Category Archives: an artist

Self Portrait of the Artist

A self portrait is a representation of an artist, drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by the artist.

The photograph above was taken with a 35mm Pentax SLR in 1974 and manipulated in the darkroom in Stourbridge College of Art and Design. This reminds me of the simple pleasures I had messing about with making images – it is a shame I have become cynical.

Although self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid 15th century that artists can be frequently identified depicting themselves as either the main subject, or as important characters in their work.

In many respects the image below follows in the tradition of those early painters – I am seen as a reflection, just visible and confined within the architectural composition, a modern conceit of self importance.

In the famous Arnolfini Portrait (1434) Jan van Eyck is probably one of two figures glimpsed in a mirror. This painting may have inspired Diego Velázquez to depict himself in full view as the painter creating Las Meninas (1656). The placing of a self depiction within a larger composition of the rich, the famous and the kingly is a way of elevating your role from craftsman to celebrity – nothing changes really.

Reflection
This image was taken in Lanzarote in August 2012 using a Pentax P30, 35mm film camera, which uses manual focus lenses with the K-mount bayonet fitting. The lens used to take this photograph was a Rikenon 1:2 50mm, which was originally off a Richo KR-10 (super). At about 510 grams, the camera is easy to carry and handle and has shutter speeds from 1/1000 of a second to 1 second. The automatic mode on this film camera chooses the best shutter speed and aperture setting, giving the novice photographer a better chance of taking a good photograph. It also has a semi-automatic mode as well, which chooses most of the settings but allows for more creativity. There is also a totally manual setting for the brave.

The film used was Fujicolor C200, a budget-priced film (expire date April 2014) processed by Jessops in Barnstaple. The negatives were scanned using an Ion Pics 2 SD.

Using old film stock in a Pentax P30

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Gerhard Richter – Tate

Since the 1960s, Gerhard Richter has immersed himself in a rich and varied exploration of painting.


I’m looking forward to going to this exhibition.

His career has been defined by versatility and innovation, his work covers virtually every painterly discipline and art methodology; his work can be figurative, abstract and even conceptual. Richter once declared that: “I use different styles like clothes: it’s a way to disguise myself.”

Examples of his work include, 4900 Colours from 2007, which consisted of bright squares that are randomly arranged in a grid pattern to create a kaleidoscopic of colour. It was created around the same time he designed the south transept window of Cologne Cathedral.

Self Indulgent

The hungry artist, starving in a one-roomed hovel is the traditional vision we have of a creative person, the painter, the musician, the geek, the hacker, the actor, the cracker – this modern day tortured soul, consumed by poverty and deeply in debt, starved of recognition and acclaim.

These self-proclaimed heroes who wallow in this self-indulgent quagmire achieve obscurity and a lonely demise. To actively follow a creative path that benefits no one is the path of the pathetic and the failure – the everyday is supposedly where taste and inspiration is to be found, the shared pleasures of popular culture, with its homogenized high street and celebrity peddling, porno dreams. Quick fix, new trick, global consuming societies who have ignored the potential cultural backlash and philosophical implications of this bulldozing revolution called ‘choice’ and ‘popularism’. To ignore it is a mistake but to not understand it is a catastrophe. After modernism, postmodernism and global terror, is there a space left for the romantic? ‘Celebrity’ is a relatively new definition of success. The cult of celebrity has turned Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame into an art form in itself. ‘Celebrity Chefs’, ‘Celebrity Gardeners’, ‘Celebrity Cleaners’ even ‘Celebrity Entrepreneurs’. Is ‘Celebrity’ part of this outdated nineteenth century romantic paradigm?  Where is the intellectual discipline? Where is the social profit?

We are not living in a romantic age – the speed trap that captures the mind and soul is dependant on its bandwidth and download time.  This gets us to the end of the day but it remains relentless – tick tock. This fast lane we find ourselves hurtling down is the failure of our twenty-four seven society. This impacts on everything we do creating more and more collapse. It is engrained into our psyche from an early age that failure is a bad thing. From birth to death we are compared, or we compare ourselves, with people that have failed or succeeded. To be successful is to appear to our peers as socially, financially and intellectually superior. To fail is the complete opposite, to be ostracized by this successful society. Our preoccupation with success and its consequent obsession creates within us a crisis of identity. ‘Am I successful?’ ‘Do I appear to be successful?’ ‘Do my friends think I’m successful?’  ‘Am I a failure?’

Archive Interviews

What’s it really like living with creativity? Look back over the years at the tortured artists, drunken writers and drug-crazed musicians who litter our heritage and you might start to ask the question: is creativity a blessing or a curse? … Continue reading ?

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Audio Interviews with Artists, Musicians and Poets

Do you want 2 paintings for £35.00?

Found these two paintings in storage does anybody want them both for £35.00 (plus postage and packing)? I need to clear out our storage units. These images are made using cardboard stencils and refer to garden design….as an asthmatic gardens make me wheeze….even in small doses plant life triggers allergic reactions….even small plants…. Bonsai is not an option. Both have been exhibited and were painted in 2004 and have the exterior dimensions of 360 x 310 mm the frame including  frame. Materials = Acrylic, Oil and commercial paint mixed with cod liver oil (if  I drank Cod Liver Oil I would probably die as I am extremely allergic to fish) – marker pens on wooden frame.

Contact Me to Buy the Painting Here

I have tried to paint ‘en plein air’ but as soon as  I  erect my easel I fall prey to a asthma attacks. After several puffs of Ventolin I get over it but the urge to paint what I see disappears.
Two paintings called

Bonsai for Asthmatics

Broomhill Art Hotel, Muddiford

Summer exhibition – ‘The Small Picture Show’ 5th June – 4th July 2004

What is Bonsai?

For the viewer contemplation is the primary purpose of bonsai  and the execution  of effort and ingenuity for the grower (creator).  In contrast with other plant cultivation practices, bonsai is not intended for production of food, for medicine, or for creating gardens or landscapes. Instead, bonsai practice focuses on long-term cultivation and shaping of one or more small trees in a single container and the aesthetics of the object. A bit like painting really