• Conic construction in a landscape

    contemporary art watercolour painting

    Conic construction in a landscape

    Watercolour and gouache with digital additions.      2023.

    A watercolour and gouache painting of a cone in a landscape, with additional features added digitally.
    The original watercolour painting was scanned to create a digital file to which additional features were then added in Adobe Photoshop. The digital additions were created as spontaneously as possible, without too much conscious consideration. The results are similar to other works that I have produced using the same process, but I suppose that’s only to be expected. Next time I’ll consciously try to do something different.
    The image partly resembles a creature of some sort, maybe with a beak and what may be an eye. If the white blob that may be an eye had a dot inside it, it would obviously be an eye, but it would lose some of its slightly sinister mystery.
    Maybe it’s not an eye at all. Maybe it’s a hole in the top of a wigwam. Those straight lines protruding from the top of the cone look a bit wigwamy now I come to look at them.

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  • Drawing from the imagination: Strange clothes, strange propulsion

    Drawing from the imagination

    Drawing from the imagination: Strange clothes, strange propulsion

    Digital sketch. 16th July 2023

    A quick sketch from the imagination drawn using Procreate on an iPad with an Apple Pencil.

    I find that drawing quick sketches with no particular end in mind is an excellent way to open up to new possibilities. Obviously the same themes and styles keep cropping up, but often with minor variations that move the sketches off into different and new directions. That’s the nature of evolution of course – small changes over time gradually end up creating something new.

    I’ve drawn quite a few sketches of people or strange creatures that seem to have a wheel instead of legs. Haven’t managed to work out why yet.

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  • A visual metaphor for mental states.

    surreal drawing anthropomorphic padlock

    A person with a padlock as a head

    Digital sketch 2014

    A sketch of a person with a head in the form of a padlock. The person is carrying a walking stick in the form of a key.

    I’ve used a padlock as a head in several works. I think that it probably signifies mental states of various kinds. States that need unlocking.

    The key in this sketch probably acts as an aid or a crutch.

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  • Milk bottle heads – sculpture from recycled rubbish

    Contemporary art - sculpture from recycled rubbish or junk - milk bottle heads

    Milk bottle heads
    Plastic milk bottles, ink. September 2018

    Plastic milk bottles with human heads drawn onto them.
    These heads are an example of art created from rubbish. Their recycled nature is partly an observation on our throw-away consumer culture.
    The bottles are surprisingly head-shaped, reminding me somewhat of various non-Western forms of sculpture. I particularly like the way that the milk bottle handles make very interesting and bizarre noses.
    I’m in the process of making several dozen of them, as their impact is increased as their numbers increase.

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  • Stone eye: surrealist sketch

    contemporary surrealism - giant stone eye

    Stone eye

    Ink, gouache, digital. July 2018

    A surrealist 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 image is almost definitely influenced by surrealist art, including the surrealism of Max Ernst and Rene Magritte.

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  • Surrealist photomontage – wellington boots with arms

    contemporary surrealist photomontage - wellington boots with arms emerging

    Surrealist photomontage – wellington boots with arms

    Photomontage. June 2018

    A photomontage showing arms emerging from the tops of a pair of wellington boots.
    The arms are sinking down into the boots, as though the footware is devouring the owner of the arms. The theme of predatory footwear is one that I’ve explored several times over the past few decades. Another example can be seen here – shoes with teeth.
    Or are the arms emerging from the boots? An example of ambiguity in art.
    This photomontage was created while I was exploring various options for creating a sculpture that included wellington boots. I feel that these boots have a strong sculptural presence, and I’m quite surprised how under-represented they are in the field of sculpture.
    The image, which I think probably falls into the category of contemporary surrealism, is meant to be both humorous and unsettling.

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  • A surreal chance alignment of heads (unedited photograph)

    surreal photography - strange alignment of heads

    A chance alignment of heads

    Unretouched photograph. May 2018

    A photograph of two people standing in a way that makes their heads seem to merge in an unsettling and humorous way.
    The bizarre, surreal effect of the photograph is enhanced by the uniform bright red background and the colour and style of the clothing. The glasses help as well. The photograph was taken on a ferry between Oban and the Isle of Mull in Scotland, May 2018.

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  • Surreal anthropomorphism and a kitchen sink

    contemporary art surrealism anthropomorphism - the eye of a cyclops

    Anthropomorphic kitchen sink

    Photograph. June 2015

    A slightly surreal, slightly disturbing (to me) anthropomorphic photograph of a kitchen sink. The texture of the sink’s surface along with the staining round the plug hole and the shape and position of the overflow give this image an anthropomorphic quality in which the plug hole may be an eye while the overflow could be a nose or a mouth (or a mixture of both). If this sink does indeed resemble a human face the fact that the face only has one eye in the centre of its head suggests a cyclops.
    The plug hole and overflow can also be seen as being suggestive of other human orifices of course.

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  • Sketch from the imagination – dancing teapots

    surreal sketch from the imagination – teapots

    Sketch from the imagination – dancing teapots.

    Ink and watercolour on paper. 7x9cm. April, 2018

    I like to sit down with a sketchbook every so often and draw whatever comes into my head. Surreal objects with bird-like features are a recurring theme. These slightly surreal dancing teapots are a good example.

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  • Last Cigarette – a surreal found object sculpture.

    Surrealist dada contemporary sculpture involvinng pareidolia - cigarette and shoe last

    Last Cigarette. Found object sculpture.

    Shoe last, cigarette, lamp base. May 2018

    A surreal or dada found object sculpture made from a cobbler’s shoe last with a cigarette inserted into the circular hole in the last that is designed to accommodate a handle. The last is mounted on a lamp stand.

    The sculpture utilises the human sensory condition known as pareidolia, the interpretation of shapes as human faces, to create a surreal head. Pareidolia is essential for the interpretation of a lot of art, especially art in which faces are merely suggested by, say, a few strokes of a paintbrush. In some art pareidolia is actually a curse though – think of the number of abstract images that are ruined when you see an unintentional face in them.
    The sculpture’s title, Last Cigarette, utilises the human tendency to reinterpret words to create puns – in this case the word ‘last’ referring to the wooden cobbler’s last, meaning that the cigarette is the last’s last cigarette.

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  • Metamorphosis of a Human Hand into an Alien Life-form


    Video. March 2018

    This video shows the way in which familiar objects can become disconcertedly unfamiliar and alien by removing them from their normal context.

    It shows a video of a hand in which the video is split and flipped as a mirror image in order to create a strikingly bizarre image resembling an unsettling and disturbing alien creature.
    The video is an attempt to highlight the way that even the things that we treat as totally normal and mundane are in fact full of strangeness and wonder.
    By using the very simple mirror image technique I’ve made something that’s as ridiculously familiar to us as our hands look ridiculously alien and disconcerting. Who’d have thought that you had such strange alien things stuck on the ends of your arms?

    contemporary art - metamorphosis of a hand to become alien by reflection

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  • Dark Cone – pencil drawing from the imagination (with ink additions)

    contemporary art pencil drawing - cone - geometric form in landscape

    Dark Cone
    Pencil drawing with ink additions on paper. June 2017

    A pencil sketch from the imagination of a dark cone set in a featureless landscape.
    The slightly blurred quality of the pencil marks in this drawing combined with the sharper and darker ink lines create an unsettling atmosphere in the image.

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  • Carnivorous shoes with teeth

    surrealist shoes with mouths and teeth

    Carnivorous shoes with teeth

    January 2017

    A study for a surreal work composed of a pair of shoes with mouths and teeth. The teeth in this study were added digitally.
    These particular shoes were chosen partly because the holes at the toe end of the shoes give the impression of eyes.
    An unsettling aspect of this concept is that it is normal for a person to put their feet into shoes – however these shoes look as though they would devour anything that was placed in their ‘mouths’. They are almost lying in wait for feet to be placed inside them.
    This work may be interpreted as being a metaphor for the manner in which consumerism devours people (especially via the connsumerism of clothing and fashion).
    I thought of the concept of carnivorous shoes that devour their wearer many years ago and drew it as a sketch. It’s currently misplaced in my studio so I’m not sure of the year.

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