Graphite and collage on plywood board
20” x 30”

Original Artwork : £290.00

After the various pitfalls and mess ups I’ve made so far it is with a certain amount of relief that my first piece has finally reached a conclusion (although I’ve left it without its final coat of gel medium for the moment in case I decide it that it needs additional work, but I think that’s just my inability to accept when something is done and move on).

On the whole, I’m pretty pleased. Not smugly self satisfied but It’s pretty much the kind of end result I had in mind and given that the nature of collage means a large element of making it up as you go along it could, quite frankly, haver turned out completely wrong.

In fact, to be honest with you, my first attempt was really awful (in my opinion anyway). I’d tried using paint (hence the problems I was having with the paper becoming unglued) and it just ended up looking a mess, which is why i was very pleased when I was able to get the drawing free of the board and re-use it. Restricting myself to collaging with just paper and transfers has proved far more successful, although I may introduce some paint elements into future pieces.

As such, I’ve approached a local gallery with a view to exhibiting some work and they also do framing. Blossom Street Gallery is run by some very nice people and they do a rather nice oak, bare wood moulding which I’ll get finished with a dark hand wax as I think it should compliment the artwork. Alizon will be dropped off to them in a day or so and I’ll post a photo of the completed piece.

Anyway, a self congratulatory glass of wine awaits so I shall leave you to consider your own opinion as to the merits of the finished art and please feel free to share them in either the comments box below or send me an email.

Original Artwork : £290.00

And if you’d like to share that would be fab…


Having given artwork sizes some considerable thought I realised that if I scaled them down I would not only reduce the problem I was having creating them but also make them a more realistic size.
This would also have the advantage of making them quicker to produce and consequently more affordable.

I know for the potential buyer of art there’s always the option of buying a print, which is less expensive and can be as small (or large) as you like, but for those who want the uniqueness of an original but are aware that food on the table and paying the gas bill is perhaps slightly more of a priority, this will be welcome news.

You will also be overjoyed to learn that I have solved the collage medium problem. After some inevitable trawling around Google I found Jackson’s Acrylic Heavy Gel Matt Medium which is perfect. A strong glue that stays stuck even if water is applied (or anything else for that matter) and can also be used as a top coat to seal everything in place when finished. Fabulous.

As such, I’ve re-stuck Alizon to a 20 inches by 30 inches plywood board and started applying the collage materials.
Should be completed soon…

And if you’d like to share that would be fab…


Not sure whether you’ll agree but I’ve had another one of those vaguely self-doubting thoughts (I don’t mean you might disagree on whether I’ve had a thought.. although it’s a fair point for contention) that questions the wisdom of creating all the art at the same, rather large, size. I think I mentioned this before but I’d planned to produce all the pieces at 4 foot by 3 foot, with perhaps the odd one at a more dramatic 5 foot by 4 foot. The intention being to give myself plenty of room for a large pencil drawing and also scope for whatever collage additions I thought appropriate.
This still seemed a perfectly sensible approach as I opened up my newly arrived pot of ‘Yes’ paste and then tore Alizon out of the paper I’d drawn her on (which was little scary but i managed to get her out in one piece) but as I began gluing her onto the board I suddenly became aware of how big the finished piece might be for a lot of people’s rooms, and also how much space there was around her. Fortunately the second problem provided a solution to the first; I’ll put her on a smaller board.
Ah, but I’ve just stuck her down…
Oh well, too late, i’ll get Alizon finished and then worry about re-thinking the size later.
At this stage I encountered a further technical issue (this whole project is proving to be a rather time consuming learning curve) as the water based paint I was applying to the drawing started sending the glue back to its original state, at which point Alizon began bubbling up off the board. Realising that this was would prevent any further work on the piece and it would effectively be wasted I cut my losses and sponged the drawing down to see if iI would completely lift it off. Fortunately I had used some fixative to protect the pencil work and equally as fortunate, and with a bit of persuasion, I succeeded.
That was all very well but I was now back to the indecision of size.
Plus, I still don’t have a collage medium that works.

And if you’d like to share that would be fab…


I’ve always wanted to do fine art. The idea of deciding what I want to create and not being in any way held back by the commercial dictates of a third party is very appealing. It’s why, many years ago, I self published my own comic book; a brave, noble and ultimately doomed attempt to provide myself with an income from the creation of a comic book story that was entirely my own. Sapphire was great fun and a valuable experience (and was even reasonably well received) but a source of income it was not.

It’s also why I self-published Haunted York, a guide to the best known ghost stories in my home town (allegedly the most haunted city in Europe) and although doing somewhat better commercially than Sapphire it still didn’t provide the full freedom of creation that I crave (and there was no drawing involved).

However, Spirits is not about ghosts, nor is it about alcohol (much) and I know what you’re thinking; stop wittering on about things that have nothing to do with fine art and tell us what you’re planning to do. Right, good question and one that I’ve been asking myself repeatedly for the last few months. The main problem is actually deciding what not to do, certainly in terms of themes.

In which case, let’s focus on the actual art, which is in all likelihood why you’re here in the first place, although the style and execution of the art developed as a result of a theme. But first things first.

Most of the work I’ve done in comics has been pencil work. I’ve always liked graphite as an art medium and although I’ve worked with paint I prefer something that is more immediate and works well with portraits and collage, which is the main focus of the work I’ve begun. Not portraits of particular people (although I’m working on some of those as well) but faces that capture the sense of a theme. Ah, we’re back to those themes…

Given that the whole point of this fine art idea is creative freedom, I’m planning to use subjects that are of interest to me, which might sound a little self obsessed but they’re not radical or elitist in any way so hopefully they’ll be of interest to lots of other people too.

The Spirits theme came about as a result of a friend of mine suggesting that our gang go on a small jaunt to Pendle to check out the history of the witches. Being a fan of Forteana and anything a bit weird in general it occurred to me that the Pendle Witches would be a good subject. Great, I thought, my first idea for my first piece of work. Only problem was i had no idea how I was going to do it.

Although I knew of the Pendle Witches I wasn’t as familiar with them as I felt I should be so research on the subject seemed the first logical step. As I read about the hapless folk that were hanged on Gallows Hill in 1612 (eight woman and two men) and the interest that the trials still inspire today (helped by the always beneficial tourist industry) I imagined that those witches were still around, certainly in spirit, and that they were very much the spirit of Pendle. Also, the idea of the accused, the trial and the contemporary documents created an image of wanted posters (maybe that’s just me) and the layers of torn paper and print that are often seen on boards used for such things (although today it would more likely be for gig adverts and lost cat appeals) and it occurred to me that this would work really well as both context and texture.

It was all coming together (at least in my head); I envisioned a portrait of one of the witches (I decided upon Alizon Device, the unfortunate young woman who was responsible for kickstarting the whole affair) torn out of the cartridge paper that I would use to draw her on and pasted, along with additional torn papers (both plain and printed) onto some suitably sturdy board.

The pencil drawing that graces the top of this post is the start of turing the idea into a reality. I’m now gathering materials and I shall post the completed piece once it is finished.

And if you’d like to share that would be fab…