Thursday, 27 October 2011

Grant Museum of Zoology

Seems stupid that I'd never been to the Grant Museum of Zoology (at UCL down by Euston) until monday. It reminded me a lot of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, but with a purely zoological focus. The collection was established in 1828 and has a stunning array of skeletons and jar-preserved animal specimens, including an intact Tasmanian Tiger skeleton, a jar of moles and a human or two. I sketched some skeletons.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Exhibition

Went back down for a proper look at the Self Portrait exhibition down at Kings Place Gallery (next to Kings Cross, the building in which the Guardian and Observer are based). The show fills the huge lower floors of Kings Place, as well as the actual gallery itself. There are some cracking portraits on show, although I felt the exhibition was a little bloated at 170-odd paintings- half of that would probably be more comfortable.

The exhibition is on every day until the 25th November. And congrats to the winner of the competition, Celia Paul.

My portrait: I think the wonky board looks alright in the end:

Some of my favourite portraits from the show (links at the bottom):

Tony Noble's Self Portrait, Red Brick Mill Studio, a brilliant acrylic piece:

Andrew Whamond's frank and expressive Self Portrait Standing:

Gilly Lovegrove, Untitled:

I saw an Alison Lambert solo exhibition in Soho a few years ago. She produces stunning large-scale portraits in charcoal, pastel and layers of torn paper, giving the pieces a deep relief and wonderfully sculptural topography. It's like the portrait has actually come from within the paper. Fantastic draughtsmanship (draughtswomanship?) too. Really worth seeing in person. Self-Portrait:

 Sheena Russell's Red Portrait:

Artist links:

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

"Subprime" animation by Beeple

Fantastic 3D animation from Beeple, based on the US housing market.

Full screen essential!

Backs of Heads

The fun to be had on public transport.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

James Gurney Dinotopia Print

As a quarter-century birthday present, Pat gave me this print by the mighty James Gurney. It's a picture entitled Dream Canyon from Gurney's first Dinotopia book, back in 1993.  Beautiful light, beautifully painted. I massively admire how effectively Gurney is able to translate his visions into a vivid, finished outcome that feels so real. He explains on the Dinotopia website that "Ever since my parents first set me in a sandbox, it's been my dream to create a world". Now I get a glimpse into another world every time I walk up the stairs.

Pat explained that she chose this specific image because it didn't have so many dinosaurs that it would be inappropriate for the domestic environment : )

If you've never visited, I'd recommend a trip to Gurney's blog Gurney Journeywhere the artist shares his insights and knowledge on a seemingly endless variety of subjects, arty and otherwise.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


At the Big Chill back in August. A little summer flashback.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Floex- Zorya

is a beautiful new album from Czech musician Tomáš Dvořák, who goes by the name Floex. It's a gorgeous mix of acoustic and electronic music that I can't adequately describe without making it sound rubbish. Give it a listen here

Tomáš Dvořák wrote the soundtrack to the outstanding and charming point-and-click adventure/puzzle game Machinarium by Amanita Design- a soundtrack I've been listening to on-and-off for the past couple of years. I'd also heartily recommend the game- available for download from the Amanita Design website. It's ridiculously cheap too.

You won't regret trying any of it.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Special Delivery Stamp

I'd never seen (or never noticed) one of these before. Nice.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

BBC "Your Paintings" Beta

BBC Your Paintings is an initiative which 'aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real'. They're doing a good job of it, with 77 000 paintings already online. Some of the images aren't as large as those on some galleries' own web collections, but it's a brilliant resource. 

It's particularly great for finding out where you can view paintings by a particular artist. For example, here is the UK's collection of Sargents (or at least the ones that have been digitised so far). And this Portrait Study for Head of Moses can be found at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery (image copyright of the museum):

Tuesday, 4 October 2011



This painting of mine will appear in the Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Competition exhibition at Kings Place Gallery in London, from the 14th October to 25th November.