Mostly I come back to tell you that I’ve been gone

My dears.  What Mountain Goats nonsense that is.

Hi.  I’ve been away.  Out of my tiny mind with stress and worry.  And nobody died (which was likely for a bit there) and now I’m back to masquerade as an actual artist that tries not to be an insult to anyone who actually does art properly in a fashion that doesn’t involve a lot of flailing around.  For Reasons.  Ahem.

What to say… I did end up finishing the Rothko rip off bs down below.  It looks like this:

this thing

Which I did in three days between seeing my clients in the clinic and now I can’t look at it without being stressed.  Spent the second half of last year wondering what on earth I was going to do with the damn thing only to find that my family had been fighting over who gets it.  For now it’s at my grandmother’s and is officially owned by my parents because I don’t go over often enough to have to look at it all the time.

What else…

I went and looked at a hell of a lot of art.  I read a hell of a lot about art

alternate title

Which kind of furthered my idea that a lot of straight white male artists that we’re taught to revere could really have done with a damn good kick in the pants.  I read a lot of other drier, factual, technical things too, I promise.

I made my sister and future brother-in-law a blob for Christmas


They were understandably thrilled.

I decided to snap myself out of my artless, heartless funk by signing myself up to do exhibitions again.

So I’m participating in Arttime Ipswich’s Purple Exhibition, coming up next month.  Kate gives you a canvas and a tube of purple paint and away you go.  Pretty rad.  I thought I’d have a go at Titian, even to go so far as to make my own paint.  Because just painting when you don’t paint isn’t hard enough or something.  So I made tempera out of egg yolk and used soft pastels as my pigment.  Then I found out that I learnt several filthy habits as a soft pastel artist, the main one being that I mix my colours on the canvas while my palette sits pristine next to me.

not titian at all

She’s alright, for turning out ridiculously modernist.  But hey, they had years to work on these things and I had weeks.  Whatever.

I signed myself up to do the Ipswich Art Awards again too, also due within the same time frame.  Mostly I’m still faffing around again.  I have my ideas and my concept pieces are quite highly evolved this time.  I am not feeling it today so I’ve occupied myself with busywork in the background, sloshing around liquid latex again and printing reference material.  Oh, and writing here.  This is totally a valuable use of my time, right?

My problem with one of them is that I thought I’d just get the sky done and then something amazing fell out and now the rest of my plans have to do a significant amount of evolving in order to keep up.


I mean.

Who does that to themselves.  Anything after that is going to be a bit of a come down, isn’t it.  Am working on the other thing until I get over giving myself the willies.

I’ve also signed myself up to do the Celebration of the Female Form exhibition, which is in November this year.  An exhibition I adore.  The reason why I’m writing this now.  “Have you got a website or link?” she asked.  Good gravy.  Well.  There’s this thing.  Good luck.



So I finished him.  Nine goes I had at his face.  NINE.  We’ll talk about that another day when it’s a bit further away.

He’s fine.  I’d probably keep doing his face over and over until I got to this fictitious point where it is perfect.  It won’t ever be perfect and I’ve got other shit I need to do.


“The Boxer, 1953” by Rachel Brennan, done as a collage in ballpoint pen, ink wash and soft pastels.  Which is not even close to what its going to say on its didactic.  Whoops.

As I said, he still doesn’t look right to me.  A bit part of my problem is that he doesn’t look like Clive Owen, which is what my heart and imagination want.  But that’s a problem that he has in common with just about every other man on the planet so if I’ve gotten used to the rest I can get used to this one.
I’ve gotten started on my next thing.  Because I have five days until I have to hand these suckers over and I work full time at my own small business and I apparently don’t like sleeping and I’ve got my eye on that Hannibal auction that’s going on.  (The hats!  And a murderplaid is out of my budget but you know one of those white business shirts of Hannibal’s would be beautiful quality.  Anyway.)

I’m going to be turning this


into a landscape that looks realistic.  I can’t find the original photo right now, but that’s fine.  I have the printed copy.  You lot can wait.

Seeing I don’t have much time and I’ve stupidly called the thing Grace I’ve been meditating on a piece of music that I’ll have hopefully guiding my hands while making that Rothko knock off bullshit above realistically  look like the Australian bush.  I haven’t done a landscape in ages.  All of my pieces have had people looking directly out at you, and it’s a bit of a mental gear shift that I’m hoping music will help me through.

Fly, by Einaudi, who always soothes the raging beast


Hopefully I’ll be able to encapsulate what I love about art, which is small representation of what I love about being a human being at the end of a very long line of other human beings who have sung and danced and belched and farted and created and fought and overcome and innovated all throughout the past eighty thousand years on this tiny, unlikely blue marble hurtling through space.

It’s a lot to say on an A1 piece of Mi Tients paper, but I’ll have a crack.

Prep Work

Tonight’s been the night of busy work before I get cracking tomorrow.

Basically, this:


My beautiful Art Spectrum soft pastel box, the source of most of my art and a significant amount of my joy.  All effed up.

I’m clearly not one of those artists who has everything just so.  I have my selection of colours in a corner of the box and heaven help anyone who is walking past should I lose track of them.  I don’t see the point in getting one colour from one tray and then putting it back, and then getting another from another tray and then putting that back too.  I change between them too fast for that.

Plus, I just like a bit of chaos



Don’t worry.  They’re fine now.  I lost the brochure that tells you what everything is in what order.  Basically, keep the colour families together, it will be fine.


Yes, it looks nice in a hipster’s bookcase kind of way, but it’s just not the same somehow.

I went manic

Hi there.  Long time no see….

My exhibition happened a couple of months ago.  Was a success.  There will be words about this later, but the prospect of sitting down and writing about it makes my head hurt still, so I’ll dip my toe in and put up some pictures and try not think about how badly I burnt myself out.

(I worked solidly between March and August on my show, discarding lots of ideas and half-finished pieces along the way while waiting for my ideas to shape themselves.  In Mid-June.  From then on I’d work my very physical day job, come home at 7, eat dinner, and work on art things til about 11pm at least four nights a week.

Then, predictably, once the show was hung, I dropped the bundle big time and ran screaming in the opposite direction as though the bundle was huntsman spiders, not the rampant self-promotion that I was supposed to be doing.)

So here you and I are, after nearly four months of radio silence.

Before I dropped the bundle I went manic in the way that all artists do – The night before my exhibition got hung, I started Just That One Last Thing, that Thing that would bring it all together and make your vision perfect:



To this in the morning before work:



To this about 3pm on the day of the opening:



To this, one hour later, when I still had to frame the sucker and clean the house and pick up a friend from the station and get ready for the opening to start at 6pm:



Of course, life being what it is, the first thing I did (about 4:30pm) in the house-cleaning post-framing scheme of things was to clean out the cat’s litter tray, as dirt is one thing and filth is another.  Picked up the dustpan to sweep up the litter that had been kicked out of the trays.  Cat.  Wee.  EVERYWHERE.  This cat that I was looking after had chosen to protest my poor housekeeping standards that week (as cats don’t know, nor do they care about things such as art openings) and peed in the dustpan, and I didn’t find out until it was too late.


So I ended up late to my own party.  They even phoned in case I’d keeled over in a ditch somewhere.




She ended up fabulous:



And she sold on the night. 


Sometimes a little bit of crazy can do you good.


(Cats, however…)

A Finished Thing


Still with the burlesque theme.  Prefer to show the woman’s sensuality rather than T and A (which is what the point of burlesque actually is…), and I think this can be applied to the wider world at large, where the perception of women’s sexuality stops purely at T and A (online dating, the ubiquitousness of pornography, etc) and the extra dimension of sensuality has been lost. 

Where’s the fun in that, people?