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.