Saturday, April 23, 2011

white trees & copper creatures

Here are a recent batch of pcitures, the scans don't show the shiny gold and copper...quite small, paper & card, mixed media no bigger than A4

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Yuri's night

As a youngster I was a sci-fi nerd before I could really read properly. The fantasy genre didn't really kick in until later on, apart from lord of the rings & the hobbit of course, but my that time I had a strong grounding in Issac Asimov, HG Wells, Philip K Dick, Paul Anderson, those 1950's & 60's 'hard' sci-fi writers. I couldn't tell you much about those writers now this was long before I hit 12. When I was 7 a teacher took a sci-fi anthology off me, asked me to read out a paragraph, then explain it. I couldn't, so she explained that the book was too 'old' for me & stopped me reading it. I may not have understood it, but the pictures those words painted are still in my head today.

I also remember the Apollo missions with great clarity, watching the footage at school on a grainy black and white TV. I had posters in my bedroom of planets & solar systems. My father showed me the moon, Saturn's rings & Jupiter's moons through his work theodolite. So while life on Earth is pretty amazing, the idea of more, beyond, out there above the clouds, has always been there.

5 years before I was born the first man orbited the Earth in space. Tuesday 12th April 2011 was the anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's 1st space flight. He completed an orbit of the earth, successfully ejecting 7k up and parachuting to the ground. Across the world yesterday events were held to celebrate this incredible achievement of a brave man, more at the Yuri's night website. We helped out a wee bit at one of two Scottish events held at Nairn. This was organised by Elena Reid and the Highland-Russian Connections charity.

 Firstly there was an afternoon family event which was well attended and timed perfectly between rain showers. It was wonderful to see children getting involved and taking in what it was all about. There were toy rockets to launch by jumping on an air pump, the stand in I painted & constructed by Anatole. Bagpipes & drums, highland dancers, russian dancers, a display with information, a comic strip looking at the fighter pilot origins of many astronauts & cosmonauts from FutureQuake comic, facepainting, free commemorative magazines, sunshine and a great atmosphere.

Later in the evening there was a showing of a specially created film by Christopher Riley. The film used modern footage of orbiting the earth  and recordings of Yuri from that first flight to recreate that journey. for 108 minutes, the same time that the flight took we watched oceans and clouds glide through the spacecraft porthole. lightning storms, sunset and sunrise, the lonely voyage across the earths shadow. Yuri's excitement was infectious, he talked about the weightlessness, the views, "everything is going well, i feel fine, how are you?" . I found the film awe inspiring and moving, the mans bravery is impossible to comprehend. Some folks in the audience spoiled it a little by talking, I guess the modern concentration span takes views like that for granted, but Yuri was the first person ever to see the earth from above, to imagine that is amazing. It captured the imaginations of generations of writers and film makers. I loved though that this film wasn't CGI or dramatised. It was simply a beautiful & graceful orbit of our planet.

After the film we had a talk from Paul Jenkins from the Highland Astronomical Society. He explained the importance of animals in space exploration before Yuri's flight. He also showed some brilliant photos taken by the society from their observatory on Culloden Moor. I still don't get the thing about the expanding universe, looking back in time, gravity, time bending space, & the big bang?  I'll have to get Prof Brian Cox or Dr who to explain it to me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tree paint sketches

Here are a couple of A3 painted sketches of trees I did as demonstration quickies at Art Class today. We're on Acrylic module looking at impressionist style. I think I'll work into these a bit with mixed media if I ever get a minute.

Haven't done any of my 'own' art for what feels like ages. Also not enough time to blog up all the adventures. Hopefully will catch up a little this week although more adventures happening tomorrow....

p.s. paintings always for sale, cheap as chips unframed, I'm broke & need new wheels immediately, make me an offer! X

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Yuri's night stand-in

Next Tuesday is the 50th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's history first flight into space. There will be events across the world to celebrate this, more details on the Yuri's night website. Here in the highlands we are celebrating in Nairn, with the Highland-Russian connections charity hosting an event, starting at 12noon to let off some special rockets and in the evening having a talk & film... details here.

I'll be helping out on the day and for the event we created this stand-in that I painted, You might not be able to get into space... but you can at least pretend!

meanwhile, the courses I've been teaching with the West Highland College are in their final stages, I've got a whole host more comic pages to draw. Planning for the 'Slaughtermans Creed' book launch are well underway, with signings across the country & our team presence at Bristol Comic Expo in May, I'll also be joining a panel on the Sunday of the event to talk about the project. Also on Saturday at Bristol I'll be joining a discussion panel about Women political comics/cartoons. I haven't done a great deal of political art work ( yet! ) but do so politics and do comics so I guess that counts- plus there are subtle undertones in my work...but that is another story.

and news of the portrait award painting ? well there were 2300 entries and 55 selected, mine was Not one of them which is really disappointing, but in light of those numbers I'm not too crushed, I can see plenty problems myself with the painting... must do better next time ! onwards and upwards.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Japan Fundraiser

Work loads have recently reached critical mass, amid everything else I've been doing two comic strips for a Japan disaster relief fundraising comic thats being put together by the wonderful folks at The Comic Book Alliance.

One strip has been written by Martin Conaghan, Its a collage/ photo montage style strip, and above is a panel for a three page folk story script written by Jaspre Bark. I really enjoyed working on these really different style strips, the turnaround was incredibly fast so there was no time to really fret about detail or tweak, I hope they work okay! This book has some fantastic contributions coming in from all quarters. More details about where & when you can buy it as soon as possible.

Some other beautiful artwork to raise funds for Japan has been produced By Japanese Manga artist, and regular Inverness Hi-Ex Guest, Chi-tan . There are also details on her blog of other ways you can support the Japan relief effort.

Another recent piece of charity art I've done is now available for auction on-line to raise funds for the Edinburgh Youth charity The Rock Trust. This charity does invaluable work for vulnerable young people in the Lothian area & is a very worthy cause.