Sunday, September 30, 2007

Field of trees - J

Well..I hesitate to say it as it may be too early, but this has received the Janet Seal Of Approval...(so far!)..Bobkat is correct when she says that drawing a picture of someone so close leads to a desire to make it 'right' and probably an over sensitivity to any faults. far so good. I've decided to progress with the rather 'simplistic' nature of the composition. Jan incidentally is as far from simplistic as can be!Take a look at the link to see some of the things she gets up to. and go to 'Our Productions' to see photos!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Field Of Trees...second go.

It's very important not to get down hearted when things go wrong with a just have another go. This time things are looking better. I do have a contingency plan if things go wrong this time....


Sometimes things don't turn out how you thought or hoped they would. It is then time to halt and start again. It is especially more imperative to get it right when one is presenting an image of ones wife!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Field Of Trees

Starting here at the bottom picture..i realised that the sketches I was developing needed a woman with the right kind of eyes (what are the right kind of eyes?) after a few goes I discovered that I was drawing my wife Jan.So I printed out a few photos to use as reference . you can see amidst the sketches the face at the lower middle of the page that I am going to use as the basis of the picture....
Above that, the next photograph shows an illustration I produced for the posters and programme for the Gilbert and Sullivan opera 'Iolanthe'. I thought this might give me more inspiration.
Next is the first pencil drawing on what is to be the final picture..then right at the top you can see where I've lightly sketched in the trees. i know this sounds a bit 'schmaltzy' but I thought that the landscape I had developed for the 'Minipix' series was 'my little world', and therefore the thing that goes in the centre of my world is Jan...I decided this was the finished concept.
Now for the dots!
I should say thank you to all who have commented on my previous post. My time in London was special, and meeting Preeti has been an honour. Have you ever met a 'Blogger'?..if you have, consider yourself 'Tagged' and tell us about it...!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

When dreams become reality.

The very fact that these photographs were taken is proof that miracles exist!For it was by chance that months ago , Preeti clicked on the 'Next Blog' button and found herself reading my own can read the full account by following the link here.So months later I find myself, Jan and my daughter Annie driving down the M1 to London and a big 5 star hotel where Preeti, Satish and their two children Atul and Purvi were staying. The hotel was beside the Tower Of London , we entered and looked around the lobby..then I heard "Niall!"...and there was the friend I'd been writing to all this time! We went up to Preeti's room , drank coffee and exchanged gifts. I'm now the proud owner of two lovely Kurta's (one of which I've worn all today).We later stood in the National Gallery staring at 'The Bathers ' by Georges Seurat and both agreed it was like a dream.

Just over a year ago, neither of us had even thought of blogging,and so it is even more amazing that yesterday, two families became united with a common love for friendship, humanity and a desire to understand the the things that made us alike and the things that make us different. If I'm honest, I find it hard to put into words the wonder of those moments..Jan kept saying to Preeti"you've come all the way from India!"..I felt like I was in a story book, I walked with a warm glow about myself...

Annie, Purvi and Atul at the hotel..any problems with language are unimportant to children..they just find a way and play! Annie and Purvi got on well drawing and colouring.(Satish was in London on business attending a conference, so was not able to join us until evening.)
We walked up the Thames embankment, (I don't go to London often but found myself being a tourist). Here's my cliche photograph of 'Big Ben' as it's popularly called (the name actually refers to the bell inside)We went into the National Gallery especially to see the Seurat paintings..but also the Van Gogh (Sunflowers)..Renoir and Monet amongst others.I was especially surprised to see 'Le Bec Du Hoc,Grandchamp' there too!!(See previous post) here's Jan in the gallery cafe (Annie in the red coat with her back to us).

Preeti and I are standing across the river from the London Eye. At first I was a little bit in awe of the circumstances. Don't you often feel that your Blogging friends are just (often) so far away in different countries, it's almost as if they're not real? The actual shock of hearing a voice on the telephone and even more so meeting in the flesh is something so mindbogglingly amazing !!
I could write for ever about how good it was to meet Preeti, Satish, Atul and Purvi.To describe them as the most lovingly genuine and selfless individuals might sound a little excessive..but believe me it's not..they are all that and more! I at once felt a kinship and familiarity of sorts. My wife often tells me about her best friend Kay to whom she writes often discussing deep things..but when they meet, it is often the case that they don't talk about much at an outsider it would possibly seem a bit odd, but when you are joined by the word and the mind, it is enough to sometimes meet and just 'be'. And that is how I felt..despite the thousands of miles that separated us and having never met before...I felt at ease..I felt a bond with my lovely friends.
How soon it was all over..we all parted outside the tube station with the affirmation of a desire for us to travel to India some day and experience God's Own Country (Kerala). 118 miles back up the motorway in Derby..I sat tired but with a big grin on my face every time I thought about the whole circumstance of our meeting...........I'm still smiling!and I've memories to last for ever!
Now there are a couple of other bloggers I'd love to meet..God willing, our paths will cross someday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Field of trees - Sketches

Here i am about to do something I've not yet done. It is true that I've shown some sketches of 'work in progress' before...but I'd like to show you my thinking in sketchbook form as I seek to compose and settle on the next piece.Please be aware that nothing at this stage is definite and is fluid..there will probably be quite a few more sketches ..I usually play around with a series of images varying the size and placement of the components. So you should see the development in sketch form as I approach something I can work with. I once sketched a woman holding out her hand and releasing a cloud of butterflies..I like this as a concept...I also like red hair...I will base the picture's background using colours and elements from the Minipix: 'Field of trees'.

I also thought I'd let you know that tomorrow Jan, Annie and I will be going to London to meet Preeti , author of 'Just A Mother Of Two ' We have written to each other on a daily basis for some daughter Annie also writes to Preeti's daughter often. So we have special permission to take Annie out of school for the day. I feel incredibly honoured as this is the first time Preeti has travelled outside India. It is something I will treasure and hold dear as have come to realise the richness of culture and experience represented by the wonderful people I've met through blogging. there are certain individuals I've come to regard as friends who although scattered around the world are as real and valuable to me as if they lived next door.
So I'll sign off with this salute...
To all the diversity, oddness,eccentricities, warmth,humour, support, love and richness there is to find in the human heart across the world,I salute you all!

Minipix -The Moonbridge

This is for now my final 'Minipix'. As I mentioned yesterday, i intend to produce some of my more surrealist type images which I love to do. However, I would like to dwell on this composition a little longer. Many years ago ( about 1978), there was a musical version of the HG Wells story 'War Of The Worlds' you'll probably have heard some of the songs from the album version at some point (Justin Hayward: Forever Autumn)..whilst listening to a passage of instrumental music called 'The Red Weed' I had a vivid picture spring up in my mind. I immediately sketched this and produced 'The Moon Bridge'. I went on to produce several versions including a 3D model, paintings, drawings and even a whole room mural for my good friends Margret and Graham. The picture shows two people atop a ruined bridge that once upon a time carried forbidden lovers across the sea to another land of sanctuary where they could live happily ever after.The couple in the picture had escaped the disapproval of their respective families and set out on a long quest to find the fabled Moonbrige, only to find that it had fallen to ruin many years before.

Then whilst reading about Georges Seurat, I came upon the image you see below. 'Le Bec Du Hoc, Grandcamp' painted in 1885 looked familiar.(what do you think?)

Now it is entirely possible I had seen this at some point and subconsciously remembered it. But I have no recollection of seeing it prior to my drawing it. I however take this as yet another similarity between the way I think and that of Seurat. Incidentally, upon reading the Tate Gallery's description of this painting (Where this painting is exhibited)..the author points out that 'Pointillism' is actually a 'popularised' description of the style and is in fact incorrect. Seurat and his contemporaries referred to the technique as 'Divisionalist'...that would make me a 'Hyperdivionalist'.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Two Minipix

OK...first of all, here are two pieces I made during my time over the weekend. I like to work on something during an exhibition so visitors can see how it's done. It also passes the time when it's quiet. I've started today on my last Minipix for a while. They've taught me so much about colour and composition. I could now use a Minipix as a 'sketch' to work out how I'm going to execute a larger picture.

I made reference yesterday to a conversation I had with a Lady visiting my exhibition.You know sometimes when you meet someone and they immediately strike you as possessed of something you would do well to pay attention to?Well this person did that...Basically the point was that she felt my surrealist/fantasy pictures depicted a passion and enthusiasm which wasn't so obvious in other pictures (ie street scenes, aircraft) I agreed and said that I loved the darker surreal stuff, it lit my passion.....the others although I find them satisfying are done with a mind towards making money.The Lady said that they were "Too real"..I knew exactly what she meant.

I have quite a lot of those 'commercial' type pictures under my belt I want to see what I can do with my imagination. Today i feel excited and have some ideas already forming. I will finish my last Minipix and then start a new phase.

I hope you will join me each day as I discover what comes next!Remember, YOUR comments help me to decided in which direction I'll go...I look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wirksworth and Bolehill Arts Festival.

Well, here I am sitting proudly dotting away at my table in the doorway to the engine shed at Steeple Grange.(I'm working on the second of two minipix I did whilst there)..I think all visitors were pleased that the exhibition was in such an unusual location. Despite the fact that the venue was on the periphery of the Arts Trail..There were perhps some 200 visitors over the weekend.
Financially a disaster, the time did however proove to be good in other ways.

Regular readers of this Blog will be aware that I take on board all comments and suggestions and weather of not I act on them does not mean I value them less. To not act is an act in itself (if you get my measning) annd therefore those comments do have an effect! However sometimes a 'Key' moment happens and prompts something of a reassesment and evaluation. One particular visitor at the end of the day today helped me immensly..(I hope you are reading this..blonde lady slightly younger than I visiting with your friend)..Praising my more surreal and dark pidctures (Elephant)..I'll reveal more of that conversation at a later date.

The shed showing the tracks leading right can see why it's called 'Narrow Gauge'..sitting here the wind whistled through...I was VERY cold by the end of the day!You can see my work hanging either side.

Today the rear door was shut due to the increased wind..thankfully the lighting was good!

Looking to the left you can see pictures hanging including many featured here on this site.The kitchen area is beyond.
Finally I'd like to thank Peter Sellers , Martin smith and the band of totally wonderful friendly dedicated volunteers who run the Steeple Grange Light Railway. You made my stay with you enjoyable, interesting and worthwhile!
Now I think it's time for a good soak in the bath and there's a bottle of red with my name on it!See you tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2007

minipix - Field of trees.

I did this picture to make up the numbers (I said I'd do 8) and it's turned out really nice in my opinion..the colours remind me of some Impressionist stuff. I think I'll do some more like this!

minipix - Misty Train

Here's another one! Today I will be picking up all the prints I've had mounted/framed for the exhibition will be a late night as they all need packaging and pricing. I need to be at the site by 9am's a bit of a drive up into the Peak district so it's an early start....meanwhile, I've started another picture...stay tuned!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Minipix - Snowtrain

Instead of more intricacy, i seem to be moving to a more simplistic style in this one. Why the railway subjects I hear you ask?..Well I have mentioned I'm off to exhibit my work over the weekend at a local arts festival (see Link):, and as an innovatory way of presenting Artists, they place exhibitions in unusual places as part of a 'Trail'...I am based at the Steeple Grange Railway (see link) I know steam railway fans will appreciate the pictures and I hope they sell!So expect a couple more before the end of the week!

*I've just recieved an Email from Justin in New York who has very kindly featured my work on his popular and regularly updated site..take a look!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Minipix - Cloudtree

I seem to be getting into my stride now with these is a small version of a picture I created a couple of years ago..I've arranged the clouds slightly differently...when I stepped seemed the clouds were the leaves...a mini surrealist picture!

Minipix Moon Train

I must say thank you for all the possitive comments recieved about this little series.It's actually quite therapeutic to cut loose and finish something in so short a time. The four pictures are actually on the same piece of paper..(See below)

I think they look great together but will be framed individually ...and I'm going to put them on sale.You can perhaps feel that I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to these. I will console myself with the fact that they only take a couple of hours each. I shall now get to work on the next lot!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Minipix Arboretum

I knew once I'd started this picture that it was the wrong choice, but pressed on non the less.It makes a nice picture though..but I think in this scale I prefer the dreaminess of the previous two. So have now already started the next piece which I'll post tomorrow.
Got a call from the printers today to collect the work I'd asked them to do for my exhibition at the weekend. Jan and I then went to try out a new picture framers. I have to get three originals framed, then around 40 prints mounted ready for packaging. It's quite a big job and they are needed by Friday afternoon. I still consider 'Frame and go' to be my usual choice, but want to see what this new place can offer..If I'm honest, I don't enjoy the process of visiting printers and framers and deciding on all the mount/frame styles and day I shall employ someone to take charge of all my promotion and products.

Monday, September 17, 2007

mini pix - Bridge

I used a photo of a sunset so I could judge the colours correctly but made up the train and bridge. The thing I like about these 'Minipix' is once you view them as enlarged, they reming me of what it would look like if they were paintings.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finished Minipix Tree - 3

Simple but effective..this only took just over 3 1/2 hours!!So using that as a guide, i could perhaps do two of these each day..if I really wanted to. Of course it's yet to be seen, but as I am working with the intention of selling the originals, will I give as much to the creativity as I usually would?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Minipix Tree - 2

This is actually quite fun..i've not spent very much on time on it...and that's the idea..I've only just started and I'm nearly finished!

Minipix - Tree1

Well..after the whirlwind last couple of days with Annie's Birthday and all that entails with a party at a local Play Centre for her school friends , getting my pictures off to the printers who'll make copies (to sell) for my next exhibition and sorting out the two retail outlets who sell my prints in Derby, I've managed to start work on my next 'project'.

Next week i'm exhibiting as part of the Wirksworth Arts Festival, and will be based at the Steeple Grange Light Railway (will post links later in the week).. I've decided i'll produce a little series of little pictures which will be available to buy as originals..each picture is 8x5 cm! I've begun with this tree, then a few more trees and then who knows?..perhaps even some abstract!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Lady In Red - Finished - 67 Hrs 35 (400th post)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

TLIR Detail b

Here is the second batch of photos showing the work on the Lady in red. I hope you're not disappointed by the way she has turned out..I'm very happy and look forward to showing you the 'bigger picture' when it's finished which should be today, but as I've got to help get the house ready for in laws visiting for Annie's birthday tea..I might not put the final touches on till tomorrow...anyway..time will tell!

TLIR - detail a.

Once more in reverse order, I will show the process of applying dots to create the Lady In Red. This is the first part in a series of posts today to let you see the process in detail. the series represented here shows two hours of work this morning..I have worked on the trees above the lady also which will be show in a later post.