March 09, 2019

More on Surfaces

Lets just have this to say, 'art' at its closest core is an economy. It has a worth, trade and it continues. This is where the academics can jump in and the history of said. But let that alone for now, what is lovely about it is that maybe it is closest to an autonomous economy, one that is natural.


Today as part of the events leading up to a new group exhibit opening one contributing artist, Joshua Miles gave a discussion and explanation of his process. Coming all the way out from Prince Albert. It was so inspirational and a great opportunity I'm glad I could get to earlier today. His work is heartrendingly clear and accurate, and beautiful to look at, each composition. I am in awe and think it is great we have secured some of his art to sell of the subjects he often depicts ie the Karoo here, further into the Karoo. 

I am thinking about his media. His works are both subjective and objective and therefore thoroughly engaging. One wonders if there isn't a better way of picture making altogether. And fine art for that matter indeed. The thing is I try to avoid labels and or names, but in this case I hope it is appropriate and certainly well intended. 

When it comes to media the paper is the thing sold. Its got evidence of a brain which changed it. Thats important, thats what you want. So, theres only so much you can do to it, but there is your tradition, sort of what it is supposed to be. You are already a part of that before the first mark,. I will not talk about expensive papers here though, I want to tell you about (drum roll) ... lining paper!

It is the reason so many more people do not paint with watercolours. Fine art papers are expensive, actually why is that, I might ask myself? There isnt a wide range of paper options generally speaking for creative purposes. Sketch books, fat pads, canvas pads these things are all too expensive (generally) where I come from. So, what does one do, you hear about an amazing thing called lining paper. I am sorry for those of you who are bored reading this by now.

Lining paper has a long and gracious history it can all be found on wiki. I just had no clue until a good friend of mine conversing the things we both like mentioned it. Suppliers in my surrounds give me a range from relatively thin to a heavy enough gram-mage. So this could work to print.

The difference is I get a roll of paper, 10m by 1 as apposed to a tenth of that on option 2!  Here is just one example I picked up which I think if you look at it, will weigh in at the difference, the one that separates the painters from the Sunday painters. I will not mention names. And I have not undergone investigating the 'long lifedness' of such papers, but perhaps I will be organised enough to say I know next time I write here, which is fine because that is seldom enough.

Gouche Study (awful paper!)

  Good papers are so cool dont get me wrong, I have a few favourites in the range, but I would prefer to attempt in the long run to make my own. Certain qualities are experienced by investigation. For me I would have to say it is the actual texture but in a fair ratio with perhaps 'absorptive-ness' in a way that makes the pigment settle that extra bit more interestingly.

There are factors here for sure.. these things are so exciting. The relative absorptive quality being equivalent to a sort of desired degree of saturation specifically or one could say transparency and then be referring again to the paper specifically, the surface. Maybe it works for me and not anyone else. With lino or printing and inks I have no comment but I more or less understand the tools and operation. Opacity (relative) becomes a different sort of player, hey ..

 So you see, surfaces are the thing! And I will say I have made and sold paintings done on lining paper, and in fact prefer it to many varieties of "surfaces" you get out there. Definitely. It is such a thrill as I know the wisest of the wise (amateur) watercolourists will tell you.. there's nothing like it, akin to laundry day and a new bed, for an abstraction. Of course the investigating is whats fun, with Joshua I am amazed because the colour is so strong and yet the edges are all perfectly controlled. Within his process with a chisel the drawing is done and reduced almost like a mold slowly disintegrating away and at the same time transforming into the cast. I am all for it.

Watercolours on lining paper 420mm/2

Thanks for reading and pop a comment to be sure if you like, I am in the mean time looking to upload a few more surfaces to the resources menu. Stay tuned for topics like this one ..

More of Joshua Miles below:


August 29, 2018

scc news

Screen Capture Characters

Finding a suitable digital medium in which to quickly, or, for me more effectively create, as I suppose: someone visually inclined is to do, the direction can and will veer off into the digital frontier altogether.  If you are making art on a touch screen how much easier everything becomes right? Well, not necessarily so. Thing is painting with your finger with fancy brush settings, learning those and all the panel offers is one thing. The application. What about the ART? Or more firmly even, the subject ? How about a subjective look.  Click on one to open in a slideshow. 


People like "ART" because they can see the way the producer of the art sees. The way they themselves see but in a sublime moment only perhaps, it’s experiential, nay existential. It is very little to do with subject, but everything to do with it. And who can then truly create ANY ‘art’ would the next goto response. ART, ARTIST. What are these terms? 

It is also standard these days, commercially. To the picture maker, invaluable in helping the creative spontaneity perhaps. With regards the digital space we hold and those brave frontiers, never before explored and so on, it is seminal in our minds. Art? Or is it not ART? We have lost focus on the subject. And found it again.

In my exercises with the above 4 composited canvases is a performance of the subject, myself inhibiting the space between your eyes and a computer or other electronic device screen. And (You are now spellbound and hypnotized into a deep trance like state from which you will only awake knowing .. exactly what I mean) it is then all up to you and the screen.  So easy, no mess or fuss. I hope you like them, however digital. And if not, there is a print version made especially. 

From a technical standpoint allot is dictated by the program, cutting, resizing, layers and all those things really help, but essentially my finger represents either a pencil or crayon or something big or small, bold and or opaque enough for the drawing. I use my finger because its just easier, think about it. It’s extremely difficult to stick with this 'drawing' stage long enough, but it’s the most important, and this was in truth my objective, and of course traditionally speaking it should lend itself to a painterly treatment in whatever form thereafter. In these cases they are painted in with value only (pity!), each one took more or less an hour to do, some were longer and others extremely short.

In the examples are scenes snapped off a screen while running using a program, the movie plays on my laptop and I hit ctrF12..Then I open the image and off I go. Some fine actors are given tribute here not least of which to name and my personal hero at an early age:  U’Shaka. The great Elephant, and more specifically the man Henry Chele, who’s portrayal pervaded in the masterpiece the series became. Now I can talk about George Lucas and others too, but lets just enough said, for now.

Reference is the key, without it I am at a loss for which to make justice to the ending of this B-logggging..  Below a collage of my reference used. Best CM

July 01, 2018


hings like transparent and opaque, or hue and saturation, these things mean little out of context, not unlike for instance the word: ART. That is an even broader contextual word integrating many many things. But we're not concerned with that now, only the smaller parts, all of which add up to or amount to or summarize of 'ART'..

 he first and foremost important thing is the mark making! Ask yourself, in how many ways can I do that? So many it is countless, all for what? That is a seperate hemisphere question: why? The right is all free and does, the left calibrates and conditions, and further inquires.. But we are cohesive wholes and we make marks, then that is ART.

 hen I was younger the chiefest motivator was the television, not really though, I mean it was my own imagination, but it sparked also by the creative "idea" in the script and overall influence of the medium, the tv screen (Not necessarily a Marilyn Manson lyric). So, others art, in the case of me as a young boy: Crocodile Dundee for one. I found the whole movie exhilarating so that I made an illustration of it (found on this blog! btw).

ne of my earliest memories is a friends art at must have been pre-school, seriously, and would not be able to recall his name, maybe Ricardo, he had drawn the getalong gang from tv, I didnt watch much tv so I wasnt much interested in the subject as he but in his (somewhat styled but accurate) re-depiction. That further motivated my own marks in life.

bove is an old drawing just to compliment the story. In the mean time back to the topics at hand. No.1 is resolved. Making the mark. Herein lie all the details of terminology, hue, value, these are terms most likely applied to picture making. Form may be a broader concept. These can become ques and motivators. So without wanting to confuse them, there are 'principles' in say picture making, and then there is simply the mark, what 'terms' apply to that, how it will work and not so much about what it may represent when made.

et aside the mark for now, before it; is the creative impulse! And this may or may not lead to a finished work, it is sometimes just the pleasure of doing it that counts. And for me this is in doodles most often, entirely free, but usually contains trace suggestions of my motivators, form, light, style. There starts a feedback loop, attaining a likeness and honing it or exaggerating it even, a compelling feeling is hopefully achieved, and neural circuits installed. Strictly speaking.

hen the media will teach you about the terms. Each paper and each pen or brush in cyber space or not functions in a certain way. Interaction is the mark. On a touch screen anything possibly possible on that screen can be achieved, and likewise not fill the space of an actual painted canvas. But you see the same motivators might use any device or medium. Knowing how to use them is then one thing. Covered. Hue and saturation mean different things traditionally when making a mark. They are the white of the paper vs the fluidity, characteristics of the pigment form on that paper, a dual action. 

thought to start this topic earlier as it amounts to say how these 'terms' relate. Opaque media as I had guessed it to work conversely dissimilar to watercolours for instance. The truth is besides the obvious difference and completely objective fact that they will yield different results, more important to my intention on the topic is that they can both be handled in much the same way or ways. Think about it, although watercolour is as light as a wisp and willful as they might say, so can oil with just the right amount of thinner or an acrylic paint, or a very thin natural-binding pigment etc. So, this lends it self more to the opinion of refining the motivator or again looking to the subjective role and simply engaging, exploring with the media in order to understand it.

t is natural for me to be attracted to and compelled by the different media. I love the topic of ART and am enjoying delving into it here, as a subsidiary left hand goings on, while sharing my findings and my creativity in general. Thanks to anyone reading and blessings to you - CM

February 24, 2018


..just how important are lines.. in a landscape ?? These are such happy lines to me, I thought I would post these and then maybe colour them in maybe not. Just some fun on my Huion610. Inspired! 

February 02, 2018

October 16, 2017

Surfaces, giclee transfer process for "Colour" exhibit

Surfaces, & giclee transfer process 

for "Colour" exhibit

below is a description of how I turned my digital paintings into hangable - fine art! 

East Facing at Dusk in Aberdeen
340 x 260

This painting I did a sketch for sitting in my car one evening recently. I refined throughout from that moment until I delivered it to the gallery, working digitally and ending with paint overs in oil on top of transfer glaze. That is the stuff that is left on my prepared panel once the paper is rubbed off. 

So there are quite a few steps here, starting with painting on loaction using mostly procreate and adobe sketch on my ipad. Then they are 'printed', but not in any conventional sense either, by way of a bit of a gluey sort of compound (Dont get it on your hands, trust me!) but which is oil based. This "film" pressed to the panel is my Giclee. I work on top of this with more paint.

A print being revealed underneath rubbed off paper, adhered to the panel.

The print grade is standard lazor, but good on thick printing paper. In using this technique its not the quality or thickness of the paper thats important but rather the layers of glaze used. I found two sufficient depending on how well they adhere (it can tend to bead on certain papers). This is spunged onto the print. Once again, the under panel is fundamental as you will see through the glaze to the underneath, white painted and prepared well if at all possible. I think Ive explained my process on preparing these (surfaces/panels) in an earlier post. One can work with the transparency potentials here.

Its important to get all the paper off properly and this takes getting the knack of. Above is a close up photo of a portion of my painting showing a spot of paper that I didn't get off early enough, (I had already rubbed linseed oil into the transfer once printed to the panel), so a cautionary there but which I accepted later as a textural element. The linseed helps bind the print (in theory) and makes it wonderful to paint onto too. I apply two or three coats and polish in. And then work over as much of the surface as I can, matching colours and glazing with my medium. I am able to completely change a piece in this way as oil paint is after all a good opaque medium. In some cases I do, as the initial print is just a very rough sketch. Its quite rewarding to do, especially for me since I am always conscious of the overall concept starting with sitting in front of my subject, and at times the painting is even worked with in reverse (when printed to paper) and also covered up and gradually revealed. It all worked out wonderfully, andonce again was thrilled to be a part of the group exhibit.

"Neu Bethesda morning light"
240 x 250
giclée and oil on panel

Paintings for the "colours" exhibit can be seen on my  main page above.  

August 13, 2017

Pinnacle Point

Pinnacle Point
Digital Sketch

The above is an example of a digital sketch done from life, this I can now print out and do a transfer of onto panel if I so choose, the sketch gives me all the necessary information I need to take it to completion. The atmospheric conditions, and basic hue, plus shape language of the forms and lighting. Its beautiful, this area was once an indigenous peoples fishing trail, and a tremendous hike you can take now days. I am yet to venture but it is one of many in SA I would probably want to recommend.