Monday, December 31, 2007

L'inattendu - 15 Happy New Year!.

So here we are once the end of the year looking forwards and backwards at the same time. Bobkat put it so well in her blog regarding Janus..the two faces, at the axis of the year. Like many people, I have looked back and sought affirmation as to the reason i am here.Why am i?...

Below is a photograph of me aged about 3 months...(my parents had a photographer come to our house ..the image was a black and white print but the photographer hand tinted it..he thought I was a girl because of my dress and painted me pink.My parents could not afford another print so pink it remained) But I love looking into those eyes..those eyes which saw nothing of what was to come, but hopeful, and full of life..innocence. It's how I look forward by looking back.
I have stood and raised my head, looked full into the face of 2008 and pen in hand I stride forward with a happy and thankful heart. I will take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy and prosperous new year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

L'inattendu - 14

Working on the skirt and all the frills is challenging (as well as fetishistically satisfying!) Deciding where all the shadows will fall means I have to concentrate,I do have a few resource images to use but there's nothing better than allowing it to shape itself. there will be around 5 - 6 more dancers to the composition.

I received a message from someone yesterday who I'd completely forgotten was a wish for a happy new year and to "Party Hard". This meant a lot to me...I'll tell you why. At 1:45am on 31st December 1991, there was a banging on my front door..I was tucked up in bed...popping my head out of the window, I saw my Father standing in the street obviously upset..."Can you come down Niall?..I think Mum's died"

There began my adulthood....New Years eve is always a time I remember her,she was a big inspiration in my life..someone who sacrificed all for her family...and died aged 58 well before her time. Therefore the party I attend is basically to commemorate and avoid sitting at home being's what she would have done. If we should meet as midnight chimes, and I have a tear in my'll know why.

The following picture is something I treasure. Taken by my father in June 1951 it shows a youthful young woman about to embark on her married life. Having abandoned an offer to dance at 'The Windmill' in London as an exotic dancer, Eileen worked as a secretary at a local Army depot (Chilwell , Nottingham ) where she met my father.

L'inattendu (the Unexpected) is partly due to her influences on my senses, my memory my heritage and development.

In memoriam

Eileen young (nee Lipscomb)

1933 - 1991.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

L'inattendu -13. I'm back..but is there anyone still reading this?

Hello..remember me?..I'm that strange English artist you used to read way back in oo let's see...last week! Christmas happened and I went that man waving or is he drowning?..he was drowning...but sodden and depleted he hauls himself up onto the shingle of the deserted beach and remembers what it was he was supposed to be doing all this time....something about dancing girls and a French maid....

On with the show!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Oskur's Krismus mesidge 2007.

Deer loil subgexcts..2007 as bean er veree difikult yeer four meny peepul...eer in Inglund, dair haz been lotz ov fluds an rewyned howsez..meye thortz arr wiv yu orl. itz at dis tyme ov yeer dat meye mynd terns tu moor impourtent fings..lyk wear arr orl dur bannarners ?...wyl der bee eny spshul ladee chymps fouyr mee tu meat?..wyl thay hav red botumz? eye howp sew!
I av yeat tu rapp meye fakt eye styl av tu by dem...dur mastur duzn't giv mee mucch muny..butt eye av beeing mune-lyting doun at ther lokal tellymarkityng offiss. sellyng inshoarenss..eye av sayved a hole bunch of muny eye wyl biy a byg botul ov wisky for him and mee tu shair....hik!
Buut,meye mayne gowl dis yueer iz tu serv meye mastur az besst i kan an bee dur besst qween chymp ohn dur blok. Eye howp yu orl av a verree meree Krismus..sey yu necks yeer.
PEE Ess...dis dres iz tu tyt ...aynd dur shooz arr kyling mee...eyem ov tu chaynj bak tu meye proppur stayt...butt haeree naykid!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy christmas

Christmas pigs.

Sorry I have no further developments on L'inattendu. The nature of the work means I need undisturbed periods of time..something the season is not affording me at the moment. It's funny really....I feel my work has become even more of a vocation these past few months..something wonderful is happening to me causing me to question what I have been doing with my talent. Causing me to NOT take it for granted, to be grateful that it is in the present that I am able to allow my creative wings to spread.

I think we can all have times when we question and reassess...whatever celebration you enjoy..Eid, Diwali, Hanukkah..there are times when we gather together with our families and see generations spread around us from the newest to the oldest...we should question ourselves..we should take stock..we should sit in humble sobriety and realise that life is is is for the is for you and I....(hey..enough of the humble sobriety now!)

I love the old saying that tells me that "Life is not a rehearsal" is the once in a lifetime performance...So as I close and wish all my readers a good and Happy Christmas..I'll leave you with these words that forever come back to kick me in the ass!

“ Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary”


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Oskur De Wylde Krismus munkee

ello fanz !!

..eye um Okur...iyt iz nize tu bee bak!...dur maztur iz nut eear az ee iz fyndyng dur rigurs ov krismuz tu tacksing..sow eye af towld hym tu hav a baff aund drwink sum wyne...eye ham gowing tu skrubb iz bak iyn a mynit. ee iz nut gowing tu du eny drauwiyng tudey. ee sez ee iz reely wontyd tu. orl thouw eye downt thynk iz pikchur iz veree deesent..yu kan siee dur laydeez nikkers!..eye wyll klose wone eye wen eye luk at iet.

mey eye tayk diss hoppertooneeti tu wyssh yu a hapee krismus and a bannarner fiyled nuw yeer.

Friday, December 21, 2007

L'inattendu - 12

Firstly..the big black object at the top of the picture is my least I've managed to complete the stage front and symbols.I've also added the little bird to the boys hand.The action on the stage is the next area to work on..I actually like the idea that the real drama is out in the audience!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

L'inattendu - 11

I've worked a whole day on completing the symbols for the front of the stage..there are a few more behind the the Maid's legs which I have yet to do but that area will carry my signature which as you know is always the final thing I do before completion of a picture. Despite the good progress and inspiration I've encountered today..I'm feeling flat and tired.So that you might have insight into the mind and thoughts of a working artist, I'll tell you that my wish is to to run away and hide from Christmas..I am entering the most intense and difficult time on this picture and to have something as annoying as Christmas take me away from what I'm doing is see art is inherently a selfish least at this stage..and I'm not really cut out for a 'normal' life.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

L'inattendu - 10

It's not been possible to do very much work today. I don't like a day like today..managed a little time this evening and concentrated on the little fella you see here.I'm not very conscious of the fact that it is supposed to be me..however....I think you'll understand when you see the completed piece. Behind me, you can see theedge of a stage...decorating the front are various you can see a space shuttle and an angel.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

L'inattendu - 9

Tweeked a few details here..made the skirt a little more flirty..but still need to complete the maids lower legs and the wine glass. The main aim of today's work was to pencil in the background and begin work on the inclusion of the foreground figure of me!...(remember the photograph a few days ago?) I remembered that my Dad was a keen Bird Africa he used to own a large aviary including a Golden Eagle...he was always keen to show me the birds in our garden and used to show me as a child how to make beak shapes with my hand using my forefinger and thumb. In the photograph I am shown holding my hand up to the roof of next doors house where a bird must have been...I thought that if I made the beak shape, it would call the birds down to land on my finger.
So in the drawing I for some reason have decided that a butterfly will be alighting on my finger, perhaps now I think about it, it should be a little bird?...more tomorrow and to possibly see how 'Mini Me' relates to the rest of the compossition.

Monday, December 17, 2007

L'inattendu - 8

Now you can see the two figures in relation to each other.This part of the picture nearly complete..the rest of the composition is subject to changes but I'm 99% sure of what goes where!. I'm enjoying using characters from previous works. There might be a story which draws them all together one day.

I hope you enjoy unravelling the various symbols and details...there will be lots more to come.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

500th Post. L'inattendu - 6

So I decided to make it a Death's Head Hawk Moth in stead of a tell me!. i spent a good amount of time working on the Maids top today as you can see. In addition to this we put up a Christmas Tree, lights, decorations and... blood pressure..this always goes up with the decorations. Never mind..our front room now looks very tasteful...
Today's post is my 500th!! to mark that occasion I thought I'd show you a little picture taken of me when I was at the age of about 1 1/2 years old.I've always been attracted by things up in the sky or on the roof..hence my love of the Sky, stars, planes, birds and...well, wait till you see what I'm looking at when I place a likeness of me (taken from this photo) in my picture!
See you tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

L'inattendu - 5

Work on the Maid continues..I've got the mouth right at last after a few attempts..I find it really difficult to produce realistic looking faces from imagination, but having worked on so many in the past few months..I've learnt what to look out for and where specific shadows fall..I've got lots more work to do on the shadows here especially on her cheek and breast.Sometimes it's a matter of working for a short while, then stepping away..make a cup of tea then come back...somehow the subtleties disappear as you stare for a long time concentrating on a particular detail.

The Maid is carrying a jar with a butterfly within.

I took annie to her school Christmas Fayre today..we went in to see's a pic. (Sorry Chris)..but isn't it funny how all 'Santas' look slightly dubious? ..and in this case, way too thin!..I guess once he's eaten 500 million mince pies he'll look more the part!

Friday, December 14, 2007

L'inattendu - 4

Firstly...I didn't write anything yesterday...why?...Well, I had nothing to say! As the old saying goes: "Better to keep your mouth shut and to have people think you a fool, than to open your mouth and prove it!".

I seem to be saying this a lot at the moment, but it's been slow going these last couple of days. I think mainly because I've started this piece entirely from scratch with only my own ideas to work from. True I've used reference material but only after I've sketched what i wanted and needed further detail. for instance;The hand I used for the Starman, was originally from a photo of my own hand. but as I considered it, I saw that it did not look n keeping with his I used a 'google' referenced image.
The maid is entirely out of my own imagination..I've spent ages deliberating on the way her mouth goes...I've decided she will be biting her lip. I know she looks a bit of a road crash just now..but trust me to sort it out. The journey continues..

Thursday, December 13, 2007

L'inattedu - 3

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

L'inattendu -2

The one thing about working on a made up face is that i can do what I want with the features without fear of getting it wrong. This is progressing quickly although the overall size of the picture is relatively big. what I like about this type of piece is that details can be changed as i go along..and there is always time to make major changes if needs be.

I was remembering an old favourite Marvel Comics character of mine from the 1970's called Doctor Strange. I noticed he had a character with a body which was actually a view of stars similar to this one but different...also check out the video to 'Supermassive Black hole ' by Muse!...hey, i'm doing myself out of originality here...but one tends to notice these things..!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

L'inattendu (Fontaine du désir) - 1

Having completed the sketching I took a photograph and transferred it onto the computer where I enlarged and printed a copy. I then made a tracing for transfer to the paper. Here you see a close up on the 'Starman'.

He's a curious figure. I've been using his concept now for many years. He was based originally on an a patient I knew when I was nursing back in the early 1980's. He was a very bitter and caustic old man who had no family or friends...he gave one the impression that the universe centered around himself. Sadly he died and I thought how sad it was that there was no one to mourn his passing.

I therefore created the man covered in a Star cloak (visual pun intended!)..he has represented not only selfishness and bitterness, but also lust and desire. It is for you to interpret his place in this composition.

Monday, December 10, 2007

l'inattendu - Sketches

As promised, here is the first selection of sketches for my intended new picture. this one will be in black and white and will follow on closely with the themes and characters depicted in 'Elephant' and 'Games'. I have been attracted and fascinated by everything burlesque..from the visuals presented by Marilyn Manson, to Moulin rouge and the 'Can can' to Toulouse Lautrec.

My mother incidentally was once offered a place as a dancer at the famous London theatre 'The Windmill' way back in the late 1940's. Sadly her father would not allow her to go. Dancing was her passion and she was denied it. I don't think she ever thought that she had ever fully realised her life's destiny because of that...

So here are a few sketches from a nearly full book of ideas. You will see the development of three aspects...the Starman, the Maid and the Dancers. Please join me tomorrow for the first dance!

This will be the sketch I shall use for the Star Man...I 've also worked on adding his hand holding a wine glass.

The inscription just above the girl's face says "This one!"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Maria De Medeiros

A little interlude from my gaze upon who I hold as one of the most beautiful and alluring actresses today. I realized yesterday when I was talking about 'The face' that I was obsessed with recreating in my pictures was in fact summed up in the features of Portuguese actress,Maria De Medeiros. Some of you will remember her in the film 'Pulp fiction'..but my memories are built around a more poetic and beautiful film all together...I'm talking about 'Henry and June' Made in 1990 it portrayed a love triangle between the author Anais Nin (Maria De Medeiros) Henry (Richard E Grant) her husband,Henry Miller (Fred Ward) and June Miller (Uma Thurman) The film directed by Phillip Kaufman was criticised for it's lack of characterisation. But where it succeeded for me was in the cinematography...beautifully framed and images and muted dreamlike colours.

Based on the true life memoirs of Anias Nin, it portrayed a frank and open relationship between the characters with Anais in the middle appearing confused and breathless for all her partners.

If you haven't seen it so..and if you haven't read any of the gloriously erotic and sensual writings by Nin..then do that too!

The following screen captures are all from 'Henry and June'.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Unseen 3, 4 , 5

Here are three more in my 'Unseen' series. Complete between 1988 and 1990 you will begin by now to realise that I was actually working undercover as it were. Do you know how frustrating that is not to feel able to share with those around you the greatest achievement of that time? I certainly had no audience for these pieces..

Yes they have many technical irregularities, but I'm really pleased with them for what they are. Actually each one is relatively large compared to some of my more recent pieces, and the photography does not do anywhere near the justice to the detail and sharpness of the originals.
I used a photograph of the main bridge going across the river Trent in Nottingham for this's now a road bridge.( Notice the 'Starman' fishing in the river! )
A sullen looking figure here. The locomotives shown here were built along with a couple of hundred others in Derby Locomotive works in the late 1950's - 60's. They were all being withdrawn at the time of the picture....The earlier versions of the locos were named after 'Peaks' in the 'Peak District' in Derbyshire...Here we see a couple of 'Peaks'..erhem!

I've been obsessed with this type of face for years..the slightly downward droop of her mouth and slightly oriental eyes. i intend to use this face again .
Hope you enjoyed that peek into my unseen works. I've a couple more which I will share with you soon...but I'm almost at a stage where my preparation for my next picture is done, so I'll show you some of the sketches soon.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Not unseen..

This is one of my earliest colour hyperpointillist pictures from around 1987 I think..The little boy is's from a school photograph taken when I was about 6 years old. My family has always been associated with the father worked as the Traffic Manager in Eritrea after the end of world war Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers has also worked the rails. I was the first in my family not to work on the railway..bu I did develop an interest in it..I pictured myself with the train appearing to be coming out of my head. I have learnt so much about the technique since then...all those plain areas were VERY boring to complete. The piece is A3 size.

It does however create a dreamy quality.. !

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Unseen 1 & 2

Wondering what to post today. I've spent time working on some sketches for my next picture..don't worry..I'll post some of them before I start. But for now until I have something more concrete, i thought I'd show you some pictures that have never been seen by anyone since they were created..Strange but true that these slightly titillating images are quite quite tame but were something laying hidden in my thoughts. I have a few more straining to see the light of day, so perhaps I'll dare to bring them out another day.

They're actually rather adolescent fantasies and as such have no titles,and they date from around 1991... but you'll notice the 'Starman' with the cello in the monochrome picture'll find that every artist has an persistent theme which seems at odds with his audience..these are mine. I wouldn't have dreamed of sharing these with you a few months ago, but I've received the encouragement I needed and now ..welcome to my psyche....and thank you Julie!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The St.James School Art club.

Inspiration for the new work is plentiful and actually more than I can fit into one you'll have lots of interesting stuff to see here in the next few months! For now, I thought I'd show you a little of the 'other side' of my work. For the past few months I've been employed to run an after school art club. I'm very familiar with the school as both my boys started their education there. Julie Carter who is Head Teacher has been a great champion of the 'Arts' and has brought lots of practitioners in , as well as myself there have been musicians, dancers, poets, actors etc....

I've been working with 24 children. 12 from year one and 12 from year two.Year two have produced this picture of a sun rise. Initially the children drew individual pictures, then we transferred them to the main board which is 6ft long by 18 inches high. The children glued string and paper to raise the images in relief from the board, then papier mache'd over the lot. finally painting and then picking out detail with oil pastels.

The two pics below show some of the detail in close up.

Year One worked on this identically sized board which represents night. All the children are aged 5 - 6 yrs !!!!That is about how many years I have aged in the process. It wasn't easy, but I think you'll agree the results are great!
I ran my last group with Year Two today . My last group with Year One is on Thursday.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ball Of Wool - finished.

It should all be so simple you know...Sheep make wool, wool is used to make clothing. But here I am, without my clothing which somehow has failed to find it's way onto my back.For some reason it has become tangled, stepped out of it's intended destiny (for the time being) and has me distracted and preoccupied with it's untangling..or at least my attempts to untangle it. (how did it become tangled?..was it me?...was it you?...was it Harry the Sheep?)Meanwhile dreams, desires and potential hang like tiny but bright lights on the trees of life...part of a whole forest of dreams...the furthest of which trees have not yet attained their lights..or is it in fact that they once had them and they are forever extinguished?

Begun on Tuesday 23rd October, this picture has now come to an end. But it's life as a work of art begins...

I'd like to thank all of you who have over the weeks encouraged me with your words of kindness..for those who have taken to the process I painstakingly go through, and to those of you troubled or mystified by the reason behind the work. It all came from a remark made by friend 'Bobkat', who innocently remarked one day the she was 'trying to untangle' her own ball of wool. I stopped what I was working on at the time and began this picture.

I'm very proud of this piece, it has been a voyage of discovery and the occurrence of some VERY special times for me....the influences of which will be the basis of my next work.

Stay tuned...the best is yet to come!!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Sir John Everett Millais
I worked a little on my picture today, but not sufficient to show you....this brought to mind a quote from one of my favourite artists: Millais. He once said: that he could no longer '..spend a whole day painting an area no bigger than a five shilling piece'. He was under pressure to produce work quicker especially as he'd married the ex-wife of his greatest supporter John Ruskin and was on his way to fathering 8 children. Despite this necessity, he went on to become the highest earning artist of his day. and became president of the Royal Academy in London.
I've always admired the work of Millais. His membership of the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) saw some of the most technically startling works of the era. The PRB consisted of a close knit group of English artists who strove to produce work that was true to nature and had an uplifting and 'noble' subject. In essence they were a group of rebellious artists against the vulgar and sentimental art of the time.
I like the painting of Ophelia because of the overall execution of the image and the feeling of decadence in the figure as she slips beneath the surface of the water to her death. Millais painted the background to the piece in Surrey during 1851. He used Elizabeth Siddal ( with whom it is reputed that he had a secret love affair with) who posed in a bath of water heated only by candles placed underneath. Millais bought the Antique dress for her to lie in. There are many stories surrounding the result of lying in this bath in that the model contracted pneumonia and died. This is not true.
The picture is rich in detail and colour and evokes a dreamlike eroticism full of tragedy and beauty. Though copied as a theme repeatedly, Ophelia was an original concept image (based on the character in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet') of the time and was therefore widely renowned.
I'll be back to my Ball Of Wool tomorrow...see you then!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ball Of Wool - 30..back from the dead.

I'm back!...I must appologise for my 'no post' all happened a little too fast, but m,y computer has been poorly for some time and needed some 'Tender Loving care' ...however,radical surgery was prescribed and work began on Thursday evening. sadly the surgeon was (I'll have to be careful here in case he tunes in some day!) ..unable to complete the proceedure here i 'am back on my original ( but flawed ) configuaration. i'll try to give notice next time (which could be anytime!).

So, i'm nearing the end. Having been with this piece for over a month now, i shall be sad to see the end of it...I personally consider it to be one of my best pieces...but more about that another time. for now..I hope you'll forgive my is said it makes the heart grow fonder!