Extended Break

Sorry WordPress – I’ve been cheating on you with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr (among others) – I’ve been absorbing the abnormal to north east Scotland hot weather of the last two weeks – changing my natural pale blue complexion to sun-worn brown – like living in a Mediterranean weather graft, driving with the windows wide and making no difference – going out for runs late on and it’s still too warm – but best of all teaching my daughter to ride her bike – three days this week and she had it dialled – now it’s part of her – that great indelible knowledge that can’t be seen but can’t be lost – a magic still point in a child’s life – I can do it and now I’m gone – no more holding on from dad – just more letting go.

I’ll get back to the art one day. Soon. Accidentally. Maybe.


Holiday from Art/Fitness


A quick scan of the excellent wordpress app tells me that I haven’t posted anything since the 19th of last month. That is clearly not often enough. The reason being, however, is that I seem to have taken a break from making any art since college finished. I’ve occasionally doodled in a wee sketchbook but that’s been the extent of my creative output. I thought I would be inspired to do some network in the artshed over the holidays but that hasn’t been the case so far. Instead I’ve been, arguably, busy with housework, the garden etc.


The other day I decided I have had enough of looking at my ever expanding middle aged waistline and set myself the goal of getting rid of it. So I dug out the running shoes and got to it. I don’t know what methods other folk employ when getting into, or back into, running but I like to start off with a few sessions of walk/run/walk/run. I count steps – 50 initially – as I go along and gradually increase the number of running steps to walking ones. I don’t need to reiterate the universal benefits of exercise here but already I feel a bit sharper, although there are a few unfamiliar aches in the legs now.

This morning, after I’ve dropped the kids off, I’m going to get some mountain biking back into my life. It’s been way too long since I had a blast round the local woods. I usually just leave from the house but seeing as my route back from nursery takes me past a nice big forestry commission wood with a variety of trails, it’s too good a chance to miss. School finishes tomorrow so I won’t have the chance to indulge myself like this for a while.

I do hope that I can keep up some kind of exercise routine and that it’s not just a summer fad. Much as I love the aesthetic of decay, it’s something I need to try and stall in my own body.

Fabulous Writing Etcetera


Charlotte Brontë’s tiny poem – 1829

– The Brontë sisters often wrote their works in a minuscule handwriting on whatever scraps of paper they could find. A magnifying glass is often required to read the texts. This early poem from a 13-year-old Charlotte was scrawled on a three-inch square paper. Scholars believe the miniature handwriting was a way for the sisters to hide their work from prying eyes and due to the expense of paper at that time. Others suggest it’s the scale that the sisters’ beloved toy soldiers would have written in, since the playthings were an integral part of their childhood fantasy world that inspired their earliest works. –

I pinched the above from the fabulous art propelled tumblr page. You can probably guess I take inspiration from some of the work posted there. Anyway, I love handwriting and use it in my work occasionally. The teeny script above is wonderful – makes me want to go and fetch some dip pens and ink and get scribbling.

I haven’t posted much of late but I have been busy. Still working on the song series of constructions for the exhibition in a couple of weeks. I seem to be having a little trouble finishing them – there about six that are just about done – just need that wee final push to get them to exhibit standard (or sale standard).

Much as it is nice to sit and blog, my time may be better spent in the art department. More to come though.

The Joy of Spring

Ok, so it is still Baltic out there but at least the snow has gone. It has been great to get outside and do some pottering in the artshed and garden in the holidays. Molly has been happy painting and collaging away in the background so I can get on with things.

Plenty wood kicking about the garden to play with.

Candle and WD40 are a quick way to get the burnt look for a piece.

Trying something different with the layout of this one – liked painting some mud on too.

I discovered that the metal barbecue tray had rusted to destruction – nevermind – nice material for a construction.

As nice as it is to do this stuff I really should be finishing off bits and pieces for the portfolio. Monday draws ever closer. Tonight I think I’ll have a bash at filling the remaining few pages in my sketchbooks.

WInter’s Rot

Hands are masked turning over the leaf, page, cover.
Pilfering your own possession.
Nothing’s left, it all makes sense.
To use up the broken, torn, cut discard and shape it again for a new eye.
The solution sleeps in the bags, boxes, vessels where forgotten purpose escaped.
Give something to cut, reshape, realign and not waste.
Hold, think little, and do.

Steve Jobs Has Had A More Positive Impact On Humankind Than Jesus Christ

There are six minutes left of my forty-third birthday. It has been a good day. I enjoy birthdays – well-wishing, presents, attention – who wouldn’t?

I am now one minute into my forty-fourth year. So far, so good.

In the photograph is my new wireless keyboard. It is great. It’s an apple product – of course it is great. They may have their critics and their failings but Apple certainly know how to churn out gorgeous chunks of industrial design sex. One of capitalism’s more agreeable triumphs.

There is a Dave Brubeck documentary on. It’s jazz that I like, which is a new sensation to me. This is good. New sensations are thin on the ground as a person ages. It also gives me the inspiration vibe – the one that makes me want to get the paints out. It’s a vibe (and I don’t believe in ‘vibes’) that is commonplace these days – I have a few ‘directions’ at the back of my mind – things I want to play around with.

Aside from the painting, construction etc I’ve been toying with the notion of making my own paper. A cursory glance at the internet gives the impression that is is a discipline with a very low barrier of entry. I have already begun to assemble some rudimentary materials for it. I want to take it further than just paper though – stick some unlikely materials in there, see what occurs.

There is a danger that I am all talk, and no getting things done. I begin the next block of college projects next week and time will be squeezed again. Less time to experiment. Unless I do it within the college framework. Yeah, may ask the tutors if anyone has any paper-making experience. One of the new subjects is textiles – I’m sure I could shoehorn paper-making into that somehow. I look forward to it.

3-D Form is another new subject. I am led to believe that we are going to be making a container of some nature. Right up my construction alley.

I noticed that I have 7% power left on this machine. I’m glad that we don’t have a similar percentage alert left on our lifetimes. Although, I am sure it is a concern mulled over somewhere in the ocean depths of our subconscious.

Thirty-seven minutes into my forty-fourth year and 5% power. Numbers whisper ‘go to bed…’

Between Projects and the Joy Of Snow



Another couple of photos from the virtual camera roll. Ice from my water pot that I took in tonight — it is bitterly cold out there. The other one is some more fooling around with ink and bleach – I could spend days doing it and it’s so easy to get nice effects.

I am currently at the end of one block of projects and about to start another. The only subject I haven’t finished is printmaking but I hope to solve that tomorrow with a whole morning of image making.

I’m looking forward to the new subjects, including 3D form where we are making a container of some kind, and also textiles. I think my love of mixed media might tie in well with textile work. I am also looking forward to a digital unit – cant wait to get my hands on photoshop and the lovely iMacs the college has. I hope to take my mucking around on iPad to another level.

There is a whole load of snow here in the Scottish north east – so that means that tomorrow I take my mountain bike for the commute to college. I like commuting by bike anyway but when it’s the MTB in the snow it’s just an absolutely fantastic buzz – especially if the traffic is slow because of the conditions.

I was out making a snowman with the kids tonight and it was great fun – I think they missed not having snow near Christmas. They will be fed up with it ins couple of days though.