Sunday, September 12, 2010

PMusic EP007

2010 (9th September):
Have now launched a new, free PMusic SINGLE entitled 'A Walk Away From You (Keeping Quiet)' in collaboration with artist/composer/vocalist Carla J. Patterson (AKA Carla Cryptic) - have a listen at:

feedback welcome ;-)

Monday, May 17, 2010


Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Rule of First Things

The Rule of First Things states:

'The first thing you do, or encounter,
tends to be the best version.'

Saturday, May 08, 2010


You know how you just come across something one day and it can be the seed of future work...

I was reading Saturday's 'Guide' (published by the Grauniad newpaper), and in the exhibitions section there was a review of Nick Fox's Phantasieblume - 'a series of paintings inspired by the Victorian cultural phenomenon of Floriography'...
This does look like a terrific show but my interest was really captured by that word 'Floriography' - the combination of nature and science, and the echoes of my previous research areas - Phonography, Graphophone, Sonograph etc.

Writing with flowers - writing with fruit?

And so I came to thinking about some new words to inform my ideas for painting and made a sketchBook entry.


And speaking of coded flowers, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives are now in coalition -with the media thrown by this new situation and often trying to outdo each other in pointless, trivial banalities (BBC News 24 had some 'expert' reading Cameron's and Clegg's respective body language as they both went into No. 10). The truth is no one knows how this will turn out.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Field Majority

Ah well. Good news and indeterminate news, as indicated by this photo.

The good news is that the 2009 Field Report arrived Wednesday morning and here you can see me using it as a shield to protect me from the news that arrived Friday morning - the loss of the Labour Party vote and the arrival of a hung parliament. I don't often comment on mainstream politics given the remit of this blog but these are unsettled times politically and I hope have the seeds of positive change in them. The Liberal Democrats, fronted by Nick Clegg, appeared to have a surge of interest which would help develop a three-way rather than two-way form of politics. We are left wondering if this is ever possible now.

And talking of seeds of positive change, the latest Field Report is as creatively rich and enjoyable as ever. As has become my ritual, I sat down to digest it in one sitting, although I have saved looking through the appended material, attached to the back cover, for a later time. I note with interest that rather like the footnotes in Flann O'Brien's 'The Third Policeman' - this extra material is heading to become larger than the main text i.e. the book. I wonder if the future editions of the Report will take a different shape?

Appropriately enough, the cover contains a reworked image of Paul Strand's 'Wall Street' from 1915:

Paul Strand 1915

David Dellafiora 2009

The insides of this collective bookwork are as eclectic as ever and it's difficult to resist the urge to scan the whole book to show you (though I won't be doing this today! ;-) so here are just a few snapshot examples:

I especially like this piece by Peter and Sven de Ru:

More power to the Field to continue to spoil its ballot paper...

Friday, April 30, 2010

Flexion Quadrat

This painting was made on the surface of a glossy calender and although it hasn't quite worked, it has opened up some more pathways. It's reminiscent of an old map and the texture is like that of the skin of a baked potato.

The 'paint' is strawberry with salt, overlaid with patches of strawberry, salt and bicarbonate of soda. Pieces/slices of strawberry were also added, giving textural 'features'.

X marks the spot.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vessels: Vase; Book; CD

The above is a small (A5) painting made on printer paper. I like the way various elements have separated out into zones, each with its own crystal formation. A friend of mine saw figurative qualities in this piece - she said it reminded her of a Morandi vase.

After my last blog I followed a link to Blog2Print -a company that converts your bog into a book format. After trying it out and being pleased with the results, it occurred to me that this is an excellent way for me to generate a new bookwork with many advantages: something to show to interested parties, a diary of my creative life over the last six years (and a means of self-reflection for the placing of future energies) and an object which could mark the closing of this blog and presage a new one.

She hasn't had much of a look-in for a while. I first planned the release of Inlet's Daughter in 2005 and now it's 5 years later. I need to decide whether to continue Motile -but at the moment I'm inclined to think I will. It does look as if I'll be able to buy a new desktop computer this Summer and this could well provide the impetus to make more music and for RMusic 003 to see the light of Autumn.

I do hope so.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April Summary: Volcanos and Paintings

Since I last wrote two unguessable events have occurred, both beginning on Thursday 15th April. Firstly Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, was judged to have 'won' the televised partly leader debate, boosting the LD ratings to unprecedented levels. Brian Eno will be pleased. Secondly, an icelandic volcano called 'Eyjafjallajökull' erupted sending clouds of volcanic dust into the air, causing most of northern Europe and elsewhere to suspend all aircraft travel.

And so with the echoes of this in mind here are some photos of my most recent work to date:

Fragaria Bed

Fragaria Bed (detail)

Fragaria Scale Study

I think the above piece from the latest batch is particularly successful. It comprises strawberry pieces and liquid, salt, bicarbonate of soda, on printer paper (20.5cm x 20.5cm). Unusually, photographs don't do this piece justice (I think a lot of my work exists best as either time-based i.e. short duration paintings or derived photographs). It pulls together a lot of my interest in macro/micro worlds, references to SatNav images, geology, biology etc. while retaining a good colour balance and composition. I look at this piece and it just chimes with me.

Have made some other pieces which I will detail soon. Very refreshing to get feedback from my friends Nomi and Sarah on consecutive days.

Bought some second-hand, 'adult' joke cartoon books to feed into my mourHu bookwork (more of which later).

Carla has sent me a file for use in our new PMusic Single which I shall work on over the weekend.

I have made pages for the new invited Consembles H, I, J and K.

Currently listening to 'Dream Theory in Malaya' by Jon Hassell.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Rather appropriately, on Saturday - the day of the Grand National, I noticed another peripheral painting or two, generated by the process of working on the main canvas. I call these pieces 'Riders' and they are edits made from the newspaper underlining the recent strawberry painting.

My first thought was to mount them with a white card surround, as depicted, (which I may still do) but soon realised they won't last too long in their current form as the newspaper will yellow - so I scanned them at high resolution for possible later printing.

Lots of food for thought here.

13th Reflection

The edges of this painting again prove interesting - this time with what I term my 'icicles' forming and drying to produce mini sculptural forms: something I will develop in future work.


By itself, I felt the composition felt rather empty thus exemplifying how I judge this type of work to operate effectively at different scales (a smaller square canvas would have enough visual interest for me using this recipe). And so after much deliberation I decided that another element needed to be introduced into this canvas and so I attached a plastic lid (a carefully chosen green) to be filled with the strawberry/salt solution.

The location of the lid was suggested by the way the mix had pooled in the last pouring giving a nicely off-centre, yet balanced position.

9th Return

Back from my hols on the 9th April - out of the taxi, up the stairs and into the kitchen, dropping my bags off on the way. Painting not completely dry but one more day with the central heating on in the evening and early morning should see it completed.

The painting is a lot more orange, and yellower around the edges where the egg white mix was applied, than when wet. This makes the colour less dramatic. Also, I'm not sure about the composition now; it seems to need more... but I don't want to 'fiddle' or over-complicate.

I'll return to it Saturday morning with fresh eyes.

P.S. Methinks I should have an exhibition called: 'Watching Paint Dry'.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

4th Bridge

Painting obs just before I go away for my Easter break. You can see here the darker margin continuing to persist while the liquid in the centre of the pool has yet to dry - longer drying time often yields larger crystals.

The edges shown here provide a good example of the accidental (or hitherto incidental) places where the painting may be found. As the frame of mind in which I approached this work, in particular, was very open, it could be these edges provide the inspiration for future exploration.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3rd Layer

Bit of a flat day today so back to the painting.

> The left-hand side with the canvas is drying darker (and more purple) than the side with the printer paper, which is interesting and makes me think perhaps the canvas or its primer are more acidic or alkaline.

> I poured some more liquid strawberry/salt onto the surface of the canvas so forming a kind of pool. After having done this I wondered whether I should have as it disturbed the purplish margin of the canvas side - nevertheless the more liquid the larger the crystals. I do have an intuition that this painting is going to be successful and a move forward.

> The very edges of the painting are beginning to crystalise.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Second Coat

Back from meetings at the Uni and as a counter to a rather grey, drizzly day - more work on the painting:

> with the pink, egg white containing surround almost dry, I applied a red strawberry/salt layer all over, so that the margins were covered and the liquid began to pool in the centre, which was my intention (so that larger crystals will form there).

> currently uncertain as to what the difference will be to those areas underpinned by the printer paper sheet as opposed to the bare canvas but it may be that the vermillion colour is held more fast.

> hard to photograph the painting under neon light (I began work on it around 8pm) so I have provided a couple of images. You can see from these the beginning of compositional features.

> prepared a mix of salt/strawberry tops containing foliage as a separate liquid, but haven't used it as yet.

As always, look forward to seeing what happens next - I'm one of those odd people that finds watching paint dry fascinating.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

'I'm painting, I'm painting again'

As the song says*

Just for the hell of it rapidly assembled a painting:

> glued an A4 sheet of printer paper to the right-hand side of a square canvas. Placed canvas flat and face up on my kitchen table, wooden supports and newspaper underneath.

> took half of the strawberry/salt mix I prepared a couple of days ago and whisked it with three egg whites to produce a pink froth (idea I've had for a while - want to see if the egg-white gives a more viscous, therefore more crystal-encouraging medium). Mixture was pinker than I had anticipated. The fried egg yolk sandwiches were delicious.

> applied pink froth to the edges of the canvas (see photos).

> will revisit tonight.

* 'Artists Only' by Talking Heads

'I'm painting, I'm painting again.
I'm painting, I'm painting again.
I'm cleaning, I'm cleaning again.
I'm cleaning, I'm cleaning my brain...'

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Shelves

I'm resurfacing again after being ill with CFS for a while so the world is beginning to take on colour again and my desire to be creative returns.

I posted my Field Report pages last Saturday (20th March) and have emailed Carla Cryptic to resume the threads of our collaboration on a PMusic Single. Also have plans over the Easter break to write up the text for some invited Consembles (more of this later). Have been working on an artist website for my colleague and friend Sarah Bennett - making me consider the possibilities of Chameleon Lectra in this direction (I must update my own site!). So much to think about. Ideas and plans pile up like the excess books that are strewn across the convenient resting places of my flat.

I've been thinking about putting up some new shelves.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

One More Day - for John Dankworth

I was saddened to hear, this Sunday, of the death of John Dankworth. I met him and his wife Cleo Laine in 1980, while Cleo was recording tracks at Essex Studios for an album which became One More Day (with music by Daryl Runswick - one of her rarest). I was the 'tape op' (trainee recording engineer) on these sessions and both John and Cleo made a big impression on me.

My first encounter with Mr. D was when he entered the studio control room and Cleo said: 'John we need an A'. He spontaneously sang and held the note and ran all the way to the studio, only to find that on pressing the appropriate piano key he was a microtone out - just enough to be excruciatingly funny (it could well have been the piano).


Friday, January 15, 2010

Walk Into January (Mythogeography 2010)

Photo: '20/FLOWERPOT LANE' (I added the 10)

'Phil Smith, a senior research associate in Theatre & Performance, is opening up his research work to other members of the university (academic, research, technical and professional).

Phil's background is in theatre-making, as a writer and dramaturg, specialising in recent years in performance inspired by walking. For his most present research he is carrying out a series of walks, experimenting with the use of ‘inner maps’ (simple mental disciplines with a spatial aspect) and monitoring their possible applications for exploratory walking, and what disruptive or reparative qualities they have for walkers.

While some of the walks will be solo, Phil is now inviting any interested member of the university staff to join him for one of his ‘Inner Map Walks’.'

And so as per the above Phil invited me to walk with him around St. Thomas in Exeter UK. There were a few false starts (as there often are with someone who suffers from CFS - Solvitur Ambulando?) but we finally met on Monday 11th Jan in the newly-minted year of 2010. It was cold. In fact when we first met, by the railway arches, we began by looking at the melted water running behind the ice - a sort of covered waterfall - on the brickwork.

Phil declared the theme of our unguided tour to be 'texture' and we used this as a point of focus 'case we rambled too far. We walked around many subjects - the inappropriate use of rarefied terms in science esp. geology and medicine; councils' neglect of the visual landscape; the poetry and politics of using local materials; the variety of front gardens; our various forms of previous employment and the cheapest shop for beer in Exeter. We talked around the behind streets of St Thomas in parallel to Cowick Street and found churches, surprising curved brickwork, a closed community and the variety of front gardens.

We concluded our journey in suitably surreal fashion with a cup of tea and some eats in Crafty Cakes, a hybrid café/cake decorating shop in Cowick Street which led, perhaps inevitably, to discussions of wedding ceremonies we had attended before branching out into talking about writing, music and performance.

I think Phil would find Rochester fascinating so we parted with another sideways walk as a possibility...


Counter-tourism at

Walk walk walk: an archaeology of the familiar and the forgotten

walkwalkwalk: Stories from the Exeter Archive

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 - A Music Odyssey

Thinking in tens:
a new decade
ten years in which to make beautiful music

and write that novel
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