Friday, 20 February 2009


For a group show i'm taking part in I was asked to do one piece on the theme of intoxication. I decided to stick with a similar colour scheme as the fox and took the week off work to do it....I picked a simple idea and thought it'd be fairly straightforward...which was a bit daft in hindsight.

It has taken this week every day from morning till gone midnight to get 80% through and i'm still not happy...It needs more work, and perhaps the entire background needs to be darker. I'm at that hating everything stage which I just need to work through...I have yet to go over it with oils so I am hoping they will add the depth which I think it's lacking at the moment.

Here's some sneaky peeks anyway

I'm going to keep going tonight and perhaps tomorrow give my eyes a break and do something else.

Hope you all have an excellent weekend!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Fox Scan

I was able to scan in the fox today. It still needs some touching up - the only problem with oils and glossy glazes is that tiny particles show up in the scanner against very dark backgrounds like this.

Clicking the image will show you a much larger version

I'm not 100% sure what this looks like on a regular screen as i'm on my elderly laptop. It may be a bit dark - I can change that later though.

One thing I was going to mention is that I will be outsourcing the printing of the paper theatres in the near future (not the dolls yet), it will no longer be on the etching paper which is incredibly expensive, but rather on thick 350gsm satin or matt card - one or the other. It'll bring the cost of the theatres right down. I'm wondering what people think about that idea?

Sunday, 15 February 2009


This is a really quick post to say thanks for everyone's lovely comments about the fox, it really does mean a lot to get feedback. He's pretty much dried now so he'll be scanned and photographed as soon as time (and battery charging) permits.

Meanwhile I am having a bugger of a time trying to get frames I like for my paintings. I have so far tried to bid on around 10 different frames on eBay only to watch in horror as their price soared to some ridiculous level....What happened to the good old days when we found bits and pieces in our attic and sold them at the car boot for £10?

Once upon a time, you bought old things in order to save money..Of course not in the case of fine antiques, but it was possible to buy something second hand at a reasonable price - not anymore. Old things are now 'vintage' and with that label you might as well double the price.

So i'm having to resort to clock cases. Even they seem to be selling for very high prices at the moment.

Picking through the stash of old clock parts i've managed to fashion a new frame for the next painting and have made 2 new frames with the help of my scroll saw...It's not fine sawing honestly but it has a rustic feel to it - hopefully I can swing it.

It's not a bad thing to make do and mend in fairness.

Also, a quick note about a new book released this month by Norma Toraya aka CrankBunny - It's called Paper Puppet Palooza and is full of great paper engineering projects. I was priveleged to have 'The Heart Revealed' featured in the gallery pages along with some other artists I love like The Pin Pals.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Liquin Love

As much as I love Ponoko, until they get a manufacturer in Europe I simply can't afford the postage costs to here, particularly as I tend to order large cuts. Without them however I am reduced to sweating and cursing with a handheld fret saw...The blades break often, my back hurts, the air turns a shade of blue. So I gave it up and bought an electric scroll saw....

I almost took my eye out with it to begin with because the instructions on the machine are wrong.....seriously, it has a picture showing you to turn a key in a given direction to tighten or loosen the blade, I was trying to loosen it to change to another blade but was unknowingly tightening it...I couldn't figure out why it was having trouble turning the key when there was suddenly a sound like a gun shot and a piece of blade went whizzing past my face. I was rather shook up after this, and started sawing with some trepidation....

Anyway, things went better after that and I managed to saw out some wiggly shapes without cutting off any fingers.

It's by no means perfect and it's no laser cut, but it's a start!

Other than that I sat down to paint the fox taking plenty of breaks to look at it and drink tea.

Robin claims (after seeing many foxes on the hill) that my fox is essentially our cat with a kind of foxy coat. Foxes are much more angular in real life - I've looked at plenty of photos but still haven't seen one close up...So my fox is quite warm and round. This is still just acrylics so the hair is a little sharpish close up.

My magic ability to take 100% blurred photos helps to soften the effect though.

Addition of foliage and flowers

And finally the first coat of liquin. My favourite substance. It smells unusual and painterly, and it gives rich depth on the first coat. It's pure magic and it means I can work oil glazes over the top once it's dried. I know many of you like it aswell!

The top of the bush.

I noticed that some of the little rituals around painting are beginning to take a strong hold recently. I don't start without a hot cup of tea beside me. I have to have some kind of incense or candle burning (my favourite incense shop: Simply Incense ) and I listen to comedy (Hitchikers guide to the galaxy radio series).... I suppose you start with something and your work goes well and then you rely on it? Anyone else have this kind of thing?

A beautiful incense which i'm lighting a lot at the moment is this one:

Karin Perfumed Prince