Monday, August 31, 2009

Longest Waves are the Deepest

I typed up the words and music to a song I wrote a month or so ago today. Here are the lyrics. I've got about 100 or so lyrics that need the music typing... it's a job that will need doing for many years, I suspect! This is a bouncy song called The Longest Waves are the Deepest.

The lights were low at the inn
and so was I that night.
My girl and I weren't getting far
I was unsure of where we were.
I met a sailor, he said to me.

The longest waves are the deepest.
The shallow waves don't last long.
The longest waves are the deepest.
Let it grow.
Let it grow.

The man was grey as the sky
he has the sea inside.
I told him of my troubled heart,
of all the doubts I tried to hide.
His eyes were smiling before he said.

The longest waves are the deepest.
The shallow waves don't last long.
The longest waves are the deepest.
Let it grow.
Let it grow.

Now forty years have gone by
since I was there that night.
My girl is sitting by my side
although her hair has all turned white
just like the sailor, who said to me.

The longest waves are the deepest.
The shallow waves don't last long.
The longest waves are the deepest.
Now I know.
Now I know.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The underpainting to Moons and Keyholes is complete! It took three rather arduous days to paint this because the edges of the reliefs too much longer than anticipated. New techniques always take more time and are filled with lessons and setbacks and so far this painting, small though it is, has taken perhaps ten days of work and experiments, several kilograms of plaster and three wood panels. The picture is at least one layer and three more days from completion although I'm considering adding an intermediate layer to make it shine more.

The work on these relief paintings is much more extensive and I'm in two minds about whether the time spent is worth it. Such moments of doubt are common when spending the time but now, when the work is done I feel that the answer is yes!

Next I must prepare for the great Apocalypse of Finance, the second great version. That mammoth painting will test my skills but there are few, not no but few, new techniques and exercises to stretch me so it should be more forgiving.

This afternoon I want to get my big stretcher bars out. I have excellent stretchers and the finest canvas for a painting 120x80cm in size, which to me is huge. I have a slight fear of painting on it because of the cost and trouble of preparing it. Such a fear is a great sign and the best incentive if not proof that I must paint on it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Moons and Keyholes

Although my work on this painting will go largely unappreciated I still want the world to know that I've put ten hours of slow patient care into it today. One more day to go to complete the underpainting, I think.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Moons and Keyholes

Today I'm painting moons and keyholes, the female moon unlocking the solitude of my lighthouse life. The picture includes plaster reliefs and is for the annual "Art Liberating Lives" event. The underpainting will take three days and for a change it is a grisaille.

Over the past few days I've been finalising the composition to my Apocalypse. I must do that next.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


For the past few days I've been experimenting with plaster and making reliefs. These are not easy to make without great effort it seems. My three main techniques are;

1. Pouring plaster into areas destined to be embossed. This requires fencing those areas off with a deep stencil. Result... imperfect. Plaster is not naturally self levelling which makes it hard to get an even finish, although that does make the strength and integrity of the stencil parts less important.

2. Casting a plaster slab or surface then carving. Ideal in many ways but time consuming. Carving is an art form in itself. Transferring the surface to be cut away is a skill too.

3. Making 3D objects from air dried clay, polymer clay, or anything else to make a three dimensional relief. This is time consuming too and the materials used each have advantages and drawbacks. Ideally a reasonably thick but flexible plastic (lino?) that is easy to cut and shape and it archival (won't crack or deteriorate) is needed.

There are many more options but those are the ones I've experimented with. In addition to the pros and cons, it's important to note basics like the surface, weight of the plaster, how well it adheres and things like that. I'm increasingly thinking that option two, a complete bas relief carving is the best solution.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Paintings

Two newly scanned paintings, Financial Circumstances and The Glorious Birth of Summer are now visible in the Oil Gallery of

Over the past few days I've been experimenting with plaster and working on the composition of The Apocalypse of Finance. I'm full of ideas and disappointed at the lack of painting I've done this year. I must try harder!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I've complete The Lightning of Creation over the past few days. The colours are muted and subtle and smooth and lovely in the right light. It uses gold pigment acting as glitter (very fine gold powder). After some consideration I used oil paint as the adhesive.

Today I finished the drawing for a new painting for the annual Sue Ryder competition. I am considering painting two versions using slightly different techniques. The tracing (transfer) stage comes next.

I've also completed "The Apocalypse..." but have decided to rethink it. That painting about financial crises is ultimately about chaos and stability; that chaos is inevitable but so is stability, those elements manifest themselves in the butterfly; specifically a Swallowtail, perhaps the most "chaotic" and mathematically fractaline of all creatures, although there are other candidates. I must make the fundamentals of the philosophy evident in the painting as well as make a beautiful picture because good philosophy like good mathematics and all truth is beautiful.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cheshire Open Exhibition 2009

Four of my paintings are awaiting exhibition in the Down To A Fine Art Gallery, Stretton, Cheshire. This commercial gallery is just off the A534 Nantwich to Wrexham road and is playing host to the Cheshire Open Exhibition 2009.

Penalties, half a broken heart, There's A Lot To Be Said For Hormones and Idiotic Gardener Cheerily Planting Flowers on the Moon will be available for purchase among with the works of over 60 new Cheshire artists that will also be on display.

The exhibition runs from the 14th to the 23rd of August, with a preview night on Thursday the 13th of August.

Friday, August 07, 2009


Day three of the Apocalypse underpainting and the figure and blue sky are done. I'm about to prepare the submission paintings for the Cheshire Open Exhibition 2009, held by an independent gallery called Down To A Fine Art.

Things to be creative with:

1. My Sue Ryder painting eep! I've got lots of plans for this sophisticated work but haven't got started yet! The Apocalypse is taking up the time.
2. Poems!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Luca Signorelli and the Apocalypse

A second day painting The Apocalypse Of Finance, a picture about the global financial crisis and chaos theory. The sky is venetian red which is rapidly becoming my favourite red, well earth red because the luscious (benzimidazolone) transparent maroon is my ultra favourite. It's a pity than Winsor and Newton are the only company that make it, but thank you to them for it.

Anyway, the apocalypse includes lots of butterflies and attractor curves. There is also a figure inspired by those in Luca Signorelli's apocalypse; the fresco with the blue and green naked people. A bit of today's work is shown.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The First Grasp of Rebirth 1

Today I finished the underpainting to a picture called The First Grasp Of Rebirth. The hand was painted only in light red, black and white and shows how a minimum of colour can make realistic looking flesh.

I've got lots of paintings ready for glazing now but I think I'll begin the underpainting to the Apocalypse Of Finance this week, that will take many days. I also need to stage and complete a picture for the annual Sue Ryder exhibition in London and start of portrait of my friend Andrew Williams, and finish everything before the end of September. Each day seems long and exhausting.