Stone eye

surrealism in contemporary art - giant stone eye

Stone eye
Ink, gouache, digital. July 2018

A sketch of a gigantic stone eye resting on the ground. A mysterious pipe-like cylinder extends upwards from the eye. A similar eye in the distance shows the pipe-like structure extending unfeasibly high into the air.
The eye and pipe bring to mind some designs of stove.
Perhaps the image is influenced by Celebes by Max Ernst, in which the rotund form was derived from a Sudanese corn bin..

Dancing teapots

I like to sit down with a sketchbook every so often and draw whatever comes into my head. Objects with bird-like features are a recurring theme. These slightly surreal dancing teapots are a good example.
This is a pen, ink and watercolour sketch drawn in Cornwall, April, 2018.

A very small sketch of a very bizarre creature (if it is a creature)

drawing from the subconscious - weird creature

Bizarre creature
Ink sketch 9cm x 7cm. Digital colouring. April 2017

A small sketch from one of my sketchbooks.
I sometimes sit down with a sketchbook when I have a few minutes to spare and just draw whatever comes into my head, uncurated. A sort of automatic drawing. I used to think that it would be a good way to encourage the development of new concepts and motifs without too much conscious thought channelling my work down well trodden pathways. However, I soon found that it was actually a way of revealing to oneself one’s inner obsessive visions as variations on the same themes inevitably lay themselves out on the page time after time. This particular sketch, I see from the notes beside it, was drawn in the gardens of Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, while sitting next to the very fine wisteria that’s growing there.
The colour in the image was added later, after scanning the sketch into my laptop.

Spontaneous watercolour sketch

Contemporary art watercolour sketch - spontaneous painting from the unconscious

This watercolour sketch was an exercise in creating something without any preconceived idea about what I was about to create.
It turns our to be a slightly sinister landscape, in the centre of which there is something that may or may not be a living entity. Originally this object looked more like a strangely shaped rock, but the addition of colour to it removed it from the rest of the landscape and turned it into something separate from the landscape. The blue dot in the image, which is just a circle of coloured paper placed on the image, gives the possibly living entity an air of sentience, as it seems to be contemplating a strange sun in the sky.

Umbrellas in contemporary art

contemporary art drawing - umbrella sculpture sketch
A sketch of an idea for a sculpture, showing an umbrella mounted at the top of a conical structure that has short filaments protruding from it.
I have a fascination with umbrellas for some reason. I think it’s possibly due to a mixture of their slightly Heath Robinsonesque mechanical structure – the hinged flexible rods that are levered outwards to support a stretched fabric cover – and their pleasing form when in the open position. Not to mention their practicality.¬†And the fact that they are, despite their mechanical intricacy, very much taken for granted and dismissed as objects of great mundanity.
My first ever published image was an absurdist redesign of the umbrella, published in the Sunday Times in about 1974.

Dandelion seeds and anthropomorphism

contemporary art drawing - anthropomorphism in dandelion seed

Anthropomorphic dandelion seeds: Pen and ink sketch: September 2015

A dandelion seed head in which the seeds have human form.
The image is disturbingly ambiguous. Is the fact that one of the seeds is drifting away from the seed head a sign of freedom or simply a sign of fate? It also looks as though it may be a suicide attempt (although the ‘parachute’ would prevent It being successful). And what can be read into the fact that the humans in the anthropomorphic seeds have no heads?