Saturday, 20 November 2010

Random Creation 1

You know how it goes. After weeks of punishing deadlines, the current crop of jobs are finally done and all is quiet in the office. The last thing you'd expect after endless eons sat at the computer is more of the same. Yet once the deadlines are gone your first thought is to do what you were going to before work came in - for example, play with those Painter brushes. So you start doodling. Nothing in particular, but sometimes the image becomes a little more coherent than abstract scribble. Occasionally you might even finish it in a sitting or two, but more often than not other work comes in and the doodles sit on your hard drive for months until they eventually get backed up and erased.
Then one day some time in the future, you're searching for something and come across a dvd full of unfinished doodles. 'I'll copy those back to my hard drive and work some more on them,' you think. And so the cycle continues.
Well, recently I came across a couple of said doodles. They are nothing special. In fact their existence is utterly meaningless other than to get filed under the heading, 'Random Creation.' When enough of them get filed I will put together another Blurb book called just that, 'Random Creation.'

Trust Me, I'm Your Dad!
Quite obviously, there is only one story I know of where an apprehensive boy has an apple balanced on his head. I'm not sure why this came out toon style because it is actually a very serious tale which ultimately lead to the birth of modern Switzerland. Then again, neither style or subject matter were planned, which is why this post heading contains the word random!
Needless to say the image depicts that infamous moment in 1307 when William Tell, crossbow hotshot, was forced to split an apple on his son's head or face execution of both by newly appointed Austrian overlord, Albrecht Gessler.
This composition should follow the balanced rule of thirds by placing the focus of the image (a human face) in the top third of the frame, but instead it augments tension by placing the boy's head at the centre of the image; my intention was to simulate the bullseye of a target. Furthermore, all the major limbs reinforce the effect by leading the eye to the centre. Not that your eye needs leading there; we will always look at a human face first no matter where it is placed in the composition.
As is my want, the tree also has character. It looks frightened because the apple is exactly in line with its heart.
This image began as a simple excercise in using Corel Painter's oil brushes, which are simply delicious.

Oh dear, the leaders of two tribes have agreed to parley for peace but things are not going well. How familiar does that sound? The little guy has lost his temper and used the mano cornuto - horned hand, a gesture which can mean several things, but in this case aimed squarely at an enemy is a curse.
Mano cornuto is a gesture I grew up with. Any Italian of my Parents' generation has probably used it as protection against malocchio, the evil eye. I believe many cultures have the same thing, but Italians inherited it from the Romans. I can't quantify that statement with irrefutable scientific proof, but Romans used it, Italians use it. Heck I still use it now whenever I see a lone magpie screaming, 'one for sorrow!' There is something very powerful about mano cornuto and this will not be the last depiction of it!
Parley was sketched in ArtRage with its gorgeous oil brush.
Click on images to enlarge.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Them Were 't' Days

I'm a bit rubbish at this online networking lark. Tweeting? I still haven't found an answer to the obvious question, why? *Insert: I have come back from the future to inform myself the answer may have finally been found!* Likewise my Facebook page is forgotten for weeks on end and I somehow never get round to learning its conventions.

I do know why this is though. Time is speeding up. That's right, you heard it here first. Time is not uniformly linear. There's probably a beautifully powerful yet astonishingly simple mathematical formula which perfectly describes the relationship between accelerated rate of passing time and age of the entity measuring that rate. In other words, I really can't be bothered learning this stuff because I'd never get the time back. Better to spend it creating.

Having said all that, I did recently remember to check my Facebook page and was pleased to find a greeting from Sarah Godsill, who happened to be on a little 80s nostalgia trip. I met Sarah on the fine art course at Newcastle Poly, but perhaps my most vivid memory of her was as unofficial artist in residence at the legendary Jumpin & Hot Club. She would feverishly sketch  acts as they did their turns and sometimes that meant sketching me as part of a busking jazz band called 'The Bats.' I love the expressiveness of these sketches and they are somehow more intensely nostalgic than photographs. That is what happens when artists draw and paint people; an extra sprinkle of magic.

These days Sarah is still capturing the spirit of occasions. For example, the brilliant images below are the result of time she spent with cast members rehearsing West Side Story. You can also find some more events illustrations here:

Click on images to enlarge.