Saturday, April 22, 2017

Entry No. 1 -  Are White and Black Colors?


Norman Rockwell


Hello again, it is Spectrum time.  Most of you readers will likely be attending so the reading will be light.  When my day to post falls upon an event as such, I will leave you with a definition or description of some interesting and often times neglected art concepts that either have little explanation to help define them, or that the meaning is often times confused by the “ill-informed” books, magazine articles and instructors.

Today’s topic involves paints that are used towards opaque representational art.

White and black are “color adjusters” and not colors.  THIS RULE COMES FROM THE REPRESENTATIONAL ART WORLD. 
*If you are a designer, you might consider white and black to be a part of a color family, simple and graphic.  

When getting down to basics as a painter, white, gray (white and black mixed), and black are tint, tone, and shade agents respectively for the colors on your palette.

The HSB color-sliders in Photoshop are a great technical example to show how white and black affect the colors we mix them with.





There are specialty colors or novelty colors made by all companies like Black Olive, or Buff White but should be avoided when learning how to paint with pigments that have a proven history of success.






A few common mistakes with white and black:

-Thinking you shouldn’t use black as a hue on your palette as is often prescribed for some strange reason by many art instructors.

-Attempting to paint a full value picture without using white or black to paint it.  While it is true that you can use any paints that are light as a tinting pigment, if they are of a specific hue, the new mixture will be a combination of these two hues and not just a lighter version of what you may need.

-Mixing in too much white thinking that it will help lighten the color.

-Mixing too much black into a mixture thinking that it will just become a blacker version of the color you are using at the time.  

-Using black as a color and painting without mixing anything with it will cause the black areas to feel disconnected with the rest of the painting.

-Painting with White to lighten a color to show that it is lit.  Yes, this can be incorrect.  Light is associated with temperature, temperature is associated with color.   All light has a coloration to it, never purely white, therefore when altering a hue to give it the feeling of being lit by said light source the white alone cannot be used, and should rarely be used on its own.  Mix a hue into it that resembles the temperature of the light source and the color will feel more correct to the influence of the light source.

-Starting a canvas with light value colors or whites on a light to white surface.  Because the white matches the surface it might be forgotten that it was painted down, and the next layer of hue added with be drastically altered by the hidden white painted on the surface.

-Using any ole white or black to work with without the understanding that there are specialty whites and blacks and there are novelty whites and blacks, and then there are useful tried and true white and blacks that are considered benchmark standards in our painting industry.  Here are a few pigments worth investing in:


White Pigments

Titanium White – The most opaque pigment on the market is the ubiquitous mixing white across the pigment boards.  Very Powerful and you do not need very much to tint a hue.

Zinc White –  semi to very transparent, useful for mixing subtle colors and for glazing

Cremintz White – slightly transparent, less than Titanium and More than zinc

Lead White – One of the first good white paints that builds up very opaquely but when thinned is a very good turbid pigment usually favoring the cool temperatures/hues

Flake White – Semi Transparent, usually not made with real lead these days but has similar characteristics including its temperature and stiffness 


pulled from a white pigment test found
on a blog by Jonathan Linton



Black Pigments

Ivory Black – semi-transparent to transparent depending upon the brand.  Unmixed it is warm, add white to it and it cools off to a very chromatic blue direction

Lamp Black – Very transparent and the bluest of the black pigment family, very slow drying

Vine Black – or drop black is inferior by design, very blue in its body hue, and fugitive, semi to very transparent- not worth using most of the time but worth listing since most brands still sell it

Bone Black – just another name for Ivory Black but used by several companies

Mars Black – dense and opaque, the warmest of the black pigments, dries very fast

Blue Black – typically mixed using Ivory Black and Ultramarine Blue and is semi-transparent, good blue blacks are made with Cobalt blue, more neutral in the hue, and are very transparent




 Enjoy the weekend,
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, April 21, 2017

SCHOOL or WORK?

by 
Greg Ruth

One of the top three questions I get asked privately and when teaching or even at a book signing, is whether or not one should attend school and the financial debt associated with it, or jump into the workplace. I've been working professionally for a while now and began doing so where I could, after graduating from Pratt with a painting degree, and highschool before that. Pretty basic assumed way of doing things especially in my time before anyone uttered the phrase "gap year". Even so, back then Grad School was a thing, and a thing a lot of people did and do. Nowadays there's a wide variety of "schools"  like IMC, or SmArt School that off er alternatives to someone seeking an attending school experience or boost while being in the world working, proper grad programs and just about any kind of way in between. Should you go to a set program like Yale grad School, or one of these short term programs, get a tutor, get a job? And the answer is like many if these I am sorry to report is muddled and never the same for any of us. The key to finding the answer that fits your need the best means getting to know what any of it means for you with regards to who you are as a person, an artist and what is worth spending on for what's next. Because school is honestly, at the end of the day, all about preparing you for whatever's next. And because of this I recomend starting there and working backwards towards a decision. Here's a simple guide with some direct experience that may help. Your whole life as a human person should be a life of a student, and if you live right always is. For artists this is especially important as the very thing you do requires surfing change and growth and those two only work with increased knowledge and education. Whether that takes the form of school or life experience is the question here.



THE SCHOOL PATH

This is the old way of things, or at least old within the relative confines of the last century or so. But the need ratio of what Grad School can bring to you as an artist, or seeking to be a working artist vary wildly as a basic principle and even moreso depending on the program you choose. The big justifier usually for Grad School is thew money thing- it's also it's biggest cost. Let's face it- Grad School is expensive. Undergrad is too, so let's put that forward as well. 

unpublished scene from Sudden Gravity
Now I say this as a person who went to art school, both in highschool and college at Pratt. I was on scholarship at Pratt so the expense, which was a lot but a fraction of what it costs now, was far less a concern. And to really bore down deep I went on an architecture scholarship, which turned out to be very much the wrong path, and switch to painting and fine art which again... I did not pursue as a career. Sounds like a waste of time right? It really wasn't for a number of reasons. The biggest one might well be the incubator effect of being in school. Of being allowed to gestate, to grow and find myself to some degree before being out int he cold cruel world. School is often referred to as a bubble, and it is, and that can be a good thing if you need it. While I was certainly on the path to be a gallery artist in NYC, working at Artists Space my senior year, and as an art-assistant to Mary Frank, Joan Snyder and others I also walked away from school having more or less completed my first short graphic novel story- just about a dozen or so pages, and with an idea and desire to go bigger with the rough outline for SUDDEN GRAVITY, my first published comic anywhere. I even within a few months of graduating had meetings with Lou Stathis at Vertigo and was beginning doing some of those insane factoid books for Paradox/Pirhana Press. So clearly despite my asserted path, I knew to pursue another. Eventually and quite soon it became clear I didn't want to have much of anything to do with the gallery scene, (and as a special side bar, I ended up moving in with and marrying one of my best friends from Pratt, the artist Jen Smith- and now almost twenty years and two kids later we are still trucking up here in the country woods of western mass- so that went well). All of this is to say while one could argue I may have been fine to have skipped school, except for the Jen part, and found my own self directed path into comics and children's books etc... I would argue that the certainty of that path came from having the safe place sandbox that was school for me to find it. It was a place to test the wrong paths and find the right one, blind as I was at it, and with far less consequences and much greater speed than if I had to process through this passion play while having to hold down a job and pay rent. School bought me time to find myself, to grow and gather a community of artists and creative people together that I still see and share my life with even to this day. Pratt taught me the non conventional skills I was able to bring into the illustration work that i think even today puts me off the usual mark that helps my ability to get more or work and support myself. It provided me a familiararity with NYC that has been incredibly essential to my work and life that an otherwise shy boy from the Texas suburbs might not otherwise possess. School is stitched into the very fabric of my life in such a way I can barely find a strand that does not tie back to it in some form. It's expensive and it's at least four years and can feel like your sitting on the sidelines and in many ways that's true- but it can be a crucible from which you can truly emerge mightier than you might otherwise be without it. And the hard thing is you may not appreciate it until long after. I was just doing what i was supposed to do by attending college- it never occurred to me there was another option. If I had known then what I know now, I would have still done it... though honestly i would have taken more advantage of that time I wasted there as a young idiot. 

Graduate school is another matter. I know some who swear by it but I am not honestly a fan of it. You, in attending a grad program, have already gone through undergrad, so largely such an exercise is about two things: connections and the rolodex and honing a skill specifically. In my day if you were serious about getting into the fine art world attending Yale for grad school was the ideal club to be in- and all for the club reasons. It is where you could network and hobnob with the eventual art elite (and spend the rest of your life paying off its debt). Others it's about a program that brings you a specific skill. But I would venture in seeking to become a professional person in the field I'm in: illustrations, books and film, it's better to get out in the world and get working. Grad school can be too much bubble, too long a delay and yield benefits that make its expense too hard to justify. Again this is a personal thing. You may need and want that extra time, you may desire the skill set and the network it might bring to you. But at20 or so, it's a good time to be out in the world and running amok in life overall. 




THE MIDDLE WAY



IMC class photo by Dave Palumbo
This is online classes, short residencies and apprenticeships. This is a fairly new thing that's come about in the last ten or so years, so I witness them as an older curmudgeon and not a total participant- fair warning. I have taught at times online and served some time teaching at the IMC and what I have seen however, has rerouted my thinking entirely. The level of intense focus and high level of teaching is unparalleled. It's like art college espresso. IMC is only a week but arguable there's as much material and experience to get there as a semester of the best art school. It and others like it, like Illustration Academy, lack by the nature of physics the slower roll of time and incubator, and as such the close knit community of shared week to week living, and all that passage of time it brings is not there. It's a more focused determined approach mirroring more Graduate School than undergrad. It's for the determined who largely aren't lost and needing to find themselves and more for the focused. A week at IMC might get a piece or two finished if you really bang hard at it- so you won't get the full vision scale and solidification, but attend it yearly... and keep working outside of it, and it can still deliver in big ways. Even if you booked IMC and SMART SCHOOL and other online private courses you'd still barely meet half the cost of a full undergrad program elsewhere and likely get almost the same level of technical development and learning. That's it's true value. it can help hone up and coming artists or provide the grad school substitute a recently freed undergrad can really get a lot from. and the teaching staff is in just about every one of these, of a caliber unmatched in an undergrad's wettest of dreams. Again, it's espresso style intensity, compacted and delivered. A day at IMC, 12-17 hours long, one on one, lectures and personal help an critiques is like a month anywhere else. But you need to be ready to receive that compressed data in a way and make the best of it because that week flies by in a heartbeat. You can waste it just like sitting on campus getting stoned all day does, or going to parties instead of working, just in a more compressed form. But you can use this to substitute for actual undergrad school, for the right kind of creative. It's a bit of a hybrid of working in a job and spending time in school overlapping each other, and the connections are there... art directors career giants, and experienced grand masters teach at these programs and it might be worth the price of admission just to spend a week getting to know them and making those connections regardless of the learning- but I encourage you to come ready to learn and work and take full measure and advantage of the program. They are cheaper than full on art school but they aren't cheap and you deserve to get your money's worth. 



THE WORKING PATH

A lot of folks say screw it, learn while working. on the job training is the best training there is. And that's true by and large. It's a bit like learning a second language: Learning to speak Spanish in school is a fine and steadfast way of going about it, but being in Mexico, immersed in the culture and having to learn that language on the go, well that is something else. You tend to be much more fluent and conversant faster this way than pursuing an academic training, but again it's not for everyone. For example, immersive on the job training may teach you tools but it won't necessarily teach you principles. Theory and understanding of a method or approach can be essential to mastering it- i know in many ways that is true for me personally. I am better at attending to a machine if I understand how it's put together and why it works. It helps me troubleshoot when things get screwy and it helps me exploit the talents of whatever thing I am engaging in when I have a proper grokking of it as a thing unto itself. For me theory works, for others... maybe not so much.

Romulus and Raymond drawn on the back of sheetrock
paper during lunch at a construction job. 
But the outside pressure of having to make a living and pay the bills can add a commercial aspect to your self art seeking that can warp and change it in unexpected ways. Life is big and busy and getting into it early can leave you overtaken by it in certain ways. Choices made in an act of survival are different from those made in a nest. You'll have less time to go to gallery shows, read books and attend social gatherings with peers. Instead of spending eight hours a day in your studio, that time might be waiting tables, working in an office of sheet rocking apartment ceilings. Your art might have to come after that as mine did for many years after Pratt where I worked as a handyman type all day long, came home and went into the studio until 2-3 am to wake up the next day to repeat the cycle. The causal factors for getting lost in life and slowing and choking down the ability to find your best artistic self could diminish a lot over time- especially ads you get older, get married raise a family and start to take on outside obligations that further make seeking an art life more difficult and selfishly fanciful against your life obligations. I could have never started out, developed my own ability to make comics and hone my skills if much of that time wasn't initially done while young free and willing to live off beans and beer and work twenty hours a day the only way a maniac in their twenties can who doesn't have otherwise familial obligations to worry about. I have a lot of friends who are climbing that same ladder but with full on families in tow and day jobs that have become careers, and man it is HARD. But some folk aren't built for school, and those folk should not think they need or have to have school in order to be a success. Some artists need to get out there and live in tiny cramped studio apartments and work long hours for short pay and struggle and find themselves through the fires of adult life and I entirely cheer that. I know a lot of successful artists who do and did and it was the best thing for them. It's all about taking advantage of the poison you pick. 


The Calendar Priest
SO... the key here really, is know thyself. it's trite but true. Just because your pal Bob skipped school and went in hot and hard pursuing a career, doesn't mean you should. just because your other pal, Susan blossomed in Grad School doesn't mean you will or it's price will be worthwhile. Essentially knowing what you need will help you avoid buying into something that doesn't meet that need. And also know at least, and take comfort from the fact that no matter what you do, it will change and shape you asd an artist and whatever path you choose know that all of them are well travelled and there's successes to be found in any of them. And it is possible to make the wrong choice and course correct. None of these options doom or guarantee success if you take full advantage of any of them. They will shape and change your life and career in ways you may not full see until decades later, but don't let that inhibit canyon leaping or measured decisions going forward. Making life in art is never easy and is rarely rewarded. its a priesthood that never really gets to hear the whisper of the divine except in rare and unique occasions and all of it requires a lot of work and steadfastness that requires years of effort to pull successes from. but damn if it sin't a lifes-blood that will make your life richer and more life in the end. Art life is about being and learning to be sensitive, to see and grow and challenge and fight and struggle and lose and win and fall and rise again. How you get into that passion play is up to you, and all paths can lead to it, so make it about what sized shoe fits your foot rather than the life and death choice some make it to be. All paths if pursued vigorously can lead to the same mountaintop- just be sure to know the character of each and take the fullest advantage of the one you choose and you'll be fine. 



Thursday, April 20, 2017

AutoDraw

AutoDraw is a new program created by Google that can detect what a person is drawing, even if it's a bad drawing, and then provide them with a better, more completed drawing automatically.

As you draw, the program makes suggestions as to what the drawing may be. When you see a suggestion that is correct, you simply click on it, and the program provides you with free art.



The program works thanks to Google's AI program called 'Quick Draw'. QuickDraw asks users to draw a specific item as fast as they can. It then uses the drawings it's gathered to better learn how people tend to draw those objects based on previous users depictions of that object. That information is then compiled and used as the basis for the drawing detection algorithm in AutoDraw.




Both programs are still very rudimentary and have limited application, but the implications of them are really intriguing. It is incredible that we can begin to teach computers to understand what we mean, even if our descriptions are imperfect, by teaching them to take context and iconography into account. How long will it be before computers can create legitimate works of art, or immersive 3D environments just by us describing them?

You can try 'AutoDraw' right here: https://www.autodraw.com
Or try 'Quick Draw', and help expand the AI's knowledge base: https://quickdraw.withgoogle.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Red Haired Warriors



 by Donato

Over a decade ago, on a flight to the San Diego Comic-Con, I created a drawing to pass away the hours of the cross country trip.  Little did I realize then that this off-handed sketch would open up a path to a series of imagery which I continue to explore and expand upon today.

I think what I like most about this series is that lack of strict continuity needed between each of the paintings.  Each figure is obviously heavily inspired by a prototype, but a prototype that is open to modifications and rebuilding as each painting dictates its own needs.

As I pack for another convention coming up this weekend in Kansas City - Spectrum Live - I wonder what new roads will await me on this adventurous career in art.  I am grateful for the chances to explore and to have the freedom to pursue these tangents as they come my way.
















Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Muddy Colors IMC 2017 Scholarship Winner

-By Dan dos Santos


We are really excited to be able to offer one lucky reader a full scholarship to attend the sold out IMC this year. This scholarship is made entirely possible by our reader's Patreon donations. So thank you to everyone who supports us month after month! We will keep offering scholarships like this one as long as you continue to support us.

Applicants were asked to submit 6 works that represent them as an artist, and write a short essay about why they want to win. We received exactly 200 submissions.

This was seriously one of the hardest events I've ever had to judge. There was just SO much good work. Myself, and five other Artists and Art Directors managed to narrow those 200 applicants down to a sigle individual only after a full week of discussion and LOTS of flip flopping.

The real challenge was that we weren't necessarily looking for the best artist. Instead, we were looking for the best student. Someone who exhibits great ability, but even more potential. Someone who has shown repeated dedication to advancing in the field, and whom we thought would benefit the most from the week-long workshop.

So without further ado, I'm pleased to announce that the winner of a full tuition to the 2017 IMC is...



Winner:

Carmen Sinek






In the event that our winner can not attend for some reason, we have also selected a Runner-Up.

1st Runner Up:

Alex Dos Diaz






We originally had about a dozen nominees who we discussed at great length before deciding on a single winner. Any one of these people could just as easily (and just as deservingly) have won the scholarship. In fact, literally every one of them was considered as a potential winner at some point. Often times it came down to a single vote, and in many cases these people didn't win because we felt their work was too good, and would likely succeed just fine on their own without our help. Regardless, all of the jurors were heartbroken that we only had one seat to give away as all of these artists are tremendous talents. We would like to make a special note of some of these artists...



Honorable Mentions:

Justin Hernandez




Corinne Reid




Cristi López




Eli Minaya




Cassandre Bolan




Sam Carr




Abigail Platter




Colin Boyer




Once again , thank you to everyone who submitted, and to everyone whose donations made this scholarship possible. We hope you will all continue to strive for excellence, and look forward to seeing everyone's work again next year!

Monday, April 17, 2017

I've Got Bupkis, So Let's Watch Steve Huston Videos

-By Arnie Fenner


Spectrum Fantastic Art Live happens this week (if you're within a few hours drive of Kansas City, get yourself here!) and I'm up to my eyeballs prepping. I'm not slacking my Muddy Colors obligations this week, but there are only so many hours in the day. So while I'm off sweating and worrying and grousing, let's just watch some interesting videos of Steve Huston doing what he does. Enjoy.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Digital Coloring with Cory Godbey


In this 2 hour demonstration, Cory Godbey walks us through his process of digitally coloring his traditional works. He discusses his own personal color sensibilities and basic Photoshop techniques. This is a wonderful opportunity for traditional artists looking to add some digital techniques to their toolkit.

Duration: 2 hours
Resolution: 720 x 1280

You can receive this download with just a $10 donation.
More info here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/8847175

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tools of the Trade and a Quick Tour

-By Paul Bonner


I'll have to base these writings on a couple of assumptions.

The first is that it's not very likely that in the near future -or ever - I am going to be conducting brisk and informative tours of my at-home studio.

The second assumption, and a possibly even more far fetched one, is that there are actually people out there who would willingly partake in such a bold enterprise.

So, throwing caution to the wind, and going along with the second assumption - I will try and give a little tour of the tools of my trade, the place where they gather and the part they play in my actually getting anything done.

This little jaunt is only available because not much else is. I am embarked on a couple of creative voyages that forbid me to show anything, and to speak of which, would spell some awful kind of doom. At least for me.

So, cup of tea in hand, I make my way down to the cellar where my world sits waiting. Trying to be a little bit chronological, it is my brain that kicks off the process. The same for most of us I suspect. Those flashes of inspiration and tantalising flashes of what might be. So - paper, before they fade. Assuming that I have filled pages of layout pad with scribbles, and progressed on to things that could be called sketches, and then managed to nail the sketches down as something that I would love to paint - it is over to my light table.


It is an ancient, metal monster that bares the brunt of my struggles to make sense of all the scribbles, squiggles and occasional sketches. Once the hard part of defining and drawing the characters is done, I enjoy physically juggling and jigsawing them into place. Suddenly I can see the relationship they have with each other and have a clear mental image of how they will relate to the background. Being the Creator, in my own world, I can toy with my subjects and play with their sizes. The pretty ordinary copy machine that I have is about as hi-tech as I get in my quest for beauty. When dealing with a gaggle of goblins, being quickly able to up and down their individual sizes a few percent to gently push the composition along is invaluable. Not so hi-tech are books. Pride and joy for many of us. And so necessary, for both sparking ideas and checking that a horses' back leg actually looks like you thought it did.



Risky, though, spending too long looking. Too many ideas, and you can visually short circuit, getting lost in a tar-pit of seductive images.Too much relaxed flicking of pages and it,s suddenly lunchtime (no bad thing). It,s best to do short raids. Know what you want. Get in there. And get out again.

The final jigsaw of characters is then drawn up onto my water colour paper using the light table again - and then it is left alone to dream of whatever it is that light tables dream of, until it,s services are required again.

Stretching the paper requires water from the tap next door - not the neighbours - the room next door. They have big cellars in Denmark. I know there are a lot of assumptions being thrown out here, but I feel relatively safe in assuming that you all know what a tap looks like, so no photo.


However - here is a photo of that little area where, I suspect, like many of us, we spend most of our time - in spite of persistent requests to pay attention to things that need dealing with in the other world outside these walls.

Again, like I suspect many of us, my walls and shelves are covered, some might say cluttered, with all sorts of visual stimulus and emotional supplements, to help oil the wheels, and occasionally push the creative juggernaut I,m trying to steer. It,s all stuff I love.Some things go back years, without having lost any of their appeal - visually or emotionally.


This huge Conan poster, I pleaded with the staff at Londons Forbidden Planet to give me. They had it folded up under the counter, and were happy to get rid of it - for free! More than 30 years ago. It,s seen a lot of things, in a lots of different places over the years, hanging on different walls!

The Siberian tiger is a more recent arrival. Helps remind me that a big part of my own artistic quest is simply trying to make something beautiful. His beauty helps put on hold depressing thoughts about all the crap going on in the world. The sheer aesthetic perfection of a full grown Siberian tiger very quickly puts mankind's stupid and arrogant fumblings on a back-burner - even though, sadly it is those consistent fumblings that threaten such beauty and conspires to make it even more poignant. Don,t get me started……..

 Unless you are one of theses digital folks, it's the same stuff  going on in my play area as there is in yours. Pots of brushes. Tubes of paint. And from that tap next door - water.


The paints just live communally in an old box - the warmer colours at one end - the colder ones at the other, though the front lines can get a bit muddled sometimes.


The brushes, of which I have far too many (because you never know - do you?), are sorted vaguely in sizes. They are on constant rotation, as it is quite a job targeting one that will behave and do exactly what I want it to do. At the moment I am stuck in a kind of vicious, hogs-hair no-mans land. The brushes, that through time and use, have evolved into the perfect partner, have recently reached a collective point where they have simply given up. Instead of a willing and eager tool, a rather alarming number of them have seemingly reached a point where they thought it would be better to turn into something that even a dwarf wouldn't use to clean his chimney. So, my entire A-Team of front rank brushes, have opted for career changes, and my all too new recruits are simply not up to the task.

Even the ones on the left had a perfect leaf shape once  - many paintings ago. But they are still more useful than the ones on the right!

So - a lot of time is spent picking upon brush after the other, trying to find one that can be bent to it's masters will. Brush-rage. You heard it here first. Not a nice state of mind when you were enjoying yourself and things were coasting along.

I make light of this, but it is a problem. New brushes, in spite of their seductive bodies and fine heads of hair - are rarely up to the job, and I,m not ruthless enough in retiring the old guard, convinced their loyalty will help me though just on more painting. Interestingly enough, the new recruits have forced me to work a lot more broadly in the early stages, getting stuff done quicker, and blocking in larger ares with more confidence. I will, however, be glad when they pass basic training and begin to justify their places in my paint pots.


Perched behind me, we can see some anatomic sculptures. Another invaluable aid to quickly checking that the nuts and bolts are understood in that consistently challenging subject of the human body. The skulls are a camel (I found it in the desert and brought all the way in a suitcase from Dubai when my parents lived there. Bet I couldn't do that these days!),and a female elk - or moose, to our American chums.


Music, of course, being another essential to the creative process - and of course, simply as something to be enjoyed in it,s own right. I won't bore you with what I have - but of course - it is an eclectic collection of breathtakingly good taste. Enough said.

The more observant amongst you (and I think I can safely assume that observance is a trait that all of us arty types are somewhat known for), may have spotted the big plastic container under the table. The last 25 litres of 75 litres of cider that is almost ready to bottle. Not strictly anything to do with my daily creative routine. Just needed the radiators warmth back in November when it was fermenting. Having said that, though, it,s very comforting hearing the gentle release of bubbles as the natural sugars turn to alcohol.

I find myself digressing.

"Recreational"creativity. Making things for orks to run around in. My excuse is father/son stuff……….

Not much more to see really. Got some drawers full of half baked ideas, finished works and things I should have thrown out years ago.


A big mirror is invaluable for quick poses. Folds in clothing. Taking quick photos for reference, especially hands - that,s why they all look the same in my paintings, and checking my hair. The goblin is optional.




Plants - you have to have plants. Of course you do - and not just for giving you fresh oxygen - though that,s a good reason, especially if you are a brave soul who dabbles in oil paints.


Lastly, moving down to floor level we come to my exercise machine. He's called Baldur, and is the latest, top of the range "get the artist off his bum and out of the door" model. And Baldur is the only one who can watch me paint, talk to myself, sing, play air guitar, and occasionally curse - with out getting bored (as far as I can tell). I guess we all lead very sedentary lives' perched on our gluteus maximus all day, so anything that causes us to move is a good thing - and a Baldur is about as good as it gets.


So, I reckon that,s it really. Just a quick little tour. Nothing earth-shattering. No secret techniques - I,ll try and rustle some up for next time. Hope you enjoyed the little tour. If you did, feel free to leave something in the tip-jar on the way out.