Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bench - 13

I don't normally post on a Sunday..for no other reasons than i try to give myself a day off each week.But here I am posting. I'm keen to finish this piece now as I've other things I want to do.In effect, what you have here is a version of one of my photographs which despite the intense level of concentration needed, is not all that creative. Don't get me wrong, I'm very pleased with it..and I'm sure I'll sell a number of prints of it...but there is a bubbling of new ideas trying to get out. I shall finish this picture in the next few days.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Bench - 12

You can see the deep blue of the shadows developing now.I'm forming this from a basic layer of Dark blue..then Mid Blue and purple...there will be green and red too eventually.

You may have read that a couple of weeks ago I saw a DVD of '...Spotless mind'? Well last night I watch another film by the same director called 'The Science Of Sleep' Brilliant...I watched it without thinking what the time was and found it ended all too soon for me...It's not a short film, but I became so engrossed in it.If you haven't seen it so! (you can see by the way I'm no film critic..!.Look for reviews on Amazon..they'll say much more than I ever can!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bench - 11

I've now moved into the final phase of this picture, namely the path and shadows. I will be working from right to left.I've already started the basic texture for the tarmac which shows a lot of small details due to the slant of the sun and the wetness of the surface...I've added some medium blue into the darkest area around the grasses edge and will continue this along the line of the shadows.The blue is quite striking already and will look wonderful when finished.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bench - 10 A closer look

Pink Dogwood asked yesterday what the size of this picture in answer to that and as a way of showing the process I a re few photographs taken this morning as I worked on the shadows leading from the bench. After penciling in the areas to be the shadow, I lay a basic layer of dark blue dots ...the white circular shapes are to be fallen leaves.

Here I'm strengthening the yellow by adding a bright yellow...I will then lay more yellow ochre and green over this.

Next..(whoa!what happened to the contrast!?)...I add medium blue to begin extending the shadows away from the bench...the shadows are in fact going to be quite blue...the path was wet at the time I took photos so there was a lot of glare.

Here I'm strengthening the tone of the bench it self with yet more blue. Remember I spoke about the scroll detail on the top arms of the bench?...Well, having thought about what to do I used a very hard rubber which is in the shape of a pencil...I can actually sharpen the tip to produce a very accurate rubber..I think these sort of rubbers were used by typists...I've tried to find similar ones for a couple of years now but to no avail.
Tomorrow you'll see the area underneath the bench completed and the fallen leaves take on an even greater degree of realism with more fine detail added.....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bench - 9

I thought I'd show you the whole of the composition so you can see how I plan to radiate the shadows out towards the viewer...I'm currently building up the complicated series of patterns that will become leaves on the ground..and balancing out the level of contrast between the bench and the tree behind..I've added subtle layers of yellow ochre into the buildings and bench..I know I've said it countless times, but that particular colour always adds a special something...its one of the organic colours we see as a result of visible light..very rarely will you see a perfect white cloud..those of you who have had anything to do with lighting will know that to produce a realistic daylight effect means shining red,yellow and blue together...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bench - 8

As you can see, I've been working well today putting in the buildings in the background..I used a fairly light pattern of dotting using purple,blue,green and red.The grassed area beneath the trees is my next task....mainly covered in yellow fallen leaves, there is actually little green grass to be seen,but the base colour I'm using is green..I shall then darken areas for shadow and add yellow ochre towards the end. There is actually lots more path in the foreground which you'll see when I get there! I'm a bit bothered by the scroll detail trailing up off the back of the bench...the detail on the right is longer than the corresponding detail on the other side of the bench...see if you can spot if I manage to resolve the problem!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quiz results - Please mark your own paper!

Here's me and Annie about to blow the candles on my birthday cake I had a nice day which saw me treated to a gorgeous Full English Breakfast whiich for those of you who don't know what that means, well I can tell you 'Full' is the important word in it! Fired bacon,sausages,black pudding,tomatoes,eggs,mushrooms,baked beans and fried bread phew!!During the early evening I also had a phone call from Preeti which was a real treat!....later I enjoyed copious amount of red wine accompanied by two friends Allan and Sheriden..I then lay back in intoxicated bliss whilst listening to a CD by The Flaming Lips...'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots'. Therefore I have not been able to summon up enough vitality to unleash my creative powers today if you get my drift?

The answers to yesterday's quiz?...Firstly, well done if you managed to work out the fact that they were all born on 21st November thus sharing my birthday...who were they?...well here you are:

1. Goldie Hawn. 1945. American actress...this photo is a fairly early one of her...I came to love her quirky image and style in the 1960's TV show 'Rowan And Martin's Laugh-in ' Now better remembered for films like Private Benjamin, Death Becomes Her, and The First Wives Club...

2. Ingrid Pitt. 1937. Gorgeous Polish born actress famous for her portrayal of female vampires in British horror films of the 1970's for studio Hammer Horror.Most notably 'Countess Dracula' 'The Vampire Lovers' and 'Lust For A Vampire'

3. Rene Magritte. 1898. Belgian surrealist of my all time favourite artists!

4. Voltaire. 1694 Author and philosopher. 'Voltaire' was his chosen pen name as it was an anagram of his surname in Latin ..real name Francois - Marie Arouet.

5. Bjork Guamundsdottir.1965 Icelandic musician..famed for innovative, eccentric performances and composition...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bench - 7 Connections

It being the occasion of my 47th birthday today, I have not dedicated my time to my work...I have however done a little bit..a very complicated bit. I'm working on the iron fencing behind the's important to establish their lines before working on the houses in the street behind.What my drawing doesn't show here is the grandeur with which a lot of the houses were built . Originally built to house the wealthy owners of the surrounding industry including the Midland Railway and locomotive works, and Royal Crown Derby the factory of which is still on the boundary of this park. The housing has long since passed into private landlord ownership and is now a land of bedsits and small flats.
To this very day, not many people are aware that the Arboretum was THE first public park in the world and was the 'blue print' behind the development of Central Park in New York.

* can you work out the connection all these famous people have apart from the fact that all but one of them are favourites of mine despite their connection ?....that's probably fairly easy...but can you put the names to the faces?






Good luck...answers tomorrow!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bench - 6 Top Artists Directory, Artist of the week!

Today I managed to buckle down to some serious colourising...lots of yellow ochre and and blue. I must admit, the picture up until now was looking fairly bleak, but I've begun to achieve the effect the late autumn sun has when streaming through the remnants of yellowed leaves and wet ground.

One rather pleasantly surprising bit of news was broke to me today by Kim who runs The Top Artists Directory. I am their featured artist of the week. So if you fancy checking out my work there, you'll also be able to access the works of many other talented and gifted artists from around the world....and if you're visiting here for the first time via Kim's site, then welcome, please take time to look around and I'll try to answer any questions you may have. Also please take time to look at my selection 'Finished Pictures' from the past couple of years.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bench - 5

If only you could see my work in the flesh, you'd understand my frustration with these representations!..all the subtlety of colours is gone here. Never mind. I have good and not so good news. The good news is that I have been commissioned to work on a portrait which will be ambitious and richly intense. I can't reveal anything here in case the recipient is the not so good news is that sadly you won't be able to see the development of it. however, I will probably mail out updates to those who would be interested, just let me know. On top of that, I am continuing with 'Bench'..but sketches for the next big picture will have to move down the list of priorities.

Yesterday I went back to my old school for a final time to demonstrate and exhibit my work.Always a joy and a pleasure to answer the many forthcoming and well thought out questions from the was in fact at that school I first used the dotting technique as a piece of homework.Below is a photograph of me sitting in the entrance hall of Littleover Community School just before the bell sounded for lunch time..

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bench - 4. Subject and portrait united

Plodding along with this one at the moment,but the good news is that I've moved a step closer to my next picture..I'm working on sketches daily and should have something up and running in the next week or so...

This weekend saw a party at our house..we decided that since Jan and my birthdays are but a week apart, we'd have a party in the middle.We invited lots of people and lots came..(To see the full series of photos from the evening, click on the Facebook panel half way down the page). But here's one I wanted to show you, Having worked on the portrait of Kay over the last couple of weeks, here she is in the flesh . Kay travelled down especially for our party and to be united with her picture.I was so nervous ...I was so worried that she wouldn't like it and be unable to say so...but she liked it! I'm hanging on to the original for the time being as I want to get a copy of made.

I'm still feeling run down but the party at the weekend was a welcome relief from the usual...and guess what..I only drank 3 glasses of wine all evening. Thus ensuring I could actually talk to my guests!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bench - 3

Apologies to all of you whose blogs i usually visit...I will get around to everyone in time.The fact is that I'm feeling very run it what you will...I'm not managing nearly enough time on my work . It's not that I don't want to, it just feels too much. I realise this sounds pathetic...especially in view of the fact that we're planning a party at our house for tomorrow night.I shall find a cosy place in the corner (near the stereo) where I can relax. But the treadmill seems never ending for not very much reward ("so what ?" I hear all you parents say..that's just about par for the course!) Kids argue..Jan is away most of the time, and when she's here she's asleep.Honestly..Do you ever feel there are times when you and your partner are travelling parallel routes that never actually meet up?....How long can that go on before the paths head in totally different directions?

*this is not a cry for help dear reader..just a statement of how it is......No one said it would be easy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bench - 2

I'm concentration and application to my work seems to failing at the moment..I put this down to many factors, not least the fact that I've not had a holiday this year and I'm currently in a childcare routine due to Jan being off on her theatre tour.The days are getting shorter and darker and it makes me feel tired.What I really need is a good kick up the backside and a whole bucket full of fun. To this end we're having a joint birthday party this Saturday which should be good.

Yesterday was Jan's birthday,so I dusted off my culinary hat once again, spent the morning in the kitchen, and made this scrumptious chocolate cake ..I even made the Gnash chocolate icing..then added giant chocolate buttons all over. It was a success!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bench - 1

Well,as you can see, I'm still not quite ready to unveil the next big picture..sketches for that piece continue to be developed,but in the meantime, here is a drawing based on one of the photographs I took last week at the Arboretum in Derby.

I've just got back from visiting my old senior school...I was invited to show my pictures and demonstrate my technique. It was a most enjoyable time and I was amazed at the mature level of questions the pupils asked...I'm going back there again next week too!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kay - finished

Well, here it is..the finished picture. I'm sorry i haven't written much over the last couple of days.My life seems to be a bit of a mess at times.

Friday night we took my brother Tim and his wife Wendy out for a meal and then on to watch 'Quantum Of Solace' the new James Bond movie.I'm afraid to say it left me feeling empty in many my personal opinion i had little empathy for the characters and the plot seems vague and lacking purpose.

However, in total contrast, I watched on DVD, The Eternal sunshine Of The Spotless Mind with Jim Carey and Kate Winslet among others.A truly fascinating and challenging couple of hours which moved me and enthralled me.Wha an amazing story. I am told that production of a movie adaptation of Audrey Niffennegger's sublime novel, The Time Travellers Wife' is scheduled..I for one could not imagine how such a story could be represented in a movie...but having seen ESOTSM, I can well imagine it being possible.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Kay - 8..Friday morning in the Derby Arboretum.

I've finished working on the settee arm now...I have begun work on the coffee table, and then a few other bits and pieces and should have a finished picture by the end of the week end!
It was so beautifully sunny and bright this morning I just had to get down to the Derby Arboretum and see the trees in their Autumn splendour. I still have a promise of the studio and the position of official artist in residence there..when?...I don't know!I'll believe it when I get the keys in my hand!

I took quite a few other pictures this morning, but to see the whole lot, you should head on over to my Facebook page ( see link further down the page on the left ) and see the album there!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Kay - 7 Autumn colours

Not a very bright photo's been cloudy and I thought the day light would be sufficient...but I was wrong. I've done a few hours on the chair arm so can clearly see the area which is still red and awaiting it's other layers at the very bottom of the page.

I drove Annie and her friend Abi to school this morning, and when I got back I thought the trees in our Avenue looked so bright, i took a photo. This is the tree outside our house...I bet most of these leaves will be gone by the weekend.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Kay - 6

I've not got very far to go on this one now....I'm currently on the most boring section which is the chair arm nearest ..I'm putting a layer of red down, then green, then light blue and finally yellow ochre....I then have a few little extra bits to add in which will have a story to tell!

Today I've been doing a little more role play.I was at our local 'Super Hospital' which was actually the place i was born in!I had to play the role of a Father whose daughter had developed mental health problems..a lovely actress called Hazel played my daughter...we had to act out our roles in front of an audience of medical students...we were interviewed by some of then (one at a time). Hazel played the role so convincingly with tears and emotion. i had to be overbearing and interrupt my daughters answers...the scenario was supposed to cause the medical student to gain my confidence and then ask me to leave the room so that he could interview the Daughter on her own....this eventually happened, and she was then able to reveal that she was hearing voices and could smell dead bodies in her room...all things she had not told her parents and indeed could not whilst I was in the interview.

So a big thank you to Hazel for covering over my feeble acting attempts, I'm back home resuming my original a father!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kay - 5 Nurse Betty's words...

Nurse Betty stood at the end of my nerves jangled to the staccato tap tap tap sound of her arterial forceps on the plastic observation record chart which she held in her fingers, i noticed strangely blood red painted and carefully manicured nails of which each one came to a sharpened point.....suddenly she grabbed out and took hold of the counterpane and whipped it back ...the cold air met my skin like a blast of arctic air....Nurse Betty moved swiftly without a sound around the bed towards she bent her face towards me, i detected a sweet and sour tang on her hot breath as she spoke into my ear .........

Sadly I never got to find out what it was she said because I woke up.

I'm feeling much better sinus's have stopped hurting and I'm left with a dull aching body.Never the less, I have been able to work and as you can see, I've progressed fairly well. I wonder if i should start advertising my services as a portrait artist?...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Poorly niall.

I am poorly today..hopefully i'll be recovered tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Kay - 4

I feels good to lose some of the pencil lines and let the softness of the image emerge. whilst working on this I am affording myself time to work on sketches for my next big piece.Things are going well and I should be ready to start work on it when this portrait is finished.

Yet more unseen

Here's another selection of railway subjects..I used to be a big enthusiast at the time of these paintings. The railways has always been in my being the first family member NOT to work on the railways!

The paintings themselves are in my own estimation poor...I think I could do much better nowadays....

I 've always loved the sight sound and smell of of trains..platforms..everything associated....the fact of the engineering and scale of human endeavour for the soul purpose of getting you from A - B in comfort, something many people take for granted these days!.

More unseen

As promised, here are a few more 'unseen' findings from my vaults.This time I'll tell you a little about each one.
This is a watercolour of Jan..we were on holiday on the Isle Of Wight visiting our lovely friend Anna way back in the 8o's..I liked this pose and the colour..I drew the scene in pencil first before applying washes.
Here's a rather self indulgent self portrait..yes, i really did used to be that slim!!

Here an aborted dot picture which is yet again another self portrait. i pictured myself wearing a jumper I designed and Jan knitted ( In the days before I learned to knit!)..this would date from around 1987.

Here's a rather large drawing dating also i think from around 1987.There are large plain areas on this and it took ages and was very boring!..I try to fill the space in with detail these days!

This was an old girlfriend of mine. Ruth is pictured here in watercolour on our countryside walk in 1980. Ruth and i split up..she married a lumberjack!

Look out for more unseen as and when I dig them up!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Unseen..old paintings

Many years ago before I started dotting, i often used to work in passion at the time was for railway subjects.Earlier today i found a few example of my efforts...i thought I'd post a few here. I'm not a very technical painter, but found myself drawn to technical the following photos I've decided not to edit them but show you them as I found them.They mainly date from around 1979,80 and thereabouts....lookout for more unseen soon!