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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!

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Great Western Brick Show (all)

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The Brick show is an annual Lego show held in the former buildings of the Great Western Railway.  Although many of the buildings now form the Swindon shopping outlet centre, the museum STEAM plays host to the Lego show, where three of the halls are given over to various exhibitions.

The following pictures provide little more than a light summary of the exhibitions and really don’t do justice to the quality of the builds that were displayed.

The first exhibition is the Palace of Westminster. It makes use of 11 “Big Ben” sets and there was a complete inventory list, should you want to try this at home!

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It’s Nicolas and Kobe off the television show!

It was great to be able to see their model close up – so much detail, cool features and clever parts usage.

I wonder how many kids got the Robocop scene… or the Predator!

Bricks to the Past created a huge diorama focusing on the Jacobite Rebellion. From articles that I read I know that they spent a huge length of time making sure that the details and information was correct.

Not everything Lego minifigure scale worked as a figure being full-sized.  This build reframed the figures as toy sized – and everything in it is built from Lego!

The theme of space featured highly – including a whole raft of Enterprise spaceships!  And there was not one, but two models for the War of the Worlds – this one seemed to do it just a little more smoothly (but that is my subjective opinion, both were really cool builds.

One of the nice things about the exhibition is the ability to talk and learn from the builders.  I saw a really cool design for a tree – and it was great that they then picked the tree up to show me how it was made!


As well as fixed models, they held a number of “Robot Wars” throughout the day. I managed to watch a few of these competitions.  The rules meant that the robots would be made from standard Lego, with no adaptions, and not glued.  There were some brilliant competitions and it was great fun.

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This link takes you to a video of a competition between “Mr Plow” and “The scorpion:


As a final collection of images, the company Bright Bricks also created a number of huge scale builds for the shopping centre:


In all, I took over a hundred images.  Because of the scale of the crowds (filled with excitable young children) getting good pictures was a bit of a challenge – a lot was “snap and move”, so there was a lot of camera shake. Sorry!

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A week in creativity (w/e 08 October)(all)

Hello everyone and a happy Sunday to you all!

I seem to have caught up on a number of the artworks I started a while back, but never got round to actually finishing, which was nice, as well as creating yet more stuff.  On Saturday we went to the Great Western Lego Show in Swindon and saw some amazing creations.  I haven’t gone through all the pictures I took yesterday, but I have included a couple of pictures here – as well as a link to a short video that I took of the Lego Robot Wars competition.


We’ll start with the Photo a Day challenges:

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Envelope “You don’t need to physically push it”
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I bought this (more on this further down)
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Green – Tink, my airsick fairy
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Green – I thought I ought to do something “normal”

A little on the polybag for “I bought this”.  When the London Flagship store opened in Leicester Square, Lego gave away about 200 “Lester” minifigures via a scratch card lottery.  Unsurprisingly, almost instantly many hit the aftermarket sales with stupid figures being asked for.  The only way you could get a Lester (apart from this expensive route) was to get a custom creator to make one for you (thank you Brick Sanity!) However, this week Lego released a Polybag version in it’s London store only – so I took the opportunity to just go and get one whilst I could!

Whilst in the London Lego store, I did see a completed new Millenium Falcon.  I was right – there is absolutely NO WAY that this would fit in the house!!

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The rest of the week was quite fun, finishing off art.  Last month I bought some wooden Keith Haring stencils, and from them created some postcard art – one of which was inspired from a classic line from a Peter Sellers film.

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A little bit of motivation, “I can do it”
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A simple halloween display
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I completed this using my Chameleon pens
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originally a fun little ghost, I adapted it a little
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Nuclear Baby – using a Keith Haring stencil
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“That is not my dog!” Stencils and pens!
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A random doodle

Finally, here are a few pictures from yesterday’s trip to the Great Western Lego show.  The mini figure was one in a charity tombola raising funds for Fairy Bricks.

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detail on the tassel

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And finally – here’s a link to one of the Robot Wars battles – Mr Plow vs.  The Scorpion!

Have a great week – see you next week!

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A week in creativity (week ending 1st October)(all)

Hi everyone!

It has been a fun week in terms of creativity.  Some of the “photo a day” images have felt (in hindsight) that they were a little rushed or not fully thought out (more on that later) – but then that’s the personal critic.


A new addition to the toy cupboard must be William and Benjamin; the two Figma Bodykun models.  I’ve had William a while now, but with Benjamin to interact with I’m hoping to have a lot more fun.

With the photo a day challenge and late nights this week I didn’t have space for much drawing; I managed three pieces over the week, one of which was sent off as a small gift and which I will share next week. Anyway – onwards!

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25 – Clean: a clean room for observations
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26 – shape: you don’t need to do eleventy billion situps to be in shape
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27 – bubbles: the cartoonist’s friend
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28 – Trash: I wanted to do something different from the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – I think I got it
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29 – Dessert: “Just… nope.” I had to double check my spelling for this one; just in case, dessert is the food variety and desert is the sandy, cactus area
30 – Selfie (1): ‘William was pleased with the feature on his phone’. Yes, this image is heavily edited.
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30 – Selfie (2): “No, I can’t take a selfie OF you; that’s just taking a picture” My comment on people who use the tag Selfie when they are nowhere near the camera and it’s clearly not on a timer…
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30 – Selfie (3): OK, a ‘proper’ selfie. Taken about 10 minutes after a 5K run.

So a new month, and a new round of photo a day challenges.

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1 October – My happy place.

This one, “My happy place” was one that I did ponder and I’m glad I did; it was a pleasant opportunity to reflect on what actually was my happy place.  I thought about my home office where I do much of my blogging and creativity – but actually because of … well, it’s being redecorated and designed, so perhaps I should photograph the one I’m currently working in.  But I only spend half my time here, so is it just an open box of drawing pens?  I started to think what many people would post pictures of – their favourite holiday destination perhaps?  Well, there are a few places that I would be more than happy to head back again and again – which in turn brought back happy memories; in that instance I knew that actually MY Happy Place is the memories, worlds, ideas and stories that I create in one place… in my own head; somewhere I can retreat to whenever I want to.

And William and Benjamin suggested that we use that rather cool little skull head.


Not sure what prompted this little image, but I’m glad I did it:

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“Ok, maybe I AM afraid of THAT ghost!”

I didn’t take my full compliment of colouring pens with me this week, but I drew the circle and zig zag (doesn’t mean anything to me, just something I saw and thought it looked interesting) then continued with the mandala design behind it.  Because I did have a pink I thought I would add a small splash of colour to the overall result.  This took two nights and about 5 hours to do.

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In contrast, the image below took about 2 hours – but then it was much simpler.  I’d had the Tattva symbols bouncing around my head (in Hindu tantrism there are five, which align to the more pagan elements) and I added the mystic eye and an adapted yin-yang to the bottom.

In case you are interested in knowing more – at the top of the page, with the downwards pointing triangle with the line across, is Earth; its opposite (triangle pointing upwards, no line) is Fire.  To the left (triangle pointing donwards, no line) is Water and its opposite is Air.  The missing one (sometimes shown in the centre) is Spirit.2017-09-27 23.41.09


So with a mystical symbolism at the end, I wish you a pleasant week of creativity 🙂


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William and Benjamin (all)

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A few months back, I bought a Figma Bodykun posable model.  Unlike all the other characters I have in my collection, this one is both hyper posable and I can replace the hands – enabling a far wider realism in my toy photographs.

After the incident at the house I thought that the figure had been damaged – some of the joints seemed a little “off” than before and so I decided that what I needed to do was replace the model with a new one.  So, Model 2 was ordered.

When it arrived, I’d had a change of heart.  Actually, the first one wasn’t that bad in regards to posability and that having two would actually enable more opportunities.  And because they weren’t the same – well, that just helped.

Almost instantly these two figures developed characters in my mind.  I see the one on the left having more of a C3PO and the one on the right being (or at least seeming) to be more of “jock” style lunkhead (in my head, I know that he won’t be – but I like the idea that one thinks he’s smarter than the other).

Because I know I will be developing their personalities I decided to name them.  William is on the left, Benjamin is on the right.  And yes, I am being a little smart here – William can be shortened to Bill and Benjamin… well, we have the flower pot men!

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“Hi… Larry? Yea we’re going to be late on that photoshoot… yeah, he’s decided to go through the Rapture… again…”
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If Music is the food of love, turn it down a bit (all)

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I’m not a musician; however I do listen to a lot of it and this year I’ve managed to see a lot of live music.  I’ll admit that I don’t tend to do the huge stadium events – the costs (to me) are quite steep and in many cases I’ve seen the band play at much smaller venues (I remember seeing AC/DC more than once at the smaller Wembley Arena, years before the release of Black Ice and their worldwide popularity pushed them to stadium tours, packing out Wembley Stadium next door).  But there is one thing that seems to be a constant – how the music SOUNDS depending on where you are on the lineup.

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When the band makes a song for their album, it will typically be note perfect, and probably the best version that you will hear.  If it’s a popular band, when they play their song live, as the headliner, it will sound (usually) pretty close to the original, perhaps with a few twiddles.  If they are headlining at a stadium, then the song may have a few more twiddly extras and possibly links to other popular songs.  And there may well be cool lighting too.

But if the band is a support band, typically the sound (to the audience) will be overblown and just sounding so very rough compared to their album version.  Carefully written, clever lyrics drowned by the imbalanced rhythm guitar.  If it aint’t loud enough, whack it up a little more – then they’ll stop talking to each other and listen to what we’re playing.

Whilst I’ll admit that I’m not a young man anymore (Well, physically anyway) I’m not for one minute suggesting that they just turn the volume down a bit – I’m just a little confused by it all.

I’ll accept that the support band is there to warm up the audience, and possibly get a few more pounds behind the bar in drinks, or reduce the push at the merchandise table, but if you know that the support band is going to sound rough whoever they are, why would you go in?

I’ll also accept that no headliner really wants their support band to be better than them – but actually, it’s going to happen (one reason why I enjoy listening to all the bands of the evening) and that says more about the headliners and their security about what they can do than anything else.

But if it’s not the volume coming out, it must be the volumes going in to the speakers – which begs the question – what happens at a soundcheck?  Do they get Deaf Bob at the decks (“nope can’t hear it, let’s turn that up”) or does someone then mess around with the switches, faders etc when the soundcheck is over?  And if that happens everytime, doesn’t anyone make any notes?  And surely, with an empty hall it’s got to be more echoey than when there are people in it?

I could accept that the band themselves, with in-ear monitors, have no idea what the sound is like at the front of the stage – knowing only what is going into their ears – but isn’t that the job of the sound desk?


As I said at the start, I’m not a musician, and in truth whilst it frustrates me I’ll stand their with ear plugs and listen to each band – I have bought loads of albums from support bands because they have sounded good (through ear plugs).  But if our creative talents are measured by our outputs, shouldn’t we all strive to show our fine art work using small brushes, rather than just trying to reproduce it with a 6-inch wide brush and one colour of paint?