• Visual Peoples Silence Encyclopedia

    Well, that's how the title ended up, and appropriate since the majority of pages are 'silent' in a text sense. (And no apostrophe in 'people's', since my heading font doesn't have one!)

    The whole project took me almost a year to complete (50 double-page spreads): glad I didn't go for the 100-spread version!

    I've learned several things from this exercise:

    1. A book of this size needs to be bound less tightly - it's amazing how much thickness paint adds!

    2. In fact (1) may not be such a problem, since I can't imagine binding such a big book for a long time!

    3. I thought using an old encyclopaedia would prompt me, visually, but it deterred me...

    4. Having in mind that I would eventually show the book publicly definitely censored me.

    So, looking forward to what's next: a smaller, private, uncensored journal!

    (But I'm sure I'll have pages to show...)

    And now I can look forward to my treat - I promised myself a copy of Orly Avineri's book One Artist Journal, oh and some more paints!

    I've put the slide-show of the book on YouTube, and want to thank Lawrence Blatt for use of his lovely tune 'Black Rock Beach', courtesy of



  • Woods

    I came across this poem on Arlene Wanetick's website, art 4 play. Loved it so much I made a journal spread to incorporate it:


    I wish to grow dumber,

    to slip deep into woods that grow blinder

    with each step I take,

    until the fingers let go of their numbers

    and the hands are finally ignorant as paws. 

    Unable to count the petals,

    I will not know who loves me,

    who loves me not.

    Nothing to remember, 

    nothing to forgive, 

    I will stumble into the juice of the berry, the shag of bark,

    I will be dense and happy as fur. 

    Noelle Oxenhandler



  • Oil Man + POSCA hack

    Here's the latest spread in my Young Scientist journal... oil man just appeared to me as an image of an oil refinery translated into the form of a man, with the heavier fractions coming off closer to his feet, and the gases discharging further up! I have absolutely no idea why he is wearing a string vest!

    I've finally got around to writing up a POSCA hack (under 'Courses' on my main menu). Since Sharpie poster paint pens are unavailable in this country, uniPOSCAs seem to be the best thing available, but their 1-mm-nib ones only come in a few colours, while their 8-mm chisel-tips come in the complete range, including fluorescents. This hack shows you how to mount a 1-mm round nib into the stump of an 8-mm chisel-tip to give you 1-mm pens in all the colours!



  • Sea Serpent Tears

    Well, I've managed to carry on with the spreads in the Young People's Science Encyclopedia... despite a bit of an accident. It went like this:

    I ordered some matte varnish, since it's really useful for sealing, making glazes etc. It arrived and I excitedly started applying it to the 'watering can' spread I put up before, to even out the shine from some gloss medium on there... well, I got so over-excited that I thought I would use it to seal a little drawing of someone diving into the sea, on the previous page. So, with no further thought, I turned the page and began sealing... then I got distracted, and returned a few hours later to find the pages well-and-truly stuck together... doh! I pulled them apart and was left with a bit of a mess, with almost all bar the flower in the previous spread gone. So, well I had to make do with what I had, and in fact I like the result. The envelope on the left-hand page is where I keep my ideas for further pages when they arrive.

    The whole episode makes me believe even more that Liquitex matte varnish and matte medium are the same thing.

    Also, another spread I finished last night. It's all done on top of a John Piper sketch from a gallery poster. The sea serpent is done in blue carbon paper - if anyone knows how to fix it, I'd love to know!


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  • A New Challenge

    Last month I went to a great art retreat on Exmoor, called 'Call of the Wild Soul' and had three full days of journalling and painting with Orly Avineri, Teesha Moore and Flora Bowley. I learned loads and really want to apply some of that...

    One thing was Flora saying that to find your own style, you just need to go away and do 100 paintings! Well, it's not the first time I've heard that, but this time I thought 'yeah, I actually want to try that!'.

    A big problem for me finding my own style in the past has been my chameleon-like habit of creating art in the style required for the job at hand. And despite getting through around 30 sketchbooks, I still don't feel grounded. The second thing was working at twice the size I'm used to in Orly's class - which really made a change for me, as did her insistence on working only on spreads.

    So, I've made myself a new journal from a Young People's Science Encyclopedia, adding a few pages from my beloved Reader's Digest Great World Atlas to enable me to have 50 two-page spreads. Yes, 50! I decided 100 in one go was just too frightening a prospect, so I'm starting with 50. My greatest fear is that I'll give up after a few and never finish it, so ongoing encouragement/reminders would be most welcome! (I'm hoping to give myself incentives of buying books after reaching certain page landmarks...)

    Here are a few images of the journal - empty pages and my first spread across the title pages. As you can see from the blank title pages, I had to totally rebind the book, which originally had a deep hinge as it was stapled and stitched front to back, leaving many holes! I had to reconstruct the cover boards and do a new open-spine binding to give me more space (and flat space) to work.

    Another dilemma - whether to work stoically from front to back, or whether to plunge in wherever I find inspiration... I'll let you know.




Bunk painting

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