

Jan arrived back from her audition and we left for home where she received a call from the City Council informing her that a funding application to support her new play has been granted..this is good because despite our precarious financial condition, we would have to have subsidized the tour ourselves!
I will stop at nothing to finish my picture this week. Something new awaits!

Monday, October 09, 2006


As you can see, I've managed to complete the left side of the picture..The hard part is to come with the woman on the right..Her blouse is going to be difficult..But I love a challenge. The end is in sight.

As I sit here tonight my eyes are stinging with sleeplessness. (I didn't sleep last night)..I have so much on my mind and resentments I have no right to hold on to. I got up and tried sleeping downstairs on the settee, but curled up (it's only a two seater) I was unable to relax so after trying for an hour or so, I went back up to bed. Jan mumbled and I sighed. She went on sleeping, I went on not sleeping.

I guess I must have fallen asleep somewhere around 5:00 am..But my alarm called at 7:00am..Time to get up and do the lunches for Sam and Annie to take to school. With Jan in the dining room ironing uniform bits, I plonked tuna onto wholemeal, the sound of 'Zak and Cody' emanated from the front room. This is the scene every morning during school time in the Young household.

You know..I can be assembling a tuna/Mayo whilst looking out of the kitchen window to where I imagine I'm upon a windswept cliff. I have wings and leap into the full face of the wind. I soar over grey mountainous waves heaving up into the daylight, an Albatross circles , it's plaintive call lost in the tumult. As I glide, a thousand outstretched arms pierce the surface of the sea and catch hold of me, pulling me down into the depths.. As the final gasps of breath escape my plankton filled lungs, Sam shouts from his room "I haven't got any boxers to wear!"

This morning, Jan needed to pick her friend Andrea up at 9 o'clock to go and see a play in Nottingham (Pinter at 10:00am?!)..So she dropped me with Annie at school..I took Annie in, looked at the pastel drawings of fireworks the class had done, then set off for home. I walked back through the park that rises up to reveal a vast horizon filled with Derby (to those who don't know what it looks like..It's basically a forest of giant cranes at present) ( I'll post a picture sometime) . The main road was bumper to bumper with traffic late for work. I over took the cars and felt grateful for my legs, but my heart was crying and I felt lonely.

Once home, I found my picture welcomed me into it's swirl of colour. ..............This is my life.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

One question: 'Niall or no Niall?'

It's Sunday morning and unusually I've just had a bath. Most of the family are out at Church. Sam stayed home, he's been on the Play Station and then set about some homework!! Meanwhile I've reached the final pages of 'The Kite Runner' by Kahled Hosseini. I still don't know what will happen although Jan kind of spoilt it for me the other night by asking if they'd got back to American yet...Will just try to forget that bit.

It's a deeply sad story which brings hope out of despair. The resilience of the human soul is staggering and none more so than the main character Amir who struggles with the pain of guilt and regret. Lament for the downfall of Afghanistan firstly to the Russians and then to the Taliban.

On a different note though. I decided to have a look at some of the other Blogs floating around the www. I've looked at a recent 'Blog of note' called 'Three Beautiful Things'. What an altogether wonderful idea..so simple and yet written with such charm, grace and intimate joy. I urge you to take a look if you've time.

I could almost give up my blog after reading such poetry..But a distant voice tells me to just be 'me'..I think the aim of something as personal as a blog is to forget your 'audience'. Try to imagine you're writing to yourself, jotting down little reminders, musings and thoughts you'd rather not forget. Be yourself. Others are genuinely interested in what it is that makes others 'tick'.

For now, I must draw this post to a close. I will make lunch for Jan Will and Annie. Sam has gone out with his cool friends and I am alone again. Before I go, I just want to wet your appetite to the subject of a future post. I have come up with an idea for a piece of artwork which is so exciting and pioneering, I can't wait to start. Unfortunately it can't begin until next March. More later!!

Murder Mystery

We went to our good friend Chrissie's birthday party tonight..I was dressed as a dame Jan was a Belly Dancer..it was a murder mystery party..here are a few pictures..

Afternoon alone.

Spent a couple of hours working on my picture earlier..have put in base colours for the legs and bag. Jan and Annie were out helping Chrissie get ready for her party. Will was at his friend Josh's and Sam was down town with his cool friends. This left me home alone to get on with this and watch some STNG on the TV.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't get me started!

Firstly let me say 'Happy Birthday Tim'..The best Brother anyone could ask for!!

Is it just me, or is everybody suddenly describing things as "No brainer"..Do you know how 'no brained' you sound when you say that? I find it patronizing for someone to tell me that I was a fool to have wasted even a little of my enquiring mind in trying to understand something that they have decided is not worth understanding. It is as if the person concerned is telling me that I need not make any effort because they have done all the rationale for me!. Then there's people who make an upwards inflection at the end of every scentence or statement turning everything into a question...Don't get me started!

Have included two pictures for you today. One is a detail of the work showing the area I spent 4 hours on today. I'm quite pleased with the way it is turning out.