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It was with a mixture of horror and embarrassment that I realized I have not visited this site for far too long.
The truth of the matter is, that I've been working for the last three months on a new animation project.
And when it boils down to it, I am one of those people who generally prefers to do something rather than talk about it.
Unfortunately this is not a very good way to raise your profile,
my wife has told me off and having been summarily chastened,I am going to attempt to mend my ways! 

One of the other things that made me think twice about my actions, was that about a month ago I took part in the blender guru monthly competition.  The subject title was "another planet,"
Being a bit of a sci fi fan this was right up my street, but as I was in the middle of said animation, I thought
I would Only give myself a day for this and get back to some real work.
Having done that I pretty well forgot about it for the rest of the month, until it transpired that I had actually reach the finals!
I didn't win, the entry that did was far superior to mine, but it did make me think I'm not paying proper attention to the Internet.
So here I am to make amends, and to start off, I will upload said entry.
Anyway it's nice to be back!
  • Listening to: Orfeo by Claudio Montiverdi (live on YouTube)
  • Reading: Photoshop for Dummies
  • Watching: The Witcher 3 Trailers
  • Playing: The Witcher 2
  • Eating: Shepherds Pie
  • Drinking: Beer

It's been a year since I last posted up here, mostly because of laziness on my part, of course this isn't strictly true, I have put on a picture or two in the meantime and I have been working hard on a whole series of projects which include video and music, which don't always turn up here, especially as there are one or two that have been for clients and therefore not suitable for putting up on the site. However, I am back. I wonder if anyone will notice? To celebrate the occasion I've put up some new work and will try to update more often.

  • Listening to: Orfeo by Claudio Montiverdi (live on YouTube)
  • Reading: Photoshop for Dummies
  • Watching: The Witcher 3 Trailers
  • Playing: The Witcher 2
  • Eating: Shepherds Pie
  • Drinking: Beer
Sometimes the world can throw you enormous brickbats completely out of the blue.  I have been working on a project with the American author Jeffery Cotton, for which I would providing the cover art for a fantasy trilogy as well as a series of maps.  This was progressing splendidly and Jeff and I were having a really good time in the process.  Then, without warning, I had an email from his publisher saying that he had died suddenly of a heart attack on his way to work on the previous morning.  It was a total shock, as previously I had been unaware that he had any problems (I'm not sure he did either).  He was a very funny and entertaining conversationalist, and the project itself was turning into one of those really interesting and engrossing jobs that only ever comes along very rarely.  Something like this can really take the wind out of your sails and may explain why I haven't been paying a lot of attention to this site just recently, but at the end of the day it is just one of those things and nothing can be done.  

In the meantime, one of my other projects has finally come to fruition.  The CD by the band Clear Blue Sky, for which I have done the cover artwork, is now out and everybody is happy with the result.  This means that I can now display the picture with the band's permission.  Here is the link:
careldewinter.deviantart.com/a…

As I find myself with more time than I expected, I shall probably concentrate on finishing my current movie project, which has been languishing a bit recently.  Likewise I shall be spending a bit more time finishing my Oblivion mod, so you can expect a few updates on these fairly soon.
  • Listening to: Al di Meola World Sinfonia (live on YouTube)
  • Reading: Iain M Banks
  • Watching: The Hobbit
  • Playing: Still playing Skyrim!
  • Eating: Too much
  • Drinking: Likewise
Brief journal, as you can see I have been quite busy. work is progressing on the Riverstrid Oblivion mod. This is created by using the construction set supplied by Bethesda Softworks with the game.I tend to treat it as a 3d gardening programme (With scary monsters). I started work on this in 2006 and bit off more than I could chew! However the sheer amount of work that I have put into this makes it pretty well essential that I finish the job.

Work on the Southern Cross video continues, I am still on a serious learning curve with Blender, but sometimes by mistake it throws up a whole new approach and that is what happened with the city picture.
When Jeff Cotton is ready for the next part of his project, (Which I think will probably be some maps), it will become my main focus This is great for me as I love doing maps.

Also the band Clear Blue Sky has given me permission to put up their new CD cover, which has been a work in progress over the last year. I will give further info shortly.
  • Listening to: Jeremy Soule (Skyrim)
  • Reading: War of the Unwanted
  • Watching: Avatar
  • Playing: Skyrim
  • Eating: Heinz tomato soup
  • Drinking: Vratislav Lager

Devious Journal Entry

Journal Entry: Mon Oct 1, 2012, 4:00 AM


In 1912 at the age of 19, JRR.Tolkien visited Switzerland. This has been documented widely, as can be seen by visiting this website, (among others).
[link]
The visit made a profound impression on the young man, and there are very direct references to the Swiss alps, both in the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings.
I first visited Switzerland myself in 2007, then again in 2008, and last year in 2011. Unbeknownst to me, I was following in Tolkiens footsteps, staying near Meiringen, and near Brig, and visiting the two lakes near Interlaken, as well as the Lauterbrunnen valley, which he himself said was the basis of Rivendell. There were even some limestone caverns which were larger than any I had seen in Britain, one included an underground lake.
The landscape is astounding, Cathy and I took a lot of photos as tourists do. But it was only after our last visit that I discovered how closely we had travelled in the great mans footsteps.
It was at this time that I started looking at some of the pictures we had taken, with a view to using them as source material for pictures from the books.

This will be an ongoing project in between other work, and will take some time. the results will be found in my gallery, in the folder entitled "Switzerland as middle Earth" (Where you will also find a version of this  Journal entry).  We will be going back next year, and this time will be on the lookout for connections. In this folder, I will be showing the original photographs taken either by my wife, who is a very good photographer, and more occasionally by myself. and also the finished artworks, these I will link to each other, so that you may make a direct comparison.
I do not presume that these are the actual things that Tolkien saw, and that fired his imagination, but sometimes maybe they were, who can tell? All I can say is that it is an astonishing country, and especially when you get into the wilderness, which is very easy to do, It feels a lot like middle Earth.

  • Listening to: John Dowland
  • Reading: Digital 3d Design
  • Watching: Wallander (In Swedish)
  • Playing: My Guitar
  • Eating: Italian Bread
  • Drinking: Tyskie Lager
I find myself once more putting on my occasional blogger's hat, something that I know I should be doing more often, but if anybody mentions Facebook or MySpace I have this weird habit of immediately finding something else to do (deviantART is of course an honourable exception.) I know I shouldn't say this but I must admit my attitude to blogging is that it's a necessary evil rather than something that I must do compulsively every day (there goes my credibility up in smoke!)  However,when you have something interesting to say then it certainly must be time for the whole world to know.  And my wonderful piece of news is, I am in the final stages of producing a new album! it will be called The Southern Cross, and all things being equal will be putting in an appearance by the end of the month (at least I hope so!).   This album has a very interesting history, indeed there are bits of it that are over 20 years old, and how they ended up here is quite a story.  

As I have managed to reach my fifth decade without becoming a rock god or superstar, I find myself in the fairly gratifying position of having a big back catalogue of work that nobody has ever heard (other than Cathy but she is very long-suffering!).  When I was younger, I felt the overwhelming urge to record at any time of day or night on any piece of equipment I could lay my hands on. As Abbey Road was not available to me, I would ping-pong on cassette machines, 1950's vintage tape recorders and later on four and eight track cassette portastudios - some of this stuff makes my toes curl up in embarrassment but some I remain proud of to this day. Unfortunately the recording quality and aspects of the technical side of the production simply were not good enough to sell (at least to any record company and in those days there was no Internet), as a result some of what I consider my finest work has languished on the shelf for the last 20 years and it is only with the onset of computers, and reasonably priced recording programs, that I can actually produce music of acceptable commercial technical standard.  In addition it is now possible for me to sell my masterpieces to all you poor benighted sufferers, without the intervention of a record company!  This means that I'm in the lucky situation of making more money out of selling fewer CDs, not forgetting downloads. You know that you have arrived when you find half a dozen dodgy Russian sites doing free downloads of your last album.  It makes me feel really quite proud!  I reckon that I probably have a back catalogue of about eight albums that I could produce without repeating myself.  You have been warned.  

Concerning this album, it has a vaguely nautical theme running through it; it may even verge on being a concept album though personally I'm not sure whether it is or isn't.  The idea I had (bearing in mind that when I thought this up I was in my romantic early 20's) was that this was the story of two ships with the same name separated by a thousand years, and how they both came to sticky ends.  This meant that I could explore my interest in sea shanties, 18th century naval exploration, starships, Berlin School Electronics, and psychedelic guitar playing all on one track!  You could describe it as a kind of Martin Carthy meets Hemisphere era Rush inside Mike Oldfield's potting shed, With Klause Schulz making the coffee.  I may have lacked a degree of discernment in those days, but I still like the tracks and I think they should have their day. The other thing that is interesting, is that with the onset of modern technology I have been able to rescue one or two of the original parts from their four track recordings, and clean them up on the computer.  The last track on the album contains newly recorded guitar, but the bass playing and the singing is 20 years old (I'm not sure but it might even be older than that).  Of course most of what you hear will have been newly recorded, after all I've had much more experience in the meantime, and generally I think that these days I'm a better player.  Just occasionally, though, you can't better the original performance and so here they are.  You can while away the hours guessing which is which.

As a footnote, I would like to say that I am a little peeved by the fact that the name of this album, (which has been 20 years in the gestation and over which in the last few months I have sweated blood, tears & coffee, not to mention my partner's increasingly frazzled nerves) has been usurped by a chain of nursing homes currently experiencing financial difficulties and thus hitting the headlines, in Britain at least.   They dare to call themselves Southern Cross!  I cordially point out that I used the name first and I have no connection with said company.

  The other thing I have been doing recently is, of course,  artwork.  It is about a year since I started posting on Deviantart and the way that the work has been received has been very gratifying.  I have basically learned how to use a computer instead of a paintbrush, firstly with an old version of Photoshop but more recently with the excellent (and free) 3-D animation program called Blender.  In this time I have produced still artworks, mostly science fiction or fantasy, but I have also been delving into making video.  This started as a result of a suggestion by Torodd Fuglesteg on the Progarchives Forum that I might raise my profile if I had a music video of some sort but, as is often the way when you try something new, you find it's interesting in its own right and consequently I have been working on a computer-generated video which is probably far too ambitious for its own good, with the benighted idea that I might produce something that contains music and yet is not just a music video but a piece of work in its own right.  You can watch this space and most likely see me fall flat on my face.  But at least I shall have had fun doing it!  The most recent material I have put up on the Deviant Art site has tended to be stills from the video and should be considered as notes and sketches for a larger piece rather than pieces of work in their own right.  When I get the time I am hoping to put up some proper work as well, but for the time being I shall be concentrating on finishing the music.  When that's done, however, I will need to do the artwork for the album itself and so you should see quite a lot of stuff going up in a short space of time.  The only trouble is, I don't know how I'm going to fit it all in!  

Which brings me back to why I don't blog very often.  Hopefully I will do better in future.
  • Listening to: The Southern Cross....over and over and over
  • Reading: The Rough guide to Switzerland
  • Watching: The Weather
  • Playing: Dragonage 2 (Haven't finished yet)
  • Eating: Cooked Vegetables
  • Drinking: Peroni Lager (Again)
Much to my surprise I find that I have been on Deviant art for over a year now.  And it has certainly been very eventful.  Admittedly my output has rather slowed down, but this has largely been down to commitments on the music side.  My last album sold somewhat better than I expected, and as a result I have rather concentrated recently on producing something new which I'm hoping to put out by the end of June.  This is not to say that I haven't been doing any artwork at all, in fact I have already completed a record cover for another band, called Clear Blue Sky, which I am very pleased with.  I will be putting this up presently, but they've asked me to delay until the album is actually out which seems to me to be a reasonable thing to do.

In addition to this, having recently done a couple of music videos, with what was essentially no budget whatsoever, I have rather caught the bug and am in the middle of producing my first CGI music video.  It seemed like a great idea when I started but now where I'm about third of the way through, I rather get the feeling that I bit more off than I can chew.  However in the immortal words of Magnus Magnusson, "I've started so I'll finish."  One of the really nice things about doing a video is that I have finally come to grips with the blender 3-D modelling application.  This is a piece of freeware, but to my mind is every bit as good as the likes of 3-DS Max, or Lightwave.  It's been a very steep uphill curve learning how to use it, but the results are becoming increasingly encouraging.  With this in mind you can refer to the picture in my collection entitled  DC30 mountain approach, which is actually a still from the video and contains (believe it or not) no photographic reference.  The image was created entirely in Blender.  
One of the things I should be doing increasingly I imagine is using this program to set up complicated 3-D models for any still artwork I might do in the future, as under certain circumstances it can save an awful lot of time when setting up complicated perspective.  

Anyway, that's probably enough for now.  I'd like to say thank you to all you people out there who have commented on my work, or added it to their collections and favourites.  I'm sorry if I don't reply that often, or post much.  Life has become very interesting not to say hectic.  So I will sign off and go back to my scribbling!
  • Listening to: Sibelius Night Ride and Sunrise
  • Reading: Surface Detail by Iain M Banks
  • Watching: The World go by
  • Playing: Dragonage 2
  • Eating: Sundried Tomato and Basil Soup
  • Drinking: Peroni Lager
A little note to say I am still around.

The new album has rather taken off and as a result I've been too busy to do much here. There will be a new picture up soon, (a commission in fact which I will put up with the kind permission of the owner).

This is the video I have been working on recently

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZDTVB…

And this is my new website

www.colinmasson.co.uk
  • Listening to: Sigur Ros
  • Reading: Unseen academicals (Terry Pratchett).
  • Watching: Home Movies
  • Playing: The Fool
  • Eating: German Bread
  • Drinking: Tyskie Lager

My first journal entry.

Journal Entry: Sat Jun 26, 2010, 1:36 PM


I would like to say hello, and thank you to all the people who've commented on my site during the last week.
Since the D. D. the number of hits on my site went up from 400 over several months, to over 1800 in two days.  In typical fashion I wasn't around until a couple of days after (I had been too busy doing the next competition on the imagine Fx.Forums.  That picture is now finished and I hope that I will be able to upload it here soon).
I was somewhat overwhelmed by this, especially as it took me over two days to find an infinitely variable way of saying thank you to all the people who had posted or corresponded (to whom I say thank you again).  With this in mind, and also due to the fact that I have a lot of activities that  take me away from the computer, I apologise if I don't always answer questions or correspondence immediately.  (I am only a one fingered typist so this takes ages).
I am however having a real blast with the whole experience, I only started exhibiting less than six months ago and the something like this to happen so quickly was beyond my wildest dreams and expectations.  What I have to do now is turn it to my advantage in whatever way I can.

As I went through the various messages, two or three items continued to appear, so I will do my best to answer those questions here, as it is quite possible that quite a few other people might wonder about them also.  

One
several people asked how I did in the competition with the picture" Norway docking at Pell Station".  As a matter of fact I was disqualified for unwittingly breaching the rules of the competition.  The rule in question required the participants to link two work in progesses to their final entries, and this had to be done internally to the site, with the intention of preventing unscrupulous contestants from submitting artwork that had been finished previously.  Unfortunately I did not read the rules properly, and as I initially had trouble loading stuff up to the site directly, I used external links to the photo bucket site.  This was in breach of the rules and so I was disqualified.  As the rule had only recently been introduced, I was not the only one caught out by this.  But it has to be said that if rules have been set (in this case for perfectly good reasons), then you simply have to take disqualification and get on with things.  The upside of all this was that I had a lot of support from other candidates in the competition, and in the end had produced what I think is my best work to date.  Then of course receiving the daily deviation was absolutely the icing on the cake.

Two
for those of you that asked for technical details, I use the original photo shop C. S. in conjunction with a Wacom Intous 2 A6 tablet that I picked up on eBay second-hand for about £50 (a bargain in my eyes).  Previous to that I had been using a Wacom bamboo that had been bought for me as a Christmas present by my mother.

Three
several people expressed an interest in the band that I play in, for those who would like to know more, the band is called the Morrigan and has been going since 1984, in one form or another.  In the 90s we were lucky enough to play at the Glastonbury Festival and have played more gigs than I have had hot dinners (a poor state of affairs).  I include a link to our website.

www.themorrigan.co.uk/

In "All our Yesterdays" you will find a fairly extensive potted history of our antics up to about 2003, and if you go to the CD downloads page you can hear some short excerpts of our work.  The most recent item is my second solo album entitled" The Mad Monk and the Mountain".  This has only been released about a month ago and the work associated it with it is part of the reason for why I keep disappearing.
Several of the artworks in my gallery are related to this album.  At the moment it is only available on our site as a C. D. (it will be available as a download ASAP), but right now it is also available on iTunes (type "Colin Masson" into the search engine on iTunes itself).

Four
one of the problems that I am having at the moment is that I do not completely understand the workings of the site, I don't seem to be able to edit any of the comments that I make which can certainly lead to embarrassment if I get the spelling wrong (or God forbid say the wrong thing).  Also I can't get the emoticons to work, they turn into links of themselves which is very confusing and then I can't get rid of them, if anybody can help me with this please let me know!  Also I haven't got my head around the idea of giving people llamas, so if you feel that you deserve a llama from me you probably do but I'm not sure how to do it, nor do I know what it means!  This is true of a lot of other things related to this site and is also the story of my life!

Five

I am open for commissions

If you have actually got this far congratulations on your stamina and hopefully my next journal entry will be shorter and more to the point!
Thanks to everybody for the support!

  • Listening to: John Dowland
  • Reading: Digital 3d Design
  • Watching: Wallander (In Swedish)
  • Playing: My Guitar
  • Eating: Italian Bread
  • Drinking: Tyskie Lager