When I was wee I always wanted to send in a picture to Tony Hart's Gallery.
For anyone too young to remember, Tony Hart was the presenter of 'Take Hart', which was 'the' art show for kids to watch back in the 70's and 80's. He was always mesmerising us with his wee artworks, usually made up of anything that most of us could find around our houses. Well, it was the late 70's and 80's and 'money was too tight to mention', as they sang in the charts.
There was a segment during the programme where kids from all around the country could send in their works to be shown. It was called 'The Gallery', and the camera would pan, and zoom, and focus on different drawings and paintings whilst the instrumental music played plinkety plonk in the background.
And each week I thought to myself, "I'll send mine in!"
And every week I would walk to the 'Courier Office' in Campbeltown and buy a sheet of A3 cartridge paper on which to create my 'masterpiece'.
But every week I would attempt to draw something and it just wouldn't come out 'polished' enough to match what was in my mind's eye. The image that I had in my head just couldn't be achieved by 9 year old me.
I really was my own worst critic, and to this day there are highly detailed images that I remember wanting to draw at that age, still stuck in my mind.
So each week passed, and my name and painting never appeared on the screen - and then I thought I grew too old to do it, ie 10 years old.
There's a part of me that always regretted not doing it though.
Maybe that's why I try and create something every day. Perhaps the little sketches I put out on social media are for that 9 year old me.
Funnily enough, these sketches caught the eye of Carolyn from Cafe Wander in Glasgow, who has invited me to exhibit them on her gallery wall.
Which has led me to be sitting this week, sorting through sketches and prints, curating a mini show. A 'collection' as they would say on the 'House of Elliott'.
A few selected pieces - some funny, some cute, and some that have never been seen before!
I'll give more details over the next few days, but for the moment i'll get back to honing my 'shortlist' before making giclee prints of them, and readying them for my very own 'Take Hart' gallery!
Hope you're having a creative day and i'll see ye tomorra!
Been run off my feet today preparing prints etc, but I wanted to do a wee sketch for the blog, so I thought i'd do a '2 minute sketch challenge' - and here's the result - a poor wee church mouse - don't know why he's wearing the cap, but hey ho!
Why am I sorting out prints - well i'll tell you that tomorrow, but it's quite exciting!
Hope you're having a creative day and i'll see you tomorra!
An Eskimo Role.
"Who do ye think ye are?...Nanook o' the north?"
I always remember being asked that as a wean. Obviously I had no idea what the adults meant, apart from the fact that I was wearing my 'Snorkel' parka jacket, cooried up like a wee Eskimo. It wasn't until adulthood that I found out Nanook was actually a real person!
Nanook (inuit for 'polar bear'), starred with his 'family' in the 1922 documentary 'Nanook Of The North', by American film maker Robert J Flaherty.
Filmed in the Canadian tundra, where the term 'Inuit' is preferred over 'Eskimo', it details the daily life of Nanook and his family - a simple tale of humanity versus nature...
...or was it?
On closer inspection 'Nanook Of The North' seems to be the first case of what the television execs would now call 'augmented reality', in the way that scenes would be set up, and local people would be cast to make up a 'screen family'. In fact even Nanook's real name was Allakariallak.
Cast members in hunting scenes were dissuaded from using rifles - rather that more primitive tools like spears would show better on camera and carry on that 'simple life' message of the film.
At the end of the film when Nanook and family are hurriedly building a shelter lest they die from the elements, it was later revealed that a half shelter had already been built, with one side cut away so that the sun could light the interior and the camera could get a great shot.
But, it's still a fascinating watch, and an inspiration for lots of other documentarists, including the Scottish born John Grierson who, after meeting Flaherty in Hollywood, went on to make 'Drifters' in 1929 - a film about the work of the North Sea herring fishermen. (i'll write a wee post about Grierson in the near future about his work in the UK and Canada).
If you'd like to know more about Nanook Of The North' check out these websites -
Have a creative day, and i'll see ye tomorra!
Today I did a wee bit more to the 'Tea And Oranges' painting. Just adding a layer of colour on top of the grey tonal values layer.
As you can see the paint is still quite thin - 3 parts thinner to 1 part medium, so it still looks a little 'subdued'. I can't wait to get started on the next layers where i can brighten it up a little.
The only troubling thing is that the medium (artisan fast drying), is separating from the thinner (artisan thinner), and I keep having to whirl it around with the bottom of the paintbrush. It's turning gloopy, so maybe i'll have to look into trying another medium, or check to see if the fast drying medium has somehow spoiled by sitting on my shelf for too long. I'll do a bit of research on the net, and see if anyone else has had this problem.
As always, hope you're having a creative day and i'll see ye tomorra!
...That Wears A Crown!
It's #shakespeareSunday on twitter, and i've had that line in my head all night. When I say that line, I actually meant the misquote 'Heavy is the head that wears the crown'.
i don't know where the drawing was going, but to my eyes the person looks as if they are wearing a Christmas paper crown on their head. Why is their crown so heavy? What's keeping them up at night? Is the face one of sadness?
As an artist it's my job to draw you in with the gaze of the character, but as the viewer you bring your own background, 'baggage', experiences, to the piece, and that influences the backstory you give them.
Quite a special wee symbiotic relationship.
Maybe that's what people mean when they say a piece of art 'speaks' to them. It talks to you - but with the voice you give it.
And with that i'll take my leave and see ye tomorra!
Now you see me, now you see me...again!
So, today i made a pilgrimage to the Church Of Latter Day Flatpacks, or Ikea as some people like to call it.
Now, i do enjoy going to Ikea, but it's a train journey, then a bus journey away from my house. So it's not a weekly occurence, which means that i'm not exactly au fait with the store layout.
This resulted in my visit turning into a mashup of being an extra from an escher painting and a character from every Hanna Barbera cartoon you ever did see.
I had strolled in through the big revolving door thing, and yes, i'm still a bit nervous of those, a hang up from watching too many public information films as a kid, i suppose, and then picked up my pencil, map, and big yellow bag. So far so good.
Up the stairs and through the entrance beside the restaurant...and thats when i lost all sense of direction.
I knew where I wanted to be, which was the picture frames department. I thought i knew how to get there - the map having already been folded up and crammed into a pocket. So, on i marched, weaving between zoned out people hypnotised by moulded plastic and multicoloured tealights. A few minutes later, after following the arrows i popped out through the archway...
...into the restaurant!
Okay. I'll try again.
Through i marched, skilfully manoevring between the same people still entranced by the same plastic...maybe i was operating on a different time level. Maybe those people were employed by ikea just to stand there like an artistic piece. I strolled past cushions, then tables, sofas, kitchens, bedrooms, cushions, tables, sofas, kitchens, bedrooms, cushions, tables...oh no, i'm stuck in a loop, like those escher characters climbing stairs and walking round, never getting to their destination. I started to think i may be giving off signals that i might be lost, so i began to do that thing that every lost person does - i started to pick up and look at the plastic things.
Not just picking up plastic things, but stroking the fabrics, and squeezing the cushions..."uh oh, i thought..."next i'll be sitting at the desks rearranging things and testing how smoothly the drawers roll shut".
I began to saunter, nonchalantly...VERY...nonchalantly...ON PURPOSE!!
I eventually found an archway to walk through, and arrived at the...
To my left were the stairs.
That's when i realised Ikea is on 2 levels...the frames were on the lower level.
Time to go get framed!
Have a sweet night and i'll see ye tomorra!
Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You!
Today i've been blocking in the background plants, flowers etc, in my 'Wallflowers' painting. It's still hard to leave them as blocky when I just want to fire in there with a wee teeny brush for details..but if I did that, the colours would just all mush together and look like mud.
Patience wee grasshopper...patience.
When I was hanging the piece back up on the wall - high enough that my cat won't contribute to the scene by wiping his tail against it, I decided to have a check to see if the guys eyes were following me about the room.
Aye, these beggars are certainly getting a good eyeful. I'll need to make sure i'm amply covered after my bath to protect my innocence.
Hope yer having a creative day, and i'll see ye tomorra!
Taking The Rough With The Smooth!
Well, that's the 'Butterfly Guy' blocked in using grey tonal values which will act as a guide for the following layers.
I started out today using a 'Flat' brush, size 8, and just stuck with it. I've been saying that I need to stop using the wee teeny brushes on these bottom layers, and just work from large size brushes downwards the further along I go. So only using the Flat brush was great, and a bit of a challenge when it came to making smaller marks, but, as usual, i'm enjoying the process so far, and hey, it meant only one brush to clean!
I keep looking at his right foot and am sometimes horrified at the roughness of the paint, and then the next minute thinking it looks fine. I'm going to smooth it out and define it more on the next layer, but i want to retain some of that roughness too!
Hope you're having a creative day, and i'll see ye tomorra!
Butterfly In Shades Of Grey!
Welcome to day 1 of the 'Butterfly Guy' painting diary.
I'd already sketched in an image of the fella in raw umber, and noticed that his pose looked like the shape of a butterfly, as if he was there as part of a collection (yes, this is the way my mind works). So i'm thinking if he was pride of place then perhaps he should be joined by a whole host of other wee butterflies - but are they actually part of the collection, or are they there to try and save or release him back to the wild.
I've been deliberating over a colour scheme for this piece - do I leave the guy tonally grey, or do I glaze him in colour and leave the butterflies in shades of grey.
That's the exciting part of starting a painting - you don't have to have a clear ending in sight, you can treat the piece as organic and just see where it takes you!
Hope you're having a creative day and i'll see ye tomorra!
This morning has been mainly set aside to block in the Duke's face. Again it's more about adding tones and greyscale values to his face rather than defining his features too much..yes, i'm trying not to be too finicky at this stage. I also gave his wee traffic cone hat a few strokes - I'm deliberating on using a 'mahl' stick to make the hat a little straighter at the edges...but then again, i'm kinda liking the 'weather-beaten' look of it so far.
I've never actually painted a horse before, so i'm really enjoying the process.
Hope you're having a creative day, and I hope you're enjoying the progress of the old Duke and his horse so far.
See ye tomorra!
Whit's he up tae noo?
The blog posts of David Brodie, a Scottish artist based near Glasgow.