Back in 2008 I composed a musical for Easter, following the events of the last week in the life of Jesus Christ. It was all part of the "Hope 08" churches together activities we saw that year. It was performed twice, in my church and also in a local school, by the members and soloists … Continue reading Hope Rising
A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
John Williams composed three scores in 1989, the year I turned 19. One of them was the searing score for "Born on the Fourth of July", for director Oliver Stone. This was the first score Williams would provide for a Stone film, and he would follow it up with two further scores in the early … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Work… for Pleasure
"Some of us paint for pleasure" I spoke at the monthly meeting of a local art group recently, and I spent some time talking through my experiences of selling artwork and other income streams I use to pay the bills. I'm fortunate in being able to spend so much of my working week creating, whether … Continue reading Work… for Pleasure
The Accidental Tourist
Continuing in my occasional blog entries reviewing one score by the wonderful John Williams for every year of my life, we come to 1988, the year I turned 18, and the score to The Accidental Tourist. By this year, I'd been an ardent fan for about 4 years, having discovered that the same person who … Continue reading The Accidental Tourist
The Wicked Weave
Canvas has a bit of a dark side. It has what I call the wicked weave. I'm always learning as an artist. I never want to reach a point where I can say "I know it all." If I ever reach that point, I may as well stop painting. I want to share with you … Continue reading The Wicked Weave
What Comes First – Lyrics or Music?
One thing I am often asked as someone who writes both music and lyrics is, "What do you do first? The music or the words?" And it's not as easy a question to answer as perhaps it should be. Because it hinges on the very process of creating something, and this is a process which … Continue reading What Comes First – Lyrics or Music?
Ignite Great Brain Activity when Painting
As many of my readers will be aware, I am a composer as well as an artist, and I've noticed that for me, there are some key differences to the way my brain functions in both pursuits. The first is that when I'm creating music, I don't easily get bored. I can keep working away … Continue reading Ignite Great Brain Activity when Painting
A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1987 The Witches of Eastwick
I can't leave 1987 with just a look at "Empire of the Sun", which was the focus of my last blog entry in my ongoing look at a John Williams score for every year of my life. "The Witches of Eastwick" was the other remarkable score by Williams that year - it's just too great … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every year of my life: 1987 The Witches of Eastwick
Anyone can learn Art
I'm sure many people would disagree with me on this statement. They might see themselves as not owning a single artistic bone in their body. But I truly believe that anyone can learn to draw, and to paint. However, just as some athletic sorts will always have a head-start on us lesser mortals, I do … Continue reading Anyone can learn Art
News! Read All About It!
I hope those of you who read my blog on all things artistic and musical find it insightful and interesting (at least on the odd occasion!) I never thought I'd enjoy writing a blog as much as I do. It's not always clear when I start an entry what it will be about - I … Continue reading News! Read All About It!
Small is Beautiful
They say that size doesn't matter. But I have to disagree, to a certain extent. When an artist creates a new piece of artwork, one of the first things they will need to think about is how large the piece is going to be. This of course is decided partly by what the work is … Continue reading Small is Beautiful
"What on earth is that?" I hear you ask. Well, it's something I've only ever tried once, but I'm going to start using again. It's all about laying a base coat on a canvas, often over the original drawing marks. Many artists use brown, others use orange. I suppose it's about using a colour which … Continue reading Imprimatura
Hints and Tips on Painting Trees
I'm always learning as an artist. One thing I'm learning at the moment which I thought I'd share with you is about where to start laying your colours down on a canvas. You see, when I first started painting on canvas with acrylics a few years ago, I treated them very much like watercolours, where … Continue reading Hints and Tips on Painting Trees
The Process of a Painting
I want to share with you some of the things that happen in the creation of new artwork. Stage 1 Firstly, I have to decide what exactly I am going to commit to paper or canvas. And that is not as easy as it sounds. I take huge numbers of photographs, and so the first thing … Continue reading The Process of a Painting
Most of us, I am sure, have at some point or another looked up at the clouds and imagined the animals we can see in their shapes. This has got a name. It's called pareidolia. Can you see the two cats fighting below? Or is that just me? I don't know about you, but I … Continue reading Clouds
Hidden in Plain Sight
When I was a young artist, I greatly admired the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They were a group of young idealistic Victorians who painted art to educate and improve their peers. They looked back to a time in Art History when, it seemed to them, art had been about improving the morality of its … Continue reading Hidden in Plain Sight
Out of the Comfort Zone
I've been doing some online training this week with a rather wonderful French lady called Gavriella. It's all been about how to attract customers as an artist. It's most definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone! You see, as an artist, I have one major weakness. I'm British, and we British don't like to … Continue reading Out of the Comfort Zone
Fun Facts About Me as an Artist
I thought I'd share 5 fun facts about me today: 1. I never have a cup of coffee near when I'm painting. Artists will understand! Ask me if you want to know why. 2. I have these ridiculous glasses (basically magnifying glasses attached to a head clamp) which I wear when doing really detailed work. … Continue reading Fun Facts About Me as an Artist
I'm sure all creatives, people who try to make a living from their creations, suffer this at some point. And it's not, by the way, confined to writers. I've been fighting with a new song all day, and it still isn't playing ball. My ideas sound hackneyed, flat. And that's just to me. I wouldn't … Continue reading Writer’s Block
My life as a Freelancer
I took a risk at Easter. I left teaching, in order to give my time to painting and to music composition. So far, it's been the best decision I could have made, because I've had more work than I know what to do with. In fact, I've been so busy doing paid work for other … Continue reading My life as a Freelancer
The Urge to be Better
There was a painting I did last year which I thought was pretty good. I thought it worked, and I like the amount of detail I'd been able to use. The source photo hadn't been that great, but I thought the end product was worth the effort. I look at that painting now, and all … Continue reading The Urge to be Better
The Dark Crystal – a Triumph of Design
This is not a film review. This is purely my response as an artist to the artistry at work in the design of the film, which in my view is absolutely second-to-none. Much of the film's design is down to the excellent and unique work of Brian Froud. His imaginative and organic designs are an … Continue reading The Dark Crystal – a Triumph of Design
Where did it all start? And where is it going?
My son asked me the other day (because even at 15 he seems to mistakenly think that I am a fount of all wisdom - until I ask him to do something of course!) when humans started to write. I answered that even the cavepeople drew on the walls - imbuing their drawings with meaning. … Continue reading Where did it all start? And where is it going?
Recently I've been trying to improve my presence on the web. That's important if I'm going to make my work more accessible and well-known. One blog I read recently suggested that every artist (and musician, I'm sure) needs a sign of their brand, a logo if you like. So I sat down and designed one … Continue reading Branding
Leaving my Mark
I always thought I'd be rich and famous by the time I was 30. I thought I'd be "discovered". And here I am, entering my second half century, and still not there. Yes, I make some money out of my paintings, out of my music. But not enough to pay the mortgage. Not enough to … Continue reading Leaving my Mark
Art in a Time of Pandemic
It's been hard for creatives this year. It's been hard for everyone. But for the many many people who depend on selling artwork, or creating live performances, it's been really hard. In the past few years, I've used Open Studios as the main forum for selling my original paintings. Where I would normally sell 30 … Continue reading Art in a Time of Pandemic