Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Corn 1

Just over 4 hours of dotting saw these two ladies appear out of the paper. I apologise for yesterdays very poor and blurred image..there's something wrong with my doesn't seem to remember how to meter properly and adjust it's focus. Still, this photo one seems OKish.
I remarked to Jan today how excited I am about this picture..I find starting with the first dot is full of anticipation for the journey ahead.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

and so it begins..again

Big thank yous for the kind comments you've left regarding the finished Ricky Rec. It must be interesting seeing it develop from the basic pencil sketch. So this time I've decided on my subject and have begun sketching in some of the foreground detail. I'm not going to give any clues as to the rest of the picture or for that matter the scale, as I have decided it will be more effective if you have no preconceived ideas about how it will look.

I have also included here a picture of the first finished panel pictures from St.James school. Even I was impressed with the finished piece here..which was just as well as all the Mum's and Dad's came into the hall to have a look. I know I had overall control of what developed, but it really is the children's work.Fantastic! (click for a closer look)

Ricky Rec Finished!

I've just decided that I've finished working on this picture. Someone once correctly said that if you need to look for things to do on a picture, then it's probably time to stop.So I have. In all it's taken just 39 hours and 50 minutes! Sadly the photograph doesn't really show the colours off too well. There is more of a green tone to the picture in the flesh. I've discovered that my camera has a bump on it..I've no idea how it got there and my three children also have no idea. It is now distorting colours in certain lights.
I have a very good idea of what I'm going to attempt next. I had said I'd do a portrait of my daughter Annie..but haven't got the right composition worked out yet. So I've been reviewing a set of photos I took last summer in Derby which gave rise to the 'Osnabruck Square' picture and the 'Saint Peter's Street Angel'..I've been telling the children at school all about the French Impressionists and we've been looking particularly at work by Monet. This is a style I might repeat in dots for my next piece. But for now, I'll get this post up and have some lunch.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ricky Rec 10

You can see how the foreground alters the mood of the picture and gives it some depth.It's actually been a test to see if I can create the effect of the grass without making it look like waves on water. I've just got back from fetching Annie from school. We walked up past this view so I took a shot of what it looks like with the sun coming from the opposite direction.

I've been 'haunted' by the song from yesterdays post..has stuck with me all day..I love the way a song can infiltrate all that you do and think about.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Beginings and endings

As my friend Devilmood would say: "This is how I feel today'. Here is the brilliant Sundays with 'Here's Where The Story Ends'. A version of which I first heard by Tin Tin Out featuring Shelly Nelson.(it isn't on Youtube sadly). Someone once said, that the two important things we need to learn is when to begin something and when to end it. Sometimes we persevere with something that should simply stop.It is not a failure, but part of growing. For a flower to bloom, it must stop being a seed,to arrive at your destination,you must stop when you get there. Maybe I'm being too simplistic?But this song resonates in my heart back to a time when I left a job I'd been doing for a long time..on my last day, this song played on the radio..and yes,I cried as I frequently do.

I've probably missed the whole point of the song, but don't trust me..judge for yourself and let me know what you think it's about.!

Here's Where The Story Ends.

People I know, Places I goMake me feel tongue tied

I can see how people look downThey're on the inside

Here's where the story ends

People I see, weary of meShowing my good side

I can see how people look downI'm on the outside

Here's where the story ends

Ooh, Here's where the story ends

It's that little souvenir of a terrible yearWhich makes my eyes feel sore

Oh I never should have said the books that you readWere all I loved you for

It's that little souvenir of a terrible yearWhich makes me wonder why

And it's the memories of the shed that make me turn red

Surprise, surprise, surprise

Crazy I know, places I goMake me feel so tired

I can see how people look downI'm on the outside

Oh, Here's where the story ends

Ooh, Here's where the story ends

It's that little souvenir of a terrible yearWhich makes my eyes feel sore

And who ever would've thought the books that you broughtWere all I loved you for

Oh the devil in me said go down to the shedI know where I belong

But the only thing I ever really wanted to sayWas wrong, was wrong, was wrong

It's that little souvenir of a colorful yearWhich makes me smile inside

So I cynically, cynically say the world is that way

Surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise

Here's where the story endsOoh, Here's where the story ends

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ricky Rec 9

Spent three hours working on the bit of grass, getting the shadows to the right density hopefully.I've got reduced patience today. My hearing is particularly bad at the moment. I suffer from Tinnitus which produces a constant ringing or screaming sound in my ears. My right ear feels 'blocked' and sounds are muffled..I've no idea what people are saying if there are other voices in the room..sudden sounds make me jump. My family think I'm being over sensitive . But I find it debilitating. Have been to hospital who say they can do nothing for me!I feel like tearing my hair out taints everything.
Here is another close up showing how the other half of the picture will look like. Saying that..I keep going back to this bit and adding fresh layers of colour.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ricky Rec 8..close up

Went out with Jan this morning to do the shopping.But worked this afternoon and evening. Took these photos around 2:30pm..Working on the foreground trying to give the impression of tufts of grass.I had achieved the desired effect after the picture was taken so you'll see the result tommorow.
Some readers found it interesting to see the actual scale I'm working I thought I'd show a closeup of the 'action'. I'm applying a layer of purple dots here, there are also green, blue and light blue. I still haven't used any yellow!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ricky Rec 7

Work on the shadows coming towards the viewer has begun..I'm not expecting the rest of the picture to take very long to finish. Have just completed 25 hours on this..should be finished within 35.

Went back to school today after the half term holidays. It was time to complete the basic painting of the large tree panels. Next week I run my final two sessions!It will be a sad occasion for me. Below are a couple of photos showing today's work.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ricky Rec 6-The eyes have it.

Spent a little less time on this today because I spent the morning going to the optician's!!(About time!). The bad news was my right eye has deteriorated and I now have a bit of a squint..(all I need is a hump on my back to complete the look!) lenses are fantastic!!

I go to an optical lab famous for it's claim that glasses will be ready in one hour. Sitting in the shop waiting to complete the paperwork and payment.The shop assistant sat opposite me and earnestly said "I'll just go and see when your glasses will be ready"...I glanced up on the wall of the shop and there in two foot high letters is the slogan "Your glasses ready in one hour"..she returned and unsurprisingly told me "They'll be ready in an hour" reply of "I kind of knew you were going to say that" was not received with the irony it was armed with. Just to throw a spanner in the cosmic works..I went back after 55 minutes...and guess what?...They were ready!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ricky Rec 5 -Some detail

Work is going to plan. I'm discovering new things as I work! Today I wanted to replicate the shade I used on the right of the central tree trunk for the left. I'd actually only used red and green with some blue..but somehow, higher up there seems to be quite a lot of yellow. Now I haven't used any yellow!!I can only surmise that the red is causing an illusion with the green which is as we know made up of blue and yellow..somehow it causes the eye to see the yellow in the green. It's not so obvious here, but seeing it in the flesh in daylight is astounding.

I've included here a close up of the tree- line. Annie and I often walk up a path which runs through these trees (you can make it out in the picture as a darker line sloping up from right to left). Click on the image to get a closer view of the dots. The colours to seem to cloud around each other..if only it weren't so small!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ricky Rec 4 新年好!

Here you can see the result of nearly 5 hours solid dotting today. I took a short break for lunch, but basically this was all I did. To you it might look as if I haven't done much. Well this is the nature of my work.Perhaps I'll include a few closeup shots tomorrow.

I'm pleased to welcome a few new readers..I'd encourage you to check out my archives where you'll see the process shown for all my work since September last year.

I'm considering setting up a new blog site which will be a team blog for those of you who produce art work.It would be a chance to have an online gallery to which you can post your work for others to comment on.Would you be interested in such a venture?...let me know.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ricky Rec 3

I thought this picture would be quick..but I was chatting with Jan earlier about how I've noticed a progression in recent months to the accuracy of my dotting..I'm trying to achieve a greater degree of refinement. It's not a conscious effort, but things seem to be going that way. I suppose the thing to do would be to consciously go in the opposite direction..stop messing about with ink and slap paint on instead. Well those who've been with me since last year will know this is all part of the plan!..mwoahahaha!
Here's wishing you all a satisfying and productive week to come...well Monday..I'm ready for ya..give me your best shot!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ricky Rec 2

Weekends usually mean less time spent on drawing. At least I was able to deepen the contrast across the horizon..I have a good feeling about this.Today I went down into town to buy a birthday present for my younger son Will who will be 12 next week..I bought him an England Rugby shirt..(he's been to see Derby v Ilkeston at the Rugby club today..). I then visited the Oxfam Charity shop where I bought a book recommended to me on my Amazon page and one that Jan and I think my friend Kay has read by Maggie O'Farrell called 'After You'd Gone' sounds like being an interesting story.

I mentioned to Devilmood the other day that it is when I'm sat drawing in full flow that I feel 'complete'..I realise this is a very subjective thing..but we each have a 'Happy place' as Happy Gilmour might call it..I wonder where yours is?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Ricky Rec 1

My first dotting began on the horizon at the extreme right..(Sorry Preeti!..but not far off) It's always the case that there is lots of intensifying of colours as I go along. I usually find that once the darkest shades are established, then the contrasts are easier to judge. So I decided to start with the darkest areas over to the right. However i realised that I need to achieve some very delicate ares in the middle so I moved to work over the central tree.

You can see the various blocks of colour I've been laying down..the red is particularly visible. To tell you the truth, I don't know which colours will be best to use, so it's always a voyage of discovery. This bit Love..otherwise I suspect that the whole process would become too automatic.

Whereas the last picture was very precise and 'architectural' in its form..this is fairly loose and almost watercolour-like. I hope you will come back each day to view the progress.

I must make mention here of three significant authors you should visit. Firstly Preeti at Just A Mother Of Two then Sue at Keep In Touch. Both of who are painting from the heart and achieveing something special. Then Devilmood's blog at Love Is Stronger Than artist (or anti -artist!) who paints with words and her general 'Mood'. There are more you need to see....check out the list down the page on the left!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

'Ricky Rec'-Preparitory drawing

'Ricky Rec' otherwise known as Rykneld Park Recreation ground is the subject for my next piece. We walk our Daughter Annie to school through this small park every day. One day last week,I took a photo because the sun was shining so wonderfully through the trees towards me over the frost covered grass. I've decided to use an area of this photo to base my next picture on. I am still keeping one eye on my exhibition coming up next month and realise that this picture in the same format as 'Winter', will look good alongside it.

At time of writing, I've already started dotting on the picture..before tomorrows post, see if you can guess where my first dots will be!

On a slightly different note..congratulations to 'Muse' who won the 'Brit Award' for Best Live Band. Also to Amy Winehouse:..Best Female artiste.Sadly the sublime Lilly Allen missed out.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Well here you have it. The finished article at last.Again the photo doesn't do it any favours..(must get a scanner one day!). Never the less, it's good to sit back and enjoy what I've achieved.

The photos of detail above will give you an idea as to the intricacy involved. Some newer readers have asked if I used the same technique as my previous work. Yes I have..I always use the same type and grade of pen which has a nib 0.25mm. I use Calligraphy inks which are light fast but not waterproof. The waterproof inks when left form blockages in the pen and render them useless..when you've filled 8 pens with the stuff at nearly £20 a's VERY frustrating..Believe me..I was that man!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Winter 16..The end is in sight.

I've moved into the third week on this one.Should have finished it by now, but haven't. Decided that I'm not in a race! Worked on the snow covered bank in the middle. I seem to have worked for hours on it with very little to show.

Sue sent me a comment on yesterdays post in which she talks about her latest painting not looking 'real'. I'm often telling people I meet at my exhibitions that 'reality' is an overrated thing. In painting there is so much more to represent. I've often talked about the 'Alchemical' nature that brings thoughts and emotions into life on the page/canvas etc...Have you ever stood in front of a painting Monet's 'Water Lillie's'? is really only an 'Impression' ..clouds of colour suggesting form. But (you'll have to believe me here!) it seems to hum..vibrate with touches something inside. There are many other paintings which I've seen that do this to me..everyone has a different way of being affected.

The point is..Sue..everyone..painting is a bit like sex. You can get a manual that teaches technique..but when you make love to a person you love..there is a transcendental wonder that takes place. Therefore (are you still with me?) you can paint with all the technical skill there is..but with out the desire to'll be cold and clinical. you know when someone is sincere by more than the words they use.. You can convey the deepest nature of things if you let that desire control what you do.

Well..with all that 'arty farty' stuff..I'd better get my Kaftan on and light some incense!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Winter 15

Oh dear! photo seems to be a little blurred..or is it my eyes?..I have to have regular eye tests because my Father suffered Glaucoma, and the nature of my work means I need to make sure that I've always got the correct strength of glasses. I'm overdue a check just now and am feeling the strain. This picture is particularly intense with lots of work which is's important to make sure that in areas like the snowy bits..dots lie next to each other not over each other..that's the best way to get an even shade. It's not all that apparent when you look at the finished piece!..ah we're back to the nice underwear factor again!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Annie's web

We don't often do things as a family together these days. Usually our eldest is off with his cool friends down town hanging around. But today we all went to a local park (Markeaton) It was a gloriously sunny day and it was so refreshing to walk along, have a laugh and see Annie here climb to the top of the Web.She was so proud having reached the top.

I found myself having a 'Railway Station Moment'. Eh? I hear you gasp! Maybe it's just me, but I love being in a place (Like the Station) where great numbers of people are all in transit. You see a crowd. A mess of humans indistinguishable from each other. But I like to pick out an individual..look at their eyes..where are they going? where have they been?..I can make up all sorts of convoluted scenarios, family histories, musical tastes, sexual preferences, political persuasion. They maybe feeling tired, thirsty, sweaty..dying for a pee. It's a journey to nowhere, to walk into the sea at Brighton, it's the homeward leg of a round the world trip, it's release from's a trip to the Zoo.So it was today as many other families took the time of day to walk and enjoy the sunshine.

What tangled webs we weave, the complex utter futility and downright importance of the fabric of life. I catch the eyes of someone , then another, then many stories, so many realities..all passing before my eyes..all seen but hidden, then gone, probably never to cross my path again. Maybe you're reading this having glanced into my eyes as you sat in your carriage wondering "what's that idiot looking at?".

Annie looked so full of life today, she looked as if she could unfurl her wings and fly.....I'm sure that in her young little mind, that is exactly what she was doing!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Winter 14

It's been a fairly relaxed kind of a day here. I've done some work on the bushes and snow. the family have been in and out..Jan is out just now giving a piano lesson the Sheriden. Sam's gone to a gig at a club in Derby, Will's watching TV and Annie's making a treasure hunt for us to do!

On a day such as this, it's all about 'managing the family' giving lifts, going shopping etc..I used to imagine that being an artist would mean a more Bohemian lifestyle..lounging around in Kaftan's having strange and interesting people dropping in to discuss the nature of art..stretching long into the night,reading poetry, drinking Absinthe and eating grapes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Winter 13

Not a great deal achieved today as you can see. But I've more or less done with the trees. Now it's time to fill in the foreground which will be quicker...
Interesting to see the effect of electric light(this post) as opposed to day light(Ther previous post).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Winter 12

Whilst most of the region grinds to a halt because of the snow..I've stayed cozy and warm at my drawing table. Today I've worked on the trees to the right..Once past them,I'll be close to finishing!

The other pictures were taken this morning as snow started to fall. Here you can see Jan as she sets off for Chesterfield to do one of her Psychiatric role plays for Junior Doctors. Jan has to play an acutely ill person and the Doctors interview her whilst being assessed by a lecturer. Jan was a bit apprehensive about travelling in such circumstances but it's a case of no work, no pay!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Winter 11

Have completed the work on the trees to the left of the picture (see to enlarge) now must push on to get the right side done.
I'm really pleased with the overall effect of the above detail..the colours are good and gives a good feel for the actual place.

Here I've 'sketched' with a basic layer of dots the main shapes of the tree , next I need to define the buildings, then start to add detail and deeper colours. Incidentally, we've had a weather warning here in UK today about heavy snow tomorrow..I know they've said this we'll see. Expect more snowy scenes to feature here!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Winter 10...School children discover unseen Monet

Worked over on the left of the picture today. I love seeing the bare branches develop and gain their haziness. the colours are subtle and against the blue of the sky are quite impressive. You can also see what is yet to come over on the right of the scene already sketched in with pencil!

The two photographs above were taken this afternoon after the art class I run. They are two halves of a board which was difficult get into the frame in one (6feet long by 18 inches wide!) I decided on showing you it in two pieces. I'd shown the children paintings by Claude Monet of the 'Water Lillies' and other we chose similar colours to paint with. Under the paint and papier mache are the twig tree pictures (see earlier post 'A Sticky Moment')..when we next meet for a session, we'll be able to paint where the trees stick out from the picture in relief....there are two other boards like this one. I just wanted you to see what a group of 7 year olds can do...fantastic!!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Winter 9

Work has gone well today so far..unusually I've been able to concentrate for around five hours..this doesn't include any I do tonight. Do you remember from an earlier post where I refered to the moment when a spark of magic suddenly takes me and the picture becomes 'special'?..well that happened today as I worked on the fine branches and twigs shown below in the detail.It always feels good to hit a period when time seems to matter less and I become
totally absorbed in the colour. This morning I felt as if the sky was felt cold and full of light. Jan was suggesting that we get this one enlarged as big as possible..maybe to use as a poster to advertise my upcoming exhibition. I must admit, the prospect of seeing it enlarged is attractive. It's this thought that spurs me on to do large scale oil paintings..although not as refined as this technique, can you imagine what effect using a small brush will achieve?..the idea is exciting. I might try to see how big I can make the dots and still render an image of such refinement. The possibilities are mouth watering for me. It's with these thoughts that I look forward to the coming year. It's an adventure of risk. My school project comes to an end this week as far as classes go. So it will be a matter of getting stuff ready to sell at the exhibition in March. How will it all work out? this space!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

William and the television

My son William is 11 years old. Such a character, he's intuitive and funny. One of his best qualities is his ability to focus on something totally consumes him. the most recent target for his attention was to have a television in his bedroom which he shares with Sam who is 14.

I am not a lover of TV's in children's rooms and have actively discouraged my boys from such a venture. There are so many things already which fragment family life, and added to this (and putting it bluntly) there is such utter rubbish broadcast in the name of 'entertainment' and 'education' that I don't want to let my children bathe in the glow of such mindlessness. Don't get me wrong!..I enjoy watching something provocative with my's actually healthy to discuss what we are watching..The recent uproar over 'Celebrity Big Brother' meant that the nature of racism was a constant point of discussion in our household.

I digress!..William implored me to let him have a TV in their room. So after careful thought and a double bluff..I declared that if William could save up enough pocket money to buy his own TV..then he could have it in his room. Now Will is not well known for his budgeting skills, and is quick to spend his I firstly doubted that he's manage to save even a fraction of the total. I secondly (and with reservations) decided that if he could learn to save, then he will have learnt a valuable lesson on goal setting and value.

So it was to my surprise that a week later he came back from his friend Dominic who lives over the road to tell me that he was selling his television and could he buy it?..Dominic only wanted £10 for it!..wouldn't you know it..that's exactly how much money Will had saved!?...There was no way after laying down all the strict ground rules, we said yes. That was a week ago. Since then, Will has hardly looked at it..this is mainly due to his brother playing games on the Playstation ..also most of the shows Will likes are on cable channels which don't extend to his room!

Today whilst Sam was playing some violent gangster game..there was a bang and a puff of smoke..a sizzle and then the gentle aroma of fried circuit boards. Poor Will..he was so upset...Time to start saving again!

Winter 8

Although you can't see the result, today I put a layer of red dots amongst the light blue of the sky..It has created an even more true to life sky and contrasts well with the increasing amount of yellow ochre I'm adding. I've opted to start filling in the tree to the far left and then fill the branches in between it and tree to it's right. Here you can see quite a lot of sky but will eventually be a hazy mass of twigs and branches.

Have stopped work for the day now..had to investigate a terrible smell coming from the Boy's bedroom...their television had literally blown up! We're going to have our tea now!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Winter 7

Took yhis picture then once uploaded noticed the blue tinge:..daylight. will strive to achieve the perfect photo one day..
Just to give you an idea of the scale I work to, i have included my hand dotting away!..Yes I'm left handed! Here I'm working on the light blue for the sky.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Winter 6

I've worked today on widening the area of 'operations'. I like to be able to work on an area of a picture, then move to another area..this helps my 'eye' not to become too used to one particular bit. It also means that progress seems to be quicker.

Here in this close up, you can see the tree to the left has been outlined in a basic colour, but I continue to add branches to the tree on the right.I'd like to start putting some detail into the path and foreground soon. I probably wouldn't have worked on a subject like this a year's actually a very orthodox 'picture' surrealism!..but I have to have an eye to my upcoming exhibition in Derby next month where making a bit of money is important. I'm actually going to put a few originals up for sale to see if people are interested.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Winter 5