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Hiding from the Centurion



Hiding from the Centurion

What a terrible name for a painting, but don’t blame me. It just came to me on one of those dull days when you’re wondering what to paint next.
The next question is how do you conceive of such a work? How do you bring it to life?

Through hard work and a lot of sketching and learning. Composition, color, perspective, the whole shooting gallery, and even then it might still fall flat on its face.

I’m thinking in terms of a very claustrophobic work. Two figures, almost meshed, cubists’ style. This however is not being borne out by my initial sketches.

I hate too much vacant space in a painting. There should be no such thing. Everything has to do something for a reason, the reason being simply to make the viewer feel something. To make me feel something.

If I can’t reach for that feeling well then it’s going to be nigh impossible for the viewer. In fact all any viewer will feel is an insurmountable disconnect and quickly click away, or walk away.

Not what we are after.

Still not sure what we’re after, but by a process of elimination we may get there. If we don’t and the idea is abandoned, so be it.

Its only art after all.


Studio Ghibli


What does Cranio Sacral Therapy and Studio Ghibli have in common?

Tie them together and then ask what do they have to do with Art, painting, art making as a whole if there exists such an industry?

After one Cranio Sacral therapy session with a practitioner whose first language was not English, he tried to describe what he was sensing and used the words ‘Studio Ghibli’. I confessed I had not a clue, and that the reference was lost on me. What more could be said.

The power of Google, one hour later I knew what he was talking about. That kindred an interest in me in the work of Hayao Miyazaki and his art, his animation, indeed his life.

‘All I want to do is make something beautiful’

He made many beautiful things. Simplicity and old fashioned great story telling combined equates to an usual beauty.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is the overlap. Yes, the overlap. Everything overlapping everything else, one experience merging into the next one governed by our power of choice and will to power.

From such a melting pot, all art is created. It doesn’t have to be great; it just asks to be created.

Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are well worth checking out, you will be rewarded. As is Cranio Sacral therapy.



Camper-van people



Paula Rego

Paula Rego is an artist I have long admired. Why? I like the figures she paints and I like the way she composes her paintings and I like the way the paintings mean something to her and tie in with the over arching narrative that is her life.

Narrative is a big thing with me these days. How we conjure up one for ourselves, how its all pervasive in how we understand the world and our place in it. How essential it is and often how it is overlooked, and yes, also, how it is so so subjective. Think egoist telling himself how he is being constantly wronged and his talent being overlooked by the world.

So I tell myself, could you paint all that please. Sadly I can’t paint it all. I can only chose not to be overwhelmed and then decide on one small aspect which most interests me at the moment. This I do with a mixture of fear and trepidation knowing that my efforts are going to fall far short of what I set out to do. But that is not a good enough reason to discontinue the journey.

Enter the words of Paula. When she’s good she’s good, when’s she’s not she’s seriously weird, which makes her good again in a non-good manner of speaking. Take it away Paula.

“The toughest thing about being an artist is getting ideas and doing new things. It is also difficult to change, especially when people don’t want you to. The most rewarding thing is doing something you like as often as you want. My work has changed a great deal over the years. You come to the end of a block of work and know you have to change. Books are very important. Vic said: “Read a book and ‘illustrate’ it.” He used that word, which was a disgusting word in the art world then. But that’s what I did”


Mouse behind the fridge

Manikin life




Sketching from memory


The hardest part is sometimes allowing the pen to do the work. To trust that you have the requisite skills and allow them to take you where they will. What skill you might say? I just say an array of disjointed scribbles?

This is a sketch of a man paring a donkey’s feet while another secures the donkey’s head. Cantankerous, unpredictable animals at the best of the times, and donkeys can be contrary too.

I like sketching from the imagination. I think it has something to do with harvesting that vast array of lived experience at will. Pulling out a moment and making it manifest on paper.

Where did that come from? My memory.

Of course you have on occasion to sacrifice representational clarity, the moment has after all passed, but it’s worth it. And best of all, anyone can do it.


A magpie at night



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