Sunday, October 28, 2007

Insert foot

sometimes, in support of the people I care about, I have a habit of opening my mouth without thinking things through. This is not new failing on my part, when I was 12 or so years old my dad gave me a card that said "engage brain before opening mouth" so that's at least 30 years.

My wife, Karen, has many good points, her unfaltering faith in the innate goodness of people and her willingness to help anyone being two of the most prominent. She is a Christian by faith and a pretty good example of one by and large in her dealings with the people around her. This unfortunately makes me all the more protective when someone takes advantage of her good nature, screws her over or otherwise upsets her.

My personal experience with the members of Karen's Church has been that they are good people who are fortunate enough to have something to believe in above and beyond the corporeal. Unfortunately there are always a few who wear their belief like a badge of superiority and, to be frank, have their head so far up their own arse that they do for Christianity what Osama Bin Laden has done for the Muslim Faith.

One such person, waving his godliness like a big stick with which to chastise others, has recently caused a great deal of upset within her church before leaving in high dudgeon. He caused Karen a great deal of sadness and took advantage of her good nature, although she doesn't see it that way. He got Karen teaching his son to play drums, which she was happy to do, and borrowed a library book from her which had drumming exercises in it. He then promptly misplaced the library book and ignored several requests for it's return, leaving Karen to deal with the embarrassment of telling the library she no longer had the book and was unable to return it and to deal with the financial implications of paying any fine to replace the book. I would have been happy to write this off as sheer thoughtlessness and stupidity on his part but for the fact the man has a website and a blog where he rants on and on about God's ideals and living in God and how blessed he is by God and the complete perfidy of this sanctimonious buffoon is impossible to stomach.

So this afternoon I left a comment on his blog pointing out that I was pleased he had such a good relationship with his God and what a shame he couldn't bring the same ideals into his dealings with the people around him. This action did not sit well with Karen however. Fortunately he has his blog set so he gets to approve every comment before it's published so I doubt it will be seen on his blog. Hopefully the comment will prick his conscience although, judging by his behaviour to date, he will more likely throw his toys out of the pram once more, striking out at those around him.

I should have thought of that before commenting but it would seem I'm still impulsive in defense of friends and family.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Grow, Illustration Friday

My latest piece for Illustration Friday. Four days in production, eventually I had to stop or miss the deadline. It lacks a little in execution but I'm happy with the idea.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

life gets in the way

There are times when life just gets too hectic and something has to give. This has been one of those weeks and so Illustration Friday had to give. I'm disappointed because having a reason to draw and a deadline has been a very good thing for me. This week work has been absolutely hectic, my lovely Karen hit 32 years of age, we had to sort out Molly's upcoming birthday party, there've been a couple of minor family crises and Karen's not been feeling to grand which has meant looking out for both the ladies in my life.

I've missed drawing for I.F. but I'll be making an early start this week on whatever the new topic turns out to be.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Indio Poster art

One of my favourite forms of art is advertising poster art. I'm a big fan of the classic poster art of the 30's and 40's for air and sea travel, the London Underground posters and the European car manufacturers posters of that time as well. The combination of a clear message and a striking graphic has always struck me as an impressive skill that is somewhat lacking in many of todays artists and illustrators working in the field. There are great poster artists out there but many seem to work in niches now, photography has pushed them out of the "mainstream".

Now this bit seems to go off on a tangent a bit but bear with me. I have a site counter on Inclined to Ramble that gives me info and statistics on visitors and one visitor who's been back a time or two comes from, according to their ip address, Indio, California. Now the novelty of knowing thast someone half a world away is even glimpsing at my ramblings is quite a novelty so I googled Indio, California and it seems to be a pretty art loving town. It has some stunning wall murals and what appears to be a massive annual arts festival and each year the festival has a poster. See you knew I'd get back to the point eventually.

The posters are uniformlly stunning and featured below is my personal favourite.

If your taste lies towards such posters I heartily recommend you check out the rest through Southwest Arts Festival Posters

And if you're in Indio and reading this, thanks very much for dropping by.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blogger action day

Apparently today some 7000+ bloggers have agreed to include an environmental issue on their blog. When it comes to environmental issues I am trying, like many people, to balance practicalities and ideals.

I was born in a country village which meant chasing escaped pigs down the road when they escaped from the slaughterman's van, necking chickens, skinning rabbits, collecting chestnuts, hazelnuts and blackberries. It meant you treated the environment with respect because it it helped in part to feed you and if you didn't respect it then it would turn around and bite you on the arse. Such as when a friend and I decided to frighten some cows. Not a wise decision as, for such big eyed and docile looking creatures, they can be bloody terrifying when twenty of them come stampeding towards you mooing insanely, a lesson learned and an act not repeated.

The problem today comes because the respect is not there as evidenced by something that happened to my Brother in Law.

My brother in law, Steve often walks with his wife, daughter and Springer Spaniel at the Royal Victoria Country Park, which fronts onto the Southampton Water and is home to a large number of seabirds. Walking there one day they came across a bunch of teenagers stoning a seagull. My brother in Law is a fireman with a shaved head and can look incredibly ferocious and scarey, particularly when faced with this sort of loutish behaviour and my sister, Wendy, although very feminine can be equally scarey when necessary. They saw off the group of kids with little worry or any backchat and Steve then stripped to his boxers and plunged into the chilly water to rescue the bird. I believe, though stunned by the stones, the seagull was okay in the end. He reported the teenagers to the police and carried on with his life. Steve, to me, is something of an environmental hero (on a small scale). He's not afraid to get involved, he has an allotment where he and Wendy grow a fair amount of their own veg, he cycles to work and he supports small local businesses and farmers markets where ever he can.

Steve and Wendy are an example of how to make a difference, if everybody followed their exampla and looked after the bit of the world around them as well as they do the world would be a better place.


I'm not a fan of reality shows, talk shows and fly on the wall documentaries as a whole but PostSecret is very different. PostSecret is like looking into the windows you pass while driving or riding on a train and briefly glimpsing an intimate moment of a stranger. It's anonymous and a little voyeuristic but carries an immense amount of emotion in every card. It's as if every life has the dramatic and emotional highs and lows of a classic 40's movie, there are hints of the last moments of Casablanca, Mrs Minerva and The Ghost and Mrs Muir. There are sad secrets and happy secrets and secrets that are like barbed wire around your heart.

PostSecret is one of those things the word "poignant" was created for

Look at the ad for the book

PostSecrets video

Look at the website

PostSecret blog

or buy the book

PostSecret book

Which ever you do have the tissues to hand.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

illustration Friday (part 2)

I also came up with this

which was a sketch for a western comic I'm working on at the moment.

Now I'm torn between the two.

Update; on a snap decision the door won out but I stuffed up posting the thumbnail on IF so it probably willbe seen by very few people.

Illustration Friday part 1

initially I came up with this, I've tried not to be too clever and just work on straight forward interpretations.

But then....

Monday, October 08, 2007

DIY (Sketchpads that is)

One of the bug bears for the more reserved artist, like myself, is how to sketch in public without drawing attention to yourself, (pun intended). The moleskine is the smallest quality sketchpad I've so far managed to find but even that can be a bit obvious when you're out and about working in it. Then I found this website, thanks Stumble Upon, and I have sketch pads for all occasions in all sizes for a fraction of the cost a Moleskine.

Make your own sketchpad

These are pictures of my first book, I found 3 or more signatures works better as it's easier to sew them tightly.

The instructions are clear and easy to follow and using off-cuts from a printer at work and odds and sods lying around the house I have a hand sewn 32 page hardback sketchpad that fits perfectly in my pocket, total cost £1.10 and an hour of my time.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The downside to Illustration Friday

Actually the title's a joke. From what I can see there is no downside. In the first 3 days after I posted my entry I had over 120 visits to inclined to ramble from people following the link for a better look, I got 3 very complimentary comments from other artists, who when following links back turned out to be very fine artists themselves, and praise from peers is always much appreciated. Finally I've got the enthusiasm to keep going.

So now I'm back to the sketch pad to think about "open".

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

my daughter the sports hero

My daughter, bless her, is proving to be most unlike her dear old pa in someways, particularly her appreciation of football. Molly is the only girl out of 20 kids in an after school football group. Each week a small trophy is awarded to the best player or the person who tried hardest and this week, the fourth week, she brought it home with her. She was so excited with a grin so big I thought she'd swallow her ears. The trophy has pride of place on our mantelpiece now I've managed topry it from her fingers.

blues, illustration friday

Blues was a good one to start with. The image is nothing groundbreaking but it's a start. As confidence grows so will the quality of the work, hopefully.

Naturally I stuffed things up so the thumbnail appears twice. Still it's out there so that's something. Next time better drawing.