Balloon Over St.Petersburg 5″ x 5″ Print

Art 28 November 2011 | 0 Comments

st_petersburgh_balloon_web

On a cold October morning they took to the skies on an ambitious flight over  Saint Petersburg.  Who are they? Maybe early aeronauts testing whether it is possible to breathe at such heights or wealthy pleasure seekers wanting to be among the first humans to fly.

In any case, their journey must have been an amazing one, filled with exhiliration and awe and I have imagined the scene here in this print.

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A Gentleman’s Regret – 5″ x 5″ Print

Art 23 November 2011 | 0 Comments

timetoregret_web

I’ve been so fed up with web design these last few days that I finally took time away from work and wound down with some Photoshop. I started and completed A Gentleman’s Regret this evening within a couple of hours. This one is definitely gonna get printed. I like it’s dark, moody style and plan to do more in this style very soon :).

“A gentleman alone with his regrets”

Here’s the framed version too! I’ll be selling my prints after Christmas on Etsy. Very excited!

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Bizarre Little Ramblings … And A Poem

Me Myself and I,Poems Of The Forgotten Dead 7 November 2011 | 1 Comment

tales of the unexpected

When it comes to my taste in books, movies or art, I’ve always been a bit odd and I blame thank my Father. When other children were being told bedtime stories about princesses and frogs, I was listening to tales about impossible cross-atlantic journeys by one-winged ducks or three legged men who had great difficulty riding motorbikes.  These were the absurd little fantasy tales that I grew up on thanks to my Dad, completely unaware of how they were shaping my appreciation of story, art and imagination.

Though I didn’t realise at the time, I guess this is also why I had posters of Salvador Dalí’s, The Persistence of Memory  on my wall when I was 14 instead of Limahl from Kajagoogoo (crikey, can you believe they’re still performing!!). It also explains why I liked reading stories by Ed Gorey,  hated The Famous Five but loved Tales of the Unexpected.  The weirder, more bizarre, more absurd the story, the more eager I was to hear or read it.  Of course, when I was a kid, writing the strange little poems and stories that got me into quite a bit of trouble with many of my teachers, I hadn’t made the connection with my Dad.  Fast forward 30 years and the penny has dropped ( and I have somebody to blame my bizarre little ramblings!)

So, here’s one of my favourites little rhymes from a collection of ahem … poems (that’s stretching it!) that I hope someday to complete called “Poems of the Forgotten Dead”

Wanda 1938 – 1984

Wanda discussed new wallpaper while Tom polished his shoes.
He liked to dance the Foxtrot on Friday afternoons,
with Betty Grey from Windthrop, a stringy but graceful lass,
who glided in his outstretched arms with time honored class.
Tom had his fill of Wanda and the endless jumpers she knit.
Twenty years drinking her tea and kissing her shabby lips,
had left him feeling quietly sure of what he had to do.
He decided that he’d kill her on the 25th of June.
When the day arrived, Wanda was making tea.
She called out from her tiny kitchen, “Which is it to be? …
Kimberly or Mikado .. the choice is yours my dear !”.
“I’d rather have a dance with you! We haven’t danced all year”
Wanda appeared from the kitchen with a coy and gracious grin.
Her eyes met with Tom’s as he sipped from his glass of gin.
“Come dance with me, my lovely. We’ll foxtrot to the moon”
Before Wanda knew it she was lost in a timeless tune.
She never felt the bottle as it smashed against her head.
It cut her flesh from ear to ear and left her almost dead.
Her blood spread across the floor faster than Tom
could swallow his gin. With panicked thoughts he smashed
her skull intent on finishing his sin.
Three months later, the smell was rife and the bedroom
wall began to drip. To Tom’s dismay and shameful horror Wanda’s
grave had started to rip.

 

Digital Art : My Photoshop Sketch of Kristen Scott Thomas

Art,Photoshop 16 July 2011 | 0 Comments

kristen_scott_thomas

I did this sketch some time ago in Photoshop.  You can see I got lazy (or bored) and left her ear sort of deformed.  I do remember spending a lot of time on her hand, which is my favourite part of this portrait.

Kristen Scott Thomas in one of my favourite actresses.  The English Patient, probably being one of her most memorable movies, but she is also fabulous in many of her French movies, particularly Il y a longtemps que je t’aime (I’ve loved you so long), in which she plays a mother who has apparently murdered her young son.  Let’s not forget her outstanding perfomances in Gosford Park and The Horse Whisperer.  I last saw her in the emotionally turbulent French drama, Leaving, alongside Sergi López.  An brilliant movie!

She has such class and is of course beautiful and unlike many big movie actresses is ageing gracefully.  She is still gorgeous at 51.  So this sketch was my small tribute to her and her amazing acting talent.

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Bernard And Doris. A Review.

Cinema & TV 15 July 2011 | 0 Comments

bernardanddoris

I’ve been a huge Ralph Fiennes fan since first seeing him play the gorgeous intellectual Charles Van Doren in Robert Redford’s production of Quiz Show back in 1994.  Being used to seeing Fiennes play debonair, heroic, self-certain characters (with the exception of Spider, and maybe Oscar in Oscar and Lucinda)  seeing him play the deferring and restrained butler, Bernard Lafferty, to the fiesty, spirited and super wealthy tobacco heiress, Doris Duke (Susan Sarandon), took a little bit of adjustment. (He can’t always play strong and interesting characters afterall!)  And Bernard Lafferty certainly is not interesting, though his relationship with Duke is, and that’s why the movie works.

In fact, we learn very little about Lafferty, except that he came to America from Ireland after both of his parents died when he was nine. He found himself employment as a butler to Peggy Lee and Elizabeth Taylor (the movie is based on true events, by the way) and somewhere along the way developed a drink problem.  His stint in rehab ended his employment with Taylor and he found his way to Doris Duke, who having just fired her previous butler for serving her melon ‘too chilled’ was in need of a replacement.

We must assume that Lafferty intuitively sensed Duke’s fickleness and perhaps this goes someway towards explaining his restrained demeanor.  Though he does seem naturally to be a shy guy, whose bland personality is starkly contrasted by the energetic livliness that is Doris Duke.

Duke, played brilliantly by Sarandon, is a vivacious and culturally curious older lady, who happens to sleep with many of her younger male staff , most likely to compensate for the loneliness and isolation that her wealth has  brought her.  She develops a curious bond with Lafferty who happens to be gay and who appears to want nothing from her, other than to care for her.  Duke, being defined by her money all of her life and because of it, cynical of those she associates with, is taken aback and touched by Lafferty’s uncomplicated nature and request.

Doris Duke: What do you want from me? From me.
Bernard Lafferty: Miss Duke?
Doris Duke: What do you want? I mean, you don’t fuck me, do you?
Bernard Lafferty: No, I don’t.
Doris Duke: You don’t steal from me. Do you steal from me?
Bernard Lafferty: No, I don’t.
Doris Duke: Well then what do you want from me?
Bernard Lafferty: I just want to take care of you.

Perhaps it is true and he is not chasing her fortune but the movie does little to help us work out Lafferty’s real intentions.  He does refuse a half a million dollar bribe from Duke’s lawyer to disappear, which could be seen as evidence that he truly cares for her.  But half a million is a small sum compared to the five million she left him.  Could he have forseen her generous gift.  I don’t think it is something he could have been certain of and so I’m inclined to conclude, like Duke, that Lafferty’s intentions are good.  Afterall, Lafferty, like Duke, was a lonely individual and that is the one thing they shared in common and the one thing that really connected them.  Duke’s financial adviser and lawyer, Taft, chooses to see Lafferty only as a gold-digger.

If you want excitement and intrigue, this is not the movie for you.  The movie completely lacks plot and jumps almost episodically from one event to the next.  It is a study of the growing trust between two very different characters.  Laftterty knows how to restrain himself so that he may better fit into Duke’s world.  Throughout the movie, he conveys the sense that he knows he doesn’t belong and that at any moment his world (the one he borrows from Duke) may shatter around him, despite Duke taking him on her many cultural trips abroad.  When he falls victim to his vice, alcholo,  Duke doesn’t abandon him.  Instead she sends him to rehab and while she makes him suffer (for drinking from her wine cellar), it is apparent that she will eventually forgive him in her tough love kind of way.  Duke is a woman who doesn’t (or can’t) express caring emotions too easily.

Only on watching Bernard and Doris for the second time, did I appreciate just what a fantastic job Ralph Fiennes did with the character and what skill it took to act a man with so little personality of his own.  There is one scene when Duke is singing at the piano (being played by one of her young gigolos), Bernard enters with drinks and is encouraged to sing a Peggy Lee song, (I Love the Way You’re Breaking My Heart).  Fiennes plays this scene with such subtlety. It is exquisite to watch and could be seen as the movies attempt to affirm the true friendship that exists between Lafferty and Duke. That’s how I like to read the scene.

The movie doesn’t attempt to make overt judgements on the nature of their relationship but even in real life, Lafferty’s relationship with Doris was never proved or disproved to be anything other than a caring one.  While the movie could have taken artistic licence with the events and wrapped everything up Hollywood style, it chose not to.  Some say it suffers because of this but for those of us who enjoy character driven movies, it was a pleasure to watch two of our greatest actors portray two very different characters so brilliantly.

 

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