Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey, about thirty miles down the road.

Whitby Abbey

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Ship Inn

The Ship Inn, Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Saltburn School

The Saltburn School, Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Saltburn Pier

Saltburn Pier, Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Images of Saltburn-by-the-Sea

Over the last couple of weeks I've been working on a set of drawings of Saltburn-by-the-Sea which will be available as prints and postcards. Now, I'm heading back into a more motif-based theatre of darkness and candles; over the next few months some more discernable forms should be gathering themselves together of the shadows. In the meantime I'll post some images of Saltburn-by-the-Sea. This is the first one: it's Saltburn Community Hall and Theatre, a lovely old building just down the road.

Saltburn-by-the-Sea Community Hall and Theatre, graphite

Friday, 25 May 2012

Study of Richard Hayward, oil

Maybe it's a memory of Nativity plays at primary school, all bound up with the excitement of Christmas. Maybe it's simply the visual magic of sparkly things in the vast blackness of night. Maybe it's the allegorical power of the Search: the quest for Truth; the single-minded focus on the distant and beyond-grasp. Perhaps it's having been born on the Winter Solstice (!). Anyway, I've always loved midwinter, which, to me, is a festival-of-light, sparkly-things-in-darkness metaphor for a sublime experiential truth: the all-and-nothing of existence; magnitude of import and insignificance at once; a bright light, tiny in the void. So I'm still working on this theme, which I began with 'Searching for Light'. There has to be three of them, I think. It is, after all, a magic number. This is a study for another 'wise man'. It's Richard Hayward, who is, as I've suggested before, a first-rate sculptor. Here's a link to some of his work. It's worth looking at.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Onset of Rain, watercolour

Onset of Rain, watercolour

An old boat and the onset of rain. It's driven in from the sea by the wind. I love the rain. (There's a song there somewhere.)

As you can see, I've got my act together and made a myself a watermark in Photoshop too.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Restless Sea, watercolour

Restless Sea, watercolour

The North Sea again. Restless and fractious; violent and alive.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Study of Jo

Jo (study), oil on canvas

I'm working through a few ideas at the moment. Most have grown from the comet / asteroid motif that I was writing about earlier. I've also got some ideas that have grown more from the act of painting than from an intial narrative notion. Of course, they begin to take on narrative implications, as do we all...

Often, I think, to attempt to define an idea through language before it has found its own form is to inhibit it; to draw, as it were, a boundary around it. I don't like to say too mauch about an idea until it has become solid enough to exist alone, to be more powerful than attempts to define it.

So I'm not saying much about this one. It's a study towards something else. It's about emerging from darkness; as vague, for the present, as that.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Blind Fortune-Teller

Blind Fortune-Teller, study
graphite and charcoal

The Prime Mover's in the details

It’s a bit like writing a play, it occurs to me, the stuff I’m doing at the moment. An idea for a character presents itself, semi-formed, and the act of drawing it into the light defines it. Herein lies both Art and craft. You push it back into the shadows; you draw it out again into the light.

And over time scenes form around it.

As in story, character and event are not separate. Character suggests event and event suggests character. They require one another and cannot exist alone. And they are defined by the subtlest and most complex of codes. When a work is successful, minute acts of precision (marks; words) comprise to make a whole that is at once their sum and bigger than it.

Art can be described satisfactorily through no external language, with no external lexicon. It is its own justification. Its truth exists within the mechanics of its telling.

For this reason Art towers like a giant above its critics who can barely see its feet.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Blind Woman Gazing at the Sky

Blind Woman Gazing at the Sky,

Another study for the 'comet' idea I've got. I tend to draw ideas as they come - usually ideas for faces, or at least ideas that are tied up with specific emotional resonances. It's a truly surreal process, I was thinking the other other day: I leave the sketches and studies around the studio and at some point it'll suddenly become obvious to me how these people should be cast; how they should be situated within a larger work. This usually happens in the quiet of the night. It is, as I've suggested before, a spiritual time.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Beneath a Winter's Star

I've always been fascinated by lights in darkness. I've always loved the sparkliness of Christmas. It's a midwinter thing. The need for light in the depths of the dark. I'm knocking ideas about on the theme of a comet. ('Essaying', I like to call it. Visual Art should be driven by its own means. When it relies on words for meaning it is weak at best.) The starting point is the notion of a star in the darkness of the sky, growing brighter as it nears. We live beneath the hand of Fate always. Perhaps this star is a divine communication, the dawning of a new, better (and brighter) age. Perhaps it is a lump of rock from the deep, entirely careless of our fate, but destined for devastating impact. I'm thinking of the people grubbing about on the Earth below and the things they read into something so absolutely without their understanding. So here's another study for one of them (perhaps).

Study of an old woman,

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Lights in the Sky, study

For a while now I've been visually essaying on the notion of lights in the sky: man as an animal reacting to the unknown; fear and wonder; mystery and enlightenment; a message from God or a comet from the deep, deep darkness. 'Bill, enlightened', posted a while back, was one of these studies. With any luck, the ideas will develop into something fairly solid. I feel they're gathering momentum.

This one is a study on the same theme; my second wise man is Richard Hayward, a wise man in reality and a bloody good sculptor ( ).

Friday, 20 January 2012

Lunatic Offering Advice

The night is a spiritual time.

I deliberately use a term that is vague: it describes a concept that is necessarily indistinct. In a culture obsessed with definition, with nailing things down, with – thus inevitably – seeing only the measurable, an awareness of that which is too indistinct - too vast maybe - to be measurable, is a valuable thing indeed. The truth is too big for any of us. Facts are things we invent for our own consolation.

But I digress. The night is a spiritual time. An indefinite term for something indefinable, but something very real nonetheless. The night is a time of enlivenment, of inspiration.

I’d made some studies of skulls and old women (a couple posted here) and these visual ideas had been knocking about wherever it is that such things happen. I’d also been looking at the Zurburans in Auckland Castle. There’s a rather magical quality to them, I think: iconic and metaphorical. They look out from their walls with a weight of implication, like a dealing of tarot cards loaded with the gravity of character archetypes, ancient and relevant, moving as shades behind the plot of ones life…

Late at night, in my studio, the studies seemed to take life in the shadows, and I saw her and painted her. I knew what this lunatic was offering; I’d met her kind before.

So here she is: Lunatic Offering Advice. Oil on canvas. 100 x 60cm. Looming from the darkness.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Winter seascapes, storms and gulls in watercolour

Gulls and the sea in winter. A season of potential and of magical flight. Both these are available as originals from Southampton City Art Gallery, 7th Jan - 17th March.

Winter Gull
 Winter Gull, watercolour, 46 x 61cm

Gull and Winter Storm

Gull and Winter Storm, watercolour, 46 x 61cm