Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Radio Times Christmas Edition: "Old Harry's Game"

Devils. Don't you just love them? Well, I do anyway! Always enjoy depicting 'the dark one' when I get the opportunity, and this commission proved no exception. Published in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times this week, it accompanies a new series of the show "Old Harry's Game", set in Hell, where Satan decides to ban Christmas in the first of two episodes. The opportunity to depict a grumpy Satan festooned with Christmas decorations was simply too good to miss!

There were a few variants along the way, mainly a couple of simpler versions where the background content was reduced to concentrate visual focus on the head, but they did not quite have the overall atmosphere I was after. All three shown for reference. A big thank you to the Radio Times as it was a pleasure to work on from start to finish. Published and out this week in the double Christmas edition of the Radio Times.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Footbal Heroes Gold.

I'f you've visited this news feed before, then you may remember the Football Heroes Gold project I contributed to a while back. The printed version arrived this week and it looks very good indeed. Available to buy at selective bookstores worldwide: ISBN # 9783952308882 . Wonderful to see all the other artists work in the book too, where the illustrations are of a very high standard indeed. I feel very lucky to have been one of the 45 chosen artists. A total pleasure to be involved. A huge great big thanks to Herzglut and Beach for the invitation to take part and of course all of the hard work to see it into production. A few press links that may be of interest...

Anna Goodson.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Times Dreams & Nightmare Image 8

Here's the final image in the series and I thought this article written by Simon Winch fascinating. It describes the analysis of seafarers dreams. When on land they they tend to dream of blue skies and calm seas, but when at sea they dream of maelstroms, sea serpents and raging storms. Published today in The Times T2 section, here's a snippet....

"At sea, a sailor’s slumber is overrun with nightmares; but when his trick is done, and he is back at home in bed, then his nights are filled with dreams. This is an axiom well known to all who sail: that out there your sleep is ruined by unconscious fear, but back here is made bliss by the nocturnal pleasures of remembrance and longing."

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Times: Dreams & Nightmares Image 7

So here we have the penultimate image in the series. This picks up on the article reference to 'fantastic' dreams that people often have, here surfing the ultimate wave. This whole project has been a joy from start to finish!

A snippet from the text by Henry Sutton...

"The thing about dreams, as someone who quite often has them, is that half the time, upon waking, I/you can really only remember fragments, and these are usually pretty ludicrous. And if anything is clear, then invariably it doesn’t really make any sense. Or at least it’s so implausible it’s laughable. I have dreamed, over the years, that I’ve played right back for Manchester United, that Bill Clinton’s come for dinner, and I’ve survived a plane crash. I’ve also surfed impossibly large waves, run the country, and had a relationship with the wife of a very well known celebrity."

Monday, 20 September 2010

The Times: Dreams & Nightmares Image 6

So here we have the next image in the series. Published today in the T2 section. I thought this article discussed an interesting concept, an extract lifted directly from the text by Tim Butcher...

The best explanation of dreams I have ever heard was what a wise religious studies teacher told me as a schoolboy.
``The brain is like a filing cabinet,’’ he said during a discussion on apparitions.
``Sometimes the drawers get so clogged with ideas and images that they begin to stick. A dream is your brain’s way of clearing out some room. At night it takes a memory from the bottom drawer, a few thoughts from the middle drawer and a whole series from the top and out they come, all higgledy-piggeldy.’’

Monday, 13 September 2010

The Times: Dreams & Nightmares Image 5

Here's the fifth in the series. Image explores the idea of keeping a 'dream journal' to expand / record the nightly conversation between the conscious and sub-conscious minds. Loved working on this particular illustration. Published today in the Times T2 section.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The Times: Dreams & Nightmares Image 4

Here we have image 4 in the series and probably my fav so far. Really enjoyed this one and good to render / play with an image scene without figures / characters present. Article explores a dream the author had when looking down from the gallery inside a church to see writing on the floor change into a compass shaped star. Published today in the T2 section of The Times.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Times: Dreams & Nightmares Image 3

So here we have number 3 in the Times Dreams & Nightmares series. This was based on a nightmare the writer had as a teenager..... To quote " Wondering what the place of dreams and nightmares were in convent life, where there was so little "real world" to plait itself into their dreaming. It covers ecstasy (dream/subconscious/ waking?) and ends with a poignant quote from a nun about how dreaming is where they go to live."

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The Times: Dreams & Nightmares Image 2

The second image in the Times Dreams & Nightmares series. Reference was made in the article to the famous etching by Goya: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, so the Art Editor and I agreed it would be an interesting exercise to use this as a starting point and create my interpretation of that etching but using the descriptions of the demons in the text. Great fun to do!

Monday, 30 August 2010

The Times: Dreams & Nightmares Image 1

A really stimulating set of commissions from the people at The Times Newspapers for the T2 section. This series will run for seven weeks. Each week a different take on the subject of Dream & Nightmares. If ever there was a gift of a commission, then this is it. Only trouble being that the deadlines are rather tight from receiving copy to press. Always the case with newspaper commissions. My work is pretty labour intensive, but I do like a challenge so its been a good adrenaline buzz so far. I'm very grateful for the powers that be for thinking of me for this job :-)

A work ready studio - finally :-)

Before work began...
Years of water ingress left rotten woodwork...
So it begins...
Desk cut to shape and primed...
Shelves go up - and stay up...!...
And relax, its done...

Its been quite some time since a last entry! I'd love to be able to say that I've been utterly bone idle and have been lazing around, but unfortunately not the case. Decorating my new studio from the floor up has been the main task at hand. Little did I know how much of a DIY iceberg it would turn out to be. I thought it would just be a quick lick of paint after stripping off the old anaglypta wallpaper and that would be it, but alas the best laid plans evaporated into a red mist of frustration. Just a few of the issues that required attention: All lighting replaced. The wall sized window / door needed re-fitting to make water tight as it was completely bodged when it was installed. A new radiator fitted as the old one leaked. The floor needed leveling. And then for fun we found that the drains under the studio and garage were blocked and had been backing up from the main drain for about a year :-( On the day it was cleared you can only imagine at that whole new level of nasty that was encountered underground. So once all that lot was put right, I set to with a circular saw, some 25mm thick MDF and gallons of white paint. A couple of weeks later new desk tops and shelves were installed. One paint area (drawing board) and two computer desk areas. One for illustration work and one for when Su occasionally works from home. The studio finally went live about two weeks ago, leaving a make shift studio in the corner of the dinning room, juggling commissions around while setting up shop. The light is great as its north facing and even though its smaller by about 40cm each way than my old work room, being a simple cube it works more efficiently as a space. A lot easier for laying kit out - no chimney breast or nooks and crannies to work around. After shots show the just moved in look. Unfortunately its not that tidy now! Nice to finally unpack the James Jarvis King Ken sentinels so that they can take pride of place on the top shelf!

Nostalgia trip.

Well, these images are certainly a blast from the past. While going through old folios during the house move I came across some of the postcards I made for my degree show. Home made by shooting a roll of 36 exposure 35mm (film) photo's, then getting the prints duplicated a few times, then cutting each one out and sticking it on some white backing mount card. If that wasn't laborious enough, each one then had sticky label with contact details placed on the front or back. Printing costs were way out of my financial budget at the time of being a student.

The original artwork for both 'Street Entertainer' and the 'Computer Art' piece are A1 in size and the circus scene is some 3X A1 panels in size. I worked a lot larger then! All rendered with acrylic paint and tissue paper collage for the background. The Street Entertainer went on to win the Best Newcomer Award from The Association of Illustrators and the Computer Art piece was an image exploring the then fledgling potential of computers in art and design. How things have changed!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

DPI Magazine Interview.

Those kind people at DPI Magazine recently invited me to take part in an interview and show a few examples of my work. All featured in the May issue. Other artists featured are Nigel Buchanan, Segio Mora, Ester Garcia Cortes, Mariusz Stawarski, Steve Adams, Lou Beach,Kaspian Shore, Monsieur Qui, Ana Maria Lopez Correa, Igor Knezevic (Alienology) and Yu Jordy Fu. Details can be seen by following the link: DPI Magazine.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

House move!

House move time! Blimey O Riley - why or why did we choose to go ahead and move house? The studio has become the location for all of the loft contents and general packing boxes, as a result its now a bit full. Just a couple of pix to show the before and after status of my nice shiny studio. From the start of June, it will no longer be mine :-( I have very mixed feelings about moving as I really feel at home in my workspace and also its the longest I've ever lived in a property. This fact came as quite a shock when I sat down and worked out how many houses I've lived in over the years, which totals to some seventeen properties from being a toddler. Most of the houses were when renting as a student in Brighton and then later in London. This house is where Su and I started a family as well, so from that point of view it will also be a huge wrench to leave. My children have never lived anywhere else, so it will be a great adventure for them to move into a new place and experience different surroundings, but I do think its going to be a period of great adjustment for them - and us. There are a lot of good memories in these walls and the only reason we are moving is to be closer to my wife's place of work as she has to commute an hour plus each day. Not good, especially over the last winter months - definitely time to move after the volume of snow we had here. We are leaving Bolton and heading over to the Fylde, so it will be wonderful to be near the sea again. After nine years living inland do I realise that my heart belongs near the coast. Another interesting aspect of the move is that we are leaving a 1930's period property where it has an unusual mix of Deco and Victorian architectural styling cues. The new house could not be more different as its a late 1960's property that remains largely unchanged in many ways. The decor is a mixture of 60's, 70's (mostly) and 80's. So a definite mish mash and clash of styles - there's work to be done! This sixties house will provide the ideal opportunity to hunt down some appropriate vintage furniture of the time to populate the rooms. Over time I've developed an appreciation for the product and interior design of that era so its pretty cool with me :-)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Radio Times - Tosca.

Out on the news stands today. Those good people at the Radio Times commissioned an image for their radio pages to accompany a new version of Puccini's Tosca, broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Just for interest I thought I'd post the image at four different stages.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Experimental image - Sneaky peek 2.

Well, more or less finished and that will have to do for now.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Experimental image - Sneaky peek.

This is an experimental image that's been lurking in the sketch book for a while. Not something I usually do but I thought it may be interesting to show an image at about about 70% completion, still quite a bit of tinkering to do so watch this space for the finished image :-)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Deep Sea Critter.

We found this little critter washed up on beach. Called a Lumpsuker and about 14" / 35cm long, so named due to having modified pectoral fins used to grip on to rocks. A photo of a healthy one in action too, courtesy of the 'What's on in the South West' web site: Link . Anyone who knows me well, understands my interest in and enthusiasm for anything marine related. In an earlier life I was very nearly on track to becoming a Marine Biologist, but failing my physics A level (was always hopeless at knuckling down to revise!) led me to take a 'year out' to do an Art Foundation Course for a bit of fun. A whole new world of possibilities opened up and thoughts of re-sitting physics exams were very quickly forgotten - sometimes failure is the best thing that can happen? I still retain a passion for sea dwelling beasties and over enthusiastically bore my wife (and kids!) with useless info on all things marine we find when out and about. How the time flies by for them LOL.


Really nice to get away for a few days over the Easter hols to the wilds of Northumberland. A stunning part of the UK where big deserted (almost) beaches expand into endless skies. Great to explore and enjoy with the kids. A few coastal landscape shots - but due to my inferior camera skills the sheer scale and breadth of the gorgeous beaches are rather lacking in these images.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Website revamp

As you may have noticed the Blog has had a little makeover today. All to coincide with an imminent (small) website makeover intended to freshen up the design a little. Main changes were to make the overall site a little cleaner in design and add new links to this here Blog and to test out a small store page. Both examples of the the new and old versions of the homepage posted for comparison. New website to go live in the next few days :-)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Perfume Cash in.

An interesting brief - to explore the subject of celebrity product endorsements, specifically the vast amounts paid for perfume / scent / fragrance cash ins. Fun doing something much more decorative than usual too, and I'm also quite fond of my grinning celebrity on a stick!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Terry Thomas - CadTastic!

Writing the previous entry reminded of me of one of my favoutite actors when I was growing up, a one Mr Terry Thomas. If I ever saw his name amongst the credits of any film scheduled to be on the TV, I'd always tune in and watch avidly. Even including the really poor movies as I knew his on screen presence as the typically upper class caddish persona he mostly portrayed would lift even the most tawdry of plots.

For the uninitiated (shame on you!), there's a detailed profile and write up at the Terry Thomas fellowship... He appeared in many British films, a couple that stick in the memory were 'Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines' which is probably one of his most well known but he seemed to get a little less screen time (than I'd have liked) due to the sprawling cast. One of his movies I particularly like is 'School For Scoundrels' starring the equally talented Ian Carmichael and Alistair Sim. A superb biting satire exploring social position and 'advancement' in life by any means necessary, all studied at the fictional School of One Upmanship. Terry Thomas plays the cad with great aplomb and Ian Carmichael the hapless student who learns to 'out cad' the great Terry Thomas, all under Alistair Sim's guidance. Still makes me smile.
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