Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Highland-Russian Connection talk

on the evening of Tuesday 26th I traveled to Nairn with Rich to give a talk to the Highland-Russian Connection charity about our Epic Russian adventure. It was lovely to meet Elena, the driving force behind this charity, which has achieved an incredible amount in its first year.

The church hall was full, the projector & laptop all worked fine and none of the audience fell asleep, so hopefully I did okay! It was great to chat to some of the members afterwards and hopefully we'll keep some links going with some great charity work that they've been involved with- such as the Chernobyl Childrens Project.
We also met Peter Muskus, grandson of Urzula Muskus, who's book about her experiences in the Gulags is just out- called The Long Bridge available in all good bookshops! I look forward to reading it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

quick round up

Latest pictures- drawings on the move & wee tiny paintings when I get a minute.

Started teaching the SVQ course 'painting media and techniques' last week, loads of research and prep work required But I'm confident in these students, there will be some great work by the end of the ten weeks.

Doing a talk in Nairn tonight about my Russian trip, rather nervous & have spent days trying to sort a slide show out! Its been in some of the advertising papers I believe. like here.

Also an Interview with me up today on the Sci-Fi Now Blog. Rant-tastic !

And have booked transport for Leeds Thought Bubble Festival of sequential art, where I'll be doing a workshop on 'Eco Mini-comics' on the Sunday- and catching up with the great & the good the rest of the weekend!

a few more pages to go with 'Slaughtermans Creed' colouring and another colouring job about to start.

Also a couple of exhibitions in November... GO GO GO !

Sunday, October 24, 2010

March & Rally Edinburgh

This Saturday 20, 000 people marched through Edinburgh to protest the proposed government drastic cuts across the public sector. This has already affected me as an artist and has really put the squeeze on us as educational arts events organisors and has some life and death implications for the fire service I serve in. Politics matters.

marching with my colleagues 

The French are currently rioting about a proposed extension to the retirement age by 2 years, yet the UK seems prepared to accept changes which could plunge us back to a 1930's style depression.
The proposed cuts will change this country for ever, they will affect the most poor and vulnerable the worst. We have been constantly told throughout the British media for months that we have to accept this, it is inevitable, we are all in it together, we will all have to tighten our belts. Major economical think tanks are telling us that this is simply not true. The country needs investment to provide jobs and get us out of the debt black hole that the previous governments have thrown us into.
a fun day out for all the family

Anyone who works with vulnerable people, the elderly, the sick, children, young people, in the arts, libraries, the emergency services, for the council, etc etc will already be able to tell you what terrible impact the lack of funding is having on real people everyday, we simply cannot afford another 25% if we are to be in any sort of way a caring society. Reform, yes- Cuts NO.

From  fire service point of view, house fires are decreasing, but fire fatalities have increased, fire fighter deaths have dramatically increased, response times have increased, this is before the proposed 25% cuts. this is not acceptable. We have a duty to protect our communities, we need training and resources to do this. Its with great pride I marched under the Fire Brigades Union, and FBU's womens section banners.

This March was organised by the Scottish Trades Union Council , there were others up and down the country. It was a fantastic atmosphere with many disparate groups and unions coming together, this is just the start of the protests, we owe it to the next generation to protect the public sector and the values of fairness in UK society.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Octocon- Dublin sci-fi con

The weekend of 16th & 17th October was Octocon 2010. This is the Irish National Sci-Fi convention. A lovely friendly event run by a charming and enthusastic committee, this year headed by Cat McGrath. The Guest of Honor was George R.R. Martin, so there was a distinct medieval fantasy feel to this years event. I haven't had a moment to blog properly so lets let the photos tell the story.
 Richmond, Leoni Carroll ( previous Octocon organiser & lovely person ) & Micheal Carroll ( the New Heroes/ Quantum Prophecy books, graphic design, web design & general genius )

James Brophy moderates a panel on 'Creating a believable threat' with Micheal, Rich and Film maker John Vaughan

Gorgeous sci-fi books for sale in the dealers room- check out those covers !

Fantastic Fantasy artist Martina Pilcerova shows & talks about her art, she has produced WOW, Magic cards, film concept work and George R. R. Martin Covers among other things.

 Rich models for The 'Exquisite corpse' panel

Rich traumatised by having to draw! ( he's not bad you know ). This game is like a comic jam where the writer or artist doesn't see the previous panel, the results were very surreal but luckily didn't descend too much as there were children in the audience! ( apart from hitler in pants & high heels )

some members of the S.C.A  demonstrating. This appears to be a society which is keen to rediscover and practice real sword fighting as a western martial art form. thus they wear protective clothing & facemasks so they can really hit each other instead of stopping just short, the display was pretty dynamic and impressive! One of the members also talked about The History of weapons on the Sunday, with a mini trebuchet for firing sweets into the audience. I loved this & could have listened for hours.

 Writers; Derek Gunn, Richmond & Wayne Simmons

John Vaughan ( award winning filmaker and very entertaining man !) presents 'The Vault of Horror!' every year apparently he shows clips of horrifically bad films, this year they were fantasy themed, we were treated to the wobbly sets, appalling dubbing, shonky acting and ludicrous editing of; The Beastmaster, Hawk the slayer, & Hercules. There was a degree of audience participation which included disco dancing... and Wayne Simmons's lovely lady Rebecca's cup cakes were also passed around! yum! 

'Ethics in Young Adult Fiction' discussion panel- which got a little heated! here Micheal Carroll, Richmond Clements, ( I think ) Claire Hennessy, Peadar O Guilin, and Siobhan 

'Promoting Genre in city of Literature' with Wayne Simmons ( Horror writer ), R.F Long ( Historical Romance writer ) & wyvernfiend ( librarian )

'Working in Other peoples worlds' here the wonderful Mr George R. R. Martin talks to Rich about writing in Dredd's world.

George R. R. Martin, Rich, Martina Pilcerova,  Micheal Carroll Maura McHugh and off camera Rob Curley of sub city comics, atomic diner etc

Many Thanks to all the committee for all their hard work !

I did a fantasy art workshop on Sunday, which seemed to go okay! no photos I was too busy drawing elf ears! 
and they've invited us back next year as guests when the lovely John Higgins will be the Guest of Honor. Hurrah!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


so Yarn is the new spray paint? who could have predicted that knitting & crochet would become cool again instead of dying out ( 'dyeing' get it ? boom boom ). If you don't know what I mean Heres some information on Yarn bombing, yarn storming & graffiti knitting. 
So I guess this means that closet crocheting old biddies like me can come out of the closet ? I don't follow patterns, I use up old scrap wool, reclaimed wool, rags, chocolate box ribbons, whatever. I often don't know what something is going to be & yes, it can go horribly wrong.

I started this multicoloured monstrosity last winter, it was nearly a skirt, a coat, a tank top, nearly had a hood. however, its warm and cosy & so I guess its finished. Next... some leg warmers I think.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Hear the Stags Roar'

heres another one finished today, a bit bigger than A4, acrylics & inks on paper. I find something very comforting about the stags roars bouncing about the hills at this time of year. Although that would indicate a fairly literal interpretation of imagery, there is always a lot more going on that that in these pictures, much of course which is hidden to me too. I still don't know how to describe this style. in art terms to folks. Its not folk, or fantasy, or fantastical, or symbolist...anyway it is what it is.

meanwhile Richmond & I are away at dawn tomorrow to fly from Edinburgh to Dublin for 'Octocon' a friendly Sci-fi convention, where Rich will do panels & discussions, I will do a fantasy art workshop and we will both do some creating a comic live on stage with some hilarious consequences malarkey... eeek!  more as it happens folks, come back soon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Harvest tide

Heres the latest finished willow wreath canvas, "Harvest Tide" 30cm x 26cm. These are hard to scan/ photograph!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

kirkton woodland part 2

Some More of the community woodland idea drawings.
 We went for a walk in the woods today.... rather a lot of work is required to make some of these ideas real... see photo at the end...

camp, hostel, orchard etc

dog walking

Crafts village, art trail, countryside rangers office, community space, outdoor class room etc

fruit growing

play area, tree hut, leisure centre, labyrinth, willow structures

tree top walk, wheelchair access, observation tower 


Picnic area

Pony trekking

quad biking

Kirkton woods Today ( and this is one of the more accessible bits ! ).

Saturday, October 09, 2010

woodland illustrations part 1

Following my Blog a couple of days ago about a proposed Community Woodland project behind our Village. Here is some of the art work I submitted as Ideas to the public consultation meeting which was held yesterday. I am curious as to how they went down!

The ideas came from ones that the school children came up with, ones that people had responded to in a local survey, and a few of my own. The images are in some cases little more than coloured sketches, there was a lot to cram in a limited time.

art trail, could be done by running chainsaw sculpting competitions.~

Firewood, woodchip, sawmill, Industrial units etc.

Allotments, firewood, Community Compost.

mountain bike trail


Open air theatre

Wildlife areas with Bird hides

to be continued!