Spode patterns

I’m working towards the exhibition at Spode and I’ve been experimenting with the photos I took a few days ago. Using the Layout app on my phone.

The thing is, I know I can’t reproduce these as paintings, so it’s good to use photographs to experiment with the images I took. There was a film by Andrei Tarkovsky I saw years ago. I think it was called Stalker, the industrial archeology of Spode reminds me of that. Almost post apocalyptic….


Watching 2001 a Space Odyssey.


I haven’t seen 2001 for about 10 years but it hasn’t lost its magic. If you have never seen it then it’s worth having a look. It’s a classic science fiction film set in 2001. It was made in the 1960s but it has quite good predictions of how things would work in the future.

It starts at the dawn of man and charts what happens when a enigmatic black obilisk appears on Earth. The film then fasts forward to a future where humans have made a discovery on the moon and follows an expedition to Jupiter.

I did read the original book by Arthur C Clarke and the following sequels. I think in the original story they travel to Saturn, but the destination was changed in the film and the subsequent books.

I won’t post any spoilers about what happens. But it is very good, although modern audiences might find it a bit slow. The one thing I do like is that the space sequences are silent except for music in the first sequence. Sound cannot propagate in a vacuum as there are no molecules to transmit it. Hence although you would hear rockets in earth’s atmosphere you wouldn’t in outer space.

The director was Stanley Kubrick who also directed A clockwork orange and other classic films. I think they are showing it because its the anniversary of Kubruck death.

The start of the film shows the moon in silhouette with Earth and then the sun curving beyond. That’s what I’ve tried to draw here.


Film festival

We went to the first day of a three day film festival tonight.

After being entertained by a steel band and having food and drink laid on we watched visionary filmmaker Spike Lee’s film Blackkklansman. Starring John David Washington as the first African-American detective in Colorado Springs. 

An American movie set in the 1970s about a black American police man, Ron Stallworth who infiltrated the KKK, the American racist organisation. The film is based on his true story. He rang up after reading an advert by them and was surprised to be invited to join them. By working with his white partner he managed to be accepted by them. A white colleague took his place when he was due to meet them face to face.

As the film moves on I started to understand why there was civil unrest in the 1970’s and began to realise that things have not changed that much even now.

Watching the last few minutes literally struck home at how things are still bad for the black community. I’m not a film critic, but I think it was worth watching.

Old film projector.


I was looking through my old photos and came across this from about a year ago. This is a film projector that was used for a local cinema. I have no idea what all the bits are for. But it’s interesting to see what used to be used before digital came in. My partner once did a training course to learn how to project films. There is usually a splodge marked in one corner of the film so you know when the next piece of film  (reel) is due to start. Apparently some films could have up to eight reels. I don’t know enough to describe it properly. But these machines are beautiful, so well made, which allowed classic films to be shown to audiences. There is a national film and cinematography museum in Bradford, England, which is well worth a visit. I think it still has an IMAX cinema which shows twice the normal sized film. I think it’s 70 millimetres instead of 35 and the film has to be run on its side…. I might visit again soon.


Film review “I Daniel Blake”.


A film came out a couple of years ago called “I Daniel Blake”. It’s about a man who has had a serious heart attack and who is trying to get a sickness allowance because he is too ill to work. But because the state now seems determined to persecute those who need benefits he is constantly stopped from getting what he needs. He ends up in an impossible position where he is fighting the system. He meets various other people with similar problems. It is a sad reflection on todays society that people are allowed to get into this situation. In one scene he and a young single mother he befriends have to visit a food bank to survive. The young woman starts eating food from a can because she hasn’t eaten for days. The film takes a close look into poverty and deprivation in Britain today. I think it’s important that films like this are available so that people see the reality of the system today.

Angel painting


I don’t remember painting this but I have found a post on Facebook where a friend thanks me for it.

I’m glad I did it and I think I must have needed to paint it at the time although I’m not a religious person, but the idea of having a guardian angel does appeal. I’m not sure why I did a rainbow halo on it? I had an angel mirror on the wall in the bedroom for years so this seems really familiar in a dream like way.

I think I’m influenced by a James Stewart film with a character called Clarence, he is an Angel in the film. I can’t remember the name of the movie but James Stewart plays a banker who had been framed by a rich land owner for taking money when it was actually a total mistake. Stewart decides to kill himself and Clarence saves him only to be told by Stewart that he wished he had never been born. There follows a scene where Clarence shows him what the world would be like without him…..I won’t spoil this with the ending in case you have never seen it.

Anyway sometimes we all need an angel even if it is only imagined.


P.S. just remembered the film was called “its a wonderful life”.

Digital portraits

I’ve posted A few digital drawings here, and one website, now defunct, was called sketchfu where I drew many of them. (I found out today its domain name is up for sale!).

The tools at sketchfu were quite crude, only 5 or 6 sizes of pen, a colour picker and a colour palette together with a slider that allowed you to change the opacity. But it was surprising what results people could get. There were various little competitions and challenges to copy various pictures and portraits.

I did some of the challenges, and I drew some portraits. You could not draw as well as in Photoshop but they came out OK……


You might notice the final drawing here is meant to be of professor Stephen Hawking. This was drawn on my tablet in an app called sketcher free. I did it a few weeks ago following his death. Instead of a stylus I used my middle finger to draw on the tablet screen.

I cannot tell you how uncontrolled and disappointing this last drawing feels in relation to the previous ones. If anyone is aware of a good drawing website, please let me know!