Winter Skies – Work In Progress

August 28, 2015

I am slowly crawling along making progress on a video piece. The audio is about a third of the way there (not included in the video below). I’ve started working on some processing scripts to do some generative art as part of the video, if it works out ok I might attempt to turn it into an interactive installation (and try and convince someone to let me install it somewhere). The video was edited in After Effects with footage shot on a GoPro.

Here’s a short work in progress of some of it. It’s way too fast because I lose all sense of time when editing.

How did I get here?

August 27, 2015

A chimp attempting to give a business presentation. This is a self portrait (or possibly an autobiographical illustration). Life is weird, confusing and pretty much chaos all the time.

How did I get here?

Jo Hall – Artist Website

August 24, 2015

Just a quick update! I recently put together a website for the Maidenhead artist Jo Hall. She has a wonderful selection of art and covers many different styles and mediums with an apparent ease of which I’m greatly jealous. Jo runs workshops in the Maidenhead area (often at Norden Farm) and regularly has pieces both in local exhibitions (Maidenhead, Cookham, etc) and around the country. I’m particularly fond of the Natural Forms gallery.

Jo Hall, Artist’s website – www.jo-hall.co.uk

It was really lovely working with Jo and great to work on a project I could really invest myself in. I’ve generally avoided working on websites for artists (aside from musicians) in the past as expected them to be quite high maintenance but am rethinking this point of view now. Do drop me a line if you fancy a custom website for your art.

Category: Design
Tags: Art, websites
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The Mystery of the Sleeping Giant

I remember being about eight or nine years old and staring intently into this picture for what felt like hours. Of course being eight it was probably more like three or four minutes but either way I remember it pulling my attention for a decent length of time. I think it was the first piece of art that ever connected with me, I was fascinated by it, I wanted to know where it was and what was outside the edges; what was over the hillside, what was going on outside the frame, was there some sort of magical kingdom just out of sight (I was eight, give me a break), was it windy, how cold was it in those hills. Most of all I loved the little group of rocks in the centre of the lower third, to my tiny imagination I could see a big stone giant’s head lying there asleep, the rest of him just out of shot. I’m sure it doesn’t look like that to anyone else but it became so ingrained in my mind that even as an adult I still see it. I desperately wanted to visit this place with it’s hills and moors and sleeping giants although was maybe a little cautious of the giant. Not much has changed, although I’m a little more realistic about giant aspect.

Over the years I forgot about the painting, we moved house a few times, and presumably it got packed up and then never unpacked again. Then a couple of years back I remembered it existed and asked my parents about it, neither had any memory of it and so that was it.

A few months later my father had to clear out his house and showed up on our doorstep with a carload of precious things (random tat) to look after, amongst the family photos, old lamps and schoolbooks from another age was the watercolour painting of the sleeping stone giant. In my memory it had been a beautiful near photo-realistic image of a rolling hillside, the reality is different but I still love it.

I asked my father where it had come from and if he knew where the subject was. Apparently, during the Second World War my grandfather (Cyril Barker) had run/worked in a shop called Widgers on Barnstaple high street in Devon. They had sold hardware (glass, paint, wallpaper, etc) and as side business using the materials they sold had framed pictures for local artists. The artist had bought the painting in to be framed and never returned to collect it. The likelihood is that the subject is somewhere on Dartmoor. The picture was handed down to my father and now to me.

It’s not the best painting in the world but it means a lot to me. I’d love to know who painted it and where it is set. It reminds me of the rural solitude of my childhood (in a good way), something I still strive for. I like to think of the artist sitting alone for hours on some deserted moorland in Devon, blustery clouds playing havoc with the light while he tries to capture the sleeping stone giant before he awakes.

Abandoned Watercolour

Abandoned Watercolour

Abandoned Watercolour

Abandoned Watercolour

The back of the pictureThe scribbles on the back were notes my father made.

Should you happen to recognise the landscape please do let me know where it is, as it’s probably on Dartmoor there’s a chance it hasn’t changed much over the years.

Winter Skies – GoPro footage from a car sunroof

August 20, 2015

Last winter I spent a while driving round with my GoPro strapped to my car sunroof to see what the result would be. The result was actually pretty cool, the wide angle on the lens gives a really lovely effect as the tops of trees expand and contract as they pass through the field of view.

I used a really sturdy window camera mount (click for page on Amazon), it’s sturdier than the photos make it look and it attaches solidly. I did find that initially the vibrations of the car caused the camera to bounce a little too much (you can see this in some of the footage) but got around this by opening the sunroof a little and lightly clamping the camera in the gap.

I have a fair amount of footage of the camera bouncing off my arm as it comes away from the sunroof, and a view of my face for an entire car journey when the GoPro landed in the passenger footwell. I will not be uploading this.

The video below is all the footage of the sky, with the bits of me sliced out, I’ve removed the audio as it was mostly me talking to myself or the new Doomtree album (which had just been released). Some of the footage is jittery and sick inducing but some of it came out really nicely and is quite calming to watch. I’m going to put together a video with the best bits and an appropriate audio track shortly.

I’m driving up to London tonight so will try and get some more.

Look at my BIG MOON FACE T-Shirt

August 11, 2015

I have a new t-shirt up at MoreTVicar. Look at my BIG MOON FACE

It’s for worshipers of our glowing night time overlord.

Look at my BIG MOON FACE on MoreTVicar

All Saints’ Church, Binfield – Photos

August 6, 2015

I like churches. Historically and architecturally I find them fascinating, as an environment I find them calming. They are one of the few places I can be where no-one is yelling at me. Being somewhere no-one yells at me makes me feel better about myself. Going back a few years I would spend a fair amount of spare time pottering around religious edifices with a camera. I had a plan that I was going to start a project to photograph all the churches in Berkshire, then I found out how many churches there are in Berkshire and decided it was a really stupid idea.

I was discussing it with my friend Neil (Neildixon.com) the other day, and he suggested I should just do it anyway. Doing ALL of the churches would be unmanageable so I’m going to set some qualifiers, I’m not sure what they are yet, I will probably base it on buildings over a certain age or possibly just the ones I like the look of (scientific!).

I have a specific motivation behind starting now. I’ve been struggling far more than usual with anxiety levels and need a creative, non-work project to focus on. This helps remove me from the stresses of life both in a mental and a physical manner if only for an hour or so at a time. I really do find churches incredibly calming places, they remind me of a simpler time (predominantly my childhood rather than the historical implication which is really anything but calming).

I chose All Saints’ Church in Binfield for the first location primarily because it was somewhere I had wanted to visit for a long time. I had last been there at my my brothers christening when I was four years old and to the best of my knowledge never returned. We had lived in a little cottage down the road in the middle of the countryside (now an industrial estate). Having nothing but positive, peaceful memories of the place made it a good destination for escape when work was really starting to bring me down.

Taking a couple of hours off on a Friday afternoon I stopped first at the Jack of Newbury for lunch (just round the corner, very pleasant, quiet and friendly) then wandered over. The barman at the pub had informed me of the not so obvious entrance to the church car-park which was helpful as it’s positioned on a bit of a terrifying corner, it’s not a busy road but it is one that people come down at excessive speeds.

Walking into the churchyard through a side gate gave me a strange sense of nostalgia, I hadn’t expected to remember anything about the place, having not been there for 35 years, but the sight of it felt familiar. While half of the churchyard has been immaculately tended the other half has been left to nature and there’s a lovely winding path through high grass and wildflowers up to the end of the church. As I walked around I spotted little bunches of flowers wrapped in foil and ribbons left carefully on the benches, giving the deserted rural location a slightly curious atmosphere. As I approached the church a woman was locking up, she told me she had been clearing up after the church flower festival which explained the floral offerings on the benches. She also let me know that unfortunately the church was only accessible during service hours, which is a shame as I’d really love to have a look around inside and it’s unlikely I’ll get the opportunity to go over to Binfield on a Sunday in the near future. She did kindly leave me her number and suggest I call sometime, if I can fight through phone anxiety enough to do so I will at some point.

All Saints Church dates back to 1350, a wooden church previously existed but was built upon/replaced (the history I’ve found is unclear). Additions and upgrades have been carried out over the centuries with a large portion of work being carried out in the 19th century.

Although my plan initially was to just photograph the buildings, I’d now quite like to find out a bit more about them, ideally I could be interviewing people involved for more information but that does involve a degree of human interaction I’m not entirely comfortable with which somewhat defeats the object of a solitary, calming project. Also I’ve interviewed people before, I’m terrible at it (there are audio recordings to prove this, I’m not telling you where they are).

The building is lovely to look at, a properly traditional grey stone, red tile roof country church. The path meanders through a well kept churchyard up to a wood and stone porch area. The focal point is very much the tower (which I’d love a chance to go up, my father mentioned he has been up there in the past). The windows look fascinating from the outside but it’s hard to get a good view of stained glass from the outside. There’s a couple of stone heads adorning the doorway round the back but aside from those it’s subtle affair, not drenched in ornament.

A chance to explore the tower, but more so the inside would be welcome, when I can engineer some more spare time I’ll have another try. In the interim here are the pictures I took outside, you can view the full set on flickr – All Saints’ Church photoset on Flickr.

All Saints' Church from the side entrance

Tower and end wall

All Saints' entrance

Close up of tower

Strap Hinge

Fine clouds above the apex

Chuch lamp

Head

On a slightly strange side story, on the way home I was passing the house I lived in later in life which is again in the countryside and three doors down from a church. I stopped off there to take some photos as well. I parked up in the tiny shaded space for visitor parking and made my way through the church gate into a graveyard devoid of church. It would appear there was never a church there. There is a small copse in the middle of the graveyard that my memory had morphed into a building.

In writing this I have realised I have absolutely no knowledge of the history of architecture of churches and very little awareness of the correct terminology for the various parts of church buildings,in an effort to stop referring to ‘the pointy bit at the end’ and the ‘decoratey bit down the middle’ I’ve picked up a copy of Rice’s Church Primer (taking this seriously now), which I’ll review once I’ve finished.


Rice’s Church Primer

Do you know of any particularly interesting churches in the Maidenhead/Berkshire area? Let me know and I’ll make an effort to put together a list to work through.

Further reading:

Binfield Churches website
All Saints’ Church on Facebook
Wikipedia entry on Binfield with some information on the history of All Saints’ Church

Here’s a blog I posted a while back with some pictures of St. Margaret’s Church in Catmore, a disused Saxon church.

Braywick Nature Centre, Maidenhead – August 2015

August 5, 2015

I’ve been out practicing with the camera at Braywick Nature Centre on my lunch breaks (also I need to get some exercise before I can no longer fit in any of my clothes and I need some peace and quiet before I explode and take out most of Berkshire). It’s only a ten minute walk from my office in the centre of Maidenhead and it’s usually devoid of anyone other than the occasional dog walker.

There’s a beautiful array of wildflowers at this time of year and if you’re quiet you can see a whole host of wildlife, I’ve spotted herons, kingfishers, several armies of ducks, deer, rabbits, foxes, squirrels, weasels (I think) Green Woodpeckers and all the assorted wild birds and insects you would expect.

I’ve made a video slideshow of some of the pictures I’ve taken there recently along with an audio track recorded on the moorland there.

Here’s a few of the photos, you can see the rest on flickr.

The steps

Grass and sky

Close up of a butterfly upon a thistle

Meadow on the nature reserve

You can read more about Braywick Nature Centre.

You can read about the Save Braywick Park campaign on Facebook.

Incidentally, I’m making more use of my Facebook page now, please pop over and give it a like for semi-regular updates and links to artists I like – Anxious Silence on Facebook.

Trees in silhouette

April 19, 2015

I really need to get my photos in order. I’ve been photographing some nice silhouettes of winter trees but have not bothered to tag anything so can’t find half of them. There’s a lesson here: tag stuff if you want to find it later.

Here’s some from the last few days.

silhouette of trees on Ray Mill Island

silhouette of trees on Ray Mill Island

silhouette of trees on Ray Mill Island

A Robin in the apple tree

Walking to work on North Town Moor

Recent Illustrations

April 16, 2015

I’ve been working on some illustrations for Benunu’s blog articles. Images link through to the blog articles…

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About

I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. I have anxiety issues and I like silence.

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