Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Looks Like Rain

Last Sunday (1st September 2013) I sold a painting at a Silent Auction for the charity Give 4 Beth. I can't find the website for the charity but the organisation of the event was excellent with high attendance.
The painting was A1 size, framed, begun in emulsion and finished in oils.
A1 seemed a very sensible size for the painting. I'd thought I could just pop down a local charity shop and pick up a suitable frame for only a few coins. None of my local charity shops had any. In the end I had to make the frame too, with a wood router, from lengths of 2 by 2 timber.

The title was "Looks Like Rain" (consider your own interpretations of art/title).
It sold for £160, which was a good price considering the level of finish, expenditure on materials and time to complete. I'm very pleased. Not only did I commit to start and finish the piece but someone thought enough of it to buy it on the night.

As an artist, one is rarely completely happy with one's work. Someone once said we never finish work it's simply wrenched away from us. I wasn't very happy with the painting but the older I get the more I appreciate the need to let go the individual piece and focus on the development of skill over time. I did my level best in the time available, and did something for charity that let me keep working too.

Here's the photos:

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Lion's Mane

Just got back from my annual holiday in Helford, Cornwall. Had an amazing time. Snorkelling, rowing, walking, exploring the coast in a kayak, just lying on a beach- really made the most of the time off.
Stayed in a thatched hut- a converted Apple store (the fruit, not the computer retailer). 
Saw plenty of squirrels and birds in the garden (even a falcon) and a massive fireworks display over the river.

Swimming across the river at it's widest point proved too much of a challenge, this time, but on the attempt I approached a beautiful old wooden sail boat with a pale blue hull and tried swimming down the anchor rope. It just disappeared down in to the green depths. There were some great underwater sun beams.
At this point it began to seem sort of like a recurring dream I had as a child. In this nightmare I'd swim out to sea at night and dive a little way down. Suddenly, in the darkness far below me, one vast squid-like eye would open and I'd race, lungs bursting, for the surface.

I came back up the anchor rope feeling something akin to vertigo. The water was so clear it was almost like flying over an undefined depth of sunlit green fog.

Eventually, I got about halfway across the Helford then tested how hard it might be to turn back. It was much harder to make progress the other way. About three times as hard. Figuring the current against me I headed back in, exhausted and feeling quite unadventurous.

Getting stung by a Lion's Mane jelly fish further in to shore soon changed that. I've often thought about jelly fish when swimming at sea but never seen a live one. Many years ago, there was a host of them on the beach in my home town, all dead. I was stung by a tiny one, only 5 inches across, though they can grow up to 7 feet.
It's no worse than a bee sting and, oddly, it really made my day! :)

The lions Mane jelly fish features in a great Sherlock Holmes tale-

Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Key to a Successful Career in Art

This is The Key to a Successful Career in Art. 
Many professional artists have written guides to breaking in to the industry.
In interviews they're often asked what the secret is.
Bobby Chui wrote the Perfect Bait, Donata Giancola said in one interview recently it's simply "Keep your ass in that chair" but as far as I know this is the first time an artist has ever shown the actual Key to a Successful Career in Art.

I made it when I was a student, it allowed me and a friend to stow away in a cupboard while the Studios were locked up at night and sneak out in the evenings to work late. I first got an impression of the original in modelling clay. Then I hammered flat a piece of Aluminium rod and carefully, just by eye, filed the blade to replicate the impression. It gave access to the Materials cupboards and allowed us to work late in to the night when we needed to finish projects that required more than just oils and canvases.
All went well until the Police turned up one night and turned on the lights in the photography dark room we were working in, ruining the Developing process.
Someone outside had seen the torches we used to find our way to the darkroom though small gaps in the curtains along our route. We were let off with "Informal Cautions".

And that's the secret- the key to a career in Art is you've just got to love it so much you'll do whatever it takes to keep at it. Essentially it really is that simple.
If you want more practical tips and techniques, stay tuned. I intend to post more on this blog and back at as soon as possible.

George Bernard Shaw wrote:
"The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art."
Which is theatrical nonsense, but if you, or anyone you know is looking for more worthwhile, inspiring and entertaining careers advice about Art then check out this Neil Gaiman speech and remember- it may all have been done before, but not by you.

Monday, February 04, 2013


Lepus Temperamentalus

First draft of a new creature design, to demonstrate the powerful "Symmetry" functionality in Sketchbook Pro 6.
Fingerpainted on my iPod touch and cleaned up in Photoshop.
It's just a rough so be prepared to see it again after it mutates in to something more accurate.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Steel T-Rex

At Christmas, after 3 hours and much swearing, finally constructed this little fella...

I love Super Macro!
The grass is a towel on a radiator.

Raspberry Pi

Mmmm..... Pi :)
Guess what I got for Christmas!

My Raspberry Pi cooling on a window sill.