Wednesday, October 27, 2010


two sisters painted. Tried to keep it light and loose and fun. Thank goodness for digital photography which allows me to shoot as many pictures as I can of children...they can be so fickle and difficult to get a good shot. In this case they were two angels and really worked hard to give a smile with mom coaching them off camera.
I used an oilpaint wash with turpentine which I rubbed off in places and gave a lovely tonal range. Lots of glaze as always.
Now back to the main work of getting my history story done.
Snow has fallen and I can more easily stay indoors and work. Less distractions.
Also working on my new website with the crew of They are helping me build a fine and refined new website which will host my blog and everything else. Now my illustration work will be side by side with my fine art stuff.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


my friend Ivann asked me how I started each work and until that moment I had not quite realised how I went about it. For that moment he took me to his perspective and showed me myself from a different angle.
I had not sought it out and it was only when I had somehow stumbled into it, that I intuitively approached every new piece in this way. Like a swimmer standing on the starting block, smelling the chlorine and breathing in the pre start hush, feeling the jangling anticipation of the race... thats how I try to shape my mindset when I start each new work.
Its not easy, please let me dispel that thought. Its something that one needs to feed, like a yeast plant that can live from one bread to the next, but needs attention to live on and on. I feed it enthusiasm and thrill and in return it breeds more. I receive this with gratitude. Its a synergy.
There have been times where the horror of a blank surface has paralysed me. I have no guarantee that it wont happen again, but I do believe that the enthusiastic pursuit will have enough momentum to keep me rolling...trick is not to come to a halt.
I try to summon the feelings of triumph and the knowledge and experience of previous works to infuse me find that child-like thrill of starting something new, Dare I say it...its like the Force. I dare not ponder the negative possibles of anything I begin...Its a positive image that sucks me into it. The last three pieces have flowed from one to the next and drawn me in and taken me along...and I have to keep the momentum, carry the speed. Its rather like mountain biking over rolling terrain.
I have worked at so many dreadful things and for so many thoughtless people that I make a conscious effort to remember that and to feel the rush of working to the call of my own ideas. Its a great big thing of wonder.
I recently overheard someone saying that work was only for money. Its quite scary to hear someone say that...and to know that there are so many people who live like that. I have found work to be something that propels me and forms me. It gives a certain meaning to who I am as equally I give meaning to what it is I do. Even awful jobs have been like this. I have always tried (tried...not always succeeded) to make the work part of who I am...and not only for the money. For now, I work because it is what I do, its more like breathing and I know it is a very very special opportunity. I work because I feed off it beyond the money. My condolences to those who don't.
The triptych is a digital representation of the work I will print and mount in a frame of sorts...each piece will be around 12 by 18 inches and I will glaze and paint into them as well...
What are they about? Imagine that you are going through an old box with pictures and letters, you may or may not know whose they are, but you form some kind of idea or opinion on what all these differing bits mean. These images have some things that connect them, and also not. How do my stories relate to each other? Maybe they do, maybe not.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

creative journeys

the point of going on a voyage of discovery is not to decide beforehand what it is you will discover, you have to be open to whatever you find. I believe there is an ancient Zen concept of not arriving at a spring with a full cup since you already have a filled vessel, you cannot take away anything from the spring.
Its in this spirit that I try to voyage and find ideas. There is no point in censoring yourself before you even find anything. There is no point in forming a mental construct of anything until you have found and studied it. As artists its our job to look and find and amplify. Is there any difference to finding a beautiful (yes, define beauty?) butterfly in a rain forest or a scary looking fish in the crushing black depths of the Marianas trench? You can never tell which creature may have a bigger impact or surprise.
I try to explain my work to myself and I try to follow some kind of logic, but there are times when solutions present themselves and there is no going back or rational explanation to be made. Isnt it equally irrational to paint a bunch of flowers slashed from their natural surroundings and jammed into a vase (purely for our own pleasure) and then painted? Why not then make a still life of 20 rashers of bacon draped over a door handle? It all comes down to what we regard as the norm. There is little rational about this.
Is there anything really rational about classical music? It must be the ultimate in abstraction, yet we regard it with the utmost reverence and awe. Why should visual art be anything less? (well okay , I do find Jeff Koons and Tracy Emin rather silly)

To me the camera is another way of telling a story. The old adage of: "The camera never lies" has somewhat faded with the arrival of Photoshop, yet there still is a tradition of looking through albums of photos as a kind of story telling. Even if it is a blurry image on a cellphone. This picture is part of my conversation about story telling. I think it will be the middle piece of a triptych, the one side being the fractured portrait in pigeon holes, the other being an image I am currently working on. It feels good. It doesn't make perfect sense, but there is some kind of kinship and connection among the images.
I am not discovering new worlds or continents, I am navigating the smaller fissures on and around them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

missive missile

if one had to visualise the emails and traffic of the internet as missiles, it would look like planetary intercontinental warfare, like a cloud of electrons blurring the nucleus of the globe. Its quite staggering to imagine. I thought of it this morning after the dog HAD to go out and I was waiting for some time and then my brain would NOT go back to sleep.
As an artist, visual stuff is so important. The whole notion of gathering visual fodder and looking at everything becomes such a focus of one's attention. I often forget that others around me don't share this ravenous gathering of images. Furthermore, many don't follow the way one often takes an idea for a walk and finds the strangest routes to explore... it happens. Without the very strange travels and diversions from the normal, it would all remain so predictable and ordinary. In order to find the new world one has to go forth and travel, to go boldly...
In my work I have been looking at how we communicate and how, when we do, we recycle stories and tales and connect them to one another according to the company and the situation. This means that ideas resurface in new and interesting ways. In just this way I am using digital images in my actual paintings by using a transfer film from Digital Art Studio Seminars, and also using photographs of my paintings in my digital work.
I am finding this very exciting and it allows the re-use of imagery and making interesting images.
In the included piece above, I have re-used part of the Sir Cornelis painting and incorporated into a digital work I was making. It extends the narrative I have been pursuing.
I am currently making a companion piece which should go next to it. Work in progress.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

look through

working on the billboard style "mimesis", I kept feeling as though I wanted something more on the main suggest that there would be more hidden elsewhere. I painted an eye looking through a hole where the right eye would be.
Meanwhile I have been working on the preparation of other pieces and experimenting with some technical ideas, adding digital imagery by using a transfer film and getting some smaller pieces covered in silver point ground for drawings.
Nothing much to show there...only the new eye which I thought was worth looking at.