Sunday, 20 April 2008

Always let your conscience be your guide

More and more I am hearing stories about unscrupulous people stealing art from the internet in order to produce consumer items. China seems to be the biggest culprit for this, having factories set up were artists can reproduce other artists' work and sell it on. In other words - fakes. Designs and images are being used on everything from plates and rugs to actual paintings. However, where we all think we are protected from this kind of thing by copyright, these people have other ideas. Roadblocks in the official process for prosecution are commonplace, not to mention the time, money and language barriers that are involved. In short, they get away with stealing artists' work. Another example crossed my path this week concerning a book called Colorful Illustrations 93°C. The full story can be found here on Darren di Lieto's blog . This is an expensive book ($100 or about £50) so it is unlikely that there will be a mad rush to buy. But if you are so inclined remember that the book is plagiarised and none of the artists are getting paid. Then let you conscience decide what is right.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Historic Linton

Just a few pictures from this week. Some interactive inchies, hand carved rubber stamps, a couple of cards and a painting of the local church. The photo does not do the painting justice I'm afraid. It was too big to scan so I had to photograph it instead.

I have lost count of the number of times I have painted this church. It is very picturesque and had an interesting back story. It dates back to at least 1127 and is said to be Scotland's second oldest church. The sandy hill it stands on is rumoured to have been built up by two sister nuns. In atonement for their brother's sins they were ordered by the Pope to riddle the sand into the mound. However, the more logical (and less romantic) story revolves around the fact that the hollow where the church is built used to be a loch (or lake) and the sand migrated there due to the action of the water. I prefer the story about the nuns.

The whole area has a great deal of history surrounding it including a myth about a Medieval worm (as in dragon type worm, not an earthworm) that laid waste to the local countryside. Just like the story of George and the Dragon, a laird, William de Somerville, dispatched said worm and freed the region from terror. The worm's lair is said to be in the hill just behind my house but no one has ever excavated the depression the ground said to be the entrance. Evidence of prehistory, the Roman occupation, the arrival of Christianity and the influence of the Normans can all be seen here. There are even rumours of a secret tunnel under the church. It is certainly not lacking in interest and I can even see the 15th century Cessford castle from my window. Unfortunately there is a lack of local archeaological digs, historical study or protection of the historical sites in this area and it is only a matter of time until there is very little but myths and legends left.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Wild 'n' wooly weather

This week has been rather odd in terms of the weather. One day I was reading out in the garden wearing a T-shirt. Two days later it was snowing heavily. Many of the usual garden insect species had poked their noses out of their hibernation spots on the warm and sunny day. Goodness knows how they dealt with two days of chill Wild winds and snow. The leaves on the trees are already bursting out (two weeks earlier than in 2006 & 2007) and many of the roadside flowers are in bloom. So to be hit with a second winter came as a surprise to me, never mind the wildlife. Today is another warm, beautiful day. Will we see another return to the cold? Quite possibly. There is a spring related saying in Scotland: Ne'er cast a clout 'til May is oot. Translation: Don't take your thermal underwear (or winter clothing) off until the May blossom (or hawthorn) is in flower. That usually happens at the end of May here. In the past I have seen snow on the hills behind the house in June.

I have added a photo of the commission I am working on. This is just a partial picture of one of the cats as I am still working on it. It has been very challenging but I have really enjoyed it. I feel that my painting has improved over the last year. Amazing considering I have not painted or drawn anything in that time. I find that when I do take time away from my art I notice an improvement when I do go back. This is one commission I am very pleased to have as it stimulated my desire to paint again.