Friday, 16 October 2020

Royal Moroccan Palace Stencil

 I think I mentioned I booked the decorator, I won’t say exactly when he’s due to start because I don’t want to freak myself out.  It’s going to stressful because he’s doing three rooms and I want paper on two walls, which will need perpendicular lining paper first. 

Here is the Moroccan stencil that I absolutely adore.... it cost me a hundred Dollars and arrived quickly.

The Design Studio produces a video how-to which is very comprehensive.  I’m going to use a roller to apply the gold.  The gold paint I’m going with is runny, so it will need to be worked over paper first to make sure it’s quite dry to use.  To my mind this means it will have create a very handmade slightly uneven finish, which is what I want.  Personally, I don’t want it to look like wallpaper.  I want it to look handmade, slightly imperfect and hopefully a little ‘aged’ in the process.  

When the decorator saw it we debated which way up to use it. Thankfully it is clearly marked with laser cut Registration Marks, so there is no chance of errors.

The day job is a little bit of a problem now and I’m kind of stressed about by this and that, so to take my mind off it, I’ve started bringing all my stuff together to produce this canvas painting of Marrakesh.

So here is my colour palette ( you just head over to TripAdvisor and swatch up some photos). The thing to remember about Moroccan is those massive skies and what all that gorgeous light does to colours.  

I cheated and bought tester pots. Hats off to Howard Hodgkin who said ‘I don’t mix my own colours, I’ve got far more important things to worry about in a painting than to stand there wasting time mixing colours’.  I completely agree. 

New colours happen in Morocco because of so much reflected light. It’s that colour I want in the painting, the colour of the shade juxtaposed to the light. 

So this painting is going to be ‘the colour experience’ of Marrakesh.  I haven’t been to Marrakesh but I’ve been to Morocco lots of times: dry heat, sand in the streets blown over from Sahara, arches, lace like geometric patterns on walls, palm trees, buildings of immense elegance and style.  Also shade, much needed shade and the colour of the shade and the buildings.  

I also want a variety of textures, in painting that equates to ‘variety of matk-making’.  So for that I want....

Well I’ll stop there and put the genie back in the bottle...

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Light relief


Sometimes I want not to have to think.  So yesterday’s blanched piece received some colour.  I wasn’t working from an image or even a fixed memory, I was just drifting...  Looks a little bit like a Jehovah’s Witness Lighthouse magazine cover, you know what I mean.  There’s quite a bit of heaven in there, kind of thing... especially where for half the image I decided to preserve the lightest area in a dome shape.

Then I saw something interesting 

Then I thought about this

Then chopped off the part that didn’t work as well and ended up with this...

I don’t know if I killed it or sorted it out.  Sometimes that happens, where I just don’t know for days or months, even years, if I did the right thing?  Then I have to go over why I did it, and ask myself if I would make the same choices again.  Only because I tend to work quickly, sometimes very quickly and the decisions I’m making seem, sometimes, like isolated sounds, rather than connected thoughts...

Or even conversely ‘sounds’ that are too connected, unwittingly to harboured preconceptions, which is a danger all the time. You want the created item to conform, because it’s all within a theme or context, but crucially you don’t want it to look like it’s in a cage.  That’s the essential difference between unique and mass produced, if you ask me.

I’ve got so many things that are abandoned for these very reasons, because to me, at the time, they were not good enough.  Then, ages later I see them and think, that’s wasn’t so bad after all.

Thankfully it’s usually only an overnight chance I need to reassess things.  Because after all, you can get so close to the things you create, that in the end you can’t see them anymore, because all they represent is 96 different decisions you had to make and each one was possibly a make or break type of ordeal.

My only complaint now is: is it too happy?

While researching the life and work of Jeff Beck, for my short story about him and CH (see earlier posts), I came across this truly amazing piece of live recording 

Jonny Depp and Jeff Beck’s cover of John Lennon’s Isolation

Monday, 12 October 2020

Do you see what I see...

For a long time I’ve been obsessed with horizons and sunsets and all the weird colours you can see at sunrise and sunset.  Even really grey skies have something going on, although notice how everyone becomes very still when it’s heavily overcast for days on end, like last week.

Apparently that has a lot to do with our ancient sense of direction being not so accessible at those times...?

As soon as the skies broke, I contacted the decorator about my Moroccan bedroom.  I booked him for two weeks hence.  Oh dear me, I have a lot stuff to move, clean and generally go to town with. 

I’ve found a writers website that interests me, so I’ll slow cook that idea. 

I found the rest of my very important art tools, especially for clay and Lino.  

I need to type up 6 short stories and buy a 750ml tin of gold paint for the decorator.

I need to work out how the canvas of Marrakesh is going to look, but I can’t push that far enough because I need to see how the room will look in the end. I want an ‘experience’ of colour but I don’t want too much coming forward.  

Here’s my latest musing, I think it’s going back to textile again, but we’ll see...

Sunday, 11 October 2020

Neanderthal & HS finito


Neanderthal skull took longer than I thought. It wasn’t until I got some muted greens and orange in there did the thing come to life. 

Here it is on black

And for good measure, here he is on wood grain

The first one is the better photo.

Last night I was working on my short story about, you-know-who (see yesterday’s post) and something really ‘weird’ happened.  Basically I was scribbling away and I felt I’d done enough, after I’d got down an exchange of dialogue between the two main characters.  I ended up using a term that I felt HS would have adopted in that situation.  Don’t ask me how I knew, I just had a strong feeling.  I left it at that and went off to do more research. 

So I ended up watching a drama about when he was caught, starring James Bolam.  So there I was viewing this drama and at the point where he is questioned by the police for the first time, he passes the detective in the doorway and directs this precise term at him.  Now that is creepy!  I thought, what shall I do, shall I stop writing the story or continue?  I couldn’t make up my mind, I was that shaken up. 

Then when I went to bed, I had a very strong feeling that I should finish it.  Don’t ask me where this feeling came from, but it was you know what I mean?  So I got up this morning and finished it.  I included the aunt and the neighbour and now I’ll type it all up and fiddle with it a bit more.  I read it all the way through this morning and think I’ll edit one chunk right down, but apart from that I’ll keep what’s there.

I don’t want to post it on a website where people will demoralise me, that would be counterproductive.  Then again, I could publish it that way, but use a nom de plume.  

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Neanderthal skull sorted out - stage 1

 Well I was right (TG), what I did in my head did eventually work on paper.

We’ve got the drama back!

As you can see, I just tore the thing out and did some smooth cuts with the scissors in certain sections.  I like the frayed edges, I like where it’s going.  Alas I chose watercolour for this one, and that medium takes AGES to get any depth.  I suppose I need to dig out my hairdryer to keep to schedule.  (Goes off to find the hairdryer...)

On another topic:

I did some more research on Harold Shipman.  Can you believe I managed to find exactly what I was looking for. As a hypothetical imaginative based-on-fact interpretation blah, you have to be able to defend your views.  I think I can possibly do that now.  

There is still a lot of secrecy around his domestic situation, for instance.  In my quiet moments, I like to think someone he knew might one day read it and say “how did she know that?”and gasp.

I need to bring in some other characters, I’ve decided an aunt and a nosy neighbour.  You can derive a lot of suspense from a nosy neighbour and the aunt is going to be a very memorable character.  She can be super-loaded with nuance.  I can see her in my head already, she’s thoroughly fleshed out, even down to her clothes and hair. 

I’ve found a few photos of when HS was a boy, a teenager, a young doctor and a family photo. 

* Have a great weekend ppl

Friday, 9 October 2020


 Well, if you’re locked up, down and in, it’s good you wound up here. 

This is where the past comes to life and our ancestors are given a nod. 

I’ve had an incredible week, I worked so hard and last week too.  

My Neanderthal short story is finished. Exhausted I watched a documentary on Harold Shipman on iplayer, three episodes, unbelievable.  So the next day I got up early guessed it, I did a short story on him too.

I had quite a bit of material amassed so it wasn’t a situation of the horror of the blank page.  I corroborated a bit of this and that and basically got to work.  I’m happy but not thrilled, with the results so far.  I like some but not all of it.  I need to bring in some more texture, sort of thing.

It’s a shocking story, but because we’re told he was always really nice to people, it’s hard work him out.  As we all know, he committed self murder in prison with some sheets, so we’ll never really  know why he did what he did, but my short story takes place when he was 16.

I suppose I’ll have to change the names again etc, or publish on a writer’s website.  I don’t really care too much about that.  It’s not about fame and fortune (although some kind of payment would be nice) it’s about expunging the emotion.  The trouble is, it doesn’t really end the emotion it just calms it down for a while, I suppose.

So here is a very quick and somewhat disastrous drawing of a Neanderthal skull.  

It’s the illustration for my short story.  I don’t like the drawing, it’s not good enough but even so, the essence of my first impression is there.  I’ve actually thrown the image away, as I felt I could do better. Now I’ve started it again and just look at what happened....

You see... it’s static, completely unanimated, it’s like a diagram. It says nothing.  There is no feeling. It’s just fact: a skull.

Technically I understood the angle of the head better this time but what does one do with this?  Marks communicate something, this drawing is not communicating a single thing to me now.  

How can I bring back the original energy and wonder - to this?  

So as I was walking in the rain I decided I need to distress the paper then reinstate the image.  It works in my head, we’ll see if it works on paper. 

* One day things will be normal again but it seems a long way off.  I’m going to need a trip to the sea again soon...

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Venus de Laussel

Ok well I bashed out a ton of work and felt I had a little spare brain space to contemplate this bas-relief sculpture that I consider to be a very important early link in the possible evolution of Celts.

I’m not happy happy with it as a drawing, but there are certain areas that work. The important thing for now is to discuss it.  I think I might draw it again with better light.

In the image we can see a very specific depiction of a Cornucopia, or horn of plenty.  

Now it could also be a buffalo horn but, the sculpture is about 20,000 years old and so I think what we’re probably looking at is the earliest type of horn of plenty they used then, before they made them out of straw.  This receptacle was a hunter gatherer’s carrier bag if you will.  

The sculpture itself is very important because of the way she’s holding the buffalo horn.  It’s basically a symbol of abundance and this woman, who is much younger than her carving at first suggests, is saying to all who visit that cave, ‘in this region you will find plenty of food’.  

At that time people died around aged 35, in my view even younger, but I’ll leave it at 35 for now.  I put this woman at around 22 or 23.  She’s had a few babies already and that’s another element of the symbolism, she’s also saying ‘your pregnancy will be successful in this region‘.  When I first saw this carving I thought the head was kind of fudged, but now I can see she’s gazing at the cornucopia, so her head is in profile.  Again, she’s wearing a Gravettian hair net. 

My personal view is that the women back then that could give birth without being killed in the process, went on to have quite a few babies.  For instance, for brothers to share a wife, is not unheard of in remote regions. 

Her tiny short legs suggest to me that her lineage she was strongly Neanderthal, although a modern human by now.  

May I say, I don’t actually understand why people are so anti Neanderthal because we owe a lot to those very strong people.  For starters they lived in forests most of the time, and in England we have nothing but the utmost respect for all knowledge about forests.  I don’t think that their almost a million years of accumulated knowledge was simply ignored by the ‘small headed‘ invaders.  Things aren’t usually so abrupt. 

There are so many people anyway that really look like Neanderthals, they don’t even realise it.  Personally I’m fascinated in people’s head shape. I think head shapes are pretty special, especially when you relate them to overall stature.  I can usually tell from a person’s head shape where they originated from, in terms of their ancestors. I think ancestors are cool and deserve respect.  All cultures respect ancestors.

So, I decided to do another short story, but this time about Neanderthals.  I think they deserve an airing. I also wanted to weave into a piece of creative writing my take on the whole handaxe debacle.  I have a pretty strong feeling that each social group had a handaxe, and I have a really ‘original’ take on the reason why.  I can’t wait to finish that one, but at the moment the brother of my protagonist Neanderthal is in a coma.  I can’t say anymore for now, you know how it is. 

* He who is always hungry is walking around somewhat neglected.  Why is having a DH so often like owning a dog I ask myself.

I figured all my short stories about Paleo folk can be published on here, but my murder mystery stuff and other stories have to be posted elsewhere.