Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Revenge Of The Rubber Ducky

Format: 250*170mm
Medium: Hand drawn using inks and acrylic, digitally altered.
This is my submission for the UAMO (Urban Art and Media Organisation) competition. The theme was 'play time.
I've chosen to describe the earliest memory I have of 'Play Time'. Revisiting my bath ritual at the age of 23, a lot has changed. I am no longer in control of my rubber duck toy.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Walking Bare

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach, graphite, gesso, silver foil and collage.
This is one of my favourite Ted Hughes inspired pieces. There is a beautiful oxymoron phrase in the poem which is the basis of my painting. The idea that the birds are free, yet are frustratingly stationary; the wings blend into the mountain tops to create the body of the eagles. I have used silver foil to enrich the colour scheme and to cool down the warm blues that I have used for the mountains, to better reflect the cold environment.

The Scream

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach, graphite, oil stick and oil paint.
A bat is not a bird, but the figure fits best for the concept of the poem. In my usual style I have tried to incorporate as many of the poem's verses and phrases into the image without over crowding it. The wings of the bat are mountains draping over the scene. Reminiscent of fables and legends in which a winged woman would drape herself over the day sky, and create night.
  The two (almost) invisible cow's heads act as two visual props. Both the sun and the moon or two animals caught in a car's flood lights. 

The Scapegoat

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made ink, colour pencil and bleach.
The rooster is described as a majestic fool. My first inspiration came from medieval drawings of jesters. This influenced both the design of the bird but also of the background. Although difficult to see on a computer screen, I have also added puppet strings to the rooster, to prove how immobile and the lack of control the character has.

The Risen

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made ink, bleach, colour pencils and collage.
The idea behind this piece was to reflect the story of Icarus and the sun. The use of collage (which is not widely used in my work) was to mirror the soft hand rendered lines against the crisp planes of the diamond collage. Ted Hughes' was comparing the sharpness of the hawks vision with a diamond, which is why I used collage for both the eye and the ground, as a way of connecting the two elements.
  Using an airbrush was a way to blend the background using soft translucent layers of colour, as to make the sun, rich, dense, soft and yet powerful.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The Executioner

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach and oil stick 
The title explains the painting. I would like to upload the text, as only then would you be able to fully grasp the subtle images and phrases that I have incorporated. One line paraphrased: "The Streets of blood flowed"
  The only other facet worth mentioning is: the eyeballs reflect the cosmos, another line from the poem.

Something Was happening

Format: 594*420mm
Medium: Hand made ink, graphite and house hold emulsion.
This piece I will most probably re-work as the emphasis is not on the burnt turkey but on the typical English country kitchen. The composition leaves a bland taste in the mouth. My reading of the poem is that Ted Hughes' was writing a goodbye love letter to Sylvia Plath. His unbearable chauvinism and old fashioned nature could be the reason why she killed herself. Although not easy to see from the painting, I wanted to have Sylvia's hand writing scratched into the dead, burnt turkey. A small portrait of the poet is on the plates on the right.

She Seemed So Considerate (2)

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach and enamels.
Another version of the painting below. I prefer this version as there is a lot more dimension and motion in the picture. Although I like the subdued colours of version (1), I have used a lot more texture in this piece to create depth.

She Seemed So Considerate (1)

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made ink, bleach and acrylic.
The concept behind this piece is of an angel saving the sun (an intentional pun). The bird-like figure is a fawn lady fallen out of heaven, protecting the setting sun, both innocent and vulnerable, as the sun is in it's last stage before it hides behind the earth. 

Pink Gorilla

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach, graphite and and hand printed grass pattern using printing emulsion.
There are no deeper reasons to why I painted this piece. I really badly needed to take a step back from my bird theme and paint something for pure pleasure. The type of painting that has no deep context, but has a life of it's own. Create your own meanings, one of them could be the declining numbers of the Gorilla population in the wild, and that many of them are in captivity (hence the grid over the great ape).

His Legs Ran About

Format: 594*420mm
Medium: Hand made inks and bleach
This is a love poem, so rather than using swans as my figures I decided to use Western Grebes, a less know, but truly marvellous natural phenomenon in the field of monogamy. These birds are partners for life and to express their love will quite literally run on water, mirroring each other's neck movements. Ted Hughes' poem has a lot of mirroring phrases as do my Western Grebes. 
  If you were to look at the painting on it's side you will see a bird's foot imprint. Another subtle addition to enrich the symbolism that is so dense in the poems. 

Forest Of Mould

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, acrylic, house hold emulsion and gesso
This began as an experimental painting that would later inform the painting below (As I came I saw A wood) At this point I am trying to develop my personal colour scheme. These colours are later used in most of my latest work; wine red, mould green and terracotta orange. 

First, The Doubtful Charts Of Skin

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, house hold enamel and gesso
This is a second attempt to illustrating the poem, that I had previously done. Using geometric shapes to construct the body of the bird, the white cliffs of Dover are represented as the figure. I have used Eadweard Muybridge's horse video clips to collage the horde of horses running to jump off the cliff. The glooming hand, ready to tickle the bird is my visual representation of what I believed T.Hughes' was trying to describe as 'pleasuring a woman'.

Bride & Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach, emulsion and enamel paints.
Another rendition of the Ted Hughes' poems that I have been working on.

As I Came I Saw A Wood

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach, emulsion and gesso.
The poem is written from the perspective of man, clumsily stumbling upon a clearing to an undisturbed ritual of mother nature. Although not mentioned in the poem, I have decided to paint the scene of a fallen stag. The broken antlers of another stag still stuck in the dead one. The stag is a powerful symbol for shamans and many of the symbols are male related.
  To bind all the elements of the forest clearing I have used an intricate web of roots, antlers, the tree tops are antlers, as are the birds. All the natural elements are connected as they are in the wild.     

After The First Fright

Format: 594*841mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach, graphite and gold.
Another Christian themed poem. The concept behind this was that the shadow/reflection coming from the window was slicing the coffin in a cross shaped cut. The figure of the bird is the inside of the church. The pillars it's legs, the window it's eye, the alcoves it's teeth. I have also tried to incorporate the pattern of the brick work into feathers. The finished view point is a juxtaposition of looking inside and outside of the bird. 

A Riddle

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks & house hold enamels
Another Ted Hughes'. The poem is quite abstract, so my readings of it are abstract. Another emblem on the circle of life; I tried to describe this with the four seasons. The birds (as this is the main subject matter of the collection of work) are mating, the male is quite aggressively procreating with the female. This was to mirror the slight chauvinism in the poem. The finished result is busy, almost overwhelming.  Like an intricate pattern for a carpet. 

A Heart Of Roots

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks and bleach 
This painting is not related to my Ted Hughes' work. I became obsessed with drawing intricate veins and roots; starting as a therapeutic tool, the painting developed into a conversation between two plants. The finished and unintentional result was a love story. 

A Green Mother

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach and graphite
I've tried to incorporate as much of the poems imagery in this painting, whilst still retaining balance, and not overcrowding the finished result.
I've used a circular negative space to represent the world. The 'Mother's' roots entwine within the negative space protecting it. The rest of the body is made up of natural shapes such as rivers and cities. The Mother's bosoms are two large sunflowers; the sunflowers seeds are representations of the world painted to look like colour blind tests, as to subtly incorporate as many of the poem's emblems.

A Flayed Crow In The Hall Of Judgment

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach, graphite and black string
Ted Hughes' poems take inspiration from nature that surrounded him; religious beliefs; dark motifs and life's questions. This painting was created using many different types of black. I was trying to show how a colour, that is a non-colour, was both beautiful and could be used without acting like a black hole. The sunset is a chicken's embryo, both life and death in one egg circle of life!

Only A Little Sleep, A Little Slumber

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, bleach and pencil
This was the first time I started using roots and veins in my work; this painting was the start of   an ever increasing personal visual language. Although the Ted Hughes poem that I was working from was describing roots, I decided to leave the pattern ambiguous. They're either trees or veins. One perspective is that the viewer is looking through an eyeball. The other is that the hummingbird is surrounded by a vicious network of trees. The negative space surrounding the hummingbird is a brain (another subtle injection of Ted Hughes' ever expansive and rich imagery).

Unknown Title

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, Pencil, digitally altered on Photoshop.
In the original version of this painting, there was a stack of leaves; from this stack was projected the shadow of the menacing bird-like creature ready to pounce on the unsuspecting mouse. I later removed the stack of leaves digitally, as the finished colour composition stood better using a limited palette. The painting has an uneasy aura, reminiscent of a butchers workspace. The pattern on the shadow is of ameba, another subtle injection of the poem's original imagery.

The Plaintiff

Format: 841*594mm
Medium: Hand made inks, pencil and bleach. 
This surreal illustration was for the collection of poems by Ted Hughes. The inspiration (as usual) came from the imagery from the poem. The body of the bird is made up of tongues to describe the main motion of a plaintiff. The roots that embody most of my work, is not only a personal visual signature, but also act as an anchor. The bird's body is in motion, an oxymoron to it's immobility.