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.


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, 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...
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?