Thursday, January 31, 2008

My bloody Valentine

Are you stuck for the perfect way to tell some one how much you'd like to give them your heart?...Well why not go a little bit further..throw in your liver, brains and kidneys too!..Tell her she's the Ghoul for you..or tell him you want him to be your Boy Fiend!

These wonderful and original cards are designed by Julie Schuler and are available NOW if you visit The House Of Kewpie.
(All images are copyright. Please do not reproduce)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spirit - 14

Have you ever thought about those stupid 'Why?' know, the ones that go "Why no matter what colour bubble bath you put in your bath are the bubbles always white?"..or the 'Where?' questions like "On Noah's ark, where did he put the Wood Peckers?"...or even.."on Noah's many rabbits were there after 40 days and nights?"...these things go through you mind when you spend all day dotting!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Spirit - 13

There doesn't appear to be much added in terms of ink today..I've been working behind the scenes as it were on elements for the background which i want to get right...I have a desire to put a flying Raven in the picture..originally I was going to have one sitting on top of a grave stone..

It was a funny start to the day today..I had to get the kids ready for school..etc..then as i was making the packed lunches, I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a beautiful sunrise..I ran upstairs with my camera to get a picture before it disappeared off into the clouds. There are things in life that come and go, they sometimes present themselves to us for only a fleeting is up to us to judge weather to reach out and take the opportunity or not..but often when we don't..we are left with regret.
I'm glad I didn't miss the opportunity to see this..the gap in the clouds was so small..the event had passed only a minute later.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Spirit - 12

I've spent the whole working day on what you see here..around 5 hours so far.I've managed to create the effect of the seams up the front of the bodice and I think the buttons look OK.(Imagine doing those up each morning?..I guess that's why one has a maid?!) I'm also being a little more fastidious because it's Julie.

I had an idea which is a little daft. Why don't I advertise my services to produce high quality portraits where the customer can have themselves in any situation/costume/era etc...? If you were able to have a custom made portrait...what would you chose?

Here's a view from a couple of days ago..firstly you'll get an idea of the scale of the picture, and secondly , you can see my little sketch book in which i'm working on how the background will look. I usually get plenty of time to play around with ideas for the back ground ...I've now spent just under 50 hours on the actual picture and won't start work on the scenery for another day or so! It is however important to know what i'm going to do when the time comes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

And the award goes to...

Imagine my surprise when I found out that my blog had been awarded a the 'E For Excellent' honour! I'd like to thank the also excellent and honoured Bobkat for bestowing upon me this award.If you'd like to know more about the reason for this award, please take time to head on over there and read : 'E is for excellent.' As part of my acceptance for this award, I have to award those blogs I find also worthy of the title 'excellent'..I'm supposed to nominate 10. but i generally only read a few as regular commitments.

Therefore I would like to honour these wonderful people who each in there very own special ways have come to mean so much to me and have managed to revolutionise my life! Julie's Blog Preeti's blog Devil Mood's blog Jonice's blog Tys' blog

The originator of the award Project Mommy says“… By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to ten more people whose blogs you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least ten.”
It's up to you to decide what criteria to use for 'Excellent'

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Diary - 6000 days

My mother used to keep a daily diary...she began it when she was 12 years old in 1945 and wrote in it every day..My Dad used to buy her a new diary every year for Christmas...but when she tragically died on 31 December 1991,her 1992 diary was left empty.My Father asked me if I would be able to make use of it..I said yes..and I have written about my day, every day since then.( you can see the original 1992 diary bottom left of the pile.) I wanted to post this picture because when I go to bed tonight and write about today, it will be my 6000th. entry.

It's funny. I now have in a suitcase in the Attic, all my Mothers diary's. whilst she was alive, she made us promise never to read what was in them...and we never did. I have made the same statement..and my diaries have remained viewable only to my eyes.

I wonder, do you keep a diary?..what do you use it for?I like to think that at the end of the day, I can 'offload' my day onto the pages. i also mark notable events and all sorts of peculiar stuff.It makes reading them years later very interesting, and also enlightening to see how my ideas, concepts and thinking has changed. What will people make of me when I'm no longer alive?...Well, I'll hardly be in any position to do anything about it will I?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Spirit - 11

I've finished Julie's hair and moved down to work on the bodice..I want the material to have a slight sheen, so I'm putting creases around the buttons to give some interest and to give the effect of tightness...there's a corset under there somewhere too!The sleeve's I've not fully decided on..I currently favour a semi transparent material in black with black flowers/butterflies or both in tiny repeated patterns.she will also wear elbow length gloves in black.
The church is complete..there will be a misty haze on the might also manage to make out the scribbles indicating where some of the clouds will be. There's been a lot of sickness in my family this week..coughs and colds mainly. So far i've escaped!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit - 10

Slow going on this's incredibly focusing to one's concentration to be working on a portrait i really want to get right! I have carefully added each and every dot making sure that it's in it's right place, taking frequent breaks to step away from the work and focus on something distant. I'm fairly pleased with the likeness I've achieved here.
whilst working on Julie's portrait, I've decided to have a second area upon which to work..I like the discipline of presenting architectural work. The church shown here is Dunbar Parish church in Scotland where I holidayed last summer.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spirit - 9

Sorry for the delay in posting today..creating the sketches which would be correct was a long and drawn out process. Here you see my 'Maid' who appears to be in the process of being spanked by non other than my good friend and colleague Julie Schuler.Julie appears ( with her permission) as a strict Victorian ma'rm.In the back ground you can also make out a church which similar to 'the game' will be being struck by lightning from the boiling clouds above. The sky will hide more secrets as the riddle like quality of this picture develops.

Some of you may have been expecting a rather 'cute' rendition of Oskur playing with this wooden figure..but as with many of my recent works..a rather darker aspect is emerging. I am trying to push the 'envelope' which defines my a little bolder..a little more outspoken.The meaning?..well for once, i will refrain from any fact a quote I have recently discovered will suffice:

"Everyone wants to understand art.Why not try to understand the song of a bird?Why does one love the night,flowers,everything around one, without trying to understand them? But in the case of a painting..people have to understand...People who try to explain paintings are barking up the wrong tree."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Spirit - 8

The photograph is a little wonky because I couldn't get far enough over the picture...and i wanted to get it in daylight and it was getting dark.I'm just putting in the fur to the right of Oskur's arm..the more i looked at the composition as a whole,the more it felt as if he should be moving to the left. tomorrow I'll begin placing the other elements into the picture..I'm very excited by what is to come.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Spirit - 7

I've stopped work in the middle of my day to post. It's actually a good time..the 'calm before the storm' as the boys are due back from school any minute, and Jan has taken Annie to the dentist ..they're due back in a short while and then it's pupils turning up for piano lessons. this gives me chance to start cooking and hopefully disappear upstairs to do some more work.

I've spent around 4 hours completing the back and head of the'd think I'd be bored out of my head wouldn't you?...and you'd be right!But it has to be done and will look effective with the sky I plan to put behind it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


OK. I'll get back to my proper work tomorrow!..but for eldest son came home from the weekly shop with this little gift for me today. Knowing how much his Dad loves the old JD..he thought this would be perfect.What a lovely thought!..Unfortunately it just tastes like rough barbecue sauce with no hint of says it's made with 'Authentic Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey'.....what a waste of good JD!

I loved the comments in response to yesterdays post about who would play yourself in a film of your life. To make it more you have to find a person of the opposite sex to play you fact a whole 'meme' could develop around this theme..including genre, director, supporting actor/actress, musical score etc..... or maybe I should just stick to drawing pictures?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Who would you...?

Simple question. who would you pick to play you in the film of your life? I've chosen Richard of my all time favourite actors. what about you?

Apologies for no update on picture today..I've done very little..and had to attend a family gathering.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Spirit - 7

I've nearly finished work on the fur to the right of the figure..I think I'll leave the final shading until I've installed some background. I think my aim right now is to continue up the wooden figure ..I'm working on finalised sketches for the other figures in the composition which i will introduce soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spirit - 5

I've now started to work on the legs of the wooden figure .The relationship between Oskur and the figure is very significant as you will see.

The pose I've chosen for Oskur happened by accident..his shoulders were to have been visible above his head, his right shoulder was to have filled the left of the page here..but a more dynamic pose suggested itself showing him almost looking around the figure..I like this better than what I had planned before..

I'm off to scratch myself now and look in the fruit bowl for a banana.....ook! Why?..well read the comments section on yesterday's post!

Astro Skies.

As the first of two posts today, I'd like to introduce you (if you don't know already)to a little business venture my good friend and author of the blog 'Love is stronger than pride' Devilmood has recently started. Back in November last year, DM asked me to create a banner for her new site called Astro Skies. As a qualified Psychologist and Counsellor, DM wanted to use her professional experience and her life long interest in astrology. Astro Skies is NOT a fortune telling service, instead it helps you to understand aspects of your personality and the way we view ourselves in relation to our life goals and interpersonal relationships. As part of Astro skies service, you can purchase an individually tailored Birth Chart and analysis written by DM. Above is a photograph of the chart Astro Skies did for me running to some 25 pages. Astro Skies does not use commercially available software to formulate the chart, but each one is hand drawn by DM.
Why not pay a visit and check it out for yourself by clicking on the banner or the link below. You can also find the Astro Skies banner link further down on the links section of this blog.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Spirit - 4

I had no idea what his expression would be like as I drew because I used two source photos to get the proportions and the 'feel' of the hair, then made op the shape of the he's turned out a fairly wise old looking chimp with a slight hint of naughtiness..for reasons you'll see later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Spirit - 3

I had a spot of the old 'Man flu' this morning(that's 'slight head cold' to those who aren't familiar with the phrase!) The main disadvantage to where I currently work is I'm right beside my once I'd seen the kids off to school..I had the choice of bed or chair...guess which one I chose?..anyway, I've got back to work this afternoon..I'm really enjoying seeing this cheeky monkey take shape..I've gone back in my memory and you know, i can't think of any occasion where I've drawn an animal...yes, I've drawn a little Great Tit in my last picture..but nothing like this. I also took a few reference photos to work from for the wooden figure.

Yesterday I posed a question relating to the sketch. ..the Artist in question was of course Pablo Picasso 1881 - 1973. Apparently the drawing was done on August 30 1951, and is of Genevieve Laporte who was a French Resistance fighter in WW2. but it shows that no matter what you feel about the artists later choice of expression, he did have a very keen and accurate sense of line and form.

So well done to all of you who got it right..a weeks complementary accommodation for each of you in my palatial country retreat with all the champagne you can drink and access to your own personal masseuse and beauty therapist!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Spirit - 2

I feels good to be off on another adventure.The preparation time before starting has been reduced simply by starting before all the elements have been refined and finalised.This si an ongoing process which requires some particular concentration as you will see in due course. Mean while..I have presented the photographs in order of the most recent at the top. At the bottom is my initial sketch onto the paper before inking. It is unusual for me to 'sketch' directly onto the paper with out preparing a finished drawing in another book, making a tracing and transferring it by that method.

Drawing is probably one of the most important aspects in producing art work..good draughtsmanship is the skeleton upon which everything else hangs. I do realise that this is rather a dated philosophy, but one which suits my style of working. No matter what style one aspires to..observation and accurate drawing tunes the eye and the co ordination of mind to hand...

To prove that drawing is a basic discipline, below is an beautiful deceptively simple drawing made by a famous artist...can you guess who it is by?......answer tomorrow!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Spirit Of Oskur - 1 might be thinking I've pressed the wrong button...had a complete camera burn out..clicked the picture at the same time a nuclear bomb went off. Well your wrong. i could have cheated by publishing a page of white. But no dear reader..this is an actual photograph.

The blank page holds fear for many an artist/author/composer...(well probably not composer because they have lines already drawn!..but you know what i mean!) Is it fear of the unknown? it a fear that the first mark may be the wrong mark? it that when I make my first dot..i know it's a road which will carry me through to another month?.will it be this time I'm revealed as a fraud?..have i actually done my best work and it's now down hill forever more?....What happens if I dare not make the first mark?..I know writers get a 'block'...maybe that will happen here?..maybe you'll have read my last post here...

You see..some people marvel at the finished work of the artist..but it's sometimes a marvel that the artist ever starts in the first place!!......

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Spirit of Oskur -Preparation

Dear reader..I am about to embark on a picture which will probably define the way people view me for many years to least that's what i hope will happen. You join the process of composition a few days into it's I am working on sketches of Oskur. My little black and white portable television glows eerily ...I was watching a film starring James Stewart..'The Spirit Of St. Louis' tells the story of Charles Lindberg who became the first man to fly from New York to Paris non stop....the screen shows Lindberg as he approached the French was pure coincidence that he was looking out over my work as I photographed it! (he looks a little 'Chimp-like' in his goggles!). Funnily was the reverse journey to America that I wish i could have taken as I worked on this piece.
Perhaps you'll return to see how this develops in the coming weeks...but be warned..if you found interpretation of 'L'inattendu''ll need all your wits about you for this one!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Will and I

As I work steadily on the preparatory sketches of my next picture, i thought I'd post these two drawings I did at the beginning of 2006. they were part of a series of pictures funded by Arts Council England and saw me step up to full time self employment. they were exhibited later in the year at my solo exhibition entitled 'Project spectrum'. this picture is of my youngest son William. he's seen posing against a wall opposite our house which he liked to play football against.
This second picture is of course a self portrait..i'm not trying to look glum..but I am serious and concentrating..and I do look rather different now. In the picture , the most important element id the model seagull.Whilst on holiday in August 2005, we stayed in a little village in Devon..a couple of miles up the coast from a village called Boscastle. Terrible heavy storms hit Boscastle whilst we were there and all the residents were airlifted to safety as the tiny river that ran through the village burst it's banks and swept all into the sea. A few days later on our beach..this seagull was washed ashore still bearing it's price tag.(It came from the village gift day I intend to go back there and pay for it!)
On return home..I was made redundant from my job as a Children's Residential Social was devastating news to come home to..but that was the point that lead to me doing what i'm doing now...a new beginning and the chance to spend my time doing what i'd always dreamt of doing.
The seagull represents coming through 'rough seas' and that survival and life come out of something we at the time do not see.
The Spitfire represents the pioneering adventure I set out on and coincidentally was the subject matter of a print which sold fairly well on my old Ebay site and lead me to dare to consider making a living from my work.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Favourite Artists. Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema

The Women Of Amphissa

Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema (1836 - 1912)

"The festival known to modern scholars as the Oreibasia (whose name means "mountain running") took place during the winter months at Delphi. Official delegations from many cities including Athens came to this festival. Plutarch describes the rescue of a group of Thyiads who unwittingly wandered into the city of Amphissa in Phocis during a time of war, and exhausted by their frenzy, fell asleep in the marketplace. The women of Amphissa, fearing that harm would come to them, stood watch silently around them until they revived and could be given a hot dinner and safe conduct to the borders."
Further examples of Tadema's work can be seen at this site:

I have always admired and been influence by the compositional style of Tadema. Often associated with the PreRaphaelites, Dutch born Tamdema won the respect of the Victorian art world with his classical and delicately rendered compositions. If you look at some other works, you can clearly see the division of the picture by the horizontal and vertical lines , often representing architecture...these are complemented by by curves and softness of the figures often creating a perfect balance.

I hope to bring you a new piece very soon which is very this space!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

L'inattendu - Finished.

After 66 hours and 10 is the finished picture. I decided to blot out the faces at the back apart from the one in the top Julie commented yesterday, she looks like a ghostly voyeur..I'm happy with the overall effect..I'm particularly pleased with the part of the picture I've shown below as a detail.
I'd like to re-photograph these pictures tomorrow in daylight..the little boy has got bleached out by my lamps...

I hope you've enjoyed following the conception and development of this piece?..I'd love to know what you interpret the picture as meaning..but remember..the little boy is me! I don't think we've seen the last of these characters...and get ready to see the debut of a certain Chimpanzee in my next piece!!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

L'inattendu - 21

I've spent the day putting the background in..The heads only vaguely hinted at behind the raised skirts are not to my liking and especially the two on the extreme right will undergo a little redefinition tomorrow. But for today, I've spent enough time concentrating...the progress you see here since yesterdays post represents about 6 solid hours of work.
After I posted the the above paragraph..I went back to work on the top part of the picture and have sorted out the bits I didn't like..I find it frustrating that you don't get to see the picture at it's full's much more dynamic and detailed. Here is a closeup photo which shows me working on the ghostly face in the background.
you'll see a big difference tomorrow ...I might even finish!

Monday, January 07, 2008

L'inattendu - 20

It's all looking rather comical to my eyes..perhaps because I've been looking up those skirts for the last few weeks. It's kind of lost it's novelty...It's as if the Star Man is turning around to me and saying.."Are you serious !?" The truthful answer is : " Yes I am! "

I'm moving into the last couple of days on this now..I need to get to work on something new.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

L'inattendu - 19

It's Twelfth Night..and we've spent the day taking decorations down. We began our day drinking Champagne and eating bacon sandwiches for was to commemorate the end of the holidays...the kids go back to school tomorrow! Peace will reign once more and I'll be able to get some serious work in...I've not actually done any today, but the progress you see here was all done yesterday. ...the end is in sight...hopefully I'll finish this in the next few days!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Unseen..In the beginning.

I have been searching for these drawings all over my I've found them. I thought I'd show you the origins of 'Hyperpointillist' style. This drawing (above) is one I drew on 17 th September was drawn as homework for school. I used a proper ink pen with a nib and a bottle of Indian ink. I copied it from a TV listings shows Lee Majors in his role as Steve Austin., The Six Million Dollar Man, which was my favourite show at the time! NB...During the drawing of this picture, a big blob of ink fell off my pen onto the drawing..fortunately I was able to incorporate it into the a medallion! ( honestly, they were really cool back then!!)

The drawing above was The first time I used dots to compose an entire picture. (11-9-76).It is copied from a photograph I took at the old Peartree Railway Station in Derby . The drawing below although done a few days later on 13 - 9 -76 is less refined..I had yet to develop the patience with which I am currently blessed!

The final drawing here is in pencil , although not a dot picture, you can see that I've used some dots in the tree to give the impression of leaves!..I copied it off a painting my Father had done. I drew it on June 19th 1971..I was only 9 years old! It shows Gedling Church, Nottingham.

I'm really pleased I saved these old sketches..but there were hundreds more that sadly got thrown away over the years. For this reason, I always advise people who ask me about working as an artist, never to throw away your sketches/sketch books/ working drawings.If for nothing else, they can serve to remind you of how your work has developed over time. i have a large amount of sketchbooks dating back many years now with all my ideas in....99% of them are worthless, but a few ideas are sitting there to be reworked one day and find their way into a full scale piece.

Friday, January 04, 2008

L'inattendu - 18

At last i can give you a better idea of what the balance of the composition is like now that most of the components are in place..( I have background to fully decide upon, but I think I know what will be fitting!)

I would like to focus a little on the learning curve that my work is going through at the moment. But a lot of what is going on inside my creative little head is due in some great measure to the influence of Julie Schuler. I've mentioned her work many times before, but if you haven't visited her site recently, then I urge you to do so.Julie is preparing for an exhibition coming up in the spring..along with another talented artist Annie McVicar. Julie is working on a series of Nursery rhythm interpretations.The detail and atmosphere with which Julie presents her compositions has caused me to stare in wonder and respect. the richness of imagery is to me something that I'd like everyone to enjoy,and one day perhaps the whole world will. But for now, have a look and see what I'm going on can also order online prints and some pretty special Valentine cards too.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

L'inattendu - 17

Jonice yesterday commented that she liked the fact that I live and learn..I think in fact that we all do this. But in my case the majority of my learning is done whilst producing pictures, sometimes very deep and intimately personal and the way i relate to those who see them. It is my desire and goal to lay myself approach and allow that which is within me take shape on the paper.This is a risky business for someone who is actually, basically a very shy person.But the obligation of the artist is that which is binding and inescapable.."To thy own self be true"...anything less is to be a ineffectual and irrelevant.

I'll perhaps tell you what this picture is about when i get to the end.