Here's an oil painting of me pal Esme.

Was fairly chuffed with this one as it came out largely as I saw it. One of them happy happening's where things fell into place rarther curtly.

This story sums it up:
We went up on the rooftop just to have a catch up before we took the photo for the picture. sat up there, chewin the fat, I said 'Cool shall we do it then (get the photo)?'
'Hmmm, now we really need a wall of green to shoot this infront of...' I looked down at my feet on the roof edge and right there where they hung was the perfect spot for the photo. The sun had come out too that day, right in the high-reach of summer, and was shinin' right on the ivy. right as I'd wanted it in my head. Just one of them days.
Anywho it's quite nice havin' something you've done that you done utterly deteste. Ha. Think this is moving a bit more towards Renoir, which was my ambition too, so am glad about that.

Anywho, still much to learn, a long road to dance down, and it shall be! Peace

Recent painting & drawing

Oil painting of me pal Carmen;

Think I'm getting better with colour, but think this one struggles from the overall composition of it. Infact might go and repaint a bit of it, haha. That's the endless problem of painting, especially oils, which weave their wet smell at ya and ask you to carry on..
From the closeup you can see that sections of it look quite good when isolated but that's no good if the whole thing doesn't work well together.

The next one I do is gunna be a big canvas filled mainly with the light of the background. it'll be of my friend Ezme infront of a wall of ivy on a sunny roof.

Here's a quick sketch of my pal Ori. This was a nice one to do as its just one of them ones that came out quickly, just in 20 minutes or so quick fire.
eer he is the little bugger

Recent paintings

A couple of recent paintings:

Here's a couple of new paintings. I think they somewhat represent a bit of a pivot point with my painting. The 1st two paintings (of Lennon & Charlie Chaplin) are in line with what I've been doing for a long time. That's probably the 5th or 6th of Lennon i've done, likewise of people like Dylan etc. Idol painting. I always sorta considered it just an expression of grattitude rather than art; paintings usually done in a fevour of being wrapped in one of their albums*.

But the third painting, the one of my friend Todd, represents a bit of a departure point from this. For a while I've had an idea in mind for how I want to paint and have not been able to reach it. What tends to happen is; I begin the painting, then my conservatism mutes any sorta progress of it evolving into something new, as a result of a desire to just 'round off a nice painting'. Altho this has resulted in some 'nice paintings' its also deliberated progress. e.g with this one of my friend Dena. It's a nice painting, but I wanted to say so much more with it, and instead it came out as quite flat(in the material sense), and just a rendering of her physical beauty, and my skill with the medium, rather than saying anything deeper:

So the one of my friend Todd, (which unfortunately by the way the colours on the camera came out a little skewed so it's not quite right on here) When you look at it, it doesnt appear like a massive step forward, but it just feels like a gentle push in the right direction. This is probably about 5/10% of my intent. What I want is to be able to paint these paintings where it just feels like LIFE has been blown together by the winds, all leaf-like-brush-strokes blown about the canvas in disarray, but in the centre, a face to come together - to express the random emergence and miraculousness-nature of life happening. To express also how we come from nothing, blown together for this moment.

*to return to what I was saying about those 'idol paintings', I feel too that these are sort of the pinnacle of that, atleast with the intent of them. The Lennon one, altho its not bang on so not great, what I like about it is the mash-up of elements; it has a bit of a graffiti-street art style to it (with the heavy black stencil-esque outline) but also with the golden glow it (to me atleast) kinda feels like a golden buddha head seen somewhere in our memories. Also the use of cardboard, was, tobe honest just because im poor, but also I like that it represents the 'working class hero' angle to it. That's why I did Chaplain too, the one of him I'll just call 'the tramp' and see who gets it.


I went to the Musee D'orsay the other day and was totally blown away.. Manet, Monet, Courbert, Degas, Van Gogh, Renoir.. really blown away. After leaving there felt really like my eyes could just look at life with the delicate caress & desirous-intrigue of their oils.. It was a very poignant thing to do too, as I spent the next week in a place called Plum Village, surrounded by monks, and beautiful people all being peaceful and joyous. Whilst there, I felt too that being mindful ( being in the moment, 'reared to the moment' is the phrase that kept coming to my mind ),to look at the world like this is to look at the world like a painter weighing up-with gentle-intent - the world infront of him. Its a feeling art students may trace the whispers of when they really look in life drawing.

Van Gogh is a good epitomy of that. When you stand infront of one of his canvases, you can really feel the ripples of life about the scene he's capturing.. all the motions in the air and connections of energy between all things.. how a man may seep into the canvas, and may emerge with a bold line of action also.. a tree likewise may be exploding from the earth or plaintively bobbin on the waves of energy abound.

Anywho, will cut it there. Its all about feeling and you can't capture feeling with words, only point to it. But i think what Im pointing to more is my ecstacy & rapture., but perhaps thats an indicement more important than trying to capture feeling with words.. anywho, Thanks for reading. Peas

the importance of moving

"The only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keepin' on"

In my life now, I tend to find myself moving round alot. I have thought of myself as a traveller for a while, but this isn't strictly true; I realised the other day I haven't left the country (beside a week or two holidays) for a couple of years now, and I've never been away longer than three months; Likewise I've never felt the aliveness of not knowing I would return. I've tended to have about 5 weeks out the country at a time when I get away, and steadily, my trips have got closer to home and less grandiose. Coincidentally (or not so..) this has coincided with my university loan running dry, and my pockets getting ever thinner. But that's ok, it's only served me to take more modest trips. If you wanna keep moving you move regardless.

But it's been nice - I've sorta just become always on the move. I tend to stay in a place for about two months, I spose that's just about enough time to get a grasp of the place. Right after uni it was most extreme; two months at home (feet up, flat out), two months in Plymouth, two in Mevagissey, two in Torquay (home again), 5 weeks goin' round East Europe, two back in TQ (working), back to Plymouth, then back to Torquay, where I finally stopped for a while to make BEAT Magazine.

It's not like a conscious choice to keep moving, think more just a natural inclination to keep things fresh. I think the habit is born from chasing after experience, as Byron put it -

“The great object of life is Sensation - to feel that we exist - even though in pain - it is this "craving void" which drives us to gaming - to battle - to travel.."

I think from an outlook acquired such as this, you realise one particular, and fundamental truth in life. Everytime you move, you bare witness to a different side to your character - feel your character, your sensibilities etc, swayed and tested in new ways. You see more clearly who you are when you attack your sensibilities from such a variety of angles. e.g with me, living up North, dropped into working in a pub, it was interesting to see how 'I' would react. Or living in a hostel in Brighton for a few months, seeing how 'I'd' respond to new surroundings. It's all about jumping in at the deep end and learning to swim in a totally new way.

Doing so helps unravel certain traits, helps peel back the opinions and characteristics we assume are fundamental to our characters, fundamental to 'us'

I spose evidence can be found in the reverse: It's typical that in a place, people are very simillar - not just in terms of accent & features etc, but likewise in terms of their beliefs and opinions. This is only natural, and part of the innocent communitas we seek as humans - were social creatures afterall, and want to get along. But people often feel scared to voice something that makes them seperate from the norm. e.g the football fan who has a secret love of reading, or the girl in the small town who doesn't actually have a desire to gossip or for the sewing circle about her.. 

Leaving helps you realise the variety in the world, and that it's ok to be your own way. Gives you the integrety to say 'OK, they're that way here. I don't feel affinity with that but I know out there, elsewhere, people do. Lets go find 'em '.


Eventually, perhaps also, we realise a deeper truth. When you keep chipping away at 'who you are' (which is really who & what your ego has decided to associate with), eventually you get to the point when you just realise, 'wow, we're just all energy, were just all ripples of the big bang going this way and that'. We're all nature at heart. But anywho, this is somethin' I'm still learning about, or moving towards; first you gotta understand it ('stand under' it - appreciate it) then you gotta realize it (make your 'reality' (aint it nice when words offer secret truth's like that?)). I certainly understand it, but realizing it is fleeting, not constant. Unravel your ego baby!

If this last bit has sparked an interest in you, like I said, I won't say much more, but would certainly point you in the direction of 'A New Earth' by Eckhart Tolle. Likewise I would urge you to look at the contentedness in the eyes and manner of someone such as the Dalai Lama. They got it. Peace.

Meditation for animation

These last few years i've got really keen on Buddhism. I think in the West, we have a natural inclination towards Eastern outlook, for its difference to our historical thought. For its general relaxed demeanour to religion.. there are many reasons. Buddhism in particular garners a weight of that leaning.

I got into meditation properly right after uni when I moved to Mevagissey for a bit (to live with Miguel). Because it was so quiet there and peaceful in the quiet harbour, mornings were ripe for being still and quiet.

I got into it for a few reasons; one being that natural inclination for sure, also that I am a keen reader, and focus & concentration are important for reading; skills practicing meditation would surely enhance. I don't mean to sound so robotic about it, as I don't feel that way.

I think meditation is becoming more important to the West too as an antidote to our busy lives. Everything is on, always, phones in ears always, sideways thoughts on hectic highstreets.. we are naturally lusting for that 'minute' of silence, the chance to get our minds back to 'now'. It's all about 'Being here now'.

I also got into it as I knew how it'd help my animation practice. Here's a few ideas on why its conductive to animation;

In meditation, especially the practice of mindfulness, we look over our bodies, bit by bit, feeling in every inch of the body. Feeling the pull of individual acute aches & being aware of your anatomy.
I find this technique very close to how I feel in life drawing. In life drawing you're not only looking at some other body, but trying to relate that feeling in your own body - that weight, the fall of things, the pull on intricate & hidden muscles that cause tension on the surface.. If you can draw focus to your own body, and help imitate the flow and feel of what you're looking at, you can understand it on a deeper level, that serves to improve the understanding in your own drawing. If you can feel it you can see it. Or notice it, rather.

Simillarily, in mindfulness we practice watching our breath. This is a fundamental technique, in that the breath serves as an anchor we can always return to, like a mantra. The breath is constant, so-necessary, yet we are often not concious of it, we just do it. Also, by controlling our breath, we can control our mood - slow deep breath's and all that..
So, in watching the breath, we as animators can begin to articulate all those subtle movements in the chest that we never usually notice. We can follow the breath down into the belly, fill your lungs from bottom-up, and roll it back out like a wave, feel it tickle out our noses calmly. Articulating like this is to recall that intricate eye we strive to acquire in animation. To be able to look in such detail is key.

Cultivating that pointed, focused, contcentration in meditation helps us in animation too. Animation is a long and sometimes laborious task that takes dedication and patience. It is good to have us held there content. This is a great antithesis to the inevitable procrastination that waves over you. Like in the Zen saying, 'Dont just do something, sit there!'. Disciplined patience.

I find too in meditation I am often beginning to imagine some obscure mental parable, in line with the practice. often revolving around the breath. Here's a couple, just for example of what I mean, because of course these are steeped in subjectivity:
 - I often visualize my breath like a wave rolling on the shore, from the deep of my lungs, rolling its way up my chest, out of my mouth.
 - I will often have two images in mind too - or one that contorts to the sway of my breath. E.g to meditate on a face that droops and relaxes as my body does with the breath, and pulls tight as I breathe in anew.
 - Also I like to picture a flower, growing. It begins in the dirt, the mess of wantaway life, and, rising through, pulling straight in the stem, unveils its petals in buddha-wisdom. The lotus flower that grows wherever. 'This is the moment of embarking, all auspicious signs are in place'. I remember that in meditation, and it helps garner in me this blossoming flower metaphor.

There is so much more, the idea of satori too - cultivating a quiet mind, that lights up with that great spark of idea. We can't control, or number, the amount of 'moments' we will have like this, visionary moments, the lightbulb flicking on (eurika!) (called satori's in the east, but usually reserved for monastic thought), but we can help by putting ourselves in fertile ground, and staying well watered.


I'll leave it there. Let me know if you see it likewise, or have anything to add.


Kerouac n' cat
One thing I did do whilst up t'North was get into writing Haikus. I did it in the Kerouacian vein. Came across a Jack Kerouac book in Helmsley library, 'book of haikus'. In it he outline's his version of the traditional Japanese poems. He free'd them a little, saying that Western languages didn't fit so inline with the 17 syllable structure of traditional haiku, so instead he proposed just three line numbers. He called them 'American pops'. The aim with haiku is to create a little snapshot of the world, of life, etc, with all the simplicity of a trickling stream, yet the full force of a sunset.

I just keep a little book in my back pocket and write them whenever. I did them with the Kerouacian ideal in mind that 'write in recollection and amazement FOR YOURSELF' however i'll publish a couple here anyway 'cus they're fun little ditties.

cherub smiling cat,
sleeps tight under arm
and i write haikus.

ancestral remarks
detail the fur of the cat
on a winters eve

Hayfields on the horizon - remind
of giddy summer playgrounds
in golden spring youth

Holy smokin fire
puffs its rings to the night
and says 'how do?'

aching windpipes
curtails spiritual practice
today & tomorrow

If sight is only reflections
and waves are all but vibrations
then where is the source which winds them?
When I refer to waves I mean particle waves, e.g sound waves.
what I like about this one is it sorta follows a trajectory, step stonin' the reader to 'the source'.

This last one got me thinking about the source.. how we can't see it. I've long thought upon how human's trying to comprehend our creation is much like a dog trying to grasp how human's talk.. or where a can of coke comes from.. it's above them, outta reach, incomprehensible.

So perhaps an analogy for the source, using the above haiku as reference..:
NOTE - 1,2 & 3 refers to line number

Rain falls down on a mountain. (3)
it trickles down, curving and caressing a path for itself, collecting into a river. (2) The river bends itself along the land, until it reaches the sea.
the sea is unable to turn inland. It cannot swim upstream, but only struggle on the shore. (1)

So you see how the sea can't swim upstream, it can look inland - but it can't reach far. It certainly can't reach its source by its own will. Then how does it reach its source? By simply going through the motions - where it finds itself raised to the clouds.

I hope that makes some sorta sense. I think i'll explore this idea more, in different creative avenues. Perhaps it'd be explainable in song.

Anywho, some more, follwing the theme loosely:

Rainfall & waves for millenia
carved a david of this land
& the granite of our bones recalls us.

vein's criss-crossed
murmer in echo
of the faraway heart

(this ain't a haiku but on the same wave length)
& like a kite morality stems
from the hand of atavism
in the winds of willful existence.

waves reflect
from brain to brain
through ear eye & hand.

cemetry's lined
with washed away lives
stories told to the stones & dirt.

cold & distant
his face hangs like the moon
bright & weary, motionless
(about a wreck-head friend of mine..) 

He reads his woes in the sunday papers,
the cats not out the bag;
children count the ladybugs.

Innocence lost from adolescent eye's
ten years too late
redemption will come

Sisyphusal bee sting!
the forever thorn in one's mind
that rues you from being

go write some of yr own!

What I enjoy most about haiku is its immediate art - art that rivals the click of the camera for its immediacy, and therefore, encapsulated spontinaity.

life update

So a dip in form for this blog, but can explain.. I moved up to Yorkshire last August, and where we were living, we had no internet, or television for that matter. Infact it was quite the hippy household - plenty animals for company (a dog, a cat, 2 rabbits and a pheasant at one point!), a field-fulla-sheep across the road, the woods right on our doorstep.. the village itself only had a curry house, a fish n chips and a pub that opened one night a week!

But anywho so have been doing that since August. I came home for christmas and then decided to move on to the next place.

So now I find myself in Brighton. My reason for coming here is that I want to get creative as I can, get my foot well and truly back on the ball.. I loved living in Yorkshire, but I feel that its time lost in a sense - I did very little creative work whilst I was up there, and instead spent all my time working full time. Infact, the only painting I finished up there was done two days before I came home. I did it for my nan for christmas (see pic)

This is certainly my most well travelled canvas. So I finished it a few days before christmas, however being done with oil's, it certainly wouldn't be dry for a good while. I put it in the car for the first leg of the journey - Helmsley (North Yorkshire) to Essex with Rosey. Not only did I have the canvas with me (which is about waist height btw..!) but I had as much of my stuff as I could physically carry - a full to the brim rucksack, a side-bag full of books & trinkets, a mandolin... I think I also had a few sets of clothes on that wouldn't fit in the bag. From Basildon (Essex) I jumped on a train into central London. Changing onto the tube was the worst part, I didn't even have a hand free to put me ticket through. Finally though got to Victoria and got on my coach. This was the nice part as it was the evening now, and I could sit back finally and enjoy "drivin' home for christmas"..