Thursday, July 31, 2008

Orbits - 1

Zooming right in close, here are the first marks for the piece I have entitled 'Orbits'.. it's a black ink's in the 'Starman series'...and over the next couple of weeks, you'll be able to follow it's development right up to the finished we go!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This isn't what my desk looks like normally!..I've laid out some of the material I've used in preparation for the start of my new picture. All day I've flitted (not a word that one would normally associate with me) between taking photos of myself, the computer editing, printer, drawing table and sketchbook....and i still haven't decided of the final composition!!'s as if the component parts of an electrical circuit are installed, but as yet no current is flowing.

I'm feeling intensely frustrated and trapped at the if i'm wearing shoes filled with lead.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photos and floating planets

I need some reference for the Starman's outstretched hand..the problem is to prevent it looking as if he is juggling the planets...I want it to look as if he is willing the planet to hover above his hand .

The strange thing you see in my mouth is the remote control for the camera...I had thought that I might use my right hand in the picture too..however, it looks a little too melodramatic...I'll do a few sketches and see what it looks like.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I love the expression that came out in this can see the basis of it in the top photgraph...i've just developed the features a little more and added some planets floating infront of him...

Sketchbook..Rocket Light houses,Starman, planets and other emerging stuff.

I'm happy to be contradicted here, but I've not managed to find any other artwork online that features Lighthouses blasting off into space. It's an idea which...well, just popped up, and I'm always mindful of the saying "There's nothing new under the sun". So perhaps for the time being I'll run this idea and see how it develops.
Of course, I need to add figures into the equation, and who better than my old trusted friend The Starman? I keep harking back to Oskur in the picture 'Spirit' which I finished earlier in the year. I like the depiction of a character totally engrossed in what he/she is thinking and unaware of those around them.
To populate the sky with flying lighthouses and have the Star man in the foreground seems to me interesting enough to develop. Next I want to add a female or two female characters into the's a little like positioning chess pieces..

I think I've decided on a portrait format for the drawing which will give plenty of space to have the Lighthouses whooshing up into the sky...the only problem being there is that the figures will be fairly tightly packed in, and must therefore balance perfectly together

I have a thing it seems for hands reaching out towards the the Star man shapes a spinning, floating planet ...brings to mind the scene from ET where ET is in Elliot's bedroom and causes all the objects to rise off the table and form a map of his particular part of the galaxy!..(ET by the way, is one of my favourite movies of all time.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Absurdities - Finished.

42 x 30 cm.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Absurdities - 34

Work continues on the final section of the picture.I used Yellow Ochre as a base for the clouds, then I've started to put some red can see some pencil lines indicating where I want some whispy clouds in blue/red.I'm also taking it slowly with the wings of the wasp..I have no reference that matches what I want, so I'm just 'Winging it'.

I had a few hours this afternoon with James who was responsible for designing and developing my web site. I had asked if i could take over the administration of the site, so he kindly agreed to tutor me into the ways of the Web master!...I'll let you know when there's something to show for my learning. Big thank you to James!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Opening Night - Fresh2 Art And Design exhibition.

Here's a selection of photographs from this evening's opening of the 'Fresh 2 Art and Design' exhibition from the 'View From The Top' gallery in Nottingham.

My two pictures are the first anyone sees when they arrive at the gallery!..Here I am with Jan.That glazed look in my eyes is nothing to do with the copious amount of wine on offer!, it was probably the flash on the camera!

Here's my brother Tim and his wife niece , Keren turned her head as I took the photo.
I love galleries..I like to see people engrossed in what they are seeing..

There's no one looking at my pictures...that can't be right!!!

There was a lovely atmosphere..on one of the hottest nights of the year!
From the gallery, you can see the Council House Tower in Market Square... (The Bell in the tower incidentally is called 'Little John after the Robin Hood character!)

Ah!..some admirers at last!
This is the top of the escalator which deposits visitors to the exhibition...
He looks interested ! it you fool !'re looking the wrong way!Turn round!!!

Why are they all going down there?...oh ...that's where the wine table is!
The exhibition is on till 30th August.

Absurdities - 33 A day on Venus.

Venus was the focus of my attentions today,you can see the results above. Below I've clicked a few 'in progress' shots:
I'm using some reference material gleaned from somewhere on the web..Above I've based my planets on these photos...I've changed the effects and colours to match the sky I have created.The outline for Venus was easy..I just used a compass.

Above, I've added a basic layer of blue to denote the shadow...I'm erasing the pencil so I can see how even the shadow is.

(Above) Here I've put in the cloud patterns that are the storms of chlorine gas which constitute the atmosphere of Venus...I'm using blue and green to achieve the pattern.

(Above) Here I've softened the whole effect and added my beloved Yellow Ochre. Now go to the top of the post to see the finished area in relation to the rest of the picture. Work now begins on the final clouds at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Absurdities - 32....a day on Mars!

I spent the day working on Mars!...Whilst still requiring a few 'tweaks' on the surface detail, I'm now quite happy with the colours , but not being able to have Mars placed in close orbit around the Earth I've had to guess what it would look like.As those of you who have seen the originals close up in the flesh, you'll agree that the reproduction here does not convey the full intensity!..I've posted a close up of the work today below, and whilst it's close to the true colours, the resolution is not so good.

Later on this week I've a planed meeting with the developer of my web site: who is going to teach me how to update and care for my site. There so much that is not on the site, and i need to write about the processes involved in my particular technique. I'll keep you posted of any changes there!...

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, not only will i be working on Venus all day, but I'll be attending the opening of the Fresh 2 exhibition!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Absurdities - 31

It's entirely possible that if I carry on at the present rate, I'll finish by the end of the week. today I've filled in around the two planets ...these should be filled in tomorrow. I've been working on a few ideas for the next piece, but nothing solid yet.
Golden Dot Award goes to Julie who correctly guessed the featured veg as Kohl Rabi!...Of course I could be wrong and Tysonice is correct in that they are in fact alien beings!..."Digestion is futile!"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fresh 2 Art & design July 23rd - August 30th 2008.

I've just got back from Nottingham where I've submitted two framed prints for sale of 'Ball of Wool' and 'Elephant' for an exhibition featuring artists who have worked professionally for five years or less.The good news is that my work has been accepted ! This is a wonderful opportunity for me to exhibit my work in a prestigious gallery in the centre of Nottingham. The gallery attracts buyers and collectors, gallery owners and agents from around the country.
This is the first time I've dabbled my artistic toes in the waters of the 'Serious' art world and I must admit to feeling a little nervous..but staff at the View From The Top gallery were really kind and encouraging. If you're in or around Nottingham City Centre on Wednesday evening between 6pm and 9pm, I'd like to invite you to the opening night. I'll publish photos of the event of course.
The link to the gallery website is here: and the exhibition blog is here:
Ball Of Wool

All In A Mouse's Night. know the drill by now...i like long progressive songs.....sometimes they're very long. This one is not so's a brilliant story,here are the lyrics followed by the song on Youtube......I love it especiallly for the intstrumental piece at the end...wonderfull...!!!! After you've done with this one..enjoy 'Wot gorillla' also!

All In A Mouse's Night.
By Genesis.
Loving Couple: I can't see you but I know you're there.
Got to get beside you cos it's really cold out here.
Come up close to me you'll soon be warm.
Hold me tightly like we're sheltering from a storm.
Mouse: Think I might go out for a strollInto the night, and out of this hole.
Maybe find me a meal.Walking along this new shag pile
Presents a problem all the while.
Nearly the door.
Suddenly he bumps into wood, the door is closed.A voice from the bed, he'll be exposed.
Which way to run, must make for the hole,
The light's been turned on, he's blind as a mole in coal.
Now I can see they're coming at me,
They've blocked off my door, I haven't a chance in hell.
Couple: Come on baby let the poor thing go.
I'm not sleeping with that thing around here, no.
Alright then, I'll fetch a box from below,
Guard him carefully, they're very quick you know.
Mouse: The door's been opened, my chance to escape.
Must run out quick, better sorry than late
.I'm out on the stairs.
They won't catch me now, I've the run of the house now.
I'll make it downstairs and into the breadbin.
That would be nice.
Suddenly he bumps into fur, that's very unwise,
A cat is much quicker than men and their eyes.
The chase that ensues can have only one end,
Unless outside help steps in for our friend in need.
But now the cat comes in for the kill,
His paw is raised, soon blood will spill, yes it will.
Cat: Hard luck mouse, this is the end of your road.
The signpost says inside me, let me bear your heavy load.
But it's not to be, that final pounce
Knocks a jar upon his head, and lays him out.
But it's all in a mouse's night
To take on all those who would fight.
Cat's Story: There I was with my back to the wall,
Then comes this monster mouse,
he's ten feet tall,
With teeth and claws to match.
It only took one blow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Absurdities - 30, Mystery Veg

Progressed beyond my head and into the final phase of the picture...plenty of work yet to be done!
I had a visit from my friend Sheridan today who had grown these lovely specimens shown below.I'd mentioned on facebook that I liked this particular veg after seeing photo's of the seedlings , so I was promised a taste of the crop when they'd been harvested! Do you know what they are?...An imaginary gold dot to those who get it right and a bonus dot if you come up with an interesting use for them!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Absurdities - 29

The reproduction of the colours here is not very accurate...the yellow/red of the clouds appears much much darker here then it really is..I'll try for better daylight next time I photograph! Saying that, around 10 hours of work has gone into the yellow clouds...tedious at times, but there's something about Yellow ochre that is very special...I've gone on about it before, but it never ceases to amaze me how it adapts to whatever colour it is placed always adds a special something.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Absurdities - 28

The colours are starting to work well together now...I think I've decided to leave the sky free of flying things in the lower right. I'll develop the cloud texture as it's quite subtle but interesting and there's lots going on in the upper left hand corner..this should balance things out eventually.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Absurdities - 27

Rubbish day..things aren't going well here,nothing specific, just lots of little things piling up to make large things.I think things would be a lot easier if I were to live in a little hut on a remote mountainside somewhere away from everyone! At least the building work is finished and I'm able to get down to some serious work. I've added another layer of blue over the sky (you can see the progress of the layer as it runs out just before the Hoverfly directly over my head) to increase the depth of doubt I'll have to go over it again before the picture is finished. I've also started on the clouds which will cover the lower part of the picture..these will slowly deepen in colour to an almost red...I've not decided weather to add any more flying things down there.

I'm sorry to sound a little negative..I just don't want you thinking the life of an artist is all green faeries and happiness!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Builders,Lintels and Breaking the Spell

Please excuse the absense of progress on my picture today..I've had some building work done at home which was necessary!..When we moved into our present house, it was pointed out that there was no Lintel over the window at the back of the property over the dining room.Over time, it has slowly become obvious that things were moving..and cracks had appeared in the brickwork above...thanks to my old friend Phil, it's now put right with new Lintel and brickwork.The window was just below where I work in my no work today.. you'll have to wait till tomorrow for the next instalment.

So for's a piece of music by one of my favourite bands : Pendragon...'Breaking The Spell' is a gorgeous piece from 'The Window Of Life' album..let me know what you think!

... '>http://

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Absurdities - 26

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Absurdities - 25

Friday, July 11, 2008

Absurdities - 24

The sky uses the same blue's just a question of density...the closer the dots, the deeper the hue. The more important question is : do I want to represent the natural look of the sky or just make it up as i go along?I think it's a mixture of the two,I suppose it's a little like the method a writer might use in a paragraph surmising the events of a period of pictorial terms, it's showing different aspects of the sky seen at different times of the day in the same view. Rene Magritte was famous for his surreal of which has a night time landscape with a daytime sky....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Absurdities - 23

Here i am showing you the area completed today..I like the contrast between flesh colours and the blue..the golden oranges of the violin will look good too.

A frustrating day however as we try to find a way of getting high quality limited edition prints of recent pictures to be entered into a prestige exhibition. Giclee is a method of producing the best quality prints ..our problems come in the shape of a local reprographics shop who have 'tweaked' the colours in one of my pictures making the print look very different from the original..we also took the disc to the university who also have a state of the art reprographics department...their prints were also very poor.

As the days proceed, it becomes ever more plane to me that I need an agent...I have the contact details of several agencies and will approach them to see if they will represent me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Absurdities - 22

starting the sky means an imminent transformation of the entire picture...for you the reader it's hard to imagine where it's going..for me the artist..i know exactly where it's going..but not exactly what it will look like.Density of colour will alter as I go along and get bored with large areas of plain colour.Saying that, I've made plans for some dynamic gradations of colour, and completing the shades on the insects to match the light will be a challenge...If you look carefully at the Hoverfly in the top right of the picture, you will see at present there is a white outline ..this marks where I've dotted sky up to it. In reality, these 'outlines ' do not exist as pure part of the process, I will fade and blend the insect's outline to give a more realistic appearance.

time wise, the picture has so far taken around 73 hours..the area of sky you see here has taken three of those hours!!Do you fancy making a rough calculation as to the total hours involved?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Absurdities - 21

Work continues with more Bees,Wasps and Hoverfly's.I'm pleased with the little chap down in the left hand i've included a close up!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Absurdities - 20

Thank you Oskur for a creditable contribution to Dancing For always, 'You're Da Man!'..or rather 'Da Monkey!'

I have one burning question...if all those fantastic wonderful artists, composers and writers languishing in the darkened confines of the Moulin rouge and other bohemian drinkeries satiated themselves on the highly powerful liquid know as on earth did they ever get any work done?? In my quest for understanding, I managed to drink three hefty amounts before losing track of who i was and waking up the next morning with no recollection of the previous evening!..and to top it all off, the headache that ensued put an end to any ideas of creativity either pictorial or lyrical! conclusion?...It was gorgeous..such a wonderful taste similar to Ouzo.. that would be the aniseed..but it is so powerful,at 55% volume it is even more loaded than my beloved JD! The next time I indulge (still over half a bottle left) I will be wiser and more careful!

Back to work today adding in more flying thingies...soon be time to put the sky in..I can't wait!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Oskur Dur Wylde Munkee..aynd dur Greeyn Faerree.

Allo fanz!! itz mee agenn! Dur masrur iz aving a nyte ofv. Butt tu tel yu dur trooth,eye ham a byeet sez ee iz gowyng tu seee er Greeyn Faerree frum Poelund. Nouw eye downt no abowt yu, butt eye fink ee wyll regeyt eet iyn dur mornyng..butt eye gess ee dezervs a byt ov a lonng az i downt av tu mop hup dur mes !! ha ha ha!

Eye av taykun a foto ov iz botull (seee belouw!)...dur mastur sez ee wyl av iz skech buk tu rekord wot eet sez awl dur Frenchh Artiztz yoost tu drynk eet...Eye wudent eckspeck veree mucch iff eye woz wyl probublee forl asleap.....

Butt nevur feer...Oskur wyl luk aftur im...eye wyl keyp im sayf! Eye av tu gow nouw...eye neeed tu chek mi investmunt portfoleeo...barnarnerz arr gowing up!

Bi four nouw fanz...seee yu agyen soun



Friday, July 04, 2008

Absurdities - 19 exhibition's end.

First of all may I wish all my American readers a very happy Independence day!...
Here for the first time is the entire area of the composition..(note pencil signature in the bottom left hand corner) I can now start to add in the Bees,Wasps,Hoverflys my heart's content. Meanwhile I contemplate the end of yet another exhibition. Don't worry..I'm not going to lapse into poetical mode again..there are others who do it so much better than I'll stick to straight talking: It was a financial disaster, I loved working there each day, I managed to complete around 30 hours on the picture during the week...but I only just managed to recoup the costs of putting it on.

It's at times like this that one's thoughts often drift into the negative...I hate the end of exhibitions...I've lost count of the number of times I've said " I'm not a businessman, I'm an artist!"...but all the time deep inside there's that ache..I HAVE to draw..sometimes I think I'll burst. And it's that which keeps me going...when all else has faded, hope is the last candle ...which in turn will relight the cold wicks of faith and joy. That's the meaning of the picture below, and to which my eyes are often drawn at times like this!

I said i wouldn't go all poetical today ...maybe tomorrow I'll be back to normal...whatever that is!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Absurdities - 18 Exhibition day 6.

Sitting at my table, working on my drawing during my exhibition is an interesting experience. Surrounded by literally years of work hanging around me, the images of which almost seem to be peering out of their frames to see what is escaping from my pen..something that might depose their position of importance and significance on the wall.But I like to imagine that they are like siblings, awaiting the arrival of a new child..and instead of the womb, they look down on the forming foetus on the page which will be lifted before them fully grown.

I break off to talk to an elderly couple about how I started dotting at school as a homework project...I explain to a lone woman who asks the meaning of 'Ball Of Wool'...I speak to a teenager about my love of aircraft and trains...Terry Pratchett and Chris Evert.I exchange considered views and opinions with Wanda who is exhibiting her work alongside my own...we share a dislike of pretension.

The sun shines brilliantly through the window as hikers and school outings gather in the courtyard,the man who does the guided tour pops in to ask if we can move our cars away from the little clock on the wall that tells the time of the next tour.Then the heavens open and stair rods of rain smash into the dusty yard and everyone runs into the's warm and humid,raincoats drip and I fear for my non-waterproof inks...but i needn't be worried..each person treats the area like a mausoleum..hardly a breath is heard...reverence?..fear?...respect?...

I smile and try to look serious at the same time..this is my reason to be...please take just a little time to consider what I've created here.....they leave....all is quite and empty again as the sun shrugs off it's grey ghostly cape....the pictures continue to peer...the weight of history lies silently vibrating in the buildings foundations...timbers and window frames....It will soon be time to pack up and go home.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Absurdities - 17 exhibition day 4

Spent the day on my own at the exhibition today.Wanda who I am sharing the gallery with was not able to be I was able to get down to some serious concentration and complete around 5 hours of work. don't get me wrong..I had visitors and sold two prints . The majority of people seem to appreciate and like my surreal images better than the Derby ones...of course i know this and would happily jog along completing many fantastic and surreal pictures...but they don't pay the bill!So I will have to intersperse my work with things that I know will sell.