Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Subterraneans (Coming Up For Air)

This was a painting done back in 1997 that I have just re-photographed with a much better digital camera than last time (14 megapixels as opposed to 2.5 or something like that). It's good to see the details and colors so much clearer now.

The Subterraneans (Coming Up For Air), 1997, oil on canvas, 60" x 48".

Monday, March 28, 2011

Woman with Wheels

This was a large acrylic drawing started in 1998/99 & finished today. The "hair" was inspired by Leonardo's "Leda" drawings, which feature coiled hair.

Woman with Wheels, 1998-1999 & 2011, acrylic on museum board, 40" x 32".

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where Time Waits

This was a drawing that I finished today that I originally started in 2010, putting it aside as I was undecided as to whether it had succeeded as a piece of art. I found it again this morning and reworked it enough that I now feel it is done. It is to go into the Journey to Somewhere collaboration with Barry Farmer.

Where Time Waits, 2010-2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Here is a photo of the same piece in its unfinished state, taken a year ago:

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Devil's Collected Works

This is another new, large-ish Bosch/Breughel inspired ink drawing for the Heaven and Hell series, which is nearing completion...

The Devil's Collected Works, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Saturday, March 19, 2011


This is my half of this week's drawing collaboration with NC Mallory over on Flickr. The theme, "Rescue", was suggested by Norman in response to the tragedy in Japan. You can see the combined works here.

Rescue, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 10" x 8".

Waking in a Strange Land

This is a new ink drawing that I did for the Journey to Somewhere collaboration with Barry Farmer.

Waking in a Strange Land, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18". It has a sense of dislocation that I like.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Evocation of the Tree Man

This is my version of Bosch's Tree Man (also drawn by Breughel). Apart from being drawn to this image from Bosch's Hell panel of the Garden of Earthly Delights triptych (in the Prado Museum), I once linked my blog to a drawing of this, and now it comes up in a Google image search if you type in my now, maybe this will come up instead...

Evocation of the Tree Man, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

This is not a copy, by the way. I did look at the Breughel version before doing this, but I tried to make the image as much my own as I could.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Melancholy's Nest

This is a new, large-ish ink drawing partially inspired by Albrecht Dürer's famous engraving, Melencolia.

Melancholy's Nest, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stephen Harrison | The Colour of Black is Black

Stephen Harrison, my old Edinburgh friend & bandmate from long ago (Heyday, mid-80s) recently sent me his new CD, "The Colour of Black is Black". It got put in a to-do pile for a while, but I've dug it out & am listening to it. Here is the cover:

And here is the back cover:

Despite the title and the somewhat stark gray tones on the front cover, this is not the melancholy work I was suspecting when I unwrapped it. The songs for the most part balance melancholy, sadness and introspection with a light and airy feel, reflecting a certain amount of happiness and positive feelings. Lyrically, there is also a sense of happiness that has not always been present in Stephen's words. This is probably due to the presence in his life of singer Karen Edward who co-wrote "Summer Song" with him, & seems to be having an uplifting effect upon his spirit. Musically, the album is quite varied, covering a spectrum from acoustic folk-tinged songs to somewhat harsher soundscapes ("The Way" in particular).

I like the way the instruments are layered: electric (jangly) guitar, acoustic, guitar, keyboards. All the songs are sung & played by Stephen. There is a drum machine, but its main function is to supply a basic beat and mostly not much else, which renders it a pulse, a heartbeat, to the music. Stephen's voice is in fine form, with what seems like more emotional range than usual, or at least more of the emotions are positive this time. All nine songs on the CD are strong, no filler that I can see/hear. All in all, a very thoughtful, eloquent album by a mature artist, & worth repeated listens.

Track-by-track impressions:

1. The Colour of Black is Black (3:34)
A folk-tinged song with prominent acoustic guitar & occasional keyboards. It gives the impression that it's going to be low-key, but then soars into joy from time to time.

2. My Song (2:29)
Slightly downbeat, but with a swing. A yearning love song. Some nice multitracked guitar work.

3. Little Bird (3:35)
Upbeat piano intro over a lively beat. Deliberately uses lyrical cliches to good effect. A happy love song. Could be a minor classic.

4. Somewhere High (2:11)
Another yearning love song. Nice low-key guitar work. Soaring keyboards in the background lift the song in its second half. A little on the short side.

5. The Way (3:49)
The album's center point & a possible masterpiece of relative simplicity. Repetitive to very good effect. A whirlpool of sound that pulls you in. Ominous. Darker and more electronic than much of Stephen's work. The vibrato guitar near the end is a good touch.

6. Summer Song (with words by Karen Edward) (3:52)
Happy acoustic guitar. Simple words. Folky. A feel-good song, relatively. Lots of space in this one. There is a hint of sadness in the background somehow.

7. Undiscovered and Alien (4:54)
Starts off dark and alienated. However, it starts to climb from its well of sadness and takes on a more nurturing tone. There are some beautiful melodic guitar fragments in here. Love transcends all.

8. Wilderness Years (3:34)
Guitar in the beginning sounds a little like birds. Yearning, but with love and happiness. Soulmates in the sun. Love and romance. Dancing with electric shoes.

9. When Darkness Comes (3:12)
Acoustic intro. Sparse. Plain and simple. A quiet beauty. Nice ending for the album.

Monday, March 14, 2011

St. John the Divine on Patmos

Another large-ish drawing for the Heaven and Hell series. This one is of St. John on the Greek island of Patmos, bringing the Book of Revelation into being. Obviously, my version is a 21st century re-imagining of a Renaissance or Gothic version of a much older subject, so there are probably various interesting layers that could be gone into here.

St. John the Divine on Patmos, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Temptation of St. Anthony

Here is another subject (for the Heaven and Hell series) that I've been wanting to try for a while, the temptation of St. Anthony, having enjoyed the versions by Bosch & Schongauer (& others) for many years.

The Temptation of St. Anthony, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Head of St. Anthony (study), 2011, brush & ink on paper, 10" x 8".

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Although I am not a religious person per se, I do like to attempt iconic and epic subjects, which include biblical and religious ones.

Pieta, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18". For the Heaven and Hell series.

This Island Earth & Forgotten Child of Surrealism

These are 2 new large-ish ink drawings. Both are 23.5" x 18" & from 2011. The first is a drawing of multiple heads depicting a slice of humanity, the title coming from a 1950s science fiction film. The second is a surrealistic drawing of a single head -- I was inspired by surrealism in days gone by & still have fond memories, but now prefer artworks with more aesthetic & emotional resonance.

This Island Earth, 2011.

Forgotten Child of Surrealism, 2011.

Monday, March 07, 2011


A new large ink drawing with a number of figures for the Heaven and Hell series:

Visitation, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Impossibility of Eternal Beauty

A meditation on eternity & beauty, I suppose, whatever they are...

The Impossibility of Eternal Beauty, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Faith Healer

This is a new, larger drawing. I've been meaning to go up in scale for a while now...

Faith Healer, 2011, brush & ink on paper, 23.5" x 18".

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Head for a Pieta

Another combination of ink drawing & acrylic color...unfinished version?

Head for a Pieta, 2011, ink & acrylic on paper, 14" x 11" approx.

The Guardian of the Dawn

It's been a while since I've used much color (except maybe blue), so here is an ink drawing enhanced with acrylic warm tones:

The Guardian of the Dawn, 2011, ink & acrylic on paper, 11" x 8.5".