Archive for the ‘Arts’n’Crafts’ Category

awe inspiring

This artist, Paul Lung has just blown me away with the sheer technical brilliance of his work.

The term ‘Sketches’ doesn’t do justice to the beauty and precision of these artworks.

looking for my muse

Creatively, I’m in a bit of a funk right now.

April was a really good month for being arty and exploring new ideas. In that month alone, I:

  • Created and framed a book ‘sculpture’;
  • Started (and made good progress on) a Triptych in oils;
  • Designed three really cool website samples;
  • Sculpted & kit-bashed 3 gribbly alien Enslavers;
  • Began sculpting some even more gribbly Krynoids.

So a productive (if geeky!) month.

Now I’m feeling a bit listless. Have I shot my creative wad, so to speak? Did I craft too much, too soon?

Am I metaphorically rolling on my side and lighting a cigarette?

It’s not too bad I guess, I have still been painting my little Games Workshop models. The approach has been more ‘batch painting’ than getting a master crafted finish on each one, however. Still, progress of sorts.

I haven’t been able to get to finish my Triptych, it’s still as I left it when last I posted:

panel 2

Truth be told, I’m vain and paranoid (an attractive combination…really) and need constant re-assurance that what I do is good, or even okay. Or even slightly less than rubbish.

The reaction to my paintings (which are intended for a babies’ nursery) has been so far… underwhelming.

But really, what do I expect? People are seeing unfinished work. The people who’ve seen them so far are my friends, who I would want to be honest with me.

I think the feeling is that the style is too grown-up, slightly too dark to be fun and jolly for a baby.

I get that. I really do. I’ve always gone for the twist. I seek the darker seam in any material, and I guess that then filters back into my own work.

So that leaves me with something of a painter’s block. I desperately want to get these paintings finished, but I have little creative drive to get my oil paints back out of their box and finish some paintings that will attract at best indifference, at worst horror and a ritual bonfire at the hand of the recipients.


Missing muse.

Failing that, your tips. What do you do when your creative spark deserts you?

life, death and everything in-between

A girlTalking with my friend Emma about exhibitions this morning over breakfast. Verity and I mentioned we’d seen some stunning sculptures in a small exhibition at the National Gallery by the artist Ron Mueck.

I first saw his work in an article in a Saturday supplement back in 2000/01, so when the exhibition came up in 2003, I knew I had to see it.

Photographs simply cannot do justice to the disturbing level of detail and realism that the artist is able to put into his work. They are eerie in their mis-scaled lifelikeness, simultaneously beautiful and hard to look at.

As a dabbler in paints, I admire and am in awe of the patience and detail that Ron Mueck can put into his art. There really is no-one quite like him in the art world today.

the First Time Mother’s Joy

This is the first time I’ve done a painting in about 6 years, and the first time I’ve touched oil paints in almost a decade, so ‘scuse the rustiness and lack of technique.

Some very close friends of ours, Joe and Katie are expecting their first child this summer, and I really wanted to do something special, and personal for them.

First, I’ll give you some pictures of the space I’m working in.


The 'library'

dining room

The dining room, now a makeshift studio

I wanted to paint something that would appeal to small children, but also have an ‘edge’, hints of a fairytale darkness that would last for a few years in a children’s room, as mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve always been a fan of the darkness and more twisted imagery in children’s stories.

I started with a very loose sketch, just to give me a feel for composition and flowing the shapes together.


From there, I was able to start ‘drawing’ directly onto the canvases with a thinned acrylic burnt umber. You can see that I decided to move the figures, to give better balance to the piece.

panel 1

panel 2

panel 3

And that, for now, is where I’m at. It’s still very early in the painting process, but I’m pleased with where this is headed. I like the subject matter, the composition and my choices of a colour palette.

I just hope that the parents (and baby!) like the finished thing too…

deep into the darkness…

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

– Edgar Allen Poe

I’ve always been a fan of the fantastical, the power of the imagination to generate monsters and myths out of the ether.

And I’m also a real day-dreamer, able to let my mind wander and start seeing shapes and critters in the most mundane of objects. I once spent a whole night awake in my room because Death* was stood in front of the (closed) bedroom door, trapping me inside.

I really enjoyed sketching and painting this, the lonely traveller, lost in the woods. I like the warmth in the wood, and the lighting from the lantern. It’s a common enough theme, but I hope you like it too.


Just realised, this is actually a square illustration, so I’ll try and get some new, better pictures of it.

While we’re on the topic, here’s another, postcard sized painting (for a “Masterpiece on a postcard” competition).


This one has been painted in just 4 colours: Black, White, Red and Brown. The Satyr kinda looks like Tony Blair, which is weird. And disturbing.

*Death was a dressing gown. My dressing gown. My dressing gown I hung on the back of the door every night.

Horses for courses

People often ask me (okay one person once asked me!) “How do you draw in Flash?”. Well, I found it very hard to start with as I was constantly fighting the ways the tools worked. But I soon realised that was part of the strength – Flash helps you to draw, but you need to change your style a little, and your approach a lot.

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Cheese dreams and madness

For years I was fixated with drawing and painting these balletic, swirly and graceful figures. Humanoid plant shapes dancing in vivid flesh-scapes.

Why? I have no idea, I just liked it. Looking back on these paintings from 10-15 years ago, I see all the flaws and things I would do differently. Is it time to pick up these themes and journey back down the gullet to the source of these imaginings? Maybe, maybe.

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