Friday, November 4, 2016

Shifiting Space

My recent work incorporates several modes of image making:

  • Photographic imagery
  • Painted architectural scenes done in grisaille
  • Computer manipulated imagery such as the raster patterns
  • Painted stylized water patterns

My goal in using these disparate modes is to create a complex space within the flat surface of the painting.

The eye travels.  It reads the illusion of depth and perspective and then the texture of the painted surface.  It sees the surface of shimmering waves but can then see through them to images behind.  Pulling back, the painting is seen as  shapes and colours on a flat surface.   But even then, varying reflective qualities, some diffuse, some specular, cause the difference of light and dark to shift with the angle of view.

The effect is not simply a collage but a complex, shifting space that keeps the eye and the mind moving.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Ecclesiastes is a book from the old testament. I think it is a useful and interesting philosophical text. It's about impermanence and describes the futility of so many human endeavors. 

Recent events in my life have drawn me to this text and it has helped guide the direction of my artwork. 

Permanence of human structures is an illusion

You probably know some of this text. It's the lyrics of the Byrds song "Turn, Turn, Turn". It's the source of the expression "vanity of vanities; all is vanity."

Ecclesiastes narrator has seen and done much in this world.  He has acquired wealth and knowledge and yet he sees all these achievements as "vanity and striving after the wind". 

Struggling against impermanence is striving after wind

Here's a description from Rami Shapiro: "It says that life is fleeting, that everything dies and nothing lasts, and that neither power nor money nor prestige nor fame nor even wisdom will save you in the end."

Ecclesiastes shows that everything is impermanent and struggling against this emptying leads to anguish.  Life is constantly showing me this lesson. Nothing lasts; everything comes to an end. 

So what's the answer?  In Ecclesiastes, there is no way to overcome chaos. One must accept impermanence and find joy in simple daily life and work.  Struggling to establish futile permanence only leads to suffering. 

Accept impermanence

For an excellent interpretation of Ecclesiastes, read Rami Shapiro's book.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Awe of Scale

The world is a big place.

But on a larger scale its a relatively small planet orbiting a star.
In our galaxy there are 300 billion other stars:
300,000,000,000 stars
That's just our galaxy. In the observable universe there are 100 billion galaxies:
100,000,000,000 galaxies
Galaxies vary in size, but the estimated total number of stars in the observable universe is 70 billion trillion stars:
70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars

Now you feel small, so let's fix that.

Your body consists of 30 trillion cells:
30,000,000,000,000 cells
Each little cell contains 100 trillion atoms:
100,000,000,000,000 atoms

We can count the zeros, but these vast scales are beyond the grasp of our imagination.  It fills me with a sense of awe to try and comprehend this.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A Contemplative Experience

I've completed another pair of Clocks and Clouds paintings and I'm very happy with them.  The compositions took a long time to perfect and I think they work very well. 

There's two key factors that I keep in mind while making these. First there is the visual balance of shapes and colours to make an attractive picture.  The second factor is the balance of imagery and meaning.  My goal is to draw the viewer in to the painting and  give them a contemplative space in which the mind can roam about. 

The imagery is composed in such a way as to avoid a particular meaning or narrative.  If the images too quickly resolve into a message, then the experience of looking is over and the viewer only sees a 'signifier' rather than the painting that is in front of them. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Digital Prints

Mikael Sandblom is an artist who produces artwork that incorporates the visual elements of water, clouds architecture and clocks.

We know people like the source imagery for this artwork so we're making them available as digital prints on a range of products.  Check out  .On this site, you can order prints, pillows, shower curtains, duvet covers and may other things printed with the photographic source imagery of the artwork.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hand Made

I don't know why it matters so much but it does.  Paintings made by hand have a totally different effect on me than photographic or digital imagery.  I use digital imagery combined with painted elements in my work.  I use the computer a great deal to test and plan compositions and yet if I simply output a digital composition it would lead to a completely different experience.

Digital layout for Clocks and Clouds painting

Finished Clocks and Clouds painting

Surface detail of painted surface

 There's a tension in my work between the digital, hard edge imagery and the painted and glazed sections. The lumpy paint and brush marks are the evidence of human craft. The painting reveals how it was made which I think brings the viewer closer to the artwork.