Thursday, 31 January 2013

21 January 2013

Every day that I go out into my studio I start with what I call a "Subconscious Musing". This gets me going. The brush is wet, the arm is moving, marks appear. It relies purely on how I feel at that moment with judgement suspended on what it might turn out like:

Subconscious Musing: Mixed media on sugar paper, 59x86cm.

There is a whole new world waiting to be explored so long as I suspend my critical faculties and just go with the flow. Most often the results are just a compost heap of confusion...a rag-bag of detrius, an adulterated mess (such are the vageries of my mind). 

Occassionally some suggested structure presents itself and I see meaningful images that please me. I am contented and so the day's real work can begin.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Pyramus and Thisby

Well, the penny finally dropped with an almighty clang!

I've been here before, of course, (many times but without proper recognition) but when this current manifestation arrived with a bang I knew in my heart completely that this is what I have been searching for - unabashed expressive painting carried out with total confidence. It's the culmination of many hours standing in front of an easel, and yet it comes so easily. Very strange, but also very satisfying.

 And what better subject than humongously huge mammy and daddy pigs!

"Pyramus", Acrylics on paper,43x59cm.

"Thisby", Acrylics on paper, 43x59cm.

Mammy Pig was separated from her paramour by a brick wall but they snuffled and smooched through a gapping chink much like Pyramus and Thisby in A Midsummer Nights Dream:

THISBY: O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kisse'd thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.
PYRAMUS: I see a voice; now will I to the chink,
To spy an I can hear my Thisby's face.
THISBY: My love! thou art my love, I think.
PYRAMUS: Think what thou wilt, I am thy lover's grace;
And like Limander am I trusty still....Oh, kiss me through the hole of this vile wall.
THISBY: I kiss the wall's hole, not your lips at all!

These two champions can be seen up at Wester Kittochside Farm as part of the National Trust for Scotland's Museum of Rural Life at East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.

ps:  All's well that ends well with many little piggies to testify to that!

"Three Little Piggies", Acrylics on paper, 43x59cm.

snuff snuff, grunt grunt to y'all!!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


I'm not very good at imagining real settings for my figures since they are mostly created from small sketches, usually in an A6 sketchbook, without any surrounding space. I therefore tend to paint either nondescript backgrounds or invented abstract shapes. In this instance, however, my Subconscious Musing from the previous day was still fixed to the wall having just been photographed and, after a couple of painted studies of me wearing this bright canary yellow sweater and necktie I finally made the connection and decided on the Musing as background:

"Self Portrait in Yellow", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

I think there is great potential in this since, instead of a "manufactured" background out of thin air, what better combination than my very own images. What could be a more personal expression than that?

This is the original Subconscious Musing drawn in charcoal and pastels:

"5 October 2012", pastels on sugar-paper, 59x86cm.

And here are the two other painted studies:

"My Favourite Yellow Sweater", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

"Yellow-Knitted Necktie", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

I try to make an effort sometimes especially when we go out somewhere. It makes a change from being covered head to foot in paint-splashed zipper-jacket, dungarees, and sannies!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Boxer

Put 'em up!

In a fighting mood: in the right corner is me, and in the left corner is also me. Looks like the one in the lower-right corner has the upper hand but in fact is running away ( big scaredy-cat). The one with the gloves hops around the ring beating all-comers standing on one leg...what a winner!

"The Boxer #1", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

Playing around with the placement of the figures and trying to abstract the shapes without losing them entirely - a delicate balance, much like my one yellow-legged pugilist!

This is probably a better and more powerful arrangement:

"The Boxer #2", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

And three legs are better than one! Here the boxer, and now his minder, are alligned together in vertical format making for a stronger, bolder, image especially with the gloves and arms a deeper bloodier orange/red right in the centre of the picture.

I have never really been a fan of boxing - too much a feartie and don't like the damage caused to one human bean by another, but I did in the past appreciate the art of boxing practiced by Muhammad Ali (lots of running away and not allowing his opponnent to land a punch on his pretty face!)

Both these painting studies (above) came from these two original figure studies on a single sheet so you can see how the development of the idea went:

Figure Studies, acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Lady Muck

The Merchant City Festival 2009, and the Lord Rochester Band are rockin' and a rollin' in the streets of Glasgow with Lady Muck leading off with "Almost Grown":

"Lady Muck", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

A brilliant street festival with many great bands. Lord Rochester is a fantastic, lively, band that really got the crowd going, and great to see a female bassist holding the beat together with her Epiphone viola-style bass.

This painting continues the quest for a simpler, expressive, figurative style reliant on simply drawing with the brush.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

We Did

Moving forward with the "Painting That Is Not Painting But Drawing In Another Guise" but looks very much like painting to me, and very enjoyable too since I have dumped all my previous pretentions and focussed solely on creating simplified figurative images.

These two youngsters are here tying the knot, some might ungraciously say, just in time:

"We Did", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.

At this time my intentions are to produce a very sketchy and fluid image without painting the whole picture to death. This means that some areas of the painting naturally will remain unpainted. The lines and the shapes are intentionally "unfinished" to emphasise their transient nature - always moving and as expressive as I can make them. 

In the long run this will undoubtably change, as does everything, and perhaps in time will become more refined but, hey, who knows what lies ahead?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Slow Return

It's been a long while since I have posted anything because I have had very little to say, but it's a New Year and for what it's worth here is what I have been up to these past six months:

My painting dis-satisfied me somewhat and therefore there has been a need to address this problem. Two issues were outstanding - i) technical ability, and ii) technical ability. And iii) subject matter. (Big Pink Bows was indeed the last straw now happily consigned to the wastebasket :o). What tf was I doing and where tf was I going?

"History is Bunk" as they say so I decided to junk everything I have done so far and go back to basics.

I cannot claim to have made so much progress that it is all sorted, what with shingles and other illnesses along with more hours grandchild-minding and playing cars, but it has given me a great sense of liberation to focus purely on what I think I do best - draw, and then to paint like I am drawing!

"Three Graces", charcoal on paper, 59x43cm.

"Self Portrait as a Young Bearded Man", acrylics on paper, 59x43cm.