Thursday, March 31, 2011

A day at Saint George's.

Big day for me...I've not done any teaching of art classes in schools for a couple of years. But thanks to the invitation if my friend Helen Homes, I spent the day with the children in year one at Saint George's Roman Catholic School in Derby. I had two classes each of 25 children. One class in the morning and the second for the afternoon. We explored the reasons why I have chosen my particular medium of art and then went on to produce some drawings. Hearing a whole class of 6 year olds frantically dotting away with their pencils was rather like being in a caravan which is being attacked by a huge flock of hungry woodpeckers in a hail storm!!

After the break we tried painting which is rather a suicidal move by anyone ho doesn't have a biohazzard suit, a voice akin to a Regimental Sargent Major and the leadership skills to match. but was actually a brilliant time! I'm sorry I don't have any photos to show you, there's all sorts of red tape and child protection issues to address for that.

The level of anxiety I felt in the run up to the day was certainly outweighed by being part of introducing some lovely young people to a way of seeing things and helping them to share the wonder with which I often look at this world with.

Back to the day job tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tables - 19

Feeling incredibly nervous today...I'm off to take some lessons in a local school tomorrow. I've not done any school work for a couple of years and I'm doing this for a friend who is a teacher there...I really don't want to let her down, so that's probably why the nerves are jangling. If I think objectively, then I know it will be fine and it'll go OK. But still, you know what I mean? I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

I spent around five hours dotting achey shoulders...a very long way to go with this, but I'm enjoying the locomotive as the background.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tables - 18


Monday, March 28, 2011

Tables - 17

Hello!...hope you had a good weekend? It was good to turn the clocks forward to 'British summer time' which is GMT+1. It makes for lighter evenings, which as far as my work goes, is good. I dislike working under electric light even if I do use daylight bulbs. From where I work I can look out over a wide horizon and see not only my own neighbourhood but the joining of three shires, those being Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. But in addition to the long view, I often see plenty of birds in my or neighbouring gardens. In any one day I can see Blue tits, Great tits, Coal Tits,Longtiailed Tits, Black birds, Starlings, Thrush, Wagtails, Robins, House Sparrows, Hedge Sparrows( AKA Dunnocks) Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Doves, Wood Pigeons,Magpies, Crows, Rooks, Wrens, Sparrow Hawks, Swifts (May - August) Swallows, an Owl, Bats, Mice , Squirrels and foxes....and that's the ones I remember! My Dad used to be a member of the British Ornithological Society and taught me lots about birds and wildlife when I was young. It's a great and valuable thing to pass on to your children, the knowledge and appreciation of that which is around us and lives with us!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tables - 16

It may be bad news, depending on how you look at it, but I've decided to go for the long haul...this is the area which shall constitute rest of the picture. If you're fed up of Tables already, then it'll still be in production in June!(you can see some pencil work behind the figures...this I've done at the end of the day after much umming and ahhing and research!)

Cyn asked me what 'Tables' means...I wondered when someone would ask! Well it has two is that my pictures are made up of fairly well known individual characters/objects...when multiplied together you get a bigger sum...(I'm not a mathematician obviously!)...The other meaning means you have to consider the influence my childhood has on these pictures. My Mother is significant in that she was an alcoholic for some time and behaved irrationally...i loved her then and would still love her today if she was still alive. One day she threw a large coffee table at me...I remember it in almost slow motion tumbling through the air towards me ...miraculously I held my hands up in time and deflected it away. As an incident, it has remained with me and I've meant to address it in my work at some point. I will no doubt refer to it again some day in a more literal way..But for now...this giant symbolic riddle will continue for some time!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tables - 15

After finishing the DreamPlay artwork, I can now return to this piece. I spent the day tidying various bits including the robes, the skull, the boys shoes and the bottom of the lectern.  I 've now reached a point where I have to make a big decision. I had originally planned for this to include at least three more figures to the left of this scene...I've begun to think that I'd restrict the composition to just what you can see here, but probably with the addition of a background of some sort.

Making this decision will be tough because I've always thought of 'Tables' as a large piece. I'm going to have a beer, a good long think and see which direction my sketchbook takes me during this eveningg. It's one of the benefits of my particular style of working in that I have plenty of time to change my mind and alter my plans!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DreamPlay - Publicity Finished.

I've finished the artwork for Big window theatre Company. I spent ages getting the colours right today...I got it scanned and cleaned up a few problem areas. The last thing to do is to add terxt, which will be done at a later date when I know exactly what needs to be written!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DreamPlay - Publicity 2

 I seemed to spend an unusual amount of time working out how I was going to colour the main image ....for previous  publicity work I've used pencil crayons which  related well to it being children's theatre. This time I have been asked to bring a more 'solid' type of colour. After trying a few ideas out on rough paper, I opted for using coloured inks, then to deepen areas or shade and add a bit of subtlety, I  used pencil crayons. Below you can see the finished middle section. I next need to work on the border area which requires a couple of uninterrupted hours work which so far I've not had today. Tomorrow (hopefully in between school runs) I'll be able to complete the piece.

Monday, March 21, 2011

DreamPlay - Publicity.

 I thought you might like to see the process I go through when I'm producing a piece for a customer. I've been asked to work on an image that will be applied to hand bills and posters advertising a children's theatre production. The client provided me with a title, and asked for the image to include a boy and a girl waving at the moon in a star lit sky. So I had a little think and scribbled out my initial ideas which you can see below. I envisioned the children being seen either from behind in silhouette, or from the side with their faces picked out by the moon light.
 I then set about making some slightly neater drawings with added colour. 
I would then provide the client with these images as a starting point for discussions as to what they would prefer.

The client preferred the above image but wanted me to darken the sky and render the children almost black. thus I set about doing this in the image below. However, it quickly became obvious that although the ideas for the window and figures seemed to be working..the rest of the composition was too plane....and when posted on a notice board in a school or nursery it would blend in with all the other notices. so I decided to add some surrounding shade and colour.

Below you can see the further developed image with a sort of faded wallpaper was also suggested that stars be placed in the corners to add a little more sparkle. After more discussion with the client,it was suggested that the stars be glowing rather than in black. It was at this point I was given the go ahead to produce the final version. I had to bear in mind the various versions of text that would be added to the artwork when it has been stored on the computer.
 So below is the first stage  of drawing which is the mapping out of the geometrical lines and figures in pencil.

Below I have inked over the lines and erased the pencil. the image is now ready for colour which will (I've not fully decided yet !) will either be ink wash with pencil crayon over it, or purely pencil crayon. this I will decide on tomorrow morning when I can work in daylight. hopefully you will be able to see the finished piece when I next post!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tables - 14

Not much to say really. I've been working on the Vicar's robes, and working on the artwork for 'Big Windows Theatre Company'..I met with Penny today who is happy with the artwork roughs and this means I will work on the final version this weekend. i'll post some developmental sketches over the weekend if you'd like to see them. Bye for now....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tables - 13 Doing something funny for money - Comic Relief.

Comic Relief is a British based charity set up in 1988 by some of the countries best known comedians and writers. It's aim is to support projects in the Africa to aid communities have better lives by providing mosquito nets, safe drinking water, better medical and educational facilities. Help for those suffering the effects of AIDS, Malaria, homelessness, malnutrition and exploitation.Also here in the UK, charity groups are supported to help those suffering domestic violence, the effects of poverty, illness and age related issues.The main charity event is in March every two years and features a host of comedians doing something funny for money. the public also help raise funds by buying merchandise and initiating events that bring in money.the last Comic Relief event held in 2009 raised over £61 Million.

funding by comic relief is distributed directly to projects here and abroad. Small grants are issued as well as more substantial amounts. Comic Relief does not give the money to large administration companies , but ensure that all the money you give goes straight to the relevant places. This year, Annie and I are having what we call our 'EXTREME EDIBLE HAMSTER STASH CHALLENGE' We aim to see how many things we can safely stash in our mouths. We're having a Marshmallow stuff, Malteser munch, Pringle pinch and Pickled Onion Packing. The four events will be declared a success if we can each hold 10 or more of each sweet/food in our mouths without fallout! I hope to photograph and video it as we do it.

Please would you consider donating via our comic Relief giving Page? All funds are donatable via PayPal or credit card and go direct to Comic Relief. you can give any amount from £1 upwards....interested? Then all you have to do is have a look at out page and follow the instructions. thanks you, and keep your eyes peeled for events happening near you if you live here in the UK.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tables - 12 I'm probably the last person to go and see 'the King's Speech', but I did so today. Very impressive movie which seemed to be over very soon after it began, and left me feeling quite tearful but emotional experience.An amazing performance by all the cast, but obviously Colin Firth as lead deserved his Academy Award for best actor after a convincing and powerful performance. Jan is always reminding me that she was in a film with Mr. Firth a couple of years back. Jan was an extra in a film called 'when did you last see your father?'...scenes were shot in the Derby crematorium near Markeaton Park. Jan also likes to remind me that he spoke to her and said "Hello".

I've spent some time working today..i've completed the hands and the crow. I have also added more to the creases in the robes. I now have to work on another mock up of the artwork for the theatre poster...I shall hopefully produce the final version tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tables - 11

The photographer was drunk again!..I wish he'd learn to stand up straight when he takes his pics!...You just can't get the staff these days! the photographs I took yesterday have been of great help,,,the folds on the Vicar's Surplus are now more correct. tomorrow I'm hoping to work on the hands.

It really is an odd experience to sit day to day working on these images. I've been doing so now for six years and three months. and I've barely gone a few days without working on something or other.If you'd like to gain some idea as to the progress I've made, you should click on the link to 'finished Pictures' which will take you right back to September 2006 and the beginning of this blog.Doing this always excites me, because the difference in subject matter and the intensity of my work has developed...and I can only imagine how much more I will progress in another six years.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tables - 10

Ah! Such fun...i love playing dressing up. so today gave me the chance to do just that. Having been given two sets of clerical Vestments last year, it was only a matter of getting them down from the loft..applying a hot iron and setting the self timer on my camera to gain some important photos to work from. Above you might be able to see the lines drawn in for the creases in the Vicar's Surplus. this I was able to do easily from the photos I took (see below) and the shadows were in exactly the right place!

Please, feel free to laugh...there's nothing great about these photos..and my hair is all old mannish at the moment...I've decided to grow it long and enjoy it before it all falls out!
My leg is higher than required for the picture, but my leg was not the subject. however I did want to see how the clothing fell around it. One thing I found out is that it's impossible to have that much leg exposure without having to open the Cassock and lift the Surplus.What does that mean for my subject?...perhaps it relates to his arrogance..I guess for many years members of the clergy who had abused their place of trust within the community had escaped the law because of their profession.

So bless you for reading...see you tomorrow!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The robes.

I now have the clerical Vestments that I will be photographed in so that I might correctly depict the folds in the material...and no I'm not going to wear the boots and stockings!...although I could...I have a very interesting past concerning many raucous parties and dressing up!

Tomorrow I shall set about taking the photos. I also have a commercial commission to attend to, details of which I'll tell you about tomorrow.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tables - 10

My heart, thoughts and prayers have been wrapped up in concern for the people of Japan today as the terrible news and images were shown on our TVs as the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent Tsunami caused death and destruction in it's wake. I could not believe my eyes as events unfolded live. Gripped by an almost unbreakable compulsion to watch and reach out with my thoughts, it was as if by giving all my time and not missing the coverage, I could somehow help and be involved with protecting those who were suffering.
And then as if reminding me how small a planet we now live on, a Face Book friend in California voiced her fears over the safety of her two sons living down on the coast. the tsunami was expected to make landfall there hours after the initial earthquake. I have not heard back from my friend yet.

So once again, I'm making a habit of putting in less than the required hours each day I prefer to work. In fact it seemed stupid to occupy myself with such ridiculous notions as fetish boots and Neanderthal skulls. but you has to go on. One cannot (despite being thousands of miles away) be any use apart from carrying on...we do what we do...and we do it to the best of our ability. Weather you make cars, sell bread, manage hedge funds, clean toilets or care for the sick. we do it..we do it because that is life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tables - 9

Yikes...looks like the lectern is toppling over! That's the photographers fault! A shortened working period today due to school runs and cooking!...but I've progressed well with the lectern's column..I'll compete the last section when i work on the skull. since I've not been up into the attic to look for the robes, I've started work on the Vicar's foot...I've also added some strengthening to the shadows and detail on his face.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Tables - 8

I enjoy bringing an image to life like has until now existed only as sketches and imaginings.
So far I have spent just short of 30 hours dotting with probably the equivalent time on sketches beforehand. ..and it's got me thinking. Originally I have intended for a group of figures to the left..the Cello Girls..a Cancan girl and the Airman from a previous picture called 'Anyway'. I've considered limiting the picture to just this scene you see above. I'm not certain yet, but you'll know soon enough.

there's also one other thing I wanted to tell you about which has changed the way I work. Last September I went for my regular eye test...I go yearly because my Father suffered from Glaucoma, and it's hereditary. The tests has shown no sign of it but I was alarmed when my Optician informed me that he detected the beginnings of Dry Macular Deterioration...that's where the part of the retina which is directly opposite the lens is damaged and loses the ability to convey stimulus to the optic nerve.Sufferers lose their sight for things immediately central in their vision but retain peripheral vision.

I'm a long way from the full blown effects, but I just wanted to warn you so that you don't suffer the same damage.I have worked at my desk for the last six years in a south facing window...the sun blasts down upon where I work and reflects off the page. This is the reason for the damage to my retinas. I now have to work behind closed curtains if the sun is out...and wear sunglasses when I go out in strong sunshine. If I'm careful, the damage need not get any worse.

Look after your eyes...get them checked if you haven't been in a while..and get them checked if any of your close relatives have suffered Glaucoma or diabetes.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tables - 7

Just about completed the wing apart from a few touch ups...I'll work on the rest of the bird tomorrow then I'll probably work down the column of the lectern. I've not been up in the loft yet to retrieve the Vicar's robes..or 'Vestments' I think they're usually referred to as.The more I think about it, the Vicar would not have accidentally exposed his leg to that degree...he would therefore have purposefully done so.  I'll not know for sure until I try it for myself!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Tables - 6

Wings...there's more to wings than meets the eye! Around four and a half hours work for these few feathers, that's what!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Tables - 5

Here's a bit of a close up view of the Crow Lecturn.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Tables - 4

started work on the Crow Lectern.Had to redraw the wings and head a couple of times...ended up looking very similar to what it looked like before I reworked it.

On a different note, it's not often my daughter and I like the same music, but we've both decided we like Jessie J...though probably for different reasons. She's a wonderfully stylish young lady who delight in her own designs. A singer song writer of enormous potential, she is currently wowing the public with her chart topping song 'Price tag' Below are a few selected images which will give you some idea as to why I like her.(non of the photographs are mine and if you are the copyright holder, I will remove the images if you need me to)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Tables - 3

 That's it for now with this little chap...I'm leaving his sandals until another time because I'm not entirely sure what the ground is going to be like. So next, I started work on the 'Mad Vicar's' face...
 It's important to establish the major features first starting with the eyes.I read recently that when Seurat painted, he first established the deepest shadows before anything else.
 Below I've established the shadows and have begun blending them in and creating the hollows and highlights of his face. I wondered if i could find some suitable photos online of an elderly man's search lead me to a photograph of Mick Jagger!

My next major job is to go up into my attic and find the Vicar's robes we have...I need to photograph myself wearing them so I can see how the folds work...I also want to work on the Crow Lectern.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Tables - 2

 When ever I start a new picture, I work tentatively until I'm happy with progress. It's slow sometimes and you'd be forgiven for thinking that I'd not used this technique very many times before as I apply a few dots...sit back and lean froward to concentrate for a few more dots. I envy and admire the work of artists who have great patience and seek to replicate detail to the nth degree. It is only a matter of patience. I keep telling myself there is no deadline. just the pursuit of that which satisfies my vision and desires. Of course as the composition progresses, I become more confident and there are areas that do not need the level of concentration that, say, a face will require, thus the speed at which I work increases.

I'm quite jealous of who See's my work at this stage. whilst I'm oddly happy to share my work online here and on Facebook, I'm not happy to show the actual piece to visitors to my house. I can't explain the reason why. I suppose because usually those who come to my house are my close friends and very few of them actually follow my work online. Revealing a partially created picture to someone who is not familiar with the concept behind it's formation is rather like exposing feels as if it should remain a private matter until all the components are in place.

I know that those who understand art , understand the 'work in progress' and are able not to judge the piece whilst incomplete. But many don't....and I often feel that I myself am being judged....and I'm not prepared to argue my case until all my evidence is in place....I know what I mean, i hope you do too...I'm beginning to get a little self absorbed here so I'll end. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Tables - 1

 Here's the first session of dotting ...I decided to start at the far right of the picture with the little boy. I'm left handed and therefore it makes sense to work from right to left. I thought the curly hair was better than the initial sketches which show it being hair used to be exactly like this...since the little boy is supposed to be me..that is good!

Below as I promised, is a photo of the entire area I intend to cover...I will publish a photo like this each time.