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!

Directionless Direction

Directionless Direction

Another New Studio


A trip around the studio on Friday 17th November 2023. This shows the “redfilm” [link] video in its new projection, then moves out of the booth navigating the “three red trees” sculpture and briefly views the three red garden drawings that had been framed at this date before showing the different lighting settings for the NHS lemniscate. The video looks at the comfrey torus and ends on the trees.

Directionless Direction

I took delivery of the frames for the new work on the 17th November and started to frame the existing work. Red Garden One is above, Red Garden Two and Red Garden Three below.

Directionless Direction

On the 18th I decided that the new iteration of the Redfilm should have statistics about the climate crisis, centred around global warming. I spent the day making the slides and inserting them into the film. The facts were gleaned from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report March 2023

Via World Resources Institute . The new film was entirely unconvincing and makes the whole concept somewhat patronising, so I dropped it.

On the 19th I found a review of Jewel Spears Brooker, T. S. Eliot’s Dialectical Imagination. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018. 240 pages. ISBN 1421426528. [LINK]

In which the reviewer, Michelle A Taylor of Harvard University, comments that

“the “deception of the thrush” is that the “world of speculation” can be made real, that the objects of the mind could overcome physical objects, the reality of the body: so Eliot returns to idealism—…—and sees it for what it is. Like interpretation, speculation posits its own world, immaterial, with only some relationship to fact.”

I’ve ordered the book to more fully study this but the meat of it is what I’m exploring the edges of in this current set of work. The idea that the fact of making things as an artist removes from them the possibility of representation because they lack the contingency of design. I suspect that as I reach out for the chance to articulate this the art world itself has fully embraced the contingency of design as a necessary precursor to the creative act. When I was much younger and became a teacher I spent the first ten years of my career teaching design precisely because there are methods and, whilst you can make up the rules you follow, there have to be rules. In art, which I consider absolute, you can’t teach it you just have to do it. This is what I mean by Directionless Direction.

Directionless Direction

On the 20th I made some collages exploring the forms in the big red sculpture and the source for it, two of which are reproduced here. The one above was used as the basis of the bigger drawing discussed further on.

The next two photographs show the drawing “bigred” begun on the 22nd of November and made with inks and pastel.

Also on the 22nd I started Red Garden Four.

At the end of the 22nd it looked like this with the addition of the chainlink and the panel.

Directionless Direction

On the 24th November I added the fence posts and the bushes but decided the piece needed more definition. I added a wash of Indian ink and then painted the sky out with Titanium White oil paint.

I also continued to work on the “bigred” drawing.

Taking it through the stages illustrated above, becoming more like the collage as it progresses.

By the end of the 27th November the drawing looked like this, and the studio was beginning to be ready for the Open Weekend at the beginning of December.

Additionally on the 27th I published the first release of the “doncplatonic” app.

On the 29th I worked more on the “bigred” drawing and started another drawing based on a photograph by a local photographer  Jamie Bubb, with permission, that was posted to threads a day or two before.

I’ll post more of the open day in a separate post and also a more detailed accounting of the reason for it all.


I’ve continued to draw every day;

The November drawings can be seen here

and the October 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.

An end of frustration?

An end of frustration?

(Another New Studio)

I finished(?) the NHS project after quite a lot of stress and setbacks. It was still completed on time but I had far less time in the studio.

The interruption of the sculpture project has left me a little non-plussed about the direction of my work and how to find ways forward against the pressure of completion. Ideas reach fruition and then need to be rendered physical when the desire or drive to create is spinning off in its own directions. Today I read an article about Michael Raedecker on Artspace where he says

Inspiration can come at the most unusual moments; riding on a bus or reading a book. But most of the time you just have to work for it,” he tells Artspace. “Sitting down, making sketches, browsing in catalogues, looking at images, and letting the intelligence of the work guide the selection.”

Its the obviousness of the statement that woke me up, making begets making, so the only way to know what to make is to make.

Earlier in the week I went to see “The Weight of Words” at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds.

Leaving aside the lack of overall context beyond the the declaration that the, very broad, selection of artists explore the overlap between sculpture and poetry, the exhibition inevitably questions the very nature of what sculpture is. The works in the exhibition are interesting, poignant and thoughtful in all sorts of ways, they are also often flat, digital projections, printed, photographed and less often strictly three dimensional. The lack of context serves to expand the possibilities of the precept at the heart of the overlap between sculpture and poetry and made me wonder where the notion of concrete poetry sits in relation to this selection of work. The website is very good and the exhibition is on until November so I might go again.

An end of frustration?

two apples with shadow

When I did get in I worked on apples drawing, adding strong shadows from the studio window.

An end of frustration?

large rose painted out

I also kept working on the big roses drawing, finally whiting it all out and then adding a drawing of Old English Roses

Old English Roses 120923

Each step of the process has taken more thinking than necessary as I was really disgruntled by the way the lemniscate impinged on everything else I wanted to do.

Old English Roses 120923 addition of red shadows

So after the first drawing I added the red shadows onto the edges of the flowers and then darkened the shadows.

Old English Roses 120923 darkening shadows

The drawing was left for a good few days after this stage.

Old English Roses 150923 white highlights

I had a short window to get back into the space and added some white highlights to the flower heads.

An end of frustration?

Old English Roses 220923 darker shadows

And then thought about using some stronger colours. So I blacked out the shadows and darkened some areas again but it still wasn’t defined enough.

Old English Roses 220923 stronger colours

So on my next visit, the 22nd September with the lemniscate out of the way completely I took some oil paints in to use to give the roses much more body. That’s where we are so far. Finished?


I’ve ditched Twitter, one too many Musks, but I’ve started to post on Threads as well as instagram.

I’ve continued to draw every day;

The August drawings can be seen here

and the July 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.