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

Nature and Experience

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 experience 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

A Long Good Bye

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

The Apotheosis of Terror

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

One Love Invite

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.

B.M.A.G. and National Gallery Visits

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

Pastels on Sandpaper, an Homage to van Gogh

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

Flight of a Moth

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

Bytten 2.0

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).

Victorian English

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 Shakespearean 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

There are no Aussies in Star Trek

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.

Computer Problems

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.