Saturday, August 26, 2006

Proms Painting

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

Swan Dive

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 qualities 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

Flatspace II Updates

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

One More Flower For Your Grave

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

Poetry, Music and Painting

After seven days, the underpainting to my penalties 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 subconscious 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

Sirius Table Design

I've been inspired by a website, decorative ideas, 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 earpiece 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 isosceles 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

Penalties Continues

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 insufficient 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.