Monday, December 31, 2007

How to Think Like a Surrealist

How to Think Like a Surrealist

I used to think that surrealists were a bit mad. The likes of David Lynch, Salvador Dali, Terry Gilliam, Vic Reeves didn't seem exactly normal. Now I think like them, and I know that surrealists are not mad, but do think differently from other people. If surrealists think differently from everyone else you might call this madness, and call surrealism a disease, but if so it is, most probably, a beneficial disease.

What makes surrealism different from other art genres is that it is not a way of painting but a way of life. Surrealism is a way of thinking, a way of being. Once that mental threshold is crossed, which has happened to most people quite accidentally, there is no going back. Connections and patterns that are unseen by ordinary people are suddenly revealed.

Surrealism is a higher way of thinking, the addition of a new thin layer of consciousness that grants the surrealist a vision, and additional control, of his or her mental states. On top of the conscious mind, the subconscious realm of dreams, and the unconscious lies a translucent white veil of mind, a new conscious that can observe and guide the others.

Meaning From The Meaningless

Now, let us observe three crucial lines from The Surrealist Manifesto by André Breton:

The image is a pure creation of the mind.

It cannot be born from a comparison but from a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities.

The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be--the greater its emotional power and poetic reality...* (Nord-Sud, March 1918)

When two, seemingly unrelated thing are superposed they create a third mystical meaning. An elephant and a cocktail stick might be connected, but not obviously; connected only in a way that the subconscious mind, and not the conscious intelligence, detects.

The Surrealist Manifesto was written at a time when Freud was grasping for a common language to the subconscious. Dream Dictionaries began to appear at around the time of the First World War, apparent maps to the language of the mind that suggested that dreaming of one thing meant this thing, and dreaming of that meant that. Of course now it seems obvious that such connections are necessarily personal and not universal. The elephant and the cocktail stick might mean nothing to one person, but have a deep meaning for another because of a long forgotten memory or experience. However, some imagery is less personal than others. A fire is universally hot and destructive, and popular cultural references might give meaning to the same thing to millions of people; so it is by no means the case that subconscious imagery is useless to all but the creator; in fact on balance, to people in the same country and culture these unseen connections are probably more universal than personal.


To create a surreal item it is important, vital, that the subconscious is the sole creator. The method is simple. The words or images will appear in your mind, like magic, when the mood is right. It's a simple matter of ignoring your conscious thoughts, and listening only to your subconscious. Mental control is important. The conscious mind should be limited in its powers as much as possible.

Simple observation of the subconscious, without a subject or predisposition, will result in something as meaningful as a dream. It will probably be a dream. It will probably be about some recent memory or activity. This is not useless, but is undirected, and might have limited scope or even be literally nonsensical to other people. This is one reason why a lot of surrealism appears to be nonsense.

To create art with a definite theme, direction and partial use of the conscious mind is useful. Feel the mood, speak (or visualise) the subject then blank your mind and wait. The words, images or music will appear. To assist, start writing, drawing, playing, and in this trance the result will appear.

That golden method takes training and the right conditions to work however, and even has side effects which may be deemed unpleasant such as having vivid visions or powerful blasts of subconscious thoughts invading ones thoughts at inappropriate times. After time, two thoughts, a conscious and a subconscious interpretation will be present at any one time, resulting in a sort of surrealist schizophrenia.

Randomness And Analysis

There are simpler ways to trick the conscious mind into releasing control. Let's try a surrealist game.

1. Start with word association of objects. Begin with a word or object; a cat for example. Then, without really thinking, think of something like that object. Repeat this a few times; You might have cat, dog, lead, bowl, cup, drink, eat, meat etc.
2. Now do the same; but this time try word disassociation. Starting with one object, each subsequent word or item should be as different from the preceding one as possible. Again, you should avoid thinking or pondering on each word.
3. Then try the same thing but with images or situations instead of words.

Now, different as you think the words in the word disassociation game are you will, upon analysis, find that they are connected. In fact, if you think of any two situations, as unconnected as possible you will find a connection because that connection was formed in your very brain.

When you see that connection you can see the meaning. And when you can see the meaning between two things that at first appeared unconnected, that at first were as unconnected as you could have possibly imagined, then you are thinking like a surrealist.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Spiral Staircase Remaster

Since last Saturday I've turned back to music and have been completely re-recording my 2002 concept album, The Spiral Staircase. I've changed musically a lot since 2002 (although it's hard to tell because I've written so little this year) but the album will not change musically (much) because I want to preserve it as it was; this is a replacement not a sequel. The remaster is more about making improvements in the production quality, which was limited in 2002. The Spiral Staircase is an instrumental concept album, sort of like Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells. The story is a fairytale adventure about climbing a spiral staircase inside a tower and encountering different creatures and rooms along the way. The original sold two copies (I'm guessing that this was due to the 4th movement being on The Flatspace Soundtrack). If anyone out there would be interested in buying one of the first editions of the remaster then join my mailing list. I'd like to promote this when it is ready too so if any volunteers want to help then get in touch.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Winter Painting

I'm painting again all day this week, despite the poor light of Winter. The current picture is a new version of a painting called The Morning Hour. I'm also working on a rather old one on Wednesdays at Art Support (started in Sep 2006). Everything else is on standby, but at least the poor light gives me a couple of dark hours for non-painting work so in the meantime I'm working on a few new compositions and the odd bit of music.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bye Bye Little Fishes, and Thankyou

My painting, "Bye Bye Little Fishes, and Thankyou" is currently on exhibition at Keele University until mid December. The picture was one of three commended by the judges, along with the pastel painting "Miss Willibuns" by my Art Support classmate Katharine Laird.

A new Flatspace page has been set up on Facebook.

I'm now working on lots of paintings. Six are ready for painting, with about another six in the planning stage. The daylight is poor at this time of the year, restricting my time to 10am-3pm so I tend to avoid painting, but I might do one or two in between other things.

Next up is the release of the Gunstorm song. The music is now registered with the CatCo database so everything should be ready for the release date of the 19th.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm a Tree Surgeon (not a Real Surgeon)

My latest song. This was actually written on October the 3rd when I was on my way to Art Support but I've only just written it down. The melody is sort of country and western which is a bit unusual for me. It's called "I'm a Tree Surgeon (not a Real Surgeon)".

As I am sawing the tree
I see him looking at me
I get a bad bad feeling.

My daddy is a doctor he's the best in the place, but I can
tell he's disappointed from the look on his face
'cause I'm a tree surgeon,
not a real surgeon.
I'm a tree surgeon,
not a real surgeon.

I went to medical school,
I thought that doctors were cool,
but always loved the garden.

I used to climb the trees there, my results went all bad, so now I
am a disappointment to my medical dad,
'cause I'm a tree surgeon,
not a real surgeon.
I'm a tree surgeon,
not a real surgeon.

Well now I garden all day,
and run my business okay,
I get a good good feeling.

I spend my working life outside and up the trees, but I can't
help but think my dad is sad that I couldn't be
another real surgeon,
but a tree surgeon.
Not a real surgeon,
I'm a tree surgeon.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Lots of framing work today as I refit my pictures, removing any glass and just about reframing everything to some extent. It means that some of the larger ones like the Strawberry one, Perseus and the Burning Tree, half a broken heart and Marlene/Waterfall are now unframed and need new frames, and some now have permanent frames for the first time like The Only Symbiosis of Ivy, Coma, Strike Dynamics, Oncology, and a lot of the medium sized ones like Harlow and Waiting for B.T.

Still no word from PPL about Cornutopia Music. This is annoying. Gunstorm is released in 4 weeks yet I can't register the recordings with the authorities and promotion to radio stations is hampered as a result.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Web Updates

Refitting of my website continues. Today I've enhanced the digital sections, removed a few pictures and organised the sections by year. I've also added PayPal support for payment and easy ordering and prepared the high quality images online for printing to order.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Art Updates

Well it's been a busy week. I'm currently working on a number of paintings. Three in the sketch and study stage as follows; one large format is a provisionally called 31st Century Crucifixion and will mix abstract, realism and surrealism to create a picture about the robotisation of humanity, that is the removal of emotions in a technological future. The second is The Morning Hour, an upbeat picture about starting a new life after a divorce. The third is The Gate, a repainting of an earlier surreal idea of a moonlit gateway.

Today I've added perhaps the final touches to two pictures; a relaxing bedroom painting on commission for Andrew Williams, and "No Good Ideas" which uses a cracked and harsh landscape with skulls to represent the lack of ideas for paintings. A figure grasps for a kite in blue sky to represent a good idea, without noticing that ideas (in the guise of kites) were scattered all over the picture all along. So this sad picture has a happy ending, a redeeming quality.

Oh, some good art news. "Bye Bye Little Fishes, and thank you" has been selected for the prestigious Three Counties Open Art Exhibition at Keele University. "Bye Bye" uses a line of fish swimming towards a sunset as a metaphor for the slow extinction of fish species.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Saddam Hussein

A new song, a nice bit of surrealistic writing. The music is quite complex and operatic in style, like some of the Queen or Pink Floyd songs. It's called Saddam Hussein.

You only want me now because I am insane.
You only want my broken brain.
You love my pain,
but I like only coffee.
You feed me toffee,
and then you dress me like Saddam Hussein.

You gently lie me down then prod me in the face.
You stir my mind until it's paste.
You wear just lace,
but dress me like a nutter,
paint me with butter,
and then you slide me all over the place.

When are you going to let me go?
I'm begging Danny on my knees,
the lightbulb's swinging,
Danny please,
don't flick the switch and make it blow.

You do more damage than a whirlwind does to dust.
You paint my metal bits with rust.
You want my trust;
I trust you only vaguely,
like Richard Madeley.
I feel like bread without any crust.

When are you going to set me free?
The sky outside is orange new
the sun is singing
to the dew,
Hand me a rainbow's hand and rescue me.

You only see me as a naughty dog to train.
You only care about my brain.
You love my pain,
and love the drugs you hand out.
I brush the sand out
but you still dress me like Saddam Hussein.

Monday, October 08, 2007


This is my first song in many months. The melody and timing is very unusual with some short fast bits and long lingering notes in unusual chords.


You, in the balloon
up in the sky so high.
Can you see me
from up there?
Do you try
as you're drifting by?

You, floating on by,
in the azure blue sky.
Can you see home
far below?
Do you know
that I'm aching so?

You were never so distant.
So distant from me.
Distant as the clouds.
Nowadays you are distant
So distant from me.
Distant, and you're moving further away.

You, swimming in blue
breathing the sun light in.
Do you look down
or just up?
Do you think
you're alone up there?

I, watch from below
hearing the burners go.
Would you hear me
If I shout,
or do you hear
only clouds?

You were never so distant.
So distant from me.
Distant as the clouds.
Nowadays you are distant
So distant from me.
Distant, and you're moving further away.

One lonely balloon
far and away in blue.
Will you look down
here to me?
Do you care
if the ground is there?

You were never so distant.
So distant from me.
Distant as the clouds.
Nowadays you are distant
So distant from me.
Distant, and you're moving further away.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gunstorm Review

The first review of the up and coming Gunstorm album has been written on The Borderland.

Accredited to singer Steven McLachlan, I wrote and produced the music and performed the instrumentation. The main Gunstorm song was written specifically for my PC game, Gunstorm II, but proved popular when Steven performed it live so we decided to remix it a little and release it along with a special extended version. The album has a 1980's electro-pop sound, and the intent for the main theme was to pay homage to the television themes I remember as a child like Pole Position, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors, and Star Fleet.

The E.P. will be released on iTunes on November the 19th.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Well, the painting season is nearly over but, of course, plans continue. I've got No Good Ideas to glaze still but the rest are sketches that will either wait for next year, or are things like portraits and other "normal" pictures to be done over the winter as exercises. I'm better at drawing than ever and the last week of practise has helped a lot in this.

I'm submitting pictures for two exhibitions this week; the Three Counties Open and Keele University and the national Chichester Open. Both are juried so there is a bit of luck involved.

The final quarter has started and my plans for the rest of 2007 generally concern sound. More sound effects are due on IndieSFX and I hope to get SFXEngine working on Vista (I've recently discovered that Vista dislikes TextOut on top of DirectX7 DirectDraw objects). The Gunstorm single should be released in November and I want get started on the Spiral Staircase remaster this month. "The Journey" might have to wait until next year. It would be impossible to release it before Christmas and as January is a commercial desert, it makes no sense to do anything on it soon.

I'll also put some of my limited edition prints on eBay over the winter too. I'm confident that these will be worth a fortune one day, but it'll do no harm to have some very small numbers on there if only as a sort of advert.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

God Cannot Exist

The laws that govern the Universe must exist before the Universe, therefore,

No being that exists in the Universe could have created the laws of the Universe, therefore,

No orderly being can create order, therefore,

God cannot exist.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No Good Ideas Complete

The underpainting to one of my last pictures of the season is now complete, No Good Ideas is a true story about the lack of ideas for good pictures, and how, like magic, brilliant and seemingly elusive originality was found to be there all the time. Tomorrow I start on a painting for Andrew which is about relaxation and a bright future, good themes for any bedroom wall.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gunstorm and More

The Gunstorm E.P. is now ready to go apart from the video. I'm finishing off a few final summer painting tasks before the light fades, at which time I'll get to work on my first new music in a long time.

MMC Dream Poem

A poem based on a dream, some of the words are exactly as in the dream.


Taken by a man who wasn't a p,
and handed to one who was.
Where are you?
First whispered "k..oss."
"The 13th of May, the king and the glass."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Taskforce and Music News

Work is a hectic at the moment. Taskforce has been updated a version to v1.02 with the inclusion of 12 instead of 6 troops. It really improves the game. I wish I'd thought of trying it two years ago! The Flatspace Soundtrack has also appeared on iTunes too, and I'm updating Gunstorm II a version to prepare for the Steven's release of the newly remastered theme tune as a chart single in November.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Mostly busy on painting at the moment, with a short time out to remaster the Gunstorm II song for its single release. The St. Andrew picture is underpainted but I've decided to rework the composition so I'll not finish that until at least next year. Pictures in progress include:

Domination of the Fishes. A small panel in the style of Half a Broken Heart about the depletion of fish stocks (Mmm, fish stock).
Eye Among the Pears. One of my few highly surreal pictures (because normally I pick an main idea instead of dreamily automise subconscious visions). This is a partial tribute to a picture called Christina's World.
Artificial Venus is a female figure study, originally a colour test for the St. Andrew picture. It has proved useful but will be a picture in its own right when I complete it.
Sunset with Petalliforms is also quite surreal and about the forlorn hope of romance.
Dead Bird says it all. It's a test of simply copying from a photo. I could have picked a live bird but: A. They don't stand still enough for me to photograph and B. My personality is instinctively contrary.

A few are in the very earliest stages, but the sketch is complete to a cover picture for a proposed music album of my game music called Stupid Computer Music. Over winter I'd like to get some music done. Hopefully finish The Journey with Steven, remaster The Spiral Staircase and perhaps write a sequel which is pencilled in as The Music Box.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

One Day Shortlisted in the UK National Songwriting Contest

One of my 2005 songs, One Day, has made it to the semi finals of the UK National Songwriting Contest. Steven McLachlan's excellent vocals helped give this dramatic song the power it needed. A reworked Gunstorm II theme song will be released as a pop single in a few months. Perhaps I can persuade Steven to include One Day as a bonus track.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunset with Petalliforms

The underpainting to the large sunset with petalliforms picture is now complete.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sunset with Petalliforms

The underpainting has started to Sunset with Petalliforms, the smaller of the two large pictures I plan to complete this year. A cold turquoise sky is lit by the flaming sun on an adamantine chain while a dead rose stalk rises like an octopus tentacle into a sky with falling petals. Warm meets cold a lot in this picture, the colours of which come from a very vivid and very colourful dream. Every force seems to have an antiforce to balance it. I can't help thinking that gravity must have a larger antigravity force that combats it. Like true antigravity mass would repel mass but not to such an extent to prevent the formation of the delicate gaseous structures of the early Universe, although, depending on the reach of antigravity, this might mean that distant matter would be lost forever at this stage. Gravity uses no energy, it is a spatial distortion of time into space, and I think that dark energy is a spatial distortion of a similar sort and not energetic. All galaxies are parting, so the Universe is called expanding. If this antigravity force exists then the universe on a smaller scale is not expanding at the same rate, for example the arms in galaxies are moving apart from each other more slowly than the galaxies are parting (and the difference can be used to calculate the strength of the antigravity). If antigravity does not exist, then local space is expanding at the same rate as distant space. So, this hypothesis can be tested.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Ultrabusy at the moment working on some custom sound effects for a third party. I've also managed to locate and fix a long standing but rare bug in SFXEngine that caused mysterious crashes when I did things like Purge the Modulators. The bug took a while to track down but now the program appears as stable as its parent NS2. There are a pile of game reviews on Bytten to do too and they've all fallen on Steve Blanch's shoulders. Andrew where art thou?! Perhaps it's time to locate a new reviewer.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


A mix of work done over the past few days. I've got a few paintings in progress and a few planned too although the season, my busiest ever, is nearly over and the light fading daily. Today I completed the first glaze of a landscape with clouds made of rocks over a desert. Notably there are two large pictures left to paint this year. Five of my paintings are now in the Bickerton exhibition, and having helped to hang it I can confirm that my pictures stand out from the others. If I had the cash I'd buy them myself because I'm sure they will increase in value given my own increase in skill, invention and bravado.

The rest seemed to be standard village fayre: animals, flowers, landscapes (but I didn't see the final exhibition). Some were stunningly well painted BUT IF I had learned how to paint for five years and then painted a flower (or kitten or watercolour mountain) then I'd consider those five years wasted. I made an exciting discovery the other day and might have discovered a whole new genre of painting but I'll keep it secret until I can explore it fully. Next week, sound effect work.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Domination Underpainting

Today I've underpainted a small picture on a panel called Domination of the Fishes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Introducing the Membraphone

New idea of the week is a new musical instrument. I was considering how synthesizers tended to suffer due to a lack of expression and came up with a truly three dimensional keyboard that allowed control over pitch on the x axis, like a piano, volume vertically on the z axis, and filter on the y axis. The flexible membrane could be slid left to right to shift pitch, slid up and down to shift filter or pushed harder in to make it louder. A guide beneath the membrane, or perhaps projected onto it, could show the notes for accurate playing. I call it a membraphone after the flexible membrane that is played.

Oil Painting Repulsion Problem

I've been thinking about the repulsion problem. Repulsion of oil, the beading of medium, an effect like painting water on wax, has been a noted problem for fine oil painters for centuries.

The traditional solution to this problem is to rub a raw onion or raw potato onto the picture between layers, and the few traditional painters that I could find still do this. I also found an article report from an egg tempera painter with a similar problem, which he solved by applying a layer of ox-gall (a fluid most commonly associated with watercolours). He had also found that the powerful solvent acetone worked but stopped doing this after he was told that the integrity of the underlayer might be damaged by this. Dali recommended a raw potato, then stated that it's best to take the precaution of rubbing the potato through a fine silk rag, then washing the picture with water, drying it then apply retouching varnish.

I wanted to know what caused this problem and what the onions and potatoes did, and I've come up with a theory. I read from a conservator that all oil paintings crack, it's just a matter of time. This made sense when I thought about it.

I imagined that each layer of paint was not the smooth cellophane of plasticised oil that a glazing artist might imagine, but full of gaps. The gaps might be caused by uneven oil application or solvent evaporation. These gaps, like holes in a bag of rubber bands, the bands like the long oil molecules, grow to become cracks over the years. The fatter, more polymerised, oils would be more long and bandlike, more flexible but have smaller holes.

These holes also give a tooth to overpainted layers, making the application of future oil possible without repulsion. Where the paint is applied evenly and with no solvent, the gaps do not appear or are too small to have this tooth, and so the repulsion of oil occurs.

If this theory is correct, the adhesion problem can be solved by either damaging the existing paint surface to roughen it, or applying a new layer that adds tooth. I'm not sure what the onion does but the potato deposits a layer of starch which must act as this tooth. What it does not do then, is dissolve or digest or absorb the oily surface below (which is what many painters of old seemed to think). Washing the starch away will only stop it working, which might explain why Dali appended the rather odd postscript about adding retouching varnish (which would add the tooth and disrupt the paint surface alone, without the need for the potato at all).

Acetone would damage the molecules to add these microscopic cracks. Perhaps the acids in the onion do the same but I suspect it only deposits starch too, especially as fine sweet Spanish onions were preferred. Depositing a thin tooth layer that is not disruptive to pigments or oils is the solution then, and if starch does not discolour, and to my knowledge it does not, then the good old raw potato should be fine.

If this theory is true then it would be ironic that the smoothest, most stable and crack resistant areas of oil paint are the ones that are impossible to paint over unless the painter first damages that perfect surface.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Chaplin Glazed

The Chaplin picture is now glazed although the bright red neck definitely suffers from the lack of planning the colours beforehand. On Sunday I glazed the top layer on another new picture called The Time For Love Has Nearly Flown and today had a few disasters and partly damaged one nice underpainting with a failed attempt to glaze with opaque colours (this is not too bad because the picture was a study for the big Saint Andrew painting to test this very idea). The second of today's was an underpainting of a dandelion and an arrow which I rather rushed, although it was not complicated. So three less than ideal pictures in four days and so overall today is a miserable day. It seems that two out of every three paintings are more of a lesson in disappointment than the great artworks I always desperately aim for. However I can gain some solace by looking back at famous pictures of the past, each with their failures and mistakes glaring the world in the face, and know that perfection will always be as elusive as antiperfection, total disaster.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Charlie Chaplin 1

Today I've glazed the first layer of a picture first planned and drawn last December. Charlie Chaplin Disappointed at not Being Able to Stop Global Fascism is a surreal portrait in the classic 30's style; a standard face but with symbols too. Tomorrow should complete this first and most important glazing layer which, as is usual for me, is on wood and incorporates the excellent amber varnish in walnut oil in its media.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Many Updates

Good progress on my artwork is being made and this intensive period is starting to reap real rewards in terms of picture quality and lessons learned. There are a few pictures in various stages of progress at the moment:

1. Perseus and the Burning Tree is a picture about ecological destruction, split down the middle with a cowering green forest on the left, a burning screaming tree in the middle and dark rose pink buildings on the dead right where Perseus holds aloft the head of Medusa as a symbol of man's power.

2. Charlie Chaplin Disappointed At Not Being Able To Stop Global Fascism is a surreal portrait in the classic style of these things. This is underpainted and awaiting a top layer.

3. The Time For Love Has Nearly Flown is a very small panel that plays upon visual themes of love hearts and hourglasses making us of my ideas of symphonic painting where a visual motif or theme is repeated throughout the picture with modification like the theme in a musical work.

4. Reaching For The Untouchable Strawberry features a beautiful reclining lady whose golden clothing becomes a desert, as her outstretched arm changes into a gaping mouth achingly reaching towards a strawberry pricked with steel needles on a rope that swings away.

5. Heavy Clouds Over A Misty Desert Landscape plays with heaviness and light, with iron rock clouds chained to the sky over a soft fluffy desert.

6. The Arrow and the Dandelion is an overt picture about ecological damage and parallels a flower with the pose of an arrow that pierces the floor.

7. The Domination of the Fishes is a small panel that plays upon the ideas in my other picture Bye Bye Little Fishes (and thank you).

8. Artificial Venus is a simple female figure study, light on near black like an old Dutch portrait.

There are about four others in waiting too. I can announce that lifesize limited edition giclee prints of both The Last Days of Rapa Nui and Half a Broken Heart are now available. Limited to 12 signed copies the prints are made on archival velvet rag (100% cotton) with lightfast Canon Ultrachrome inks. The current price is £30 ($60 US) plus postage. Please email me if you would like a print.


I've mainly been working on some exciting new sound effects for IndieSFX this month with some painting progress too. I'm experiencing lots of worry this month as the summer blues hits Internet game sales, plus a weird scare where I couldn't seem to download files from my web space. I must have faith and keep working despite such stresses.

My Crying Invader from 2006 is now on public display in Shrewsbury at an interesting exhibition about artificial intelligence. It is not very finely finished but the picture about emotion in computer games does explain itself. More than half of the other exhibits seem to have nothing to do with A.I. and you need to read the text to work out what on earth the artist was trying to get across. Many displays are good though, from a huge LED version of Conway's Life, to a war between dolls and robots.

The picture is of Somebody to Love, my latest finished painting and I think my first of full figures.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Recalling the Canal

One of three recent poems.

Recalling the Canal

Old, like the dragon
in a silver-green sun.
The evening begun.
Birds of steam, and our son.
The fish blinks a message,
then sinks with a smile.
In silence we'll dine,
until dinner is done.

There in the window.
Hole in the sky.
Grey are the eyes
of a lost lullaby.
Memories past,
in a lingering light,
as bright as the sky
in the dragonfly's eye.

Old, we remember,
the boat on the plate.
Canal, brown in state.
Cold, our son on the gate.
Drift and recall,
in peace, our minds flow,
to a long dead September
so long far ago.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Day Four Of The Perseus Glazing

Day four of the Perseus glazing. If anyone ask me if I'd ever painted a lawn one blade of grass at a time I can now answer yes.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


I'm now busy on the first and most important glazing layer of Perseus and the Burning Tree, a small but complex picture with bright colouring. I'm painting slowly and taking meticulous care, much to part of my own annoyance! However, little can be gained by rushing. Every painting deserves its days of sacred care. My Crying Invader is safely in Shrewsbury now and it looks like I will be able to attend the launch of the show on the 13th of July.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Well, after receiving the vocal recordings from Steven a couple of days ago, the production work on my latest song, One Day, is now complete. I've entered this and Calling Mister Wilson into the UK Songwriting Contest (yes, they make Songwriting one word). Today I'm back in the painting zone and working on a nice well balanced surreal picture called The Untouchables. After that I think I'll glaze Perseus And The Burning Tree, which isn't really a major picture, and won't be a bad picture, but worth painting.

Rule 4 of my rules on art states:
"4. It is better to paint one bad picture than none at all."
Rule 3 is also true though:
"3. It is better to paint one good picture than 100 average ones."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hurrah! Calloo!

Hurrah! Calloo! The principle glazing of my latest picture, Somebody To Love, is now complete. A surreal image; green skies, mountains, waterfalls, lakes and dripping liquids feature. Other pictures in progress include; Virgin and Child with a Cat (which is relatively normal looking), The Untouchables (which is mostly surreal), Perseus and the Burning Tree (an allegory for the destruction of the environment), and a slightly surreal portrait of Charlie Chaplin. The next big picture, and the peak of the year, is a large historical figure piece, Saint Andrew Punishing the Sinner. That will be my largest and most complex painting to date.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


A new poem. An ode to Coleridge about losing creativity.


I took a trip to Xanadu
where Kubla Khan once lived.
The sunless sea had turned to dust
with shattered bits of dome encrust,
and there in sleeping sands of time
I saw a skull like mine.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Well most of the underpainting to the Madonna picture is complete although the background remains uncertain. I've also added another layer to a figure painting called Somebody to Love and overpainted two small pictures, The Last Days of Rapa Nui and You Must Report to Oncology. Other life is as miserable as ever but failures as a game developer and musician will transform to success as a painter I am sure. Thought for the day is why do hoovers have retractable power cords when similar things such as lawnmowers do not? Surreal experiments continue; a dream the other night consisted of a violent man chasing me while his head was on fire after he poured petrol over it and lit it. I have a few scenes listed now for a short surreal film but I lack the time and equipment as yet. A snap of my latest finished painting is pictured.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Invading Whittingham Riddell

I am now working on this picture, which Leonardo designed but didn't paint. Given that I started work on this complex pose in December 2005, started the final underdrawing in May 2006, prepared the panel in December 2006, and am now only just starting the underpainting, then I might just do the old boy justice in terms of time taken on one painting. I think it will be finished by 2008, but certainly not before the end of June. Some surprise news too. One of my pictures, Crying Invader, has just been accepted into the "Whittingham Riddell Shrewsbury International Open Art Exhibition 2007". Based on last year, the show is very eclectic and contemporary in terms of the art on show, filled with at least as many installations, videos and sculptures as paintings. I quite like the picture even if it's not as fine as many of my newer ones. I don't expect to win one of the prizes on offer with this, but it will be nice to see in its appropriately battered and sad frame.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


A new poem.


The sky is crows and yellow black.
The acid dirt is sown.
The terraces of slate walled huts,
cry twists of smoke to gods unknown.

Down the mine we go.
Our hearts are heavy, sad and slow.
But only we can hear the Earth.
His breath is black and still below.
And only we can feel his soul,
in fists of coal, our backs bent low.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Eurovision Poem

Another Eurovision Song Contest and I've written an honorary poem for this occasion. I listen every year and personally I thought the songs were pretty good this time around, but the voting seemed to favour all of the bad ones! My vote went to France, but I was (very nearly) alone.


Malta votes for Britain
because we are good friends.
Slovenia gives Serbia
twelve points this year, again.

Greece gives twelve to Cyprus,
to dance their normal dance.
France gives points to Belgium
if Belgium votes for France.

Austria votes Germany,
and Portugal votes Spain.
Everyone liked Ireland once,
but now we like Ukraine.

And generally the Eastern bloc
comes way above the west.
We don't vote here, we're tired of that
but our song WAS the best!

Friday, May 11, 2007


I've had a day of tantrifilmonius agonies and wonders. While painting the sky of my new picture, Somebody to Love, a tiny fly appeared flying very close to the wet sticky surface. Flies, as you probably know, are the enemies of all things good and so I panicked and waved my hands a lot, mostly hopelessly. Fortunately, as if by magic, the fly vanished completely. I took this as an omen of something good. Later, on the very same picture which was vertically mounted on my easel. I was working away when I noticed a tiny spider, perfectly happily walking down the new wet surface of my glorious sky! I managed to remove the spider and the picture was not visibly damaged by the delicate tip-toes of this most skillful of pedestrians (although I must feel that tiny spider footprints are in there somewhere). Spiders, as I'm sure you know, are friends to all artists and so I took this to be a good omen too (even though I personally do not like spiders, or indeed any insect or arachnid really). I captured and released the spider outdoors. Could this unprecedented glimpse of a section of spider/fly war be mere chance, brought about by rain? Possibly, but I prefer to hang on to two good omens to reinforce the fooling of myself that uniquely creates untrammelled happiness.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

She Doesn't Love Me in the Morning

A new song, my first in a while.

She Doesn't Love Me in the Morning

She doesn't love me in the morning.
She doesn't love me as she's making me the tea.
She doesn't love me as I'm leaving for the door.
She doesn't love me any more.

She doesn't love me when I come home.
She doesn't love me sitting here upon the sofa, together.
She doesn't love me staring out at rainy weather when I close the bedroom door
because she's gone...

She doesn't love me any more.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Painting Updates

Mainly painting work over the past week or so. The underpainting to my ArtSupport entry is now done, it's my largest picture yet but only took a couple of days because of its relative simplicity (and the length of the working days). I've also added a glazing layer to Sisyphus but there are some aspects I wish I'd have done differently. Lavender oil seems to be slightly more powerful as a solvent than aspic oil, as well as being more pleasant in aroma and less fuming so I conclude that lavender is superior. Today I've added the final layer (excluding signature) to "half a broken heart", my smallest picture and entry to a competition held by the Samaritans. At the moment, my Memory of my 34th Birthday is on exhibition at the Minshull Vernon garden show so take a look if you're anywhere near South Cheshire this weekend. The Flute Player has been rejected by the Chester Open people, which is a little disappointing but not very serious. Perhaps the Hitler portrait was thought controversial, still, I'll paint superior pictures in future. It's a pity that I'm running short of good pictures to exhibit, but some of the simpler ones, like Portrait of Kate Bush as a Winter Tree and Waiting for B.T. are pleasant to look at and didn't take many days to make. My work pipeline is long but lined with gold. I suspect that the ones in progress (The Execution of King Charles, Portrait of Marlene Dietrich as a Waterfall, half a broken heart) will surpass any before. Sisyphus I'm less sure of due to silly niggles with the colouring and detail issues. The landscape is wide and littered with a few small surreal objects that would have been best done on a separate layer but now look a little fudged, smudged and ill defined. That knowledge though was something I didn't have before painting it. My lessons are getting less painful but still I learn.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

After Tonight

My latest song, a quiet piano ballad called After Tonight.

After tonight
you'll be these short lines.
After tonight
you'll be a memory.
After tonight
will come the rusty sunrise.
Yellow and light
like on the day I first saw you.

Crying inside,
you are my sunshine
even as I
prepare to leave you.
Morning in sight
perhaps one hundred heart beats.
After tonight
I'll be alone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Execution of King Charles I

The Execution of King Charles I is now glazed and a new picture, half a broken heart, is now underpainted too in record time. Today is for framing and a new attempt at adapting my flatbed scanner for large format scanning. My next new painting idea will be on the theme of "Winter" and the good ideas are, quite usually, slow to come. When trying to free think imagery, some good eye food is necessary. Eye food consists of images recently seen. We might have our eyes open all day, but most images are ignored by the visual memory because it takes a little concentration to store them. Those temporarily stored images are sorted later, sometimes in dreams, and at least accessible by the subconscious. That temporary visual memory is the palette, the ingredients, used by the visual imagination so when searching for images it is important to nourish it, and ensure that it is filled with the right sort of food.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lavender Oil or Aspic Oil

After a busy few days the A.I. picture is now glazed. The sky was more blue grey than I had planned for and I have contemplated making this more violet, but the current colour does work well with the brown ropes and their lemon yellow glow. The flesh and the expression came out well enough. The glazing media were new formulations and used very glassy looking amber which were as beautiful as liquid glass when wet. Lavender oil was used too. I'm unsure whether lavender oil or spike oil (aspic oil, this is lavender oil but from the whole plant as opposed to just the flowers) is better. Dali recommends spike oil but the one reference I could find that compares the two stated that the old masters preferred lavender. Lavender smells nicer but both appear to be as viscous and slow to evaporate. Spike oil appears to be more fuming to the eyes. If all things were equal I would use lavender but if I suffer doubts I will trust Dali instead. Tomorrow I'm off to Chester to submit The Flute Player to The Grosvenor Open Exhibition. After that I'll have The Marlene Dietrich picture to overpaint with a new layer, and add the single and probably final layer to the execution of King Charles which I am worried about because the current sky in particular is very nice in colour already. I'll also need to improvise lots of dabs of bright white highlights on the rough sea. After that I'll continue the Sisyphus painting but that might leave me with one idle day before the Art Support meeting on Wednesday which I really should attend. I'll use that day for frame making and buying wood. Four new pictures are now sketched and transferred to panels: Madonna and child with cat, Bye Bye Little Fishes (and Thankyou), Perseus and the Burning Tree, Somebody to Love. The fish one gets priority because it has a deadline. Any music will have to wait a month or two.


A new poem. It is called Clementine.

Days turn into dust and rain
as you turn into sky.
Huddled, like a man of clay.
Water on my skin rolls by.

Ghosts and graves
in moonlight death.
far away.

Days turn into dust and rain.
Colour loses hue.
My world is fading blue to grey,
like memories of you.

Penalties on the BBC

I've just found Penalties as a BBC selected work for the One Love exhibition.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Two Academy Hopefuls Dropped Off

My two academy hopefuls have now been dropped off. Another painting week is over, and a productive one. Four paintings were worked on. The A.I. picture now has it's new dramatic sky, and three others have been underpainted. The first was The Execution of King Charles I, one of my most surreal looking images. In cobalt turquoise blue and contrasting rusty red this is a sad picture about the change, blood and death of the civil war monarch. The second was a picture of Marlene Dietrich as a mountain and her clothing a misty waterfall. The third is a tower of bees hit by a giant wave, this is about the impact of a devastating unexpected event. The third one will be painted a little differently from my usual style because the violent sea would benefit from violent knife painting, in contrast to the relatively delicate bees. With these four, I now have five pictures that are about 50% complete (the other being Sisyphus, rolling his rock under the setting sun as the gods look on and laugh).

Monday, April 02, 2007

Art Update

Well more art completed since last time. My picture of Kate Bush as a winter tree is finished and a new idea of an intermediate glazing layer has been added to the A.I. picture. More glazing layers can make a picture smoother, this is undoubted, although in my experience only about 3 transparent layers are needed, and down to just 2 (one opaque) if care is taken and the subject not too tiny and fiddly. Here I've added a very thin glaze over the underpainting in the same colours and this has smoothed things considerably (my classics master Dali doesn't recommend this). I've also used a medium that included a solver, neither Dali or I recommend this for a glaze, but here is was appropriate and any bleeding (and instability) effects are minimised due the both the bulky subject and the insubstantiality of the layer. Tomorrow I'm off to London to drop off two hopefuls to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I'm not optimistic about the outcome and the trip will be awkward, but if I waited another year just in case I paint something I'm actually pleased with then I might end up waiting forever.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A.I. and Other Paintings

Well the most basic underpainting to my picture on A.I. is now complete after an arduous five days, one of which was wasted on an ugly sky that proved that studies to things like that really must be performed. I tried a few watercolours today in Art Support thanks to Cathy and also heard of a few more exhibition opportunities that I'll probably not have time to paint anything for. The rest of today was taken up with sound effects, and with Wednesday and Thursday being technically my weekend I'll be just ready to relax when my new week starts on Friday. That will entail the first glazing of a surreal portrait of Kate Bush, with the next two days taken up with a second layer to the A.I. picture. Next Tuesday I'm off to drop of my pictures to the Royal Academy and perhaps see the surrealist exhibition at the V&A. After that I and we will hopefully have some new Ernie awards for Bytten, and for that week I should be free enough to either start a new underpainting of one of the huge pile of prepared pictures, or perhaps overpaint my picture of poor old Sisyphus being laughed at by the Dragon's Den millionaires (well, sort of).

Friday, March 16, 2007

General Update

The underpainting to my picture depicting Sysiphus is now done. This picture is unusual for me in that it's mostly fantastical and many of the elements are just made up or shaded instead of the usual careful planning and assimilation of models and source material that I normally do. Many of the elements too will be drawn wet in wet on upper layers because many of the tiny figures and objects do no suit being outlined and filled. The overpainting will take a long time for this one. On Thursday and Friday I started on another picture, a surreal portrait of Kate Bush as a tree in the mist. This unusual one is very light grey and delicate. The lighter tones are more difficult to make smooth than darker ones in oil paint because there is a big difference in the way the picture looks in strong light and dim light. Another thing done this week is the design of a new carrying rack/case/frame so that I can carry pictures around the streets comfortably. This is made of square aluminium tubes, a round tubes for the handle, a threaded rod (sawn and glued into bolts because bolts of the required length are not manufactured), and some wing nuts.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Painting Updates

Painting again this week, working on a picture of Sisyphus which in this case is an allegory for working on an artwork, which is what I was doing over the weekend. I hope to enter an art competition with a theme of A.I. and the complex picture I have brainstormed will need to be complete in 6 weeks, not long. The main sketch for that is mostly complete, I'll have to prepare a panel this weekend, complete and transfer the sketch next Wednesday and start the underpainting on the 26th.

Friday, March 02, 2007

From Painting to Sound Effects

A painting week is over and a sound effect week (or possibly two) is about to start. This week I have managed one underpainting and two glazings. The first picture was a bit of a failure though and the version drying now will serve as a guide for a newer better version. I'm also full of picture ideas, but am short of them too. It's illogical how sometimes I fear that I've lost the gift of imagination, but I can't think of any artist who ever did. The worst moments are when I have a beautiful half of an idea, from a great start to a song to a wonderful looking part of a picture. Getting stuck with the other half can be painful, each attempt is like running up the same dead end in a maze and smacking into the same old wall. Sometimes the only solution is to ditch the idea no matter how nice, and be sure to do it quickly to avoid mental damage. Another option is to file it and revisit it later. One of my latest melodies, Summersong, had been in that state for over two years before I finally came up with the ending.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Game Life

Today I've had nothing but abusive emails from a Flatspace customer, B.J., who was apparently frustrated at his lack of success when he tried to bribe me with £50. Dealing with nasty individuals comes with the territory of the having to deal with the general public, as the attacked N.H.S. staff on today's Radio 2 programme prove. It's sad that even indie developers are not immune to the e-abuse of the occasional lunatic, but perhaps the long-range nature of the internet makes this more not less likely.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I Love You For Your Money and Frost

Last week I finished the production on I Love You For Your Money and Frost and completed some more IndieSFX sound work. I also painted an arctic landscape, an experiment in a new technique idea that sort of worked, some useful results but different to those I expected. More plans for future pictures were done on the rest of the week, a new advert made and submitted for a local magazine too and two new picture frames cut and glued. On Friday, a new poem for the newly completed Genesis of Terror, a painting that has been in progress since July 7th 2006, many of my paintings will have associated poems from now on. Flatspace II has been updated a version this week too and will be launched as v1.04 beta in case any bugs are still in there. My 2005 CD Animalia was released on iTunes earlier in the week too.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Sound Effects Work

More sound effects work for IndieSFX done today. Two songs were mostly produced yesterday, I Love You For Your Money was my first ever song and now has a new production, and Frost is one for The Journey. Art again tomorrow as I visit Art Support. I have sketched some rough preliminary plans for a new picture about the Birth of Aphrodite.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

An Artist Needs Pupae

Dali said that an artist needs pupils, but I add that an artist also needs pupae too, a place from which to emerge different than before. If I am to succeed then new stops must be produced to be pulled out and I need to start to consider my public image, even before I have a public. Thus my cocoon arrives. Today, it seems that my ten planned paintings for 2007 will be too few, a good sign, and my drawing of today was beautifully easy too. Drawing is normally a thankless and unenjoyable task, an exercise in disappointment and error for what hand drawing is a perfect copy? Even Raphael drew badly sometimes, the evidence is in the flaws in some of his paintings (errors detectable only by logic because the results remain beautiful, there is a magic there that makes flaws look normal). Every error in drawing is a tiny crystal needle stabbing in the skin, but every so often good results flow from the hand and cause pleasant sensations, marred only by the fear of losing this skill, this fleeting perfection. Next week I'm back to music and with luck Steven can manage enough recording sessions to complete the two albums of songs that I've been hoping to make for a long time. Too long have my songs been heard by only me, and even then in my mind.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Journey and a Cornfield

The painting tasks for this week are done now, some good results and some less good but lessons have been learned. Today's portrait (which is a summer cornfield too) was supposed to take two days and actually took three hours which boosted my confidence as a painter. I'm about to continue with music. The Journey has 7 completed tracks, the seasons one has 8, the misc songs one has 2, and Stupid Computer Music has 6 (well if you include the extended Gunstorm song which I've not extended yet). Hopefully I can manage a Flatspace II Music Pack 2 made from some of the computer music edits.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Repainting Liza Minnelli

Painting this week, the repainting of my Liza Minnelli picture is done. The green is very bright and may benefit from a top layer to dull it a bit (this should generally be avoided, subsequent layers should be brighter not duller). I'm not sure about this so I'll wait a few days. I've got three other pictures that I might be able to fit in this week. Two for glazing and one for underpainting although I'm a bit crotchety, perhaps due to a new psychological disease caused by viscous painting media which I'll call syrupitis. Dali said that the secret of painting was in the viscosity of the media. I wouldn't say that's all there is too it but even when it's a tiny bit too thick it can really affect the results and my mood. There's nothing so sublime as glazing with perfect media, and nothing worse (or more ill advised) than trying to paint delicate things with neat stand oil. I haven't wrote any songs in ages so there's one new years resolution gone.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

China Syndrome and Summersong Complete

Ta da! I have an announcement. Today I've finished two tunes, a new production of a tune dating back to the days of Martian Rover Patrol, China Syndrome, and a second tune that has been in progress since 2003, yes almost four years on my hard drive half-finished. Summersong is for the new album about the four seasons, and China Syndrome is for a future remix album of my computer game music called Stupid Computer Music, which will also include new productions of other catchy tunes I've written over the past ten or more years but never released.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Busy week this week. Here's the lyrics to my latest song from the end of last week.


No more stress.
No more cares.
I am closing the door
and descending the stairs,
and you
could never see me
walking away
so soon.

No more nights.
No more drinks.
No more flashing the lights
to your father in winks.
No me,
and no more tales to
tell to the fool
to be.

Free (for one day)
he thinks he's
free (from today)
but he can't
see he can't be free.

Hello sun.
Morning sky.
I am tasting the day
and it tastes like a pie
of joy.
It's Christmas Eve and
I am a little

No more wars.
No more schemes.
I've abandoned the chains
that were binding my dreams.
I'm out
and I just want to
run through a field
and shout.

Free (for one day)
he thinks he's
free (from today)
but he can't
see he can't be free.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I am a pessioptimist, or an optopessimist. I see the good and bad side in each event (as well as believing in fate; I, at least, have no free will). I've noticed that many artists complain about the lack of money or sales of pictures, but the advantages to poverty may be great for an artist. Even the lack of security and the stress and worry this causes may be beneficial to an artist's output (although starvation or illness to due extreme poverty is probably a bad thing, there is a threshold somewhere). Still, a low budget forces an artist to avoid wasting time and wasting paint, it also forces an artist to work a lot. The freedom of being able to paint what one wants and when is a huge advantage, the option of being made to paint what someone else wants in exchange for money is usually more unpleasant. Not selling pictures allows complete creative freedom, and there is no position to fall from and nothing to lose. If van Gogh had sold his first few pictures and become a commercial success before 1889, would his sunflowers or Arles landscapes have ever been painted? I suspect he would have still committed suicide, but in Paris and with half the number of paintings he ended up painting.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


This won't make sense to anyone but me but I want to remember this, so:
1. Roman villa. Narcissus. Open cellar or bedroom? I still dream of organon. Mystic. Mosaic of the empire. Seuth sayer. Birth & beginnings. Hope & innocence. Survival & stability. Foundation and civilisation.
2. Bathroom. Narcissus in upstairs room. Sterility. Cold technology and money.
3. On a ship in a storm. Watchman: All is well then rings bell. Society. Trouble. Lack of resources.
4. Dust blown graveyard. With monster truck robots. Power, strong and weak and the growth of greatness. Strength. Biological destruction. Eco death. Weapons.
5. Garden on the ceiling. See Narcissus. Observation & update. Future wisdom and foresight with hope.
6. In a rocket looking down on Earth, grey ponds, flower. Freedom. Escape and salvation.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

New Music

I'm back in music mode for a few days and have finished a couple of tunes for my next synth album which will be about nature and include some tracks from the Four Seasons of Dance. I've just submitted Animalia to iTunes and a few other digital downloads services. It'll take a few months to appear and I don't suppose anyone will even find it but at worst it will be useful as a test of the process. I've now got three music projects on the go; two albums of songs with Steven (should we decide on a band name?) and the synth one which has five(ish) completed tracks and is probably my best music so far.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Physical Dynamics of a Football Player

I've been painting all week on the picture for the "Finding van Gogh" competition but now the second layer is complete. The picture is called The Physical Dynamics of a Football Player and is a representation of a strike on goal. The eye of Apollo as an orange in a violet stormy sky gazes upon a player who materialises, like Adam, but from fire not earth. The player pounces and kicks the ball, then fades away. The picture is full of energy and speed. I was hit by a virus on Monday (a flu-like one not a computer one) but the painting wasn't adversely affected, as it wasn't on Sunday with the discovery of a new cocktail made from 5 parts Pepsi, 1 part vodka, 1 part rose petal syrup that is an excellent way to stay awake for many hours or days. I had time yesterday to add a new links feature to Bytten and fix the email problems there. This week's two songs are pending so I'll get to work on those tomorrow, continue production work on an older one called You Make Me Happy.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Do You Know How God Feels

My latest song.

Do You Know How God Feels

As you pray
in your cell
do you know how God feels?
Faith can be hell
when you know how God feels.
Light can be dark.
Days can be empty.
Stop asking so,
you do not want to know.

As your feet
turn the mill
do you know how God feels?
Pray as you kill
to find out how God feels.
Deceive yourself,
hold out for justice.
Stop asking so,
you do not want to know.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The future king stabbed himself in the head.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Standing in the Rain

I spent today producing a good 2004 song called One Day, and one called Coma (which I sing). I want to enter both in song writing competitions this year. Off to London tomorrow, and on Saturday I'm tracing a new version of my Liza Minnelli portrait so I can start painting it on the 29th. My latest song is below, it's an unusual ascending and descending chord arrangement that makes the song sound like waiting, every bit as much as today's One Day sounds like the race-against-time that it is.

Standing in the Rain

He said
he will not wait for her,
but he still stands there
in the light.

Cars hiss
and people float on by,
like time they fly past
in the night.

Standing in the rain,
underneath the light cone.
Looking at the shops,
thinking of the moment
when he saw her face
underneath that light cone
round about this place,
beautiful and lonely.

He might
be angry when she shows
but he won't mean it,
she won't mind.

He waits
and watches time fall by,
October rain fall
cool and fine.

Where could she have gone?
Is there something wrong there?
Then across the street
his and her eyes search then

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Viv Mardle

The Gate by Mark Sheeky

After the recent gift from Bruce Mardle of some empty painting boards and some sketches by Viv Mardle, I felt the urge to reinterpret his scene. For the first time I tried to sketch the scene in thin paint alone, then covering the whole canvas and gradually adding detail as an impressionist might. My standard method of painting is the opposite of this, to carefully paint each object one at a time. Neither method is correct or incorrect. A difference shows in time too, this picture took about 90 minutes but a picture of this size done in my other method would take a week of eight-hour days assuming it's a single layer (and many such weeks for several layers).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

First Royal Academy Submission and V&A Invite

Well my form and cheque are away so this year I will submit my first two paintings to the Royal Academy. On Friday I have an invitation to a gala award ceremony at the V&A in London. I'm not sure if my underground picture was truly the best but the winning picture in the adult category is awful (and sadly not awefull).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This Time Last Week

My latest song, the 4th of 2007. This is a ballad with a very simple descending melody. The whole song is probably only a minute in length but it's quite nice and I don't think it would benefit from being extended.

This Time Last Week

This time last week
I was sitting in this room.
We sat together
and we listened to this tune.

The golden tears
that cloudless night
were only stars
of firelight.

This time last week
every pain was far away.
I want to go back
to that ordinary day.

This time last week
everything was different.
I didn't notice
what a normal evening meant.

No worried thoughts.
No sleepless nights.
No emptiness,
or warning lights.

This time last week
there was nothing ever wrong.
We sat together
and we listened to this song.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I Feel I'm Falling

One of my 2007 pledges is to write two songs a week, so here are the lyrics to the second from last week.

I Feel I'm Falling

We were climbing so high
from a misty sunrise morning,
and together we lie
like the fog on this day dawning.

I see you in the trees.
Are you looking at me?

I feel I'm falling.
I feel I'm falling.
I feel I'm falling,
and when I look up I see you.

I see you from afar
where the air is clear as water.
Tiny people and cars
friends and visions of our daughter.

All are dots in the grass.
Safe and warm in the past.

I feel I'm falling.
I feel I'm falling.
I feel I'm falling,
and when I look up I see you.

Now I'm swimming alone
in a lake of cold reflection.
I see you in our home.
I see me and see a question.

When I sleep will I drown?
Should I stay or dive down?

I feel I'm falling.
I feel I'm falling.
I feel I'm falling,
and when I look up I see you.

Metaphysical Dynamics of a Football Player

This week I've been working during the daylight hours on the underpainting to my entry for another football painting contest. I've been invited to the prize giving at the London Underground one that I lost and will go next Friday too. I sent in a print for that one because they don't return entries, a ridiculous arrangement for any serious art contest. My print was rather dark, partly because I had no time to test it due to a tight deadline. I don't mind missing out on that contest, the prizes were not very good. As stated in a previous blog entry, this football one also retains the entries so I will send a print again and learn from the darkness mistake of the last one. Here's a poem about the picture:

Metaphysical Dynamics of a Football Player

Down like an eagle
in destiny's grip
Sharp like a razor
or a laser-line ship.
As keen as an arrow
or a superman horse.
A force elemental
with Lucifer's whip.

A meteorite of fire and flight.
I'm a rocketman sniper with football in sight.

I watch each defender,
a tiger in grass.
I spy every ally though oxygen glass.
I wait for the cross
like a penitent prayer,
and then strike like a viper
with the speed of a stare.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Carl Orff was apathetic regarding food. When asked what he wanted for lunch he replied "Oh... four tuna."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy Anty Head

Well I got up early and have worked all day. By 6pm the headache I had at 5pm had become a delightful dizzy buzzy feeling and soon throbbed with song like a sack of happy ants. My head is now flushed, possibly with with salt and red wine. By 8pm my ears could see and my eyes could hear the music of the ant people. But the day is not yet done! More Bytten reviews need converting and I need to do some more sound effects tomorrow and lots of artwork too, and I've written no music since Monday. So no time for Bytten then and my road is long and lonely. As the saints call me to arms, I accept! To arms and forward!

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Trumpet Smells of Porridge

I'm tired out today after renaming and cropping by hand each all of the Bytten screenshots to the correct size for the new site, that's 716 little jpgs. Christmas has been relaxing but also rather depressing and I've resolved to work all the harder at my creative activities in 2007. I have managed to write a song today, although it's more of a chant with rock guitar bits inbetween. It was inspired by the strange lyrics of Frank Zappa.

My Trumpet Smells Of Porridge But My Dog Still Blew It

Sitting in my car with a cabbage and a bunny.
The doctor and his monkey think the moon is funny.
Playing my guitar with bit of black bone.
The wizard on the mountain never uses his phone.
Lying on the beach with a sad woman's daughter.
The only way to save the world is drink just water.
When Socrates met Goldilocks I don't think he knew it.
My trumpet smells of porridge but my dog still blew it.

Jumping on a duck that is made of rubber.
The chemist had a carrot and a blue pan scrubber.
My liver thinks of Mary in her little brown bed.
The forest in the winter is a little bit dead.
The windy parts of Kazakhstan are lonely but cheap.
Euripides was loony and he never liked sheep.
The secret of a window is to see right through it.
My trumpet smells of porridge but my dog still blew it.

Running for a bus and wearing only high heels.
If God had had a plan he would have given mice wheels.
Throwing my tomatoes at the railway sign.
My sister wants her pudding but she's too young to dine.
The onions laugh at Lennon in his glass cube cage.
The play was only starting when they all left the stage.
The rabbit wants a jigsaw but he won't want to do it.
My trumpet smells of porridge but my dog still blew it.

Hitting a banana with big red sock.
Mister Fallon's mother has a black silk frock.
The teacher talks rubbish with a mouth full of cake.
Singing on a submarine is always a mistake.
The radiator maker has a silver motorbike.
The music was a problem for the knife man's mike.
The princess hadn't thrown her throne until the day she threw it.
My trumpet smells of porridge but my dog still blew it.