Gardens Project 13: The Tale of the Hapless Amateur

Gardens Project 13: The Tale of the Hapless Amateur


This is the kind of back where I was six months ago post, although inevitably I’m in a slightly different place. Work has meant that I was restricted to only a few hours a week and had begun by the end of March to resent it. As I write I have one more day to do before I am retired again.

I’ve got the start of the project to a workable state – there will be a lot of tweaking and tinkering before I declare ‘finished’ – and I think there is something of a story there. I’ve been moving, scaling, positioning, testing and retracting every aspect of the environment over the past couple of months. I’m trying to break the process down into a series of things I’m happy with and things I’m unsure of. The things I absolutely hate (for the moment) I just consign to an unused scene.

The combination of dilettanteism and lack of knowledge is the big drawback to making any project, every step I take with the head set on I see more errors.

My notes for this latest iteration read

‘hands not controllers. Fire out of sync on the torch. Stone texture unconvincing. Leaves too thick generally and difficult to navigate without instruction. Needs an indicator for the portals. There is a long wait for chapter one to load – needs a cut scene. Unsure about the news, not great when falling but OK when fallen? The roads aren’t smooth enough. Lots of the buildings don’t meet the ground very well.

There is too much empty space and aimless movement in the scene – I cut fourminutes out of the video moving between scenes over empty terrain. The main road is a disaster. The water in the boating lake needs to be moving and it needs to appear to be besides the sea. Savick scene is too empty and needs colour removing. Greenway was better in the previous iteration.’

At the moment I’ve decided that what’s missing overall, barring the glaring omissions, is the sense of confinement in each scene so I’m splitting chapter one back into three or four parts and making sure each section is clear and easily navigable. The trick is to limit the possible movements but make it appear as if there are places to go, if only you could get there. I think the aesthetic is going to change as well – it needs to look much more like its been drawn.

The Gardens project posts start here 


I’ve carried on drawing every day and you can see the April images here

On May 5th I completed two years of drawing every day.

Gardens Project 13 The Tale of the Hapless Amateur

Coffee cup, drawn on 5th May 2022 two years after starting the daily drawings.

The drawings are posted to Twitter and Instagram each day.

Other Stuff

I’ve updated my Yorkshire Artists website,

and made a 360 video of the garden. The first part of it I inadvertently inserted the wrong clip so from about 25 seconds in for abour 90 seconds you can manipulate a flat image in space with your mouse button.

Gardens Project 12: First Post in 3 Months

Gardens Project 12: First Post in 3 Months

At Christmas, as I was awaiting new year with bated breath, ready to make myself new resolutions and approach 2022 with a renewed vigour I got offered a job. Quite out of the blue an agency I had signed up with when I retired emailed me to see if I wanted to take up an interim position at a college not too far away and within a couple of days I’d spoken to the college and decided to go.

The good thing about this is that it shifted me out of my rut and meant I had, for at least some of my days, a defined purpose that wasn’t just about me. The bad thing is that even though it was initially only four days a week focus on anything else goes right out of the window.

I have been doing some things though…

I’ve joined a website for Yorkshire Artists,

had a meeting about the lemniscate project,

Three Lemniscate maquettes

Three Lemniscate maquettes

I’ve carried on drawing every day and you can see the February images here

The drawings are posted to Twitter and Instagram each day.

and produced a couple of bigger studio drawings.

Gardens Project 12

Drawing of a fox in the garden at Balby – Charcoal 100x90cm In Progress

Gardens Project 12

The attic studio from above – pencil 90x90cm

I’ve also had to revisit the gardens project in VR as I made a series of mistakes that meant I had to rebuild the environment. My lack of knowledge leads to my constant stepping back to check and repeatedly changing my mind about where I’m going with this project. I do think (?) that I know what the installation will look like now, the piece will be entered through interactions with a set of platonic solids and will explore their associations with the classical elements. The faces of the dodecahedron being used as entry points to the different experiences.

I’ve started to adapt the narrative into a twine so that I can explore the different routes through it. This in effect doubles the number of chapters, or at least chapter headings? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t.

The Gardens project posts start here 

I also finished my painting of a rose

First Post in 3 Months

Balby Rose Oil on Board 50x50cm

Gardens Project 11: Hackwork and Ennui

Gardens Project 11: Hackwork and Ennui

Langour of spirit is about right as far as the ‘Gardens Project’ is concerned.

I’ve got, finally, the topography established for the glover street scene. It took about 230 hours to get it looking the way I wanted. I’ve noted before that this is because of my lack of knowledge which leads to the iterative process of build, test, scrap, rebuild, test, scrap and on. I’ve also built the Introductory scene in outline and started to model the oak leaf as the overall box for the environment.

There will eventually be an introduction leading to the oak leaf and six chapters built around the gardens that will be accessed through the oak leaf at the whim of the player.

Hackwork and Ennui

Gardens Project Plan

I’ve planned this out to complete over the next six months frustrations notwithstanding, but then I got a job, so that’s going to slow it down somewhat.

Given those frustrations I’ve continued to paint.

holly leaves oil sketch

Holly Leaves, oil on board, 10″10″

I added a 10”x10” oil sketch of the holly leaves on plywood and finished the Bathroom Still Life.

bathroom still life

bathroom still life, oil on board, 50cmx40cm

This one is 50cmx40cm plywood and is another oil on board.

I made three small (30cmx20cm) oil on board paintings of lens flares from my camera trap.

lens flare painting

Lens Flare One, oil on board, 30cmx20cm

lens flare painting

Lens Flare Two, oil on board, 30cmx20cm

lens flare painting

Lens Flare Three, oil on board, 30cmx20cm

I also made a garden painting the same size,


apples, oil on board, 30cmx20cm

and a painting of honeysuckle.


honeysuckle, oil on board, 30cmx20cm

I added a sparrow to my bird collection


sparrow, oil on board, 10″x10″

Finally I began a 50cmx40cm of a rose from the front garden.

rose - in progress

close up painting of a rose in progress

I’ve carried on drawing every day and you can see the November images

The drawings are posted to Twitter and Instagram each day.

The Gardens project posts start here