Wednesday 11 November 2009

Bronze And Iron

Beakers; urns; maps; metallurgy...

I'm concerned that I might not really care enough about "the promotion of an archaeological model of amber trade in the [Bronze Age] Balkans"

Must try harder.

Palavestra, A (1993) Priastorijski Cilibar na centralnom I zapadnom Balkanu. Belgrade: Siberian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Monday 26 October 2009

Printmaking Induction

I've launched into a degree course in illustration at Solent University. The first month has been focused on inductions to the various workshops. Charles Shearer, the printmaking instructor, set us going on stencils and collagraphs. Here are my best results.


Inspired by a crystal skull in the British Museum.

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Bleach Results

I'm a little busy at the moment. Here, to keep your interest, is my first project with bleach, for my friends' first (not fourth) anniversary.

Monday 10 August 2009

Prints and Pelicans

On Friday I followed a kind invitation to the opening of Katherine Anteney's "Think Happy Stuff" exhibition. Katherine is a printmaker working in Southampton and the exhibition includes linocuts, monoprints, gum transfer and work in other methods that I don't understand.

It's now on, for the rest of August, in a place called Nineveh, a "gallery / bookshop / coffee shop" in Havant. It's a little house in an old terrace; currently the venue for some events in the Havant Literary Festival (website; web log); and I suppose it's a little like the old incarnation of the Art House in Southampton.

There are books everywhere and the exhibition is in most of the building, although mostly in the room upstairs. At the bottom of the stairs I was struck by the "vulning" print, which you can see in the gallery on Katherine's website. The "vulning pelican" is a concept that I used in one of the Access Course projects last year.

The brief was to produce "recycled animals"; ie. 3D models, reasonably accurate in physical shape, made of scrap material. After some thought on heraldic themes I chose the "pelican in her piety", feeding her young by piercing her own breast.

As for the materials, I used a D-lock (the legs); various pieces of polystyrene packaging; a child's pink glove (the spurt of blood); the stuffing of a football; sheets of plastic wrapping and some strips of scrap metal (the edge of the nest). The feather coat and wings were made from the canvas and spokes of discarded umbrellas (a common sight in the streets at the end of Autumn) and were tied together with the bristles of a broom-head (again, found in the road). I gave up on making young birds to sit in the nest.

Of all the pieces in the group, mine was one of the most "recycled", even though it didn't look a lot like a pelican. One of the tutors felt that the umbrellas, as protection from the rain, mirrored the selfless protective gesture of the mother pelican. Who am I to object? She's sitting in a wardrobe now because I don't know what to do with her. Here is the construction process.

Friday 7 August 2009

Swan and Peacock

Here is a papercut for the engagement of Tom and Alex.
The green thing is a willow tree.

Monday 3 August 2009

Bleach and Tiles

My friend Al showed me his projects from college. I wasn't aware of the great joy that is to be had from drawing with bleach on a wash of ink. It looks like it's burning through, seared in the black. It's also just like inverted porcelain. This is a doodle from my preliminary experiments. In this case, the blue-on-white image is the one that is inverted.

Today I had three films developed. Over all the pictures were pretty good. This is one of the most pleasing photos: a close-up of some of the re-glazed tiles at Winchester Cathedral.

Thursday 30 July 2009

Birthday Card

A card for my mother's birthday.

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Holiday Tape

A pirate needs a tune on a holiday.

Martyn and Rainey asked me for a car tape for their holiday. So, on no particular theme, here is a collection of tracks to cut through the noise of motor and tarmac, satisfy both pairs of ears and be stored in the memories of this Summer.

Ennio Morricone - Sixty Seconds To What?
Aqua Vista - Arm
adillo Races
The Sundays - Can't Be Sure
Carole King - Sweet Seasons
Aretha Franklin & George Michael - I Knew You Were Waiting For Me
Jacob Miller - Baby I Love You So
The White Stripes - Apple Blossom
Curtis Mayfield - Wild And Free
Calexico - Crystal Frontier
Dusty Springfield - Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
Irma Thomas - Somebody Told You
Ted Heath And His Music - Hot Toddy
Bo Diddley - Who Do You Love
Jimmy Radway & The Fe Me
Time All Stars - She's Mine
Big Star - O My Soul
The Creation - Painter Man
The Field Mice - September's Not So Far Away
Shirley Ellis - The Name Game
Jackie Wilson - Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher And Higher
Elastica - Waking Up
Basil Kirchin - Pageing Sullivan

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Young Adult Friction
Euros Childs - Over You
The Coasters - Poison Ivy
The Sonics - Have Love Will Travel
Salah Ragab & The Cairo Jazz Band - Neveen
Dungen - Mon Amour
Fran├žoise Hardy - Ce Petit Coeur
Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
The Bristols - Can't You See That He's Mine
Camera Obscur
a - Honey In The Sun
Os Mutantes - A Minha Menina
The Undertones - My Perfect Cousin
John Fahey - Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Palace Of King Philip XIV Of Spain
Laura Cantrell - Churches Off The Interstate
Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston - It Takes Two

Here is the immense organ of "Sixty Seconds To What?", on Youtube.

Monday 27 July 2009


Anniversaries must be marked. Here is a hasty drawing of our namesake.

Tuesday 21 July 2009


The past four weeks have been spent writing essays for my archaeology course. The final one went in this afternoon, two days early!

I had to let the activity consume my time wholly and I've spent as many hours as possible in the library. Furthermore, I managed to refer to my great uncle's book about monasteries.

Here is the cosy den of learning that I'm now free from for a few weeks.

Sunday 12 July 2009


Item One:
1000 leaflets waiting to be delivered, advertising what's on at the Bargate Monument Gallery up to the end of 2009. The gallery that is actually in the actual Bargate in Southampton. They're all over town now.

Item Two:
The "stroke me, pick me up, take me home" element in the design of the leaflet.

Item Three:
Further handbills for a live art event that will come to the Bargate in August.

An addition to the list of links:
The hours of fascination to be experienced at this ideal web log, Strange Maps.

Monday 8 June 2009


The Portsmouth School Of Art, Design And Media Summer Show is open throughout this week. The Access course graduate display has a prominent position in the downstairs corridor, by the offices. There's a great variety of work and the students are going on to fine art, architecture, graphic design, illustration, animation and fashion courses next year.

Michelle Lancaster's Flickr shows some of the other displays.
I found another two current photos here and here.

My piece on the poet Rumi's "Spring" went through several stages of display. My tutor's final suggestion was for the thirteen sheets to be presented tumbling out of a box and loose to be picked up.

Portsmouth School Of Art, Design And Media
Eldon Building,
Winston Churchill Avenue,

Open to the public:
06.06.09 and 08 - 12.06.09
10am - 4pm daily

Friday 29 May 2009


The sight of a kite tangled in a tree is equally happy and sad. This is hanging high above the fun pool on Southampton Common.

Monday 25 May 2009

Google Thames

Google Maps showed me these aerial views of the Thames in London.

I love the shadows of the south bank skyline on the water.

Further west, the trees in Battersea Park and the power station are perfectly clear.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Final Project

My project on a poem by the Sufi mystic Rumi is complete and handed in. The only task remaining is to mount it in the gallery. I'm a little uncertain of how that will happen but I'll put the display up here when it's done. Here are the thirteen pictures on my beginner-level hand-made paper.

Since completing that work and some archaeology essays I'm in a period of freedom - until this evening, when the next archaeology course will begin. Of more moment is my acceptance for a BA course in illustration, starting in September.

Now I need to compile a list of other projects for the Summer.

I'm enjoying this advertising campaign for Schweppes. How does anyone draw like that?

Friday 6 March 2009

Everything Except Work: 5

The last in this collection of outpourings of my distracted art.

I'm particularly proud of this, a decorative border for my father's sixtieth birthday card.

I love arts-and-crafts decorative borders, bursting with finely-drawn leaves, fruit and flowers, stemming from fancifully smooth curving branches and tendrils.

This interpretation of that... idiom... is based on some of the flora of Bangladesh: bananas, palms, mangos and papayas.

The process involved quite a bit of research and experimentation, making me wonder why I'm not submitting it for college. Here, too, is a view of my desk, at its most artistic and craftsmanlike.

Thursday 5 March 2009

Everything Except Work: 4

Next in the run-down of art projects "on the side", while hiding from course assignments.

The Red Hot Press in Southampton ran a short course on various methods of printmaking, on four Saturday mornings.

You'll notice some themes here.

First was a linocut. It's a close-up of an iron gate. Again, it's A6 but it's nice lino, and so cut properly with a variety of blades.

Next is another typewriter picture. This was the best of my entry-level efforts with monoprinting - that is, the kind of monoprinting that involves painting on perspex with ink, making any type of mark and sending several layers through the press onto the same sheet to build an image up.

We did some gum transfer too but it's the book-binding that I'm looking forward to using - particularly once I've made some paper.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Everything Except Work: 3

Things that I make instead of making the things that I should make.

"The West has a duty to depose Robert Mugabe"; "saving the planet is more important than evangelism". Agree? Disagree? Somewhere in the middle?

The Sheep Game: it's a gentle way of stimulating debate. It's used at a society that I go to at Southampton University, and which needed a stall at the jamboree for the recent visit of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Sometimes the leader of a session (well, occasionally) will designate each end of the room to be "agree" or "disagree"; make controversial, debatable or divisive statements and ask everyone to stand in that part of the room which corresponds with their position on the scale of opinion.

We thought thought this would engage people passing the stall and show how SCM works. Thus the president asked me to make three A2 boards with a fence down the middle, and with the top and bottom labelled "agree" and "disagree", so that people visiting the stand could stick a note on wherever they "stood" and make a comment.

I got a marker pen and had fun drawing country fields, trees, tumbledown stiles and different objects to bear the text. They're barren of animals because I can't draw them. To me the scenes recall the 1930s but I don't know why (it's something about clean, pastoral scenes with new methods coming in) and they call out to be populated with little people, including just one in a red-and-white-striped jumper.

We used those two questions and more and the boards ended up arustle with fluorescent post-its. We've kept them for future use.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Everything Except Work: 2

Second in the series of excursions in extra-curricular art.

A birthday card for Martyn, using one of my ongoing visual sources, the typewriter.

County Supplies' tough lino is barely worth hacking at with knives but I've a pile of A6 slabs, so I harnessed the awesome power of the electrical engraving tool. The Small Metals workshop at college have a high-powered, variable-speed system with finer heads than I've seen before. That's how I achieved the narrow lettering and lines.

The idea is that the letters of MARTYN are approaching the ribbon. This meant cutting them forwards (see above), so that they would be backwards in the print (see below).

The team in the printing workshop let me use one of their many presses - one with a big handle to pull horizontally - and the best print went to the card. Here's a less-impressive copy.

Monday 2 March 2009

Everything Except Work: 1

A guide to what I've been doing in the past six weeks, while I should have been working on my assignments for college.

Let's start off with the flyer for Steps To Peace. The Roman Catholic chaplain at Southampton University approached me to produce publicity for this walk around the centre of town, visiting six different religious centres. The event is next Sunday, 8th March.

The "church", "mosque", "synagogue" and "gurdwara" shapes are cut out of black paper, with ragged edges as if they're "whooshing" so that I could fit all four on without shrinking them. Vedic temples and Quaker meeting houses are harder to depict and I had plenty of different guesses for the four that I included.

After a few edits on the computer I gave them shadow and a reversed / inverted version; made a map, found logos for the organisations involved and then wrestled with the various bits of text to fit on.

All of this was made in Word and there's a slightly different, single-sided poster too. The most pleasing part is that, whether by my skill or that of the printers, the black shapes on the white side fit almost exactly with the white "holes" on the black side.