Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two Parents Looking at a Very Isolated Child 1

First day of underpainting Two Parents Looking at a Very Isolated Child. I've only got four paintings, drawn out and left to begin now, including this one. With luck I can underpaint this, another small one, and finish a third one in the next five days.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Today five of my paintings were dropped off at Bickerton Village Hall, Cheshire for a week long exhibition (including two weekends). It was just one part of a good day made good by the person I spent it with.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poetry Competitions

I entered three poetry competitions today: The Ilkley Literature Festival, The Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition 2009 and the Academi Cardiff International Poetry Competition 2010. Winning poetry competitions is just a matter of putting the right words in the right order. Putting the right words in the wrong order won't do at all! And don't even think about using any wrong words! I anticipate success and glory, as I do every year.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Depression Caused By ... 4

Today I mostly finished this painting. It's called "Depression Caused By The Selfishness Of Hiding Selected Personality Traits".

Erich Fromm

Here are some quotes from Erich Fromm, a classic self-analyser.

"One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often."

Or in other words; those with experience of having less gain more pleasure from a normal existence.

"Both dreams and myths are important communications from ourselves to ourselves. If we do not understand the language in which they are written, we miss a great deal of what we know and tell ourselves in those hours when we are not busy manipulating the outside world."

C'est bon!

"Care and responsibility are constituent elements of love, but without respect for and knowledge of the beloved person, love deteriorates into domination and possessiveness."

Rather an oversimplification but a good philosophy to live by.

"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality."

A curious circle of analysis. Everyone produces their own personality! Also the tenses are wrong, you can potentially "be". If you "are" then your potential is realised. States vary. Opinions of potential vary. I think this quote makes little sense, it might be more worthwhile to say that one should improve oneself, although what is improvement is a matter of opinion. I think he meant that a goal makes one happier; enough said.

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."

Courage has nothing to do with it! If you only do what is certain you are indeed not being creative. Creativity is revolution. That's a better way of saying it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Tears Were Blind

An idyllic day, and even a new song with a tango rhythm (x..xx.x.) about an unsuccessful novelist who thought he/she was ugly due to an unfortunate childhood accident that resulted in irregular grey skin patches (okay, I made up most of that but the story still fits the song lyrics). I plan on finishing the rather disappointing Depression... painting tomorrow.

My Tears Were Blind

When you're feeling low,
looking at yourself,
you can only see
what you will not be.

Sadness has a way
of reflecting loss.
Tiny flaws are great.
Beauty turned to hate.

My tears were blind
but not my love
and now the mirror shows a face I did not see.
My tears were blind
but not my love,
it was inside and it took you to set me free.

Squeezing out a heart
nobody could see.
Passion for each word
lonely but still heard.

Yet my passion's red
looked a grey to me,
and to my surprise
love opened my eyes.

My tears were blind
but not my love
and now the mirror shows a face I did not see.
My tears were blind
but not my love,
it was inside and it took you to set me free.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Depression Caused By ... 3

Painting today, a tiring day, and a curious picture. I wrote this poem too.

I Am My Cells

My cells are not aware of me.
They live and die and let me be.
In citadels of me they grow.
My cells are great but they don't know.

In throngs they pulse to their own beat,
they thrive, divide, respire and eat.
Their lives seem empty by themselves
but they make me, I am my cells.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


A minimum amount of work today but still very busy. I fitted three frames with brackets, scanned in my Birth of Summer painting, went for a walk, used a lever to lift a tree stump single handed (I considered the task a challenge!), finished writing a short and soppy love song and will soon prepare the colours for tomorrow's painting work. I've been a bit low on vigour, but that's a good thing for a day off. A good day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I finished the underpainting to an old picture called Clinging On today. It's another "giant stone man in the sea" type. My art group Art Support is on tomorrow, the last meeting before a long summer break so I'll prepare for that this evening and perhaps listen to some music, read, or otherwise relax. Tuesday night is my Friday night and I feel happy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Tasks for the future:

1. Poems. I want to make a book of poems with someone but we're getting a bit stuck due to lack of direction. This must be fixed.
2. Framing. Two stained today.
3. The novel. I'd like to write a novel quite quickly in a sort of subconscious ramble way but I think I need more reading experience. Painting will get in the way until October... I think... but even if I just write a page or chapter, it's better to get this story/idea down than let it go unread for all time.
4. Paintings; Two big ones to start, The Apocalypse Of Finance and Christ In The Garden of Gethsemane. I've got about 4 small ones too, and about 6 in progress that aren't that big. These are for the next few weeks.
5. Plans for a new set of oracle cards that use surrealist neurosymbolic programming and my other ideas. I'll need to finalise a sort of therapy that goes with them. It might even be possible to have subsets of the pack for different needs and occasions; from phobias to confidence building. This is for next year.
6. The Music Box. I've not written much new music since the painting season started but have done a little bit. I want to do this in 2009 if not release it.
7. Flatspace iPhone will be out later too so I'll have to help with that one.

That will do for now I think. Of course that list excludes promotion of each thing competitions, etc. etc. etc. Tick tick tick!

Financial Circumstances 2

Today I painted a lump of coral in a painting that is about the global financial crisis. I will finish it tomorrow. The painting that is, not the global financial crisis.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Go to Sleep and Dream

My first new song in nearly a month. A simple lullaby.

Go to Sleep and Dream

Go to sleep and dream of butterflies of blue and white.
Let your dreams dispel the night.
See the gentle grass nod heavy in the summer light.
Everything will be alright.

Let worries fade to moonlight grey,
let starlight take your hand.
Let silken horses guide your way
to where you understand...

As your liquid arms grow heavy in the cusp of night,
as you mind gives up the fight,
as my soft voice sends you floating in the ocean deep,
close your eyes now go to sleep.


Perfection and Necroamoria has been selected for exhibition at the M.O.M.A. Wales competition. I would have been really sad if it had been rejected I think, even though by the end of it, like many of my paintings I had become obsessed with the flaws and imperfections. The prize winners are notified in advance I think so it looks like I've not won one, although there is a visitors prize so if you are near the pretty town of Machynlleth then pop in and vote for me.

This morning I've been experimenting with glitters and gold powders. I've also applied the imprimatura to the overdue portrait of Mr. Artinum, and researched other pigments (it seems that only Kremer sells Dioxazine). I also printed the half size tracings for Christ In The Garden of Gethsemane, due to be my biggest painting yet.

This afternoon I'll start reading The Wasp Factory. It's a day off really so I'll try to use it for fun projects and relaxation, even though I'm already making a list of possible jobs!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Money Just Running Out 5

I finished the underpainting today, here you can see the coins becoming butterfly shapes.

I hope to add gold and silver glitter dust to the picture. I've got some glitters and dusts for this; including bronzing and gold pigment. Both are very fine dusts, the Sennelier pigment is finer. I think I'd like something a bit more coarse but finer than the normal "glitter". I'm also undecided when to apply it but I think I'll do it after underpainting but before glazing so that any spills that cannot be removed can be safely and effectively overpainted invisibly. Then there is the choice of size. Options; old gold size (good but I've seen it yellow), acrylic resin varnish (soluble but clear, might dry too quickly), another drying oil (safflower?), or even wet oil paint itself.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Money Just Running Out 4

The most Dalinian things I've ever painted! Reasons;
1. The colours.
2. The reflection-like patternation which was made up instead of copied from anything.
3. The fact that they are drippy gloopy blobs.

One more morning should complete this underpainting which has taken an arduous four days so far. Thank you to the people who have helped me stay (relatively) sane. I've hardly done any other work during the day but the painting is good quality. I regret not writing more music.

I have just got a load of casting supplies; clays, plasters, resins. I will come up with inventive things people will want to buy. I have an idea for a pen holder that looks like Isaac on an altar and you have to stab him with the pen. I expect that everyone will want an Isaac to stab. I might make him hold a brush instead of a pen.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Money Just Running Out 3

I painted the checked floor today. At the last minute I changed the design and erased a lot of stuff for repainting tomorrow. I expect this painting to take longer than expected!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Money Just Running Out 2

Day two of underpainting and today I painted the man turning into butterflies. I used cobalt turquoise light, which looked very blue when mixed with black and makes lots of nice greens with yellow ochre. Yellow ochre, red ochre, cobalt turquoise, black and white can underpaint anything.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Money Just Running Out 1

First day of underpainting Money Just Running Out. All is on track.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I went to the Chapel Gallery in Ormskirk today to drop off two paintings for the West Lancashire Open. I stained and varnished the frame for my summer painting, then got working on a new picture for Art Liberating Lives.

Finally I began preparation for Money Just Running Out, a picture that I've painted twice already but abandoned each time when part way through. With each revision I've added more and the idea is already two years old. I will underpaint it over the next four days.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Today I made a frame for my summer painting, ordered some casting supplies, then spent too much on more general art supplies including gold pigment and bronzing powder; I was unsure which was best so bought both. Then I helped string up two paintings, then I broke the glass trying to string up a third one (grr). Then I played a bit of Beethoven expertly on a piano (sort of). Then I was instructed, or guided, or helped, or assisted! or at least half-assisted to half-make half a dog from willow. Then I re-glazed the broken painting with plastic glass, and attached D-rings and string. Then I answered my emails. Then it's now.

I'm tired but feel a bit uncreative so I'd like to do more before going to Ormskirk tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Bombing of Dresden

Today I finished a painting I last touched in May. It's about the bombing of Dresden in World War Two and was inspired for a second time after reading Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I wrote second time because I had earlier thought of painting this and was finally persuaded when I read that novel. The violets are very strong here and notable because they are neat, pure dioxazine in glazes of different depths. The blackest ones used to describe the outline of the ruins.


I awoke with a nightmare. I'd been playing a fruit machine and winning. For some reason the coins became liquid, water or milk spewing from the machine. I played with 10p and 50p coins although even those seemed to be half coin and half water. My brother appeared and I greeted him warmly, telling him to have a go. I left him to play the machine but I sensed he wouldn't be as lucky as me. Then the action cut to an airport in a country at war and a BBC news correspondent who looked like the actor who played the Curious Orange in Fist of Fun. He was interviewing a general or some official, fighting was taking place in the distance. While the camera was on the interviewee there was ping and gurgle noise. The reporter had been shot live on television. The camera man focused on the correspondent whose neck was torn open blood pouring from the wound. People rushed to help him as he collapsed to the ground, covered in blood and grasping his neck in an attempt to stem the flow. He died, then I awoke.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Today I travelled to Machynlleth to deliver Perfection and Necroamoria, my entry to the competition held there. The journey took all day but I had a nice hour or so in the town. I had one strange moment in a craft shop because I felt I'd been there before, it was exactly like a shop I dreamed about, a year ago perhaps.

Most of the day was spent waiting on the train or for trains. I managed to sketch out a few painting ideas, and some ideas for a new art project too which by chance exactly fits in with my 2010 goals of neurolinguistic surrealism.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Lightning of Creation 2

Today I finished the underpainting to The Lightning Of Creation. In quality it's one of my finest monoliths. Given that this only took two days I'm frustrated that I'm not painting more right now but daily tasks are getting in the way.

Tomorrow I'm off to Wales to drop off Perfection And Necroamoria for judging in the Tabernacle Art Competition 2009. On Friday I'm going to Ormskirk to drop off two paintings for the West Lancashire Open. Wednesday is Art Support, and on Thursday I hope to be doing some willow sculpture for the first time. I'm already full of ideas for that.

I now have four underpaintings awaiting a glaze later and still a huge pile of drawn out pictures that need starting. I must run!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Memories of Glitter

I bought some glitter yesterday when I wasn't expecting to! Later I discovered it was the perfect thing to add to my current painting, The Lightning Of Creation. The message of an artwork is the most important thing but it's craft and beauty are important too. The glitter for the lightning is perfect here, it is itself creative, a leap above the plain oil paint so to speak and the design and shape of the abstracted zig-zag lightning perfectly suits a "flat" colour.

My recent experiments reminded me of a picture from my earlier days in 2005 called Symphony Of Peace (pictured). My only painting to include glitter, silver, gold and black enamel paint, and silver oil paint. It was painted at a time when I was experimenting with different techniques and materials. A truly positive and happy picture.


Last night I had a dream where I was blind and being targeted by a sniper. It was an unusual dream because it was mostly black, although in the dream white paint glowed, it was at some point squirted out from a tube. My bare neck was touched by someone's hand and that lit up and gave the sniper a target to aim for. I awoke with slight fear and panic.

In other dreams I ran along girders high above the ground, and hopped around on mattresses piled up that for me were risky and dangerous due to their height, but my mother who was also in the dream didn't worry about it.

These dreams relate to my activities from the previous day and are mostly about insecurities about dealing with people.

Friday, July 03, 2009


A tiring day. The plan for the last two days was to paint a picture called The Lightning Of Creation but the smooth poplar wood panel was too absorbent and yesterday's sky looked ugly. I should have either primed it to ensure no absorbency or painted Dutch style with solvent rich media, where the paint behaves like watercolours in the early stages.

Today then I cleaned the panel off and used cellulose thinners to great effect, even the dry oil paint was removed and the original gesso priming. The board was sanded down to the wood and reprimed better than the panel when new. That took over three hours because of the different ways I tried to repair the damage.

I also did my usual editorial duties for Bytten, and wrote two poems on the theme of "Opportunity" for a future photo-book collaboration project. I've sketched out two new songs too and need to get these finished tonight. I've ordered a new batch of epoxy casting resin and pigments and hope to use the poplar panel on a multimedia artwork that combines painting, collage and resin casting, and converted some CD files to MP3, cleared out my old CD-ROM backups and ordered some Lego for the casting, with the hope of using it as an experimental mould (it has the advantage of squareness but also the ability to easily change the size). I re-traced The Lightning of Creation to a new surface, applied the imprimatura and sealed the back of that and the poplar panel with GAC100, then drew up a rough list of sound effects for three new sets. Tomorrow I'll go to Chester to collect my Albion painting.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Jobling Gowler Art Competition 2009

I'm just back from the reception for the first Jobling Gowler art exhibition. My painting The Silkworm received a judges commendation and I got a generous bottle of bubbly into the bargain. I'm pleased with this, that makes the fourth judges commendation in 18 months and that's one for every competition I've entered that awarded commendations. It's not a prize but I feel that winning a prize is inevitable.

Jobling Gowler have done a first rate job at organising this. The pictures are in he reception area of their offices which I think means its open to the public every day. It corresponds with the Macclesfield Textile Festival which runs for about two weeks until July the 19th. They don't ask for a commission on sales which means that my painting is on sale for a lower than usual price of £495 for a painting of this size.

Next for me is the Tabernacle competition held by Museum of Modern Art, Wales. Delivery of the painting for consideration by the judges is next week.