Wednesday, December 27, 2006

It looks like January will be busy and with the amount of paintings I've now planned I'll probably have to start work before the light improves anyway. One picture about man's acquisition of flight has been abandoned. The picture lacked the fundamental emotion that a painting should have according to my own rules. Instead I've started some preparation work on two new pictures, one complex figure painting about doomed love, and a second picture about making progress in an endeavour and how sometimes going back is not an option even if the future is uncertain. Those should be my last planned for 2007 unless I discover that I have more time than I can currently estimate. As always, there are more ideas than I could feasibly paint. Music and (importantly) sound effects must also feature heavily in 2007, taking up at least half of January.

Friday, December 22, 2006

More work on paintings this week, but I managed to complete copying 70 reviews to Bytten 2.0. I expect I'll be byting this Christmas (that sounds like an Elvis song), as work on the site hots up before launch. Gunstorm II was released today after a few months of testing too. I've only been working on two paintings but both are rather large and complicated and so need a lot of consideration. For the first time in years I'm unsure what to do over the next six months. There are some certainties, more work on Bytten and more sound for IndieSFX, but whether to focus my main creative time on artwork or computer games is the ultimate question. I've had some good feedback and local press coverage from my art, but selling paintings is difficult and the way I paint will take me a year to complete enough for even a modest exhibition.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Most of this week and last have been spent on drawings and preparation for next year's paintings, interspersed with the odd group of review conversions for the new Bytten. Today though, not much at all has been done. I was hoping to sketch out all of a large picture of Saint Andrew, but perhaps Andrew was offended by the anger in the picture and so made sure that my progress was interrupted by several porlocks. In the end I had to escape the house and after a day of frustration and depression the huge piece of paper has little more than four solitary feint lines upon it. To make up for this I painted a cornfield, the image on the front of a birthday card, and later coverted another five reviews. Not a completely useless day then, but close.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My latest song, a ballad in the Carpenter's style. This is about a painter who forgets how to paint.

Summer Yesterday

The leaves have all turned brown.
The skies have all turned grey.
A blackbird makes the sound
now you have gone away.
I don't know when you left,
I can't pinpoint the day.
I know when you were here though,
a summer yesterday.

The garden full of mist
with silver drops of dew.
An empty spider web
makes memories of you.
The leaves have all turned brown.
My hair has all turned grey.
And you are in a picture
of summer yesterday.

I saw you in a dream,
the god inside the sun.
I saw you in the marks
in everything I'd done.
I saw you in myself,
the parts that fade away.
The leaves are always green in
our summer yesterday.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

There's something about 4am that makes it perfect for writing songs and poetry. I don't know what it is but being fully awake doens't work. Anyway, here is an example from last night.

Wanda

My girl is called Wanda.
We ride on her Honda.
We go over yonder
to wander and ponder.

There's not much beyond her,
and no one to bond her,
that's why I grow fonder
of fondelling Wanda.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I've been updating Bytten over the last couple of days. Next I'm back to artwork and hope to plan a few more paintings to paint next year. I'm unlikely to start any in this dark season. I've spotted a new football competition though, although they don't return the entries. What sort of artist would paint something that will ultimately be lost/destroyed? That would be torture and I probably wouldn't enter an original even if winning was guaranteed. A commission might be on the cards too, although I don't really know the details and have heard the information third hand. An old workmate of my fathers wanted him to paint a biblical fresco at a local church and it's possible that I could do it instead. I suspect that if I did it would take me as long as Leonardo took to paint the last supper. Part of me would love to try a spectacular scene in the Italian renaissance style though, and I feel confident of doing it better than anyone else.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Well, the One Love award ceremony is over and I didn't win but was not disappointed. There was a lot of high quality work there, with some that was less than high quality but the judges made a fair assessment in my opinion, awarding what I'd consider to be among the good ones. A few caught my eye: John Afflick's angels swooping on a stadium, a picture by Mick Davies that was like (I think) James Ensor's great picture about Christ entering Belgium (the Ensor picture was better though), a nice impressionist painting of South African footballers by Renata Jansen, a huge colourful night scene by Xavier Pick, some colourful historical-esque fine paintings by Alan Salisbury, and I liked the second prize winner a lot too, a crumpled felt Subbuteo mat. I've also had a photo session today and interview for the Crewe Chronicle so I should get a mention in the local press. The joy of making the final 80 out of over 800 entries was tarnished not by not winning (plenty of good pictures, like the ones I mentioned, didn't win) but by my computer being infected with a horrible virus which led to much nervousness and work today. I'm still not sure that the machine is clean but my three anti-virus tools all say clean (it should be said that two said 'clean' when it wasn't).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I had a strange experience today when I turned a corner and saw two magpies in my path just a few feet away. Magpies often come in pairs but it's quite unusual to see a pair on the ground so close and I haven't before, so with "one for sorrow, two for joy" in mind I saw this as a good omen. On the way home though I took a different route and coming around another corner encountered two black crows in my path in the same way.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More work on The Apotheosis of Terror today. Three figures remain which should take two days more (although some effects require another layer anyway). That and the simple glazing of the second version of Waiting for B.T. should be the last pictures of 2006, an educational year regarding painting. I started curious about techniques, materials and art genres, and end with an introverted lack of regard for other people's art while begin consumed with my own ideas. Only nature and epxerience can provide nourishment for art, not other artm, and only the truth lasts forever. I've just finished the second remix of the Gunstorm song too. I don't like to rush these things and will listen every so often over the next few days to identify any bits I don't like. It is no coincidence that the best music albums in history took a long time to create. The ability to revisit and improve any idea is very important. The One Love event is on Thursday and a photographer from the local newspaper is coming on Friday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My latest song. The tune is rather simple but it is not bad and the lyrics very narrative.

They Wrote A Long Good Bye

He's sitting thinking in the night café,
a plate of chips uneaten lying in his way
but hunger isn't there.

"You cannot see her mate" her father said,
and now it's getting late his hope is getting dead.
Does Jenny even care?

Did Jenny say good bye?
Did Jenny say good.
Did Jenny say good bye?

He gets up heading for the telephone.
He dials his mother but there was no body home.
He stares into the street.
He summons courage for a second call,
this time an answer comes from Jenny in the hall
he asks her "Will you meet?"

And Jennifer says yes.
She said a secret.
She said a secret yes.

He sits back down and glances at the plate.
He has a plan but is it stupid is it great?
It's anybody's guess.
Then Jenny steps in from the evening rain.
He pays for tea and says lets take the Brighton train,
and Jennifer says yes!

So Jennifer wrote bye.
She wrote a long good.
He wrote a long good.

They wrote explaining why.
They wrote a long good.
They wrote a long good bye.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This week I'm overpainting The Apotheosis of Terror, a complex picture in the mould of The Migraine Tree (actually this picture pre-dates that one but it is larger and took more time to plan out). Last night I had another new painting idea. For a long time I've wanted to paint a stormy sea, partly because I've not painted any water so far. But I needed a story and the narrative was the sticking point. Last night the idea came to me. Once upon a time a company of sirens lured a ship to destruction to eat the crew (as sirens do) but when the siren queen saw one sailor she fell in love with him, and apparently he in love with her, but he was faking it and after a few months he escaped the siren's rocky kingdom. The queen flew into a furious rage and, upon seeing a ship carrying nothing more menacing than orphan pilgrims (or something like that), wrecked the ship. I think the title of the painting will be The Passion of the Psychotic Siren. Well, it's rare to go into such depth but the central idea or narrative is the key element, the soul of a painting because without it a picture is simply an image. A dream vision is an image that wraps up an idea, and so is good art.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Well my invite to the One Love exhibition preview on the 30th has arrived. With visits all over the place this week I've had hardly any time for work (and I'm off to see the Bond film in a minute) but I've got three sketches ready. One is a painted version of the van Gogh parrot which must be done in a fast impasto style, a little like my William Tell paintings (which, as you might know, are done during the finalé of the William Tell overture, which under masterpiece rules means excluding the introductory fanfare). I rarely paint like that but it is fun and this parrot will not benefit from fine details, partly because the original had none and partly because the head would not fit without the delightful mental glue provided the viewer's own perception.
Well I've had a busy few days, visiting the National Gallery for the first time on Tuesday, and on Thursday a second visit to Birmingham museum and art gallery. The second trip was to see a multi-sensory installation partly created by my brother, who took care of the sound recording and production. The Velázquez exhibition at the national was totally packed, but the pictures were excellent. Aside from being a great technical painter, Velázquez also wonderful at composing pictures. The picture are full of hidden shapes and ghosts, and strange secret messages because of the unusual arrangement of objects that would not be there if reality was being depicted. My favourite of that day was probably one of the earlier ones called something like two young men drinking, but in reality the picture was of an Apollo via an orange. An orange, perfectly in the top left corner, bizarrely balancing on top of a bottle represented arrogant Apollo with a contrasting green earthenware bottle like a tree staring up with envy at that sun. The two young men were perhaps the same boy seen from two angles and the one with the back to the viewer was drinking from the hemisphere of the Earth. There were plenty of other mysterious pictures too. What would be a plain background by any 19th century society painter, Velázquez painted with varying patterns and shadows, these shapes were no accident. The dark Saint John at Patmos had an eagle and normal objects on his right but behind him was the body of a woman/tree/dragon thing with Spanish soldiers on the horizon and other apocalyptic scenes, but all very subtle and dreamlike like the mad visions of that saint. Another notable innovation was the inclusion of several pictures in pictures, like new scenes seen through an alcove or a mirror. He had the boldness to paint incredibly finely in some parts but incredibly roughly in others. There was an awful lot of rosy pink in there though, seeing twenty something paintings in a row made that pink grate on the eyes a bit.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I've mostly been working on Bytten again today although a fault with the phone line has meant limited progress. Artistically I've tried pastels on sandpaper, an ugly failure but the resulting Green Parrot is perhaps interesting enough for a full picture. It's based on a Van Gogh painting of a stuffed bird. I thought it looked startled and uncomfortable so I put the artist's head on the bird, where it should be at a startling time for Parisian Vincent.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

After some inspiration from a chance encounter from pastel artist Katharine Laird, and a second chance of buying a starter set of pastels a couple of days ago but not using them yet, I felt inspired to try a pastel picture. Katharine is one of only 100 artists to get a picture into the Lowry's 'One Love' exhibition and I am another, it's quite amazing really. I tried to copy a Lempicka picture but only really managed an eye and started to get the surrounding bits a bit wrong, so I changed my plan, and added some other bits of Tamara to a themed landscape. Pastels are similar to oil painting to use. I found that laying on white as a base then adding a touch of colour on top, then blending was a good way to lighten (the pre-raphaelites painted in that way). The biggest downside for me was my lack of a nice coloured black, a blue-black and red-black might stop the washed-out look that has given 'pastel colours' their name.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I finished the first new song for the revamped four seasons music project. It's about the flight of a moth and is complex musically but simple in production terms because it consists wholly of sine waves. I've been trying a second track today but have found it very difficult, coming up with little more than a few ugly sounding sketches for the entire day. I had a few painting ideas and noted those down last night so they might come in useful for the future. The Gunstorm II lyrics are due before the end of the month so that game (which is certainly the best shoot-em-up I've created) might finally see the light of day before Christmas.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

More work on Bytten v2.0 today. Most of the design parts are done now (although there is a severe lack of content). The main sticking point is the submissions (including submissions of new stuff), registrations and queue processes. I await feedback and discussions from and with Andrew before proceeding, to whit: Pause pressed. My problem is I only take serious action when there is a need and not when there is not (or more often, explore new and unproven tangents).
People should start to speak Victorian English, this is of vital importance. English is changing and in 500 years the literature and films of the 20th century will be gobbledygook, far more nonsensical that Shakespearian English now because language is evolving faster than ever. If English can be guided backwards 100 years then it will evolve forwards again, bouncing happily between two eras and being preserved. Of course this is very unlikely to happen because language is not controlled, might be uncontrollable, and certainly is uncontrollable in a free speaking society.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My latest comic poem. I'm not enough of a Trekkie to know if there really were no Australians in Star Trek.

There Are No Aussies In Star Trek

There's no barbies in the galley,
no Shielas on the bridge.
No one goes surfing on the holodeck's deck
and there's no tins of beer in the fridge.

There are no Aussies in Star Trek.
There are no Aussies in space.
The Klingons must wait
to be slapped and called mate
by a man of Australian race.

There are no Aussies in Star Trek.
They're on Earth playing sport in the sun.
And if one day Borg land
on their red desert sand
they'll deport every immigrant one.
Well my computer has been in repair for most of last week so not much work done. Next week I hope to get the bulk of work on the Bytten refit done. I also want to do some music this month because I haven't really done any this year. My current plan is to extend The Four Seasons of Dance by creating about 3 tracks per season and making the music more eclectic by adding other moods.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dark Energy From Lost Light

What happens to the light that shines out from stars but does not hit anything, light beams that keep going off into the black edges of the universe? If the light never hits anything it gives no evidence of its existence, a beam that hits nothing is identical to no beam. Energy was used in its generation but instinct tells me that only the act of detecting the light would cause it to be, and that light that is never detected and never encounters any object does not exist because it is identical in every way to no light. The definition of this "lost light" is that it is not ever and cannot be detected.

Could this lost light return its energy somehow and become what we know as dark energy? How much light from stars is destined to encounter nothing? There are not many stars and planets for a beam to hit but space dust and thin gasses might provide a target for a measurable proportion of the light emitted by all stars to hit. As atoms are tiny perhaps a huge proportion of light is destined to miss all of the atoms in the universe.

Perhaps the amount of lost light is the same as the amount of "dark energy", the name for energy that accelerates the expansion of the universe. If my instinct above was correct then the energy used to generate lost light might not be expelled in a beam that is fundamentally undetectable but instead used to provide some motive force or gravitation. How ironically named it would be if dark energy was made by light!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

"I myself have proved it to be of no small use, when in bed in the dark, to recall in fancy the external details of forms previously studied, or other noteworthy things conceived by subtle speculation; and this is certainly an admirable exercise, and useful for impressing things on the memory." said Leonardo and this I have been accidentally doing for years. My ten years of meditation, visualisation both two and three dimensionally was actually and by chance my practise and training as a painter and not mere spiritual fancy. The mind control and patience learned from this diligent meditation was invaluable and the most important, and vast, difference between the me of today and the me who studied art at school and was at best mediocre. Mental control, the ability to remain calm and staid for hour after hour during consecutive days is as vital for a classical painter as patience and faith (that is confidence or self-belief).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I wrote a new song at about 5am, which unfortunately made me tired for the rest of the day. Anyway, it's a dramatic tango in A minor and E minor called Blood in the Ballroom.

I never wanted money,
I only wanted you,
and in that firey summer
we promised to stay true.
But then I found another,
is she that girl I spy?
I wish that she would die!

The seconds tick to minutes
as I watch from the car.
The party people enter.
I wonder who they are.
I think about the passion
but was your passion bait?
My passion lives as hate!

I blink into the ballroom.
My dress is scarlet red.
They see the gun and panic,
I point it at his head,
he begs me not to fire,
so I don't shoot him dead.
I shoot myself instead!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Over the weekend work continued on a new musical project, a sort of sequel to The Spiral Staircase which will sould more orchestral than my other music. This week though music is on hold while I finish off one of the three paintings that are in progress, Swan Dive. The rather blandly coloured Station Of The Future is techincally my latest painting, but that was painted all in one go for a competition that is near its closing date. Swan Dive, The Apotheosis Of Terror and a cloudy one with a title I can't decide on need to be done soon because the days are getting shorter, I'm limited to painting between 9am and 4pm. Next week I hope to do the cloudy one and continue the music.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Today's news mentioned the insecure European gas supply. I had an idea of a solar powered robot used to extract hydrogen and oxygen from seawater. The amount of gas extracted would be very small, but a large number of simple robots would make this feasible. The robot would float on the surface, solar panels upward. electrodes on the outside would convert the water to hydrogen and oxygen, storing the gas in the body cavity. When full, the robot would use the three propellers on the outside to swim underwater and dock with a pipeline or mother robot to unload the gas. The light hydrogen might demand a heavy robot, perhaps a float on a cable could lead to the surface, making the up and down trips less energy intensive.
I'm happy today after some good news. Firstly "Penalties", my entry into the One Love art prize, has been selected for the Lowry exhibition. Secondly I started work on some new symphonic music. I'd been planning the music all week, and trying too but without much success. The start is the most difficult thing because it involves balancing out lots of different parts and getting the important music inspiration correct, the transliteration of emotions into audio. Imagining the music is easy, I could write a full symphony in my head in less time than it takes to play it, the hard part is slowing things down and remembering the exact feeling for each part while one goes through the slow and labourious parts of writing the thing down (and or sequencing it). It's segmentation and planning and is probably only a problem now because of my new way of writing. Before I started painting I would play around in the sequence until I made some music that sounded nice, then modified that. Now though my ideas have changed and I first think of the emotion or concept, then let the music form itself. That part isn't difficult but, as I've just mentioned, getting that sequenced and sounding good is tricky.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

First I thought I must continue the renovations to Bytten (which needs some database changes and research into php strings), then that I must make some sound packs for IndieSFX, then that I must start a new symphonic CD that I've had planned for months, then I thought no I first must clear out the half finished tunes in my Noise Station projects folder (some date back to 2003!), then I thought no I must create a new album of minimalist songs, then I thought no I must finish the two half finished songs I've got written (the sequel to The Ben Crawley Steel Company and a new one called Hey), then I thought that I must instead compose a third painting to complete a triptych of terror together with the two paintings I've got in progress because it would create a fitting end to 2006, then I thought that first I must finish those because each will take at least a week, then I thought no I must first finish another painting, a self-portrait as clouds, but then I thought no it's more important to photograph the London Underground painting, but then I thought that priorities must go to signing a new contract with BeatSuite (a royalty free music website that has some of my tunes on it), then I thought no I should prepare for the release of Gunstorm II, or more efficiently continue on chapter six of my grand interactive fiction story because that really needs to get finished and has been in progress for three months or so. In the end I decided to type these things out instead so I can more sensibly and logically prioritise them but now it looks like its nearly 9:00 so I'll go and watch Horizon instead.
Well IndieSFX has been updated and my latest painting (for the London Underground thingummy) done. I've spent the past few days sampling some previously unsampled sounds from my synthesizer, always useful. I'm also trying to do some of the technical database things regarding the up and coming upgrade to Bytten. After that, and the conversion of some of the old reviews, comes the design which is probably the only interesting part.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I'm starting on a small painting for a competition tomorrow, run partly by the London Underground the task is to design an underground station of the future. With luck it will be finished in a week (although the rules state that the entry picture will not be returned, very strange for a serious art competition). My idea is sound enough, and my usual symbolic overtones should make is the perfect compliment to the V&A's surrealist exhibition, which they hope to promote. Another new song below, a simple melody with everything written off the top of my head.

Just One More Day In Sweden

How can I love you?
How can I love you
when I am away?
Please tell me
how I can love you,
now that love you
twice everyday.

I want you here
in Sweden,
but you can see
it cannot be.
I'll be back soon
from Sweden,
and then
I will show you

How I can love you,
how I can love you
when I am at home.
I'll show you
how I can love you
when I am with you
not here alone.

I'm far away
in Sweden,
thinking of you
nothing to do.
Just one more day
in Sweden,
and then
I will be with
you.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Here are the words to my latest song, inspired by the thought that a cat can miss people but (probably) not understand where they've gone when they die. I added a double meaning about a failed relationship (the music is rather like a country and western ballad, sort of slow and swaying). This is my 290th song since I Love You For Your Money in 2002. Perhaps I can manage to hit that 300 total this year.

My Cat Doesn't Understand Death, She Only Knows How To Kill

Thankyou for the gift.
What do you want me to do with it?
Now go and play with the kids.
Don't look confused,
I am the one who is not amused.
You do not know what you did.

My cat doesn't understand death,
she only knows how to kill.
My cat doesn't understand death,
she only knows how to kill.

Lying on the floor.
What do you think that the bed is for?
You have no clue what you've done.
Happy and content
beside your victim who's cold and bent.
No happy days in the sun.

My cat doesn't understand death,
she only knows how to kill.
My cat doesn't understand death,
she only knows how to kill.

Dining is a treat,
I have the carrots you have the meat.
It's all we do as a pair.
Bite every bit.
You play the hitter and I the hit.
It's not as if you can care.

My cat doesn't understand death,
she only knows how to kill.
My cat doesn't understand death,
she only knows how to kill.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

In my recent low mood my subconscious wrote a stirring song for me last night to boost morale. It's a simplistic military march with hymnal qualities, it even has a plagal cadence at the end of the chorus:

I Keep Soldiering On

What I'm told to do I do.
Where I'm told to go I go,
through the burning heat and freezing snow.
When I have to fight I'll fight.
When I have to die I'll die,
and I will not ever question why.

I keep soldiering on.
I keep soldiering on.
I keep soldiering on.
Though the road is hard and long,
I will sing my soldier's song
as I keep soldiering on.

What I need to know I'll know.
Where I need to be I'll be.
All the great wide world is home to me.
I will journey far and wide.
I won't run away or hide,
and I'll do what must be done with pride.

I keep soldiering on.
I keep soldiering on.
I keep soldiering on.
Though the road is hard and long,
I will sing my soldier's song
as I keep soldiering on.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My latest construction project is this simple anaerobic chamber, which when combined with a candle to burn off the oxygen will help me store my painting media in an oxygen free environment (which is useful to preserve an exact viscosity). My painting phase is over now. My annual plan was based around approx. six months of painting to test the water and learn (it would be inefficient to work a bit here or there on something when the goal is to learn). Game sales are very low now though and perhaps I've wasted too long on pointless projects. Oh well, it could be said that van Gogh wasted ten years. I hope to do some music and sound effects during this month (although Steven is still very slow at coming up with the vocal recordings I need, it looks like The Journey will take over two years). After that I must start on a major game again. Part of me thinks that a new game would be a waste of time too given the way things are going, and given that of all the things I've done my games (which I've spent longest on) are probably the thing I'm least good at, but I suppose life itself is pointless.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Now I'm getting back into musical mode I've been writing a few more songs. This one is very catchy musically and fast, the chorus is a bit like the one in Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins.

I Saw It

I saw it on the TV,
but that was years ago.
It was so far away but
closer than I could know
and it left nervousness around.
There was a motion in the ground.

One night I had a vision,
I saw it in a dream.
A dragon made of iron
fighting a man of steam
and you were lying on the ground.
I woke up crying out aloud.

I got the message on the Saturday
I hit the motor and I sped away
and in an hour I was almost at our home.
I stopped the engine as I saw the date.
The distant flashes said I was too late.
I thought of you and then I sat down on the shore
and saw the ocean go.

I saw it on the TV,
too far for me to care.
Reporters spoke of victims
and people in despair.
I turned it off to read instead.
I kissed you then I went to bed.

I got the message on the Saturday
I hit the motor and I sped away
and in an hour I was almost at our home.
I stopped the engine and I saw the date.
The distant flashes said I was too late.
I thought of you and then I sat down on the shore
and saw the ocean go.

And now it's on the TV
They say it's everywhere.
They say we should not worry.
They say we should not care,
but it leaves nervousness around.
I hide my panic underground

as I remember on that Saturday
I hit the motor and I sped away
I drove like lighting but I couldn't get to you.
I stopped the engine and I stepped outside
I'd seen the calendar and knew you'd died,
the distant flashes told me everything was true.
I closed the driver door with gentle care.
I walked onto our beach without you there.
I thought of everything and sat down on the shore
and then I saw no more.

Friday, September 29, 2006

As well as finishing off the underpainting to my latest work I've been working on some music for the past few days, adding some new guitar sounds to My Motorbike the first track on The Journey. I've written a couple of new songs too, my best in a while. Here is the first:

I Have Wasted All My Time

I have wasted all my time
and I've wasted all my money.
I've been working every day it's true.
when I should have in stayed in bed
or go out to drink instead.
I have wasted all my time over you.

And there were times when I felt contented
just with the thought of you.
My future days were all meadow scented
but now those dreams are blue.

I have wasted evenings out
and I've wasted evenings in
when the time I spent with you just flew.
Now my hair has all turned grey
and my friends have gone away
because I wasted every day on you.

And there were times when I felt elated
just with your company.
My silver years should be golden plated
instead you've ruined me.

I have wasted all my nights
and I've wasted all my days.
I've been thinking every hour of you
when I should have gone for walks
or had esoteric talks
instead of wasting all my days
instead of wasting all my time
instead of wasting all my life
over you.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My latest poem which is entitled and is about Beckett's play Waiting For Godot.

Waiting For Godot

Not long.

We'll fly high,
when Godot arrives.
I won't lie, then.

Each plan will enact.
Dominoes fall.
A better world for all.
A hero, repsected.
Me.

It can't be long
until Godot comes.
All is ready, for then.

So we wait.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

More work on the complex background of my painting today (which is many things, an earthquake and also flailing arms and a cloak blowing in the wind) plus some preparations for the next layer of a picture with a mixed bag of titles, it might end up as "self-portrait as clouds". The Liberté de Expression exhibition submission date has closed and I have submitted two of my favourite paintings, I'll have to wait two weeks before I hear whether either have been accepted. The "One Love" competition deadline is Monday too. These two represent my only attempts at publicity for my painting this year but the lack of effort on that front doesn't concern me because my work is slowly yet continually getting better, which is the important thing. The quality of the picture my ultimate concern. Time, money, pain and all other considerations must come second. It looks like the pictures that I have in progress will take another month to finish at least which is regrettable but if it takes a month it takes a month. If a year is necessary, a year is necessary. Short cuts and/or laziness makes a poor artist. It's better to make one good thing than a hundred bad ones.

Friday, September 22, 2006

This week I've been underpainting a new picture with an uncertain title. After five days of eight hours it's about half complete and will probably be my last original painting of the year. There are some angel wings that will probably prove problematical so I'll need to think hard about those over the coming days. Andrew Williams has caused me to think about Samuel Beckett so I've revisited Waiting for Godot. Most of his plays were rather surreal if I recall correctly but my memories of Godot are all good. It's a play with two nearly identical acts where hardly anything happens, yet it sums up life in all of its pointlessnesses and hopes. I've been writing the odd song too and have notes for three more but none are particularly good. The best is one that wasn't written at all, I just found myself singing "Well I've wasted all my time" over and over again. This probably sums up the long, arduous and probably pointless nature of the painting I was doing. "Well, shall we go? Yes, let's go. They do not move."

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I've just written my first song in a few weeks, this was inspired by my recent discovery of a remote British island, Tristan da Cunha. The song is called Home and it has rather a Scottish musical theme, here are the lyrics:

As I hold the letter your wrote me
I can hear your voice sing to my heart.
For your lines like the hope in a memory
signaled me like a light in the dark.

As a man I have lived on the mainland
faraway from the place I belong.
I was born on a far away island,
and my years have fled by, now I long
to go home.

(chorus)

As I stand on the deck of the ferry,
As I see skies of scarlet and grey
I recall every childhood day memory
how we ran through the grass and the hay.

As I worked in the far away city
I remembered the promise we made,
and your words in the letter you sent me
like a rainbow resplendent have bade
me back home.

(chorus)

In my nights in my lonely apartment
I could see you still waving goodbye.
And now soon on the same wooden jetty
I will hold you and truly know I've
arrived home.

(chorus)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Penalties is now complete. With my games sales close to zero it is time for me to decide what to do. Painting is more rewarding certainly and I'm better at it that at game development, but if I put several months of work into a new game it should equate to a few more months of steady income (assuming the game is successful). If Penalites goes on display then it would be nice to have some more recent and impressive works to show off.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I've had an idea for a stealth submarine that uses vertical vanes to eliminate sonar reflections in the same way as the protusions on the walls in an anechoic chamber. The ship is mainly flat based on a ray shape, to minimise horizontal or frontal reflections and the engines are hollow tubes with screw threads (Archimedian screw) to minimise sound output. The vanes themselves could detect vibrations, making those a sort of sensor.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

As far as painting goes I have some details to add to Penalties which I'll do next Monday, then some underpainting of a picture of some clouds. I'll probably start one more picture before moving on to music next month and game development for the rest of the year. The new painting is a complex symbol filled picture in the mould of pictures like Rhino and Eventide 3800, and more directly The Migraine Tree (although this picture is larger, the same size as Faces of Autumn which is my only other medium sized picture in this style). I'm refining an idea about art I call Symphonic Painting where one theme or motif is repeated (with modifications) throughout the picture, like the theme in a musical symphony. Each repeat can have a different emotion associated with it and so it's a way of adding a time dimension into the picture to tell a complex story.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The first and most important overpainting of Penalties (my lastest painting) is now complete. I've got 26 full days now for other works. I've got three hafl complete, one about feeling floaty and happy, one in the style of van Gogh which is quite a sad picture called "Today I Saw Him Far Far Away" ("he" is not van Gogh by the way) and the third one is about the oppression of a city, a landscape made of screaming buildings (this is a strange and dramatic picture). Those should take only a couple of weeks and I should have time to fit in one more. I have two in the sketch stage but I could ignore those and try something new, perhaps even the proms picture which, considering the recent fire at the venue on the very night that Beethoven's 9th was due, might have been prophetic.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I can report my first official sale of a painting, with the sale of Eventide 3800 at what is surely destined to be a bargain price. My skills are continuing to improve and now I officially consider myself beyond the student phase, the first two years being a wonderful experimentation in styles, and an inevitable and invaluable learning process. This month I'll be working full time on paintings, although I expect to finish just four that were started last month. I've been hard at work over the past two weeks on the glazing of "Penalties", a painting that tries to sum up the emotions of careful guidance, attentiveness, hope then disappointment due to a penalty shoot-out in a football match. Naturally there are deeper meanings than football to the picture too. If all goes to plan (and the hardest part is yet to be painted) then the picture will be beautiful enough in it's own right to adorn a famous gallery, and it should be the target of every artist to ensure at least that.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A BBC Proms request for artwork has inspired me to paint something new today, a rush of paint is how I've described it because I'm very unused to painting ideas without a lot of detailed planning. This picture is mainly inspired by the dramatic music that I like best and uses my ideas about paintings having a theme, a shape or visual key that is repeated in modified forms throughout the picture. Here it is an arch shape because of the Albert Hall influence. My musical outlook has changed a lot in the past few months, partly because my ideas about art and painting have changed this year too. I haven't composed any original artistic music in a long time and I feel I can do it better now than ever. I'm itching to write a symphony of some sorts, something new and powerful to test my new abilities.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

All week I've been working on a painting called Swan Dive, a painting I was never really sure about. It's a picture of someone jumping of a skyscraper, and all of the buildings are made of screaming faces. Now that the underpainting is nearly finished I'm really not sure about it, but it would be a waste of the last four days (and some paint) to abandon it and the image is striking so I might as well continue. This happens to artists a lot I imagine, what was a good idea becoming a less than good picture. It is notable that van Gogh's called most of his paintings, even the most famous ones, studies. Sometimes the problem comes from a lack of thought into the qualites of the final image, and sometimes the idea is clear but the realisation doesn't match it. Another picture of mine, Waiting for B.T. is a perfect example of a sketch that exactly worked but the painting didn't. There's no shame in painting a new version though, in fact such test versions, oil sketches, studies, are technically the correct thing to do and rushing into making just one final version might be considered wrong. I'll often do a rough test version but I'm nervous of adding too much detail to studies in case they turn out better than the final version. When painting, so very much is down to the exact emotion or mood of the painter on the day. The very first explosion of paint is often the best and produces results that can never be recaptured. Indeed van Gogh copied his sunflowers often, but the first version was the best, I think.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I've been updating my most popular game Flatspace II this week, also adding bits to Gunstorm II, putting together some music for Steven for The Journey project, doing some sound effects for a first person shooter, joining myspace, updating Fictive and thinking of paintings (four in painted progress, two full size sketches in progress and six ideas that I love in various stages of completion) and a new story project. I'm stressed, having too many different things to do simultaneously. I spent a lot of time wondering what to do next, starting then thinking of something else one minute later and starting again.

The story is the interesting thing though. Fictive is an interactive story creator program that I've not released but have been updating every so often for over a year. I've recently (and finally) had an idea for a story using it. There is no title as yet but the overall plot and most of the characters are worked out but with these choose-your-own-adventure stories the key is the detail, the map that shows the narrative flow. I wrote a few of these when I was a teenager and fondly remember them. I never would have guessed that the knowledge of how to do them would come in handy years later, just like I never would have guessed that Dragon32 BASIC would come in handy in 1999 when I first saw Microsoft Visual Basic and found it to be identical.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My latest poem. It's called One More Flower For Your Grave.

One more flower for your grave,
of tender petals made of gold.
Stem cut, and dying in the sun
in peace, like someone very old.

I stand and feel the August wind.
The ochre clay,
and violet sky.
A distant music in the fields
and smells of wood-smoke far away.

And down, a flower for your grave.
A yellow voice in silent stones.
I turn and leave it lying still
and walk alone back to our home.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Workwise I now have four paintings in progress; the much advertised Penalties one about football, one about the oppressiveness of cities, one self-portrait as clouds, and one about distant success which is to be painted in the style of 1890's van Gogh. My best recent idea though is to paint Sisyphus, the mythological character who was punished by being made to roll a rock up a hill only to have it roll back down when he neared the top. In my version the Gods will be making fun of him. There have been countless classical subjects painted by many painters but I can't recall seeing Sisyphus before. My reason for this picture (of course) is that sometimes I feel like Sisyphus, working incredibly hard for what others see, and even I see sometimes, as no apparent reward or purpose. Perhaps being laughed at for ones labour is the lot of all artists at one point or another. By the end of September I want these pictures (at least) complete. After that I must get back to making and selling computer games because at the moment it's my only handhold of financial hope and security, even though I've noticed that I'm finding game development increasingly unpleasant. But don't let us lower this tone, for with each day I'm improving in all creative areas including game development, and my output continues to increase too. Perhaps a self-belief that one will die an ultra-millionaire as opposed to a pauper is a universally beneficial possession to posses.

Monday, August 07, 2006

After seven days, the underpainting to my penalities picture is complete, all in ashen greys and cold but powerful greens. The poem below was inspired by a second idea for a football picture but after thinking about it I rejected it, but, preferring the poem come up with a new painting inspired by its theme. My website has been updated with the new painting Hello Earth and some of my 2006 poetry too.

Poetry, music and painting are quite different art forms but each is united in that the best way to do them is to create one single feeling or idea and let the art represent that. Music is more intellectual and should be fashioned with the conscious mind (music from the sub-conscious tends to be repetitions of other music previously heard, often the same notes and chords will keep showing up like an Elton John song. This is the wrong way to write music). Painting benefits from the sub-conscious because the brain can process complex ideas and naturally represent them as images (dreams do this). Some conscious guidance is essential otherwise the image will be mere ramblings of the artists mind. Ultimately all art becomes coloured with the personality of the artist. Perhaps this means that artists with unappealing personalities will not make popular art, but there are so many examples that counter that assertion that I withdraw it.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Far Far Away

Far far away
in the far far sky.
Distant as dreams,
where forgotten things fly.

Past those who are lost.
Beyond hopes in the day.
Beyond everything real.
So far far away.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I've been inspired by a website to think up some furniture designs. At the moment these are more stylish and practical than the surreal designs for mobile phones that Andrew and I bounced off each other (my favourite was a wooden phone that had actual mushrooms for the ear piece and speaking part). My first table design was inspired by the Sirius star system and the way that matter from one small star can leak in a stream to a larger partner, thus the Sirius table is two circles, linked by a stream of matter. The actual design involves five circles; one large one for the edge, two solid ones, one hole and a missing one to space the others. The legs are mapped to an exact isoceles triangle with one point centred on the small (Sirius B) part. I've made a 3D model of the design (shown) and designed an alternative with a triangle shelf and also a chair to go with it. Making the Sirius table is quite easy.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

As I've been doing all week, I've been painting Penalties today. I suspect it will take four more days of underpainting before I have a week off while it dries before the grand task of the main overlayer (there is no time for multiple glazes here). It's looking good so far though, partly because it's not complicated in terms of objects and secondly because of the sense of scale and drama. Working out the glazing colours will be my biggest remaining challenge. The original design was set during a rainstorm and I'm still not sure whether to add rain or not. It will probably benefit the picture if it looks good, but if it fails it would certainly ruin it. Droplets dripping off the granite giant look good in my head, but ultimately I have had insufficent time to prepare for that (six weeks is not nearly long enough for something so complex). So I'll ignore the rain which would not be visible in reality anyway given the scale of the mountain pictured.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Well it's time to hold my breath and charge headlong underwater into a dark cave system while I spend a month painting a large picture for an art competition while my failing games and sound effects sales slide yet further. Today I've started the underpainting for the picture entitled "Penalties" and I expect it to take four full weeks, just in time for the competition deadline (assuming I like it). In evenings and spare moments I'll continue to work on Gunstorm II, which for all the lack of interest in my cheaper games will be considerably better than the first game. Here are the lyrics to the theme song, which will be in the style of the title music to classic 80's cartoons, like Pole Position and Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors.

Gunstorm

Thuderstorms are rising
as your ship is boosting through the midnight blue.
People home are hoping,
and you know exactly what you have to do.

You must win or die.
Make a wish and fly
to the stars

in your Gunstorm.
In your Gunstorm,
you can rescue the galaxy.

In your Gunstorm.
In your Gunstorm,
to succeed is your destiny.

Now you're in a mission.
Everything you blast is printed in your mind.
Laser fire and passion.
Thinking of the people that you left behind.

You must win or die.
Make a wish and fly
to the stars

in your Gunstorm.
In your Gunstorm,
you can rescue the galaxy.

In your Gunstorm.
In your Gunstorm,
to succeed is your destiny.

You must win or lose
So get up and choose
what to do

in your Gunstorm.
In your Gunstorm,
put your heart into victory.

In your Gunstorm.
In your Gunstorm,
be the hero you want to be.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I've been doing more work on Gunstorm II today. There will be a couple of new level types including one with a dense asteroid field where your main task is to avoid the rocks which tumble downwards as opposed to shoot them all. There's also another level with laser beams that fire at right angles (part of the level where you fly inside a giant computer). Another of today's tasks was to design and make an adjustable drying frame for my paintings (pictured). The wooden frame will hold the paintings securely while they dry, face down to limit dust, and allowing light to reach the surface which is important because linseed oil can darken when in the darkness (I suspect this only happens with poor quality oil that will naturally discolour over time). The frame is adjustable for pictures of any size from 48 to 86 centimetres.

Friday, July 28, 2006

After yesterday's priming, I sanded the panel for my the Penalties picture today. Transferring the sketch took eight hours, often painfully bent on the floor but now the first stage is complete and the imprematura is drying. The deadline for this is in a month so I have to work flat out. I'm very glad the initial batch are judged from a photo because the frame I'll have to construct for this will need to be really sturdy. One square metre of glass is not something I've had to even approach before. The whole thing is a bit daunting because if selected I will probably have to carry the thing to Manchester. I'm not sure if I want to enter but I'll see how the picture turns out first. I've also done a little work on Gunstorm II in the spare hours. There is not much time for music, although I've sequenced the basic outline of the theme for Gunstorm II.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

This week so far I've mostly been working on a painting themed around football for a competition to be hosted by the Lowry Gallery in Salford. I'm not sure if I'll enter (as always) but the sketch, which has taken three days, looks good. I've also been spending the odd hour working on Gunstorm II, a game that will improve on a lot of elements from the first game. There will be eight weapons that can be selected at any time (Doom style) but ammo is limited for all but the basic one. The plot will involve the kidnapping of a princess and I'm considering making the player character female too. Almost all game characters are male for no real reason and I want to subtitle the game Starvixen.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today I've been working on Gunstorm II, my first game since Future Snooker. I'm mainly experimenting with graphical effects and plot details as the game is in the very earliest stages of development. Gunstorm was an arena shoot-em-up with a retro feel. The sequel (as it is planned) will add a plot, scrolling backgrounds with different worlds to visit and lots of weapons unlike the first game. I have to fit development in with lots of other projects, such as the music for The Journey, two major paintings and a new sound effects collection so this game might be harder to complete than usual for me.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Today I've been finishing off the first glazing layer of Hello Earth, a painting inspired by Kate Bush, and The Journey to the Far Side of the Sun which is a Gerry Anderson film. I've also been tinkering with Calling Mister Wilson and thinking about the other tracks for The Journey, and updating Bytten as usual. I've also revisited a song called Backwards which has a great chorus but a rubbish verse (musically). I think I'll rewrite the verses and make it the song of a man condemned to death who is thinking about his life up to that point. I can also announce that The Art of Painting, a picture painted for a competition on The Ken Bromley Art Supplies website, has made the short list. It's a web vote so please give a quick visit to the page and give me a click.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Today I've been working on two things, firstly a very complex painting full of symbols and figures. It's been in the planning stages for weeks and every so often I add a new bit, the composition pre-dates The Migraine Tree but they are similar, siblings in fact. Secondly though I've been doing the production work for a song called Sorry Mister Wilson and I do love it, more than any song I've recorded to date. I've just listened to it twice in a row in fact. It's from the album I'm making with Steven, The Journey, that tells a story of an accident, coma and re-awakining. In some ways it's an allegory about social isolation which is not surprising for an island like me. Sorry Mister Wilson is a power ballad with a quiet piano verse and a big orchestral chorus.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I've been working on some music for my album project The Journey over the weekend. A new song called Frost is a little like Under Ice by Kate Bush but with production more like Enya at the moment. This represents the hero in the comatose state and in my current plan goes after Sorry Mister Wilson (then perhaps a sub-track called I'm Afraid He's Far Away), and before Open Your Eyes and Challenger.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My latest poem, the low of lowly jobs is poet.

The low of lowly jobs is poet.
The artists and accountants know it.
The English teachers often show it
but still think teacher is below it.
Well my latest painting is now unveiled to the world. It's taken about four months in total, a lot of which was preparation work and of course waiting for the thing to dry between layers (it is still wet having painted the last bit yesterday). It was made for a competition with a deadline of tomorrow so I really had to finish up quickly. I wish I'd have had more time. If I offered this for sale it would be difficult to work out the price. For one of the earliest artworks by an unknown artist a price like £1000 for a painting would be very expensive and unlikely to sell but even at a modest U.K. wage that price would not match the cost in time and materials to create it. How I envy those who can knock a picture off in the morning and another after dinner. Ultimately though the picture is a student work and there are some parts like the seraph figure that I'm not happy with. That vital value of a lesson learned is difficult to measure for an artist (the currency is often depression), so onward. I can only dream of how amazing any future paintings will be.
Apart from a signature I'll now consider my latest painting complete. I'll add it to my website soon. In other news I've been working hard on the production of a song called Open Your Eyes (was that really from 2002? How time flies). Anyway the song sounds good at the moment and is a fast paced dance-sort of electronic pop song. I'm very pleased with it, Steven McLachlan's excellent vocals have really made this one and it could easily be a top ten hit with the correct marketing. Unfortunately these things are usually about marketing. Still, I hope the world will hear it somehow when the album is finished. So many of my songs will die with me which is a shame so I must take every opportunity to record them. New singers are always wanted. Not all of the songs are as punchy as this one and some are downright strange, crossing and even making new boundaries.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Today has been relatively ordinary compared to some of yesterday's mad thoughts. I've been putting some finishing touches to a painting called The Art of Painting, created for an art competition. I'm still not sure if I want to enter it, but I must hurry if so because the final deadline is Friday so I'll need to photograph it tomorrow. The picture is among my most complicated compositions and painted with all due preparation. In fact I made many studies for this so in some ways it is my "Potato Eaters", a first attempt at a full picture as van Gogh's was, even though I still mainly painted it to learn from and would only show it to the world if it happened to work as planned (it has for the most part). I'll call myself graduated next month because it will be two years since I bought a cheap painting set and had a go. Most of my paintings so far have either copies, entries for competitions or a test of some technique, although a few like Rhino were intended as artworks.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Today I have a new ambition, I want to re-enact the creation of the Universe. For millennia, great thinkers have pondered the origins and meaning of the Universe but nobody, to my knowledge however great on the subject, has re-enacted its creation. It will be amazing and amusing, specatacular and incredible. All those who were there could say that they were the first beings to witness the first recreation of the Universe since it was created (I seriously doubt whether any extra-terrestrial or proto-human has ever considered making this, even so it would not be a patch on my Universe and hardly count at all).

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I've been working all week on a surreal painting called The Flute Player, this one includes a giant wave, a demented dancer, two Adolph Hitler portraits, three silver whistles and a parrot. I've also been playing Gunstorm too and have made some rough plans for a sequel with a bit more of a plot, if only I had the time to make it. Other pending jobs include some more Dark Matter sound effects and the songs for The Journey with Steven McLachlan. I received his vocal recordings for four more songs this morning and they sound good. Today though, I've mainly been working on new painting compositions and making a picture frame. Now I'm going to add a page for The Journey to my website.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A new poem for this night.

Clare

Clare, have you ever thought about me?
It must have been twenty years.
Have you ever imagined who I was with?
Would you care?

Clare, are you alive or dead...
happy or sad...
alone...
at home, a loving mother somewhere....

I can't remember your face much.
I remember your hair.
Would you remember you spoke to me once?
Would you remember me, Clare?

Friday, June 30, 2006

Today I've been working on three paintings, completion of a portrait of Lana Turner done as a colour study, and a new thin underpainting to a picture about the lack of emotion in computer games. Thirdly though, a new painting. In fact this is the first in a new genre of painting that I have just invented: William Tell painting. For this you need some paint, and the finale of the William Tell Overture by Rossini, this lasts about 2 minutes. Prepare your paint and hold your brush like a fencer En Garde, then start the music. Your aim is to paint the entire painting before the music ends, starting with no preconceptions or ideas. I used raw umber, viridian and yellow ochre, three excellent colours (burnt umber is horrible compared to raw and has very few merits as a colour). With that triplicity of fellows a landscape was inevitable.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I've just written a new poem influenced by a strange and striking painting I sketched and might make into a full picture. Here it is:

It's What We're All Thinking

Through the tall vacant lanes
see a rust blown sky.
Hear the cries of the wind
kiss a skeleton's eye.

Crisp like moths underfoot,
feel the dust of the dead.
The dried blood of the war
that was long ago led.
Today I've been doing some more sketching for my first Madonna and Child painting, something I've been working on for months (for "working on" read "mostly thinking about"). The fact that I have no models makes this one more difficult than it could be. Also today I've added some more to a painting about the emotionlessness of computer games. This one is an improvised landscape, a first for me and a break from my normal way of working. It looks okay so far but my first attempt at streaking rain hasn't worked out as well as I had hoped. On balance though it will be nice enough to look at, be evocative and have meaning and be difficult to forget, so all of the important bases are covered.

Monday, June 26, 2006

This week I'm underpainting a new version of an old painting called Hello Earth, inspired by the Kate Bush song, and also overpainting version 2 of a portrait of Lana Turner that I painted last year. The new portrait allows me to try some techinques and colour combinations, but Hello Earth will count as a finished picture in its own right I think. The original shown was painted last August and is crudely executed. In the next six months I hope to paint for about three then work on game development for the other three, fitting sound effects and music work in between.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I've just heard that I've won my first art competition with The Migraine Tree, painted for the Migraine Action Association. I'm so pleased! I'm just starting to see some benefits from my serious study of art.

I like modern art and understand it, but there can be both a misunderstanding among the public and even artists regarding the quality of art. For me it is simple, there is good art and bad art, and good art is nice to look at and has meaning and emotional depth. If it is pretty but has no soul then it will become grey in your mind and tired on your wall. A badly painted picture with meaning and emotional depth is better because it will not tire, but good art is beautiful and has a meaning and emotional depth. I aim to make pictures that have those qualities, pictures painted well that shine with a living soul too. Those who want to invest in this crusade can purchase the Migraine Tree for a bargain £500 plus shipping, a share of which will go to the Migraine Action Association.

The organisation also run a public choice award and you can vote for the picture on the following page: http://www.migraine.org.uk/competition.aspx.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The first overpainting of my Art of Painting picture is now complete although there are a few more stages to go on this one. So far it is looking merely acceptable, similar in style but a executed better than Faces of Autumn from a year ago. I'm starting to get used to painting now, and the BBC2 program about the Summer Exhibition on at the moment proves my understanding of and liking for modern art (most people do not like modern art but I think this is mostly down to a lack of understanding of it which is reasonable). More paintings to follow in the next three months, plus another Flatspace II update in a vain hope of resurrecting this commercially seriously-ill duck (but a good game to play nonetheless). Also I plan on making some more IndieSFX discs, and finally do some more tracks on The Journey, the pop album I want to make with Steven McLachlan. A picture says a thousand words but music makes a thousand pictures. Words can vary though, something artistic only needs to make one right feeling felt to be a masterpiece.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Movement Through Time

Although it may appear that we are moving through time, we are not. In fact nothing is moving, everything in the Universe is and always has been stationary. All time is overlapped and present at once. The me of today is here and thinks it is today; the me of yesterday is here and thinks it is yesterday; and the me of tomorrow is here and thinks it is tomorrow.

No matter what the date or time of clock, it is always 'now'. People of the year 1900 thought that 1900 was now (which to us seems ridiculous, now is clearly now not then in 1900). The people of 1900 still think that 1900 is now.

If all time is overlapped, why does it appear moving? The apparent 'motion' we experience through time is a factor of memory and perception, processes in our brains.

If you remember easting breakfast about two hours ago and your clock, calendar, friends and other senses tell you it is 11:00am on Tuesday the 1st of March then that is what you consider to be 'now'. That does not mean that you are moving through time. The fact that you can remember or detect yesterday does not mean it has happened and that tomorrow has not happened. Time does not even go forwards.

Consider the following story:

1. I am eating bacon and eggs for breakfast on Monday.
2. I am eating cereal for breakfast on Tuesday. I remember eating bacon and eggs for breakfast yesterday on Monday.
3. I am easting toast for breakfast today, Wednesday. I remember Tuesday and Monday.

The story follows a simple path through time, but any one day would make logical sense as a day. If you only experienced Wednesday, day 3 it would seem valid. If the story ran backwards it would also seem valid, you might experience Wednesday first but having memories of Tuesday and Monday it would not matter if you were experiencing that day first or last or if all of the days were experienced at the same time.

If all time is present at once, why am I here now? Why aren't I in tomorrow or yesterday, or in the year 1900? The strange answer is that there is a you here tomorrow, there is another you here yesterday and another you here today. The you in yesterday thinks that 'now' is what you would call yesterday.

As stated before, no matter what the current time is you always consider it 'now'. All of the past and all of the future are here, divided only by physical effects that indicate different times, and (among other things) build the memories in our brains.

The you of yesterday is really a different person from the you of today, and that person is eternally stuck there in yesterday, thinking that what you call yesterday is now. The people of 1900 are still here, and all of the people of the future too.

Never again think of time as a road that we drive along. Everything in the Universe was created and fixed at its inception. The Universe is a stationary sculpture, a statue of many dimensions.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm busy this week working on several things at once. First a sound effects commission for an R.T.S. game. I'm also fitting in the development of a hex based war game, but that is mostly being relegated to weekends and evenings while I get some more painting done. I have four pictures that are half completed. There is a new version of an old painting called Hello Earth, a portrait of Lana Turner (also a new version of an old painting), a surreal picture in the style of Rhino called The Flute Player and on called The Art Of Painting which I'm overpainting this week. I've also got two in the sketch stage and two with completed compositions but nothing more. The Art Of Painting is on a wooden panel which is an excellent surface. The transparent polystyrene of the Lady with the Unicorn below was lightweight and smooth but had an annoying downside of attracting dust due to static attraction. I wonder if acrylic or polycarbonate generate less of a static field.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I was thinking last night about the acceleration of massive objects. Objects that move at maximum speed through space move at no speed through time, and stationary objects move at no speed though space and at maximum speed though time. Thus, a space-time graph can be drawn between these extremes... but it struck me that with zeroes and infinities on each end that neither extreme could exist in reality, only the spread in between. Einstein's laws prevent an object from being accelerated to maximum speed (the speed of light) but here I hypothesize that the reverse is also impossible and that no completely stationary object can exist either. An object must always be moving partly in space and partly in time, and if stationary in space or time cannot be moved within that domain.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I've been having some design ideas over the past two days. The picture shows the sketch of a chair design based on a scorpion. There are six tubular steel legs and segmented elliptical cushions that curve upwards to form the back of the chair in emulation of a scorpion's tail.

Friday, May 26, 2006

On the left you can see the first published image of my Lady and the Unicorn picture. It was a useful experiment, my first painting on a smooth surface and I practiced several new technique ideas. I'm not pleased with the picture in the end but it achieved its purpose and the unique perspective worked. Note how the right corner is the focal point as though the head were a lens. I started this painting in January and it was my second attempt at flesh colouring in multiple layers.
The end of another week, a week mostly spent working on sound effects or music one way or another. A new effects disc was released on IndieSFX and I've finished two commissions for custom sound; effects for a game called Marble Tactics and a cool tune for a game called Vaporized (sic). My next software release will be a long awaited update to SFXEngine.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Today I've come up with a new theory that drawing ability and writing ability are mutually exclusive, and that a person who excells in one area will be poor in the other. This is based my experiences of today when I was practising drawing. This morning (among other things) I drew several figures in a variety of poses. The drawing was fairly accurate and came easily. Later I read a few chapters of Germinal, and soon after drew again. My drawing in this second session however was not very good and I found it very difficult despite the conditions and difficulty of the poses being about the same. I have noticed before that sometimes my drawing comes easily and sometimes doesn't, perhaps this influence is controllable. The most notable mental activity between the two drawing sessions was one of reading and it might be that the imaginination or perhaps language parts of the brain were sucking away drawing abilities. This made me think of whether any great artists or draghtsmen were great writers and vice versa and I could think of hardly any. There certainly are some famous musician painters but few writing painters (mostly poets, or children's book authors who illustrated their own work, none exceptional in either field). If I were an academic I would probably conduct an experiment. In the mean time however I will try to avoid thinking in words when I need drawing skills, just in case.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I've had a constructive weekend, not including the laughable Eurovision song contest which should be renamed the Easterneuropean Song Contest because all of the ex-soviet and ex-yugoslav republics now vote for each other pushing Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia etc. into the bottom half of a table now full of countries ending "ania" or "stan". Finland, bridging east and west, is destined to be the new Ireland as everyone's favourite. Anyway, I've started to paint a colourful examination of van Gogh's colour theories. This will take a long time because I've decided on a bright underpainting to reinforce the colours. Van Gogh would never have done that but I'm not trying to copy. In other news, the Steven McLachlan music project ("The Journey") is apparently back on after I made Steven promise to get the vocals done this year (even so, that will still mean that some tracks will be three years old, he takes his time for sure). Here is a clip of Steven singing one of my songs:
http://www.audiostreet.net/artist.aspx?artistid=6687&mode=music&recordid=96875

Friday, May 19, 2006

After a productive week, I have finished the underpainting to my Art of Painting picture. I have some reservations, but every painting needs mistakes. As soon as I make a painting without any I will be deluding myself as opposed to producing those elusive perfect works. Drying this picture is risky. It's very heavy, being on a 16mm thick panel of dense wood and it doesn't fit on any of the drying racks I've built so I have to balance it face down on one of an approximate size. If it slips when I'm moving it from the top of my wardrobe and falls wet side down then it's ruined, so I have to take care. Van Gogh was so lucky to paint blobby things in one morning. Painting perfectly smooth things in several months is much more fraught with danger. In other news, I've written a couple of songs over the past week. The lyrics to my latest one follow.

I Am Money

How'd you like to be embraced?
How'd you like to taste some pure security?
That's what money is and money's me.

How you'd like to find the love,
love you never had, a love you couldn't touch?
Well, I love you darling very much.

Take a ride and take a trip.
Sit astride and crack the whip.
Soon you'll love me,
get afflicted
spend me,
make me,
be addicted.
I am money.
I am every single thing that you can see.
I am money!
Everything is me.

How'd you like to stop all wars,
feed the world and more then live in luxury?
No hope if you're poor, you can with me.

How'd you like to watch me grow.
Plant me I'm the child you never had time for.
Humans are consumers, consume more.

(chorus)

How'd you like to be adored?
That's what money's like, that's what it's for.
Every man in rated. What's your score?

How'd you like to own the world,
every boy and girl you can posess them all.
I can give control to chaos' hoardes.

(chorus)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I've just read this quote: Obscurity during an artist's lifetime is a guarantee of true genius. This is excellent news, a guarantee of my status as a genius. Now musical news and this week I have celebrated the sale of my first ever copy of Synaesthesia (you know who you are). That was one of my first attempts at synth music, some of the tracks evolved from some tapes I recorded using my Amiga when I was at college. I've also got my first music commission in a long time for a computer game theme. Things like this are always hit and miss. The person with the money usually has different ideas about music than the composer. Tension ensues, and a battle of wills that the artist is destined to lose. In the worst case I end up making a tune I strongly dislike due to changes that have been forced upon me, yet I have to be credited as the author. If anyone out there ever hires an artist for anything, please give them creative freedom.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'd just like to say Eureka! I now understand van Gogh. Like an aleph or an infinite fractal I have just absorbed him. I posess him entirely. It all happened while reading one of his letters tonight. Van Gogh was not an impressionist, Monet and Cezanne were their kings. The likes of Gaugan, Seurat etc. were different alchemists. Vincent was the last in his line, he knew his ancestors. I now understand completely. It is about time. Joy!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Learning to paint is like climbing a hill and never suspecting that there is no summit. All week I've been working throughout the day on my latest picture. It's about half complete in the underpainting stage but it's hard to say how it will turn out. The whole thing so far in in white, black, lemon yellow and brown. The yellow makes the adjoining grey look like purple, thus the art of the colourist is revealed; not to paint an absolute colour but a relative one. I'm faced with at least one more tiring week of this underpainting, and I probably won't like the final picture anyway. As soon as I'm content with a picture painted in this way, it's time to learn a new technique, and perhaps realise that learning my original one wasn't necessary. There is no summit but there are many hills to try.

Monday, May 08, 2006

This week I'm underpainting my Art of Painting picture, it should take at least six contiguous days. The past few days have been nervous and melancholy. The phone was knocked out sometime on Wednesday night and phone and Internet access were off until Saturday morning. As I run Internet business this was stressful, but my unpopularity as a game vendor meant that only one sale was a day late in the end. The episode inspired me to paint a surreal picture called "Waiting for B.T.". It's currently drying in the underpainting stage and will take about two weeks before I can continue work on it. Reading the van Gogh letters makes me envy his speedy techinique. I also watched Lust for Life for the first time, which was convenient. The film is quite accurate in terms of events although it portrays his collapse as something due to his natural temperament. Reading his letters, a large part of all of them over ten years consists of hopes that are constantly being dashed, money worries, hunger, nervous illnesses and loneliness. Those things, in my opinion, were the cause of his mental health problems.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I've just written a poem so I thought I'd post it. It was partly inspired by the Lost World of Friese-Green BBC program about Britain in 1925, and partly by an old time song from that era.

Happy Land

There's lots and lots of people
smiling all the time.
The trees are made of chocolate,
and rivers flow with wine.

The sun is always shining
but it never gets too hot,
and everybody is content
no matter what they've got.

The days are made of golden skies,
and silver fills each night.
The birds and cats are best of friends
and never ever fight.

Here all the old are happy
and never reminisce,
and all the young exactly like
the world just as it is.

It's good to live in happy land,
this summer paradise.
A place of peace and harmony
where everyone is nice.

It's good to lie here in the gentle
warmth of happy land.
Where every person wins, and cares,
and pain and hate are banned.
Did you hear about the man who threw a bomb down a coal mine?
He was convicted of ten minor offences.
I'm working on some sound effects for IndieSFX this week and have just released my last set, Car Sounds. All the while though I'm thinking of painting and music. I've come up with a new way to practise drawing. One of the hardest parts about drawing is getting the propotions and angles of lines correct. To become an expert draughtsman you must be able to recognise the exact relative length and angle of two lines. Determining relative lengths is most difficult when one line is horizontal and one vertical. Noticing the hidden shapes and negative spaces in an object is a big help here but not all things have those shapes. My method is to draw the scene at an angle, at 45 degrees or even 90 degress to the thing you are looking at. This forces your mind to perform a geometrical translation, making the process more difficult but also better training. A head that is straight is easier to draw than one at an angle. This method will hopefully train me to draw angled things as proficiently as orthogonally placed things. All I need is the motivation to practise which is lacking on this hollow and depressed day.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I've now transferred the sketch for my Art of Painting picture and applied the imprematura. I chose raw sienna for the colour, I wanted something yellowish and it is the most transparent of all colours and so ideal. I'm currently at the end of 1885 in van Gogh's diaries and his discussions about colour during that year have inspired me to limit my palette for this one. I'm thinking of using just lemon yellow and raw umber for the underpainting (or burnt umber, which seems to look better in a test I've done... but this colour has disappointed me time and time again with its ugliness compared to the lovely neutrality of raw umber). By day I'm doing sound effects for indiesfx though and will be releasing a new set of car effects soon.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Today I've primed a wood panel for my first painting on wood, perhaps my first serious painting altogether (I'll deny this if it goes badly, either way I consider myself a student at least for another six or eighteen months having first taken up a brush less than two years ago). Van Gogh took five years to produce The Potato Eaters, his first serious attempt, but he was younger than me when he started and drew and painted profusely up to that point. Anyway, my new painting is provisionally called The Art of Painting and includes many difficult parts. The composition has been a wrestling match that has taken a month and many redrafts and studies to get this far, and at least a colour study is due before I commit to the underpainting. A poem about this subject appeared last night while I was awake with the usual upsets. Perhaps I'll write it on the back like I did with Coma. Here it is:

The Art Of Painting

Listen,
dear hunter,
to the sound of your heart.
Feel the rush of the soil,
and the breath of the trees.

Start,
the dance.

Mix your oil,
and your earth.

Come,
young deer,
at the speed of the lance.
Fly like fire with the saints.
Hear your heart in your paint.
This week I've been putting lots of final tiny cracks into my painting of ivy for the Jackson's competition. It's a very strange picture, of an arm on Mars. While reading about van Gogh and the potato eaters it struck me that Dali missed something in his appraisal of artists, that is emotion. I now think that it is very important for a picture to have emotion. Abstract art rarely has it (abstract art without a context never has it) because abstract art without a context is nothing and the very worst kind of art. A Mondrian for example on it's own is an empty and horrible set of squares. With a title like 'prison' then it gains some context. With a previous picture that shows a similar shape but something realistic so indicate the evolution of the image, it gains more context. Without that abstract art is utterly empty, horrible, worthless yet almost all of the abstract art you see (like those awful blobs on eBay) lack the context. Abstract art is really my least favourite genre for this reason. It always needs explaining. It can work when explained though... if you saw a painting of a blob, however awful, but then were told that it was the last mark made at 6am in prison by a man condemned to death, just one accidental mark he made while brushing past the canvas when passing out of the door, then it gains emotion through context. It is better in my opinion to avoid the need for the context of a picture all together by just painting it well enough to see it, or to feel it on a sub-conscious level. That is why I favour a mix of the surreal and the reasoned above all art genres.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I've just added an audio clip to my profile, from my music The Spiral Staircase from 2002. This was done with Noise Station 1 and the production quality leaves a little bit to be desired but I've always loved it. I really regret not writing more music and that no-one has heard my songs (if you are reading this, please email Steven M McLachlan and tell him to get Mark's lyrics recorded!). My songs are some of the things I am most proud of yet are heard by no-one but me and mostly in my head. I want to make The Spiral Staircase II now that my skill both as a producer and composer have improved but my time is full of other things and it takes a big lump of consecutive time to write music.
I'm back to painting for a short while over the coming week, as I continue work on the ivy picture. Painting mediums should get more flexible and richer, slower in drying time and more liquid (less viscous) as they get progress. Poppy oil is not very flexible but slow drying and so is of limited use. Liquin is the most flexible but also the fastest drying, it also includes a solvent and so it is of no use as a glazing medium and I use it only for the imprematura. The war of the media viscosities seems to have inspired my latest poem which now follows.

The Last Day

The sun will come up in a thick dark sky.
The silhouette building shapes silently stare.
The hand of a thing will shudder and die
like so many unfinished jobs everywhere.

A cold oily ocean will flop on the shore
as feathers float earthward,
as bones lean and fall.

A sound will appear like a deep deep drum.
Air pure and incredibly still.

Then everything fades to an infinite grey,
on the last day.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Well the Bytten Ernie Awards are on Bytten, Future Snooker has been released and the next version of Flatspace II is in testing. Next week it's a brief return to painting as I wrestle with an unforgiving Martian desert, so unforgiving. The Easter paintings series on BBC2 has been somewhat of an inspiration but even my Bromley's picture is having trouble appearing. On the plus side I've bought another two colours and I have to say that a Winsor and Newton colour called Lemon Yellow Hue is very nice, exceedingly lemon, metallic, permanent and reminds me so much of Vermeer that (should I paint it) my Bromley's picture will bow to its wistful charms.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Olfaculars are my latest invention. These binoulars for the nose will enable the wearer to smell things at a distance. Perhaps one day security CCTV cameras will detect the unique scent trace of the criminals, using this more reliable trait to convict convicts.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Painting full time is a thing of the past for the time being as I move back to doing some game stuff. I've just conducted an e-interview for PC Zone magazine because of Flatspace II, many thanks to Martin Korda for the opportunity! Today I've finished updating Taskforce to v1.02, it's taken a year for this update which mainly affects the demo (although spiders now multiply more slowly and troops do get given some default equipment instead of starting with nothing). I have to work out how to break the update news to the world because I've got Future Snooker v1.01 to release on Saturday AND an update to Flatspace II out soon. Should I wait and issue one email about all updates? I like Taskforce, many things balance well, but it's sold only about ten copies in two years and I can see that changing a relatively few gameplay elements could change the game substantially. Those changes would be too major for an update and affect the plot and whole feel of the game though. I'd like to make a future game based around this strategic theme because it's one of my favourites.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Dreamers are unhappy because they are not satisfied with what they have, with what is. That dissatisfaction is what makes them dreamers, and that dream is what makes them dissatisfied. One cannot envisage a better future and be satisfied with the present. Satisfaction can only come from a rejection of what can be.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Well my entry for the Migraine Association painting competition is complete (see pic), my first finished painting in a long time. I'm currently finishing my entry for the regular Eclectic Art competition (which closes on Friday!). The hair was tricky, it's my first attempt at doing that in layers. I've decided to try a few experiments to try and work out the best way to do it in future. Next month I have to update Flatspace II, Radioactive and Taskforce and get some new sound effects finally released on IndieSFX.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Charcoal grey is my newest colour. A grainy semi-transparent black with a blue tinge, this makes an excellent blue black or glazing, better than ivory black or the opaque warmness of mars black. I wonder how long it takes to dry. I'm currently overpainting my entry for the eclectic art portrait competition. The eyes need attention and should have been checked way earlier than now. The imagined mountains were a challenge but I've identified the problem as a lack of direction during their design. When I write music, I tend to summon the appropriate emotion or idea and then the music tends to write itself but with painting I've not done that consciously. If I had done this earlier, this would have avoided any ambiguity in the form of objects and an eidetic image of the end result would make the painting experience easier and the result more powerful. This particular composition was as laboured as the brushwork so it would have been the perfect answer. Ho hum, painting number 30-ish and another lesson learned.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My van Gogh panel for Eclectic Art is complete in it's first draft, and I'm now painting my entry for their portrait competition and fitting game stuff in-between. I'm making some music for Snake Club, a new free game from Hayden. I'd put the panel up but the blogger pics seem to be having trouble working tonight.

Friday, March 17, 2006

In which emotional state do you encounter crocodiles?
In denial.

This has to be the worst joke I've come up with in a long time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The strange ivy picture is now drying and waiting for it's first overpainting, I've no idea how that will come out and some parts vary in their blendedness in a strange way that I'm not sure about. Today I've painted my van Gogh panel for the eclectic art starry night project. My original composition for the possible Bromley's picture has failed and needs attention in the tone area before resurrection. In non-painting news I need to announce Future Snooker to the world and get ready to update Flatspace II to v1.01. I've wrote desperately few songs this year but already one or two poems because of my painting fad. Here's one:

Tuna Fishing

Drama and contrast,
fire and pain.
The battle rages.

Hot red and ice.
Wrestlers entwined
in strangulation's constant grip.
A star-crossed ship.
A furies whip.

But here, in the war
intelligence emerges forth.
Blood bubbles,
the water's core.
Spears pierce,
Spanish fish twist.
Here is Dali.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I have now nearly finished the underpainting of my ivy picture which is acceptable in the modeling even if the appropriateness of the colours remains to be seen. I have much to learn in that area even if the Migraine picture came out fine. I have also completed the underpainting for a quick dash of a picture that is full of trees, and as a result I write for my own memory that cadmium yellow pale is the colour of happiness and that any sad colours, mixes that drown in their dark turgidity that all painters know and fear, are brightened and resurrected to a new form of life with cadmium yellow. There is a new competition announced on the Bromley's site that I may enter, that would be the 4th and last picture I was planning on painting before July. I have a design idea but the composition is uncertain and very complicated at the moment. I have traced the currently completed elements onto a few A4 sheets, scanned these and assembled them on the computer for easy experimentation.