Monday, February 28, 2011

Tables - A bit more Prep.

I'm definitely not a shoe or foot'll have to take my word on that. But my Vicar needed some fancy footwear. Symbolically, they'll do for now,but I need to embellish them  at a later date.. I remember when I was at Art College, we had a visit from a costume and stage designer who spent time constructively criticising our work. The very best piece of advice she gave me which I still remember was, that if you're designing, painting, illustrating a character , to give them clothing which can not be bought off the peg. It has to be individual to that person. That's one of the reasons I like to add my own embellishments no matter how small or insignificant, a butterfly here or there, a skull or a space shuttle necklace get the idea.

The Vicar here is standing with arrogance and selfrighteousness...he considers that he has brought the argument of Creation versus evolution under his dominion...(hence his foot on the skull)...but the hidden things are revealed which show his hypocritical nature. The boot therefore is an extreme 'fetish' item which (for my symbolic purposes here) represents the 'cult' of 'Creationism' where some sectors of the church become entangled in the need to prove by  that the world was created by God. It doesn't matter one jot weather it was or not, because there's nothing you can do about it anyway..I think it's a diversion from caring for the poor and needy to be honest. I think if I were the devil...I'd sit back and say, "My work here is done...they are so concerned with trying to argue the toss with academics and anyone else, that there's no need for me to get involved...they're too busy to go 'into the world'.

Sounds like I have a chip on my shoulder doesn't it?..Well i have....more about that another time! I aim to begin the dotting tomorrow!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tables - Prep.

 Today it was time to transfer the tracings of my drawings to some watercolour paper. I've chosen some Hot Pressed paper this time for it's smooth surface. Above you can see the tracings placed in the far right hand corner of the page. after some consideration, I've decided to alter the closeness of the boy and lectern and the Vicar ...this is easy to do.
 Above is the transferred drawings with the lines strengthened by overdrawing. You can see the boy is closer to the lectern.
 Above is a rather lopsided photo showing the drawing froma closer viewpoint. You will see the the Vicar does not have anything to rest his foot on. I needed to produce more accurate drawings of the Neanderthal skull. Below you can see the drawing I've done in my sketchbook...I used an online photo for reference. I've then traced the drawing. You can then see the final transferred skull now safely under the Mad vicar's stiletto!
Now I've made all the transfers I need to make for now, I shall begin to work on the vicar's face first.But because the drawing is relatively large compared to some of my other images, I will need to embellish and decorate his clothing...for example, the (I don't know the proper name ) the sash thing he has round his neck needs lots of detail and patterns of some appropriate symbolism. His shoes should not be just plain high heeled court shoes, but should really be some extravagant fetish boot...I'll have to do some research for some thing suitable.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bows - 3

An odd sort of day here..I've done very little work, but what I have done is to this second colour picture. I published a couple of views of it last week, so thought I'd do a little more to it today. I now have two full colour dot pictures in production, both of which are A4 in size.

I had an email from someone I had contact with a couple of years ago. Lawrie Dignan has set about compiling a contact data base of artists who produce work using Pointillism/Stippling etc. The link is here if you fancy a look 'Changing Realities'.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

close - 5 and Mad Vicar

 Work continues on this interesting colour piece which is taking shape fairly well...can you tell what it is yet? whilst below , here is the tracing of the drawings to be transferred. Major work has yet to be done on the convoluted column of the this instance, it will not be transferred along with the figures, but an accurate drawing of on side of the column will be made then traced and used to create identical halves, each of which will transfer to the final paper...hopefully it will be an accurate and symetrical drawing.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

close - 4

Work on this piece today.Tomorrow I'm planning to start the transfer of drawings for my next big picture.Tonight...we're celebrating one of my son's birthday...he's 16 today!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Cello girls are REAL!

 A friend posted this YouTube clip on Facebook this evening, and  I was astonished. If you want to see why, race forward 3 minutes into the clip and see my Cello girls come to life. Sadly without the Cello's..keep watching for some truely gorgeous Cancan dancing later.

Drawings...Me and of MR. Hockney in York.

I hope you'll forgive my absence over the last few days. I've been away to see friends in York. A wonderfully beautiful city...We slept over night at Mark and Al's after some rather fine food and single Malt whisky, then went into the city in the morning, we had planned to visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but the weather turned bad. During our time in york, we went to visit the main art gallery in the centre of the city to see a painting by British artist David Hockney. 'Bigger Trees near Warter'  was painted over 6 weeks and is comprised of 52 canvases each measuring 36 x 48 you can imagine the overall size of 40x15 feet makes it a huge and imposing piece!!

Back at my desk today I've concentrated on drawings of me as a little boy for my 'Mad Vicar' picture.At the top of the page you can see a photo of me I've brought up on my laptop...I used this as the basis of the little boy in L'inattendu a couple of years ago...but I've only referred to it rather than copying it this time. you can see my sketches on the desk as well as my Panda knitted for me by Mum.

Above to the right is a rough sketch I produced last week ...on the left of that is the developing drawing I've been working on today...I wanted the facial features to look as if they belonged to a younger boy (hence using the photo on the lap top) and needed to adjust the thickness of the neck and chest. Below I've added the Panda and neatened the lines. This drawing is just about ready for tracing and transferring to paper for dotting.
Below, you can see that I've placed the sketch in relation to the Mad Vicar to explore how they will be placed together. I still have time to consider if the boy will have his right hand held out with hovering planet over his palm similar to the one held over the Mad Vicar's left hand.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Close - 3 and Mad Vicar sketches.

Took this in actual daylight so you can get a better idea of the colours! It's fun, but my main concentration is for the next black and white piece. I've been working on the sketches for the Mad Vicar and the Crow Lectern...see below.

his stiletto heeled foot is resting upon a Neanderthal I've brought up something online to refer to. Below you can see a more refined drawing which when I'm at a standard I'm happy with , will be traced and transferred to fine grade hot pressed watercolour paper for dotting.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

close - 3

Sorry..awful photograph of my work today...much much better by day light...I must remember that tomorrow. Sketches for the ;Mad vicar' picture well underway...I have the characters, now it's a matter of how they relate to each other...hopefully show you some of the sketches this weekend.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


 I had a bit of a breakthrough inspiration wise last night with my sketches for the next picture. At a fairly early rough stage, this evening should see a more developed drawing. In the meantime today I've done a little more to the colour picture I started yesterday. I've also started another one! It's unusual for me to do this, but if they reach anywhere near finished, you'll see that they complement each other.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


In between working on ideas for my new picture, I had a little play around with my colour's something...lets see what it develops into eh?

Monday, February 14, 2011


Here's a look at the concept for the 'Mad vicar' and the Crow Lectern..I've scribbled some reminders on the drawing which are telling me to have the Vicar further away from the lectern..he might need to be lower in relation to the lectern and the bird's wing will probably benefit from being larger..if you remember from an earlier post, I intended the Vicar's foot to be resting upon the skull of a Neanderthal Man or something similar. The little boy holding the Panda is supposed to be me..he looks up trusting the words of the clergyman without question...but what is the clergyman saying?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"El ow...itz mee agayn!"...Oskur dur Wilde Monkey!

Ello fanz, itz mee! Itz bin ay lon tym sinz ey lasst wrote. Dur mazter iz bin reely bizzy wiv iz droorwings and stuf. annd ee az finshud dur won ov dur Wyte Ladees wiv dur nikkers flashyngg ( eye lyk dat won!!) Soe eye towld im tou tayk dur dey ofv and av sum reelaksayshun tyme foor imsellf. Eee iz a jeenyus iyf yoo assk mee.

wot av eye bin upp tou eye eear yuo arsek?...weyl..eye av bin onan ollydey tou dur seesyde..eye meyt sum pritty gurls and mayd sum saand casulls...eye lik eyes kreem assweyl. err iz a pikchur of a gurl eye meyt on dur beeech.
Shee luks booard!But eyt iz onlee becuz shee karnt keyp up wiv mi witee repartee!shee iz finkin ov sumfing klevver tooo sey!

Iy ad a gud tyme, butt add tooo retern tooo luk aftur mi mastur oo iz yoost too dur finer fings in lyfe..lyk gud brandee aynd bakun samdwigdes. ee needz mi tooo bea der foor im. Soe eye am dooin dust dat!

Dur mastur askud mi tooo sey dat ee wyll beee bak toomoroww wiv sum neoo pikchurs too doo annd ee wyll tel yoo awl abowt dem. Meeenwyle, eye wissh yooo ay gud dey an eye owp tooo seee yu agen sown.

Gud bi..luv an banarners



Saturday, February 12, 2011

White Ladies - finished.

White Ladies ( 2011)
61x36 cm
Finished at last..taking a total of 179 hours and 40 mins it's been quicker than recent pieces. It almost never made it off the 'launch pad'...or should I sat the sketch pad ? If you remember I had about three or four restarts at the in truth, what you see here was not my original intended composition. But that is ok because I can just carry forward  the original concept and allow it to surface again some day....which you can be assured my Tennis Girls keep doing!

What's it all about  here you asking? I'm very mindful of the fact that when I'd completed 'three Graces' last year, I promised to let those who asked, an explanation of the symbolism behind the graces and their characters as opposed to other objects in the composition. I did start writing and found that it was a growing piece of writing (which i'm not all that good at!) which soon became overblown. what I can say is that all my pictures are a kind of auto biography/therapy session. Each picture I produce addresses aspects of myself that I am progressively becoming more honest and bold at expressing.If I were to explain that as a child I often played dress up and always chose to be the lady..and that for most of my childhood I wanted secretly to be a girl, it would make me sound stupid and open myself to ridicule...instead I chose to depict myself as two tennis girls looking longingly at the beautiful creatures of my would therefore have some pointers as to the often personal and vulnerable nature of my symbolism.
I live with the reality of my work  in a constant battle between the exhilaration of openness and admission...honesty and expression, and the fear of rejection, ridicule and damnation....and to be honest, the fear often outweighs the exhilaration.

Perhaps you understand me, perhaps you know someone who has had similar circumstances...perhaps more likely you now look upon me as a sad self obsessed fool. Either way...I know where most of my issues stem from and I'm confronting, dealing with and learning to live the fact, and the heritage that brings...which to be honest, makes me a stronger and richer individual. thanks for listening, and look out for the next picture which will take shape here!

Friday, February 11, 2011

White Ladies - 54

Still not can see the bottom left hand corner needs attention...i've added texture to the snow and Crows shadows on the rest of the picture. I've had a few interruptions today ...not all unwelcome, but still taking me away from work. Unavoidable i'm afraid.But I can confidently say (famous last words eh!?) that i'll finish tomorrow....and i'll endeavour to provide you with good resolution photos, for some reason you can't see the dots very clearly on this pic...oh well...see you tomorrow!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

White Ladies - 53

One, possibly two more days to go on this now!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

White Ladies - 52

 Continued with the's actually quite difficult to give them all individual I've repeated quite a few of them reversing their positions at times. I've now only got the far left quarter to complete which all being well will be done tomorrow. however I'm now having my attentions vied for by a book about the Cancan I ordered at the weekend. 'Cancan' is published by Cancan Publishing. Written by David Price, it is probably the most detailed and researched book on the history of and social significance of the dance.If you have any passing interest yourself , it is a must read and is the only book exclusively on the subject available! I'll write more about it when i've finished reading it!
 As I worked this afternoon, I looked up and saw this fella sitting on my neighbour's roof...I like to think he was just keeping his eye on me to make sure I made a good job of drawing him!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

White Ladies - 51

 I still reckon I'll finish this picture this week..although work time was reduced today due to school runs and making the evening meal. The birds are looking surreal...I quite like the fact that non of them is trying to take flight as the train passes. The ground is of course supposed to be snow covered..when i've finished the birds, I'll put shadows and detail into the snow.There are a few little details that need sorting..for instance the ribbons holding the tennis girls ponytails. i'm sure there is plenty more that could be done, but as someone said, "when you start to look for things to do, then it's time to finish".

Monday, February 07, 2011

White Ladies - 50

the wind blew strong in our region  of England today, gusts were measured at around 50 - 60 mph...and as I looked out of my bedroom window whilst sitting at my desk, I saw what looked like scraps of black material, pieces of clothing ripped from their washing lines to scud across the sky.  It was in fact crows in flight.I imagined that they'd struggled to fly against the wind but abandoned all effort and had lain back to let the wind carry them where it would. I decided to put crows in my picture.

 Here you can see me working on one of the crows. I love their quizzical stares and their arrogant strutting.The irredecent sheen of their glossy black feathers make them look like oil slicks on legs. I shall continue the crows across the rest of the page

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Sketches and ideas...concepts and compositions.

 People are often surprised when I show the rough workings of my sketch book...I have a large number of books stretching back 30 years or so and they're all full of working ideas..I will never have the life time to convert them all to finished pieces unless I drop my obsession with dotting.,...which i'm not about to!!! I like to scribble compositions which take the form of blocked areas and basic shapes. My mind does the most work imagining what they represent. then i develop sketches which are chosen for possible inclusion in a picture. The chap below on the left is one of my Vicar ideas and he was originally proposed to be part of the 'white Ladies' piece. I developed the sketch up to a good standard...but i'm continually drawn back to him.
Whilst thinking of ideas for compositions in which he could exist, i came upon photos of church lecterns..(see above) and thought it would be good to have him standing menacingly behind one.I then decided that the Eagle which traditionally represents St. John for my purposes become a crow which symbolically means so many different things to different cultures...for some good, some bad. i wanted to emphasis the often many ways 'religion' is perceived by communities.

Above right the vicar is seen to be standing with his foot on a Neanderthal could easily be an ape skull...I wanted to comment on the arrogance that some sectors of religious groups view with so called certainty the 'facts' about creation versus evolution or anthing really. The vicar then reveals unwittingly that he has hidden secrets this case he's wearing stockings, suspenders and spiked stiletto boots...this represents the hypocrisy that many so called 'holy' people live by preferring to hide their shame beneath whitened robes....i'm getting a bit heavy now, but I hope you know what i mean?!

As ever, my gorgeous cello girls represent the deeper workings of my mind and the ever present balance between realisation and danger...truth to self and guilt. this all links together nicely with the religious connotations and works very well with the life experiences I have had. I also have wondered about including the little boy figure ( that's me!) who innocently looks up at the preacher, not he a victim ? he to become a perpetrator one day?
Which ever way you look at it, the actual composition is all important, getting the balance of the figures, and making it possible to show the feet of the vicar and the boy whilst having the cello girls in the foreground. Add plenty of delicious frilly bits, little symbolic motifs and enigmatic faces and there is the start of an interesting project.Trains, planes and skies..stars, planets, birds and flowers will all be considered at a much later date.

I hope you now have a little better understanding of the workings of my mind whilst I consider inclusions for my work...I used to add the letter S.I.A.T at the bottom of my work. this was my pretentious attempt to ape the Pre Raphaelite Brother hood who used to sign their work with 'PRB'. Mine used to stand for 'Symbolism in All things'....whilst i no longer include those letters..the sentiment remains solid for all my work. I  like to have reasons for all aspects of my compositions...and consider it as an equally important factor along with the aesthetics and draughtsmanship. 

Saturday, February 05, 2011

White Ladies - 49

The sky is more or less finished now...the lighting for this photo isn't good because it makes the left side appear much darker the the right. But i'm fairly happy with it..the right sense of foreboding and menace is coming through. tomorrow I shall take the day least as far as this picture goes...I shall work on sketches for the new picture which so far has three of four major ideas vying for attention.Maybe i'll publish a few, but then maybe I won't. either way...this picture is rapidly approaching it's finishing period. Next week should see it done!

Friday, February 04, 2011

White Ladies - 48

 I'm coming to the final stages of work on the the sky now.I've worked on the planets and at the end of today's session, I'd completed most of the large planet on the far left of the can see a lighter area upon which I still have to work....some of the planets you'll probably notice are lighter than others...this is something I will go back to and equalise when they are all finished.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

White Ladies - 47

I've managed to work well again today. This is good in itself, but other things have gone well too. I'm planning a party for my birthday in November and ideally (as readers here will know!) I wanted a troop of Cancan dancers. Well thanks to a friend who suggested them, i've just had confirmation that the Vanessa Millar School Of Dancing from Belper in Derbyshire can dance for me! The next good thing was a good friend of the family advertised on Facebook a two seater sofa for sale...we've been looking to replace a sofa too, so tonight we went and managed to fit it into the back of our car (albeit with a certain amount hanging out of the back!). So all in all a good end to the day I would say!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

White Ladies - 46

I wrote yesterday about my working hours and my aims to have pen on paper for 5 - 6 hours each day. Yes, this is something I'm able to do  because above all else, I have the opportunity to do so. It's a situation that I am incredibly privileged to enjoy whilst at the same time causes deep frustration knowing that I'm not the one 'out there' being the bread winner and provider for my family. Of course that role is fulfilled by my wife Jan who is pursuing a job she enjoys greatly and has the added bonus of paying the bills.

My children are growing up, one of whom now lives away from home whilst studying at university. My other son is nearly 16 and my daughter is they're past the time of needing 100% attention.Of course this leads to other related problems when Jan is away working,( which is fairly often and becoming more so) I think I've written about what happens then enough times! I'm prone to bouts of depression and I have fairly low confidence in the commercial side of my work.So this I battle and when things are good...I work to jmy hearts content within the boundaries of child care and running a home. Currently I'm enjoying my work.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

White Ladies - 45

 Thank you for the kind comments! I seem to have hit a bit of a groove work wise at the aim is to spend between 5 - 6 hours each day dotting and the remaining time to sketching/research and blog stuff. I've been no where near this aim recently, but now I'm pushing on quite well regularly hitting my targets each day. The main reason is the development of ideas and images for new work....nothing spurs me on more than the impatience to start a new piece!! I'm therefore spending time on a couple of drawings for new compositions which excite me and fulfill all the goals and concepts I strive to this space!