Wednesday, 26 May 2010

a whole load of woodpeckers

One post a week is too few. I hope to be starting work on a story book spread about a "Fearsome Beastie" with the author of 'Bathrrom Lion' which we will then pitch to whoever will look at it. As soon as I have any sketches dear blog...!

Here's a woodpecker painting I worked on over the weekend as an alternative to a birthday card for my dad. A greater spotted woodpecker has been hanging round my folk's garden so I thought why not. I don't know if I'm on a downer about my work of late but even after two versions I still haven't quite got the feel I was looking for. So many, many woodpeckers...what's the collective noun...? A 'splinter' of woodpeckers...a "rat-a-tat-tat"...a "percussion'...? Answers if you please... The more stylised top painting is my final version. I was vaguely aiming for a Charlie Harper feel (not that I could ever come close to his characterful abstractions. He really knew his birds and animals), but I feel mine lacks a spark. It is a woodpecker though so I guess it fits the bill OK. It was a chance to experiment with acrylics though, something I've not done in years. I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely they behaved in comparison to gouache. Like all my recent paintings I'm still frustrated by the colour matching though. My digital roughs seem to undergo a change for good and bad when I move into paint. Hopefully it will come with time. Onward. A fearsome beastie asap...!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

first synthetic living cell, where might it end...?

Just a thought on a piece of news I heard today. Scientists are at it again (they never stop do they...) and have succeeded in creating the worlds first synthetic living cell by implanting artificial DNA into an empty host cell. Not yet the scare story that some of the press would have you believe but where might we end up with this genetic jiggerypokery...? As yet the results of this procedure aren't all that different from the genetic modification we have had for some years now, and I'm sure there are many laudable uses for the process, but I do wonder what the consequences might be if we don't think very carefully about whether we should do something just because we are able to... Has the fuse just been lit on an almighty boom...?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

a face to the name... too scary...?!!

Wow two posts in one day! Careful Matt people might say you are actually making use of your blog...! I've been umming and arrrhing on whether to post this or not in it's present state but I might as well put it out there and see if it frightens the kiddies away! While working on the "Lion In My Bathroom" book the publishers asked for a biog and photo for their site (I won't link, if you are unfortunate to happen on it while surfing the 1's and 0's maybe a stiff drink will help you over the shock :). Now I'm never happy in front of the lens so I thought I'd play about with a self portrait pic which I could maybe also use for the blog profile pic. It's been years since I seriously tried a self portrait and the same thing still seems to occur. I don't know about anyone else but do you find your self portraits always come out too stern and intense...? Now perhaps that's to be expected when you work using a mirror... but I was working from a photo where I tried to lighten up! I think this could benefit from some adjusting.... say cheese maybe...?! But a blog is for life not just for the highlights so in the interests of sharing here I sort of am.

Broome Street Review illustration.

I was delighted to be contacted some weeks back now by an arts/literary journal based in New York who had happened upon my blog and liked an illustration I had done for an Illustration Friday topic "instinct". Isn't the web a great provides the impetus to come up with work and (if you are very fortunate) people who are prepared to pay for that work. So I'm indebted to The Broome Street Review for liking my work enough to get in touch and I can heartily recommend you visit their site and blog if you are in the mood to have your post modern artistic sensibilities stimulated and stretched.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Painted Mandrill

Gouache and collage. 285mm x 232mm

Here's my long overdue Mandrill in the intermittent 'twisted creatures' game played with my good friends Kev & Phil. It's been a funny one this. I'm pretty happy with the collaged mandrill itself but I kinda got a bit carried away with the painted background. I think it would have benefited from a bit more planning, as I would usually do. Maybe it was the Matisse programme I saw on TV recently that got me carried away... Compositionally and graphically I don't feel it quite holds together... that said I'm pleased with the colour palette and 50's vibe, and I had fun loosening up and just going at it Pollock / Miro style so not all bad. As an exercise in getting more comfortable with gouache I cannot complain too much I suppose.

Monday, 3 May 2010

marmalade flapjacks

Hi blog! Miss me...?! Following links via two excellent, and talented, fellows blogs (Michael Robertson & Abz Hakim ) I happened upon the marvellous they draw and cook blog run by Nate Padavick & Salli Swindell....phew enough name checks for now....What a great idea for a site as so many creatives are bound to like getting creative in the kitchen too. Some ridiculously talented folks have posted submissions to this blog (illustrate your own recipe to the page layout brief on the blog) so I hope my humble effort cuts the mustard (no pun intended :) I had a blast doing the illustration. Deciding on the arm layout was a bit of a fiddle, and I nearly forgot the honey (though that's not why the honey ingredient has bees instead of an arm, I just couldn't fit another arm on the page... that, and I like drawing bees...) but it's great to try and get your head round visualising a process like this... a bakery story if you will. I'd be interested to hear if anyone 'reads the story' and attempts the flapjacks... PS. if anyone is wondering on the strange text spacing on parts of the layout there's a page gutter in there I was trying to steer clear of.