Procrastinations of a working man

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

3rd May 2017

So things have been very busy recently in the Belton studio.  Whilst it has been business as usual in regards to working as intensely as my working life permits me I have also put on my first solo exhibition.  It is currently being held at The Snug bar and café in Leigh on sea, Essex (to be taken down on Friday) so if you’re in the area please pop in and see what I’m all about.

The private view was held on Friday 28th and I have to say I could not believe how many people came (I think it was around 70), I was blown away – even more so to then sell eight works that night.

I absolutely loved organising, hanging and having my work displayed for all to see (as opposed to being stored away in a plan chest in my studio), it also taught me an awful lot about exhibiting my work.  The relationship between the frame and the work itself – how they interact together, how the framing can change the appearance of the drawing.  lessons learnt and experienced gained, whilst I am very happy with how things looked I will also do things differently next time round.  another interesting thing I noticed is that when hanging the drawings (21 in total) thy were grouped, re-grouped and shuffled again on the floor to attain a sense of flow to the exhibition and in that I noticed how some work is naturally better grouped with others and the common themes running through my practice – it almost stated the obvious visually but helped me to see in an almost flow chart state the differences in certain elements of what I do – this I loved.

I felt confident about what I have done and found myself able to fluently talk to people about what I do, how they see it and the associations people were making – please do not mistake this for a boast, it is simply that I usually work in solitude so this is all very new to me and I am pleased with how natural it all felt.  I guess I must of underestimated just how much I think about what I do.

This experience has enlivened an already raging passion for what I do and am feeling the starvation of an artist exploding with ideas waiting to be devoured.

Thank you as always for reading.

27th April 2017

As is usual these days my time has been incredibly stretched by pretty much every element of my life.  My day job has been ridiculous and home life (happily) more demanding than ever – throw into the mix feverish activity with every spare second in the studio preparing for a modest local exhibition.


Said exhibituon is now basically upon us (details below) and I’ve been beavering away with arrangements and framing and the other bits and pieces required. I’ve love it.  Please feel free to pop in if you are local (or not) and take in some drawings and maybe a canapé or two.

The evening starts at 17:00 (until 23:00) at:

The Snug bar and cafe

96 Leigh Road

Leigh on Sea



Apologies for the brevity of this post, an in depth update coming soon.

7th March 2017

I must first make the now usual apologies for the length of time since my last post, I have been very busy and spending as much time as possible taking the fight to my work and really entrenching myself in each moment that I am working, not thinking about how much work lays ahead and the time that will elapse between now and the finished article.

The mindset I have described above is the best way forward for me as an individual involved in the type of work I produce, I also believe that trying to be in each moment as far as possible is helping nurture a more pure type of drawing and deepening what is developing in front of me in each microcosmic thought displayed on the paper.

Since a child I have always had a predisposition to be fascinated by dense works of art almost regardless of what they depict, whether figurative or abstract, works that are heavily worked and minutely detailed. The figuration aspect of this has since slipped away and I am purely interested within the abstract (although ironically many of my favourite artists are that of a figurative nature). After many years of exploration I have recognised this fact and set about delving into its seemingly endless possibilities, things have subsequently become more and more intense and the tensions in the creation of these drawings is becoming something of a badge of honour now – I enjoy the process equally as much as the pride I feel in the finished article – you decide if that pride is misplaced or undeserved!

Now I have cemented what I am and what I do I am hell bent on plunging to its deepest depths, as you can probably ascertain I am writing with an impassioned vigour as I can barely contain my enthusiasm for what is – and what could lay ahead.

Perhaps a fairly cryptic post today?

Thank you for reading as always

20th February 2017

I have been working as hard as I possibly can and I have felt my work taking on the desire for a genuine change in direction, a fairly subtle change, not a radical change in aesthetic but definitely a solid development.

My skeletal drawing process hasn’t changed really but the colours and the way I apply them has – and is changing. This for me is an incredibly exciting time in my practice because as some of you might know I am colour blind (not totally) and had always pretty much ruled myself out of the use of colour in my work.

A probably around a year ago I begun to use colour thinking I will use very bright colour’s that I understand and almost blast my way through the problem of not seeing subtle colour’s as most others do. This worked up to a point, then slowly I began to feel the restrictions coupled with the natural urge to progress. I tried ignoring this for a while but before long I knew change had to be instigated.

Fast forward to now and that change is in its
supernova – it is almost complete in the fact that my colour methods have changed so much.

During my degree I made sure I knew my basic colour theory as a well drilled soldier does his rifle. This knowledge over time has eroded so
I set about relearning what I had forgotten. Just reading about this stuff again helped immeasurably and I realised quite happily that I only needed the smallest of prompts to remember what I was recapping. (Incidentally I learnt my colour so well whilst studying to try to offset my disadvantages).

What I am trying to do now is use colours in a more sophisticated manner and not just bludgeon them into a drawing. Also due to different pens/ inks I am able to overlay colours now which has opened a very exciting set of possibilities. Dare I say maybe one day some paintings might come from this. I can’t believe just how much the colour aspect has become important now.

Thank you as always for reading.