Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Smoking Tart

Out and About

I love finding a good drawing spot when I'm out and about. It has to be somewhere I can ensconce for an hour or so with my sketchbook and my daughter. People watching is an inspiration, and a long slow coffee oils the imagination.

It also helps to have a bit of privacy. I once had a tour group stop behind me in the National Gallery and start taking pictures of the sketch. That doesn't help much at all.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


I've just bought a secondhand drawing board. I'm delighted, inspired and content. But is this a good thing? One of the old cliches of art is that the artist should be unhappy. Lautrec, Blake, Bacon, Hopper, all miserable, all great artists. And there are countless others. So will all this happiness get in the way of my art?

Happy or sad?

A friend recently poo pooed happinesss altogether when, in response to her stuggle with a Januray diet, I fobbed her off with the common platitude "Well as long as your happy..." Happiness is bullshit," she said "Read Barbara Ehrenreich." I didn't, and I'm still feeling fine.

Happiness aside, I need somewhere to work. Virginia Woolf famously wrote that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction." Acquiring the drawing board is my equivalent. The territory isn't just physical, it's mind space amidst washing up and unfinished jobs, soul room away from to-do-lists, a space I can escape into. It's also somewhere slopey where nobody can put their laptop, car keys or cup of tea down.

What if misery does make better art? Does happy have to care?

Friday, 5 February 2010

In the Shower with a Cabbage

It sounds like a surreal game of Cluedo, but it's actually more fun than that.

I've lined the shower with cardboard boxes, blankets and duvets, and I'm sitting in the dark with a cabbage, a biscuit tin, a feather duster, two bottles of lemonade, a pair of gloves, a wet newspaper and some gravel. And I haven't just become desperate for cheap Friday night entertainment; I'm recording Foley for my new short film.

The art of recording natural and incidental sound for film is named after Jack Foley who was instrumental in developing the art in the 1920s. Well known Foley techniques include using coconut shells to create the sound of horses hooves, wet newspaper to make squishy sounds, and crinkling cellophane to make the sound of fire. In practice you just have to experiment with numerous things until you find sounds that fit your film, which may or may not have horses in it.

More info on Foley here:

Monday, 1 February 2010


My new film, working titled The Dangers of Damp, is now in post production. I'm extremely excited to have lined up the gifted Owen Oppenheimer as editor. Check out Owen's work here. He's a real talent.

Shot in Martha's Vineyard Massachusetts last summer, the film was temporarily on hold while I had baby Iris. (I'm hoping to sneak her a cameo role though.)

Interesting fact of the day is that Marthat's vineyard used to have a large deaf community in the 18th and 19th centuries, due to prevalent hereditary deafness traceable back to an English bloodline. It even boasted it's own widely spoken language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language (MVSL). More info on that here:

I intend to have a subtitled version of the film as a tribute to the Vineyard's history, and so that all English speaking deaf people can enjoy the film.