We wish you a Merry Jeffmas

If you’re looking for a description of how I did this, what I used, and potential pitfalls without all the nonsense, skip to the end.

It’s coming up to Christmas and so yep, I’m back on my bullshit. I confess I have no idea how the dinosaur theme got started or what they have to do with Christmas, it was all extremely ‘well fuck, I’m an artist and I want to art, what can I do?’ Back in 2013 (I think?) and it wasn’t long after thinking about windows as a massively under utilised potential art space. 

For a few years I included a penguin with a balloon but this year has been a tough one, especially on my mental health, and so I wanted something BRIGHT. ALL the colours. And so now we have a dinosaur with lots of balloons. He’s called Hank.

Jeff Goldblum entered the picture last year after Shortlist magazine did the most charismatic and colourful photo shoot with him. I was going to just make a star for my cactus (it’s a plant, that makes it basically a tree. I live in a forest, I know these things) but was stuck for choice so added some strings of beads and baubles. This year has the addition of tinsel to the Jeffs to boot.

The three inflatable dinosaurs were a gift from my brother last Christmas, and after the plans of filling them with helium and tying them to a greengage tree  so they flew over my house for summer fell through, this seemed like the next logical step. 

It was nice to get it all done, it made good use of a good health day and it’s inspiring others to both utilise windows for art, and add weird shit to their decorations. 

The window painting , instructions.

It was done using acrylic paints (big up Winsor and Newton 👍🏻), a brush, cotton wool, a cloth, and a chalk pen.

I chalked the outline into the window with a liquid chalk pen, left it to dry, then went over it with black acrylic. Once that had dried (only about 15 mins with a fan pointed at it) I started filling in with colour and using a rag and cotton wool to dab it, getting rid of brush strokes and adding texture.

At the end, once dried and because I’m lazy and didn’t want to be careful, I went over a lot of the black lines again to get rid of any lingering bits of colour that went over the edges. The window is framed with strong fairy lights to really get it contrasted against the white net curtains.

Although watercolours seem like a great idea for doing this given ease of cleaning, condensation will cause the paint to run. Likewise glass paints are not ideal as it causes many of them to peel. Acrylics are durable and the most you’ll get is some cracking, but it is more work to remove it (I use a scraper with sharp blades!).

Rainy Wye Valley at the end of Autumn, 2018

All video/photos are CC BY-NC-SA. For full size downloads, please see flickr

Woke up this morning feeling incredibly sad. Hard to express the emotion but I just needed to get out of the house and away from my life for a little while. I really am not well enough to have done such a thing but occasionally you have to push if just for your own sanity, I suppose.

It was absolutely pissing it down with rain but the escape of it, it felt like a somewhat charming addition. Not a warm one, I certainly wasn’t comfortable, but it’s good to be out in the fresh air.

I had a drive around the Wye Valley, revisited Bigsweir bridge, where I’d been much earlier in the fall. It’s interesting to see the contrast from then and now, how different the feel of it is in the early fall in cool sunlight to the grim looming cloud of the oncoming winter. The rain was just incredible, with roads flooding everywhere, water flowing down paths in the hills underfoot. 

I confess I’m not a fan of rural life, or of trees, I have a lot of gripes with its inaccess, and the rising levels of poverty as jobs leave the area and support is being reduced are startling. Trying to see beauty in an area with so much isolation, destitution, and suffering, I find it very hard to separate the aesthetic and the living, not least because the rural setting is what has been responsible for so much of it. It’s difficult not to be resentful, but I can appreciate that it’s beautiful, even if I do have wet socks.

Bunny video roundup

This time round we’ve got a few videos of my staffy, Dangerous Beans, too.

Want to give Casserole and Tasty Soup a treat? A wishlist of all their favourites can be found here 

Self portraits, self absorbed

Inspired by a ‘quickfire’ photo competition I took part in the other day where the subject was ‘laid bare’, leading me to avoid primer and foundation and highlight my freckles with a cold, stark light.

I’ m really having fun with lighting still, and taking part in these is giving me the chance to give photos a go that normally I’d avoid or not think of. Highlighting freckles in self portraits is one I immediately find myself wanting to shy away from and I still find myself trying not to cringe when I see them show up so prominently, but it makes for interesting character in an otherwise quite stark picture.