For details about my work have a look at my website,

I am currently working on large prints combining water based woodblock techniques with oil based linocut: nothing if not a challenge! I'm also doing some teaching and go back to school myself in the spring to qualify as an adult education tutor

Monday, 6 December 2010


It’s a black and white world out there, I know because I’ve just spent the last hour worthily raking up leaves in my monochrome garden in lieu of a slippery run along icy roads. The sensible would have chosen to go out in daylight; I dithered around until half three and started in the gloaming, ending up in decidedly creepy twilight. Leaves are an issue in the back garden thanks to a beech hedge planted, I’m guessing, in 1903. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that two world wars were enough of a distraction for the beech to be allowed to run away with itself and we now have forty two large trees masquerading as the original hedge.

It was beautiful: the garden iced white on black, a drift of mist and a filigree of photogenic cobwebs – perfect for one of those arty perfume ads. Since I mainly smell of butane from my studio heater in the run up to Christmas, I am never very happy with the parade of these inevitably black and white adverts containing women who are a) clean b) not dressed for the arctic and c) smell nice (or at least not of butane).

Given the senseless nature of the average perfume advert, I have come to the conclusion that there is some sort of random generating machine, working on similar principles to the Enigma code machine, throwing up advert length batches of black and white shots picked by chance. It may be entirely arbitrary as to whether you get Jude Law frowning with a tie or Kira Knightly in a bowler hat or (one for Dali) a speedboat coupled with a backless dress. I like to think of some ad man pulling a small brass lever and then departing for a long lunch, returning in the late afternoon to a floor scattered with loops of film and scooping it any old how into that brilliantly innovative Givenchy Christmas Campaign.

The thought that, well, a lot of thought goes into those ads is a bit depressing don’t you think? Though, and during my leaf raking I did give this more thought than it deserved, it’s all just the same as a real Enigma machine: ‘buy me’ goes in at one end and all these mad bits of film come out of the other end to bamboozle us. Not that I’m not bamboozled – let’s face it, a hot bath and a squirt of that stuff a Japanese woman floats across flower meadows for is a great antidote for butane and leaf mould.

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