Thursday, April 30, 2009

Abstract Decorative Poem

I come across a lot of paintings like this poem; all prettiness without any meaning. Writing these is easy!

Abstract Decorative Poem

Soliloquy swineherd elbow wombat.
Petalliform stifle slimy strife.
Angle Fellini endorphin and slap.
Swaggering shambling pellucid and sap.

The use of "and" is more as a syllable modifier than to convey meaning, but in that case why not use "an"? Perhaps to be truly abstract and decorative the poem must be inherently pretty sounding; but that is all. As in abstract painting it's probably not possible to remove all meaning, but like that poem such paintings are largely meaningless.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Lightning of Creation 1

To whit! Here is the colour study for The Lightning of Creation. A very positive and powerful picture grasped from a dull day. The colours are very muted and I worried about the tones a little. It's normally best to have a picture that works in black and white (I don't mean greyscale; I mean just two tone) and also warm and cold (again two tone). Here the mountain foreground (grey; raw umber) and the figure (grey; light red) are warm and the sky (plain grey) cold but the foreground can't easily be made lighter than the sky and, yet the dark brooding dramatic sky really sets the mood so this will probably match the final painting almost exactly. A study like this is important just for the cloud arrangement. There is a hidden pentacle in the composition which is why it seems balanced despite the many lines of focus that zip all over the place.

Psychoanalysis for Dummies

All Wednesdays are quite stressful for me. First, Art Support, and I didn't do much there today just a simple colour study (effectively a tonal one) for a picture called The Lightning of Creation. My friend there the retired art teacher Ray Perez told me about his life and how he got into teaching art, which was very interesting too. After my art group, I bought some wood for framing which B&Q did have in stock, and it was all in good condition which is great.

Then a comment on my earlier Parents and Criticism posting made me re-read it with some shock. Christine was the first to point out to me that I point to and show off the negative aspects of my personality; effectively putting myself down and I was actually rather amazed to discover that truth because I'd noticed it in others and, like her at me, I became annoyed at them. I used to do it much more often than now, yet even now I have negative days and each one is making me angry in a way that it didn't before. Sometimes I'm even inventing weaknesses that aren't there. Curious. Why do it?

My best guess now is that this is a transient thing that will last a few months. My surreal pictures are growing more positive, and the remaining traps and insecurities that have been with me for years are falling away. Too much self analysis would probably not help so I'll ignore the past and even my present as much as possible while being careful and confident enough to remain committed to exposing my personality.

Well that's enough psychoanalysis for today; and what a happy sunny one. I must blog more about art in future! Next; framing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hormones and the Silkworm

A tiring day of painting. I finished the underpainting to There's A Lot To Be Said For Hormones (study shown) and also the first half size study of Perfection and Necrophilia (which despite being rough took twice as long to paint as the "finished" hormones one; proving how much work P&N will be). I say first study because some of the colours didn't come out right and so I'm considering a second one. That will take a couple of tedious days. I know that the final painting will probably come out better after those two days and "NO lazy masterpieces!" rings in my ears but I'm considering sticking with the study I have and making adjustments on the actual picture instead. The July final deadline rings bells within me.

Some good news today. The Silkworm has made it into the Jobling Gowler Exhibition, the competition I developed the picture for. I'm so pleased about this because I put such a lot of work into it. There are things I would improve if I could paint it again but on the whole the painting matched my original idea satisfactorily. The exhibition opens in July, so some time yet, but it runs for several months after that. Jobling Gowler is a legal firm that has offices spacious enough to exhibit art and the owners are art enthusiasts. This first competition, which they will make bi-annual, is a welcome event.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meccano Dream

I dream of an unexploded bomb in the attic of a large house. The people were French and the house was similar to the one my grandparents lived in when I was young. The bomb was a small brass device about the size of a hand grenade. We all agreed that the best solution was to build a large fence-like structure around it from Meccano, drill four holes in the ceiling at the four corners, and then explode it. It would then destroy the ceiling in a perfect square, fall through to the upper room, then the lower floor, and effectively control the explosion; but at the same time be generally very dangerous throwing metal shrapnel all over the attic. At one point I suggested that we should have used less dangerous Lego instead, it being plastic. I became less keen about the whole idea which seemed increasingly dangerous and over reactionary, and I became concerned at the blinkered commitment by the others to proceed with the plan.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eve Eating an Apple While God Looks On

I've just completed the scan of this so here is the painting in all of its glory. It's a small work at 24x24cm but it took about six days in all; started in November last year but finally signed off earlier this month.

Perfection and Necrophilia 1

A good day! Yesterday was remarkably negative and I attribute that to waking up at 6:30am to catch the bus and a cascade of other tiny and ultimately insignificant events that seemed important at the time.

Today however was excellent. I'm working on a detailed half size study for Perfection and Necrophilia. The gold leafing worked just fine second time around and I regret buying some of the "transfer" sort of gold because I'm now more confident and comfortable with the loose leaf stuff.

The problem was down to the fact that the size (the glue) can go off in the container easily; because it's essentially a drying oil with driers added to speed things up. Artists who want to gild finely on a painting or icon then need to know a few golden rules; first get a slow drying size and keep it in a small bottle, apply it carefully and very evenly like a smooth watercolour wash, and finally gild first; before any other paint so you can paint over the top to smooth out the inevitable rough edges. It's nigh on impossible not to get rough edges. I'm still uncertain how those ultra-fine rays of gold you see emanating from doves and halos on old masterworks were painted. Perhaps they are finer and more perfect in my head than in reality; or perhaps I'm simply not experienced enough to work it out.

This half size study will take two days and easily be worth it. After that I'll start the underpainting to a small and fun picture called There's A Lot To Be Said For Hormones. I'll post pictures of that one on here but for now I will keep P&N a secret.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Knowledge Osmosis Hypothesis

Today, after a day of new experiences I rested for an hour and realised that during that rest many things were going through my mind concerning the day. Good points, bad points, lessons and new neural pathways to refine my way of thinking based on the experiences. I remained awake but I was dreaming. The function of dreams and the brain suddenly became clear.

Learning a new experience or conquering any new mental discipline can take a long time; many months. That is because there are many levels to the thought processes and consciousness is only the top layer. It takes time to filter down each level of programming through to the bottom later.

I will quote my friend Andrew Williams

"The procedure for learning something is:
1. Total Incompetence. Beginner.
2. Conscious Incompetence. You know what you're doing, but you aren't very good at it yet.
3. Conscious Competence. You do well, but it's difficult and you still have issues.
4. Unconscious Competence. Mastery. You do it without thinking."

Those steps are easily detectable in students, and indicates that there are many different layers of the brain. Unconscious competence takes a long time to learn because it involves a lower layer. Each layer is interleaved with a template layer. A liquid one which acts like a filter, and must, before the information and pathways are laid down, calculate the correct information to pass. The interleaving layers are very interconnected (self-analytical) and more easily modified than the other layers; which are very slow to change by comparison.

Dreams occur in the interleaving layer between consciousness and the immediate unconscious. There are different degrees of unconscious and I hypothesize that there are different classes of dreams that occur between deeper levels; even "dreams" that contain no sensory data that we might not perceive as dreams.

When experiencing something that is new it is at odds with the current pathway layout of our conscious mind. At some point an experience passes a threshold of newness where the experience is sufficiently new that it should be learned from, assessed and passed down a layer into the immediate subconscious. The processing of this is a dream; which can take place while awake or asleep but will most likely need to take place after the new experience has ended. In fact, I think that dreams are more likely to take place when awake, in a period of dormancy, than when asleep.

When asleep there is no sensory input and no experiences at all. In such a circumstance the upper layer; that which we call consciousness, is inactive. At this point I think that the dream layer which is now dormant analyses itself and the patterns in both the top conscious layer and the one below. The dreams are passed to the conscious layer, now empty because of the blackness of sleep, and so those dreams appear in the conscious mind; which is why dreams appear to be actual experiences instead this processing acting like an invisible background mental process.

Conclusions And Hypothetical Predictions

1. Dreams are vital for learning and those who dream more learn faster.
2. Those who dream less are learning less and changing less mentally.
3. Performing a new activity will result in more dreams compared to doing something that is not new.
4. Dreaming is just as common when awake as when asleep.
5. There are different classes of dreams that separate deeper layers of the brain. Some dreams are less sensory and more obscure.
6. Modifying a dream or daydream affects learning; the configuration of a lower layer of the brain.
7. The content of dreams indicates what is being and what has been learned by the brain.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Liquid Love

I have to deliver some paintings tomorrow and the next day so today I couldn't comfortably start something new. As such I've made a couple of frames for the Marbury village church exhibition next month where I'll show two paintings, and also written a song this evening, part love song, part hymn. It's definitely very gentle and meandering either way. It's called Liquid Love.

I see the sun
in the sky
like a great gold eye
and it fills me with liquid love.
It is dawn,
all is new,
like that time with you
when you filled me with liquid love.

I see the birds,
hear the song,
know there's nothing wrong.
In my heart there is liquid love.
Orange rays
from the sun
shine on everyone
and they warm us with liquid love.

I know that you can hear me.
I feel that you are there loving me.

I see the sky
and the stars
and the moon and Mars
in the heavenly sky above,
and I feel
you are there
with your tender care
and your heart made of liquid love.

I see the ones
that you missed,
lips you never kissed.
They are sparkles of liquid love.
I see you
you'll be ever there,
in my heart made of liquid love.

A Dream of Bees and Flies

I slept badly last night and so drifted eventually into a semi-sleep at around six thirty. I dreamt of a tiny man like a doll, some sort of alien creature, falling dead. His insides were stuffed with caraway seeds which burst out. On closer inspection they were tiny wriggling caterpillars and other insects; notably flies and honey bees. One of bees stung me and I knew that I was infected. The disease was visible in other people. They developed a fat tongue covered with grey fur and bees and flies would come out of their ears and mouth. When cut they were nothing but a bag of living flies and wasps that burst out. It was my job to track and kill these people by lethal injection, but eventually I noticed the same symptoms in me, and when I cut my arm open I was a mass of black flies and bees inside, which flew out. I awoke disturbed, concerned, a little afraid but not that much considering the horrific imagery.

For me honey bees are a generally positive symbol, and flies very negative (I am often haunted by the terrifying buzzing of house flies near my ears when semi-conscious). The caterpillars represent the seeds of change in me that have grown over the past year. Perhaps the symbols represent the good and bad in me that I see and judge in everyone else; and if so the dream is a warning about not becoming too "high and mighty".

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Aaaaaaah! I cry in anger. I have to say that a transformation has taken place in me over the past few months. I've had unprecedented emotional highs, lows, and crises and a gradual if stochastic gaining of confidence and positivity; a definite change in attitude. The few regular readers here might have noticed this! One very recent change is in the way I cope with negativity. In that past I would mope, analyse and accept it, but in the past two weeks I've got angry. Angry for the first time in decades and that's what happened tonight with Urban Escape.

One of the great joy with oil painting is that you have the freedom to change things. You can paint over things, move around when wet or wait for it to dry, or wipe off however much you want and start again if needed. So I did just that and this evening got out my cotton buds and cloths and wiped off all of today's work and a good deal of the previous layer too. I will repaint the underpainting and, because my new motto is to share every experience, I will show the process here. The first picture shows the result that was too dark. The green looks very intense there; it was but that was within tolerance levels. The second picture shows the layer beneath.

Urban Escape 4

Depressed. Only artists know what it's like to mess up a picture and today I've tried to "fix" the strange butterfly buildings in Urban Escape and accidentally make them too dark and that has affected the composition dramatically and detrimentally. It was my fault for spontaneously deciding to paint them like butterfly wings during glazing. In the past doing that has usually worked but in this case the tonal changes were too radical and I used iridescent paint that was difficult to control. I should have ensured that the tones were established during underpainting or been less radical in my inventions. Now I must try to rescue the picture and I think that a darker glaze in the shadow of the horse is the best option. On the plus side though; I think that the butterfly wings were the right thing to put there and the painting without them would not have been as true. Also being spontaneous is the essence of surrealism so that too should never be eliminated. I lost concentration regarding tones until too late so must remember to think twice and paint once; but every painter says that after a mistake. Lessons have been learned then. A plan of action formulated. But it still hurts.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nantwich, Miro and Perfection.

The panel has been re-primed and the drawing re-traced for Perfection and Necrophilia. The imprimatura medium had turned solid in the bottle (so thanks go to Winsor and Newton for another, and the last ever, Liquin crystal; that's the last time I buy any of that stuff).

But ho! Today was a good day.


Three of my paintings are from today on display in Nantwich Museum. The Starving Scarecrow, Execution of King Charles I and 31st Century Crucifixion are on display until June 20th. Most of my art group, Art Support, are showing a few paintings so it's well worth a visit.

And second!

I've finally added more (finished?) a picture called "Desperately Looking for Miro" which I've been painting for about a year now. It was always going to be nothing like my other pictures because it required mix of carefulness and also spontaneity. I'm still not sure what I think but I do keep staring at it intensely while I make up my mind, so it can't be all bad.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Landscape of Anna Q. Nilsson 4

I awoke early with a nightmare, the end was walking down a road in a meteorite shower being hit with painful tiny rocks. I began to move faster in the mist and I noticed I was moving down a hill. Below me was a volcano erupting the meteorites (I have just remembered that a volcano was a potent cocktail in the Ingmar Bergman film I saw yesterday, interesting). I began to run faster and faster and the hill dipped deeper until I fell and awoke in terror. Fear dreams are either warnings or training for potential difficulty. I had the feeling that this was a stress warning so I will relax more.
So today I calmly worked on The Landscape Of Anna Q Nilsson. It's fine as an artwork and it is one of my most surreal and spontaneous paintings of recent times because many elements, not least the main underdrawing, were thought up on the fly. It does scream "give me blue!!!" though so I might use a blue frame to balance the hues.
Later though disaster restruck. I now know not to gild over gold. My other and far more important painting Perfection and Necrophilia lies ruined and it took 8 leaves of gold with it. I had no choice but to sand it down and I'll have to re-transfer the drawing and begin again. I might have to buy and prepare a new panel but with luck I can reuse this one.
So when calmness seems inevitable stress returns, or it should. I said should because I somehow don't feel bad about losing that most perfect of pictures. Perhaps because the underdrawing itself was transferred rather imperfectly and perhaps because my new mentality tells me that I've learned something about gilding I couldn't have any other way; and of course I've only lost 2 days work not more.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


A slow day. I've been feeling ill and tired for all of it because of my faulty digestive system and it's now the third day when I've felt constant tiredness due to lack of sleep and constant dull pain. It's been said that the most important thing you need as a painter is a good night's sleep and I concur, but also add that a good diet is more important because diet affects sleep and your whole body too.

All I've done today is apply the gold leaf to Perfection and Necrophilia. I've only gilded two other paintings so am still learning, however I now think that gold should be applied as near the start as possible and I have applied this over the imprimatura before underpainting. I needed to apply it twice because to gold wrinkled and made a mess at first, due to rushing, which was in turn due to use of some bad oil size which dried in mere minutes. With luck the gold will be that special spark of imperfection that makes the other parts of the picture perfect. In retrospect, the gilding itself sums up "perfection and necrophilia". It's flaking imperfect deadness but it's pure 24kt gold perfection too. I hope that when I tidy it up tomorrow the results will be good enough. Working with gold is really quite a beautiful thing to do but I've wasted an awful lot of good leaf today.

Attainment over Ownership in Society

Capitalism is a system for society that rewards ownership of goods and territory. It is an effective system, partly because it plays to natural human instincts for ownership and control of one's environment.

However there is a definite difference between ownership and attainment, and attainment benefits an individual better than ownership. That which benefits an individual benefits society because a society is a collective of individuals.

Ownership requires no action and in can encourage laziness. Those who do little work but make a living from ownership are the sort people that early and contemporary socialists object to. Nobody objects to those who work and are rewarded for it.

The word fair has been omitted because it is not helpful. Like "better" it is a meaningless word mainly used by politicians, and normally used in an almost antagonistic way. Just as better infers that the present is inferior, fair infers that the present is unfair. Everyone desires fairness and something better. The only way to obtain the better is through attainment not ownership. Fairness, however, can never be attained except in the spiritual mind. Fairness is a human emotional concept. Existence is either fundamentally unfair or fundamentally fair depending on viewpoint; either way fairness levels cannot be altered!

In essence a modern capitalist society already rewards attainment as well as ownership. Attainment also plays to natural human instincts and the differences between "attainmentism" and capitalism are relatively small.

Income tax and V.A.T. or sales tax are taxes on attainment. Taxes on bank savings, on property (council tax), inheritance taxes are taxes on ownership. A more attainmentist society would tax income and sales of goods less, and tax ownership more. Acts such as gaining bank interest that result in gain without energy should be restricted.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Landscape of Anna Q. Nilsson 3

The first day of glazing this painting today (detail shown, prior to glazing). I've tilted it on its side so that you can more easily see that it's the self-same Anna Q. Nilsson portrait but as a landscape.

The picture is unusual for me partly because I made up many of the elements in one session during the drawing phase so the ray and (inverted) heart hole were added spontaneously. I have painted a lot of hearts in my pictures but I've noticed that recently, within the last 3 months I've been painting inverted heart shapes instead which I find fascinating. The new shape is more sexual because it's a bit like the head of a penis, points up and is also more positive I think. I interpret this as love is on the up. There is plenty of interesting negativity in my paintings, and as a consequence of a lag-time of many months that will continue, but as my outlook becomes increasingly positive I'm noticing small changes like that inverted heart creep into the output from my subconscious.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Urban Escape 3

Here is the finished picture. The object in the distance is a red bus. The "building" objects around the horse were going to be grey but on the spur of the moment I decided to paint them like butterfly wings and used iridescent (metallic) green. Glazing large opaque black areas like this is very unwise, especially wet in wet, but it is the only feasible way to paint "ink-blots" on the spur of the moment. A strange memorable picture of contrasts; ugliness and beauty, as well as sadness and joy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Urban Escape 2

A slow day. The dark light of a thunderstorm early in the morning delayed the start of painting until 11am so I didn't manage to finish the glazing to Urban Escape. I found myself laughing out loud at the picture, a first! For some reason I found the deflated dead horse in horrible dull colours of yellow ochre and black so totally at odds with the beautiful female figure on the right that I found it ridiculous. I must have got something right, then. The colours in the picture are generally are pink and yellow. I'll try and finish it tomorrow.

The picture shows the model I made for the horse.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Song for Rita

I wrote this tonight because I haven't done anything creative today. It's a winding melody not unlike McCartney's "Yesterday" so I've put the music at the bottom (in Textual Melodic Notation) in case anyone out there can and wants to play it.

Song for Rita

Late at night and the bar is empty, only Rita left
and she doesn't want to go just yet.
There was nothing she could say.
So ends another day.

Candles burn, and the tired glass is running low on drink,
and her photo watches Rita think.
She was never in the frame.
Low burns another flame.

There was always
someone, always
someone else.

She was always
there, was always
there as well.

Rita stands, and remembers every dream of staying friends,
thinking friendship never really ends.
There was nothing she could do.
Inside she always knew.

N353A Song For Rita, Music


/ E . . D / C . d e / f E D C / B c d g /

/ E . . . / . . D e / f E D C / a . F . /

/ g . . . / . . E D / A . c . / B . d . /

/ E . . . / . . . . / f . E D / C . B . /

/ c . . . / . . . . / . . . . / . . . . /


Am Dm
/ C . . A / A . c . / d . . A / A . d . /

/ e . . A / A . . . / . . . . / . . . . /

Am Dm
/ C . . A / A . c . / d . . A / A . d . /

/ e . . A / A . . . / . . . . / . . . . /


Actually I'll create another post for although my eyes are tired and my head aches I've done nothing remotely creative (apart from paint all day which hardly counts). Yesterday I decided to set aside 5% of all of my income for special fund to be spent monthly on good causes, which might include gifts to friends, charitable donations or anything else that could be called giving without return. Philanthropy is the most noble of jobs and the duty of every artist gentleman, so it is high time I started.

In other news I had an idea for an invention today but it requires a small vacuum chamber. I'm thinking that one of those penis pump size-enhancer things would be perfect so I'll have to buy one and joke with the man in the shop that it really is not for me.

My final bit of news is that the underdrawing to "Perfection and Necrophilia" is complete and now transferred to the panel. I will start gold leafing soon. The picture is about the love of art; a "dead thing" and also religious divine love. Fear is conquered by love and so the "necrophilia" in the title refers not to sex but love of death, and he who loves death conquers its fear and he who conquers the fear of death achieves perfection. The painting will hopefully be as interesting to look at as to interpret. I've put more intellectual depth and more mathematics into the planning than for any painting this year. There is a July deadline for the competition so I will begin painting in April.

Urban Escape

I've been painting myself naked today; but ho! I will not defy the traditions of western art and try to reintroduce and repopularise the male nude to the garish and uncouth eyes of the babbling masses. I, like in many of my paintings, was female and the painting Urban Escape is about freedom and release from tiredness, deadness, trappedness and the assorted trammels of city life. I'll post a photo when I finish glazing tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Anna Q. Nilsson 3

More work on this portrait today. I decided to use only earth pigments and even glazed with venetian red. It worked surprisingly well. I'm learning more about flesh glazing onto greys. The photo reference was black and white so I have to make everything up. The hair in particular is rough and almost "Velazquezian" compared to the ultra-soft face and lips. The main problems come from the lack of details around the eyes due to a photo that shows none, combined with my relative inexperience at portrait painting. It is pretty enough though, and the blurriness not evident in the photo and dark eyes and mouth adds a certain magicness.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sex, but No Kisses

A moderately productive day. I've finished most of the drawing to the Omar Khayyam painting which will be subtitled Perfection and Necrophilia, because that's what I interpreted the poem to be about. It's a complex piece to paint, similar to my other picture The Art Of Painting; but with more meaning and feeling this time; more about love than sex. It will be my first positive love painting.

I wrote two songs today too, both quite good. "Sex But No Kisses" is a woman's song, and plays on similar themes to my Physical Intimacy painting which came from some of my research and study of human relationships. It was something I'd not really been interested in, or taken part in before. At one point my psychology definitely moved on from an almost Asperger's Syndrome state to a more open social one; and to be a great and popular artist I will need to grow more, to chase and eliminate more fears and insecurities, to love and respect and care more, of art and of life; because that is how love and respect and care is gained.

So, could I become a successful artist? Could I become the world's greatest artist? Could I become the world's richest and world's most famous artist? I have the skill, the imagination, and the intelligence. Perhaps all that is missing is the marketing... and the actual desire for those goals.

Sex, but No Kisses

You gave me sex but no kisses.
You gave me sex but no hugs.
And so I found somebody else,
that's why I've left you.
You gave me money,
and all you do.
You gave me you.
And gave me sex but no kisses.
That's why we're through.

You gave me love,
at first.
At first.
And then that love
so slowly died.

You gave me sex but no kisses.
You gave me sex but no hugs.
And so I found some one who would,
someone who loves me.
Don't want to hurt you
with this crude note,
but it's goodbye.
You gave me sex but no kisses,
and that is why.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thinking Up Omar Khayyam

I've been working on the composition for the Omar Khayyam painting over the past few days. There's nothing deeper than nonsense, chaos goes on and on, which is why surrealism, which contains real depth, can seem nonsensical. But there is always a meaning in there and the same is true of the Omar Khayyam rubaiyat, even if the translators tended to re-interpret the meanings time and again. My struggle with this picture came from the breadth of possible interpretations of the rubaiyat I had chosen. Time again again I came up with ideas only to find a better one and then another and then finding the first one again in circles.

Right at the beginning though I did two useful things; first when I read the lines an image jumped into my head even without knowing why, and so that became part of it, and I also tried to distill those four lines into one word and one feeling. I couldn't quite make it one word, but two, and focusing on those helped develop the picture without losing it in dreamy wistfulness, fantasy, desires to paint "amazing looking" things, shows of flair and skill, that did not have that meaning though, and were cold; empty like many "neosurrealism" images which at first seem incredible and beautiful but are meaninglessness, cold, pointless and tiring to the emotions.

Art is communication; and like a speech or treatise, or when talking to a friend, it is important for it to be "true".

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Rubaiyat and Surrealism

Today I've been working on the composition for the Omar Khayyam painting. All is hush hush for the moment.

In other news, has been updated. If it has a flavour it is leather. If it has a sound it is the crackle of an Edison wax cylinder.

It's an excellent site that explores and extols all sorts of surreal activity, writing and sound, as well as the visual arts. The webmaster is a really nice bloke and for a mere £9 a year it's a site any surrealist could join without undue pain.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Facebook Page

I've come across a few visual artists who have a Facebook "Page", fan pages that can be used for images, videos, music, text and anything else. I've create a page and uploaded all of my paintings there and all of my music that has clips, including some full streaming tracks. The address of the page is:

The Landscape of Anna Q. Nilsson 2

A good day! It seems that what I paint really affects my psychology to the extent that every bit of a picture affects my mood according to how that bit feels and what it means. Today, an eagle and so I felt predatory.

The underpainting to The Landscape Of Anna Q. Nilsson is now complete. The hair on the actual portrait is my next task, and also the composition work on the quatrain picture.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Landscape of Anna Q. Nilsson 1

I've been painting the underpainting to The Landscape Of Anna Q. Nilsson today and going through the full spectrum of emotions even extending to the erotic! I'm only on day three of my six month tour of painting duty, but even after just three days wish I could get out more.

Initial negativity gave way to joy. I'm growing in powers daily and in the past week good news has been supplanted with better news with each coming day. I expect the next six months then to be better than ever, ironically because the days will be more arduous than ever, more intense, with more concentration spent for more hours.

The painting went adequately. A second day at least will be needed. The work is smoother and finer than ever but this complex work is complex chromatically. The finished painting will go on show in Marbury village church, 9th and 10th of May. After this is done I'll begin design work for the MOMA Wales competition.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sad Songs

And a poem today too.

Sad Songs

I listen to sad songs
to make myself cry.
It stops me crying
at other times;
times in the day,
when it would be wrong
to cry.
So I listen to sad songs
at night,
when it's alright,

Anna Q. Nilsson 2

Back to painting Anna Q. Nilsson today and a second underpainting layer. There are many ways of oil painting, and painting in lots of delicate layers is often seen by the invariably snooty people who do it as the best way of painting. It's really one of the easiest ways to paint.

The best portrait I have yet painted was my self portrait which was done in three prefect layers; a plain green imprimatura (wash) to tone the canvas; a perfectly accurate and smooth greyscale underpainting; then a highly transparent glaze layer. It's no surprise that this came out so well because I had a good source image; me! That's rare for the way I paint because I'm limited by the artistry; if an idea calls for a windmill I must paint one even if it means making my own model.

This portrait is an acceptable likeness and unusual in that the source image is very blurred; something that painters of the past didn't need to worry about!! The only feasible option is to paint the picture blurred too. Trying to sharpen up imaginary lines is impossible. The whole task is not easy, but that's why it's rewarding to try.

This picture is for a local show and purely an example of my portrait painting, so I'm free to experiment. I've decided to limit my palette to black, white, yellow ochre, and burnt sienna just for fun.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Eve Eating an Apple While God Looks On

Finally completed, this was a response to a statement about the lack of imaginative abstract pictures. Ultimately this is a square apple being eaten by a circle. The square then is masculine, the frills around the circle make it both feminine and "bite" into the apple. The grassy floor extends to an artificial perspective box that terminates in heaven, shining down from the eye of God. The circle there is an identical size and colour to the spot on Eve, which aside from any breast/nipple references here is the rouge cheek of shame, at biting the forbidden fruit. The figure in the floor and the tree reinforces this feeling, and the forbidding sky near the far right (and therefore end of the story) shows the dark consequences of Eve's actions. There is much more depth to this picture than it's simple construction indicates.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


The Museum of Modern Art in Wales is holding a competition to illustrate the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a list of quatrains mostly with a religious theme. The competition will be a challenge; these are among the most illustrated of all literary works, mostly in the late 19th and early 20th century, times when complex figurative and historical paintings dominated art. Any new illustration then has a lot of competition from the weight of history. Secondly, the judges are world experts on illustrations made for these rubaiyat. Thirdly the rules are sufficiently open ended to bamboozle most people, and fourthly the closing date is the start of July, so that's about twelve weeks, which is not long for me and far too short for any modern pre-Raphaelite. I love a challenge. I must enter this!