Saturday, June 30, 2007

Games ll - 6 Exhibition day 6

Work continued today on the tree..I've got to admit it's beginning to get a little tiresome, but is an ideal subject to work on that enables me to break off at any moment to talk to visitors. I'm a little concerned that the balance of the tree is affected by the length of branches at the bottom left hand side...might need to prune it back slightly! I still intend to have the lightning striking the church..but also will have a steam train traveling across the horizon to the right of the tree..I'm considering having the smoke from the engine trail up into the sky and become the thunderclouds!.. As promised, here is a close up of the work giving you an idea of the size. It's based on an A3 size paper and will probably take around 100 hours in my estimate.

Here's my table in the gallery where I sit and work all day..through the window you can see the court yard of the Mill. you'll be pleased to hear that the extreme weather forecast did not arrive for us..though other parts of the country are still under water. We now have the added inconvenience of the Home Office raising the security level warning for the country to 'Critical' which means an attack is immanent..this follows the two car bombs found in London yesterday and the explosion at Glasgow airport this afternoon..these are troubled times..and fanatical idiots seek to wreck the security of our world...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Gamesll - 4 Exhibition day 5

WOW..what a difference a day with sunshine makes!...Today I had over 100 visitors to the exhibition, and sold quite a few prints! This is a very good thing!..despite any lofty ideals i have, we still need to pay the bills ..and now we are able to!I actually really enjoyed the day.I was able to talk to some very interesting and knowledgeable people. Also it was good to see Terry and Jane who I used to work with in 1990's..we've not meet since around 1993!!Also big hellos and thank yous to Mrs Grimmitt,Mrs Lester and Mrs've helped me regain a bit of satisfaction regards all the trouble we go to, putting on an exhibition.

Worked around 6 hours today..all on the tree.I'll post a view tomorrow showing you the scale of the'll understand why it is slow going! I'm actually concerned about the weather tomorrow and Sunday..the 'Met Office' has issued severe weather warnings for Derbyshire over the next 24 hours..with the ground already soaked to capacity, the prospect of further flooding is very real..stay tuned for news tomorrow!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm Tagged....

Preeti, Author of tagged me in a recent post. The challenge is to write eight random facts about myself.The funny thing here is that once I was approached by a man at my Arboretum exhibition who I'd previously met once at my Guildhall exhibition..he remarked that I probably knew very little about him, but since studying my Blog, he knew an awful lot about me! here's some more information.......

1. I'm a big 'Marvel Comics' fan. I used to collect lots of comic books during my early teenage years...and I still have most of them..some very valuable now. My favourite character was The Silver Surfer (pictured above).He always spoke a very poetic language and highlighted Man's obsession with destroying itself and how things should be so very different if only we'd learn to care for our neighbour and help those who suffer.

2. I once appeared on a television news programme as a homeless person eating a bowl of spaghetti Bolognese. (I worked at the homeless centre, we were given a large amount of money by a national funding body , no actual homeless people wanted to be in the film I stood in.)

3.I have in the past really enjoyed dressing up for fancy dress parties..I've been: A gorilla, a Snowman, a French Maid, a ST. Trinians school girl , A nurse, A fairy, a Sheppard...etc I love hosting parties but have not been able to do so for a few years now.

4.At school aged 14 I was able to throw a javelin over 40 metres!

5.When I was still at school, my career plans were to be either an RAF Fighter Pilot or an Artist.(one out of two ain't bad!)

6. When I pour milk on cereal, I like to leave it to go all soggy. ( I love the taste of the milk at the end)

7.I am distantly related to William Ewart Gladstone who used to be British Prime Minister to Queen Victoria!

8.I really enjoy (and here I lose all credibility if I had any) watching Australian Soap 'Neighbours'..I've watched it since 1986! favourite character is Joe Mangle.

Now you know a little bit more about me..consider yourself now (if your not already) Tagged.Let me know if you're taking part by leaving me a comment!

Games ll - 3

Very quiet at the exhibition for most of the day. sold one print.Still, the day was notable for one thing..excepting a 20 minute lunch break, i worked on the picture for a solid 6 hours!!!!!I've never worked for so long in one session. I broke off to talk to a couple of visitors ( which was great actually talking to someone who was interested)..there are still many who just walk in, glance around and makes me want to lock the doors and scream " do you know how long it's taken me to produce this work..the least you can do is pretend to be interested!"..but of course I wouldn't.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Games ll - Exhibition day 3

First of all. I'd like to offer a big welcome to anyone who has logged on to view my work as a result of meeting me at Cromford. I hope you'll enjoy seeing my work develop and you'll also look back into my archives to see how other pictures were created.

I spent around 5 1/2 hours dotting away on this picture today..the blue tint is my cameras way of complaining about 'Too much white''ll get better as it develops. The roads were clear today as the flood water had subsided,it was hard to believe that such 'devastation' seen yesterday had all but dried up/drained today. However there are thousands with ruined property across the region as rivers burst their banks sympathy if you are one of them! ! Here's me and below are the pictures as they were hung by me..all a bit haphazzard but OK.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Extreme weather has meant many places in the Midlands are under water. This is a photograph of the road through Ambergate which I should have gone along it was, it was closed along with many other routes to my place of wouldn't have been so bad if i could have got out of Derby, but a major road became flooded also resulting in 'gridlock' throughout the city.

Then i listened to a reporter on the local radio station telling us how the river Derwent threatened to burst it's banks alongside the gallery where my work is far as i know, it didn't. So you'll understand why I stayed at home today.

I'll attempt to get in tomorrow....meanwhile you can view other photos by clicking the link below!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Games ll -1 Cromford Mill Exhibition Day 1

Here's a little photograph of the location for my current exhibition, The Mill at Cromford was built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771 and was the world's first water powered cotton spinning mill.Today it's designated a 'World Heritage Site' and is a venue for tourists, historical societies, students and Artists..(that's me !). Today was all about the weather..extreme conditions in the Midlands meant over a months rainfall fell in just a few hours.Floods were all over the place and driving was hazardous.The visitors to my exhibition were therefore reduced as it was not a day to be walking out in the Peak District!
I managed to get my pictures hung. However I was then left to sit for six hours and draw, listen to the rain and wonder why I forgot to pack my CD player.(will take it tomorrow!). The new version of 'Games' is now underway. A particularly nasty looking character has developed.Since this photo was taken, I have redefined the obscured left looks much better now.I will work on the 'Tennis Girl's' face tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Games ll - Deja vu

Here's a thumbnail sketch of the basic composition for the re working of Games. I've enlarged the presence of the 'Dark Clown' and got rid of the it's place is a wonderful tree. you will begin to see similarities between my works of this type..themes/ characters who pop up from time to time.

You'll hopefully forgive my slower pace at the moment as I go to my exhibition tomorrow..I'm hoping to hang around 50 pictures and have around 50 mounted and wrapped signed prints all ready for sale. Be sure to drop by this way tomorrow when I'll tell you how it all went!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Games 5 - 'Curse of the Tennis Girl'.

For the second time this year, the 'Tennis Girl' has been the subject of disaster. She was to have made an appearance in the last picture 'Anyway' but she went wrong and caused me to chop the picture in half...Now once again I have halted the second half of the picture..(you can see some of the Deltic locomotive I tried to erase to the right of the shot)..this time the Tennis Girl was OK..but the tracks under the train I discovered would streak right across the trees and reluctantly after much anguish I've decided to start again with a new version. OK so I do sound a little obsessed, but you have to accept that the 'Tennis Girl' is incredibly symbolic to me and is an integral part of what I am wanting to say with this picture...(I'll explain her significance another day) , you see..I do make mistakes after all. I have not wasted any time..I consider I have spent 20 hours slowly learning a lesson!...(albeit one I would rather not have had to learn!)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Games 4

Work on the clouds continues.Despite using a couple of reference pictures, I'm actually making the sky up as i go along.Tomorrow I hope to leave the sky and work on the girl's hair and skin tones. Only a couple of days to go now until my next exhibition which goes up on Monday at Cromford Mill in the north of Derbyshire. I have lots of mounted prints to collect from the framers tomorrow and they will all need wrapping and pricing before Monday.A busy couple of days to come!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Games 3

With girl's eyes sorted out I can relax into the work now...I've been looking at images (courtesy of Google) of lightning and storms..take my word for it..if you ever have a few minutes to spare and you want to see something to take your breath storm pics!

I've had a very interesting chat with my eldest son this Fatherly advice was along the lines of.."Don't ever be a slave to convention"..I am so lucky that i don't have to sit in an office eight hours a day, wear a suit and dream of my four weeks annual leave.

I did chuckle as I had caught myself saying " you won't catch me sitting behind a desk all day!"..of course that is exactly what I do!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Games 2

The previous versions of this picture had failed for various reason was my inability to get the correct expression on the girl's face. So far it seems to be OK. The church being struck by lightning is an important part of the whole meaning.Expect lots of dramatic stormy clouds further up the page.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Games 1

It never fails to affect me..the vast expanse of whiteness..eventually to be covered in tiny dots..Now I have all the main ingredients to the 'dish''s just a matter of putting in the time and having the flexibility to adapt and redesign as needed.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Game - sketchings

I have been explaining a little of what goes on when the idea of a picture starts to take shape.Below you will see a page from my sketch book (A5 size) which has some basic compositions sketched out..sometimes I will fill a book with drawings for one picture, but the basic idea for this one has been in various forms for years.Of the two sketches here I opted for the second one as the direction I'd like to go in. I've often looked at what i consider to be the most satisfactory composition over something else...I prefer to arrange verticals and horizontals and base the main weights of the composition on this.
The same applies to characters. I doodle away for ages trying out various faces, attitudes and suddenly land on something that stands out from the rest. Above you can see where I've marked the face in the bottom left corner "This one!"I will then draw a more 'finished' sketch which i can then photograph and put on my PC where I can alter the size to fit my composition. When I'm happy with that, I will take a tracing of it to transfer to the page. For the current piece, I have five components sketched and traced up for all takes place on an A3 piece of watercolour paper.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Games- Let the games begin!

Here we are at the start of what I hope will be yet another interesting allegorical / surreal piece. I will hold back on the meaning and leave you to put your own interpretation on it. However I will say that it addresses something I've been thinking about for some time now and includes some specific symbolism relating to my life. So there you go!..hopefully it won't backfire and go wrong.

The main process begins in my sketch book where I draw rough maps of the areas in the composition, this it to get the balance right...I then start to assemble the various items by photographing sketches and transferring them to the paper by means of tracings.In this picture you can make out a pencil outline of a main character..there is also the 'dark clown' who I intend to be holding a human skull..a tracing has yet to be made. All figures are of my own design.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Anyway..It's finished!

Here you go!..the finished 'Anyway'.Not what I had been planning, but pleasing enough never the less.I touched on the meaning in an earlier post..but I've come to realise that it can mean anything you want it to.As I've often said..I love to hear other peoples interpretation of my images. What do you think ?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Anyway 15

OK..major change of plans here..but fortunately, not too much of a problem. I have had to 'cut down' the size of the composition due to errors on the rest of it..I tried for the whole day yesterday to make it work but admitted defeat. So the picture will be finished soon and although lacking the complexity I had wanted, does have it's own merits.So there you are..the ever changing and adapting that has to be taken into account when you are working on something that is entirely original. I find this is exciting as you never actually know what you're going to end up with.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Anyway 13

I'm really enjoying working my way through this piece. I have dotted for 5 hours so far today and there is more to come later. I've also been sorting work to be printed and mounted ready for my exhibition in Cromford in two weeks time.

I find i have no shortage of ideas at the moment and have even had inspiration for the completion of 'Lines' which I had on the go earlier in the year.............only time will tell!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Time Transfixed

Since I've done very little work today, I thought I'd share with you one of my all time favourite paintings. It's by Rene Magritte and is called 'Time Transfixed' and was painted in 1938. When I was at Art College back in 1979 ..the 'class' were given the task of choosing a two dimensional picture and making a three dimensional version of it. I chose this one and made a full size replica including fireplace and mirror and locomotive of which the boiler was around 5 inches in diameter, made out of wood, and was turned on a lathe. It all looked fantastic and I've got some transparencies of it still.

The meaning Magritte wanted to relate in this picture is not difficult to unravel. He is quoted as saying he wanted to juxtapose the scale and familiarity of two objects: the Steam Engine and the fireplace..both of which burn coal and have chimneys. It is for this reason that 'Surrealism' strikes a chord with me..the act of putting a familiar object in a totally familiar but unexpected context.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Anyway 12

I am currently working more hours per day on this picture than any i have worked on this year. i think it's due to the fact that it is going to be so big that progress is often slow and knowing that I've just completed 50 hours on it and not even near to half way through makes me put the time in. I know I have to work on this style of picture more because it's so wholly original and particular in content to me. I've done and will continue to produce work that is commercially acceptable like pics of Derby etc...but to produce bigger and more intricate works like this one (and in colour) is where I'm looking at present.I intend to resist the call to develop in other far as I am concerned, the world is full of water colourists and oil painters..but there's only one doing this...and it's ME!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Anyway 11

I have spent 6 1/2 hours dotting today..I've got to admit to feeling a little jaded right now. You've all seen the photo's of where I work next to the window in my bedroom..( if not, you'll have to track back to an earlier post )'s lovely when I can open it during the warmer months..put the Cricket on the radio and occasionally blast out some good tunes ...I just get lost in it all. Don't you just love it when you become all consumed by something that brings you joy?

Anyway 10

Apologies for not posting an update yesterday. I did work hard but it was my eldest Son's 15Th Birthday ..we went out to a Chinese restaurant in the evening ..and to cut a long story was an 'eat as much as you can' type of place . Therefore one was rather 'stuffed' !

I've begun to put more background I'm making things up as I go along, it's a case of weighing up many options before committing something.I'll get off to work in a Little while and see what comes out today.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Anyway 9

Thank you Bobkat ..Ying and Yang as it were..I like contrasts..rough and smooth..good and evil..happy and sad. I mentioned last week (I think it was) about how an important thing in successful art is the connection to the viewer..the response the viewer gets from the picture, I'm therefore a little 'cagey' as to over explaining and rationalising all the elements of my work now. However, nothings makes me happier than to see someone look puzzled..I then know somethings going on in their minds..even if it's dislike.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Anyway 8

Strangely enough..up pops this 'Biggles' character."Right'o chaps..chocks away!"..I think he wanted to appear for a couple of reasons. Since the 'Mad Vicar' represents the universal religion of selfishness and airman represents selflessness in that given the choice..he'd rather not be hurling himself and his Spitfire into the Battle Of Britain to get shot down..he does it out of a sense of honour duty and pride..oh yes...and his Squadron Leader would 'brain' him if he refused! two opposites..what more can I find?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Anyway 7

After the incident with reworking the eyes, today I decided that I needed a further reworking to remove the Cow parsley plants from the foreground. I thought it looked less cluttered without them.So with a paintbrush and some white ink..I painted over the plants and proceeded to dot over can see the spider much more clearly now! i love the appearance of branches against a night sky..there are in fact a few similarities between this and a previous picture ( Hope, The Last Candle) if you remember.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Anyway 6

OK mentioned Freud!..well I hope you'll be left wondering if I'm ready for the padded room by the end of this one! I've got a whole bunch of ideas for things to include..just stick around and see what a strange place the inside of my skull really is!

I've included a Garden Spider in the picture today..a little bit uneventful but for my intention to put a dark sky in the background, so it will show up better then. I do realise that the tree is not in leaf, Cow Parsley is early in the Spring whilst Garden Spiders reach this level of maturity at the end of the summer!

You have no idea how important it is to me to have your comments..I'm rather like a performing seal..throw me a fish once in a while and I'll blow the horn and balance the ball!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Anyway 5

Sorry about the lack of post yesterday..I've been gathering sketches and resources for the other additions to the the fact I've been feeling increasingly unhappy with this 'ere chappie's eyes. So today armed with some white ink and a dipping pen i set about altering their appearance..they're certainly a little more striking now..still don't know if I'm entirely happy with them, but they'll have to do for now.
I've progressed a little with the Cello and have revised the extent of the tree branches..they were to spread right across the page , but have had to be 'pruned''ll see why at a later date.That's about all for now...