Got plenty to do despite still hobbling a little with the mystery ailment to the ankle – I’ve been meaning to get around to rethinking the watercolours alongside the bigger pictures now so much ‘looser’ on aluminium.  And now I’ve managed it…I’m not sure I’ve got it quite right yet but I’m a lot happier with the initial results.


Aarrggh! Bubonic Plague Returns…



This one was a little laborious truth to tell…I’m thinking that the large version on the aluminium may be simplified a little and the colour scheme altered to punch up the images and differentiate them from the ground.  We tend to think that it has disappeared from the scene…but it’s still ‘out there’ albeit a rare occurrence.  A 7 year old girl in Colorado contracted it last autumn but luckily she was treated fast and made a full recovery.  Back in the middle ages it is reckoned to have wiped out a third of Western Europe…

West Nile


What with the weather being rather bitter (and the snow beginning to stick) a trip to the studio didn’t seem attractive.  And a goodly part of yesterday was spent travelling to Lincoln and back (for a planning meeting regarding the module to be taught in a few weeks time) with plenty of time to ponder the watercolour in progress.  This morning I turned up a small trial pan of watercolour that my good friend Linda had given me, she having been given it whilst shopping for materials as gifts for my wife and I for Christmas.  It was Quinacridone Magenta and it struck me as just the colour to pick out the edges of the main forms and so it has been.  I’ve now made fourteen in the watercolour series and aim to extend it to twenty four or so, as I think I have the source images to get enough ‘juice’ out of the idea before I tire of it.

A bit of planning



As I’m still recovering from a rather vicious cold I’ve decided to have a few days at home rather than in the studio.  So I have taken the opportunity to review the watercolours of the Deadly Delicious series.  There are now thirteen of these – nine with circular motifs and four with ovals (that I’ve taken to calling ‘squashed’) – I laid out the eleven that I think are completed to reappraise them.  They have been created fairly haphazardly  to date so the placing, size and handling are hardly consistent across the collection as a whole and it’s been fairly random as to which have been chosen out of the initial images from which each emerges.  I’m adding a few ‘new’ images into the collection over this early part of January…including expanding into the world of bacteria – whether this departure will make for similar or radically different forms remains to be seen!

Deadly Delicious – Another Watercolour



Small Pox – and currently I’m working on a variant that shows more of the virus situated in the context of the host environment…and wondering whether I ought to be thinking of each image in this way rather than mixing the two up in the manner I have to date.  Of course this goes to the very heart of this project…namely am I prepared to simply use these core images as a jumping off point for what are essentially non-representational pictures or do I wish to have that referent visible as it were in the finally presented work?  This in itself is yet another question as in the first instance these are things that many potential audience members wouldn’t recognise, secondly they are only recognisable from the images that the electron microscope reveals (we cannot ‘see’ these things directly) and thirdly my rather rough and ready ‘translations’ (that include wholesale mucking about with colour – that in itself is an arbitrary decision of their original creators) inevitably lose something in the process.

Do I need to resolve these issues at all?  Does it matter to anyone other than me…perhaps more importantly will it make any difference to the outcome of the exhibition that I’m aiming towards.  I envisage some 16 pictures comprising the display on the long wall of the gallery – 8 circular and 8 ovals – arranged in a irregular formation.  So a further consideration is the way in which the group will hang together and what the look may be.  And maybe that brings me back to my initial question here.  Perhaps the idea of either the single or isolated group of each virus (exemplified by the Small Pox above or say the HIV canvas that I’ve made) ought to be contained within the circles and the virus within context (such as the Marburg canvas) ought to be ‘squashed’ onto the ovals.  One to ponder…for only a day or two though…as the first of the new aluminium supports is now primed and ready to go in the week ahead!

Another Week Passes

Squashed Cocsackie, 22 x 30 inches, Watercolour on Somerset paper

well, very nearly.  It hardly seems a week since the trip away but it very nearly is.  My work rate over this summer has been pretty poor though here at least are two new works.

Another of the watercolours that will probably be exhibited in the Southwell Open Studios in a couple months time.  I am trying to restrict my palette a little for this event and very broadly speaking seeking an autumnal ambiance to the pieces that will be on display.  Some expect more greens and browns, rusty reds and muddy yellows!

Alongside these the drawings continue…and I’m thinking ahead to next year and imagining some new paintings, on a larger scale that may utilise these partial sections of this current obsession with the forms of viruses.

Yellow Fever Fragment, 22 x 30 inches, Charcoal on paper