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My Art and Music – Creative Musings

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings

I released this, my 5th album, last week. It’s been a very long time coming. I actually began working on some of the pieces on this album way back in about 1989, (always a Tolkien nut!) Then, when I heard that Peter Jackson was making the Lord of the Rings films, I enlarged the pieces…

A John Williams Score for every Year of my Life: 1987 – Empire of the Sun

Oh no! What do I do? In 1987, the year I turned 17, John Williams released two fantastic soundtrack albums, and I truly don’t know which one I love more. That year was the year of “The Witches of Eastwick” and “The Empire of the Sun”. Both are phenomenal scores. I fell in love with…

Bridges

I love bridges. I think they’re extremely beautiful. Especially if they are a good traditional arched structure. There is something very perfect about an arched bridge spanning a river, or a valley. And I’m not alone. Some of the famous bridges of the world have been the mainstay of photographers and artists for years. Like…

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1986 – Spacecamp

The year I turned 16, a film was released which I didn’t see at the time, and I’m not sure I have ever watched in its entirety. The year I was sixteen (sweet sixteen and never been kissed, but that’s another story) my mother died, and I probably had other things on my mind. In…

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…

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…

Imprimatura

“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…

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…

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…

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my life – 1983 Return of the Jedi

Just before Christmas I had the wonderful experience of watching The Return of the Jedi screened with a live orchestra playing the score. I’d seen the first two films in the saga in the same way a few years ago – and this one was held back a year by the pandemic. It’s a curious…

Clouds

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…

Poetry and Painting

Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen. -Leonardo da Vinci

The Broken World Waits

Sharing this from a blog I follow. Isn’t it wonderful? Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.All things break. And all things can be mended.Not with time, as they say, but with intention.So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. ~ L.R. Knost

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…

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…

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.…

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1981 – The Raiders of the Lost Ark

With this, the first in the series of Indiana Jones films, John Williams created yet another outstanding opus – that surrounding the wisecracking, whip-swinging, fedora-wearing hero and sometimes archaeologist, Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford may have played the titular hero (and it’s a wonder that despite his resemblances and affinities to a certain smuggler in a…

How far to update old songs?

I’m working on a new album release, which will contain some songs which are 25 to 30 years old. Some of them were written when I was very young, and before I’d really become the person I am. In some ways, they reflect my black and white view of the world back then. As we…

When is it Finished?

I suffer from George Lucas Syndrome. Now before you all grab your medical encyclopaedias to look that up, actually, it does exist, but not in the way I mean it. Apparently the urban meaning is “A situation in which sci-fi movies often sacrifice good-quality acting and a coherent story in order to milk in the special effects.” But that’s not the…

Writer’s Block

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…

A3 Calendars

Well, it’s that time of year again – I start thinking about Christmas and the New Year. It may seem ridiculously early, but for those of us who are in the business of designing cards and calendars, our work began some time ago. So I have my beautiful A3 sized wall-hanging Calendars for sale on…

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1980 – The Empire Strikes Back

It’s a while since I wrote one of these posts on the work of my favourite composer, John Williams. I’ve had Covid, but that’s not why. The truth is, since I left teaching to become wholly freelance with my own music and art, I haven’t had a great deal of time to write. And that’s…

The Art of Putting Weight On

Apparently most of the UK population have put on an average of half a stone on over lockdown. That’s certainly true of me, and I’m working doubly hard to try to lose it again. But like the old meme says – “I keep losing weight, but it keeps finding me again”. But if I’m honest,…

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…

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…

Thebe – from The Moons of Jupiter

Some time ago I started writing pieces of music which reflected my love of the cosmic, of science fiction. I chose as my theme the Moons of Jupiter. I don’t intend to write music for every single one of them, as there are about 79 at last count. However, I added a new moon fairly…

Life Changes

Well, since I last blogged, there have been some changes. Well, one in particular. I took the step in Easter of this year of leaving teaching. So I am now (and have been for the past one and a half months) a full-time creative freelancer. So what is it like? Well, I’ve been fortunate. Since…

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 10: 1979 – Dracula

Dracula, scored in 1979, is perhaps one of john Williams’ lesser known works. It is however a mighty work, built mainly around the lush and dangerous theme Williams provided for the central character. This theme features firstly in the Main Title and Storm Sequence : John Williams has said that he tries not to know…

A John Williams Score for every Year of my Life 9: A bit of a mix, 1978

So I’ve reached the year I turned eight. In that year, John Williams was called upon to score a number of feature films, with wide-ranging subject matter – from superheroes to a man-eating shark. I simply cannot choose one score to epitomise his output that year, so I shall choose a theme (motif) or two…

What makes a good melody?

I’ve been teaching some year 5 classes about melody recently, helping them to realise that good melodies don’t just happen by accident. It’s not that composers slavishly follow rules to compose memorable tunes, because most of the time, a good melody does present itself as if my magic. But there are certain truths I suspect…

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…

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 8a – Close Encounters

1977 was a big year for John Williams. He wrote the scores to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well as a certain space opera set a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It would be remiss of me not to include both of these immense scores, different as they are.…

The Gifts of the Pandemic

I was asked this morning what I consider to be the gifts to myself of the pandemic and resultant lockdowns this year. A strange question, to be sure. But not a ridiculous one. Many of us have found something important this year – maybe something we’d forgotten, or lost, has been rediscovered – like a…

A new little musical venture – The Moons of Jupiter

I’ve started composing some pieces to represent the moons of Jupiter. I won’t be writing pieces for every single one of them, because there are quite a few! Seventy-nine at the last count. But the main ones, whose names you may have heard of, such as Thebe, Callisto, Ganymede, Io, Europa, and Amalthea – they…

A John Williams Score for every year of my life 7 – 1976 the Missouri Breaks

I know very little about the film which gave birth to this choice of score by John Williams. I know that it is a Western film which starred Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, but that’s only because they appear on the album artwork. Having looked at Wikipedia’s entry on the film, I see that it…

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About Me

I’m now a full-time fine artist and composer, having left teaching in Easter 2021. This blog is just a little outlet for my creative musings, both on art and music, and Creativity in general.

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