I am an artist, living and working in Northern Ireland. I believe that art is indistinguishable from real magic, that art is the true magic of our world. Hence this blog is dedicated to the magic of art and creativity.
Not everything worthwhile is to do with painting! Over the last few weeks I have been spending quite a lot of time gathering wild blackberries. Quite a lot has been made into jam, more has gone into the freezer and some I have bottled! Why is it that bought blackberries are large and beautiful looking but have almost no flavour, whilst wild blackberries are full of flavour? Well worth the trouble of gathering them, in spite of a few scratches and nettle stings!
That while space exists, the three dimensions of space (formulated as being at right-angles to each other) are a human invention for thinking about space.
Note: The defining characteristic of a dimension is that change in one dimension can take place without affecting measurements along any other dimension.
Time also exists. By considering that time forms a fourth dimension, acting isometrically (as if at right-angles) to space, a useful tool has been gained for thinking about time and relating it to space.
Based on this, I came up with an hypothesis:
Since thought also exists, considering that thought takes place within a further three dimensions, existing isometrically to time and physical space, would be a useful way of thinking about thought itself and relating it to time and space.
Testing the hypothesis:
For the proposed divisions of thought to be considered as representing dimensions it has to be shown that movement or change within the proposed dimensions takes place in an equivalent manner to that in which movement and change takes place within time and space, i.e.:
It has be shown that movement or change can take place within each of the proposed dimensions independently of change or movement within any other dimension.
It has be be shown that movement or change in each of the proposed dimensions is quantifiable in some way, equivalent to the way that measurements of time and space can be made.
I believe that I have already shown, by the detailed reasoning given on my website, that these two tests are satisfied. However, I also suggested a third probability (which is more to do with the usefulness of dividing thought literally into dimensions), that if this thinking is valid then terms referring to them would already be in common use (in the same way that the terms height, width and depth are used by everyone, not just scientists and engineers, when talking about measurements in space). I believe that I have also done this, by linking the axes I termed Active to Receptive, Mental to Physical and Dominance (Potential to Realisation) to the ancient system of the Elements Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Spirit, which has similar attributes.
I produced two posters to summarise and illustrate my ideas. The versions on this blog are reduced in file size - full size versions are available on my website, copyright free for personal use.
Just finished this last week. I used the Surrealist method of searching for a meaningful image within random paint marks on the canvas. For me, the painting represents my experiences of waterfalls seen and imagined over the years.
I have just finished reading “La grande patience II: celui
qui voulait voir la mer” by Bernard Clavel. It is the first book in French
which has kept me completely absorbed from beginning to end. It is set in the
early days of World War 2 and it is written from the point of view of “la mère
Dubois”. Her husband is a retired baker, both are getting old and neither has
very good health. They are waiting for the return of their son Julien, who has
just finished his baker’s apprenticeship. The war is very distant and the story
concerns itself a great deal with the simple details of the parent’s lives.
However, with the arrival of May 1940, the news becomes more frightening and
the roads become crowded with refugees fleeing the advance of the German army.
Finally, they persuade their son to join the exodus as he is nearing the age
for military service and they fear what the Germans might do to young men. The
rest of the story is then concerned with events whilst they await his return.
There is very little actual contact between the parents and
the Germans who temporarily hold the town, prior to their withdrawal as the
town is to be in the “free” zone of France. No fighting takes place in the
town, merely some preparations in case of air raids. From an initial picture of
the minutiae of life of a retired couple in a quiet town, the tension in the
story builds from the news of the war, fears of air raids, contact with
refugees passing through the town and doubts as to whether or not the son
should join the evacuation. After Julien leaves, the story is concerned with
the immediate struggle for survival during a brief period of occupation by the German
army and then their fears for the safety of Julien until he finally returns –
four days later than necessary because Julien decided to visit the nearby coast
as he has never seen the sea!
For me, the fascination of the book lies in the detailed
picture that it draws of civilian life during this period, the fears and hopes
of ordinary people, caught up in events beyond their control. It has whetted my
appetite for reading more by this author!
I exposed the oak panel to ammonia fumes for over a week to darken the wood, then soaked it in linseed oil. Since the panel had been made from several pieces of wood clamped and glued together, there is some variation in tone. However, after a final treatment with a beeswax polish, I was pleased with the result.
I will still be keeping my old site going, but the new site gives a clearer showcase for my artwork and also a better platform for exploring my ideas about the dimensions of the mind and the links to the old idea of the Elements, Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Spirit.
I am happy with the way that this carving has developed so far. I intend to fume the oak, i.e., darken it by exposing it to ammonia (in the old days, woodcarvings would be hung in horse stables to produce this effect). I will then soak it in linseed oil and polish it when it ceases to absorb oil.
My woodcarving is progressing well, the group of three figures to the right are now finished (apart from the final smoothing and polishing). The next stage is to finish the two figures to the left. I will then have to complete the background. Because I decided to isolate the figures first, there will be no features overlapping them.
I decided to go with the title in french, because that makes a stronger connection with the European tradition of "bathers" pictures. It is particularly the painting by Cézanne, « Les Grandes
Baigneuses », that comes to my mind.
These are two of the five nude figures in this carving and the main part of the work on them is finished, apart from the final smoothing. I will have to complete the modelling of all the figures before I can finally work out all the details of the background.
I finished this painting, the third in my series of "Skyscapes", last week. I see this view on my way back to my home in Bangor, from the road between Bangor and Newtownards. I intend to create at least one more in this series. As a painter, the wide-angle perspective of these views and the effect it creates for the viewer is what interests me most. The canvas forms a flat plane, but I treat it as if it was curving over me at the top.
After I left my studio at Studio 23 in Dunmurry, I created a
new studio space in a shed in Ballynahinch (where I stay during the week). I
hoped to carry on painting there, but I found it unsatisfactory. For some
reason, possibly the lack of company from other artists close by, I found it
very difficult to settle down to paint there. So when an opportunity came to
move into a studio in Market Square Lisburn, I jumped at it!
So far, I have been extremely happy with my studio in Lisburn but, for family reasons, recently I have been unable to be there as
much as I would like. By way of compromise, I have revamped the studio in
Ballynahinch for use as a sculpture studio. Perhaps because sculpture is a much
more physical activity than painting, I find that I can work well on this. It
helps that my time for working on art can be split evenly between the two
studios! In fact, my sculptural work has been neglected in recent years, so
this represents an important opportunity for me to develop this aspect of my
I particularly like wood carving, although it can take a long time to complete a piece. Some years ago, I sketched out the figures for a "Bathers" scene on an oak panel. I have decided that the time has come to complete this carving!
I have always loved the rounded shapes of the local hills (drumlins), having grown up surrounded by them. In many ways, the landscape in the painting is very typical of County Down; the drumlin itself, the small fields, the rich greens. But in addition I wanted to create the feeling of the sky extending over the hill and above the viewer. Hence the title of "Drumlin Skyscape".
There are many reasons for creating paintings. But, for me, each one acts as a window and sometimes as a door. As a window, a painting allows the spectator to look inside the mind and imagination of the artist and, more importantly, if they can relate to it themselves then it allows them to look inside their own mind and memories. But sometimes a painting can also act as a door. By this I mean that a spectator can relate to the painting so intensely that it acts as a means of stepping through to another world of experience, leaving them emotionally in a different place to where they were before.