Doodles in the margin from an artist living and working in the Scottish Borders.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Answer: Nowt Any More.

I've been pursuing this project for some months now, but yesterday it fell flat on its face and won't be getting up again. 

'What's He Building?' may well be my favourite Tom Waits song, and  I've been keen to illustrate it for a long time. Wanting to do things properly, I applied for a licence to use the lyrics, which I really should have got around to doing a lot earlier than being more than halfway through a fairly lengthy and substantial drawing project. 

The people at Third Party Music were very helpful, but the publishers have refused permission, so I've had to pack it in. It was always a possibility but it's still disappointing to have to abandon it. However, it was fun while it lasted, although I was a bit stuck on how to successfully illustrate "a consulting business in Indonesia" in a single interesting panel. 

Some crumbs of lyric may be discernible in these extracts so I hope publishing this post doesn't trigger a fleet of black limousines to emerge sharklike from the underground car park at Universal Publishing and I make it plain that none of this is for sale at all anywhere to anyone in any form whatsoever.

I was inspired by and envious of Dan Berry's lovely illustrations for the Handsome Family's "After We Shot the Grizzly" not least because he "got in touch with Rennie and Brett and they said go for it." 

Ah well.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

I Have Hoovered Up Glitter In the Dark by the Tannhauser Gate.

My brain woke me up at 3:45 am to tell me this story:

Friday, 22 April 2016


We have new neighbours. They've moved into the end flat of the terrace in the last couple of days.

This is what they were treated to this morning.

They see their neighbour from two doors down emerge from his house. They notice that, despite occasionally leaving the house in a smart suit, he is still unshaved, unwashed and in his pyjamas at ten o' clock on a weekday morning.

Having come outside, he then starts to frantically remove his dressing gown, simultaneously desperately and with great care. Dressing gown removed,he puts it on the wall and inspects it very carefully. He steps back and leaves it on the wall. He looks at it. He looks around. He goes back indoors.

He re-emerges some seconds later, now having removed another couple of layers of clothes. He is gripping his left arm.

He performs some sort of dance, shaking his left arm while gripping it round about the elbow.

A small and active mouse falls out of his sleeve and runs across the lawn.

The neighbour goes back inside.

He does not even say 'good morning.'

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Telling Porcies

I'm a late convert to Studio Ghibli films, but I'm absolutely under their spell. I recently watched Porco Rosso. As you can see.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

A Man Walks Into a Shop.

A true story, up to a point.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

More Moors.

Heather Burning on Feuar's Moor, oil on canvas, 90cm x 90cm.

The question of when a painting is finished is sometimes a tricky one. This landscape, Heather Burning on Feuar's Moor, I had in a gallery in Edinburgh for a couple of months, and I'm a bit uncomfortable now that it was out in the public eye for such a long time because when I got it back it was pretty obvious to me that it wasn't done.

I'm still not quite convinced it's as unrestrained as I want it, but it's getting to the stage when that may have to happen in another painting. I'm certainly a lot happier with it than before. The small squares I paint stop me getting bogged down in detail, and this is another attempt to take that uninhibited, textured spontaneity that I find easier to get in the small squares and scale it up to the much larger canvas. It's not there yet, but it's coming, I think.

This painting is actually a sort of collage of different light effects and perspectives we saw as we travelled down the valley past the hill under the smoke from the heather burning, and the intention was to try and capture something of that sense of expansive movement and colour and light across the space of the land and the sky. It was quite a wonderful experience and I may well come back to it.

Heather Burning, the unfinished one. If you saw this, I'm sorry.


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