Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 29

I promise that tomorrow I will take a photo in the morning light instead of waiting until evening and rely on my daylight bulb, that is why the picture here looks so dark towards the bottom. the colours are quite starteling (take my word for it) but have lost all their beauty here. Anyway..I've nearly finished this section of the foreground. you know looking at it with all those reds, it reminds me of an almost African landscape..(I've never been there, but my Dad used to live there)..or perhaps Australia? (that would account for the sheep!)'s just the way it turned out.

Not much longer to go. You might be interested to know that I passed the 95 hour mark today!

It's so dark here..the rain is falling, the sun only popped his head out for a swift "hello.. if anyone wants me I'll be in bed"..then was gone.It is cold .

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 28 you can see I've now started on the 'home stretch'..the foreground. Proceeding fairly well.You can see here a base of blue defining various indistinct grass like shapes...then I go over it many times with red, yellow ochre, yellow, green...more blue etc...I'm not sure what it will look like..I'm just seeing what happens.This form of 'grassing' is a method I've used countless times before.

But now...Something I've never shown on the blog before!:...

This is what I call my 'time sheet'..It actually serves as something to rest my drawing hand on whilst I'm working on the picture to protect the surface from any smudging..I make a new one for each picture I work on.

In the top right hand corner I make a note of the exact time I start to work.Then when I put my pen down, I record on the left hand column the day, date and the time spent..I then add this to a running total. If you enlarge the picture you will see how much time I REALLY spend each will observe that I am not as industrious as you might think. I debated weather to share this 'insider' secret as it shows as an inconsistent worker..but contradictorily a bit of an obsessive!...The squiggles in the centre are where I clear the pen nib and make sure the ink is flowing before I start making marks on the picture.

This enables me to calculate exactly how long I've spent on each picture. Funnily enough , it was only recently that I learnt that Georges Seurat did something very similar!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 27

Terrible photo i know, but I've brought the sky down to the horizon today..lots of work to do strengthening the saturation of the colours and create a bit more of a contrast around the lit side of my face. Then it'll be on to the foreground work which will be nearing the end!

I slept so badly last mood is poor today grumbling and moaning. My mind is away on other things most of the time, but one of the beauties of this work is that you can just let the other thoughts run separately to the drawing .

Saw a poignant picture of a wounded British soldier ..his T Shirt said.."I've been to Afghanistan and all I brought back was this lousy plastic leg"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Park life

You know..i've actually droned on about some fairly negative points of view in the last few days..maudlin and downbeat perhaps due to yet another birthday. And any one could be forgiven that i don't actually have any national pride. Well I want to tell you that I do.

This cold and damp little island somewhere off the coast of France in the north Atlantic is my home. My heritage. It is not a place of singing chimney sweeps or cross-dressing Lords in rambling country mansions. It is not a place of high tea and Public schools,polo and pin stripes.It is a land that has changed so very many times seeing the face of society become richer and more varied than it has ever been.It is a 'Green and Pleasant Land'..where Cricket and Rugby stand alongside Banghra and Gangsta Rap. Where the Last Night of the Proms, Tea Rooms, Scones and Cream meet Kebabs, Chicken Tika, 'alco pops' cheap lager and ipods.Medieval castles and London eye, Green Grass and Motorways.

It is a land where there is a National Health Service..where if you get knocked over the Paramedic feels first for your pulse instead of the health insurance card in your pocket. It is a land where you can become what you want.

There is of course much that is wrong..but there is much that is very good. I can stand in my photograph in the park where I played as a child and say in honest truth. " Iam an Englishman"
Happy Sunday to you, I've had some wonderful lovely comments this week..I'm quite at a loss for what to say. So I'll lapse into stereotypical English: "Cheerio old chums..chin up!"

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 26

Today i have been contemplating 'Chaos Theory'..I was looking at the wound in my palm where the pencil entered. It still is another aspect of self induced suffering.Maybe I should cut off my ear?..but I'd only be accused of plagiarism! I remembered the story of Jurassic Park.Not the film but the altogether different story with a different ending to the film. I read it around 12 years ago now i think and remembered the part in the book where the mathematician Dr Ian Malcolm ( played by Geoff Goldblum in the film ) demonstrates how you release a drop of water at the same height and in the same place on the back of your hand will always run off in a different and unpredictable direction each time.No matter what you do..if there is any kind of variable, the unexpected can and will happen.

I love it when an idea comes along and I visualise an image, a concept (such as happened with Ball Of Wool) matter how I plan and prepare the sketches before hand..something else will develop..something else will come out. Often it has nothing to do with the actual work itself.It is a by product which in many ways outlasts and outshines the original concept.

For instance: when I decide that I will consciously make peace and love a goal in my life..I affect those around me..those with whom I am in contact and communication with.The world is changed in some way..All very 'Hippyesque' I hear you say?..certainly not! For each time I give myself to love and peace no matter if it is at the same time and with the same words each day..the run off will be in totally different directions each time. Having a heart and a soul which seeks peace, love and freedom is the start. Begin with where you are..if we all have the same goals..the ripples in the pool will spread beyond our control and imagination.....( the Butterfly effect anyone?) I'm not an academic..I'm a 40something artist with a will to be something good in the world. every morning I rise and this is the sight I see from my fact this is what I look out at all day when I am working. And every day it is different.Ten minutes after I took this photo, the sun disappeared up into the blanket of cloud hanging above it never to been seen again all day. But I was there...and it stayed with me all day.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 25 Thanks Giving Day.

I decided I'd not post yesterday for two reasons...1. I had not done enough to show you any real progress...this was because 2. I was exhausted and also has to prepare for my Art Club at school. I find it increasingly harder to engage the class I'm working with. Mind you , they are all around 6 years old! that as it may. For reasons I will not go into here , my assistant Judy had to leave the room to accompany a particularly disruptive pupil ( who was placed in my group for convenience sake whilst the head chatted to his mother) out of the room ...the class dissolved into chaos..I shouted and banged a tin of pencils down onto the table..skewering my hand on top of a particularly sharp pencil.I felt such a fool...and also a lot of pain. The person to ease that pain was far away. It's funny, but there is no lonelier place than in a room full of people.

I would like to highlight something close to my heart at present. As my horizon widens giving my outlook on the world a more colourful view than I've ever had, I am acutely aware of my failings..our failings as compassionate and proactive champions of peace and reconciliation. One particular aspect is the sadness and indeed shame I feel when I consider the sins of the past that were perpetuated by my fellow countrymen...with reference to the richly vibrant and
Beautiful India, the evil of the slave trade and the dire evil which were the crusades.

I wish to here and now dedicate my actions to being a 'champion' of humanity..of Love, Peace and understanding.

with this in mind and the festival of Thanks Giving celebrated by our American friends, Id like you to view the following link to my dear and special friend Julie who writes so forcefully and with eloquent panache. Her heart is full of beauty and peace, sometimes dark and humorous..always magnificent and inspiring. she paints with vision and magic. Today you should read the poignant words by William S Burroughs inn the poem : Thanksgiving Day .

Sometimes we can only stop and weep.

NB This text has been corrected due to my poor wording which suggested Julie wrote 'Thanksgiving Day' so please take this into account if the comments appear a little odd.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 24

I've begun work on the tree now on the left. Added some new sheep and brought the sky down a little further.

I find it easier to think in metaphor...the image of the tumbling gems is quite striking. The flying sheep are obvious to me...A little girl at school yesterday asked me why the sheep were flying..I could only answer that the sheep were very important and therefore because they were important, they should be in the sky. It seemed to satisfy her curiosity...but sometimes the answer is "Because I want them to be"..I told the children in a conspiratorial way that artists have a special license just like James Bond...'Artistic license'.As the artist, you make and draw and change the world to whatever you want!The only limit is your imagination!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 23

This picture has come along at just the right time in my life..I've experienced the tangled logic and emotions that the central theme of the picture represents.

Here's something to ponder: to make gem stones, you put 'rough stones' into a tumbler, then add grit...they tumble and turn for days on end..the grit and the stones bash, grind,grate upon each other.the end result:..a gem stone..precious and beautiful. I think that is very true of life ..there is pain, we get bits knocked off..we go through the the dark.

I hope to emerge like a shining bright stone of beauty....

PS. the progress on the picture you see today represents 7 hours of solid work since yesterdays post.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 22

This is a rubbish photograph..all the hard work I have done today involved subtle variations to the clouds and the sky and you can't see it.I'm sorry if it's not progressing as quickly as you would like , I'm trying my best.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 21

My aim today was to reach my head with sky..(sounds like a Jimmy Hendrix lyric!)..they way my head is just now it is quite appropriate.No I'm not talking illicit substances..I do not use anything more dangerous than Bourbon or a good Merlot...although you'll not believe when I tell you I have yet to discover the wonders of Absinthe although devilmood has warned me off once some time ago.

I shall now be off to deepen the colours of the sky...base layer of blue followed by purple then dark blue...the progress of the blue has taken a few hours today..I'm enjoying the little wispy bits of cloud below the main bulk of blueness.When I started this picture, I had a fairly good idea of what I wanted, but I no idea what it would turn out like..sometimes it seems to be drawing itself!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 20

I'm sorry I don't have a lot of progress to share with you today.Problems at home (which I don't need to go into here)'s odd how somethings have you soaring, and others have you well and truly grounded.I seem to flit from each extreme with frustrating regularity. This morning Jan had a friend of hers visit for coffee..Phillipa is a stained glass She produces some lovely work of high quality.(please take a moment to have a look)..we talked about working as an artist..but it's when i talk about the prospects...potential...the dreams and aspirations that i get frustrated. I feel so alone in what i do..if it wasn't for all the wonderful support and encouragement I get from you my dear readers, i would probably have given up long ago.

I've had a need and drive that has meant I have spent ALL my life wanting to have the permission to produce artwork full time, I'm not about to give it up just fact (Sorry Preeti) I think I'm doing my best work right now. i have so much more I want to create, so many directions I want to move is very true to say that I am becoming a new person ..things are changing radically in my mind and desires, I feel alive and yet caged. I seek a key...or rather someone with a key!

End of Medium intensity grumble.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 19

Today I feel like one of the sheep..weightless.Sometimes all you can do to walk around with a big smile on the outside and the inside.

I had no idea the lights would look like this..but they do!..You wouldn't believe the trouble I went to in mixing some light blue ink..(the pen had run out)..basically I had to add white ink to'd thing it would be easy...strangely enough I seemed to have more ink on me than in the pen.I managed in the end to get it see usually I have had an old syringe to draw up the ink..but it fell (wait for it!) I have been manually sucking the ink up a drinking straw and pinching it before it gets to my mouth...which is easier said than you actually does not taste very nice...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 18

An early posting today..I'm off to school to do my After School Art club in a short while, and I wanted to photograph this in daylight conditions since it'll be dark when i get home.

I've yet to refine the lights in the trees, but I'm a lot happier now I've got the sheep looking fairly OK.I wanted to show you how the overall colour scheme works. despite the time involved , i am currently thinking the ground should be very dark as opposed to the snow that it could be (that would be the easy way out!)

Producing a piece like this is a bit like working as a 'Brickie' building a library who has no thought to the literate and learning that will take place in the building. All thought of symbolism is forgotten when trying to render the sky,sheep, trees..etc...As I've said is a time for constant flapping.( Mind you..the sheep seem to be managing flying without wings)...I shall resist bursting into song now and buzz off!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 17

A flying sheep has appeared at last!..I now know what I am doing with the colour graduation (having done more after this photo was taken). This is the third week on the picture, I don't think I've used so much nervous energy up on a composition before...I often feel as if I've left something of myself on the page when I finish for the day.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Evolution concert.

Above you can see Will on drums playing the band's own composition. the band called 'Bloodshot Soup' was the result of an innercity project run by a local recording studio to get young teenagers involved in music.the concert was held at the Derby Assembly rooms last night.
Will played brilliantly having actually played drums for a couple of years..he kept time and rhythm perfectly. Each drum was 'miked up'..he was like a mini thunderstorm!My other son Sam here playing bass guitar for his band: Oblivion.Playing their own song too, they managed an astonishingly tight performance.Fantastic.

Sam is usually shy of having his photo he had no choice...thankfully the results make him look so cool!

He did sing too!!
What a proud moment it was for I want to get back into a band!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 16

Slow going again today..have had to take kids all over the place..I'm like a taxi driver at the later i have to take Annie to see both boys who are performing at a rock event in derby.Sam plays Bass guitar for one band, and Will plays the drums for another. They are supporting a couple of professional metal bands..
Below is a photo of Will's band ( Bloodshot Soup )from our local newspaper report :..Will is at the back on the left looking moody.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 15

It's not been an easy day work-wise. Committing the colours to the sky has been a step into the void in some ways, because once you establish a pattern to the gradation, you have to continue with it. since I'm making this bit up as I go along, I've felt a little unsure as to how to do it. you can see here that I've formed a sort of horizon sun rise will hopefully gradiate (is that a word?) upwards to make a very dark blue..this will show up the flying sheep to effect. the foreground which at present is suggesting snow has yet to be decided.

As you know, I love symbolism and metaphor.Sometimes the basic symbology behind a composition is in place before I begin (as was the main subject and the sheep) But the lit trees have come into the picture recently. Referring back to yesterdays post about 'The inner light'.. I think they might symbolise the fact of physicality ( the planted tree) and the spiritual ( the lights). Of course the artists definition is only that. You may have your own ideas and inspiration? why not let me know?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 14 Happy Diwali!!

starting work here on the background..the trees are similar to a couple I've used in pictures this year..they fascinate me. this time they are to be full of lights, which is appropriate for the seasonal festival of Diwali. The festival of light Now weather or not you can accept the religious significance of the festival or not..the reference to the 'inner Light' should not be ignored by anyone. To recognise that there is 'something more' beyond the physical world in which we live is wise. takes a lot of faith to be an Atheist!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 13 the sheep and the trees.

I'm posting this picture a little earlier than usual because I want you to be able to see the almost completed 'me'..before I move on to work on the background.You can see here the basic pencil sketching of the 'sheep and the trees'..I'm going for some very dramatic lighting and a few other odd little touched which you can't see yet. This is all part of the 'Master plan' which I've had in my mind almost from day it's time to unleash it to the world MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

You'll gather from this that i'm feeling a lot more possitve today!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 12

It's a very sobering exercise drawing myself. I'm finding that I'm equally amazed that my face reveals something of the inside with which I'm very familiar, and saddened by the the appearance of this ageing man who still feels like he's in his early twenties but is the product of ...well, everything that has gone before...

I'm working on my old man hair and my old man head..but have had to stop work early because despite using a 'daylight' bulb in my lamp, I still can't distinguish the the subtle shade in my hair, it's because of my old man I'll spend the evening reading I think.

Writing a 'heart on my sleeve ' blog is why I can say what I feel. Today I feel old, weary,frustrated and ...well, that's enough for anyone.I'm doing something I've waited my whole life to do..and right now it's making me miserable. See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 11

I'm having lighting problems it seems!..On the camera screen it looked get the idea.I've been working on the wool and my arm..quite a way to go yet. I'm amazed that my readers are managing to stay the distance..i hope you will stick with me a little bit longer as there are some very exciting developments I have planned for the rest of the picture. that is if my pile of tin and plastic which is my computer survives!! I'm having a bit of an upgrade tonight and hope I don't lose anything in the process.

In the meantime, I'd like to direct you a post on Preeti's blog 'Just a mother of two'. A subject close to my heart..

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Chinese Lanterns

I photographed these Chinese Lanterns in my garden this afternoon.i love autumn.The smell of dying and decay contrasts heavily with the yellow and red of the leaves..the brilliant blue of the sky..all one's senses are called to give witness...there is a chillness in the air.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 10

You'll be delighted to know that I have gone down far enough now! Although not for matters of personal modesty. I still believe that the 'Nude' is as pure an expression of line and form that one can aspire to depicting correctly.It is the basis of all an artists discipline.I have toyed with the concept of a self portrait nude..not for any reasons of vanity since the ravages of time , fatherhood and sitting at a drawing table every day for two years have taken their toll..but this is the point of self portraiture show the 'real' you. Don't worry..I'm not about to tackle this subject just yet!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 9

Today I've spent 5 solid hours (so far!!) with my red and yellow pens. There are days when I just plod along ..but I've found that I've actually entered a fertile period in my creativity with more images springing up than I have time to deal that's where the sketchbook comes in!Get ideas down so that I can come back to them and develop them as and when. Be prepared for some surprises along the way !
Here's one of the close up shots I like to show you occasionally.this gives you an idea of the scale I'm working at. The current time spent on this piece is 27 hours 35 minutes!.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 8

Thank you for bearing with my liking for 'Dad Rock' . I tried to get tickets to see Genesis on their reunion tour this year, but all tickets sold in 40 minutes. Sadly most people associate Genesis with MTV type 1980's songs. (I'm not a fan of 'I Can't dance' etc..) They were at their best as a Progressive / Art Rock band in early to mid 1970's. Phil Collins ably filling peter Gabriel's shoes as singer from 1976 onwards....No sleeping there at the back!
Today I've been working on the other hand, the wool and my incredibly manly chest with distinguished grey hairs! I showed the progress to the Year one class girl studies the picture..looked at me and said "you're not wearing a top because your wool is tangled and you can't knit!"..I just sat dumb struck..( she was only 6Years old!) . this is the crux of the pictures meaning..but more will be revealed in time!.