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I’ve been absent from DA for quite a while now, as after being increasingly reluctant to function on some web sites my ageing computer was no longer able to access DA. A shiny new machine, with some more energetic hamsters spinning its cogs, means I am, for a brief period, up to date and back again. Not that I will be around too much as between now and the end of October I have thirty-nine paintings to produce. All the design work has been done, so that is at least something. 

The project which has been occupying me for the last two years and will continue for pretty much the rest of this is to design and paint a Tarot deck. This has been commissioned by the publishers Llewellyn Worldwide and slated for publication in the Autumn of 2017. It has certainly been keeping me busy. 

Hence continuing not to be very active here. There is however a Facebook page which will be potentially more up to date.… From which it will be self-evident the theme of the Tarot is Celtic. It is no coincidence that Celtic Art was something I specialised in for a while before moving to figurative painting.

The author of this Tarot Kristoffer Hughes, is well versed in the Welsh branch of Celtic mythology and it is this in which the deck will specialise. It has been a pretty interesting journey bringing his visions to life. 

On 12th&13th of October this year, myself and nine fellow artists will be putting on an exhibition in Glastonbury, England. I like to think of it as a case of the lunatics taking over the asylum. We are hiring the venue, The Assembly Rooms in the heart of Glastonbury, and effectively cutting out the middle-man of working with a gallery. This gives us complete control over the event and seeing what we can come with. 

Rather than do a lengthy exhibition, we are treating it as a weekend event where all the artists will be in attendance and allowing everyone who visits to get the feeling of a preview night. Which of course is always the most interesting part. 

We are hiring the venue's technical and lighting engineer, so the art will be presented in the best light (ahem). As well as this, we are doing the promotion which includes advertising and flyers. So in keeping with that, I am uploading one of the flyers which I designed using a variety of the included artist's work.

I appreciate that a large number of people reading this will be nowhere hear Glastonbury or even England. But hopefully some will. After all, good though the net is for getting work out there, on a wall in a frame is where my art is intended to be seen.

We have a web site and a Facbook Page with more information on them.

A while a go, a publisher decided not to work with me because he could not see what my theme was. It is often easier for publishers to work with someone whose work follows one particular path and is easily recognisable. I kinda understand that but I also get bored doing the same thing all the time. I don't really want to work within a "theme."

I specialised in Celtic art for several years and had illustrated a reasonable number of books but after a while decided it was time for something new. So had a go at digital figurative painting in 2005. Concentrating on that for a while. I have not painted for six months or more now. It is probably time to do some again and do have long-standing ideas waiting for completion, so I do expect some painting this summer. Meanwhile this year, I have started to write a book, have been commissioned to illustrate three books, been getting some celtic art commissions again and am collaborating with some friends to have a joint art exhibition in Glastonbury later in the year.

To add to the mix, I want to have a serious go at photography. Really for my own enjoyment. I have occasionally put photos up here, mostly related to the art work or events I have traded at but decided why not put some of the other stuff up. I had thought maybe to keep the DA page to one line of art. Keep it simple. I do know people may well have watched me based on one type of picture they have seen and the other stuff my not appeal. But why keep it simple? So here we go.

I will start with some flowers, birds and bugs but I very much doubt if there will be a theme to my photography either. I certainly hope not.
I noticed I was getting far more feedback messages than I usually get of a morning. "I wonder what is so different today?" thinks I and has a look at the picture people are favouriting all of a sudden.
Well gosh me, I have a Daily Deviation for The Making of a Fayble.
Which makes me very, very happy.


Big thanks to sylwiatelari for the feature :iconstelari:

And a mahoosive thank you again to Armorel Hamilton for posing for the picture with her Faybles. Without the models the pictures do not happen, they are the most important part of the process.
My work is now available in two new forms.

My Tubed Art have a variety of images for tubes, tags sigs etc.

Heaven and Earth Designs have a growing range of cross stitch patterns based on a number of my images. There should be 15 of them some time around the end of February.
Last weekend saw the launch of my first set of fantasy greetings cards when the web sites selling them went live. There are two versions, Moondragon Cards sells retail and Needs to be Seen Publishing is the wholesale site where shops and other retailers can purchase them from. There are ten designs at first from Moondragon. Needs to be Seen are also going to wholesale twenty four Celtic card designs which I previously published myself. This makes a lot of sense for me. Initially this will be UK only but with plans to expand.

Apart from my self publishing, it has been some ten years since I had cards published. Up to now, they have all been Celtic. Close to a hundred different designs over the years, so hopefully the Fantasy cards will catch up with them.

The designs which are now cards are:
The Change
Fallen Angel
The Hatchling
Succubus Moon
Let Sleeping Dragons Lie
Thief of Time
The Watcher
Not long now until my first gallery exhibition. It should have been my second but unfortunately the gallery where that was going to happen went bust only a couple of weeks before my exhibition was due to start. All good things come to those that wait. Two weeks tomorrow and I will be hanging the pictures.

The exhibition will be held at  The Moontree Gallery, Downstairs at Baraka, 16 Sea Road, Boscombe, Dorset BH5 1DB. and runs from 29th May until 24th June. There will a large number of framed pictures, both originals, limited edition prints and open edition prints. There will also be a wide variety of loose prints and mounted prints ready for framing.

The launch day is Saturday 29th may when I will be lurking around the gallery all day  from 10am until 5.30pm. Apparently there is usually, wine, nibbles and jelly babies on offer. Who could resist?
I have had a number of requests for my art to go into books. Which a good thing. They are at this stage mostly speculative. I don't know for certain yet whether they will happen. That is the way things work these days. Test pages get put together and then they do the rounds to see if there is a market for them. One is a book of dragons, so I went back and fairly reworked one of those. I have added a detail of it to my gallery. I do most of my pictures so they will print out at up to A2 so what is seen on screen rarely shows what is really going on in the picture.

Another book is of fairies. So far I have submitted two pictures, with a couple more probably to follow. I have been asked for about five to go in it. And last week I was asked to submit some work for a book on fantasy buildings. The result of that should be up soon, as I am still working on a picture for it. I did not have any building pictures but could not resist and decided to do one. Added to that, I recently got my copies of a book called the Fantasy Art Bible that has three of my pictures in. And I recently contributed eleven pictures to the next Llewellyn Magical Almanac. It all means that I am starting to get noticed again by editors and picture researchers. Yay
As ever, I have left quite a gap in journal posts and I suspect, as a kind of twitter in reverse, this may be a long post. A shame I have not worked out CSS or skins yet to make this look more interesting.

A couple of weeks ago I did the last show/event of the season. I managed quite a few last year. There won't be another one for four months now and I will miss that part of things. As a working day, this artist lark is quite cut off from the outside world. The shows help rectify that. I have made good friends on the circuit. Each event is like get a together for the artists and performers. I like the sense of camaraderie. It is definitely part of the what I do now.

Though I probably have not fully got the hang of it yet. I frequently am the last to get there and set up. My stall usually has something different about it each time. Often where I have to work around whatever it is I happen to have forgotten to bring that time. With the last one, the problem was not what I had forgotten. The night before the show, I managed to break the glass on a framed print that I wanted to be the centre of the display. I had only framed it that afternoon and there was no time to get replacement glass to repair it and nothing spare. So I had to hang it with no glass.

With each show, I learn and get a little better at what I do. The only real trouble I had with the shows last year was that overall they cost me more to do than I made. Which is not quite the idea. There could be a couple of reasons for that. I might not be doing what people want to buy. Tricky one that. It does get obvious over time which pictures are more popular than others. The only way to learn that is do them and take them out there.

Of course the other thing that may not have helped last year was the recession. When times are tight, getting a picture to put on the wall is hardly going to be a priority. Last year this was noticeable. Things were a bit quiet at times. Also, most of the shows I do have been fairly small affairs. So I thought about looking for something a bit bigger. The Elf Fantasy Fair at Haarzuilens in Holland is up to 100 times bigger than many of the shows I have done. I have reserved a 5m x 4m pavilion in the centre of the action for artists.

Oh lordy, lordy. what have I gone and done now? 5m x 4m is a big space to fill with art. I have been painting and decorating a friend's sitting room. It is slightly smaller than the pavilion I have reserved. All cleared out, it gave me an idea of what I will be dealing with. Gulp. I do have a plan. It always helps to have a plan. But then life can get in the way of plans.

I have enough pictures to fill the space and make a decent go of it if necessary. But I want to have a lot of new stuff. I am aware that I have not finished a picture for several months and in the last year or so have done very few. In the background, I have been working on loads of ideas. More than I can possibly actually get done. I have bits of rough ideas all over the place. Some are quite detailed and been sitting around for a very long time. I have to prioritise which ones to go for. I am going to be doing a lot less digital work  for a while and concentrate on the pencil and pen and ink work. What digital does not do, is have an original. I am learning that people like to be able to see and buy the original. So the plan is to get a bunch of originals together along with prints of them and see how it goes. There's quite a bit to do.

December 16th marked me being a member of DA for two years. I paid no attention, as I was busy having an operation. Well, I did not have to do much, just lie there and let them get on with it. This was a bit of a clear up operation from the major one to remove the tumour in the summer of 2008. Some scar tissue was blocking a tear duct and causing my eye to go icky.

This is where it gets a little complicated. My left eye does not see properly after the lens was replaced with a plastic one a few years ago. I had a cataract when I was only 39 dammit. It is now fixed focus and set for long distance. The right eye is very short sighted. So I have two eyes working in completely different ways. They see in different sizes and colours to each other. Huh? For close up work, the right eye does most of the work and the left fills info when it can. Using a contact lens in the right eye and reading glasses let me see quite well once I got used to it.

But unpleasant stuff started happening to the right eye after the op in 2008. Tumour gone. Very good. If left in place it would have split my skull and may have gone malignant.It was just below the right eye and  bigger than the eye. I did not need much persuading to get rid of it. But afterwards, it got difficult to see out of my right eye at times. Especially close up. There have been times when doing drawing that I cannot really see where the end of the pencil is and have to guess and draw by intuition. More than a little frustrating. It took ages for it to be worked out that I needed another op.

I thought it was going to be a quick clear out of the tear duct. It wasn't. Took about two hours to do and some other work was needed while they were in there. Definitely a big tidy up. Once again, thanks to keyhole surgery, they were able to get a lot of equipment into my head without leaving a mark on me. (In through the nose, in case you were wondering) Though at the moment, I have a small plastic tube running out of the lower tear duct across the corner of my eye and into the top tear duct. It will be there for a couple of weeks before it all heals.

Because they were working in the head just below the eye, there was a 5-10% chance of permanent double vision. The eye muscles were in the area they worked on and were at risk of damage. That was a real "WHAT??**!!" moment when they told me that just before going into theatre. When I was coming to in the recovery room, I opened my eyes, groggily checked I could only see one of everything, then let myself fall into unconsciousness again. Pretty relieved.

For now, it is a bit of a waiting game. I still cannot wear a contact lens for a while. So my close up vision is still not exactly great but better than it was. The consultant goes back inside in a couple of weeks. Then I will know what the state of play is. I hope.

I really, really wish the whole tumour/vision thing was all that has got in the way of me working efficiently on pictures. But it isn't. For the Last year and a half, I have been getting nerve pain in my legs when I sit to work at the computer or drawing board. Probably as a result of a back injury several years ago that I have managed to make worse. Sometimes I can only manage a few minutes at a times before I have to get up and move around. In the old days, when needed, I could work for 12-15 hours a day on pictures. No longer. More like 12-15 minutes.

It is quite funny really. In a very unfunny kind of way. In the last couple of years, I have produced the best art of my life. I am finally getting the hang of it. And stuff is getting in the way. Life can get in the way of plans. It frustrates the hell out of me. That I have not produced loads of picture in the last two years and developed even further. But I haven't. I do what I can, when I can. Such is the way of things.

It will be interesting to see what I finally turn up with at the Elf Fantasy Fair. The ideas are here just waiting to be finished. Given a fair wind, I do think it could look spectacular. If not, I'd best simply go along and have a good time. That is the important bit after all.

Twitter version: 2009 was not that good. 2010 might be better.
Yesterday, I was informed of the closure of the gallery where I was due to have my first solo art exhibition this November. Another victim of the financial times we live in. It is fair to say I am a bit gutted and deflated by this news. The exhibition was something that had been in the planning for nearly a year after I first met the owners last October. They are really good people and I enjoyed my visits to the gallery over the last year. I feel disappointed for them as well, having to close.  

It was exactly the sort of place that I wanted to show my art. They were also a small independent bookshop and coffee shop where artists would hang out. Having two books out this autumn with my art in, I thought things were going to come together quite nicely for the launch party. But the small bookshops are not surviving. Victims of Amazon and the supermarkets. As are the authors. I can get my own book direct from the publishers at a price barely lower than Amazon are selling it. Meaning there is little point me even stocking my own book. I choose not sell it when I do the shows. If I the author cannot make money compared to the giants how can the small bookshops.

Gallerys that show fantasy art are fairly thin on the ground. Those that take digital fantasy, even rarer. I have been lucky and found another where I will have an exhibition next summer. It is how my art is best seen. In the flesh, not on the net where the time and detail that goes into the work cannot really be seen. And to be honest, the net is a poor way to earn a living. It is good to have a portfolio and gets the work seen. The knock on from that can be useful. No doubt about that. The editor who gave me my two major book projects found me through my web site. But for me, personally, the ultimate way for my art to be seen is in a frame on a wall. So it is a real shame it will not be happening this November.
At the last event I did, too many traders were packed into one marquee. Things were so cramped some people were even put off coming in. So I decided to get my own mini marquee to go to the outdoor events in. It allows me to create my own space and for people to get a better chance to see the art.  Both with the indoor events and in a shared marquee, you just get a small table space and it can be very much a them and us feeling. With my own 3m square tent, people can come in and look at pictures I have hung from the walls and have a chat without me stuck behind a table. Much better.

The very first event I did a couple of years ago was outdoors and I borrowed two flimsy garden gazebos that we rigged up together. It was a weekend event and on the Saturday night, I decided to put all the art in my car. A wise move as it rained so hard in the night that the water poured through the tent and would have ruined everything. Using garden gazebos is far too risky. They are shower proof at best. Show them a decent bit of wind and rain and they give up. So I have arranged for a proper market stall tent that will be fully water and wind proof. Bit essential considering the way this summer is shaping up. It will even have a logo and graphic printed on the front so will look good.

Only it is not ready to collect yet and I need for next weekend. Probably be picking it up on the morning of the event. Business as usual, having a last minute rush and panic. But once I have it, it will last for years. I only do a handful of outdoor events. There will be one more in September this year. The rest will be indoors. Much safer when it comes to the weather.

So next week on the 7th, 8th & 9th August it will be the Artemis Gathering, on the 15th &16th August indoors for the The Goddess Festival followed by back in a tent for The Mercian Gathering on 4th, 5th and 6th September. Fingers crossed for the weather. Even with a waterproof tent, it is far more fun in the sun
I thought it was time to put a couple of my photographs up here as well as my paintings. My main thing is illustration and painting but photography comes into the process as well. Along with straight reference images, I do like to take photographs for their own sake. The first couple I am putting up today are from when I returned to the town where I lived many years ago. OMG 25 years ago! Where does it all go. I went back to the street where I lived and saw my old house from when I was at university. My, the memories of that place. In fact, when I was looking for a user name for my Deviant page I decided to use the number of the house that I lived in 23A. Dysis comes from the goddess of the eleventh hour and the setting sun from Greek mythology. I leave things until the last minute, like watching sunsets and have Greek ancestry.

So, there I was back in my old stomping ground of Lewes. Back then I would occasionally go into the old garden shed to paint murals onto bits of motor bike that I would then literally roar off into the sunset on. This time I was out and about on location taking photos for use in paintings. Which will be appearing at some stage later in the year. I know I have not posted that many paintings this year and felt that I was slacking. Then realised that I had about 20 or more images under development. It is just that they are not ready to be seen yet. I like working on a whole bunch of stuff at the same time. I work up a number of pencil sketches and ideas together so I can flip from one to the other and stay fresh.  Sometimes leaving a picture for weeks or even months before I go back to it. There are some that I have been working on since last summer. The pencil stage is the part where I spend most time really. When I start to paint then I can't let go until it is finished.

I should start painting again but I am still developing new ideas. At some point, I will have to paint. I have the confirmed dates of my first solo art exhibition at the end of the year. It is to last a whole month and runs from the 2nd November until 29th November in The Big Red Sofa in Chagford, Devon. There is a preview/party night on 7th November. So, to have some new paintings would be quite handy. Especially as I am also going to be appearing at two fantasy art events. The first in Glastonbury in October the second in Dartmouth, Devon at the end of November. Both will have a number of fantasy artists showing and selling their art.

Also at the end of the year there will be a book out which will include some of my art. This is in addition to the Big Book of Contemporary Illustration which I mentioned in my last post. I am also going to appear in the Fantasy Art Bible by Quarto Publishing. It is another compilation with loads of artists in. They are taking three of my pictures: Dark Angel, The Watcher and Fallen Angel. The last two will include stages of the painting process to show how they were created. Dark Angel, I spent some time repainting just at the point when I was approached to submit material for the book. So good timing there, as I looks better than when I first did it.

So, it is all happening at the end of the year. Well, not quite. In two weeks time I will be making my way down to sunny Cornwall to be at  The 3 Wishes Faery Festival where I will have a stall and be selling my art. Well, I say selling. I expect I will be mostly hanging around, meeting great people and watching the bands. Hell, who needs to sell art. Er, I do.
It is just over a year ago since I joined DA. I produced several new pieces in the first couple of months but have slowed up completely since then. 2008 did not go quite as planned. The operation in May when I had part of my head scooped and drilled was enough of a dampener. Other things have just got in the way and affected my creativity as well though. I reckon to have lost at least 6 months of painting time in the past year. Very frustrating.

So what will 2009 bring? I am waiting for final confirmation of my first solo art exhibition at the end of the year. It is looking like it will be either November or December. I am really excited by this as it will be the first time that my art can get seen properly as intended. Hanging on walls in frames. Full details when confirmed.

The exhibition will be preceded in September by the first of my digital paintings to get into print in a book. Redemption was picked from a shortlist of four they requested to go in a compilation of contemporary artists. Again details later. Hopefully that won't be the last to get into print. I had a number of acrylic and watercolour paintings published in a couple of books and on some book covers way back in the mid 90's. Damn that seems like a long time ago. I would certainly hope to get some more. Time will tell.

Through the rest of the year, I am hoping to get around to shows across the country peddling my wares. That should start around April/May time. It would be good to have new work for then and definitely for the exhibition. So I had better get my creative head back on.
A month from now, I have the first of two events where I will be displaying and selling prints of my art. This is the Faery, Angel and Healing fayre in Penzance, Cornwall on 25th and 26th October. The night before the event starts, there is a fancy dress ball with bands and entertainment. On the Saturday there is a feast in a cafe for the traders, speakers and public to have a social evening. I did the Fayre last year. Didn't make a profit but had a good time. So I am going back for more. Up to now, with most of the events I go to, I don't make a profit. I know that is meant to be the point but for me there is more to it than that. It is really good to meet people, talk about the art and find out what reaction the pictures get. When I get a positive feedback, I know that I am doing the right thing. Makes it all worthwhile. Most of the events I have done are quite small. Which allows me to find my feet and get the hang of trading. Running a stall not being in my comfort zone and something I only recently took up.

Two weeks after the Angel Fayre, on Saturday 8th November, I will be at Witchfest International at the Fairfields Hall in Croyden London. This one is not so small. Attendance in the past has been around 4,000 people. There are a couple of trading areas. Last year I was stuck upstairs in a corridor where a lot of people did not even get to discover us. This year I am told that I will be in the main trading hall. Which should be a lot better. Even if a bit hectic. Better than staring at an empty corridor and imagining tumbleweeds blowing past. The real thing these two events will show is, how much the "recession/ credit crunch/we're all going to hell in a hand cart" will affect things. Who on earth will be spending any money? More than that who will be buying art? Not long to find out.
It has been more than four months since I last posted an image. Slightly longer than I thought it would be. But then the scale of my operation at the end of May was somewhat greater than I expected. Also unexpected, was the fact that I needed a second, albeit much more minor operation, two weeks later to finish the job. I cannot say that, as a means of relaxation, I can overly recommend having part of your skull scooped out and drilled then the new internal space packed with a surgical dressing. Though it did mean that I took a fair bit of time off. From everything for a while. The surgeon was true to his word in being aggressive in the removal of the tumour. I did have cause to say 'ouch' once or twice in the subsequent weeks. Afterwards, the surgeon described the tumour as having been extensive and in difficult to get to places. He also thought that it was unlikely that he got it all and that I would need to be operated on again. It is a case of waiting to see where it grows back and going for it. I have no idea what the time scale for this is. At the moment, every six weeks, he rummages around inside my head, takes some photos and does some icky stuff I won't describe here. All while I am awake. Thanks to the wonders of keyhole surgery there is not a mark on me. In the old days, he would have had to have taken off the side of my face to did what he did. I might have had cause to say ouch a little more then! As it is, it is amazing how much equipment they can get inside your head all in one go. All through the convenient access port of my nose!! The tumour was not malignant. Nor was it benign. It was a type called an intermediate.

There have been repercussions which have affected my ability to produce new work as quickly as I would have liked. One is the vision in my right eye has been affected. Hopefully not permanently. Again for icky reasons I won't go into, my vision gets blurred in that eye from time to time during the day. This would not be so bad if it were not for the fact that the right eye is my good eye. The lens in my left eye was replaced a couple of years ago (I know, what am I like?). That one has a fixed focus and is not so good on close up vision as a normal eye. It does mean when the right eye blurs, I can't actually see properly where the end of the pencil is on the paper. As a result, I sometimes have to guess or rely on intuition as to where to put the marks on the paper. Phew.

On the positive side. I am producing pictures again. The first, Stranded, went up today. There are a number more that I have been working on. As they get to a point when they are ready to be seen, I will put them up. Which all things willing, should be over the next few days. When planning pics, I tend to work in groups. Rather than do one picture at a time, I prefer to have several on the go. It gives me time to think things over and develop them over a period of time. I am pleased with the way they are looking. At the moment, I am working on pencil images. I am really getting into them. Many will be turned into paintings as well at some stage. But for now, I realised that it would be good to do some finished pencil work as well.

I have also had my first book illustration commission for three years. I did not realised that it had been so long. I got the approach, from a publisher that I had not worked for previously, to see if I was interested in the job between the two operations. Not the best timing. Fortunately, the art director was willing to wait until I was ready and able to complete the commission. Often in the book industry the deadlines are crazily short leaving little time for any leeway. I got the job done and produced 24 pen and ink images for it.  I'll make a note when the book gets published.

On the book front, I also learnt that the reprint of my Fantasy Source Book has sold around 4,000 copies so far. Which means that I will be due an Autumn royalty payment. Yay. :boogie: It is nice when they earn a bit more money a few years after you have done the work. Nothing to retire on. Don't believe the hype about earning big bucks from books. Unless you sell in mega numbers. Add two nought to that figure and I might get excited.
I have not been as productive as I would have liked over the last couple of months. But then, I do have a good excuse. At the beginning of March I was diagnosed with a tumour in my head and that has distracted me somewhat. The good news is that it is expected to be benign. Though when I saw the scan last week I did think "Bl**dy Hell, that looks big." It is in the sinus cavities across the right hand side of my face. I am told if it stays there, it will damage my skull. To remove it, they will have to work next to both my eye and my brain. I say that I hope it is a bit of my brain that I don't use much then. Bit nervous about them working near the eye as my right eye is my good one. I had a cataract in the left one when I was only 39 and that has been replaced and now is fixed focus for distance. It also sees in a different colour and size to my right eye. That took a bit of adjusting to.

This afternoon I was given the date of the operation to remove the tumour. It is going to be next Wednesday, 28th May. I have no idea how I will feel after the op but have been told there will be a couple of weeks recovery. Then there will also be the wait for the biopsy result.

I do like the doctors analogy that the sinuses are like the air conditioning system for the head. Currently my air conditioning system is not working properly. That might explain the headaches then. I can't wait for it to be gone and to move on from this time. I won't fully escape, as they want to keep monitoring me for the rest of my life in case it returns but it should help clear the pains in my head.

It has been a frustrating time, as I was getting a good reaction to my work and felt that I was noticeably improving as I painted more. I have a couple of paintings planned but they will have to wait a while. I would like to take the summer pretty easy and give myself the best recovery time really. Normal service will be resumed shortly.
I have not been quite as busy producing paintings as I was in January. A month of having migraines almost daily through February did slow me up somewhat as well as going away for a while. Over the last couple of weeks, as well as producing the new painting Contemplation, I have been going back over some of my paintings and refining them a little. They all look basically the same. I have just been generally tightening up on some of the details. I still may go back and play with them some more. For now, the ones that I have worked on since I originally uploaded them are Enigma Seraphine Shamana The Change The Time of Shadows and Dreaming of Stars.
Last night I uploaded the two pics that I have done for Chasing Butterflies Extraordinary Butterfly Contest. There is one more pic that I want to do for another DA competition but that is not for a couple of weeks so gives me a little time to work on it. I do find it a strange process, putting out new pics, as I never know how they will be received. There is a period of total self-doubt, wondering if they are good enough. Something I don't seem to be able to shift. I suppose it keeps me putting the effort in.:) And led me to making a slight edit to Enigma this afternoon.

A good thing about being on galleries like DA is that I can see which pictures are working and others not so popular. I am on three galleries and they do correlate quite well. So far Redemption is the most popular in all three. So I must have done something right there. I do agree with the general vote on that one. If there were only one painting that I've done that I could hang on the wall, it would be that one. And there are those that I thought would be liked but are not as popular. Shows what I know.

Seriously though, it is a useful process. Finding out which ones have worked or not. At the moment it is still a period of experimentation. I have at least eight paintings planned at the moment and more ideas crop up all the time. I try to tell myself not to look at any more stock until I have caught up. But I keep on finding more great images that I want to turn into a painting. I also have plans to take reference photos myself for even more pictures. So, all things considered, there should be more images appearing over the next couple of months.
Earlier today, I hit my first 1,000 page views after five weeks on DA. Which is cool but, for me, yesterday was a more significant day. I sold the motorbike that I had owned for 22 years. Which is half my life (gulp) and for the first time in 27 years I don't have a bike. The bike thing for me has been crucial. It has shaped and formed the major parts of my adult life. It is hard to explain but the artist that I am today would have been very different if at age 17 I had not got my hands on a bike and started meeting a whole different bunch of people. That created a seismic shift in my life. Everything changed. For a while, the only art that I did was painted onto bikes or about bikes. It felt like I would stay that way for ever. That what ever I did, bikes and the freedom they give would be at the core of my life. The open road and a sweeping bend on a summers day is just something else. A real buzz. Now it appears to be over.

The relevance to DA is that, although selling the bike been on the cards for a while following a back injury 3 years ago, I sold it now to raise the cash to keep on painting for a bit longer. It has been a while since I made anything that comes close to earning a living from art and even then it was only just. But few a few years I did. Doing my pen and ink drawings for books mostly got me through. Then the work dried up and the commissions stopped. I wanted to continue with art but needed a new direction. I spent a while relearning painting and getting to grips with Corel Painter. Everything that I have done with it is here in my gallery in the paintings section.

I still have hell of a lot to learn. Something that was brought home to me a couple of days ago when one of my paintings was turned down by Epilogue for not being good enough. The painting was Shamana and I was told that the anatomy needs more work. Hmmm? Maybe it does. It certainly was not perfect but I did not think it was that bad! But it will keep me on my toes and make me try harder.:)

Whatever, I've started the first of three paintings that I intend to put into competitions here at DA. I have never done that with my art before and so quite apprehensive.  I've got a couple of weeks to do it in and there are bills to be paid so I bit the bullet and sold the bike so I could have enough time to paint without pressure. For me it was a very symbolic act.

I know that it was the right thing to do. I spent a bit of last year going to shows. Displaying and selling prints of my art. The reception that I got was very encouraging. I met some great people and am looking forward to doing more shows this year. Something was starting up for me in a way that had not happened for a very long time. A new adventure is definitely well under way. I have no idea if it will succeed or how long it will take. I do know that at this moment in time, it is the right thing for me to be doing and worth giving my best shot.
Today I uploaded my first painting of 2008 and my first since joining DA two weeks ago. It should, if I have done things right, be just over there to the left. It is also my first painting using DA stock for reference. This time round, I used the excellent stock from Mjranum. I do, where possible like to use my own reference, but some of the stuff out on DA is hard to resist. I did not really know about that side of DA before I joined. It was a welcome surprise. I already have plans for a few more and intend to start on another one tonight.