• Numbers as symbols – and the perception of form

    A study in numbers as symbols

    Video. 2024

    A video of a 30mph speed limit road sign with the number 30 rotating within the circular sign. The figure 30 in the sign has been animated digitally.

    This concept occurred to me spontaneously when I looked at the sign (Having said that, I’ve walked past this sign many times over the past few decades and the idea has never occured to me before – more on that later). The sign is in Market Drayton, Shropshire, where I grew up.

    One of the points that the video is hopefully making is about the nature of the shapes of numbers (and by association, of letters too). I’m interested in the fact that the shapes of numbers (and letters) are to a large extent random. You can understand why the number one is represented by the shape 1, which is essentially the simplest possible mark that can be made to represent the presence of something, and why zero is represented by 0, which is possibly a symbol that visualises an empty space. But why is 4 the shape that it is, or 5,6,7,8,9?

    Bearing this interest in the shapes of numbers in mind, one of the features of the video is way that it emphasises the changing shape of the numbers as they rotate. When the 3 and the 0 are on their sides they no longer look like the number 30 viewed sideways but as distinctly different shapes – especially the 3. The 3 stops being a 3 and starts becoming a mysterious symbol. This phenomenon works particularly well with the numbers 3 and 0 because the shapes of these numbers are more or less symmetrical about a horizontal axis through their centres. It wouldn’t work so well with, say, the number 47, where the brain would probably have a lot more difficulty seeing the digits as nothing other than the 4 and the 7 at unusual angles.

    perception of form and numbers as symbols

    perception of form and numbers as symbols 2
  • Ball and Bottle – found objects sculpture

    contemporary art readymade sculpture found objects - ball and bottle

    Found objects sculpture – ball and bottle

    Ball, bottle     23 x 5.5 x 5.5cm     June 2024

    A sculpture composed of found objects.

    The sphere that’s resting on top of the bottle is an old tennis ball that has lost all of its coating and that seems to have been left outside in the elements for a very long time. I think I found it in the garden, probably lost there by the previous owner of the property. Because of its colour, patina and texture it looks a lot more substantial than it actually is.

    The shape of the bottle and the fact that the glass isn’t of uniform thickness suggests a vintage vessel, but it is actually a contemporary supermarket salad dressing bottle that was still being used for its original purpose the day before it was requisitioned for this sculpture. The salad dressing company were probably trying to tap into the current demand for artisan foodstuffs and consumer goods.

    The found objects in this sculpture are unmodified and there is minimal physical input or compositional decisions that need making in the creation the work (The ball has to be place on top of the bottle, pure and simple). This probably makes the piece a form of readymade.

    contemporary art readymade sculpture found objects
  • London Eye watercolour and ink sketch

    watercolour and ink sketch of the London Eye

    London Eye watercolour and ink sketch

    Watercolour and ink on Arches watercolour paper.    13x20cm.     11th June 2024

    A sketch of the London Eye.

    The line art was drawn first, using, appropriately, a Uni-ball Eye ballpoint pen. The ink in these pens is waterproof, so it was no problem to then add a blue watercolour wash over the drawing to create the sky.

    The sky was created using Sennelier cerulean blue watercolour. This colour is good for skies because it’s easy to lift the colour off the paper with a tissue or suchlike to create white clouds (and because it’s a nice colour).

  • Spheres in a mirror

    Spheres in a mirror

    Mirror, wood, acrylic 29x29x6cm May 2024

    A sculptural work composed of coloured hemispheres reflected in a mirror to create the illusion of complete spheres.

    The mirror is a front coated mirror so that there is no gap between the hemispheres resting on the surface of the mirror and the reflection.

    The sculpture includes one complete sphere that creates the effect of a pair of spheres when reflected. This sphere is there for compositional purposes, but it fortuitously helps to emphasise the nature of the reflections of the hemispheres.

    This work can be wall mounted or can be displayed horizontally.

    The work explores the themes of mirrors, reflections and illusions that have featured recurrently in my work over the decades.

  • Art about oppression – contemporary political sculpture

    contemporary art about political oppression and dictatorship

    The Oppressor Empaled. A sculpture about oppression.

    Hammer, nails, wood. 18x34x26cm. May 2023.

    This sculpture is a work of political art, in the form of a metaphor for oppression and rebellion.
    The work shows a hammer empaled by nails.
    Part of the concept behind the sculpture is that the hammer is being impaled by the objects that it normally hits – the nails. The hammer is a symbol of oppression and dictatorship and the nails are symbols of the oppressed.
    But the sculpture poses a question – how did the nails manage to drive themselves into the hammer? Nails by their nature need a hammer, or a stand-in for a hammer, in order to be effective and to fulfil their purpose. Were the nails hammered into the hammer by another hammer? In that case the nails are not a metaphor for the oppressed rising up against their oppressor (the hammer) using their own power, but are more like the followers of another power (another hammer?) that may turn out to be as oppressive as the hammer that they’ve empaled.

    The leaders of liberation movements against repression often become oppressors or dictators in their turn.

    This sculpture is a development of an idea that I had in 2010 when it started life as a drawing of a hammer with three nails driven into it.
    Since then it developed into a 3D sculptural work composed of a hammer nailed directly onto a flat surface as though pinned down.
    The iteration here has the hammer suspended above a surface and with many more nails driven into it so that it’s starting to resemble a nail fetish figure.

    contemporary art about oppression - hammer sculpture
    political art - sculpture about oppression
  • Reflections

    Contemporary art reflections in mirrors

    Reflections in two angled mirrors

    Mirrors, wood blocks, acrylic 30x30x27cm January 2022

    Two angled mirrors creating multiple reflections.

    The mirrors are angled at 45º to each other and the wood blocks between the mirrors each have a 45º angle at one end, allowing them to fit perfectly into the space between the mirrors.

    Contemporary art mirrors

    The wood blocks are movable, allowing different patterns to be created. Due to the 45º angles of the mirrors the patterns are often in the form of crosses with square elements superimposed.

    Contemporary art multiple reflections
  • Environmental art. One World – globe sculpture

    Contemporary environmental art sculpture using globes

    One World. Environmental art

    Environmental art sculpture, commercially bought globes. February 2023.

    The sculpture is composed of one large globe with several smaller globes attached to it.

    The use of a globe of the Earth in the sculpture reflects my interest in environmental issues and in creating environmental art. My concerns about environmentalism go back to the 1960s, when I was mainly concerned with threats to wildlife. Since then the list of environmental concerns has grown and now includes climate change, resource depletion, environmental degradation and other aspects of environmentalism.

    One of several interpretations of the work is that it shows that on the one physical planet Earth there exist multiple cultural world-views.

  • Mirror sculpture

    contemporary art mirror reflections circles

    Mirror art. Interlinked rings.

    Mirror, card, acrylic. 30x30x18cm Feb 2024

    A sculpture composed of a mirror with a sculptural form made of card and paper attached to its surface. The card and paper are painted with acrylic paint.

    The interlinking of, and interplay between, the horizontal and vertical forms in the sculpture are significant features of the piece.

    contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

    The upright sculptural forms are held in place on the mirror by magnets attached to the back of the mirror. The magnets attract small pieces of steel tape that are embedded in the card of the sculpture. This ensures that the sculpture can be held invisibly on the mirror, with no obvious means of attachment such as fasteners or glue.

    The mirror in this piece is a standard rear-coated mirror, so there is a separation between the objects on the mirror and their reflections. Some of the pieces on the mirror are painted a different colour on the side that is facing the mirror so that the underside adds an extra element to the composition. In other works where I don’t want a separation between the objects and their reflections I use front-coated mirrors.

  • Anthropomorphic Sculpture from Tools

    contemporary sculpture from found objects

    Anthropomorphic Sculpture from Tools

    Steel pliers, magnet. 8x3x18cm February 2024

    A sculpture composed of a pair of large pliers and a pair of small pliers. I suppose it fits into the category of sculpture made with found objects or sculptures made of scrap. The pliers are held together by a magnet, although they do actually balance without it, if a bit precariously. The resulting figure resembles a person with arms held high and with horns. Maybe a demon. The figure actually reminds me of a bodybuilder: the stocky torso and muscular legs, not to mention the pose.

  • Mirror art – Squaring the Circle

    contemporary mirror art reflections

    Mirror art. Squaring the Circle

    Mirror, card, paper, acrylic. 28x28x18cm Feb 2024

    A mirror piece consisting of a semicircle of card half of which passes inside a box-like construction. The semicircle and box are resting on a mirror so that the semicircle appears to be part of a full circle that enters and exits the box.

    contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

    The reflection of the box makes the box appear to be half of a square structure, with the circle entering and leaving the interior of the square via its openings where the square is cut. This gives rise to the title of the piece, Squaring the Circle.

    contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

    The mirror is a front-coated (or first-coated) mirror. Unlike standard mirrors that have their reflective coating on the rear surface of the glass front-coated mirrors have the reflective surface on the front. With a standard mirror the thickness of the glass creates a gap or space between the object on the glass and the reflection, while with a front-coated mirror the object and the reflection are ‘touching’.

  • Watercolour pencil art – Organic Matrix

    contemporary art works on paper Organic Matrix

    Watercolour pencil art – Organic Matrix

    Watercolour pencil on paper. 20 x 29cm January 2024

    A painting, created with watercolour pencils, depicting a network or matrix of organic forms linked by tube-like structures.

    The work is from the imagination (as you can see), and although it wasn’t created with any particular meaning in mind it probably alludes to the connectedness of life, with the blobby entities being connected to each other by the tube-like structures. I’m not sure whether the blobs are meant to look like slightly unsettling organisms or wonky potatoes. Probably both. The work may allude in some way to the nature of consciousness or intelligence, with the entities possibly communicating with each other like cells in a brain.

    A work on paper created using Caran d’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolour pencils, which have a very high pigment content.

  • Lunging Figure – gouache on paper

    contemporary art works on paper lunging figure

    Lunging figure

    Gouache on paper. 350 x 250mm November 2018

    A gouache work on paper featuring a lunging figure.

    The work is from the imagination and was created as part of a series of relatively spontaneous, unmediated artworks.

  • Black spheres, red sphere

    contemporary abstract art black spheres red sphere

    Black spheres, red sphere

    Digital. December 2023

    An abstract image created using Procreate on an iPad

    The black spheroid forms seem to be holding the smaller red spherical form in suspension between them. The proximity of the black spheres gives the small gap between them the feeling of some form of concentrated energy.

  • Mirror art – Flite

    contemporary art mirrors reflections

    Mirror art. Flite.

    Mirror, card, acrylic. 28x28x18cm Feb 2024

    A wall mounted mirror piece.

    A wall mounted sculpture composed of a mirror with a sculptural form made of card attached to its surface. The card is painted with acrylic paint.

    contemporary art mirror sculpture reflections

    The sculptural form is held in place on the mirror by a magnet attached to the back of the mirror. The magnet attracts a small piece of steel tape that is embedded in the card of the sculpture. This ensures that the sculpture can be held invisibly on the mirror, with no obvious means of attachment such as bolts or glue.

    The mirror is a front-coated (or first-coated) mirror. Unlike standard mirrors that have their reflective coating on the rear surface of the glass front-coated mirrors have the reflective surface on the front. If a standard mirror had been used the thickness of the glass would have created a gap or space between the object on the glass and its reflection, while with a front-coated mirror the object and the reflection are ‘touching’.


  • Proposal for environmental contemporary art: Tree of Life

    contemporary art environment tree of life

    Environmental contemporary art proposal: Tree of Life

    Proposal for a mural. Image drawn: 2008

    A proposal for a mural on a gallery wall based on a drawing of the Tree of Life that I created in 2008 as a pen and ink drawing.

    The concept reflects my interest in environmental issues. I drew my first environmental images in the early 1970s.

    The concept behind the image is that the Tree of Life, or perhaps more specifically the Tree of Evolution, has at the top of its highest branch a human being, signifying that within this concept the human being is the highest or most evolved form of life on the planet.

    The concept is twisted however by the fact that in the image the human being, due to his elevated vantage point, can destroy the rest of life on earth as a direct result of his evolutionary position, with his highly evolved intelligence making him capable of designing and manufacturing guns). The Tree of Life becomes the Tree of Death.

  • Art from everyday objects

    contemporary art from everyday objects


    Prestige steel baking tray on front of glazed picture frame 46x60cm 2008

    A work created from a mundane everyday object – a kitchen baking tray – mounted on the exterior of a glazed picture frame.

    One of the motivations behind the work was to show the beauty and rich visual interest intrinsic in mundane objects from mundane environments.

    Below is a detail of the intricate patterns and patina on the steel surface of the baking tray. The word ‘Prestige’ it the centre is an important feature.

    contemporary art from everyday objects

    I’ve been interested in the concept of finding beauty in the mundane ever since I admired the colours in the film of detergent on a wire mess kitchen utensil (maybe a cake stand) as it caught the sun. That was in my parents’ kitchen about sixty years ago.

  • Kitchen sink art

    contemporary art kitchen sink tea pot

    Kitchen sink art: Tea pot in washing up bowl

    Photograph. 2023

    A photograph showing the rim of a tea pot protruding from the detergent bubbles in a washing up bowl in a kitchen sink.

    The photograph is a good example of finding aesthetic interest in the everyday and the mundane. What can be more everyday and mundane than the washing up?.

    The first time that I remember noticing such a phenomenon was a specific occasion when I was a child in the early 1960s and I was fascinated by the colours in the soap films that were filling the gaps in the mesh of a cake stand (or similar kitchen item). I specifically remember thinking about the phenomenon of the beauty of the soap films in the setting of the drab environment of the kitchen.

    I’ve called this type of work Kitchen Sink Art in homage to the kitchen sink drama of the 1960s.

  • Contemporary abstract art – Red Disc, Yellow Rim

    contemporary abstract geometric art red circle

    Contemporary abstract geometric art: Red disk, yellow rim

    Digital. May 2023

    A geometric abstract painting produced using Procreate on an iPad with an Apple Pencil. This is a particularly useful way to create artwork, as the combination of tools lend themselves to particularly intuitive and spontaneous creations.

  • Mirror art – waving fingers

    Mirror art. Study for waving fingers.

    Mirrors, cloth, person.      61 seconds. Nov 2023

    A study for a work involving a triangular mirror box with an opening in one corner through which a person’s fingers are intruding. You may notice that the reflections of some of the fingers are noticeably blurred. This is because this study is using standard commercial mirror tiles which, like most mirrors, produce a reflection from the front surface of the glass as well as from the mirrored rear surface. Front coated mirrors or similar would avoid this problem, but they are too expensive for use in development studies.

    The multiple reflections within the mirror box create a ring of fingers that look like a sea anemone or a strange and unsettling alien lifeform.

    contemporary art mirror reflections of fingers


  • Bell

    contemporary art sketch hanging man bell

    Hanging man. For whom the bell tolls

    Digital sketch December 2023

    A sketch created using Procreate on an iPad.

    The sketch shows a bell. Inside the bell, in the place where the clapper should be, is a hanging man.

    The image came to me spontaneously while I was looking at a bell. I think that part of the idea may be that the bell marks out time, announcing the hours,and therefore marks out life.

    Bells are also tolled to mark out death.