You should always look down on a circus 2

You should always look down on a circus 2

I’ve been busy, honest, working on drawings and sculptures for the circus piece as well as drawing every day and continuing with VR stuff.

I added four drawings to the circus

, this is one…

circus pastel 1 of 4

circus pastel 1 of 4 pastel on paper A1

I made some of the elements in VR using masterpiece VR and reduced the polygons in 3ds Max to take them into Unity.

I’m also making the harlequin, juggler and tumbler in plaster, the harlequin is the tallest piece standing at about one metre.

I had another early morning revelation about drawings I’d made that might be good to create in masterpiece VR so I started a few of these, I’ve made a new gallery

for the drawings – an old sketchbook that I’d buried as inadequate – so that I can view them in VR as guides when I build.

This is a film of one of them in VR.

I’ve also been looking through the camera trap I have in my garden, a few days ago I got this film of a fox.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this yet, there is at least a drawing or two in it, but we’ll see in time.

You should always look down on a circus

You should always look down on a circus

Charles Bukowski said “we’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus!”, at least according to the internet – I’ve got several Bukowski collections and I can’t find the quote. Bukowski is one of those writers who have hundreds of publications it seems, so it may exist somewhere. I read Bukowski because of the manner he works in, the continual production without, apparently, applying quality control during the process. It was my greatest frustration when I taught that people couldn’t grasp that creating anything works in stages and requires editing. It’s an iterative process. I also like the way Bukowksi throws out a thought and runs with it, following the route it takes towards whatever he ends up with. The quote above continues “That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” 

There is an obvious metaphor for life with the circus, the backstage (off ring?) living and the performative presence, the constant practice before the audience gets to see the output and the sense of separateness, of being in a community that does not belong to the general population, of being a way out. (Have I ever written a longer string of cliches?)

The circus, and it’s all a circus, should be witnessed from above. You should look down on the performers and the audience, freezing the action often to contemplate the ludicrous pirouettes and somersaults.

You should watch the purposeless gyrations and applaud, then make your choices like Beckett’s ‘Molloy‘  “[…] I came upon a kind of crossroads, you know, a star, or circus, of the kind to be found in even the most unexplored of forests. And turning then methodically to face the radiating paths in turn, hoping for I know not what, I described a complete circle, or less than a circle, or more than a circle, so great was the resemblance between them.”

Beckett, S (1979). The Beckett Trilogy. London: Pan Books Ltd

Sometime in 2003 or 2004 I made a set of wax maquettes for a group of sculptures and produced a couple of drawings from them. The other day, mid March 2021, I woke up having dreamt about one of the drawings and with an idea in my mind of a new figure for the group.

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 version 2

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 version 2

After producing a set of new drawings I set about finding the original drawings to compare to the set. The drawing above is the first one I found. I still have the idea of the drawing I woke up with and it’s closer to the image below but that’s not what I remember.

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3

Both these drawings are 100cm x 70cm or thereabouts.

The title ‘You Should Always Look Down on a Circus’ is scrawled at the top of a each of two sketchbook pages that I found. I remembered the images were suggestive of circuses. Late nights watching Tod Browning’s 1932 film ‘Freaks‘  may have contributed to the feel of the portrait drawing, which I think was the first, but also the grouping of the objects and their interactions, including shadows, is also suggestive of a circus ring.

The new drawings started with a set of arches, referencing an unmade sculpture ‘acrobats’ from around the same period – Virtual Sculptures Gallery –

The large group in the centre of the gallery is ‘Acrobats’

tumbling 1

Tumbling 1


tumbling practice

tumbling practice



The dream suggested a set of tumbling arches and an almost tied knot that I’ve explored through a set of thirteen drawings, twelve A1 size and one 130cm x 100cm. The drawings eventually suggested a harlequin. –

Harlequin and Tumbler

Harlequin and Tumbler

Harlequin and Trapeze

Harlequin and Trapeze

I built a maquette for the group that I imagined and have since remade the original objects to reproduce the drawing that I had in mind. That drawing either never existed or has been lost.

circus maquette 050321

harlequin with tumblers

The first maquette ‘harlequin with tumblers’ made at the beginning of March.

I then recreated the original maquette from my drwings so that I could remake the drawing I think I remembered in my dream.

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 model remade

you should always look down on a circus, 2002/3 model remade

It’s a rough maquette but from this I did some more sketchbook drawings until I got the composition and then made the big drawing below.

You Should Always Look Down on a Circus (2003/4 - 2021)

You Should Always Look Down on a Circus (2003/4 – 2021)

I’m building a version of the combined maquettes as a larger sculpture, that will form another post.

Lockdown Seven (another lazy post)

Update on the #draweverydayinmay2020

I kept going until I had 31 days worth, and I’ve drawn on the two days since, the link takes you to the completed gallery.

So this is a quick picture post as I went protesting on Sunday when I would normally have written a post.

Tuesday I started a painting and worked on the first garden in the VR world that has a working title of ‘et in arcadia ego’


starting tthe painting

Glover Street Yard

On Wednesday I ran and then worked in the garden. I spent the afternoon getting frustrated with the VR – it’s always about adjusting the scale to make the world realistic. (as an aside I bought a copy of MakeVR to try to build quicker but discovered that my kit isn’t upto it, it works so slowly it defeats the object of using it.)

Thursday I carried on painting and modelling.

Under painting

I carried on painting on Friday

Friday painting

On Saturday I worked on the model, changing textures (sourced from old family photographs)

Glover Street Model

The I finished the painting and entered it into a competition locally – online so maybe not just local – I had to submit a photoof me in the studio alongside it.

The artist in his studio [old codger]

The finished(!) painting looks like this…

withered rose