Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Closed curtains.

Well...if yesterday saw me feeling positive and See's a complete contrast.Every idea I have is like pulling an elephant out of a ship's porthole without the Vaseline (I'm sure you can all relate to that !) ...and even when I do get something down on the page I'm accusing myself of just repeating something I've done before...all the ideas are unoriginal... then I got around to thinking; what if 'Jigsaw' was THE LAST piece I ever create?...what if I've peaked?...What if this time next year I'm destined to be working in a fish and chip shop ?What if it was all leading up to this...the point where the work dried up forever?....I think you can understand why there's not a lot to show for my day.

Yes, yes I can hear you telling me to go back and read my previous posts about not forcing the 'muse' etc....but looking at a beautiful view with the curtains shut doesn't work.....I need to open some curtains I think....

Chips anyone?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rostopovich,failed work and the first trimester.

I rediscovered this failed project from a few years ago (this is the first time I've shown it to anyone!) just goes to show how bad planning can cause problems. I used an image of cellist,Rostropovich . I had thought that my plans for a 'Starman' were on track...but sadly they didn't work and he looks like Rostropovich instead...after 70+ hours I decided to cut the project short ( you can see where I ended the picture and where it was proposed to continue it into a larger composition)...however there are things I can take from this piece....for example the daisies and sky colour.
With regard to the present...I'm closer to deciding on the Starman Cellist....what I need to do next is a few detailed drawings of what he and the Cello girls will look like in a group.......
You should know that since the bare page and emptiness of the past few days,I'm now in a part of the process that is (in my mad world) comparable to the conception and gestation of a baby...I guess this is the early trimester which means it's still very early days and the risk of miscarrying is ever present.

Muse problems..........

Where is the muse when you really want her?..She is sometimes like a bird sitting up in some tree in another neighbours garden..OK, so I'll scatter a few crumbs of bread out on the bird table (play some nice music, sit in a comfortable place and make sure I'm not hungry or thirsty!) the hope she might focus her attention on me for a change. Sadly chance.(maybe the muse is a feminist who disapproves of women playing cellos in their knickers?) ...thankfully! In my sketchbook today I return to my 'Cello' girl...this time I'm toying with the idea of two cello girls and a third which could arguable be a violinist or perhaps my 'Starman' fact he is more likely to complete the trio. There's also a shadowy presence in the behind them all and seems to be reaching out for the Raven. I know I used this theme in 'Orbits'..but perhaps it'll be the Maid this time reaching out?...who knows.....wait!...there's another idea !....catch you later!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The plot deepens... more from my sketchbook.

I like the way characters insinuate themselves on each other. On his own, the bushy haired man (see below) is ineffective, but with the sly looking man behind, he somehow communicates with us. I'm not sure they have the legs to make it into my picture, but they are certainly going to turn up one day. (above) is a little insight as to how I develop my characters from the original sketches. I used some tracing paper to enlarge from the face to incorporate a body..I had a little sketch which I drew a few years ago which had a Priest holding a scale model of the Space Shuttle. I've returned to the idea today...It wouldn't be right to have you believe that I have any great message building this stage I'm concentrating solely on aesthetics and the general compositional elements.


I originally drew this man with a big bushy beard, but something wasn't working, so I wondered what he's look like if I took the beard out and gave him a discernible interesting character is emerging now..
This chap arrived out the end of my pencil..does he know the man in the sketch above...he seems unsure and he's looking to you for reassurance and he disapproving of the other man venting his anger?
More later.......

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mini sketches.

I thought I might include here a few minisketches...a lot of people are quite surprised when I reveal the Rather austere nature of my sketches. I like to think in small panels...the blocks which make up the various components of the composition are weighed in balance like lumps of cheese on a set of scales..This strange fiddler above has remained in my thoughts for some time..I wrote to one of my friends that I had in mind a cross between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fiddler On The Roof.....I think before I use this idea, i Will need to refine and alter the overall appearance of the character, but you might get the idea of where my thoughts are heading on this one....
Here are a queue of 'starman' type my mind they originally were all in black and were standing in a line behind a young lady who it appears is unaware they are there...I then thought that it would look more dynamic if their robes were all in different colours....then I thought it would be good of the young lady were not passive in the scene, but rather facing the men and challenging them....I also like the idea that the viewer would be separated from this host by a series of white rose bushes.

I used a version of this idea on my picture 'Orbits'....I was unable to replicate his studious gaze in the finished work, so might return to him again..i like the fact that he is reaching out to catch something...maybe a spider on the end of a web?
So there you have three little sketches which tome give rise to countless ideas and to be honest, a number of full pictures could easily arise from these very sketches.The reality is that I will commit to one idea and put the others into cold storage...they are like seeds which sit in my imagination and never really go away...occasionally the drops of inspiration cause them to germinate and bear fruit...that's when YOU see them!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


There are no pictures tonight...there are no tales of wonderment or deeply involved concepts.I'm currently sitting at the table where I work in my bedroom...looking out at the final glimmer of the dusk..distant street lamps wink into light. My desk is clear, my table lamp glows lighting up the keypad...I can type...I wish I was drawing. I've carried the sketchbook around with me all day on and off. I sat in the dance centre cafe this morning whilst Annie was in her cappuchino froth gradually decreasing as I sip carefully so as not to sit with a milk mustache ..I sketched a few faces...I gazed out of the window.But nothing immediate inspiration.

It's a kind of withdrawal I think. But like an athlete, an artist cannot just sit and do nothing..the creative muscles sieze to sketch is to excersise....and I shall. the house empty...Jan and Annie have gone to see a performance of Richard The Third which is being filmed for TV..(I don't like Shakespear!)...the boys have headed off into town to meet their mates.

I have Strictly Come Dancing to watch... if you're not familiar with it, it's a dance competition held over a few months featuring professional dancers teamed with celebrities (it's called 'Dancing with The Stars in the U.S)...each week a couple are voted off the show.....I love dance as you boys think I'm "Sad"....I just wish it were me dancing up there! (I'm supporting Phil Tufnell and Jo Wood!)..

I have a few emails to write...I have a DVD to watch later ('Priceless'. starring Audrey Tautou!)...(Did I mention I love French Cinema ?)....I have my sketch book open and awaiting...and I have a bottle of Rum. Most of the rest of my life makes no sense...and I seem to spend a lot of my time being frustrated ...but when I'm drawing..when I'm creating, it all makes sense...the jigsaw pieces fit.

If I'm feeling generous, I'll post some of my sketch work tomorrow....but for now......take care of yourselves.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I've been framed!

I've put the finished picture in a frame I had made for me a couple of weeks ago...I don't know where I'll hang it yet.If you ever fancy popping round to see it in the flesh, let me know, I'll put the kettle on!
Started on May 12th, the total amount of time spent on finishing it took 362 hours and 15 minutes! Now I'm wondering what to do next!....

Jigsaw - Finshed

59cm x 42cm

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Jigsaw - End game. Symbols

Symbols mean a lot of things to a lot of people..some symbols vary greatly in their significance. Take a black cat...I was brought up with the notion that if a black cat walked in front of you, it meant good luck...but in Italy, it's a white cat that brings good luck...a black one is bad! I often use symbols in my artwork...they're nothing to do with luck.I use them as all artists do to encapsulate a concept or an emphasis which adds resonance to a composition.Sometimes they have meaning for me alone. The symbols I have opted for here are open to your own interpretation but here are mine...sort of!
The Butterfly...For me it is used to symbolise great beauty but this instance it's a Peacock butterfly, a peacock usually symbolises conceit and vanity, but it also has eyes that look and accuse...they accuse the conscience prompting guilt.
The Space Shuttle...Arguably man's greatest technological machinery, the DNA double helix and the shuttle symbolise the progress that science can bring to humanity..the quest for the stars..the conquest of inner space.
The Black Widow...I admit it, I have a phobia of spiders...they scare me, they affect me.Did you know(of course you do, all my readers are much more intelligent than I am!) the female spider once it has mated with the male then devours him (unless he can run away that is!) provide nourishment for the formation of the young.
The Bumble Bee...It really, aerodynamically shouldn't be able to fly, but it does!..This symbolises aspiration, as I depict in my chess picture 'PWM', the only limitations on what we can achieve is ourselves.
The Skull...Ok, so I did mention that death is the ultimate joke on the artist, but it also is a reminder that we are is never right to think of one's self as being of any more value than anyone else....for we are all priceless.
The rest of the picture is populated with many other symbols. If I chatted to you at Wirksworth earlier in the month, you'll know some of them. I'm often keen to tell people what my pictures contain, but I'm also very aware that some of my viewers like to formulate their own meanings...and I love that.
Jigsaw is now finished. I'll publish a photo of the complete piece tomorrow because it's dark here now...I want to photograph it in the daylight.
I am now going to drink a bottle of wine!

Jigsaw - End game part tweleve.

The final card in my hand is the this case, he appears as Death. With regards to the work of an artist..the final joke is that notoriety usually comes after the artist's death. If that is the meaning of this card...what do all the others mean?...come back later and I might tell you!

Jigsaw - End game part eleven.

I really wanted to get a Bumble Bee into the picture here he is! for the last piece in the puzzle!

Jigsaw - End game part ten.

Only two more cards to go! time of writing (15:00), I have to take a break to fetch Annie from school.

Jigsaw - End game part nine.

The next card shows a female Black widow spider...! Here I have yet to apply yellow ochre and light blue/green.

Jigsaw - End game part eight.

Shuttle with DNA double helix trail now nearing completion....

Jigsaw - End game part seven.

I've decided to use the Space Shuttle for the next suit...

Jigsaw - End game part six.

The near finished card has developed nicely...

Jigsaw - End game part five.

Next comes yellow ochre...

Jigsaw - End game part four.

Next I'm adding light blue.....

Jigsaw - End game part three.

Here I've added a base layer of red dots....Incidentally, if you are wondering what the time frame is in which these pictures are taken, it's all within the last hour or so.

Jigsaw - End game part two.

Having laid down the first dots of dark blue, I will build up in fairly muted tones, the colours of this Peacock butterfly.

Jigsaw - End game part one.

Here's the first in a short series of images today which track the final stages before Jigsaw is finished.I've chosen to draw on symbols used in previous works to depict the suits of the cards. I might explain them later, but for now, here's the basic pencil outlines.Check back through out the day to follow my progress!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jigsaw - 91

Work today centered around deepening the colours on my face and getting rid of the white outline. I completed the other lens and then began working on sketches for the playing cards. I had originally meant to depict the familar Hearts,Clubs Spades and Diamond suits....but that would be too easy!..join me tomorrow to see what I've decided upon and to actually be amongst the first to see the finished picture !!
Here's a good close up of the eyes..I just love the texture the dots make when viewtd this close!
Try clicking on the picture to get an even closer look!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jigsaw - 90 Equinox and a dead Wasp

I hope I'm not jumping the gun, but I think I've finished the sky at last. I used to oft quoted maxim "When you start looking for things to do, stop!" I've moved onto deepening some of the colours and shades on my face and blending the outline with the background. More work will have to wait until daylight .Which reminded me that today is the winter equinox...I must be stupid because it was only a year or so ago that I found out that the 'Equinox' means that the day and the night time are of equal length!

I also clicked this photo today...whatever the limitations of my Olympus MJU 5000 are, Super Macro is not one of them.Great close ups are one of the things it definitely can do! I thought this rather small Garden Spider(Probably a male due to it's smallness) looked good preparing it's supper of silk entwined Wasp.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jigsaw - 90

It might not be obvious what I've achieved today...but in any case, I spent near six hours doing it!...I was involved mainly with the branches and yet more colouration of the nebula including adding yellow and red..not that this photo shows it very well! I have decided to continue darkening the upper reaches of the branches on the right tree to match the one on the left.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jigsaw - 89

Not much more to do now..a good few full days work should wrap this up. I am now applying my thoughts to the next project...I think I mentioned doing some small pics...this may very well happen, but I still keep returning to the image of the cello girl in the last piece (Cello)...I think the cello is a wonderfully sensual instrument, I intend one day to learn how to play one.

I've recently been reading a book by Vikram Seth called 'An equal Music''s about a man who plays as part of a string quartet who by chance meets an old flame...they meet and begin a passionate affair....then begins the problems of their prospective partners, in the case of the woman, her husband and child. It's a very well written love story, but especially notable for the way it incorporates the joy of making music, playing as part of an internationally respected group. The feelings and images of the book have remained with me, and so I'm wondering about adding my own particular treatment to the string quartet. you might remember some time ago I wrote about a violinist I kept seeing in my home town...I used to imagine that he was a time traveller and arrived at opportune times to play music to perform a destined role to bring lovers together...I would like to explore that idea a little more this space!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jigsaw - 88

Today I spent time adding in more darker areas around the nebula...I've also paid some attention to the tree on the left which involved adding yellow ochre and red to the branches...lots more to do there.

Below I've put this close up in to give you an idea of the density of dots needed depict the nebula..I tried to alter the colour balance to give a more vibrant photo, but it's still too red, but you get the idea!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jigsaw - 87

Work continues on the nebula and darkening the sky..then I will complete the branches and darken the trees. I shall move back to my face where I have to deepen some of the shades and pay attention to the white outline which makes me look like a cut out. I'm hoping to finish this next week!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Jigsaw - 86

OK..hands up time.I regret posting my moans yesterday...only because I damn well have no reason ...I switched on my TV for the news...I don't need to illustrate my point obviously, but doesn't it just bring everything back into proportion when you see what others are going through? I will say this however..I may filter some of the things I feel and think, but basically I want to depict a 'as near as possible' realistic view of the artist...I am actually I suppose, no more neurotic than any other bloke, the difference is,I think, I'm able to express it...sort of...
Spend over five hours dotting purple today....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jigsaw - 85

There is absolutely no way that I'll ever get above myself just won't happen. After any exhibition I feel the 'come down' that is me returning to real life.I enjoy exhibiting because it's possibly the only environment where I'm allowed to be me...I am the artist and I'm taken seriously. But I now begin seven weeks of school runs, pack up lunches and the whole gamut of domestic activity...Jan is as always very busy, she's off to Ireland acting this weekend, then more rehearsals for the next tour of 'More Story Please' which starts performances from 21st September. So I will do what I can to find time to work, I have some very definite ideas for my next big picture but think I might need to produce some small pieces in readiness for Christmas. Don't worry, you'll see everything here as it develops from pencil sketch to the finished picture.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jigsaw - 84

What can say? Oskur, I am indebted to you ...your selfless devotion in my service should not go without commendation...not even Lord Greystoke himself could ever claim such as I. Thank you for taking care of business whilst I was having a day the way, the dress looked gorgeous, I never realised you were such a style icon!
Back to earth for me today...and back to work on Jigsaw.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hellow..itz mee Oskur!

Hellow fanz..itz mee agen. I howp yu lyk mi neuoo dres..I lyk tu geyt ein tuch wiv mi femminyn syd evry nouw an agyn!

Enny wey, ey fort yu myt lyk tu noe dur mastur iz avin a dey ovf tu recuuperayt frum iz iz lizening tu moozick aynd relaxyng. Wych givs mee tyme tu tel yu dat ee iz exsytedd abowt awl dur nyse fings peeple sed tu im att dur weeekhend...eee iz gowyng tu av lottz ov gud ideeyers becuz ov it! wyll mayk sum gud pikchurs ..ey karnt weyt tu see wot ee cumz hup wiv neckst !

Eny wey, Iy av tu gow nouw bekuzz eyve goot a ladur iin mi tytes aynd mi lypstik az faydud...huh...dur fings wee gurls du tu luk pritty!

Bi bi fanz...seee yu agyen suun.



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Jigsaw - 83 Exhibition day Two.

I'm having problems up loading photos here for some reason...I wanted to share some views of my exhibition venue etc...I'll try tomorrow, but in the meantime, if you'd like to see then before then, go to my Facebook page and you'll see them there!

Anyway, here I am sitting at the end of what became a very successful and prosperous weekend.Again I had around 230 visitors during the day and I was told by many people that they thought my show was the best in the festival.I don't know how anyone can say this as there were artists exhibiting many varieties of medium and I don't think you can value a drawing more than a sculpture more than a piece of ceramics or jewelry.

It was even better however to catch up with a few friends and acquaintances I've made over my regular exhibitions at Wirksworth and Cromford ...a very big thank you to anyone who I meant so much to me!

I did manage to join the edges at the top of Jigsaw..I reckon another good week or so and you'll see this finished!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jigsaw - 82 Exhibition day one.

What can I say at the end of such an amazing day?..I am incredibly moved by the response of over 250 people who came along to visit me today, it might seem over dramatic and self indulgent for me to say that I found tears running down my cheeks during the 30 minute drive home. I know it sounds silly, but unlike other exhibitions I attend, wirksworth is special because the people who attend are genuine art lovers. certainly many of the people I spoke to today knew what they were talking about exhibiting a deep knowledge of art generally but also familiar with the Pointillist technique...then to be told so many complementary things about my work meant so much.

I usually have so many doubts and insecurities about my work, especially my darker surreal stuff..but it those very pictures which drew the most praise and admiration...I was totally gobsmacked to coin a phrase as I'd previously worried that i'd be ousted as a sexist pervert..but my genuine love and admiration of women was somehow love of mystical images, symbolic items, fetishes, religion , guilt and a willingness to honestly examine my own motives and follies and failings was acknowledged.

There were some genuinely warm hearted and lovely people there today..I'm sorry I don't have your names, but your encouragement is worth to me like gold!...

I sold a couple of prints during the day...drank three cups of tea, one coffee and ate a large piece of Walnut and Banana cake...I completed around 3 hours work on Jigsaw and felt happier and more loved than I have in ages...Thank you.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The night before.

Well, we're nearly ready. Tonight Jan and I drove up to Wirksworth to our venue. A beautiful Victorian house with a lovely lawn where tables and chairs are arranged in readiness for serving teas and cakes.I'm hopeful that I'll have lots of visitors to my exhibition as the venue is the first house (or the last house depending on how you look at it!) on the trail , and the weather forecast is favourable for the weekend too!

I've hung a selection of my more surreal black and white pictures together for the first time...I'm referring to them as 'The Dark Side', it will be interesting to hear what people think of them as they're my favourite ones to do! I will also be presenting a selection of my more landscape based works.I will also be working on 'Jigsaw' so people can see how I create my pictures.

It's late here, but we've still got around 40 mounted prints to wrap and label before I get off to and toast are required I think! I'll try to post lots of photos throughout the weekend, and if I find something interesting to click as we wrap the prints, I'll add it here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jigsaw - 82

Working on the tree seen here today. I will be reducing the amount of stars also, but it's easier to work over them and almost impossible to add stars in.I'm just enjoying a fairly relaxed working day today, because tomorrow we shall be sorting out putting my exhibition up..then before bedtime, we have to wrap and label 40 mounted prints.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

09 - 09 - 09 The Sorcerer.

Today was busy with non - Jigsaw work. the main task was to create the artwork for The Rosehill Musical society's production of The Sorcerer by Gilbert and Sullivan..The main character brews up a love potion which he serves from a having originally provided a choice of three designs, Peter Featherstone who is responsible for Publicity and Marketing chose the above design. This is a version including the title...eventually all text concerning the show will be added. Below is a version with out text, and below that are the development sketches showing the work from pencil sketch to finished piece.

Here I've begun inking in the image..I will create texture and depth by adding dots later.

This is the penciled arrangement of the Sorcerer and his teapot..the steam from the teapot will swirl upwards to incorporate the title.

Here on the right is the original concept chosen to become the design for the publicity material. The face I've drawn on the left is to become the final artwork...but still needs some tweaking!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Jigsaw - 81

It's difficult to envisage what the finished article will look like as the nebula will be obvious but not too bright...I want to show it almost emerging from the top of my head! it's tendrils of star clouds curling like some astral octopus. This will mean darkening the sky considerably behind the trees....but it will be worth it in the end!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Jigsaw - 80

This week I begin to ready myself for my next exhibition which is on Saturday and Sunday this week.The Wirksworth Festival runs each year and is considered a prestigious and widely known arts festival. Over 100 artists take part over the weekend exhibiting in various venues across Wirksworth, a small town north of Derby in the Peak district.I'll tell you more about my role there and my place in the Arts Trail later in the week.

Today I've worked on the tree and sky seen here....two of my children have gone back to school and my day return to my regular expect progress to gain some momentum from now on!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Jigsaw - 79

In response to Tysonice's request yesterday, here's a better photo by which to judge the size of 'Jigsaw' . It's drawn on A3 size watercolour paper . Today I passed the 300 hour mark which is by far the longest time I've worked on an individual piece. When I sit down to work, I make a note of the time and write it down.When I stop for any reason even it it be for 10, 20 minutes, I make a note of it...I then add it to a running total.This is how I arrive at my this you can be assured that when I say I've done 300 is actually time spent dotting and nothing else.