Sunday, 25 November 2007

Miss Lovely Legs

Oils on canvas, 40x50cm. I once knew a girl who won a "Miss Lovely Legs" competition because she had in deed lovely legs. Not really like this girl on the right but when I see young women in a skirt and she has these two sticks hanging down like straps of liquorish I smile and think of her!
This is my favourite way of picture-making - old canvas with a "failed" painting with it's ready-made textures and fragmented colour, which I couldn't make up if I tried, which I then overlay with fresh impasto colour. The new layer hits and misses in a kind of 'happy accident' kind of way wich I love. Here the two female figures are painted relatively abstractly and expressively with good strong colour. They are, however, being watched by another figure from just outside the picture plane with a rather dubious face which comes from I do not know, it just is. And it lends it a kind of unsettling air which I like. This is no pretty-pretty representation of females but a darker expression of perhaps models on a catwalk being observed as they strut their stuff!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Winter Solstice

oils on canvas 3at40x50cm, and 2at 75x50cm. Since my trip to Arran I have been wondering about the standing stones drawings and how I could turn them into paintings. From initial study sketches the idea that somehow they should incorporate figures became strong. But anyway I could think of doing this was always too intrusive - should the figure/figures be somewhere in the background, or the foreground, embedded in the stone or skulking around the stones themselves. Then the idea struck that they could most definitely be separate paintings, but made to form a series. Having made some simple b&w charcoal sketches to explore this idea I was convinced. I could see this set as a running mural by selecting canvases all of the same height and linking them with common features, for example the dark skyline and landform contours across the centre of each. And, of course, colour common to all. They were painted in the following sequence: Painting 1 (male figure), Painting 5 (female figure), Painting 4 (standing stones), Painting 3 (male figure), and Painting 2 (standing stones). Paintings 1 and 5 were painted over previous oil paintings of light blue tone and both considered as "failures". The others were painted on fresh canvases with no underlying texture but stained light blue. As the paintings developed one after the other the concept crysalised that they should represent the Winter Solstice, primarily because the subject of standing stones and ancient peoples seem to go well together, and, of course, the shortest day is fast approaching.

Sunday, 18 November 2007


collage on board, 30x45cm. Another attempt at cutting and pasting this time using disparate facial elements to create a new "face" in a more abstract way.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Collages 1 and 2

I've been working this week with collage. I am fascinated by this artform and often try my hand at it hopefully coming up with some decent images. I work fairly intuitively but would like to develop a more robust design intention. At the moment my intentions are in working more abstractly than representationally and usually including figures in some shape or form. The figures however don't necessarily need to be recognisable, just the use of their forms. With a bit more effort I hope to refine this into stronger, more organic, images. I'll keep trying!

Sunday, 11 November 2007


watercolours on paper, 25x34cm. For those who died to protect my freedom.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Burning Man

Don't know how both these pics were uploaded twice, and I don't know how to delete just these two, so you will just have to enjoy them all over again. Two for the price of one!
Charcoal on paper, 43x59cm. Original sketch exploring the idea of a 'Guy' sitting atop a bonfire being consumed by flames!
Acrylics on paper, 43x59cm. A few days late but this was painted on the eve of Guy Fawkes Night to express something of the moment I enjoyed when a youngster. Today, however, and a youngster no longer, the whole event I fear has gotten out of hand. No more just 'Catherine Wheels' or sparklers, but sub-atomic 'bombs' which shake the very foundations of your house! I prefer my memory of the event which was full of wonder at the fireworks exploding high in the air without bursting your eardrums at the same time! Back then even I didn't realise the effect on animals. Now we have a cat I see first-hand just how distressed this little animal gets with the whiz-bangs. he dives under the sofa and trembles there for hours until it is over. Thankfully now legislation in Scotland requires that the setting off of fireworks must end by 11 o'clock at night. Not always adhered to but generally it quietens down and the cat can come out of his bolt-hole and go out chasing meeces!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Fair is Foul

Acrylics on canvas, 60x60cm.
Another 'Halloween' painting this time taking my text from Shakespears Macbeth (Act 4, Scene,1) in which the three 'midnight hags' are brewing up a "hell-broth" to cast a charm on the murdering Thane of Cawdor.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Weel done, Cutty-sark!

How crazy is this - for two days, gripped by Halloween fever, I'm painting The Devil playing his pipes for the risen dead to dance madly around like banshees while dead bodies, still in their coffins standing open like "open presses", holding candles to illuminate the proceedings! This comes from the fantastic poem of Robert Burns - 'Tam O'Shanter'. What better poem to illustrate than this tale of a souzled farmer returning home on a dark, dark, night and coming upon these scenes in a derelict churchyard. So mesmerised was he that he forgot himself and cheered out loud "Weel done, Cutty-sark" to applaud the dancing. "In an instant all was dark" and the the hellish legion set off after him and his horse, Maggie, only to be saved by the skin of their teeth on crossing the Auld Brig at Ayr. Maggie, however, lost her tail to the bony grasp of 'Nannie', a deathly carlin. "And left poor Maggie scarce a stump"!