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A week in creativity (w/e 19 Nov)(all)

Hello everyone!  Another week, another chance to be creative!  I was a little worried that this week might be light on creative output (as I had planned to go and do a bunch of things – so inhaling creativity rather than exhaling) – but when I went through the week’s photos I was pleased that this really wasn’t the case!

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I managed to get to two concerts this week – and both were excellent.  The first was at the Camden Roundhouse and the second at the Wembley Arena.  My third piece of creative inhaling was going to the Dali / Duchamp exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts.  There were still a few pieces that made me go “Huh? I don’t get it”  but there was a lot more that I was just absolutely fascinated by.  It also helped that I went with Sue, so between us we could look at the pictures, talk about them and sound very knowledgeable indeed!  The exhibition was “no photography” one, which was a shame, but outside they were preparing a plinth for a new piece of art.  Of course, having now attended many modern art exhibitions, I did have to wonder if the pile of stones was also an art installation…. you be the judge…

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If you think I’m being silly, have a look at Carl Andre’s Equivalent series…

Anyway, this was my outputs for the week.  Enjoy!

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for “Grey”
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for “Brown”
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for “Gold”
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for “Silver” – words to live by
for “Neon”
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for “Circle”
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for “Curly”
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I also drew this for “Curly”
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for “Listening to”
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For “not mine” – a sunrise over the rented house’s garden
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also taken for “not mine”

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Nearly every young person’s phone that I’ve seen has a crack across it. I wonder if this is how they see the world now.
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I don’t have to blow my own trumpet… I have this guy
There was football on this week. For the record, Pantone 306C is a light blue.
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Naughty Elf on the Shelf!
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For the Black and White challenge
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For the Black and White challenge

Have a great week!

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The Annual Advent Story – An Announcement (all)

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Hi everyone.  Just thought I’d make a quick announcement in regard to this year’s advent story.  I am planning to go ahead with it, but I’m going to have to break a number of my own rules to achieve it.

Firstly, it won’t be a daily post but a weekly one.  Secondly, and partly because of the firstly, I will know what all the week’s toys will be in advance. Thirdly, I won’t have a set minimum on the words.

I have been wrestling with this for about a month now.  I didn’t want to abandon it for this year because this challenge is something I enjoy (and besides, I’ve already bought the calendar!).  However, over the last two years it has been a challenge to write every day over the 24 days because of my working arrangements (I am away from home four days in a week) and it was starting to become something that I wasn’t looking forward to (when you’ve had a long day, and there are other things you want to do too…)

The other niggly thing is that last year I got a really cool box that had it’s own scenes built in, which was portable and made setting things up much more easy. Unfortunately, that is in a storage facility somewhere whilst our house is repaired.  This box also includes some of those annual figures that I like to re-use (like Nurgle).


I do have an idea now for this year’s story (which is more than I had last week) and will be something that I think you might enjoy (I’m certainly enthused by it), but it will be a departure from what I’ve done in the past – partly because of the firstly, secondly, thirdly and fourthly things I mentioned.

But I thought I would at least mention it ahead of time, so that no-one’s surprised.  But I am sorry – and hopefully next year it will be business as normal – or at least, as normal as it gets in the advent stories!

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A week in creativity (all)(11 November)

Hello everyone!  This week has been prolific for me in regard to creativity – a seven day Black and White photography challenge, the daily photo a day challenge as well as an idea to create some badges and T-shirt designs because… well, why not?

Some of the images that I used to meet those challenges were photos and drawings that I had created and (in all likelihood) posted on this blog before, so this week’s collection is effectively a curated selection of this week’s work.

As I wrote in my blog earlier this week, I also went to an art gallery and formed some very forthright views about modern art.  Time and rethinking hasn’t softened that view, but that I realised that something that I might not like doesn’t mean it’s rubbish.  Indeed, that I have spent the remainder of the week thinking about it could be implied that it did it’s job – but in balance my thinking hasn’t been about what the artist meant, but more how they got away with calling it art.  But art IS very subjective – not everyone will see the fun in a Kawaii picture of a fluffy cloud, thinking it is childish, but to someone else they might see the depth that can be brought from that.  As an example, at the very end of this collection is an image I created last week for today (11th November) and Remembrance Sunday.  I hope this shows that there are those who fought in the wars and have seen things that we may never see or understand – it is not just the physical things that get left behind.  I presented this through the photography of two toys – the freedom of the modern day to reflect what we can now achieve thanks to their sacrifice.

Anyway, enjoy the collection – and I’ll see you next week.

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View of London from Primrose Hill
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Covent Garden Market
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For the B&W challenge. Being cheeky!
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The Photo a Day – Orange
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I found these Christmas decorations…
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“I don’t get it”
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Bizarre art
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I might not get Modern Art, but I can still buy these things! Weird, huh?!
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“I keep dropping my aitches”
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“I really need a P right now”
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Zebra. Deconstructed.
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I wondered if the horn was the corn, and if so, would this be right?
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Continuing with the deconstructed theme
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I wanted to do something with an elephant…
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Not sure this is as good as “Zebra”, but it’s still cute
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About as political as I think I should get. People should have the right to wear T-shirts
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Perhaps a badge design?
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Or perhaps this?
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I thought about this as a badge design; whilst I like the self-deprecation, I could see how it could be quite negative too. So I’m on the fence with this one.
We will Remember them.
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Modern Art. Revisited. Again (teen+ for occasional language)

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“I don’t get it”


Tonight I visited an art gallery for a free exhibition called “Everything at Once”. It consisted of 28 art pieces from a number of artists. I’ve put a few pictures into this blog, but that’s because, for me, I learned an important thing about art.

Which is, the viewer’s perception of the piece will depend on their state of mind and the connection that they might make to the presented piece.  I’ve come to this more restrained viewpoint as a considered rethink from my original thought which was “some modern art is w*nky”.  This slightly altered view simply came from the hour journey home which was spent thinking about the very things that I chose to think less of.  To be fair, I still think they are w*nky but I gave it more time than the initial view.

I know I needed to use the “some … is” because there is a lot of modern art that I really quite like, or think is quite clever.  Indeed, there were some really cool pieces at the exhibition.  I still enjoy a Rothko and am amazed at the scale and complexity of a Pollock, but there are others which I am surprised that the artist thought “that’s brilliant” – when in the back of my mind I know if I had produced it I would have had a totally different thought… as would have my Kindergarten teacher.  Some art, it seems, is only art because the artist has been able to secure a 40-metre long wall to paint on, certainly not because they have done anything thought provoking.  But then, I expressed this view a few years back in a blog – it’s nice to know something’s don’t change.

So it could be that if I was in a different mood I might have found something special about the art. Personally, it may have worked in a different location (if the art piece “Dialogue – Silence” by Lee Ufan had been located in a quiet grove of trees, with the blank canvas hanging from the branches, then in my opinion it would have been fantastic). Some though (such as the 35-minute video which contained a naked woman dances vigorously until she collapses… no, I didn’t watch the whole thing) just left me vacant and silent… a bit like the rest of the people that stood there watching.

But as I said, it wasn’t all bad.  I found the huge bell shape of Anish Kapoor’s “At the Edge of the World II” fascinating.  Standing under the bell, looking up, its sheer scale and red lining just filled my entire vision with a single colour – I was unable to judge distance or depth.  I found the various elements that made up “Forces outside of you (Because you cede your life decisions and consequences to forces outside of you)”  (Honest, that’s the title) quite fun – the stairway to heaven being pretty cool, as was the draped “cloth” over the mirror.

So, I still feel that I am challenging my preconceptions and not prepared to just write something off because of what I think it might be – but I stand by my convictions on some pieces of art.

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Test Pattern” by Ryoji Ikeda
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“At the Edge of the World II” by Anish Kapoor
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“Shape Shifter” by Allora & Calzadilla. A collection of discarded sandpaper sheets
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“Dialogue – Silence” by Lee Ufan
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Part of “Dramaturgical frameworks for structure and stability” by Ryan Gander
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It’s a mirror. Part of an art piece with a silly title. IMO. By Ryan Gander
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Part of the thing with the mirror. By Ryan Gander
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A week in creativity (as at 04.11.17)(all)

Hello everyone!  As always, I’ve reaffirmed to myself that creativity is there if you look for it and take the opportunities as they present themselves.  The photo-a-day challenge continues, and a new challenge has been started for November, but this week I’ll just group the images into appropriate sets.

My drawings continued, with a couple of pieces finished off this week and a new one started.  The Ferris wheel is drawn and coloured, but I have some LED lights that I want to put on it to just add a little something extra:

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There may be something in the tree…

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The spooky halloween image was used a couple of times this week – once as a backdrop to Pumpkin Smurf and once as a base to add to the fun FluffyHouse Picture app:

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I managed to create a couple of indoor toy photography pictures this week, having found some really fun diorama accessories (which may be used in December… hint hint 🙂 )

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“Not quite done”. The cover for the difficult 143rd album by Pick ‘n Chew.
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A nice Christmas scene
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“I hope I didn’t oversleep and miss Halloween!”

Finally for this week, here are a few pictures that I took when I headed out for a walk along the Thames this week.  As usual, I had a couple of toys in my pocket and with no regard for what others may think of a 40-something almost laying on the Millenium bridge, I had great fun taking a few pictures.  I also took the opportunity to walk down the steps to the foreshore (I should point out that you should be REALLY careful if you do get close to the Thames.  The river is tidal and moves at a fair pace.  Years ago we went for a paddle down the river and a couple of friends fell out of their kayak. Even though they were strong swimmers they ended up many hundreds of yards downstream before they could get to the shore) and get a couple of pictures down there too.

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It has been a fun week and who knows what fun next week will hold?  It’ll be fun finding out!

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A week in creativity (week ending 29th October)(all)

Hello everyone! I’ve had a cold this week, which has meant no going out and exploring.  However, this did mean more time spent drawing and being creative!  This week I also decided to make use of my larger A5 sketchbook than draw using my usual A6 postcards.  I found it a little more challenging to use the larger paper size – drawing a straight line freehand over something twice the size is a lot more challenging!

Anyway, as always – enjoy. Let’s start with the Photo-a-day challenges:

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Right now:  Right here, Right now…. That Fat Boy Slim song inspired this (you wouldn’t know, but they are standing in front of one of my speakers!!)
I wrote this: a fairly easy one to create – these are the books and blogs I have created over the years!
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Something Orange: Halloween has definitely influenced me this week!
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One of a kind 1/2: I had two ideas, this was a simple drawing with no plan, so definitely was going to be one of a kind!
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One of a kind 2/2: One of a kind is rubbish when playing poker! My cards (and indeed Benjamin’s) are single images, so I’m really pleased with the way the shading came out.  On Instagram someone commented that only Toy Photographers would play cards with their toys!
In Flight: this was a bit of challenge, but rather than try and make it look like William and Benjamin were flying, I decided to revert back to childhood.  Who hasn’t thought they could fly and gone “wssshhh!” round the living room?
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Sticky: this one made me smile as I set it up.  One too many concerts where the floors have been sticky inspired this one – and it helps that Benjamin’s foot comes off so easily!
Gate (1/2): I needed a little time to set this one up – it’s the portal “gate” to another world. The image is made up of two pictures, and three layers.  The base layer is William and the pentacle (those symbols are made up!) then I overlayed the image of William and Benjamin before taking out all but the bit you see.  I also took down the opacity of that level to make it a little more spooky before adding the smoke.  Very pleased with the result!
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Gate 2/2: a very quick sketch of a gate.  I deliberately made sure it looked a little old – gaps either side, bars that don’t go across and a latch that doesn’t.
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Looking down (1/2) when you are trying to find that one small, crucial piece.
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Looking down (2/2) : because people don’t. Almost from personal experience when I’ve taken outdoor photographs it’s amazing how close some people have come to treading on me whilst I get that perfect shot!
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On top: I had posted this on my Instagram account earlier in the week with the tag “Right Now”, but I think it also works for this challenge too.


Here’s some Toy photography.  I’d apologise for the puns, but I won’t … that’s what comes from listening to music from the 1980s!!

It makes a change from the Johnny Cash ring of fire joke….!
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We blinded him with science!
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You’d better watch out, you’d better not stare, Zombie Santa’s coming to scare!


Finally, here’s the results from using a bigger pad.  I still want to colour the Santa – and I definitely need to ink and colour the Elf, but I still wanted to share this week anyway.

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The vampire’s promise
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Trick or treat?

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A week (and more) in creativity (week ending 21.10)(all)

Hello everyone!

Sorry that I didn’t post anything last weekend – we spent a weekend in London and crammed plenty of things in – which meant that there was no time to edit, curate and post the images.  So – double lot this week!

As well as the usual “Photo a day” challenges and the drawings, I also had a couple of new designer vinyl toys delivered this week and had a go at a seven-day “Black and White” challenge.  Actually, let’s start with that.

The challenge was “Seven Days of your life. Black and White photographs. No people. No Explanation.”  You were also supposed to tag someone each day to play along.  As usual, I wasn’t tagged and didn’t tag – if you want to play you should be able to.  So, here are my seven:


I’m quite pleased with the way these came out!

The “Photo a Day” challenge continues to challenge me, which is great.  It’s interesting that in myself I can feel pleased when I’ve interpreted the day’s seed in an alternate way, and a little disappointed when I just take a photo of the thing itself – almost as if I’ve just “dialled it in” (even though I would have spent the previous day thinking about it!).

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Good for me: drawing and optimism (and toy photography!)
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Angle:  In this case a cute angle.  Get it??!
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A favourite: we all have our favourite fruit pastilles
I saw this today: Late night working and I saw 1am.
Trees: A photo I took before Autumn came (Sculptures by the Lakes, Dorset)
Perspective: a screen shot of the blog I wrote 3 years ago on my view of modern art
Snuggle: early morning selfie!
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My name: I seem to be known by many names – whether it’s my Instagram name, my actual name or the name that I get called in the office

For “gadget” I couldn’t think of one thing – so I posted a few.  From L-R: trackball, bone conduction headphones, smartphones and fitness trackers, reading glasses, fountain pen.

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One Word: I thought of the thesaurus and how it shows how one word could be replaced by many others.  Then I thought the word sounded a little “dinosaur-y” 🙂

Organised: yet another multiple picture – because these get carried in a suitcase, I box them to protect them

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Floral.  I wondered what I would do for this one; then Sue said she had bought herself some flowers!

As noted, I did get a few more toys to play with this week:

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Dyno by Fluffy House. I loved the sticker that came with it!
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Silly Scary Dunny
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Business Cloud by Fluffy House
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Beaker from the Muppets: it’s all Me, me me!

I managed to draw a few kawaii-style images this week. One of the ‘fun’ ones came from a very silly conversation where we were talking about favourite animals, and someone mentioned that growing up they had liked Hippopotamus but had moved towards liking bats.  So I drew the Hippo-potty-bat :).  We were also talking about the Hydrogen buses that are now being used in London – and it was commented that they should have balloons floating from them.  A chance run past Battersea Power Station reminded me of the Pink Floyd album cover…

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I wondered if a parent puts their children’s pictures on the fridge, where would they put a picture of a fridge?
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Too soon?
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Hydrogen Bus!

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Even if it is the first of its kind, it’s generated from a number of previous thoughts – so is it actually a unique thought? Just a thought!

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Hot on the heels of the Thesaurus… or would be if it didn’t have to stop for a cough!

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Wish you were here?

Finally, a random assortment of other things that I thought would be cool to share this week.

In the Design Museum in London there was a fascinating exhibition on “California” and how it has influenced so much in the world – Silicon valley for computing, the Easy Rider, Skateboards etc.  I was fascinated to see that PRIDE also started here – not realising that PRIDE stood for Personal Rights In Defense and Education – and that the infamous “rainbow” flag has symbolism to each of the colours – pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony, and violet for human spirit.  The exhibition also noted that blue was now used instead of turquoise and that pink and indigo had now been removed.

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Finally, the fallout from Hurricane Ophelia, mixed with the dust of the Sahara, caused some interesting effects on the lighting this week.  Probably the biggest thing was the “red sun” which I didn’t spot until I was mid run!  I had to drop the brightness levels on my phone to get these pictures, but I thought they came out quite well.

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Have a great week!