Wednesday, June 30, 2010

'Who's Afraid ?' short film

This is the short film I made in 2006. There was a competition to pitch a film idea which I got a place on. I got a loan of software, a laptop & wacom tablet & 8 weeks to teach myself from scratch how to draw & animate digitally. It was a painful process!  The music was thrown in at the last minutes, I have no idea how to edit sound files, very very luckily the lovely band Fribo lent me their music & it worked brilliantly. This was showcased at the 2006 Inverness Film festival.

The story about the little girl & wolf was inspired by a reacurring dream I'd had in the 90's. I wanted to explore themes around friendship, trust & zenophobia. I storyboarded out a full length version which was a lot more in depth, however in 3 minutes this was as far as I could go. The girl and wolf have since popped up in many paintings of mine and are not ready to be put away yet, maybe one day i'll get to make the full version...and better animated!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Junes adventures part 1

a mad couple of weeks, so much happening, no time to do art. Art requires a balance between input & output, that is real life inspiration and interaction going in, and Art development creative output coming out. Masses of the former as we've traveled about recently, none of the later. Also we normally don't see many grown-ups, living so remotely, there is always plenty of time to digest and mull any social interaction, adding it to the pot of inspiration. However this month its been incredible how many amazing people we have been lucky enough to spend time with, my head is brimming with ideas !

Saturday 19th June
Belfast Puppet Picnic and parade. such a riot of music, colour smiles, laughter, dancing creativity community projects dancing their way through Belfast, it bought a lump to my throat, goosebumps, something timeless and magical, international, so many memories of festivals from another lifetime, colour & joy.People coming together in the sunshine, I could have watched them all day.

Sunday 20th June
I read folklore & went over some work while the boys went swimming & played computer games. my head starting to spin with giants, ghosts, seal-folk, tasks in threes, lost worlds and layers of metaphor long lost.

Monday 21st June
Met up with Micheal Carroll of Quantum Prophecy books fame & the brilliant Leonia. Had a fantastic day doing the Antrim coast tour, Torr point, Carrick a Rede rope bridge, Bushmills, the Giants causeway. The weather was idyllic, the sea colours mesmerising. The company wonderful, ideas bouncing around.

 Tuesday 22nd June
a day off, to do more folk stories, fairy stories & celtic tales reading. reminded how much of an early influence tales like Thomas the rhymer and Tam y Linn were.

Wednesday 23rd June
Pearl jam concert in Belfast. had fan club tickets, queued early with the fan club, coralled in pens like sheep, 3 hours people watching, many familiar faces from the London gig last year, admiring lovely tattoos, many people from all over Europe following the tour. got in early, got 3rd row standing position right up near Mike McCreadys side of the stage. Ben Harper and relentless 7 supporting. Ben's voice incredible, the music & guitars are great, prog rocky, folk, blues, lots of influences, but I could listen to his voice alone endlessly.
Then after such a long wait, the stage set, the lights dimmed, the intro music I'd heard at last years concert came on, the tears started, the crowd surged forward wedging us into position no feet or elbow room, 20/30 000 ? people united in song & emotion. Wham. this time wasn't so physically painful, there were no scary moments in the mosh pit, the folks were were wedged against were all lovely, apologies to the guy who had my hair in his face all night. I managed to catch a couple of guitar picks from Mike. The most emotional song was ' amongst the waves '  read the words to work out why. Wonderful night. can't wait for the next tour. can't wait to do some more paintings inspired. Love these guys.

Thursday 24th June
6 am start, ferry, long drive home, un-pack and re-pack for next trip. fire training night first aid refresher until late...

adventure part 2 to follow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

To Russia with Love

for those of you who haven't heard, I'm going to Russia, to the International Arts symposium of Elabuga.
information HERE this should get translated for you by google.
This incredible & exciting opportunity is all thanks to Lynn Bennett-MacKenzie an artist who paints gorgeous dream-like work & lives up the coast. Lynn was invited by the symposium organisers and was good enough to share the contact & information. I leapt at the chance as I have always had a thing about Russia. This 'thing' became focuses into a particular obsession in 1997. I was at the time, running my small pottery from home, a cold wee cottage in a remote glen, a single mum with 3 children & beyond the dogs, cats, hens, ducks & a succession of eccentric pottery customers- I had little human company, no money & life was hard. This Christmas a shy but kind local crofter left a gift for us in by the front door. Some meat from his own sheep and the years National geographic magazines. I have been a vegetarian since I was 18 & had raised the children without meat. However in the spirit of this gift, I roast & ate the mutton and read those magazines. One had an article about a tattooed mummy recently excavated from the Pazyryk region, the Altai mountains of Siberia. This woman who had lived 2000 years before me & carried such incredible artwork on her skin became a revelation & inspiration. I can still remember the feeling that rose as I looked at that artwork, the alien meat in my system, the woman's tomb with the horses, her goblet, the carvings, her last meal. It still blows me away. why ? who knows. I'm not the only one, there's been a few strange articles & books often with a 'new age' twist. whatever, it just hit me and that's enough. To go there and see her, see the artifacts, travel the steppes became my dream. A dream that sustained me through many more difficult years. No matter how bad things got, I could retreat to the back of a horse in my head and gallop across the grasslands, into the Taiga forests, peace was to be had there, and hope of better days.

What was the connection between the pictish animal art and the Scythian/ pazyryk art ? how did the migration of peoples happen, how do the time lines connect ? why had it hit me so ? Why did it just feel so right to take these animal designs, re-work them with a pictish/ Celtic twist and take them as my own tattoos?

In 2000 a Czech professor who had traveled the region, and kindly sent me photocopies of images from the tomb, before all this was available on the Internet- he invited me to join an expedition to Altai, 6 weeks on horse back. Of course at that time, there was no way I could leave my children. family first. But I figured where one opportunity existed, others would follow in the future.

This year my last child left home, of course I miss them all badly. However this means that theres nothing to stop me travelling, except money, work commitments. scary !  I thought that it would take a while to save, to plan, to start dipping my toe into the whole new world of the empty nest. Maybe I would do a VSO ? maybe I wouldn't need to travel, maybe contentment could be found at home? Siberia had already served its purpose by inspiring me so long, there was no point rushing impatiently into a new independent of dependants world...however not a couple of months into the empty nest, up to my eyes in art projects, and this opportunity has come up.

Its not Altai, but it is over half way there. The symposium will have a diverse range of international artists, we will be creating a body of work on the subject of "breath of the Epos"  fairy tales, hero myths, and folk lore. Its all mind goggling !  I shall blog the process, the journey, the art the adventure as it happens. cultures, personal identity, gender roles, language, societies attitude to the arts, theres already a lot of stuff kicking in just through speaking to the organisers & other participants. So exciting !

more soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pearl Jam gig last year

Theres another Pearl Jam competition, this time for a comic strip.. heres my hasty job done today. After next webnesday I'll have to do another one, as we're going to see them again in Belfast. Woo Ha!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

sunny California

heres a section of a comic sample page for someone for something. Thought I'd try just painting rather than ink & colouring. NEXT job !

Monday, June 14, 2010

Spinechiller guest slot.

As the lovely Ben F Clark is on paternity leave we were very proud to be asked to provide a guest 'Spinechillers' comic strip for Renegade Arts Entertainment. When I saw We I mean of course the lexical mastery of Jim Cambell on letters, the comedy gold provided my Richmond A Clements, and art humbly by yours truely.
 Created by the BFC, "'The Spine Chillers' relates the little known story about the time the worlds greatest writers shared a small boarding house to create some of the most loved horror stories of all time."
Here be a taster, to read the terrifying conclusion ... read here

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

another local painting

View of Port Na Cridhe ( spelling ? ), from behind Slum bay Island , lochcarron. around a3 acrylic. this has been on the easel a month or so, really need to up productivity, not sure how...stupid short 24 hour day.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The wind rose up...

This has been bursting to get out for ages, the wee girl was climbing the tree out of curiosity but the wind appears to have carried her off. I wish I had animating software still, I wish I had time to let her out to play more often.
I'm pretty dissatisfied with the watercolour finish, I've been getting spoilt doing colours digitally, so much deeper & richer, but still something on paper is nice. This paper didnt seem to like masking fluid etc though which is weird when I really punish it with acrylics to no ill effect.

I wonder what will happen next, I think the wind is gathering strength....

pen & ink practice

haven't drawn in pen & ink for ages, the temptation to get brushes out & speed things up is usually too great. I used to draw mostly detailed scribbly fine pen drawings, then comic work has required a different approach- one which I've never been happy somewhere between the brush & the scribble, the fantasy & the real I'll keep looking until it all comes together & makes sense.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

3, 2, 1, ...shhhhh

Gairloch library, summer reading scheme theme is 'Space Hop' so of course we'll need a space rocket in which to read our books. So armed with 2 and a half hours, cardboard boxes, paint, parcel tape and some 4th year pupils we set to work.