Monday, 7 September 2015

Slippery People - which way is up?

It's a quarter of a year since I wrote anything in this blog. Since then it's been a good summer. I came off the drugs bit by bit and had a good holiday, followed by a lazy summer in Bize. My painting has stalled. As a result of the back and as a result of lack of courage. I want to get on with the oil/portrait series that has been underway for a while now, but around me are a stack of unfinished canvases. The only thing I've finished in the last few months is this one:
Slippery People
Acrylic on Canvas
Definitely not a portrait. I called it Duck Theory at first. (That's how it appears on my website.) And I can remember why I called it that, but don't think that was a good reason. I now prefer the alternative title "Slippery People" - another Talking Heads title. I've done a few of them over the years. I don't like pictures without titles. "Untitled 14" annoys the crap out of me, as do pretentious bollocks titles people attach to abstracts: "The darkness of the southern wind". All abstracts relate to SOMETHING. A title might give a clue or mislead, but it makes an interesting talking point. Using son lyrics/titles for me at least honestly reflects something about process - I always paint to music. And songs and rhythm influence what I paint - movement, colour.... Also, I now think it may be better this way up, landscape rather than portrait - which is how it was originally. But what the hell, if you buy it you can hang it any way you like and call it whatever you like. You pays your money...

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Getting Better, Back Pain is Strictly for the Birds

I had my back operated on exactly a month ago, and have slowly been reducing the pain meds. Straight after it was awful, and in addition to the drugs I had a nurse coming every day for 10 days giving me cortisone shots in my arse. Things are getting better now, and I am walking around (mainly with a stick to help me not fall over). In the last few days I have stopped taking the diazepam - it was pretty ok at the beginning being off my head with drugs whilst avoiding the pain, but the time came to finish - I wanted my brain back. I'd like to start painting but, my "studio" - space on top floor - is unusable because whilst I was lying flat on my back downstairs we had insulation put in, and all my stuff has been moved around. I unfortunately need help moving things around to let me paint again - unless I want to end up back in hospital. My wife has promised to help, but she's a busy lady.

In the meantime all I can show you is some crazy drugged up bird drawings I did on my iPad whilst lying on the sofa - the last one, as you can see was when I was at my most drugged up:

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Art Scams and Silly Emails

I've written about this before, and there are some relayed resources about art scams on the internet for example: http://www.artscams.com,, and scams range from people trying to "Buy" works of art that seem to involve you repaying them for their "Overpaid" postage, to people trying to sell you space on their gallery walls for ridiculous amounts of money, or pages in their books or their non-existent "consultancy" support.

But I have to say the most inexplicable and stupid email I've received today was this:

On 22 Mar 2015, at 14:59, derek thomas <> wrote:

Hi,Am Derek Thomas, i will like to place an order from your store for my daughter wedding gift,but i will be glad if you can list some of the artwork you have for sale with the prices,also my only method of payment is by Bank Check.So, i will be glad if you can email me for more details like the names and the prices you have for sale,once again my only payment method is by Bank Check for serious seller.      Waiting for your reply.        Thank          D.Thomas

I'm quite happy to give his email address - because I tried it and it doesn't work, which is off, because this prevented me from sending him my latest list/email telling him to fuck himself, and to add the most bizarre fact - the email address appeared not to be addressed to me at all but to: "john@powe******".

I don't know who he is but I wonder if he got an email too? I haven't included his full email address above because I assume that he, too, is an innocent victim.

Given the amount of pain killing drugs I am currently on I'd say I imagined the whole thing if I didn't have the email in front of me. Ah well. A picture:

Just a quick update, I have now received an email from someone with a similar bad scam:

Greetings .Am Sally Michael,Am interested in buying artworks from your esteemed organization for my new apartment and you still have for sale and i will be glad if you can Send me recent art work you have for sale with the asking prices,also my method of payment is by (BANK CHECK) as means of payment.Kindly email me some of the artwork you have in stock with the name and prices now.Looking forward to an early response.Regards,Sally Michael

I have emailed he to ask if she is related to Derek Thomas...

Friday, 20 March 2015


I am doomed, you are doomed. 

Let me be clear, you are doomed because I have learned how to do blog entries straight from my phone. Which will mean, I would guess, more frequent blogging, but shorter entries in general. Well to be fair I haven't written too many essays recently any way.

I am doom because of my back. I "put my back out" a month or so ago. Lugging wood for our lovely house- warming wood burner. Except it turns out the damage is a little bit more severe (understatement). Four slipped disc plus one herniated disc sticking out 14 mm straight into the nerve in my back. I'd borrow the model the doctor showed me if I could to illustrate this but there you go. In all it means while I await surgery I am taking a vast quantity of necessary pain killers and am thus mostly smashed. My painting series of oil portraits is on hold as I have the concentration level of a goldfish, but am tring to splash a few bits of non sense de on canvas and silly ipad drawings. also watching an incredible quantity of shit TV. 

Worst of all I have spent the last 3 months organising my dad's memorial - which takes place next Wednesday. And I won't be there. As my doctor said yesterday, I am stuck in Bize-Minervois for the next few months. There are worse places to be be,  current morning diet below. 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Je Suis Charlie/Russia's Favourite Love Machine

Je Suis Charlie

These are bad times. Too much violence and death. Je suis Charlie. Nous sommes tous Charlie. We are all Charlie. I don't understand some people, some humans, at all. The need to protect your religion, your beliefs, by killing others who don't agree with you, or make fun of you. The hatred towards others with different beliefs or ideas or convictions. I don't get it at all. I know it's not new, and I know it's not confined to extreme Islamic fundamentalists. The numbers of murders and massacres in the name of Christianity throughout history is enormous, massacres of Jews and others in Nazi Germany, genocide in Ruanda, massacres throughout time. Murder. Killing other people because they aren't the same as you. Killing - for what? I don't get it. Anyone who believes that killing someone for their beliefs id not just wrong - they are dangerous. People who spread hatred are just WRONG. I am intolerant of intolerance. My beliefs aren't the same as yours? I won't kill you. Don't kill me. Please. Never forget to be polite.

Russia's Favourite Love Machine

If you like history and you have never heard Hardcore History - Dan Carlin's amazing series of Podcasts - you really should. History and story-telling at its best. Dan Carlin would be pleased that his latest epic around the first world war has got me reading more around the subject. As well as the rise of Socialism in France I have been also reading about Rasputin: much more interesting than Boney M would have you believe. Despite the wonderfulness of the song it seems to be unlikely that he actually was the "lover of the Russian Queen", as Alexandria appears to have been a bit of a prude. A neurotic prude at that, married to Tsar Nicholas 2nd who clearly wasn't the brightest guy in Russia. And although Rasputin had a strong influence over the Tsar and Tsarina in many ways, some claim he was unable to influence some of their most awful behaviour, particularly towards the Jews. It has been argued that Rasputin sought to influence the Tsar to stop the pogroms in Russia that resulted in the massacre of hundreds of Jews, and argued against the Tsar's crackdowns after the 1905 failed revolution. But no question, he was a strange man with strange beliefs and behaviour. He lived on one hand a debauched life having as much sex and booze as one could ask for, and on the other hand the life of a penitent, being beaten with twigs for his wicked ways. But he had clear mesmeric qualities that enabled him to have some sort of power over people, and was able to "miraculously" help the son of the Tsar and Tsarina overcome some of the awful effects of his haemophilia - probably by a combination of hypnosis and the prevention of doctors giving the child the fashionable new cure-all - aspirin. Whatever, all this reading and podcasting made me (of course) look up pictures of Rasputin on the internet - and there are quite a few, including photos of Rasputin on his death bed (after his assassination). So the next step was a portrait. How could I get that down? Well,  see below. Not the best reproduction of the painting, but here it is.

65x54cm Oil on Canvas