An update on the current painting. It’s going really well. After many months of dissastifaction and frustration I feel completely re-energized about painting again, and I hope it shows. At one point I found myself with a plastic bag on my hand smearing PVA glue across the surface of the painting, and there was no voice in my head asking “what the fuck are you doing?” That voice would have been there a year ago, I can assure you. I take it as a sign that I’m on the right path, a path that had been there all along, patiently waiting for me to find it.
Another old poster design, revised and, by my estimation at least, improved. Same drawing of an eagle, for which true Bill fans will surely understand the reference, but this time with added electrickery. Here’s one of Bill’s best:
I’ve started a new painting. Full pencils (above) and detail (below):
This is going to be a leap into the darkness for me, as I abandon the tightly-controlled ‘realist’ mode I’ve worked in for the past decade, for something… different. This change has been a long time coming, but after all the false starts and frustrations of 2019, something had to give. The impact on C-19 has brought a temporary slowing down of the daily grind’s hamster wheel, which has allowed for looking at things from a different perspective. That said, the conclusions I’ve come to aren’t anything I didn’t already know, which were expressed succinctly by Herny Rollins when he said: “No such things as spare time. No such thing as free time. No such thing as down time. All you’ve got is life time. Go.”
I made this painting about 7-8 years ago and I have no idea what happened to it. Should’ve kept it though, ‘cos I still like it and I think it works rather well as a cover for Milton’s epic. It’s one of my daughter’s favourite books, and why not? You can’t really top war in heaven can you?
I still have my paperback copy of this book, bought in 1985, and I re-read it every few years. I was the same age as Frank Cauldhame, the narrator of the novel, when I first read it and it made a deep impression. This mock-up cover uses a drawing I made way back in 1989, and it didn’t take much electrickery to render it as a viable cover design.
Warren Ellis has just released the soundtrack he’s made for a new documentary film by Arno Bitschy. This Train I Ride tells the story of several women who travel on freight trains across the USA. “Hopping”, they call it. The trailer alone tells me this film is right up my street, and the soundtrack convinces me of that fact. The perfect eerie and haunting soundtrack for the times we now find ourselves in.
Another mock-up upgraded for 2020. This time it’s the poster I did for Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The first stab was… OK, but lacked the crusty, found-in-a-gutter aesthetic that was a key component of their early albums, where they combined slow burn instrumental rock histrionics with ‘found’ samples of street people preaching their mad gospels and bursts of radio static. I saw them play the Fleece & Firkin in Bristol, 1999, when their collective sonic wallop was sufficient to blow out the electricity.