Tuesday, 22 March 2011


If any of you out there fancy leaving a comment/deposit/small consideration I'd be pleased to hear from you.

No, really, I would.

Then I wouldn't feel like I was talking to myself.


This is me giving one of my meaningful looks to encourage you...

Madonna of the Trainspotters

There seems to be a patron saint for pretty much every occasion, with one glaring omission - railway enthusiasts.
It struck me as a trifle unfair considering their devotion.
When you think about it, they have all the qualities of a religous order:
They are usually recruited at an early age and remain steadfast in their allegiance all their lives.
They gather secretly to avoid persecution, and wear discreet lapel badges so that other brothers may know them when they meet.
They wear a simple habit of beige.
Appearances would suggest a vow of celibacy.

Anyway, for all those delightful, mildly eccentric and very British devotees of the iron road, here is your saintly guardian.

May your ticket be forever clipped by the celestial inspector.
May your summer seaside excursion be not filled with footie fans.
Grant, we beseech you, the grace to smile when rude words are spoken into your microphone by irreverent oafs as you try to record the sound of a Class 5 thundering through Little Knobblington on a wet wednesday afternoon.
And, when your number is up and the Great Trainspotter in the Sky signals that it's the end of the line,
may you be eternally chuffed.

Monday, 14 March 2011


The ancient Romans believed that the creative process was a collaboration between the artist and a spirit helper that lived in the walls.
If you put the hours in, worked hard and struggled to master your craft  it would reward you with moments of sublime, inspired magic.
It's a lovely idea as it takes the pressure off trying to be brilliant every time.
Sometimes your Genii (hence genius) will pop out from behind the magnolia to lend a hand, sometimes it won't so there's no point beating yourself up if you've tried your best only to find the little bugger is having a duvet day.

However, this painting:

It began with a question: Would a Gothic washday be all dark and stormy skies and funereal laundry?

The model is Leanne, who is adept at all manner of performance skills involving silks and Samurai swords,  ( think Cirque de Soleil with sharp objects...eek!).

She struck me as someone with a lot of steel behind those pale blue eyes, and even more available if it came to a fight.

Once I got going with this painting I remembered something she had said about being underestimated and prejudged by people who choose to form an opinion on the slightest of impressions.

Not a mistake I was going to make with someone for whom the cutting edge is not just an expression.

Anyway, this is what appeared:

I'm not entirely sure whether this is a result of the Wall Pixie going for broke, or too much Bovril.
I like to think that even getting the unmentionables out on the line can be heroic, and that strength, beauty and magic are just as important when it comes to the daily grind.
That's why she has a tattoo of another Roman Home Help  on her shoulder - Hygieia, the first Domestic Goddess.

ps. For those of you who thought the pictures are a bit on the small side - try clicking on the image.
Either it will get bigger, or your computer will get much smaller....

At last

...and there we go.

Didn't include the confetti/leaves after all as it just looked wrong.

'nuff said.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Wedding Blues

It's 5.00 on a Friday and I have been working diligently all day on a sensible, money earning illustration job.
I am seriously thinking of impaling myself on my own pencil, but I am too bored to sharpen it....
I know, 'I'm lucky to have work at all in the current climate' etc etc.
Mustn't grumble.
I am now going to turn a blind eye to myself while I bunk off early and get on with The Big Blue Painting.
Also, if I post images of it so far, it will make me finally finish it.
The concept came from a photoshoot last spring.
A crowd of outrageously decorative creatures had turned up at a rented studio to model for me.
Amongst them was the tallest, most exotic and ethereally beautiful young man and his equally stunning girlfriend. (The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted that she also features in the Adoration of the iphone)
Enter Andrew and Amanda.
He had been described to me as a peacock, and it was obvious that together they were a painting waiting to happen.
During a teabreak, they stepped outside and as they did so a wedding party went by and gave them the sort of look normally reserved for things you've trodden in.
Considering the bride appeared to be wearing a meringue and her intended bore more than a passing resemblance to crippled penguin I thought it was a bit thick, really.
At this point it would be easy to get all crusading about narrow minded bigotry and xenophobic intolerance towards people who step outside the perceived norm, but in truth it was really just one numpty moment.
The fact that some of my lot had come on the bus in all their Gothic splendour without any problem sort of balanced the whole thing up, but it gave me just what I needed as a counterpoint.
I'm more concerned with celebrating the colour and magic that interesting people bring to the world.

So, here are the various stages so far.
It's a big painting (about 6'x3') and it's taken flippin' ages.
I've changed the background so many times it weighs more than I do now.
I started it last April and it's been treading on the back of my shoe ever since.
I've finally worked out was missing, as a result of standing in Westonbirt Arboretum on a windy day.
A big gust virtually stripped a Sycamore tree, and for a moment I was surrounded by falling leaves  - just like confetti.
No more excuses, I shall now finish it off and get it photographed.