On Fire :-) 18.4.2022
I've had another busy week; and have been trying to pull myself up, and remember the insight I have been given by Tasha (NJC Life Coaching).
I had an urge to paint my impression of Boris Johnson and #Partygate, (above is the finished painting).
I then stepped outside my comfort zone and posted the finished painting on Grayson Perry's facebook page.
It has now proved very popular, and I might even be considered to be slightly trending.
I haven't managed to do any more re-decorating inside the old showman's wagon this week; but I am managing my time better and have concrete plans. I do feel like I now have the tools to move forward in a positive way.
I'd like to say a big thank-you to Tasha for all her help. Summer is on it's way, which is always uplifting when you live in a caravan; and at the moment I feel like Boris's pants in the painting ...........
Life is a Circus 6.4. 2022
I've been pressing ahead with the make-over of the showman's wagon, and I've now finished the fireplace and the beam above it.
I've painted 'Tiger Lolly's Fantastic Fantasy Circus' on the beam because that's how I've always envisioned it.
When I was at Art College in Yorkshire my form tutor asked me 'How do you see yourself in twenty years time?'. I said 'Living in an antique gypsy wagon that is covered in paintings selling my art'.
'Hmm' he said 'That's all very romantic but, what do you really see yourself doing?' and to be honest I couldn't see anything else. We are all fortune tellers of our own destiny. This is something I've been re-learning with Tasha of NJC Life Coaching, to follow your dreams and don't let others put you off track.
I've hung a lurex curtain over the computer and printer as it really didn't sit well in the room. Now it's far more intriguing, making you wonder what lies behind it.
I painted my daughters holding big cats with ribbons on the ceiling 20 years ago, and it has now suffered over the years due to damp; so I will be restoring this, and also the roll top desk. (I might even paint 'Roll Up, Roll Up!' on it.
It makes me very happy bucking the trend of traditionalism and letting my imagination run away with me. This might just even be The Greatest Showman's on Earth!, (well in my opinion anyway ;-)
Got my swag back on 29.3.2022
I thought I would have finished the overmantle by this week's blog, but it still needs a bit of tweaking. However; this week I find myself accepting that I've done as much as I could in the given time, and am praising myself for the work done. All thanks to Tasha from NJC LifeCoaching.
I think the mantlepiece will be having purists pooping their pants. Neither the electric blue paint or holographic glitter are considered heritage colours; and when I've repainted the carved wooden swag, some of the round flowers I've changed into eyeballs! I will have completed it by the end of today, and then I will be starting one of the new projects I have written down in my ideas book. Unlike previously, when I would have had several unfinished projects on the go.
Re-jigging my life and tackling annoying jobs that have needed doing for years is leaving me feeling more content. I am ACTUALLY feeling like I'm getting my swag back on!
Getting my swag back 21.3.2022
Alongside the artwork I'm producing at the moment, I'm also restoring the 1930's Showman's Living Wagon I live in.
Years ago I bought a carved wooden swag from a car boot sale for £1, always intending to use it as decoration in the caravan; and I also bought two carved animal heads with the same intention. I say animal heads, as I've never been really sure what they are? they kind of look like lions crossed with monkeys. I don't know if it's an artist thing? but I often plan to revamp something or somewhere; buy the items I need to do the job and once I've got a plan of action, don't actually get around to completing it. It's almost like once I've envisaged how it will finally look; I know I can relax, and then the job doesn't seem to be so urgent. That is until I get an unexpected visitor; and suddenly the jobs that I'd dealt with in my head, but hadn't got around to doing are very visible again.
A few months back I decided to put the carved items together to make a more ornate mantlepiece. I remember seeing a photo of Paula Yates stood next to her fantastic fireplace; (which I think she'd painted herself) and thought it looked fabulous. I cut out a piece of wood for the backing and attached the swag and the heads to it. I then fixed it to the fireplace. I was happy with the effect but it needed a repaint to tie everything in.
The next job was a bit like the Life Coaching lessons I'm getting from Tasha (NJC Life Coaching). I basically had to deconstruct the bits I'd made, and re-work them to get a better overall effect. I'd roughly started painting the fireplace uprights too; but taking down the swag made everything easier to access, so this should prove to make the job smoother too.
I'm feeling so optimistic about finishing this job and seeing it through to the end; because it will be such a joy to look at it everyday with pride, rather than looking at it with the heavy feeling of a job half done. The above pics shown the swag constructed, then taken down for painting. I'll show you the finished fireplace hopefully next week. It may take longer than first anticipated, as most jobs do. There are usually some little unexpected hiccups. Pretty sure that it will be well worth it though, to get my swag back better than it ever was.
I'm not 'my' kind. 13.3.2022
It would have been hard to see the news during the last couple of weeks; and not be affected by the events in Ukraine. Social networks are full of yellow and blue posts in support of Ukraine; with the odd argument popping up when someone quotes a bit of un-fact-checked whataboutery.
We are told that Russians have had their access to the world wide web restricted and are not fully aware of the situation in Ukraine.
So; with this in mind, I decided to write to random places in Russia, with letters of peace. A letter to the USSR with Royal Mail costs just £1.70 at the moment, so I decided to post five letters. The letters may not have any effect at all but; little deeds like this done on a large scale, can have a massive effect. If you want to read more on this and get involved then go to the Facebook page I set up. www.facebook.com/groups/667240710994383
During the Life Coaching session I had last week with Tash ( of NJC Life Coaching) I mentioned that I was angry with myself for not getting enough work done that week. She pointed out that I had actually got quite a lot done, but I just hadn't stopped to acknowledge it. Then she asked me if I regarded myself as a people pleaser ? and I replied 'Yes'. That's when it struck me; that even though I often bend over backwards to help others, I am quite happy to beat myself up, rather than to pat myself on the back. I think peace and harmony comes from kindness; so from now on, I will strive to show kindness to myself too.
I'm a pea in a barrel...
22nd July 2021
Ok, gonna hit you up with another of my 'Subtle Vandal' paintings. As I previously mentioned this is a series of up-cycled paintings I did during the pandemic to cheer myself up. Most of them are oil paintings that have been in bargain baskets, a few are reworked prints, most of them are funny, some are rude, and some are not for the delicate natured. You have been warned!
Today's oil painting is medium sized , (not like the huge painting of dogs I posted the day before yesterday). This painting was in pretty good condition but a bit dirty. The subject matter was not very inspiring, which is why I guess it had been for sale for so long. A painting of an old Dorsety style sleepy village circa 1940's. This made me think of all the men folk being away at war and how popular the postmen were. I decided to introduce a postman into the painting and a bored housewife who was missing her husband, but once again it would be a little subtle addition. All I had to do now was to give the repainted area an acrylic varnish so it blended in with the original and give it a new name. Yes. So it is now called 'The Postman Always Comes Twice' by Subtle Vandal. The pics below are of the before, after and close-up detail. P.s. this series will be available in signed prints :-)
21st June 2021
It's been a while since I last blogged, so I thought I'd update you on some of the projects I've been doing. I am always spinning a lot of plates art wise and think I'll start with showing you a body of work I've been doing to amuse myself during the pandemic. A lot of the work I've done in the past has been to address major injustices in the world, but I've been feeling so fed up with the status quo recently I decided to just make myself laugh. In 1996 I did an oil painting called 'The Sleeping Gypsy 1996' in response to the Criminal Justice act, where I copied Henri Rousseau's painting and added a relevant new twist to it, I will post a pic of my painting in the comments. Other artists have done great works whereby they have taken original paintings and then added their twist on them. Check out Banksy's Crude Oils, Gnarled Branch's up-cycled paintings, and more recently the fabulous Mason Storm exhibition at The Stowe Gallery. I decided that if I were to up-cycle paintings I would have to put my own twist on them. I wanted to add something to them; but still keep it in the original style, so it would have to be very subtle. I picked up this large painting of a pretty woman with two dogs at a knock down price but the canvas was badly scratched, going quite deeply in one spot. I cleaned the painting and set about repairing it. There were a couple of things I didn't like in the original. The dog on the left hand side had funny feet , so I corrected them slightly. The tall white flower behind the woman stood out too much , so I 'knocked it back' with a darker cream shade. The frame was wobbly so I re-pinned it, it has a few knocks but I decided I didn't want it to look like a new painting. It was nearly complete I just had to add four egg shaped pink things and name it. Yes. So the painting is now called 'The Dog's B*llocks' by my new moniker Subtle Vandal ...
I can't believe it's the 8th of May already!. I've been busy in my old studio painting. Pulling out old works that need repairing (due to being badly stored in damp conditions); and painting new #MementoVitae portraits of people sadly lost to #Covid19. If you wish to see the portraits I've done so far then head on over to my page Memento Vitae. Above is a pic of a portrait in progress. Putting paint straight onto canvas , no pre-drawing etc is so liberating and enjoyable.
Today's #MementoVitae portrait is of leading Heart Surgeon Jitendra Rathod who tragically died from #Covid19 aged 58 at Cardiff University Hospital. (The same hospital where he had trained). He was known as Jitu and was an incredibly dedicated Heart Surgeon and father of two. His passing is a great loss. I've started an album of these portraits over on my page Memento Vitae #nhsportraitsforheroes
Today's #MementoVitae portrait is of John Alagos a nursing assistant who died of Covid19 aged just 23. He felt unwell at work, but finished his 12 hour shift. On returning home his mother advised him to take paracetamol, but found him in bed struggling to breath soon after. He had no underlying health conditions.His mother believes he wasn't given adequate protective clothing. The white paint splashes represent a shooting star, burning bright. R.I.P.
I managed to do another #MementoVitae portrait, of another key worker today. The image is of Mervyn Mally Kennedy a London Bus Driver who died aged 67. He was a loving family man with no underlying health problems, his family believe he would still be alive had he been given P.P.E. He looked like he was a fun loving man, so I tried to capture this in the portrait..
I've decided that alongside the other projects I've got on the back burner at the moment; I will be doing a collection of #mementovitae portraits of key workers who've sadly lost their lives to #Covid19. I'd like to capture them full of life as a reminder to their loved ones of their fantastic spirits. I hope to do something with the finished portraits together in exhibition form, before they are individually sent off to the families who've lost their loved ones. They'll be free hand; paint straight on canvas or board, as I want them to have a sense of freedom. The portrait I painted the other day of Joanna Klanczon (the Cleaning Supervisor) was painted in my lunchtime; but todays double portrait of children's nurse Katy Davis and her twin sister Emma, who tragically died of Covid 19 within three days of each other at Southampton Hospital, took most of the day. Anyway here's today's portrait, I'll probably look at it tomorrow and decide I'll change it ...I will set up a gallery page to view the finished portraits. The page will be called Memento Vitae Covid19
My art tutor's words were echoing in my ears today. I heard about a project called #portraitsfornhsheroes . Thought about contributing, but wondered if I'd have the time to do it. Then decided 'what the hell' I'll have a bash at one in my lunch break.
I read about a young Polish woman who was a hospital cleaning supervisor who died from Covid aged only 34. (I was 34 when I had my second child..so sad). Anyway when I saw her photo I thought she looked lovely and had a rock chick vibe about her, so decided to paint her.
I loved my Art College tutors, and when it came to Portraiture their mantra was paint or draw as few lines as you can to get a true feeling of the sitter. They hated photo realism and stated if you wanted a portrait that looked like a photo just take a photo! I've done a bit of Photo Realism and to me, it felt like painting in a straight jacket. No; as far as they were concerned great art was about a confident hand, the sureity of the line, and the flow of the paint or pen. Proper old school. Usually they wouldn't let you sketch it before hand, because "It's wasn't about a perfect representation"; infact if the sitter had a big nose for example, it was their opinion that you should make it slightly bigger to exaggerate their features. So I grabbed a canvas and the rather blurry photo I'd downloaded and set out to paint a pic in 1/2 hour. Anyway here's the result below, what do you reckon? I quite like the blue coming through as it seems like she's fading away, but is it too rough to send to her family?
Painted in memory of Joanna Klenczon aged 34 and Lawrence Cutting of Harrogate Art College. 🎨🙏
I haven’t finished re-touching Margaret Thatcher (see yesterday's post) so; carrying on with the Mrs T. theme, and also my studios sort out, I have found a box of Mrs T towel holders. (See the Gallery pic below).
I made these for those folks who still hate Thatcher.
They’ve proved very popular over the years.
Quote; “Biker Sam” … “I love my Mrs Tea towel holder, nothing gives me more pleasure than ramming a Tea towel up her jacksy daily”…. (Check out his fab woodcarving page at www.facebook.com/Sam-ellis-chainsaw-carving-549881835211535/). I will be listing these in my Etsy shop at £25 each plus p+p , but you can buy one for just £20 plus p+p . So ‘No Butt’s'…grab one of the few remaining holders now.. It’s a pinch! Follow me on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blingandting/
I never thought that I'd get to an age where I'm restoring my OWN pictures!
I am very good at doing 90% of an art job and thinking I'll finish that one day, because I've got another great idea I want to get on with. Well that day may have come.....
I've hacked my way through the brambles to my first studio and found so many art works I'd forgotton I'd made. Some of them have suffered from being badly stored in a damp portakabin; and various living vehicles over the years, but I'm really enjoying fixing and finishing them. The snippet of the 'oil on board' painting in the pic was painted in 1989; and is titled 'Power Dressing', which was a 'thing' in 1989..... Only this Mrs Thatcher is holding a pair of nutcrackers and wearing b*llocks for earrings. The kippers in the stained glass window in the background are representative of her being two-faced. The canvas had got damp and lifted from the board, so today I re-attached it. Tomorrow I will repair and retouch the actual canvas. It's most embarassing to think I will be spending the day cleaning and touching up testicles...
Well it's definitely been a weird couple of months; although personally my life hasn't changed that much as I've always been a bit of a loner; reclusive, type of person. I'm feeling for all those people who've lost loved ones during this Coronavirus pandemic; and those countries where they don't have the luxury of self isolating. I also appreciate how lucky I am to have an outside space where I can work in the sunshine.
As far as work goes; I'm working on a new set of prints featuring the Pandemic 2020, see above pic of the queen wearing a mask stamp, and also the Statue of Liberty wearing a mask too.
I'm also using this time to list things in my Etsy Shop www.etsy.com/uk/shop/MultitalentedArt , (a job I have been putting off for a long time). Keeping myself busy is my way of dealing with the current situation, even if it means doing boring stuff like listing on Etsy.
Sending out Good Health vibes to all across the world X
This weekend in Brighton; I received an Arts, Culture and Heritage Award! I feel so honoured as the other two shortlisted nominees were the writer Damian Le Bas and the folk singer Thomas McCarthy. Two totally inspirational people. Once I've stopped cuddling it, it will have pride of place on the mantlepiece in my Showman's Wagon..ps..if you nominated me, I can't thank you enough !
Sorry; I've been neglecting my blog page for a few months; my life has some funny twists and turns in it' and sometimes I end up going off at a tangent.
I've decided for the next few weeks I will be doing a semi-blog on my Facebook page. I will be posting a pic daily from my folder of portraits of New Age Travellers, sketched in the 90's and noughties. Thank-you for the lovely comments I've recieved whilst I've been away. If you'd like to follow the semi-blog on Facebook; please click on the link and 'like' the page, thank-you so much :-)
Today I've been trying to decide which art to take to Boomtown.
I've tried to keep it simple by deciding only to take Traveller Tartan and jewellery. Choosing which jewellery to take, has been a day long job though.
Displaying it will be a challenge too, but I'll deal with that when I get there.
I managed to bodge an awning on to my little Wagon R today in a trial run, which hopefully I will be able to use as a tiny stall. I've packed some shiny; glittery fabric to line it with, and some obligatory fairy lights.
The picture above left; is of some Sterling Silver and Copper Boomtown necklaces that I will be selling. (Handmade by me from recycled silver and copper). If you're lucky enough to be going to Boomtown; then swing by me at Whistler's Green. There you'll find out if everything that glitters is Golding.....
I've spent the last couple of days getting ready to leave for Boomtown Festival which is by Winchester.
Below is the official trailer for this year's festival. It really is an amazing experience.
The first time I went, I felt like I had stepped into the Blade Runner film.
I'm really looking forward to it, as my daughters are going too and this time we will all be camped together.
I have a feeling I will have the tiniest camper at the festival as I'm camping in my Suzuki Wagon R.
(It's a bit too far to take the showman's wagon). I'm sleeping in the back of the Wagon R; which I can just about do, if I sleep diagonally).
I'm hoping to have a little stall where I can sell my Traveller tartan and my handmade jewellery.
If you're going to Boomtown please come and say hi, I will be camped in Whistlers Green.
My daughter Amber is modelling one of my Traveller tartan chiffon scarves in the above pic; if you fancy one come and find me, but hurry 'cos I don't have many!
I'll be there for a little under a week, then all too soon I'll be "Home again, home again, jiggity jig".....
(I guess you have to have seen Blade Runner to get that one?)...
The end of June and July were a little bit strange for me.
I have to admit I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the internet. This is even more evident when life gets stressful. I feel like I just want to run away from it all, and live on a desert island.
I am confident that I could quite happily do this too, as in the past I lived for 15 years with no electricity or running water.
My darling little Border Terrier Brillo, passed away at the end of June . He was getting on a bit; and he definately hadn't been very well for quite a while, so it was meant to be.
Then I found out that a very good friend has a short while to live. Then on top of all this another friend's daughter (who he'd named after my daughter) tragically commited suicide at just 18 years old. Yep, not the greatest set of weeks!
As a tribute to little Sergeant Brillo; I've painted a panel of the Showman's Wagon with an image of him, with his head poking out of a trompe l'oeil cat flap. It probably needs a tiny bit of tweaking , but I'm quite happy with the effect so far. Especially the faux 'Brillo' plaque.
Now he'll always be there guarding the place. A Border Terrier, within a border...
OMG; OMG, OMG!
As Bob Marley said, "Everything's gonna be alright"............................(see above weather forecast !)
Hang on to your hat Glastonbury Festival, I'm on my way!
I love spiders, but am not so keen on them crawling over my face when I'm asleep.
I've noticed an increase in the type of spiders in the pic left, this year. They are big and dark and very shiny.
I will miss the Arcadia Spider this year at Glastonbury Festival; but am looking forward to seeing what the new show Pangea, is all about. I'm not sure if I will be able to blog from the Festival, but I will try to. Maybe I'll manage to upload some pics and put a time and date with them, we shall see. The weather forecast has improved and is looking more promising. So with a bit of luck, I will be in the Greenfields, not the brown fields..
When I'm at Glastonbury, I'll be lucky enough to be surrounded by magic mushrooms.
No; not the edible ones, but giant wooden ones made by English Garden Art.
The above video is the BBC area in 2008 featuring the some of the mushrooms with Dizzy Rascal and Calvin Harris performing around them. The giant mushrooms have been a feature in the festival for many; many years, and a lot of people make a pilgrimage to the Croissant Neuf field every year just to have a photo taken with the famous set of giant magic mushrooms.
As Dizzy Rascal would say...........Skillz on show!
Tonight I'm slightly suffering from F.O.M.O. (Fear of missing out).
I had the offer of a free lift to; and from, Maceo's Bar opening night.
Maceo's is the biggest, boldest and brightest backstage bar at Glastonbury Festival. It's snuggled inbetween Block 9 and Shangri-la; and I know that if I'd taken up the offer of a lift, I would see so many old friends and have a blast. However; experience tells me that over the next couple of days I would be feeling washed out, and wishing I hadn't indulged in the pre-party party.
'Ma' 'ce' 'o's'?.........in my case, may see double.
I know that I will thank myself for the abstinence tommorrow; but part of me is with the party in spirit...just not literally tonight..
Whether the weather be good at Glastonbury Festival; or whether the weather be bad?
That is the word on every attendee's lips at the moment. You wouldn't believe how many non-believers are secretly praying that the sun gods will bless the site with their warm caresses.
The press love to post pics of happy revellers lapping up the mud; but I've been to every Glastonbury Festival since 1986, and I think that makes this my 28th? That's a lot of enthusiasm to muster up if the forecast is rain, when you've been to quite a lot of 'muddy ones'.
Fortunately it's not looking too bad! (Although I will be keeping my fingers; and anything else I can cross, crossed from now on). My wish is that there will be blue skies and green grass like in the above pic); and I'm hoping to have some fun in the sun on Joe Rush's new attraction for this year a Victorian style pier called 'Glastonbury on Sea'.
If all goes to plan and the sun shines, it will be fabulous!.
If the heavens open and it buckets it down; let's hope the new attraction doesn't become a prediction!..literally Glastonbury on 'Sea'....yikes!..
No blog last night due to a dinner invite; and busy, busy, busy today with the Glastonbury prep.
If you are lucky enough to go to Glastonbury Festival this year; feel free to call by the Showman's caravan in the Croissant Neuf field. (That's my red and yellow caravan in the top pic in the link, it's in the same spot every year). I'll be doing an exhibition and demonstration of my patented Traveller Tartan, and will have winter merino wool hats available as well as lighter fabric summer versions.(See above pic). Along with some printed scarves too. You will also be able to see some lovely handmade jewellery on display, and everything will be made by me! Hats off to anybody who pops by!
I've been so busy in the last few weeks trying to stick to a timetable for my Glastonbury prep.
I've been adhering to the list remarkably well ,(for me). I tend to go off at a tangent quite a lot. (You've probably noticed).
A week today, our little group will be pulling on to the Croissant Neuf field at the festival. With last year being a fallow year for the festival, I'm really looking forward to letting my hair down and clowning around in my newly furbished Circus Wagon this year. I should imagine this time next Saturday ; the the only list I will be I will be capable of, is that cockney rhyming slang...
Brahms and Liszt..
Rooting about in a cupboard today, I found a picture I'd forgotton I'd made on an early computer art program called 'Paint' many years ago. The program came ready installed on the first ever computer I'd used.
At the time I thought it was amazing. The images were quite pixelated when you zoomed in , and I didn't really know much then about resolution etc. You may have been able to change the file size; but I didn't know how to do this.
Anyway; I took an image I found online of my all time favourite Lion Tamer, Herr Seeth. (My all time favourite Tiger Tamer was called Mabel Stark, and she was completely bonkers!).
Herr Seeth wasn't my favourite Lion Tamer because I thought he was a great man by the way; infact he was probably a really horrible aggressive man, but visually he looked like he should be a Lion Tamer. I would have loved to have painted his portrait.
I manipulated a photograph of him with a lion on his shoulders which was taken in the late 1800's to make it look like me. I made the body appear more feminine, and I put my head on his shoulders. Then I place the picture in a frame, and hung it on the Showman's wall. (See above pic).
It was amazing how many people actually thought it really was me with a lion on my shoulders. Oh my; how times have changed with the progams like Photoshop etc, nobody would ever think nowadays that that it actually was photo of me. With computer art programs being so much better these days; I think I may have to make an updated version of this circus poster, and just 'Roll Up!, Roll Up!' this one...
When I made the tiger stencil for the walls in the caravan; I decided I was going to hand paint the teeth in, in white. Laying in bed last night though; I decided to cut them out of the stencil, and if I didn't like them, I could just paint over them in white. So I roared ahead; stippling the gold paint onto the King's Red walls, and now I have pussies galore! I'll have to hold back a bit with the tiger theme or people will be calling Tiger Lolly. If you turn your head sideways; and look at the stripes, you can make out the word Lolly. So what do you reckon? Would I be 'lion' if I said I think it's purrfect?
Following on in the tiger's footsteps; I remembered I'd made a tiger stencil to decorate the walls of the Showman's Wagon with, a couple of years ago. I was inspired by the stencilled wallpaper in the backstage bar in the Arcadia field at Glastonbury 2017. If you've never seen the Arcadia show let me tell you this; it is beyond fabulous!
I think as I've mentioned before; the Showman's wagon is rumoured to be an ex Chipperfield's Circus wagon, which as long as I've owned it (approximately 21 years I think?) I've planned to get it looking like a 1930's (kitschy film set) circus wagon.
So the tiger stencil motif was something I designed using the stripes of the tiger to spell out my name. Hopefully if you turn your head sideways you will be able to read Lolly?.
I will find out tomorrow when I test out the stencil; if I am a Tiger, or if I'm a Cat astrophy!...
I was going to put an eyepatch on my porcelain tiger's head as a tribute to The Blind Tiger venue in the Unfairground at Glastonbury Festival. The venue; according to the Official Glastonbury Festival web page, can be found inside Elvis's mouth. (With my new 'nod to Elvis' sofa I should be given free drinks!).
However; I found an old pair of sunglasses which fit him very well, and I quite like the look albeit, he now has a Jazz look about him. I'll add an L.E.D. light in his mouth; and then he really will be a tiger tiger burning bright, in the middle of the night.
He now looks happy instead of angry, and the sunnies are my little bit of hope that we will have a sunny festival. Fingers crossed; or like the tiger, I too may be feline beastly!...
It may be raining outside today, but it's getting totally tropical in the showman's caravan.
I've nearly finished making the covers for the sofa bed, and I went for the reversible options.
When I'm bored, I can just turn the cushions over for a different look. I honestly think that Elvis Presley would be proud of me, it could easily fit in with his Jungle themed room at Gracelands. Seriously; I like to say 'Eat your heart out Elvis!', but I think that maybe he actually did?
Which option do you think looks best in the pic above?.
Tomorrow I will stitch the ends up, and then tackle the huge mess I've created making the sofabed. I can't even say that 'Elvis has left the room'........in this state...t'was me...
Today didn't go quite to plan; it all started off very well, but come lunch time I suffered a large Snakebite.
Well I say suffered but, it was actually very nice and quite nostalgic. I don't think I've drunk one since I was a student. In fact it was so nice I had two!. Which is why I didn't get as much done as I had planned.
Then the red leopard skin print fabric I have been hanging on to for twenty years with the aim of building a slide out sofa bed seemed like overkill; so I threw the alternative gold version of it on top, to give me an idea of which I'd prefer. (See above pic). This proved even more of a dilemma, as I just couldn't decide which was the most pleasing option. I may try to make a reversible cover with both options.
I've painted the wood the same 'King's' red as on the walls; and I've added two brass lion's head door knockers that I bought individually from boot sales, as handles. By the way; the tiger's head porcelain plaque is on the sofa because I've taken it down off the wall to add an eye patch to it, in recognition of the new venue in the Unfair Ground at Glastonbury Festival, The Blind Tiger.
Hmm I've just thought of a recipe for a drink they could sell. A Tigerbite; made up of lager, cider and chilli. I think I'll let someone else test that one first though, or I may never get my work finished.
So I've been screwing all day on the slide out sofabed; and I've just finished now, at 10.30pm. (Screwing the joints together and adding the slats).
I'm working with all re-cycled materials which always makes the job more tricky. Even the screws are re-cycled, and amazingly I didn't round the heads. After the pic on the left was taken, I also added some large doors to the front. So in the morning I'll give it a lick of paint, and make a cover for the old piece of caravan foam I've rescued for the seat. I've saved some red and gold tassle trim that matches the curtains to decorate the foam with; and I have some fab red leopard skin fabric to use for the cover. Leopard skin fabric is not traditional in a showman's wagon I know but; it is reputedly an old circus wagon and sometimes I can be a bit of an animal.....
I was building a slide out sofa today in the Showman's wagon, and was wondering if anybody else uses a tape measure in the same way as I do. I can't be bothered to measure in just millimetres; so mark the point I need to the nearest big line, which means I could end up using inches or millimetres or both, as in the diagram above. This means that most of the time I work in inches with centimetres. It's a totally lazy way of working and if there were other markings on the tape measure which matched the point that I was working to, I would use these too. In the past if I can't find a tape measure I could use say, three bog rolls long?.. or two and a half pieces of A4 paper. It would probably be a lot easier to just measure everything in millimetres? (Wouldn't it be funny if there was actually a measurement called one bog roll!). The Queen; for example, could possibly measure 12 bog rolls tall?. I definately know the measure of myself though it's one 'stopfannyingaboutdaydreamingandgetonwiththejobyou'resupposedtobedoing!'...
The weather forecast for the coming week looks wet; and with that in mind I thought it would be best to spend the day giving the roof another coat of sealant. This involved a lot of climbing up and down a ladder. Moving the ladder around the Showman's wagon; I couldn't help but notice how much Cuckoo Spit there was in the undergrowth. (The next time I pop inside for a cuppa I will google 'why is it called Cuckoo Spit'?, I thought to myself). As children we believed it was actually Cuckoo's spit; but to be honest, I have never seen or heard a cuckoo spitting? When we were kids the boys who used to spit on the ground, were the ones who thought they were hard. I've never heard of a hard case cuckoo though?. Or seen one wearing a Millwall shirt either?. Nowadays the only people you see spitting are footballers and to be honest it's absolutely gross. They really need to tuck a hanky into their waistbands and discreetly spit into that if they really need to spit, and if they haven't got one with them, they need to put their hands up and ask the ref for one!
When I read why it's called cuckoo spit; the only connection it has with an actual cuckoo, is that it appears in the spring around the time you could hear cuckoos.
So there we have it, cuckoos don't spit.
I'm glad it's going to rain tomorrow and I will be back working inside; as there are far too many distractions outside. At this rate it will be me that ends up Cuckoo...
I seem to have a default setting when I'm under pressure and have a lot of jobs to do before #GlastonburyFestival.
I call it my 'Matrix Mode', and I guess it's a kind of self distraction technique. I can get distracted by the smallest thing. (Like with the millipede left, that I came across today.)
Time slows down; like the scene in the Matrix when things go into slow motion, and I find myself observing insects, or flowers maybe?.
Here's a sample of todays thoughts...
"Ooo look at that little wriggling thing".... "Is it a centipede or a millipede"?..."Hang on, I'll count it's legs".... "Ooo it seems to have 108, too many for a centipede, but not enough for a millipede",......"maybe it's a centimillipede?"..."hmmm; I wonder how long it would take it to sing Heads; Shoulders, Knees and Toes"?, ....Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Knees and Knees and Knees and Knees and Knees" etc, etc, and before you know it; I've wasted another valuable quarter of an hour.
I really need to give myself a damn good kick up the backside......Thank God I'm not a millipede or that could be very painful indeed!...
The sofa bed in my Showmans wagon is 1950's and, let's say it's a tad lumpy.
I keep meaning to re-furbish it with some memory foam, but it's so expensive. (I also plan to build another 'slide out' sofa bed in the lving area; out of scrap wood, and old caravan foam I've been keeping). I remember how people used to call it sponge when I was young. There was also sponge cake; which was a little confusing as we actually had a foam sponge cake in the play shop at school.
However; yesterday I had a lucky bid on ebay and managed to win a small double bed sized piece for only £5.
Today when I went to collect the memory foam, I met a lovely kind old man called Bob. He asked me if I'd like to take two other single sized pieces as well, for free. He was so sweet. I mentioned that my engine management light had come on; on my dashboard, and he offered to have a look at it and check the water etc. (Obviously I declined; Bob must have been in his 80's, and I was pretty sure it was a fault with the light).
When I go to sleep; I will now feel like I am floating on a cloud. All thanks to a kindly 'sponge' Bob.
The BBC weather forecast for today, predicted overcast but fine in Somerset. The outlook for the rest of the week is showery with occasional sunny spells.
Great! I thought, today is the day to get up on the roof and paint another layer of sealant coating. (Pic above from the roof looking over my jewellery workshop and sewing shed).
However; the forecast was not as predicted. It seemed like every time I climbed up and started slapping on the rubber paint, the heavens would open. I felt like the little woman in an Alpine Weather House, every time it rained I downed tools and went inside. With the week ahead looking unpredictable (weather wise); tomorrow, I'll be back to painting the cabinets.
When it rains at this time of year, it gives me a little bit of hope that during the Festival the weather will be good. Wishful thinking I know but; the idea of a muddy Glastonbury Festival lost it's appeal for me when it rained so much tents and portaloos floated away, creating a river of mud and heaven knows what?.
I can never look at drunken revellers happily sliding on their stomachs in the mud again without thinking "They're laughing now, but I know they're probably in the sh*t"
With the date of Glastonbury Festival steaming towards me, I decided I had better try and get a little organised in my preparation. (Something which certainly doesn't come naturally to me).
So today I wrote a list of jobs that needs doing before leaving, and realised a lot of them were to do with working on my Showmans wagon.
I need to have a display area where I can have a little exhibition of my work. So I decided to move some cabinets around in my kitchen which will have a dual purpose. They will have to be useful as kitchen cabinets but could double up as a display area when needed.
I already have a nice art deco cabinet in the kitchen which would serve this purpose, but there was an annoying gap between the top of it and the roof, so I filled it in with two little cupboards I made with flap doors. Then I moved some other cabinets I had which were in the living room, into the kitchen and I felt that they would serve to do the job very nicely.
Many years ago; (long before Drew Pritchard, and other trendy salvage hunters), I bought an early plastic, hollow tigers head at a Car Boot sale. I think it may have originally been a mascot on a lorry. I can remember as a child sometimes you would see a lorry with an illuminated mascot on the top above the windscreen. One day I thought; I will install it as a lamp in a piece of furniture, as the showman's wagon is Circus themed, it seemed appropriate to install it into my re-worked display cabinet. The tigers head had always slightly annoyed me; because one of the eyes was slightly bulging and therefore slightly facing in the wrong direction. To remedy this; I used some heat on it from my jewellers torch (being very careful not to over do it!). With a bit of pressure applied to it as it cooled down, the eye popped back to its correct position. Then I painted the cabinet, as I wanted it to be bright and engaging as this is what you see when looking in through the showman's door. (See above pics of before and after. The blueish tinge in the before pic is due to the tarpaulin on the roof, which I removed so that I can see the colours clearly). It's not quite finished yet but I'm pleased with the progress so far. I have an l.e.d. light ready to fit into the socket I prepared for the tiger light.
I've just found out that there is a new super venue for The Unfairground area of Glastonbury, it's called The Blind Tiger. If I'd known this earlier I could have just stuck a black patch over the tigers eye and saved myself half an hours work, and be very in keeping with the festival vibe.
Tonight though; I'm feline quite content with todays work.
I've completely lost track of time. I thought I might start blogging again on the first of June and describe the preparation that goes into getting everything ready for Pilton. (Or Glastonbury Festival as it is more commonly called).
The only thing is; I thought that the first day of June was on Monday, and only noticed this evening (Saturday) the first is actually today.
I'm trying not to panic at the amount of work I have to do before the festival; however, I've just lost two days that I thought I had.
In the past I have heard a Pyschiatric Nurse say that the biggest influx of patients in Psychiatric Hospitals is around the really stressful times of year.
The first being Christmas; when people are getting everything ready for a perfect family holiday and there turns out to be far more planning than they had planned and their heads go ping.
Secondly; around Glastonbury Festival,.......... for the same reasons.
It really is miraculous what is achieved in a small amount of time; in a few fields, around Pilton Village, in a few weeks time.
It always makes me think of Henry VIII's 'Field of the Cloth of Gold'.
The Field of the Cloth of Gold was a magical artistic triumph that must have been spectacular. When you read the descriptions of it (which are quite detailed) it must have been an enormous undertaking for the artists involved. It was made in England then transported over to France, set up for a few days then disappeared just as quickly. There were working giant fountains which spouted red wine; life sized buildings painted onto canvas and erected in situ, etc etc.
Basically; the equivalent of a modern day film set, which is very similar to large parts of Glastonbury Festival. The Long Drop Toilets (probably only best to scroll through the pics on the link, if you have a strong stomach) are often described as medieval.
All we really need at Glastonbury Festival to get it on par with the Field of the Cloth of Gold are some red wine fountains! Sadly; somehow, I don't think Michael Eavis would fund that though.
However; I may need a glass or two tonight, now that I've realised I've just lost two days...
I've been as busy as a bee the last couple of days; but will be back to regular blogging very, very soon...For now though; here's a photo of a bee that I took...
Bee right back x
Today the Portrait Time Machine fired up again, and popped out another updated painting .
This time it was a portrait of Catherine the Great (Empress of Russia); possibly due to the fact that it would have been her birthday on May 2nd?.
The portrait that it chose is Catherine II by J.B.Lampi painted in the 1780s.
I really like the original portrait for several reasons.
1. The 'stack pipe' style sleeves on her dress.
2. The fabulous blingy necklace she is wearing , with the spread-eagled man on the front of it.
and 3. In the updated version, she looks just like David Cameron in a wig!
Now I've always been fascinated by ancient jewellery; and the necklace she is wearing, is such a fab bit of P.R. for Catherine. It's saying; 'Hey fellas, approach me at your peril. You are vunerable in my presence'.
(After all she had had her husband knocked off so that she could take control of the throne). However; she was popular with the people, and brought about some changes that made the ordinary man's life a little easier. One of the 'great' things she did was to inoculate most of the country against smallpox, which was an enormous feat in the late 1700's.
She made a lot of sweeping changes in her time; so in the updated version she is challenging Russia's attitudes to homosexuality.
I can't believe how much she looks like David Cameron in a wig. I can't help thinking that Catherine probably had more balls than him though?....
As promised today I will be inserting the love missile into the rear of the pendant.
The enamel I'd added to the mohawk was taking on a nice textured effect (I didn't want it to look smooth) (see middle pic) and the eyes had turned a nice shade of blue, so now was the time to add the missile. I cut out a piece of sterling silver from an old battered cigarette case.
First of all I stamped out the letters 'Love Missile' into the silver. The fact that it was battered made no difference; because I then hammered the silver in a steel tube former, which gave it a cylindrical effect. Next I cut out a glans shaped piece of silver and made a collet (holder); for the pear shaped moon stone I was to add, to represent a sperm droplet. (Yes; you heard that right folks).
After soldering on all the pieces; I then gave the reverse an aged look, by painting on a blackening aging compound.
Now I just have to decide what sort of chain it will hang from. The pendant had now become a chunky, funky , punky , spunky necklace...
So today (like a lot of my days) I'm back to front.................................... on the Sigue Sigue Spoon.
I wanted the eyebrows to stand out more than the etched silver I'd created on the face, so I added a couple of pieces of silver wire. Then I added more squiggles of silver to the mohican, to try and create a more 'dready' looking mohawk. Now it was time to start layering up some enamel to add a bit of colour. It would be a sin to create a mini Sigue Sigue character without it.
Next I started to torch fire the enamel.
Once I'd added some colour to the hair, I decided I needed to add some blue for Martin's eyes. In all the pics I've seen of him, he appears to have quite striking blue eyes. I could have added some blue dots of enamel to the face, but I was worried that these would be susceptible to damage. So I made two silver wire circles and soldered these on; as the enamel would then be contained, as in cloisonné. (See above pics; which aren't great I know, as I have a crappy phone :-/)
Tommorrow I will be inserting the love missile into his back side and if you want to witness this then, see you tomorrow!...
Apparently it's 500 years ago today that Leonardo da Vinci died; so I thought I'd post a link to the Mona Lisa that sits in The Portrait Time Machine. (See pic below from November 13th blog last year). She looks such a minx in a modern day setting.
I know the machine has been a bit quiet of late; but it's got a flat battery, and I've had to put it on to charge.It will be up and running again soon.
Now back to the spoon.
I think it's makes the spoons more interesting to decorate the backs, as well as the fronts. So I began by etching the back. (see above pic) The wording reads Sigue Sigue Spoonface by M.T.A.
I also wanted to add a little something extra, to make the spoon a talking point; but what?
Naturally when you think of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, you automatically think of Love Missile F1-11.
That was it then; I would add a Love Missile..... but what exactly is a love missile?
Well I know what my interpretation of one is, and I would add that!
Now I don't wish to be a prick-tease but before I started that, I had a bit more work to do on the face. So tomorrow I'll be back to front, which isn't unusual for me...
May Day; May Day, I'm flying off the handle!
So as I mentioned in my blog last night; tonight I'm back to spooning, but guess who this time?
When I folded the handle of the spoon over on this particular one; it reminded me of a large mohican hair style.
With a face shaped like this spoon and a mohican hairstyle; one person sprang to mind, the fabulous Martin Degville of Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
The first time Sigue Sigue Sputnik (who were formed by Tony James) appeared on Top of The Pops, I think every right-minded dad in the land choked on his tea. They were outrageous; colourful, over the top and edgy.
A perfect combo.
So begins, the making of the Sterling Silver Sigue Sigue Spoonface...
The first stage was to etch the face. When I removed the spoon from the etching fluid I liked the effect, as I'd made it textured like the fishnet face mask he used to wear. I then cut out the mouth and sawed the individual teeth. (See above pic)
The next stage was to punch his nose out (in a nice way); not too much though, as I wanted to get that stockinged mask effect.
Tomorrow I will be attacking his back side; and FYI it will be getting quite naughty.
If you wish to witness this, come again on the morrow..
The day to day life of a Somerset Artist