Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Having the urge to do something purely imaginary for a change, I painted this a few days back for a competition run by film magazine Little White Lies to celebrate the release of the new Where the Wild Things Are film. The brief was to fill the mag's front cover template with your own wild thing. With these flying snail creatures I aimed for a balance between creepy and humorous that is similar to the vibe given by the creatures in the film and Sendak's original book. Not liking the idea of a big round stamp on top of the pic, I made this part of the scene: it becomes the illuminating moon.

Unfortunately the painting scanned appallingly, losing a lot of the smoothness and subtlety of the surface. Should've photographed it really. Looking back at it, it's also far too bright. But it was fun and only took a day from idea to completion so not a waste of time I feel.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


This is an old portrait of Scott, my housemate of the past 3 years, painted while the two of us were having a bit of an artistic painty session in our tiny back yard on a glorious sunny day way back in spring or early summer 2008. The painting stayed displayed on that spot where it was born, braving the worst elements, until we moved out a couple of months ago, at which point I took a few quick pics of it for the first time, before snapping him up. I realised I'd become quite attached to it, possibly more so than to any other image I've ever produced, come to think of it. I guess this is purely sentimental, due to the painting's link to the two great years spent in the house, but it's also partly, I think, because it's one of those very rare pictures of mine that was produced in a completely unconstrained, unselfconcious situation: splashing a bit of paint around on an old bit of wood just for the fun of it, listening to a bit of Taj Mahal in the sun.

The white outline on the figure is not my doing, but rather an inevitable vandalistic result of leaving an old piece of wood in the back garden for 18 months. However, it was annoying me a lot so for my own satisfaction I've crudely photoshopped the spraypaint out in the top image. Much better.

I recall that Scott and I vowed to have a painting session like this every week or so from then on, and Nathen, jealous at our paint-date, was going to join us next time. Inevitably though, 'proper' work and such took over and the time never came round again.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Painting Day

On friday I spent the day at my illustrator buddy Joe's house for a bit of painting. We started off by braving the October drizzle to paint cows and small landscape sketches in the valley below his house, taking inspiration from the American artist Nathan Fowkes in trying out the use of warm, complimentary underwashes as a base for the rural scenes. It was great to get back outside painting again for the first time in a while, and I'd forgotten how enjoyable it can be to work alongside another person rather than in the isolation that is imposed by much of my work.

Eventually driven inside by the rain, we had a crack at some still life, something Joe practices with admirable frequency but which I've neglected almost entirely over the past couple of years, at least as far as paint is concerned. As Joe switched from watercolours to oils, I pressed on with my acrylics and we set to work on an old feathered hat. Tricky translucent reflective shadowy feathers! I was quite pleased with that (at least with the feathers themselves), and I finished the day on a few smaller objects plundered from a bowl of dried fruit and pine cones (I'm sure there's a name for that stuff).

There really is no substitute for painting from life in terms of furthering one's understanding of structure, material and most vitally how light interacts with objects. Obvious really, but it's something that, aside from life drawing, I kind of just neglected as I moved towards the end of uni, concentrating purely on completing projects.

I've most definitely got the painting buzz back, the sheer enjoyment of using paint just for its own sake, just to try to capture that essence of a subject. My girlfriend has sent me a gorgeous bunch of white roses and eucalyptus for my birthday, and I'm going to have to have a go at painting those before they go over...


Throughout August and September I spent a fantastic four weeks and one day in Thailand visiting my lovely girlfriend and her family. As well as a couple of weeks in Bangkok we managed to travel around a good deal, seeing several extremes of a stunning, friendly, frequently surprising country. We flew to Phuket in the south, Chiang Mai in the north, and visited Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin and the old ruined capital of Ayutthaya on the central plains.

I didn't manage to do a whole lot of drawing during the trip, sticking more to my camera. However I've posted a couple of sketches here, the top one is a couple of crumbling prangs at Wat Phra Mahatat in Ayutthaya, at the bottom an orchid plant sitting on my girlfriend's coffee table. At the top is a peeping buddha at Wat Yai Chai Mongkul, also in Ayutthaya. The stray dog is wandering by the sea on Phuket island. In Thailand such dogs are known as ma kang tanon, literally 'dog next to the road', and they're quite abundant.

I'm going to try to resist the temptation to upload a load of photos, apart from where they're relevant to the work I'm busying myself with based on the trip, which should pop up soon.

Degree Show

Way back in the stuttering summer I had my degree show down in Brighton (top). A brilliant end to three years, and incredibly satisfying to see my work up alongside that of my coursemates on the shiny white walls.

The paintings are taken from two documentary illustration projects I'd produced in the preceding months, one based on the UK's disgustingly abundant vacant property, and the second (the rightmost trio) based on the construction of a new sports stadium. The latter formed a book relating Darwin's theories on the struggle for life to modern humanity's interactions with the planet.

...of course, with the paintings separated from the books they are produced for, this all falls a bit flat.

For our show at the Rag Factory off Brick Lane a month later, I dropped the Darwin paintings in favour of some smaller illustrations from a picture book, trying to show a bit more narrative. This show was also ace, particularly on the busy private view night. Everyone seemed to get very excited about the gallery's multi-coloured floor.


I'm always disgusted when I check someone's blog and they haven't updated it for ages. And when the inevitable '...been really busy...' is mentioned I respond, internally, 'BULLSHIT! How long does it take to make a quick post?!'. Hmmmm...

In my defence, I never really started to update. At no stage, up to now, has this blog ever actually been a log of my artistic activity. There was no initial activity for me to fail to keep up. But that changes today!

So here you go, Pat and Joe.

I'll start by re-posting my website address: