Some of my pictures, with just a little bit of the story of each one.
This is what I spent a lot of time working on in 2012! click the picture for the story:
This is Gustav Mahler, the composer. I started drawing Mahler for my friend Eddie Creedy at Christ Church in about 1982. He was my neighbour, and a musician, and he introduced me to a lot of classical music as well as aiding and abetting my appreciation of Frank Sinatra. I kind of lost contact with Eddie before I gave him any of the pictures, but I have a load of sketches like this one in various states of scribble and incompletion. I quite like this one: it's big and scruffy and could have been drawn by a gorilla with a blunt stick. It's based on a photo on some record sleeve. Mahler's is an interesting story. And yes, of course, I used to listen to Mahler while doing the drawings. Can't you tell! Click the picture to see it bigger. Eddie, if you're there, this is for you.
Gustav Mahler. Pencil, A2.
This unfinished one on the right is Steve McQueen as he appeared not long before his death. I based it on a photo from the cover of Paris Match. I spent huge amounts of time in one of my undergraduate years sitting in the west wing of Christ Church library doing this picture. I used progressively harder and harder pencils until eventually I was drawing completely invisible lines, like drawing with a glass stick. I used to draw in the library because the light was good and the tables were big and smooth and empty. I never did finish it. Only the eyes are more or less done. I haven't touched it for a decade, so I guess in that sense it's finished. Click the picture to see it bigger.
Botanical Gardens, Aberdeen
Steve McQueen. Pencil, A4.
This is a 6-foot long oil-painting of one of my abiding memories of southern Iceland. There are ragged rain clouds (of course), but bright wet sunlight bouncing off the sea in the distance, out towards the Westman Isles. Eyafjallajokull is off on the right, Solheimajokull is out of sight to the far right, and those telegraph poles just head off into the far distance. It reminds me also of the prairies: but smaller, and somehow darker. The prairies seem always to stretch out underneath the sky: in Iceland the roof is altogether lower.
This is the "abstract"version of the same
scene, which currently hangs in our living
room! No one ever has a clue what it is.
This is a big oil on board, about 5 foot tall. Another unfinished one, I'm afraid. The poor chap, conductor or painter as you choose, has not even got his hand painted in yet.
This might be my favorite drawing. It's only a scribble, black ink with coloured pencil, but I just love the colour and the texture and the simplicity and the fairy tale. I did it in 1988. The text in the corner says: "The old man found something very beautiful on the shore, that reminded him suddenly of someone he had once met, very long ago and very far away." Click on the picture for a bigger version
Ayrton Senna, for Debbie.
Balmedie (the parrot sketch). Pencil, A4. (1986)
205 Church Plantation "Esmerelda, for Debbie". September 1990, ink and watercolour.
Inspired by (copied from) the work of Ivan Bilibin
note to self...
This tiny biro and pencil sketch of a shoe-shine
boy at work was dashed off in a field note book
while I was in Ecuador. By way of payment I got
my boots shined!
St. George's Day Off Oil on board, 24x36 inches. £25,000
The pale flag forgets until tomorrow damsels in distress. The burning land covers me for once. I am the Earth that will not burn and that can wait Until tomorrow Dragons have their day.
This started out as a spoof for Tony, poking a bit of fun at one of his "pieces". His was called "St.Georges Day", so this one was done on the theme of "St. George's Day Off". In the end I really quite liked it and I have it over my computer desk at home! See the dragons in the sky? This also features in my "Creatures of the sea floor" story, and has connections with the Iceland views higher up this page!
After doing hardly any drawing at all for years, I started trying to get back into it a bit in Summer 2009...
Here's a practice drawing I did of the jockey Jimmy Fortune for Debbie's friend Lonnie.
And here are a couple of little oil sketches I did as exercises to start finding my way back into oils...
And then after a gap of more than a quarter of a century here comes Mahler again! I did this as part of my getting back into painting. It's acrylic on board, 12x9inches.
In 2011 the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra paid me real money for the right to use this image in their publicity materials. I think that's the first time I got paid for any art, so I guess I can now call my self a professinal artist.
Water soluble oils, 2011. Venice. Click image to see bigger version.
Geography Blackout Poems
2011. Based on the work of Austin Kleon I stole the idea of Newspaper Blackout Poetry and turned it into Geography Blackout Poetry. I wrote a blog entry about it here. You can see a bigger version of this one by clicking the image. It is teh opening page of the book "Geography - A very short introduction" by Matthews and Herbert (OUP). Perhaps this should go on the poetry page. But I think not really: to me it's more picture than poem.
Back to Mahler, but this time BIG! Click the picture for the story: