Friday, 20 December 2013

Digital Dusting

Been (digitally) dusting off my Fairport Convention recently too (what a classic cover photo on Unhalfbricking!). Still find it nearly impossible to pick a favourite of theirs. Reynardine? Crazy Man Michael? Who Knows Where The Time Goes?... or this?...

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Festive Rone

Let's just say it's rough...early days. Found a polystyrene ball in a studio box, had scraps of wrapping paper and tape, so conjured up a crude version of the puppet... armless for now. I'm thinking of keeping the ball, but coating it black and fixing the mask to that. Got an idea of the hood shape and basic templates for transferring to material/cloth. It's funny how this crude mock up has given me a much better sense of how he can be as a puppet, sometimes you just have to make... and then paths open up.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Diamonds and Rust

I love this Joan Baez track... so thought i'd share.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Meet On The Edge?

"We bump up against each other all the time - on the school run, the commute, at work and in the pub, but generally we choose our clans and stick to them. To know your neighbours and community whether they are 40 years older or younger, or the crazy cat lady down the road, is one more way to give you the contentment  and security of togetherness, a way of fighting loneliness and isolation, both yours and others..Value your edge and reap the benefits!"

There was a lovely and thought provoking post over on my mates Mark's blog, His Own Two Feet,  last week and it's well worth a read if you haven't. The post introduces us to The Edge, in a variety of ways. Mark's got all the right ideas and I'm looking forward to seeing him carry them out (and hopefully get involved with some). 

How are your edges?

.... just for the hell of it.... Ledge/Edge.... and because i love a bit of Fairport!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Earl Of Rone continued...

So, why the Earl of Rone? Well, he's just one of a number of fantastic English folklore characters out there, madly eccentric. If I'd done the Hastings Jack, it would have just been a lump of vegetation. The Earl has a great physical character, much more like one of my cast of characters. He's soft, stocky, chunky almost cuddly... but he is deeply dark. He reminds me of some old Polish/Czech character. Earthy in his sackcloth garb, but with the graphic white, red and black mask, with it's sharp angular nose. It reminds me of Kveta Pacovska.

WOW! where did that pop up from? i'd forgotten about my love for her work, in fact a great many wonderfully talented Polish and Czech artists i was a little obsessed with whilst still a student. Stasys Eidrigevicius was my absolute favourite (He's from Lithuania, near enough!)... i have a beautiful theatre poster of his tucked away somewhere... that needs digging out! (more of his posters here). He also made wonderfull masks.  I'm going to have to do a post on him now, when i get the time.)

Anyway, getting back to the Earl's mask, it just seems so un-earthy. it seems to have more in common with Joseph Grimaldi and early clowns. Mind you if you look at the Hobby Horse (or Obby Oss, as they're often called) that accompanies the Rone procession, you certainly get a big hit of that Harlequin clown flavour!

.... Aghhhhh... stop looking up even more inspiration!! There are just so many things i could devote months (years?) to exploring, but only so much time ... and work needs to be done, kids picked up from school, meals cooked etc etc. Sometimes (and i don't know if this happens to others of you out there, i get quite breathless/ anxious at the sheer scope of possible creative angles out there, especially theses days with everything a click away and varying social media and websites offering you even more treats that you just never would have been aware of 10-20 years ago. They would have just passed you by. Damn it, can't breathe... gasp! I often felt this way at college whenever i walked into the library... so much potential and it was all there just waiting for me to find it!  Often i just had to walk out as i felt breathless... really! I still spent more time in the library than the college studio... but that's because the studio was full of people!! I need a bit of solitude to create, so would often leave it until i got home and locked myself away in my room. I even used to BAN my then girlfriend from coming in to see me at those creative times! terrible, sorry Lydia!!
.... Where was i again... oh yes, the Earl of Rone. What also sells him to me as a possible puppet is his string of ship's biscuits around his neck, it's good for a character to have an accessory! His crudely stitched together sacking costume should also be a help to me and my lack of seamstress skills! A true character... and on the run and hiding in the woods! if only he had a cup of tea for those biscuits.... hmm, maybe...

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Earl Of Rone - A Puppet Adventure

I'm starting to get excited about this little puppet project, looking forward to figuring out how best to make it and getting my boys involved in designing their own ones too. I'm going to start with the Earl of Rone and see if he holds me long enough... before i hold him! I'm also considering the Biddenden Maids (Mary & Elizabeth Chulkhurst)

... and the Brede Ogre (Sir Goddard Oxenbridge, who I've already drawn before here and made a pot of... which needs to be re-made, better). These characters are more local, Kent and East Sussex.... whereas the Earl is Devon based. I've already had a crack at him in clay (which some of you may remember), he's still sitting up on that shelf waiting for me to get my act together! Anyway, for this I'm going to try and keep things relatively simple technically and make a glove puppet, the full body variety with little dangling legs. I have a small collection of these that i found in town several years ago, they used to hang in my home studio before it became jakki's dumping ground, sorry... workspace! I need to re-house them in a finer setting. They have fantastic papier mache heads, which have been cut off a form and SEWN back together, it's a beautiful scar. A couple of them have even found their way into my work, here are the wolf and the fox as part of my Wish List set.

This is going to be the basic model for my Earl
Wolf, with that great jaw scar/stitches
hopefully this wish becomes clearer now you can see
how the original is stringed up!
whereas this one just runs on the basic premise of a wolf being bad

Monday, 9 December 2013

Puppet Challenge

There's a great adventure waiting to happen over on Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog blog. It's a Puppet Challenge with an online show to follow. It's being curated by Peter Slight and the theme is Folktales, Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends... not much there to work with then! ; )  I'm going to join in the party and try and make a puppet for it. Great theme too, right up my alley Folklore and Legends! I've decided to do the Earl of Rone, a favourite of mine. I should do the Hastings Jack in the Green and keep it local, especially as Clive had been involved with designing and creating the mask that the Jack previously wore (and it was beautiful, do take a look) read more about that here on Clive's Artlog. Clive is a fantastically creative man and gifted artist, there's nothing that man can't turn his hand to... Stage designs, masks, puppets, wallpaper, plates/cups.. Ghost Houses!... the list goes on and his quality carries across it all. If you're not already following his Artlog you really should! Anyway, I will do another post soon covering my plans and my thoughts, research, existing puppets I own etc. if I put it all here you just won't read it all will you? ... What? ... I lost you at "Puppet Challenge"? ; )

Friday, 6 December 2013

Jonathan Wilson

Went to see Jonathan Wilson at the Dome in Brighton on Tuesday night with Jakki  (boy it's not easy getting us both out at the same time for a night out!). Anyway, we got there eventually and what a great band and gig. Always nice when the live show doesn't just sound like the album. These guys were amazing live and Jonathan Wilson is a fantastic guitarist, they really cranked it up a few notches, heaven! It was the sound of the Californian desert, we were happy. So many of the tracks just sound like classics already and they just worked through so many from both albums, Gentle Spirit and the new album Fanfare. "No time for small talk..." and that was fine by me. I recommend going to see him live if you get the chance. Lots of CSNY touches all over this new album ( well it does feature Crosby & Nash on it!). Great slabs of Neil young guitar, Zuma comes to mind. A good dash of Dennis Wilson's spirit too, hic! so, you know, I like it : ) and at over 7 mins Dear Friend, is a good place for you to start loving Jonathan... if you don't already! (not sure about this video though, hmm. Listen to this and imagine the full volume live workout... Brilliant! (Good tour t-shirt too).

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Handcrafted life on Oregon farm & workshop

Carpenter, house builder, farmer, kayak maker...Haha, there's no way i could do any of this, even if i lived 10 lifetimes... but i like to see people who can. It will rub off on me, please rub off me!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Lower Dens

...and their album Nootropics, also getting a lot of play right now. It's going really well with the Girls Names album, steady rotation.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Just Amazing

I've got to share this Bob Dylan music video it is just AMAZING!!! Click the link, it won't disappoint. You can physically change the channels as it plays, each channel/TV genre plays out the whole video in full. 15, i think, different full length videos that you can flick between. Even a Classic Music channel of Bob performing it. Clever, smart and a great use of technology. How many times will you watch it?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

My Mate Mark, A New Blogger

from left: My friend and neighbour Steve, Blogger Mark and me
at the Smugglers, family festival in the summer
... i was in need of a trim at the time! ...still am!
Thought I'd take a moment to introduce anyone interested to my friend (the one in the middle) Mark's new blog, His Own Two Feet. It will be worth a follow as Mark has far more interesting things to discuss than i do here! Mark's a gardener and knows his stuff, but now wants to take his permaculture interests further. He'll be working on his whole garden plot and blogging about that and many other cool things as he becomes more self-reliant. I'm sure you'll soon start to feel his character coming off the screen and i think we'll all pick up some useful tips and knowledge. Welcome Marky!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Girls Names

I'm listening to this fantastic album a lot lately, walking to work, drawing, cooking. I's not the only one working it's magic, i'll share that later. Now go get yourself a copy of Girls Names- The New Life.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Book Project Sketches

Just cracking on with the workload. Sketches all approved for the third book in the Nick & Tesla series, so now i'm in the thick of artworking them all up in their blue tones. Couple left to ink up first.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Houses, Maintenance and Pain

Apart from just being bombed with work and all the drawing that involves, i've also recently been juggling getting this house of ours patched up (and doing tax returns and dealing with a problem car, all the things i hate in life basically!). Anyway, we couldn't put off getting the roof fixed for another winter, so there it is, scaffolding and lots of it, front and back. It feels like it's been up for ever! The builder got it put up, had a look at the problems and then said he'd be back in 3 weeks to do the work!! and it was still sunny and warm then... it wasn't when he returned! The rain has set in and work slows down... and i spend my days thinking of all that water finding it's way into new parts of our house! In the picture you can see my mate Steve (not the builder!), he's been repairing and painting the original sash windows... and now he's painting the brickwork.

The roof is getting there, i'm just hoping for a few dry days! The list just keeps growing though once you start these things. The little garden wall at the front will probably need rebuilding, the front door needs replacing and then there's still the back of the house to do. The house was looking a bit tired when we bought it, but 7 years later and everything is starting to bug me... everything. I tell you, it's no wonder I've become so interested in the tiny homes movement! A few years in a big house and you start to see the problems (in our case it's mainly having too many rooms to fill with junk!!). Just think if you could tidy your whole house in a morning, or just get on some step ladders to fix the roof. We stayed in a caravan the other weekend and it was only a couple of days, but size wise it kind of made sense... as long as i had a big workshop on the same land! We'd probably all kill each other within a matter of weeks (days?) though!  Anyway, I'm not going anywhere for a while, got to knock this building back in to shape and enjoy it for a few more years. It's a lovely, handsome old house. It will have a new coat of colour soon (well, it's now already half painted), you might just be able to make out the colour tests. I'll show the 'after' pics once it's finished... if it ever stops raining!

It's a big old load of scaffolding!

Friday, 8 November 2013

"Hastings On Fire" - Hastings Bonfire 2013

Another of the crazy events that goes on in this great town of Hastings (and St Leonards!). They could all smile a bit more though!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Family Tree Lampshade

I started this way, way back... and i need to get it finished! I really enjoyed just working my way around it. I do like to work freely with lettering like this. I've mainly got Jakki's side to fill up, i'm waiting for the info. Have to figure out how far i take it once it's done. It might go on a tall standard lamp... and i'm thinking it might be nice to incorporate family objects onto the stand, tie objects on, hang little pictures etc, kids baby shoes tied or nailed on.... Or it might go on this lamp base i made, if i ever get it glazed and fired... and it survives, it has a family message on the back. Anyway, I'll see once i get this shade finished. I want to get hold of some more of these old and yellowed paper shades. I've been pretty slack on this blog lately, far too busy drawing, drawing and more drawing but i miss getting things together and out  there to share. It's a tough one to balance. This will have to fill a gap. Oh, the red chair it's on is part of a hairdressers dryer bank that we rescued from a closing down salon, minus the dryers. There's a row of 4 that live in the lounge, with ashtrays in the arm rests.

bit of detail, i should have put my bank account and PIN number on it too!

going back a few generations, i knew Charles briefly.

Friday, 25 October 2013

4 4 U... again with the monochrome!

recommend The Velvet Cell

try We Ask You To Ride

The Road, give it a 'spin'

22:The Death Of All The Romance, should hook you in

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Growing Power and the Transition Network

I know all this stuff isn't about pots or my art/illustration, but it is where my head is at these days and so it's going up here on GarrettLife. Hopefully someone will find it interesting too. It's a time for me to start thinking about doing stuff. Thinking more about how i can change things and how i can help build something within my community. (Forget Big Government, they don't really want practical solutions that work for us on small local levels. Mainly they want quick fix patches and short term thinking... whatever will get them another term. Why do they want to do all the work for something that will pay off in 10 years, when they won't get the plaudits). Anyway, it's about individuals and what we can do locally. Take control of our own little worlds. Problem is I'm absolutely shit at doing just that!! I'm hoping i can over-power myself by reading/watching others that can! almost brainwash myself into being someone that 'Does'.  I'm thinking of rounding up a few local dads that occasionally (very occasionally!) grab a few beers together and see if we can't start on something within the local community. The Boys Of Bohemia should be able to come up with something. I'll keep you posted. For now check out this inspiring guy, Will Allen and find out more about his project Growing Power. I'm also finding some fascinating things going on in the Transition Network and on Rob Hopkins blog there. I'm working my way through Rob's book "The Power Of Just Doing Stuff" too... along with this book by John-Paul Flintoff, How To Change The World. I used to illustrate John-Paul's column for the FT mag many years ago, working with the fantastic Gary Cook, great designer and now also running Hackney Tools.. dealing in all kinds of wonderful old woodworkers hand tools. Like i say, this is the world i find myself drawn to at the moment... which is odd if you know me, because i am not a practical, do-stuff guy... i doodle, i draw... but maybe i can apply that to changing stuff?... anyone need a placard?! As Gandhi once said "Be the change..."

Monday, 21 October 2013

Blackmail Yourself!

It's the only way to get things done! Just set a date and do it.... well, says Jason Roberts in this enthusiastic and inspiring talk. Stick with it, lots of good points and a great class in getting things done.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Jason Jam- Pumpkin Carver Extraordinaire

It's that time of year again, get your pumpkins out! Thought I'd share with you the fantastic work of a friend of ours over in the States, Jason Jam. Yeah, not the usual eyes and mouth holes! America does Halloween a little (quite a lot) better than we do. If I left these out on our front steps, some kid (or drunk) would just come along and smash it in... or just take it, hmmph. If you live locally to Jason (Billings, Montana) you can even get Jason to carve you one, or get him to do a demonstration. He also does this level of work in snow! I've seen some amazing man-sized heads, beats your average snowman! I'll now leave his work to do the talking. You can go here to check out his cartoons , or head over to his main site Jam Comics.

Friday, 27 September 2013

4 4 U

More monochromatic magic for you. What better way to start your weekend. Go search them out. I like this rather 'analogue' way of recommending stuff, when there are so many more direct digital ways! even a link or two would help : )

Things We'll Never Do, works for me

try Druganaut

give Coyote a spin

Society Is My Friend, well worth a listen

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Look Mum, No Hands!

Here's a little snapshot of how things happen in my world. I thought I'd use one of those recent dressed clay figures, from a couple of posts ago, to make create a new Wish List character. This one just speaks to me... spoke to me. He's not bothered by his broken-off hands, he doesn't care that he can't feel, but he does care that he can't FEEL, deeply. As you can see i do take some liberties transferring my reference material, not exactly a photographic likeness! I now want to make a crappy wooden box (frame) to make the original clay figure in to a 3D Wish List. I'll paint the back wall a nice colour and maybe write the words on there, or i'll  just nail a little panel on the front...or i might just blackboard paint the frame/box and just chalk it directly on. Anyway, we'll have to see... i just need to find some planks in a skip and i can get that started.

Wish List- the hopes and wishes of a motley few.

What a great object!
Initialt sketch and then taking it on further, before scanning and colouring in Photoshop.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Recent Guardian Commission

... or how to get a lot done in very little time! 10.30am brief for 5.30pm delivery. That's including a round of roughs before even starting the artwork.... oh and there was also 4 spot illustrations to do for inside. It was a productive day and even better, i was happy with the result! This does not set a precedent though, just in case any of you Art Directors stop by ; )

My roughs aren't very.... rough! I just very lightly pencil forms in, then go straight for a pen. Bit of minimal grey to block things in.  I then re-draw it ALL for the artwork.

spot roughs

final spot illustrations