Procrastinations of a working man

I’m not sure how current my use of a blogging facility is but one thing I do know is – is that anyone that doesn’t should try it. I find it an incredibly powerful tool for introspection – and the remote inspection of my work. I never write whilst in my studio so there is an element of separation that allows a clear mind as it were. The simple act of writing can often cast a helpful light on problems obscuring development, offering next steps and solutions to visual problems.

This powerful effect can come in the form of inadvertently prompting ideas – which probably would of remained in the further recesses of the mind out of sight. Blogging also allows the fine tuning of existing ideas simply by testing what spills out in the contents of the writing.

It is here that I start and I am looking for the obscurity in my field of vision to be lifted in the form of colour combinations, you see I have three drawings ready to be coloured but they are all already at that “precious stage”.  This is partly because I have spent a lot of time with them and grown to love what they are becoming, however, each have been made to be coloured and the current “precious stage” needs to be advanced via the risk of colour addition. What I need to work out is the following:

– Do I use different shades of the same colour with accents of contrasting? For instance blues with streaks of different orange shades.
– Multicoloured?
– Equal amounts of contrasting colours?
– Black, white and shades of one other colour could be an idea…

I’m really not sure at the moment but just having written the potential options down has helped to focus things a little. Also another thing I will need to do is test different opacities of inks before making a final call.

Ideally I would like to use my inks in a different way – with more purpose and sense of direction as opposed to blindly seeing what happens and works.  This is the real battleground in what I am doing at the moment.

Moving on now to another thought on my mind. How to price work?  Now I’m as unknown and obscure as they come but spend many, many working days – usually weeks on a single drawing – clearly a far more expensive way to produce work than say an expressive, gestural drawing that takes an hour – or even a day or two (so the facility of very low prices just will not cut it against the amount of time I spend). With these factors in mind how can I set reasonable prices on something that has taken so long? Any comment on this would be incredibly helpful.

Thank you as always for reading.


So things are progressing rapidly within my work at present.  My working habits are on the verge of changing and all feels good in the world right now.  A caveat- things in my drawing world usually operate at a glacial speed due to continued breaking of routines and working flows, long working hours and various other commitments, so this brings me up to somewhere near a respectable speed in terms of productivity (relative to the sort of work I do). I'll take that as a massive step forward.

I have recently been stealing hours where before I wasn't for some unknown reason?  You see I am an annoyingly early riser and often spend hours not doing too much before the household wakes obscene waste of time to anyone thinking about it now, but even more so to an artist short on time (what artist isn't?).  Now every Saturday and Sunday morning now I am up early, out of the door and in the studio before anyone has even begun to stir, I usually get a couple of hours intense working time - which has proved amazingly productive.   All this in time to get back and resume family duties.  Only to often return later in the day for round two. (I always remember reading about Jenny Saville talking about getting the kids to bed and then returning to the studio late at night - I like it and stealing this time works). I'm not sure if it is a psychosomatic feeling of heightened commitment to my work, that it is going well right now or that I just am actually getting more done.  Whatever the cause I am very settled and happy in what I am doing and know "it" is working and my time efficiency has been through the roof.  

Things I've been considering recently:

    ⁃    The feeling of finding the single path in which to follow as opposed to constantly wondering where to go I what I am doing and knowing it's worthwhile - a very important personal point for may agree?  The thought of deeply exploring a niche that I have formed through genuine application of time, developing ideas and hard work is incredibly exciting and my anticipation for the future is at a fever pitch.

    ⁃    Pride in the fact that against overwhelmingly seemingly insurmountable and impossible odds I have doggedly clung onto the dream, the passion and have managed to carve a half decent practice and working ethic out basically on my own, moreover the feeling that what I am doing is bloody valuable - to me at least.  This thought sprung to mind whilst taking a very quick break and sitting back in the black chair in the studio a couple of days ago ( I have an ancient black, leather swivel chair on casters that I liberated from an undignified premature ending - it's perfect) looking around at older work pinned up, working drawings and drawings scrawled with permanent marker as a physical reminder to the mind "don't forget this successful part of a drawing/ sketch/ note...also don't forget to USE IT".  The plan chest brimming with work, good and bad, old and new, then my strange habits that have developed over many long hours which have become the ecosystem in terms of ritual within the confines of the studio walls.  The space is completely mine, nothing happens without me, no one enters unless invited...I love it.

I apologise for the for the extremely self indulgent nature of this post (even by procrastination standards) but to be fair, this is what helps me work things out, focus, validate ideas and make sense of what is going on in my work, perhaps akin to stretching to remove lactic acid from tired muscles, anyway if this was 30 years ago this stuff would be in a journal and not online for all to see, unfortunately for anyone reading I do not have anything else of more interest to write about...such as lifestyle, flashy cars or the latest celebrity couples.

Thank you as always for reading.




Some interesting developments over the last couple of days, firstly I am now definitely going part time with my current job, I'm only dropping one working day but it is a start, after all canal locks produce big changes slowly.


Disjointedly moving on, a technical point now - which is probably pretty obvious is that I have discovered - via a mixture of curiously, research, and frustration that my technical pens will work absolutely perfectly with diluted inks.  This opens up so many new possibilities in terms of colours.  Since beginning experimenting with coloured inks and technical pens I have always used white to tint, change and lighten each colour, this is how can I and lends my work a certain look.  Thumbing through books, magazines, surfing work from other artists - new and old I marvel at the colour and effects being achieved, all the while wondering how I can keep my work evolving.  Now, with this modest inky development I would like to begin exploring colours in a much wider sense, saturation, luminosity and some pure colours.  I have begun to find the use of tinting restrictive and it made me question the limits of technical pens.  As you may know I am colour blind so the use of colour can be sketchy ground for me but now an area my work demands.  


It's a nice thought that when I started to use colour it was a revelation, it literally transformed my work and passion for what I do in an instant, at the time I thought I'd taken such a bold step (as I'd always resigned myself to a world of monochrome work) and in a sense it still is the case, I embraced my deficiencies in colour with the simple thought in mind that that it is part of me as much as my ideas or current aesthetic so be courageous and use it - after all it's my identity and nobody else has it.  Essentially this thought distils what an artist is, what an artist has and how an artist works.  An expression of identity through a chosen vehicle (but not limited to).


I'm never going to be a gentle colourist or understand/ see colour in the same way that a normally sighted person does - however, this doesn't mean I cannot make an interesting submission into the very human endeavour of art.  It also (for any artists who are lacking in confidence due to colour blindness) doesn't mean that your use of colour defaults to bad or inferior - just different.


Thank you as always for reading.


Updates coming at:

Fits, starts and future plan

So, where to begin? It has been a long time time since my last post...a very long time. Happily I have not been at a total standstill practice fact I have been pretty busy over the last few months (although I did have a self inflicted period of inactivity of around six months due to prior commitments before this).

To anyone that has ever read my blog on a regular basis in the past will know that I often slip away into rambling tangents and I do not think this will buck the trend - and in fact as I am writing this I am beginning to feel better about being back exploring thoughts and ideas through writing so please expect more random cascades of written thought.

Anyway now that the awkward intro is out of the way and my tail is not between my legs any longer I will begin to grind off the rust and begin musing and recording my activities once again.  Lucky you!

I have been working on a fairly wide range of work and exploring new ideas - albeit along the same lines of enquiry and feel in the last few weeks my practice and ambition has grown in terms of life choices and scope of future works/ plans. Along with new works I have also begun to wrestle once again with some old foes that have been slow burning and inhabiting the inner recesses off my plan chest.  I like to do this as I think it is important to follow through with large projects that represent a huge investment in time - even if it is on an ad hoc basis stealing time to work on it around smaller, faster moving projects.

Now at the age of 42 I have been constantly considering and re-considering my life and career choices for quite sometime - perhaps being brutally honest not having the courage to follow my convictions through and leaving a place of relative financial security, however, now I find myself at the precipice of some huge life changes where my drawing is concerned and the position it currently resides in within my life, it may not happen just yet but I am being uncontrollably pulled towards a life less materialistic yet more fulfilling, I think I know that deep down these financial worries wouldn't be as severe as I frighten myself into thinking and realistically I would be working part time to earn a subsistence wage built around my studio practice.  I am lucky in the fact I have a very supportive wife who will almost certainly eventually push me to make the jump into committing - at the very least part time into making drawings and carving another career (one thing is that I do not consider this so much and coldly acareer but more as a life choice), I guess my main problem in trying to accomplish this is total and utter lack of network/ contacts and friends within the artworld - and the fairly daunting thought that I do not have the faintest idea how to develop this? Social media I guess is an obvious one but how does one go about changing a few clicks into into tangible contacts? I really have not got a clue? Any advice on the off chance someone gets this far in the post would be greatly appreciated.

Mid life crisis...I don't think so...maybe...who knows?  Who cares?  One thing I do know is I think I owe it to myself to try and integrate my work into my working (and wider) life I am always brimming with ideas but all too often they die in a sketchbook, strangled by crushing lack of time. More than a mid life crisis I feel I have earned the chance to see what watch this space.

I have toyed with the idea of starting to use oil paint as well as drawing with ink to expand the aesthetic scope of my work. I am in the final stages of completing a random commission for a skateboard collector who wanted a piece of my work but something that could hang with his other boards - totally out of my remit but I have hugely enjoyed doing it, this has been painted and I think it has whet my appetite to explore other mediums and substrates.

Images will follow in the next couple of days of the work I have been producing in the last couple of months.

As has always been the case thank you for reading and whatever you do keep working.


Sketchbook musing 11/05/2017

Sketchbooks – beware!! A place where ideas can die.  A brainstorm on the brainstorm device.

I as many artists do hold sketchbooks in an almost sacred high regard. They are intimately personal, show workings, ideas – good and bad, notes and miscellany…some so personal that they are out of bounds to all viewers other than to the hand that created them.

So inestimably useful in the genesis of new ideas and pushing existing ones – and entire practices on, a sketchbook is an incredibly powerful tool – in my opinion even more so as an essentially ancient device in a world which is becoming evermore electronic and technologically advanced.

But beware! A sketchbook to an avid user can also be where ideas are stored safely away- only to be hidden by the proceeding page and another slightly different idea laid down. As a melting point type of artist who works instinctively and intuitively every single one of these drawings subliminally inform all future works but for real focussed work I think one must be careful not to leave these drawings in the vaults of history and to eternal redundancy.

Quite often I work in an essentially spontaneous manner – cultivating ideas and stealing time to do so as and when I can during my working day, this results in a sometimes fragmented and fractured mass of drawings accumulating that I try to look through as often as possible so as to glean as many of the developments relevant to my work at the time as I can. Sometimes this trawling helps and sometimes I have to look at the problem on the page before with fresh eyes but the sketchbook is an invaluable and reassuring resource that underpins my practice.

No matter what type of art (or anything for that matter) you indulge in I can guarantee the use – even light use of a sketchbook will inform, develop – and enrich whatever is you are trying to achieve, they can be the most brutal advocates of a quick creative death for any idea tested on the exposed page but also hold the strange power of resurrection to sometimes doomed ideas from many moons before.

In short, if you haven’t already – get sketching!

Thank you as always for reading