The last few touches are being gently hammered out with a brick on publication of Heavy, but in the meantime, here is a lovely digital artwork of the Eastern end of the Thames in London, which took me absolute months and made Photoshop shit itself more times than I care to swear about.
If you’d like to see it at a larger size (and I advise that), go here and also look at the stuff you can buy it on, because I have to go and pay someone to drill more holes in my wretched teeth and my bank account is crying.
“Aren’t you meant to be plotting a novel right now?”
“Don’t you have a manuscript to edit?”
I just finished a pass, let me have five minutes.
“You’ve had rather more than f–”
I made an art. You can buy prints, if you are absolutely desperate to own a print of a bowl of rice rather than an actual bowl of rice. Personally, I would rather have the rice, but I’m very hungry. This particular rice was consumed after an exhaustive examination of the Tate Britain’s long-awaited & hotly-anticipated Queer British Art: 1861 – 1967. I should probably have an opinion on that, on here, at length, but to be honest I feel that drawing a bowl of rice is less contentious and contributes more to the world than me bellyaching about minor details in what is, regardless of my fussing and personal preferences, a splendid step in the right direction regarding the inclusion of queer history.
The business of posting the kind of content that belongs on a blog – ie, words – remains in limbo, it seems, although I have finished rewrites on a couple of stories so I’m going to lay undue blame at the feet of a minor exercise for my silence. Here are some pictures, instead:
I almost managed to nail some rewrites yesterday and rather than actually finish what I was doing I decided to stay up half the night messing around with Photoshop:
And that, as they say, is that. I did quite enjoy working on the shadows with cool colours, something I was originally taught to do by my father when I was a small child and have spent most of my drawing life not doing for some reason, despite it cropping up repeatedly in tutorials. Cool colours for deeper shadows! Or in this case, pale cool colours to give you shadows without too much darkness! Amazing.
A little light character drawing to occupy my time. On my return from Australia I plunged ahead and finished the first draft of one book (The Breaking of M, which will be published under a pseudonym because it’s a significantly different genre to the usual fare and I’d like to keep those facets of myself if not separate then at least available under different Google searches), and then started editing the second draft of another (As Simple As Hunger). Having blustered a good 130,000 words out in the last couple of months I’ve promptly but not entirely unexpectedly been hit with chronic block, and am amusing myself with drawing until it goes away.
Here, then, is one of the three major players in The Breaking of M, Padre Vito Alessandro Bonifatigo:
The observant will note it’s more of a coloured sketch than a proper picture: it turns out that not really doing anything for a while does cause everything to atrophy.
For an explanation as to why I’m blogging about my own interpretation of various works of art rather than the accepted footnotes and the quality of the work, please see the first post in this series.
15. Star Seeds, Shy Custis (2008)
Continuing in the theme of blogging about art I own prints of, this picture represents not only a wider interest in the work of Shy Custis (which I have admired for six or seven years, watching the evolution of a personal style and the adoption of new techniques: it is almost a performance art in its own right to see an artist grow) but also the first time I had the stones to ask a complete stranger to make available some of their work as a print, being that desperate to have it on my wall.
As regular visitors to the blog will be aware, I have an affinity for St Sebastian and Sebatian-esque imagery. I run the Tumblr blog Fuck Yeah, St Sebastian, I have a tattoo of the saint on my thigh, and this blog series on art has already featured one painting of him. The love of arrow-pierced flesh extends into William Tell-related images, and I have thought since this picture was first put on the internet in late 2008 that it was a beautiful combination of the two: the arrow-pierced fruit, the pear in the model’s hands, and the arrows piercing the model’s back.
I am also a fan of gore in art (as well as, as previously mentioned, anatomical themes and memento mori), something at which Shy Custis has long excelled. The trail of thick, eye-catching red blood from the wounds in the sitter’s back to the arrow which pierces the fruit provides a visual and conceptual link between the two. Did the sitter crawl from the place at which the arrow struck the fruit from their back? Why are they sitting again, so serene and still, holding another piece of fruit even while missed shots pepper their back? And why is the successful shot, bloodied and bold, now plunged into the ground? Did the shooter stick it there, or the sitter?
There is a glorious contradiction inherent in the image: the serenity and stillness of the sitter accompanied by fruit (that most ubiquitous of still-life subjects), and the violence and action implied in the stuck arrows. They have not fallen but stand proud and at angles connotating speed and force: the trail of blood, the army of pale shadow arrows all speak of a flurry of violence and yet here in the aftermath the target sits upright, composed, and graceful, with a second fruit held obediently in their hands.
Is this image then about survival?
Lastly I would like to talk about the colour palette involved in this picture, as it is one of which I am extremely fond. It is highly complementary, and warm, and I feel that the concentrated spots of colour in addition to the direction of the arrows enhances the composition and draws the eye with admirable ease to the focal points of the picture. It is a very skilful and very beautiful piece of work and I am pleased to have it blue-takked to my wardrobe.