Monday, October 14, 2019

Three stages of creation

Number 1: Wash in the big, blobby areas to check that your composition works. Use cheap paint because that's OK at this point. Does it make you smile? Bit of a sanity check that.

Number 2: Add some colour, some detail, ensure that the message in the painting is coming across. Don't be afraid of biting social commentary and realism.

Number 3: Work up* light, shade and the finer and more detailed points that might bring the disparate characters in the piece to life. Tonal quality and clarity of expression are very important. Don't skimp on these. Sweat the job, take pride in your work and give your brushes a good clean now and then.
Disclaimer: This arty piece of art was of course created by our own @Coldwar_Steve and he deserves full credit, I'm simply doodling in the margins. The original artwork might be some old Renaissance piece done by a geriatric painter back in the day or maybe more likely Hogarth. Style is such a vague indicator and substance is meaningless.

*Work up is a copyrighted term that can only be used by fully qualified driving instructors and proper artists with actual fine art degrees from reputable schools.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Miles of tiles

If tiles were somehow related to reptiles, instead of staying in place with cement they could scuttle across walls, be independent but organized by some central brain. Reptilian worlds collide. Bathroom and kitchen walls coming alive, slowly. Cold blooded 'tiles. Operating theatres and diners, friezes and living mosaics across parks and public spaces, at the drive-thru and in subways. You're not alone. Tongues catching passing insects, colours changing as they try to camouflage themselves. Confused avian predators. Tiles as snakes, moving in new patterns. Tiles with eyes, forked tongues, regrowing damaged parts. Underground trains flash by in the dark, an amber eye slowly opens to focus. No need to grout on a regular basis or apply any bleach, just don't lean against the wall or expect your towel to stay in the same place.

Saturday, October 12, 2019


Agriculture: but mostly straw bailed up,  presumably for silage. Winter may well be coming.

Schrodinger's Syndrome

"When does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?"

He was never cruel to cats (unlike Pavlov and his dogs). He was just trying to prove a point in physics. The cat, the box, the radioactive substance, the trigger mechanism, the poison are there for illustrative purposes. The point was explored, now we may be simply cats trapped in boxes.

I did think that there must be a thing called Schrodinger's Syndrome, perhaps a form of illness or delusion whereby you lead parallel lives according to various states of consciousness that you might experience; dreams, day dreams, flighty thoughts, imagination overload etc. Turns out there's no such thing but it could be said that thinking that there might be such a thing is an actual example of Schrodinger's Syndrome.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Album Anniversaries

Every other day these days is a "significant" album's anniversary. At the moment I'm still managing to stay older than most of them, 50 years? Pah! I must have grown up in some golden age, some creative hot spot that existed then, long before things started to go wrong, before people recorded music on their phones in bedrooms and public spaces. Back then they invented the technology with Meccano and used studios built out of cardboard and sticky tape. Music making then was on par with working in a coal mine or by a blast furnace. Ahem.

I don't mean any of this, looking back is a lot easier than trying to look forward nowadays, no need to explain this. BUT there was awareness of ecology, climate change, pollution and other 2019 issues even then in 1969 when the world was like a shiny new Eden to most people ... maybe not shiny or new, more tattered and torn and if I'm not too confused various cities were burning with riots or American bombing. Nobody really did anything about it then either.

Anyway, is she just hanging on for dear life on the edge of some abandoned swimming pool or emerging from a nuclear bunker? 50 years later I'm none the wiser.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Entrance of the Tin Man

On reflection: A bad day for the Tin Man, seems he fell into some kind of industrial process and was lasered into sections, but only one significant part made it back to the display cabinet. I'm guessing his heart is elsewhere so it's a return to Oz for a replacement and series of major operations. Legs, hands and feet?

Signage optical illusions or misread car-park signs (there are many more straight forward explanations). The way to go if you're inclined to fall into trance mode at any point in the afternoon or early evening. Take some time out and visit the great void of emptiness inside yourself before breezing around the shop.

Monday, October 07, 2019

In black and white

It can't happen here, the revolution won't be televised, we are the monochrome people, the heartland, a reminder, a warning, how not to do things. 

We are however quite good with tiling.

Milky Way

Sorry but that's definitely old news.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Recurring use of stock photos

The photo is not mine, too good, too old etc.: I try to remain original, but often I fail. The fail ratio is about 2:3 which I reckon is acceptable. It's mainly due to me not taking enough photos when I'm out and about, not seeing interesting things in the first place, missing opportunities, doing other things or being caught up in distractions. 

Distractions might include: cat being sick in another room, noisy neighbour, stray thoughts, sleep, strange silver object floating overhead, rushing to the shops, an unexpected phone call, itchy toe nail, a loudly boiling kettle, daydreams, actual driving, freelance work carried out elsewhere, low cloud, the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, listening to voices, concentrating on boiling eggs for 3 minutes or so, sorting out socks, searching for cobwebs, YouTube clips, reading the instructions on a ready meal, waiting for someone, staring into space. This list is not exhaustive. 


This comparison photo-shot works on several levels: Historical, cultural, sexual and auto-motive. There are a number of versions out there, the Sophia Loren/Jayne Mansfield classic being the best example but this derivative piece works quite well (and it's fabricated so that makes it fictitious also). In simple terms bigger doesn't mean best, everyone knows this but that doesn't mean everyone would choose this, that's where discernment comes in. Good and effective discernment being one of the universal secrets of having a happy life.

Saturday, October 05, 2019


A brief history of AG: "The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer."

AG is also a security and facilities management company currently working in Central Scotland. I wonder how unorthodox and unconventional you're able to be in this type of business these days. Perhaps they only recruit seekers of the truth, pilgrims and existentialists for employment in their key company positions. Goals are vague and esoteric but they can still erect fences quite well. Even their signage might be said to be a proper AG piece, being weathered and interacting in it's free-form, outside exhibition space.

I first heard of "avant-garde" when I was about sixteen, it might have been used in some Monty Python episode or late night BBC2 doc. My sources were confused and random in those days and often mispronounced and badly used. I never really understood the term or liked the label but I would drop it into wavering conversations to try to look smart. It was often used to describe the music of Soft Machine or early Pink Floyd, creative dance and Hunter S Thompson books.

Just I was exploring what it might mean the name already had some serious cultural baggage and distortion added to it and although people use it to label genres it really is a much broader term ... in French it just translates as "advanced guard" in the military sense. It's meaningless really without being set in a clear context. For most people it's also understood to point to pretentious and confusing crappy art efforts that can only be described as avant-garde as a means of justifying or concealing the quality of the final work. Anyway nobody really uses the term anymore.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Octopus Dreams

Octopus triptych: There is of course a proper video if you can be bothered to find it.  I know that the colour changing octopus is old news now but it wasn't really the colour changing that impressed me. It was that colour changing is somehow attached to dream activity (?). I always knew dogs and cats had "dreams" or at least exhibited dreamy type behaviour in sleep but octopus dreams with external tonal variations? Their dreams must be the most far out, trippiest and unhinged dreams of all. Who wouldn't want to be wired up to an octopus to peek into that sub-sea alien dream world ... well maybe not. As Sir Bobness said many years ago, "and if I thought dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine" etc.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

All just numbers

Oh brother/sister, where art thou? The handy index of wealth numbers allows you to check at a glance where you rank in the hierarchy of the world's wealthiest people. A few reasonably well known names are added for reference. No actual surprises there.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Black Metal Cat

Here's our 2020 entry for the Black Metal Cats calendar competition. Quite an evil wee, "why so serious?" look she's rockin' there.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A thousand broadsheet obituaries

This is nothing to do with the John Peel related tweet (above), a person I always liked but have kind of forgotten in recent years as my radio listening and sense of music appreciation dwindled. I just liked the "broadsheet obituary" phrase. Ahem. 

When you're gone, the only way you'll know (ignoring the fact that you're gone) you made it in life is by somehow earning that accolade of champions, politicians, clergymen, medal winners and celebs that is the "broadsheet obituary". Maybe including a photograph. They tend to be personality and family light, these aspects of the life celebrated being more of a footnote. The author (it is a piece of fiction) lends weight to colourful rumour, associations, embellishes the facts, rattles skeletons lurking in closets and depending on the political persuasions of the paper's owners lines up a few bits of tittle-tattle in his firing line and polishes them off. 

So though I quite like the thought of earning a broadsheet obituary I do think that me receiving one is highly unlikely and the very fact that I'll be gone by the time (often a few weeks after the main event) it's published means I don't really need to care. It remains however some kind of a measure of a life but often an untrue representation, if measuring lives and being a fictional character is your sort of thing. Until you get there ... you never really know.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Money v Sense

View from the lunchtime cafe table (not a Tesco cafe either). 

Bulk buys for Brexit is a short (very short, very clunky) propaganda film that I created in a branch of the local Tesco. A special area has been created where you can act out all your suppressed desires to go into a state of wild panic and just buy huge quantities of random groceries that you can't possibly fit into your car. This act will immediately be followed by a strong and stable period of buyers remorse, then, as time passes a feeling of well being and ultimate smugness and then a further period of remorse as you realize you can no longer live comfortably in an average sized house crammed full of "essential" items. These predictions are of course only valid until 31st October, after that it's anyone's guess.

P.S. The film above may not actually do anything when play is pressed. So I stuck it on TubeYou as below ... Sundance beckons!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Twitter Challenge

Twitter Challenge: Share the first picture that comes up when opening Twitter then write something about it and today it's the cast of C4's Spaced. Turns out the Spaced is 20 earth years old today. I probably missed it at the time, 20 years is a long time ago and my viewing habits are a blur looking back. I have certainly watched a few episodes as reruns or on DVD but maybe not them all. I'm sure I laughed quite a few times at their antics. It seems that the world was a simpler place then. 

Of course the cast and writers have gone on and done lots of other things since that first episode, made various films, realised potential and perhaps not realised potential. That is typical of career paths in the modern entertainment industry, they can be patchy because sometimes funny people fail to produce funny stuff. I am also unable to whistle the theme tune but then again I am not a skilled whistler. Game over.