Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Canal Trees.

Here's the progress on today's picture. It's of the opposite bank of the canal to the previous drawing. to be honest, when I'd started this drawing, I hated it...(see below)..but I've put in a good chunk of time this afternoon and I'm a bit happier now. I'm finding it difficult getting used to the almost instantaneous nature of this technique..compared to the usual weeks of input...will i be able to part with them when the time comes?...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trees along the Trent And Mersey Canal near Stenson Bubble, Derby.2008

Trees along the bank of the Trent And Mersey Canal near Stenson Bubble Derby. April 2008.
Pen and Ink on watercolour paper. 30cm x 18 cm.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Trees - 5

It's been a busy, otherwise I think i would have finished this picture by now.I had an appointment with the Tourist Centre in Derby who have now placed an order for more prints of my Derby pictures.They appear to be selling fairly well.I now have a better idea of the sort of images which are next aim is to produce a series of pictures depicting the 'Cathedral Quarter' of the city. This is something that will have to wait until after my present series.
It's easy I think to get swamped under the need to produce commercially popular work.On one hand I have a responsibility to my family , but on the other hand, I have a duty to develop my 'voice' and produce work that is of my heart. ...ah my ball of wool!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Trees - 4

A little further down into the undergrowth and a tangled mass is starting to take shape.I've not done a line drawing with ink for many years now,but i shall soon get into my stride and attempt more ambitious subjects. There's probably a couple more days work on this before I finish.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trees 3

I'm not putting in the sort of hours I've done on PWM, but working on this little sketch is fun.I think I might have done enough with the trees now, and so it's time to work on the ground.It's my aim to be able to produce as many of these before the exhibition.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Tree -2

Progress is a lot faster this way...I remarked earlier that i was really enjoying seeing something so quickly. saying that, it's intricate and fiddly. the foreground will be a tangle of roots, plants and spring flowers. I love the hedgerows at this time of year before all the foliage hides the skeletal branches from view...wild daffodils and primroses are out at the moment.The buds on the trees are begining to burst and there's that damp earthy smell that can only mean one thing:...spring!
Below are two more photos from my walk the other day showing the lock gates at Stenson Bubble.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Trees - 1

The sun is out, and it's time to move on. I've a show to work towards and I need to produce a few things that I don't mind selling. Willington is a small village south of Derby, they've not had a festival there before, so I don't know what to expect. Yesterday I set off with my sketch pad and camera to have a look around Willington and surrounding area for some inspiration. The Trent and Mersey canal runs straight through the village and is to be the site of a multi million pound Marina development in the near future.

Canals were the freight transport backbone of this country before the motorways took their place.Much of the canal system fell into disrepair over time.But recent years have seen a boom in their use.With the growing awareness of environmental issues and concern for our resources, canals are once again seeing freight traffic. Then of course, there is the huge tourism and holiday market. The waterways of Britain are home to some of the most highly decorated canal barges which for some are permanent homes.

I took a walk up one of the stretches of Canal from a lock called Stenson Bubble (see below).the drawing is of some trees I saw on my walk. Join me each day to see it grow...and I can assure won't take 9 weeks this time!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Finished - 'PWM'

Ink on paper 45 x 32 cm.

Well, here it is. I've just completed the final act which is the signature.I love the final moment when I rub off the pencil to reveal a shining white name.That marks the finish.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

PWM - 44 . I must go down to the sea again...

There are a pair of Gold finches twittering in the willow tree as I write..the patio door is open and it's a lovely mild spring's a lovely day . Here you can see my work on the sea continues...gradually darkening and strengthening the colours...You can clearly see that I've darkened the area to the right of the candle holder as opposed to the rest which I'll do after I've written this.I favour the darker/richer colours of the blue and green ..there's a sort of tranquility about it.
Here's a nice close up..try clicking on the image for an even closer look!

Monday, April 21, 2008

PWM - 43 All at sea

This is my second go at posting today..don't you just hate it when you spend your time composing a carefully crafted piece of prose only to have the server not publish it?...aagghh!!!Anyway, here's hoping this one works!

I set about the sea today..not knowing which method would give the best effect, I decided to lay down a basic blue and 'suggest' waves...hen start darkening it with other colours later. below is a small selection of photos showing close ups of the work in progress.
Here I'm using blue to define the horizon my original sketch I had the sea being quite dark.

It's easy to make a light area darker than the other way around, so I'm opting for a fairly light layer of blue...I suppose it's a little 'grounding' which is a term in painting where you lay down a base colour for an area to eliminate the white glare of the canvas/paper....

The candle holder needs attention now..It is a metal structure and has a sort of shallow metal pan for the candle to stand in..the underside is reflective so needs to bear the correct light and highlights to make it look realistic...join me tomorrow to see what happens next!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

PWM - 42 The answer to Life, the Universe and everything.

I've done little work today, by choice. But I had to spend a little time strengthening the clouds and adding a little red to the horizon. If you compare today's and yesterday's you might see what I've done.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

PWM - 41

The clouds are now in place and I've added a little yellow ochre to the horizon. the next job is to darken the clouds near the top of the page and add a little red and more blue.I wanted clouds behind the area that is the glow from the candle as it helps to accentuate that's odd, but it actually looks as if there is a light there rather than plain paper showing through.

All being well, I should finish during the next week!

Friday, April 18, 2008

PWM - 40 Clouds are gathering

You should now start to see things quicken as I've all but finished the I can at long last begin on the clouds. Here I've placed a few rough shapes in the top left hand corner..they will be darker eventually, but you will begin to get a sense of depth to the sky as i introduce clouds further down to the horizon.They will also enclose the composition making it feel more intimate.

I'm also quite pleased to be able to add a clever little widget that enables visitors to translate my text into another language ( See top left hand corner of this page!!).It's limited to 8 languages..but i think that's pretty amazing!!I know that sometimes 'Babel Fish' translations can be a little loose..but if you speak any of the featured languages, I'd love you to try it out and let me know how accurate it is!Just click on the flag of your choice and wait for the translation to appear.

finally;I'm interested to know if this blog is displayed on your computer in the way it was; you can see all the content without having to scroll across the page.Please let me know. I'm actually considering a bit of a makeover soon, so things might change anyway.

Thanks for visiting..see you tomorrow!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

PWM - 39

It felt good to carry the blue over to the other can see a line extending from the crown of the left me's head..this is the layer of purple which i'm in the process of laying down from right to left..over that will be green and then more blue....lots more blue.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

PWM - 38

As you can see..I've refined the stars and continued the sky over to the far left. The photo is a little misleading..if you look to the very right of the sky area, you'll see that it appear a lot darker than the the flesh this is less so. However, a certain amount of over working will have to be done to the sky once the clouds have been put in.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

PWM - 37

Despite the mind numbing process of blue and more blue, I'm enjoying seeing the effect the sky blues has against the profile of the me on the left..there's a definite sense of light there which I'm pleased with.I took this photo this afternoon ..I've done more sky and reduced the size of the stars to give a more realistic appearance. Today I passed the 155 hour mark which I think makes this the most amount of time I've ever spent on a picture...I'm estimating another 20 - 30 hours should see me very near if not at the end.

Monday, April 14, 2008

PWM - 36

I'm getting closer to what I had envisaged with the candle. I've also introduced a lot of yellow to the horizon..i need to continue this up into the sky and add more blue...not very far to go now! I've begun to think about what comes next. It will have to be a few Small pieces that I can sell at the exhibition in a few weeks time.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

PWM - 35

Well..perhaps the progress isn't as stunning as you hoped..? I've spent the time filling in the sky which now I see it here, it's not as even as I thought..however, there will be clouds to add in later...The candle is causing me a few headaches..the reference photo I took was against a dark background, so the flame bleached out the surround...obviously this is against a lighter backdrop, so I've taken a bunch of photos to give me the desired'll notice a difference when I've done it!The family arrived back safe and sound from their little break in whitby. Here's a rare photo of my two boys William (left) and Sam on board a little boat going out for a sight seeing cruise.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Influences 3

Well...having waded through the huge response to yesterdays post..I can reveal that there was only one correct answer!Take a bow Devilmood!

Todays choice is probably my all time favourite piece of music. It is once again an extended piece which for the main part is instrumental. The textures and themes contained in it give me something different evey time I here it. Taken from the album 'Duke' and released in 1980 it was originally part of a concept which comprised Behind The lines, Duchess, guide Vocal, Turn It On Again,Duke's Travels and Dukes end.Split up for the album, i've presented here for your listening pleasure: Duke's Travels and Duke's End.

I listen to these pieces very often..especially whilst driving..I always feel uplifted, excited and calmed (if that's possible) If you listen to the construction of the pieces, there is a definite begining and concludes well and emphatically. I've heard this countless times..for you it will probably be the first..there it will sound a little complicated.

The Youtube clip is audio only so as not to detract from the sheer epic and dynamic quality of the music. See you tomorrow when I'll have my camera back and I can keep you up to date with PWM.

I've decided to add another piece which is a brilliant live performance of 'The Lady Lies' Phil
Collins at his best.
Duke's Travels/Duke's End.

The Lady lies (live)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Influences 2

Today i come to the second in this mini series whilst my family and camera are away Yesterday I presented Queen singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Today it's the turn of another singer songwriter who has featured significantly in my life since I first discovered his talents way back in 1973!! Jeff Lynne joined an innovative band called 'the Move' at the late end of the 1960's..along with Roy wood, Jeff strove to reach beyond the limits of conventional pop music. Using inspiration from the stunning multi track recording technique heard on the Beatles 'Sgt Pepper' offshoot project aimed to introduce stringed instruments into a rock and roll show.Thus the 'Electric Light Orchestra' was born.

Jeff and Roy parted company..Roy to form 'Wizard' and Jeff to develop the ELO.The band developed into a massive commercial success with it's most prolific period in the middle 7o's.pioneering the term 'Stadium Rock'..ELO's live shows introduced the world to the giant flying saucer which would rise into the air above the stage to reveal the band underneath...laser beam and other innovative lighting techniques were also used for the first time.

Again similar to Freddy Mercury, Jeff's songs reflect a highly achieved sense of lyricism and musicianship..bucking the trend during the Punk era again and never really being fashionable. For tonight's video..I have chosen the seminal 'Mister Blue Sky' Another 6 minute epic...worth staying with till the last orchestral/piano ending . I've always dreamed of being one of the cello players in ELO..for me, the cello is something beyond description..but that's for another day!
"> last and most favouretist piece..any ideas?

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Influences 1

As far as my musical identity is concerned, a significant event happened in 1975 with the release of Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Taken from the album 'A Day at The Races' (named after the Marx Brothers film of the same name!)..'Bo Rap' was totally different from anything that came before it. Timed at around 6 minutes, it didn't fit the average 3 minute boy meets girl pop song format, and featured multi track overlaying voices in an operatic style.

I was amused to see a programme on TV recently featuring a group of eminent professors who met at Oxford university to discuss the meaning of the lyrics of this song. After many hours of heated debate, their conclusion was inconclusive. According to the surviving members of Queen..there is in fact NO meaning to the song.

Freddie Mercury will always be thought of as an individualist who was a victim of his own chosen lifestyle who died long before his time. To me , he was an icon of style and personal achievement. Long before this song was released, I admired and loved the band's music..I saw Freddie dressed in his Zandra Rhodes white silk dress with black painted fingernails singing about fairies and giants.....this at a time when Punk Rock had begun to take hold of the collective ear....I have always loved and admired the progressive and innovative individuals who stuck two fingers up to the rest of the world and said ..." this is me...I am what I am.."

every New Year's circle of friends get together for a party...many years ago I suggested that at the stroke of midnight..we sing Bohemian Rhapsody...years later, the tradition continues.You have to imagine a room packed with people of all ages, singing in innebriated joy every sylable and dramatic pause..with every ounce of effort and passion to the very last note...On the album version, Freddie sings the last 'Any way the Wind Blows' very this live version, it is a defiant challenge...'OK're gonna dump on me sometime...but i'm ready..and i've got my friends around me, and we'll face it come on'!

Please listen to the song...a live version of which is presented here from the 1986 concert at Wembley in London......Tears frequently well in my eyes as the last notes sound "Anyway the wind blows"...">

Home Alone...

As they often family have gone off for a few days leaving me to fend for myself. this is good because I can throw myself into my work and enjoy interruption free working.However, on the negative side, I let them take the camera away too, so I'll not be posting any pictures of my work until Saturday at the earliest.So instead, I'm going to indulge myself and post videos/music of my all time very favourite and most influential pieces of music from my past.

There are no prizes for you guessing correctly, but I've already picked the tunes and I'll post one tonight and one tomorrow night .

Think you know me?...stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

PWM - 34

I've begun work on the glow around the candle..getting this right will mean the light on my faces is appropriate..

Although I'll let you know nearer the time, I've been accepted as an exhibitor at the 'Willington arts Festival' I will be selling prints of my work there and demonstrating my technique (!). To that end, i shall be taking a couple of trips there to photograph locations for 'minipix' that will make affordable gifts.This will be the first of two festivals..the other is in September at Wirksworth in Derbyshire. I have also confirmed a joint exhibition with Derbyshire Artist Wanda Brookes for June at the Cromford Mill (which will be my third year of exhibiting there).

So lots coming up..and I'll let you know dates as they approach and a full report as it happens!

Monday, April 07, 2008

PWM - 33

Up until 1998 I worked as a Resettlement Advisor at a local project for homeless people. I spent my day advising those who had housing related problems including being homeless and roofless. what many people don't realise is that being 'Homeless' doesn't necessarily mean they are a 'Rough Sleeper'. Being Homeless also accounts for those who live in temporary accommodation like bed and breakfast establishments and hostels for the homeless.
All a very long way away from what i do today...and a very long way from the job i originally did during a previous employment with the same homeless project. Yes folks..I was the Cook!! I'll never forget trundling home of an evening and asking Jan what the recipe for apple crumble for 30 people could be..There was of course plenty of room for me to be a bad cook..I did after all have a captive audience of very hungry homeless people. Which made it all the more painful when even they refused to eat my Egg Curry one was a real shame because it was a lovely shade of yellow.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

PWM - 32

Around 4 hours work on this since can see how slow progress is!. Looking at my work sheet, i can see that I'm entering the sixth week on this. Boring for you the viewer, but a challenge I suppose along the lines of a marathon. I have mentioned the works 'time consuming' and sometimes 'Tedious' but don't let me fool you..I feel very privilaged to be able to devote so much of my time to this.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

PWM - 31 Look to the skies

Now begins probably the most time consuming part of the composition. The Sky. My aim is to create a deep mix of blues with clouds and stars. Having practised the various colour combinations elsewhere, I've opted for layers of 5 colours. Below you can see from left to right: Mid Blue as the basic layer,the purple, and then green on top of that.There will also be yellow and red introduced at a later date. the difficulty lies with trying to form an even transition between the light and dark areas.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Would you Adam and Eve it?

I have to say thank you to my friend Margret who reads this blog regularly. She sent me this little story which made me laugh.

Bathroom Sign

In the men's room at work, the Boss had placed a sign directly above the sink. It had a single word on it -- "Think!"The next day, when he went to the men's room, he looked at the sign and right below, immediately above the soap dispenser, someone had carefully lettered another sign which read -- "Thoap!" Author Unknown

It reminded me of a sign I once saw in the gents toilet at a small bistro:

"We aim to please you..will you aim to please us?"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

PWM - 30

I heard this story on the popular Channel 4 words and numbers quiz show 'Countdown' the other day .

A man and his wife are shopping at the local he pushes the trolley along the isle he notices a special offer: '12 cans of Beer £8' he picks a case up and pops it into the trolley.
"What do you think you're doing?" his wife asks.."we can't afford to buy that!"...So he puts the case of beer back on the shelf . A little later down another isle, his wife picks up a jar of beauty cream..£16. She puts it in the trolley. "If we couldn't afford my beer, what do you want a jar of that for?" says the Husband. " make me beautiful" says the wife. "Well, 12 cans of beer make you look beautiful too dear..and they're half the price!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

PWM - 29, Choices

So, moping around a bit today..I've come to a bit of a stand-off..what shall I do with the background? I've decided on the candle in the rather ornate holder that my friends Alan and Sheridan gave us a few Christmases ago, to go in the middle.All along I've had the idea that I'd do something in blue..I don't know, it just feels right. And somewhere deep inside I feel a need to have some water in the picture..i dream of the sea most nights, i love the sea, yet it never gets into my pictures. I copied out two prints of PWM and used colour pencils to sketch in a couple of backgrounds. the top one is obviously the sea. I'm not asking for you to make the decision, but i just want you to be able to to see a little more of the process I go through when composing my pictures. It's odd that even after 112 hours work, i still don't know what I'm going to do!

Join me tomorrow to see what I've decided upon!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy April Fool's Day


A little interlude from my work today as I enjoy the celebration that is'April Fool's Day'.The origins of the practise are not entirely clear,but what is known that many consider it to be 'Open season' to play practical jokes on the unwary. I, my good friends have learnt my craft from the master..who? I here you ask!..well the master is 'Dennis The Menace'. !!!

News shows, newspapers, radio are are well known for reporting and publishing wonderfully contrived stories of pure fiction. this morning the BBC news showed clips from a forthcoming wildlife documentary on flying penguins (the full clip seen above). Newspapers reported the reintroduction of the long forgotten sport of Greyhound racing ........on Ice!! A new car that emits an electric shock if a dog pees on it's wheels...and apparently America is to ditch the Dollar and introduce the Euro as standard currency.

I have not been quiet either. A neighbour had his car clamped yesterday in our street possibly for an out of date tax disc. When Jan was to leave very early this morning for an acting job in another town, I told her that we'd been clamped ..dashing into the street in a very angry mood she dashed back in with an even angrier face and delivered a rather profane outburst loosely..or rather very accurately in my direction about it being *£^%*£$ ! April 1st. I then went on to email all my Facebook friends to tell them that if they clicked the 'Logout' button very quickly three times, they'd get a secret drop down menu of new skins and backgrounds for their pages...hee hee hee!..I don't think I'll have many friends left after today!

It reminds me of the time I used to work for a homeless charity. local businesses and stores would often donate to us things like 30 loaves of bread or half a frozen pig etc...One day I left a note for the assistant manager who was to be on duty over the weekend (April 1st)....The note read that I'd received a phone call from a Mr. C.Lyons who wished to donate a large quantity of frozen fish to the centre. I wrote that he wanted my colleague to ring him up later that morning before mid day to confirm that delivery was OK. When my colleague rang up he asked to speak to Mr C. Lyons about the fish..he was rather embarresed to find out that the number I'd given him to ring was Twycross Zoo..ahhh how we laughed....or at least I laughed.