Friday, 15 January 2016

"Look out my window and what do I see . . ." David Bowie and Nativity windows

Here are the most recent in the occasional window painting series.
First, another 'In Memoriam', this time for David Bowie. I scraped off the Nativity scene on Monday morning and painted, in a state of disbelief, with the excellent BBC Radio 6 Music coverage of Bowie's death and listeners' responses on in the background, his portrait from the 1977 'Low' LP cover in its place. His Space Oddity / Changes / Velvet Goldmine EP was one of my first records and he's been a constant musical presence for the last 40 + years.
This painting was for my wife Julie - a lifelong and very upset Bowie fan -  as well as for me, and of course for anyone passing by who noticed .
As before, it's painted in acrylics on the inside of the glass of our bay window. Call by and take a look.

On the same window over Christmas I did just a detail of the magnificent Adoration of the Shepherds by the Genoese painter Bernardo Strozzi (1581 - 1644). I drew on the whole scene in chinagraph but having painted just the middle section - the Madonna and Child - I decided to leave it at that.  I like the look of artwork where the main part is well-finished but with rough, torn or in some way unfinished edges. Because of those strange sketch books I had as a child, perhaps ; a sort of tracing paper that you scribbled over and the picture was revealed, or those where you painted water on and a pale coloured picture appeared ? Or was it those Gerald  Incandela photographs where he painted developer on the photographic paper that I tried to emulate in the darkroom as a teenager ?
Anyhow, the original painting in it's entirety is in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore if you're in the area . . .

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas Window 2014 - and some other ribbonry

Here's a picture of the studio window this December and also some cards that I've done recently. The window one is another temporary painting in acrylics on the inside of the glass, while the cards are Unipin pens (0.3, 0.5 and 0.8mm) coloured in with watercolour.
I'd always liked lettered scrolls twisted around things, which led - over the last few weeks - to the anniversary card (the kitchen knife and D'Arcy Spice apple), then to the birthday card  (the bunch of roses), and the Christmas card ( the bunch of winter foliage from Rachel's garden) and the window version.
The lettering on the window's a quote from 'Christmas 1979' by Billy Childish and the MBEs. Check it out here:

I've put an additional picture of the window, slightly altered on New Year's Eve. Amazing what one can do on Photoshop, isn't it ? Or even with a Stanley blade and some more paint.

Before . . . .
. . . . and after

Saturday, 21 June 2014


A sad and unexpected addition to the occasional series of obituary portraits on the studio window - the extremely funny Rik Mayall.  He for me, despite a succession of highly regarded comic roles, will always be remembered as Rick from The Young Ones, and of course for this quality performance too:   Marvellous !
Like its predecessors this is painted in acrylics on the inside of the window. Rather blocky and rough but definitely Rik !

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Oh my hat, Dillinger AND Yellowman AND Lee Scratch Perry at Colchester Arts Centre !

After The Abyssinians played there last summer Colchester Arts Centre seems to be on the circuit for Jamaican bands touring the UK. Within a few weeks of each other I've recently had the pleasure of seeing, hearing and indeed drawing first, Dillinger and Yellowman  (both backed by the excellent Sagittarius Band, who didn't even pause for a moment or a drink between the two headliners), and second, Lee Scratch Perry and The Upsetters, who were supported by a cracking local band, Hobo Chang - .
Anyway, I managed to get down to the front and, with some discreet illumination from the phone torch, get these pen drawings done. I used a 0.2mm Unipin fineliner in a Pink Pig spiral-bound A6 sketchbook and coloured them in with watercolour later.

A couple of Dillinger, one with The Sagittarius band behind...
.... and a couple of Yellowman, one with the band.
Hobo Chang ....
.... The Upsetters ...
... and Lee Scratch Perry !
(yes, that is a birthday cake on his head, with lit candles too)

36mm Dell'Ortos

Prior to cleaning the years of petrol stains off these carbs I thought they'd make a good subject for a painting. There was no particular intention to use such a restricted palette - they really were (and indeed still are) just shades of ochre, grey and mauve.

36mm Dell'Ortos
Oil on canvas    12" x 9"

Beware of the Flowers ....

These are some of the flowers from Rachel's garden, which she takes down to The Loft for table decorations.  I was inspired to paint these from life last summer; after a particularly onerous commission I needed some simple beauty.  
Selections of flowers were picked and artfully arranged (really !) and painted in oils in the portrait booth up at the studio..
They're currently on display at The Loft

Jar I 
Oil on canvas   9" x 12"

Oil on canvas   9" x 12"
Orangina I
Oil on canvas    9" x 12"
Orangina II
Oil on canvas   9" x 12"
Jar II
Oil on canvas    16" x 20"


Monday, 7 April 2014

Maverick 2013

We spent a great weekend at the Maverick Festival - - last July and I managed to get loads of sketching done, while listening to superb music and meeting all sorts of interesting people. It's a thoroughly civilised set-up at Easton Farm Park, and with a complete freedom that has long disappeared from the bigger festivals.
Here are a selection of the drawings; they're all done with the usual UniPin 0.2mm in an A6 spiral-bound Pink Pig sketchbook, then coloured in with watercolours later.