Space – the final frontier!

External Space l and ll

Movement, Memory and Space.

Locating myself in a space is much easier when movement is involved, that movement can be your own or something else also within the space you are at the time, but also involved is memory as we record previous positions or movements which deteriorate quickly in the memory remaining only long enough for us to calculate our relationship to other objects or people in a space.

The two works ‘External Space’ were created using these three elements, movement through perceived altered image size as something moves away  or towards you, the loss of memory of earlier images of the movement or relationship to a stationary object as the mind concentrates on the current situation. The drawings below are early sketches which demonstrate the idea.

Movement Drawing 01; a figure recorded moving across a space.

Movement Drawing 01; a figure recorded moving across a space.

Movement Drawing 02; a figure moving away from me in a space.

Movement Drawing 02; a figure moving away from me in a space.

These drawings were made from watching people and so were very rapid sketches, they are manipulated in that I returned to the images after they were initially made and exaggerated the definition in the final images with darker lines to convey time and so movement in the drawings.

One unintentional thing that came out of the drawings was a sense of rhythm through the recording of the movements.

The actual paintings were the first I made on voile which is a fine lining fabric which is coated with rabbit skin glue then primed.

I choose to use blue greys because I felt strong colours would detract from the three elements I was exploring and concentrated on the perceived size differences and the vagueness of outline. The impression of space follows.

External Space l,  Oil on voile, image size 57cm x 57cm.

External Space l, Oil on voile, image size 57cm x 57cm.

Both paintings  External Space l and ll can be seen in Page 4 Abstracts and geometric located under the Blog title.

Partridges rising above Slash Hollow

This is the landscape where the Battle of Winceby in the English Civil war took  place in 1643

This is the landscape where the Battle of Winceby in the English Civil war took place in 1643

This latest work is titled ‘Partridges rising above Slash Hollow’. It is in the East Lindsey District of Lincolnshire, behind the trees on the top left is ‘Snipe Dales’ nature reserve. As with the historical uncertainty of these things ‘Slash Hollow’ may well be behind the location of the viewer, it is know as ‘Slash Hollow’ because some retreating Royalists were killed or captured when they became trapped against a parish boundary gate that only opened one way (against them) and in their panic the press of men jammed it shut, allowing the Parliamentarians time to finish off or capture many Royalists.

I am interested in the influence the landscape we live in exerts upon us and as a Scot who has live in the area for the last 25 years such historical sites still inspire me. When I was up there making a couple of sketches I startled a pair of nesting partridges, hence the title.

Stolen Artworks; the search is on.

I am a cat person, recently I lost a cat on the road outside my house, that’s life, cats don’t do road sense. So when I got a new rescue cat ‘Poppy’ I though I would improve her chances and so came up with these signs.

cats crossing

‘They say ‘Cats Crossing’ on one side and ‘Thank You’ on the other. Last night a third one was stolen, one was stolen a week ago another earlier in the summer. Due to my frugal nature there is no reward for information about the whereabouts of these signs but if you do happen to see them I would love to know what part of the world they get to.

The last two I concreted in, but obviously not well enough, have one left so here’s hoping it will last.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the minutiae  of my daily life, you will fine a couple of cat images on my animals page I have recently updated, please do share the link if you have time.

have a good one, regards Malcolm.

Colour and Shape


Colours and shape:

The universe and world around us is imagined entirely by humanity, the colours we see around us are as a result of the cones at the back of the eye, cats who have fewer cones and more rods see a very different greyer world but this helps them to hunt at dawn and dusk in poor light when their vision give them a sharper view of the world around them.


Bats can see fruit bats have quite good eyesight but some species especially those that use echo location or ‘sonar have poorer eyesight, when you research this information you find people saying bats use the echo location to create a ‘visual image’, but do they or is that just us describing this system as visual, a term we understand, because we cannot comprehend or imagine the world as the bat does.

There may be experts out there who would question the voracity of my explanation but what I am exploring is how light which is similar to radio waves is revealed to humanity as colour simply because we have cones which perceive light waves as such. The amount of light, the angle of the sun, our position, the frequency of the light reflected from objects all combine to provide a colour map and with this map and shape combined we produce a three dimensional imager of the world around us.

Here a though, if the only form of life with this vision system is on the earth there may be no colour anywhere else in the universe.

This is the primary reason I stared making my series of geometric paintings they explore a system that allows us to position ourselves within a space, in addition to this it positions us in the present because seeing is an immediate experience.

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht explores this phenomenon in his work and writing, in today’s world where the past continues to invade present because everything is recorded on social media and stored almost permanently it is harder to forget it, and concerns over things like terrorism, global warming and energy shortages brings the future ever closer to us and so today it is harder to live in the present.

Making these paintings is an act which keeps me in the present, I start with a drawing which intuitively develops from a simple shape or form, this is then transferred to a canvas and the first layer of colour is created using masking tape, I have for some reason never been happy with the edge I get using tape and so once the tape is removed I go over the edge with a clean brush with white spirit to give and edge I like. This process is entirely personal and I cannot explain the preference. The colour is then built up in layers to create varied and graduated shapes of colour which reflect the complex seeing process rather than areas of flat colour, but after the first layer of colour much of the work is done without the aid of tape which requires considerable concentration and this concentration keeps me in the present, which I enjoy, but also gives the work a handmade feel which on close inspection reveals the imperfections in my ability to follow freehand a straight line.

The first of these works ‘Laths l’ can be seen in the previous post.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing.

I am fascinated by how we see the world around us and the way colour, shadow and shape add to the perceived depth of the three-dimensional world, to that end I have been creating a series of  canvas’ built up of graduated colour shape and shadow, the first of these finished images is below.


There are times when you wonder if you are on the right track, I am not sure at the moment but  shall persevere a little longer with these and see what develops.

‘We are who we say we are’


The title of this piece is a CS Lewis quote, it is made from found pieces by myself, my wife and my father and assembled with bought components. The meaning we give to things like pendulums, steps and random shapes fascinate me.

There are two more pieces like this in the pipeline but today I am working on a series of abstract paintings.

Cave Painting

cave painting

Lascaux Cave Paintings, France. Man has been drawing and painting animals for thousands of years, we continue to do so, but as our attitudes and circumstances change the reasons we do so change.

You can see the first two images in a series of drawings and colour sketches I will be making over the next year depicting wildlife, agricultural and domestic animals in the ‘Animals’ page.

The Gatekeeper Within.

This is a contemporary Art Exhibition which is part of Skegness’s SO Festival, above is an image of one of the pieces that can be seen, below a brief statement of the ideas behind the Exhibition. The Exhibition open on the 28th of June at the Embassy Theatre Gallery Space and runs until the 1st September.


Throughout our lives the unitary whole we see as ourselves is subject to a continual learning and re-evaluation process through our engagement with people, events, objects and concepts on a daily basis.  This process, which goes on mainly unnoticed, is more apparent when we live through critical events that cause us to consciously think deeply about our views. However our core beliefs are a reassuring anchor in the ongoing process; is it the case that we seek the reassurance of communities and creeds that affirm our beliefs rather than examine contrary evidence and the potential that change can perhaps offer? How we choose the information and ideas which we will internalise or discard is a process we are all continually engaged in. James Flynn describes this filtering process as the work of the “Gatekeeper”.

 “You must be the gatekeeper that filters out what is worth remembering and decides what is true or false. Otherwise you are at it’s (the modern world) mercy and drift through a life that you manage only day by day.”    James R. Flynn (Professor Emeritus University of Otago, New Zealand).

When introduced to new experiences and concepts, there are consequences to accepting and internalizing new information, current values or ideas have to be adjusted.  Frequently however the harder one tries to understand and legitimise the consequences within the mind just as a solution appears imminent it disappears like a mirage. There is no certainty and in the end we simply weigh up new thoughts, old values, and new possibilities and synthesize a new perspective with which we are comfortable. Like a Jigsaw with missing fragments there is never a whole picture, but that is what we imagine a completed picture as the process continually alters the shape of the jigsaw.

This thought process that refuses to offer up specific solutions, answers that cannot be defined, is the domain of the “Gatekeeper”, it is also a fertile area that art and artists can explore and use; each of the works in the exhibition through each individual artists understanding, chosen language and method of working seeks to make the viewer aware of the their thinking, the potential and concerns they see in specific areas and different perspectives on a variety of issues, at times challenging us and helping us to make sense of our experience of life through the experiences and ideas explored and illuminated by the artists.

Art has been an integral part of this process from the first prehistoric cave paintings through the Renaissance to Modern Art but artists like everyone make judgements and it is for the “Gatekeeper” within the viewer, to explore and decide the value and effectiveness of each work but through completing the conversation the viewer should hope to experience the unspoken language that can be found in all art.

Details of the other artists that will be in the exhibition can be viewed at at