Friday, February 29, 2008

PWM - 6

Work today has centered around defining the features and strengthening the shadows...I've also begun on the hands.The portrait to the right has had a layer of darker blue for the shadowed areas..Despite there being blue and yellow present, i think I would like to introduce some green at some point soon..
So far I have completed over 20 hours on the dotting might be wondering how long it will take to complete. Well the last piece 'Spirit' took just over 135 hours...I wouldn't be surprised if we're talking 170 hours + here!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

PWM - 5

Do you ever have one of those days when it's almost impossible to motivate yourself?..Well that was the general theme of the morning for me...I was so tired..despite having slept OK. I'd just started working on adding another me into the picture..yes folks it's clichet time once again. It's also the reason for the title Playing With Myself! So often we are our own adversaries in life..and i'm certainly mine!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

PWM - 4

The big news here is that at 1am this morning, jolly old England registered it's most powerful earthquake for many a year. Reaching 5.2 on the Richter Scale, it's small potatoes when compared to some of the countries you might come from..and only one person was hurt. It is actually quite a regular event, as Seismologists today told the News Programmes that around 250 are registered every year in the UK alone ..but only a few of these are strong enough to be felt.

And if I hear one more person ask me "Did the earth move for you?" I won't be responsible for my actions!

Oh yes..I did some more work to my's taking shape the way i want it to...I've got the right density of colour now .As regular readers will know,I often start with the part of the picture that can go wrong and render the project useless...I will therefore before long have to put my opponents face in.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

PWM - 3

eehh?For some reason it's gone all blue on me! Still, at least you can see what I'm trying to do here at the moment. further to my description about deepening the tones/shades yesterday, i've been doing exactly that, adding layers of dots closing the gaps between them and reducing the amount of white paper you can see.(Suerat often painted onto a white ground on his canvas in the same way.)There are few light areas on my face here, so to produce a pleasing and realistic representation, i need to have what light areas there are stand out.The lenses of my glasses should also provide a highlight.

Monday, February 25, 2008

PWM - 2

The start of any new project, especially in colour is a fairly cautious job. Slowly building up the correct intensity of colour and depth of contrast. This often means reworking the same area over and over again until the right shade/tone is achieved. Here you can see I've started with Scarlet to define the areas of shade...
Next i swap to yellow Ochre to create the tone of flesh I require. with this resolution it's hard to see the individual yellow dots...but even in the flesh they are fairly indistinct. I've mentioned before that I love the effect this yellow gives...somehow it causes a glow which appears translucent.

Next i begin placing the shadows using a light blue ink which I mix with (you guessed it) blue and's not commercially available so has to be mixed. The white ink has a sediment and therefore is prone to clogging the pens if left for a long period of inactivity. fortunately it still worked for me!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

PWM - 1

You know how it is? never sees one self from the when I started work on this sketch I saw myself hunched up at a table looking old and fat. That's the price one pays for sitting at a drawing board nearly every day for two years right? So here is the finished pencil sketch of myself playing chess. I should start the dotting tomorrow as the kids will be back at school...

Yesterday was my son William's thirteenth birthday. "It's my last day as a kid!" he announced the day before. "So if you act like a kid from now on, it will only be nostalgia?" I quipped back. Here is the two billion calorie birthday cake Jan 'built' for him...with all the sugar it contained, we were all very soon acting in a 'nostalgic' fashion!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

And nouw sumfing moor seerius.

Ello fanz....itz mee agayn...Oskur.Dur mastur iz bizzy lukyng aftur hiz sun Willyumz burfday partee..sooow ee askud mee tu ryt iz blog powst.

Sinse eye av bin in wone ov dur masturs pikchurs,eye av reseeved lowds ov fann male...nouw eye amm famus. yf yoo wont a ortowgraff,pleeze joyn dur quoo.

Dur mastur wyl bee bak toomorow.


Oskur x

Friday, February 22, 2008

PWM - Preparing

A time to begin...I think I find this moment to be one of the most exciting and yet daunting of the whole process.i've written about this before, and no doubt i'll write about it again..the blank page..the road that stretches on from this spot.

This picture illustrates the moment. The book I'm reading just now is Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magical fantasy: 'One hundred Years Of Solitude'. To me, what i'm reading marks a period in my's as important as the picture I'm working on..because it flavours and influences what I think about and feel..and therefore ultimately what I create.We'll see how this influences the work about to be undertaken. I hereby invite you to come along with me.....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Playing With Myself.

“The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of theUniverse, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature and the player on the other side is hidden from us”(Thomas Huxley)

“Without error there can be no brilliancy”(Emanuel Lasker)

“Life is a kind of Chess, with struggle, competition, good and ill events”(Benjamin Franklin)

“In life, as in Chess, one’s own Pawns block one’s way. A man’svery wealth, ease, leisure, children, books, which should helphim to win, more often checkmate him”(Charles Buxton)

I found hundreds of quotes concerning the game of chess.It may of course be considered clichet, but chess is often refered to as a metaphore for life.These selected quotes show it to be so...if you've ever sat down to a game you'll recognise the fact that it's not only the wisdom and brilliance of your opponent which should be taken into account, but the failings and self doubt which is probably of greater influence to the outcome.

One quote I particularly liked suggests that the opponent is hidden from us...I wondered if I removed the blind and revealed myself as my opponent...taking into account the "...wealth , ease, leisure,children, books....." that Buxton quotes, as a probable cause of checkmate...I aim to show that I am infact my own worst enemy when facing life .

weather you subscribe to the fatalist approach of Freud or the destiny of's your move!

My next picture will reflect these sentiments....stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Minipix.

I hesitated to post this image as it looks so dull and lifeless. But it goes to show how quickly the tecnique can be forgotten. My next picture is supposed to be in least that's what I originally intended.So since there was no sunshine today, I worked on pencil sketches . Yesterday I created this..compared to the previous 'Mini pix''s simple and dull. But need to re-learn the process with my colour pens. My last colour piece was 'Ball Of Wool' which i finished in December.
I also found that some of the pens had suffered with non use ...the ink was reluctant to start moving again. I shall continue with my sketches and see what develops...I have two or three ideas set for black and white pictures, which if I can't manage to do my photographs soon, I'll begin work on.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sublime and nonsense.

Sitting in my front roomI looked out of the window and thought what a wonderful evening it was. the sun had just set and the sky cast an eerie light, so I went to photograph this Lime tree which is directly outside my house. I left the flash on for this shot and managed to capture a little of the atmosphere.
Today i have concentrated on this little cartoon.mY friend who is studying at Edinburgh university contacted me with a request to produce an image which would go on tickets and flyers advertising the end of term Ball.I was happy to oblige and the result was McMarylin!

Preparation for my next major work has begun. I need to take some reference photographs using morning sunshine, so i hope to do this tomorrow ...if the sun shines!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Favourite Artists.

John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

Waterhouse belonged to the later period of the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood, he was famous for paintings of female charaters from myths and legend. Presented in melodramatic poses and rich hues, these paintings evoke in me a tranquil feeling..a sensual dark feeling...I suppose 'decadent' would be an apt description.Often thought of in the same category as Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema and Fredric Leighton . To see more of his wonderful paintings..follow this link:

Circe Invidiosa (1892)

Hylas And The Nymphs (1896)
The Lady Of shalott, (1888.)

Ophelia (1894)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

These are a few of my favourite things.

I've never considered myself to be materialistic.But there are a few necessities that keep me going.Here they are:

My music..I have a collection of LPS,Tapes and CD's dating back around 40 are some of my CD's...My life without music would be empty.
We have hundreds of books...these sagging shelves hold mostly my books.The shelf in the middle holds a collection of my hand painted Lord Of The Rings figures.
There is a large number of videos and DVDs scattered around the house...these are my particular favourites...or at least some of them.
I don't 'need' a car..but as a family we do..Jan needs it for her work all over the country.Plus having three children, two of whom are hulking teenagers, we need something to fit them all in! But it's included in this post because I like driving...especially alone and at night...put a CD in, crank it up and sing!

Not only do I like to listen to music...I play as well. This is my old guitar which I bought back in still sounds good and is seen sitting next to the boys electronic drum kit!

Last but not least...the garden..I've spent precious little time caring for our garden...but of all the things i've planted..this Maple is my favourite.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Finished Spirit

Well, here it is.After a total of 135 hours 25 minutes it is finished.I hope you've enjoyed seeing the development of it over the past month or so.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spirit - 26

Here's a chance to see Oskur's side of the you can see, i've only got to complete this side of the field and my signature to finish this picture.I'm hoping that I'll be able to bring you the final article tomorrow sometime!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Spirit - 25

For some reason, the snow apears to have melted!So today has seen me laying down progressively thinner lines of soil..soon there will be no need to define the lines as I reach the horizon..I'm quite pleased with certain aspects of this thing I speak of time and time again is my love of contrasting textures...there are plenty here! Have you ever walked over a ploughed field?..I have..even in stout boots it's quite tricky!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spirit - 24

I've added in the details of the Maid's underskirt and Julie's skirt..before I finish the figures, i've decided to make a start on the field behind them. I settled on it being a ploughed field..(just right for a fertile imagination to take root) I was working out how to execute the look, it seemed to be turning out as if there was remenants of a snow shower ...I'll persue this effect as any snow means fewer dots!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spirit - 23

So..I move into the last week of work on this's hard to believe that i'm only in the fifth week on this. It actually feels like longer.when you work so intensely and closely on something, be it a drawing, painting,embroidery..a brick becomes part of you..part of your daily experience.For me, coming to the end of a picture is a time to celebrate, but also tinged with a sense of loss...and even though it happens every time..i'm never prepared for it!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

There seems to be a recent trend certainly amongst music fans to admit to having ' Guilty pleasures' ie a secret love of things considered kitsch or cheesy....I can step up to the plate and admit to liking Kylie Minogue, see what I mean?The sound you just heard was my credibility hitting the floor!

So whilst I take a break today from my art work, I thought I'd share my 'Guilty Pleasure'!

UFO was produced and broadcast in England from 16 September 1970 till 24 July 1971 and comprised of 26, 50 minute episodes..Created by the legiondary Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds,Joe 90,Stingray,Fireball XL5,Space 1999,Captain Scarlett...) it featured a secret organisation hidden beneath the studios of a film production company. S.H.A.D.O. (Supreme Headquaters Alien Defence Organisation) was commisioned to intercept a growing threat from Aliens from a distant world who came to Earth to harvest living organs to transport back to their homeworld where beings had lost the abilty to reproduce and therefore needed fresh body parts to keep themselves alive.

The show used state of the art special effects which to my 9 year old eyes was mindblowing. The creators of these effects went on to form the 'Industrial Light And Magic' production company used by George Lucas to make Star Wars and everything after that! there many website. fansites dedicated to the show...and i'll not bore you with them here...if you're that interested I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

The photo shows my little collection of memorobilia...As a young man I had a crush on the character played by Gabrielle Drake...Purple Wig wearing 'Lieutenant Gay Ellis' commanded the forces of Moonbase..In 2001 my brother Tim gave me a lovely birthday present which was an autographed photo of Gabrielle and the other main star of the show Ed Bishop.(see framed picture)..I also managed to get all the remastered episodes on DVD. Tim then went on to surprise me this Christmas by giving me a 'talking Gay Ellis' figure...Now, along with my 2003 drawing I'm turning into a right little 'Fan Boy'.

Maybe you could tell us what 'Guilty Pleasure' you have?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Spirit - 22

So far I've spent 106 hours on this feeling is that it will soon move into the final phase. I've added trees along the horizon giving it a rather English feel despite the Scottish church.looking back over the previous posts and my sketches in preparation for this [iece. I could not have envisaged what I now see before me. I generally work with blocks and areas, tones and larger items. But the little details are what I don't plan..and they get put in as the opportunity arrises.I like the little gravestones to the left of the church. I don't think my photo is so clear as it was heading for dusk just now when i took it.Th eflash has bleached the centre of the picture a little. Never get the general idea.

Now is the time I begin to think about what comes next....I'll let the ideas bubble away in the back ground.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Spirit - 21

Having virtually finishe the sky..I need to attend to the clouds that i've decided to have close to the horizon. Firstly penciling in their shape is easy..I then dot around the edges, then soften their appearance...the underside is blended into the area below and the top of the clouds are softened to give a light fluffy appearance.
A light layer of dots is used over the entire cloud grading to almost nothing before the edge.

Having completed the cloud, I erase the pencil underdrawing leaving a crisp and well defined cloud.

I then move onto the clouds further over the other side of the figure.The same process is repeated.

Here you can see the finished clouds. Now, I have no intention of leaving the horizon bare, let alone white. so I like and want to introduce a line of trees...I now need to decide if they will be fairly regimented or give the appearance of an aged hedgerow with Oaks placed randomly with other trees like Ash. Once this is done..Julie and the Maid will have my full attention!...the're next!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spirit - 20

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Spirit - 19

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Spirit - 18

The planet behind the clouds?...Mars of course!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Spirit - 17

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Spirit - 16

I've spent most of the time this weekend refining what I've already done with the planets. the largest one (Large only by it's actual fact it is classified as a minor planet and is 2274 km in diameter) is supposed to be Pluto and as such needs some craters and details..I've refined the uppermost cloud but still need to work on the lower clouds. The planet directly behind Pluto is Neptune and then in the distance is Mercury..The planet to the upper left is Venus which appears faily smooth..mainly because it has an atmosphere made up of clouds of sulphuric acid obscuring the rocky lifeless surface.
Here you can see me working on the sky towards the horizon. Jonice mentioned in a comment that my composition is like a 'Salad'..I lioke that analogy..constantly adding ingredients which complement and combine. I have a few other ingredients yet to throw in ..

Friday, February 01, 2008

Spirit - 15

Here you can see how the background is coming out..I originally decided on just the one Raven in the picture..but like I said before, things sometimes suggest themselves. If you visit Julies blog and see her recent paintings you'll see that black birds are part of the most recent works. I therefore include them here too because I think those paintings are fantastic. The planets in the background are I suppose a bit of a science fiction illustrators clichet..but they'll make more sense when the rest of the picture is complete.