Self (It really is all about me!)

Self (It really is all about me!)

Another New Studio

Self (It really is all about me!)

08 02 2024

Having reached something of an impasse in the last month what with finishing things and so on I decide to start a self portrait. So on the 8th February I spent two hours working from life and arrived at the above. The proportions are ‘ish’ and it looks nothing like me.

09 02 2024

On the 9th February I spent another two hours…

12 02 2024

Then after the weekend I spent a further two hours on the 12th February. Again it’s beginning to look vaguely as if it might be a relative of mine.

Self (It really is all about me!)

14 02 2024

On the 14th I spent 3 hours mostly measuring the features against each other and refining the shape of the head. It might be worth mentioning that I decided to do this after seeing the press reports for the Courtauld exhibition of Frank Auerbach drawings particularly Adrian Searle’s review in the Guardian

But It really is all about me!


16 02 2024

I worked some more on it on the 16th bringing it almost to a conclusion after just over 11 hours.

19 02 2024

On the 19th I spent the last hour I’d allowed myself, for now, to reach this state.

judge for yourself

It’s ok, but you can judge for yourself. It really is all about me!

Tree Flower 12 02 2024

Obviously that wasn’t all I did during the first half of February, I also continued to work on sculpture. I repurposed the abandoned original support for the three trees half size maquette I made in January and also did some more work on the story for the Gardens project.

I looked up the idea of Eudaemonia that I encountered in Will Storr’s ‘The Science of Storytelling’ which is the only readably intelligent examination of the process I’ve found yet. Storr posits a 5 act structure for storytelling, Act 1 – This is me and It’s not working; Act 2 – Is there another way?; Act 3 – There is. I have transformed; Act 4 – But can I handle the pain of change?; Act 5 – Who Am I going to be? Essentially though I don’t think there is a set of rules.

I found myself distracted by an idea for the garden that goes back to the original impetus of recording the resting places of cats that have owned me over the years. To bring in an avatar of a cat that guides the player through the garden and instructs them on the quest, the quest being to find where cats go.

That’s where eudaemonia comes in, it is the state or condition of having good spirit, according to Aristotle. The eudaimonic life is one of “virtuous activity in accordance with reason” Or being happy by living with purpose.

Also on the 16th February I attended the first online seminar in AN’s Framework series Module 1. It was all about funding, different sources etc. Very useful if I can ever shift myself to apply it. I would post a link but the notes are not online yet.

Standing Nude 19 02 2024

After the weekend I spent some time buggering about with Gravity Sketch on the Quest 2, It’s been updated but it’s still very glitchy for me. Keeps dropping out and repositioning itself.

So I went back to ‘Gesture VR’ and did a drawing using passthrough.

Standing Nude 21 02 2024

On the following Wednesday I got sidetracked by the roof repairs at home and went to the studio on the 22nd, tidied the drawing up and stretched two new sheets of paper.

Studio 22 02 2024

At which point the studio looked like this.

Three (separate) Red Trees

To shake myself up a bit I took apart the three red trees, I should really take them somewhere and coat them with GRP, to give myself more room in the studio.

Structure 25 02 2024

Then I used the wood I got from c-view where my studio is, to make a structure for a new sculpture.

Dancing Tree 27 02 2024

On the 27th I attached surfaces to the structure – this is fairly heavy cartridge paper – and painted it with watered down Indian ink. It’s called ‘Dancing Tree’ for as long as I can remember it.


I’ve continued to draw every day;

The February drawings can be seen here

and the January images here

There is a link to the previous month’s Gallery on each page.

The drawings are posted to Threads and Instagram each day.

It really is all about me!

Whatever It Is

Whatever It Is

Another New Studio

I’ve had a mixed January after time off over Christmas. Lots of time spent trying to get an app from Unity onto the app store, I must have spent twenty hours and it still won’t go on so I’ve resorted to putting the Doncaster Platonics app on the Artivive  App.

It works, which is great, but it costs money to use for anything other than minimal output and there would be further charges if the works were viewed more than a 1000 times in a month. That might seem to be a lot of views but the five Platonics drawings are each individual artworks so that’s 200 views each.

Whatever It Is

Christmas Tree – Oil on Board

While I was at home I painted a Christmas tree, because it was Christmas.

Bird Skeleton

I missed several days studio work after discovering water dripping down onto my stairs from the skylight. This proved to be a hole in the roof so that needed sorting, mostly involving waiting for tradesmen to turn up to quote and then sitting around while the one I chose did the job.

While I was in the roof cavity, off my cellar studio I found the skeleton a small bird, I think it’s a sparrow, and I took it into the studio at c-view to draw. This is 140 cm x 80 cm pencil and pastel on paper. This was started on the 12th of January.

Small Fox

I also painted a small fox while I was waiting around at home and did a lot of digging in the garden.

Whatever it is

Bird Skeleton with Red

On the 15th January I was able to get into the studio again and added some red to the bird skeleton and worked over the shadows and some marks on the paper with white paint. I managed to get help to deliver the lemniscate  to the NHS at Barnsley Hospital and also got some photographs taken of the work I’ve made at c-view for prints and a new website.

Bird Skeleton with red wash

I got back into the studio on the 19th January and painted the background of the bird skeleton with red ink.

Studio 23/01/2024

I also started a new half sized maquette for the three trees variations in cardboard. I finished this on the 23rd January and made a lidar Polycam scan.

Three Trees Maquette drawing

When I returned to c-view on the 24th I started a drawing of the three trees sculpture, I’ve also explored this in the sketchbook.

Three Trees Maquette drawing

And when I next got in on the 29th I finished it.

Whatever it is

Red Pigeon

I was in again on the 31st, after a lot of work on the app and the background story to the big Gardens Project and I worked the Red Pigeon drawing up to almost finished.

I’m thinking that the Garden is the protagonist of the story for the project, asserting itself by becoming in the presence of ‘you’ as the witness. As simple as it sounds the longer you are present in the garden the more you see and the more you interact the more you find out. The plot may be the reconciliation ‘of’ or ‘with’ a fatal flaw in the main character. There has to be some kind of achievement at the end of it.

I wrote a kind of manifesto for my protagonist. Which garden I am depends upon you. I am the garden growing the fridge freezer and the bin bags full of ignorance; I am the garden organised with gravel and abandoned to dandelions and curly wurly wrappers bleached and wilted; I am the garden clinical in its efficiency, with no room for invasions or unwanted natives, made new every season with garish borders; I am the garden abandoned to ideology, at the mercy of the wind and the moss and the tap roots, and the ‘wilding’; I am the garden that tells you what it wants and where it wants it; You are the garden I am.

I really should find the time to work consistently on this, whatever it is.

A small aside about photographing work, I took the photographs below in my kitchen with the iPad, the picture is 12inches square. I haven’t adjusted the colour in any of them, it is just a question of finding the right light. The one at the right is the closest to reality.

Fox, colour photographs


I’ve continued to draw every day;

The January drawings can be seen here

and the December images here

There is a link to the previous month’s Gallery on each page.

The drawings are posted to Threads and Instagram each day.

Reason vs Motivation

Reason vs Motivation

Another New Studio

On the Open weekend I had twenty visitors on the Saturday and two on the Sunday, I can’t complain because I sold a painting.

I’ve called this post Reason vs Motivation as a step towards an explanation of my current practice. When I was talking to people at the open studio the film elicited some comments about its elegiac quality, which tied into my thinking through Eliot’s ‘deception of the Thrush’. Given that gardens in Christian thought are always the garden of Eden and consequently serve as a metaphor for the loss of innocence, the reference to my own garden uses it as trigger for the desire to reclaim something lost. The something lost is lost “in” innocence rather than being innocence. The problem with the past is that memory and nostalgia render it different to the degree that what you desire from the past isn’t what it was in the past, and the suggestion that it can be reclaimed is doubly erroneous as you yourself are the major difference that prevents its return. This is of course entirely obvious and is not the reason that the work is made but is probably the motivation for it being made. I’m still trying to articulate this properly and perhaps that’s the wrong thing to do as nothing kills creation for me quicker than having a reason to do it. I think it becomes contingent when it has that kind of rationale attached. It has to remain poetry rather than prose.

Since the open studio I carried on with the drawing of the photograph made by Jamie Bubb 

Reason vs Motivation

jb-flowers one

Making the image darker and darker.

jb_flowers one

This was the state of play on the 7th December, and started another drawing from the same source.

jb_flowers two

This was the second drawing on the 7th December.

jb_flowers two

And this is it on the 8th December.

jb_flowers one

The first drawing was darkened considerably by the 11th.

jb_flowers two

More detailed was added to the second drawing by the 11th.

Reason vs Motivation

three trees sculpture 15th December

On the 15th December I returned to the big sculpture and added white paint. Initially I’d thought of painting spots where I wanted to piece holes but when I started I decided that I should just paint the gaps between branches, or an idea of them.


As I waiting for that to dry I drew a pigeon.

I made a small cardboard maquette to explore the three trees as separate elements on the 18th December.

adjusted the low section of the model on the 21st December.

three trees maquette 19122023

On the 19th December I built a cardboard maquette developed from sketchbook drawings of the new big sculpture and then on the 21st I painted it red.

studio 21st December

The polycam scan of the thin red maquette.

Reason vs Motivation

A few days after the open studio weekend and before I got really stuck in the mud mentally I wrote a further piece in my journal.

The question hovering above all art is ‘What is it about?’. These days there are labels so that you know immediately, or at least you get a clue that helps you make sense of the piece. Personally the question is always ‘Why did you make this?’. Because the act of making is the act of translating a desire into a realisation (or does the translation create the work?). The work starts with an idea that changes through application, an act of both compromise and development, and is presented, mutated, at the end. My response is ‘that’s kind of what I meant’. I […] think that there is a well of experience, belief, prejudice and angst stirred with study, planning and effort that the work springs from.

It doen’t really make it any clearer.