In Situ...
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`In Situ', it sounds like something muttered by a grizzled English detective in a small village where everyone dies. (Did they not think to look more closely at the investigating detectives?)

In this case it's one of my artworks I've had printed and framed so you can get a good idea as to how it will look.  This is an Instagram image of a farmhouse I took one night while stopped at road works on my way home after visiting my father in hospital. 

I don't know - I just really like this image. I like the darkness. It's a low light Instagram image that's been enlarged so it has an impressionist feel I like that rewards the viewer with a pleasing image of mystery and the potential for crime. If Australian houses had basements then this place has one you may not return from visiting. Or alternatively it could be where Kevin Spacey has gone to ground.

It's been printed on a satin finish, pearlescent paper. The good thick stuff. Like my brain... but thicker.  

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Dear Diary... I can spill!
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It's taken me just shy of 52 years, but today I wrote the word 'yacht' down correctly without spell checking or assistance. I just wrote it down as part of the sentence I was working on and then realised what I did afterwards. Pfft!

To put this achievement in context. I've always had a mental block with this word - spelling it 'yaught'. My long time mate Steve has known since High School of my challenges with this word and as a true friend does, stirs the shit out of me about it.
I texted him about my achievement tonight and he replied asking if I was really trying to spell yogurt.  

Hurricane Abbott

I read this today and had to repost it as I believe it succinctly cuts through to the core of Tony Abbott, as to the low character of the man himself and the selfishness of his political ambitions.

Force of Abbott

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Periodically, a fact is so self-evident that to state it can make its obviousness seem startling. This, for example: There is no force in public life more destructive than Tony Abbott.

For almost a decade, since he first became opposition leader, Tony Abbott has held Australia to ransom. He has trashed four parliaments. None were better for his presence in them.

His solitary skill is damage. He has wrecked institutions, torn down careers. He has ridiculed the rule of law and coarsened the realm of debate. He has governed against minorities and indulged himself at the expense of duty.

In opposition, he was driven by entitlement, by a loon-eyed belief that he had been anointed to higher office. Here was a man whose mother believed he would be pope or prime minister. Ill discipline denied him the former and cost him the latter.

Having lost the leadership, Abbott is driven by revenge. He has no interest but himself. His anger is the anger of confusion. Abbott cannot reconcile that the world is not the way he imagined it to be, with him as prime minister and the country docile in its satisfaction. This confusion is greater than simple self-interest: it is driven by the fact Abbott never understood he was living in a contemporary society; he governed for a world that no longer existed, for a fantasy of the past. His leadership was always illusory. His default has always been treachery.

That one man could do so much damage is testament to his corrosive gift for harm. Here is the man who held back the country on climate action, who invented whole electoral edifices to deny marriage equality. Here is the man who weaponised a fear of refugees and later Muslims, who made citizenship a plaything, who fractured the community in the hope of leading its broken wreckage. Here is a man for whom truth is an abstract concept. The most honest thing to be said about him is that he has a working substitute for integrity.

A person of any dignity would resign the parliament. There is no room for him in it and he has nothing to offer if he stays. Each day he remains, he serves only as a lesson in the flaws of the human character. He is a study in male rage.

A byelection is always a fraught proposition, especially for a government in a state such as that which Malcolm Turnbull leads. There is always a risk that an independent might win and refuse the balance of power.

But the risk posed by electors is no match for the risk posed by Tony Abbott. This man is dangerous. He has nothing to lose, not dignity nor esteem. He stands for nothing and that makes him explosive.

The parliament cannot continue in this stalemate. The Liberal Party cannot continue to negotiate with a terrorist. That is what Tony Abbott has become. He has no care for the carnage he creates. He is not troubled by the damage, by the policy stasis, by the landmines he sets between what the country wants and what its leader is allowed to do.

Tony Abbott has never provided good government. He has spent almost a decade denying it. The only decent thing he has left to contribute is his resignation.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jul 8, 2017 as "Force of Abbott". Subscribe here.

A diary worthy incident

I thought I might post some things that either happen to me or I observe. I'm reading David Sedaris' new book, Volume one of his diaries ' Theft by finding'.  They contain little observations and such like from his diaries and they are utterly him which is a wonderful thing if you've ever read his other books. I'm rather more verbose but as I'm reading I realised that I notice some things in life, in my own way, that are at least similar and at most, not. 

For instance;

A few days ago, Mum and I had been talking about how scientists had concluded that Neanderthal man, all those years ago, had not so much been wiped out by our common ancestral species so much as they'd been interbred out of existence. Many of us still retain neanderthal DNA deep within our genes. I like to picture them within a lost, moss covered treasure chest on a remote strand of this DNA but you've got to admit, it's a much pleasanter way for your species to go than being whacked over the head or something. Did cavemen stab each other?

So there we were, Mum and I, at the Salamander Shopping Centre with Dad, having a coffee and a breakfast of toasted sandwiches when a chap who, I kid you not, looked like a neanderthal, walks into the centre and starts talking earnestly to some other chap he's seen on his way out of the centre. Possibly they spoke about how his family had been interbred out of existence by this other chaps sister. "The end of the line stops with me goddamit" he possibly said, "we've held on for so long and now that's it for us!"  "I'm really sorry about that" the other chap posssibly replied. "I mean, my sisters a slut but she's her own slut and you've got to give her some sort of credit for that at least."  It may have possibly gone something like that. But more than likely they were just talking about ice. 

Later, and further down inside the shopping centre. I was walking alongside my old dad when we saw the neanderthal chap walking toward us a bit of a way off. Just in front of us walked a young chap of our own species of human in a dark blue t-shirt. As they passed, the neanderthal chap turned back suddenly and aggressively enquired to other young chap as to what was he looking at. The other young chap then countered with the obvious "what are you looking at?"  At this point my father and I are well and truly in the middle of this verbal tennis match. We both felt the tension around us build and an unsaid thing passed between us to move on in case this encounter escalated into something the Daily Telegraph might later describe as 'unfortunate'.  

Thats pretty much it. They continued enquiring as to what each other were observing until a security guard returning from a toilet break rounded the corner and they both broke apart to pursue other conversations of great wit. 

Whales need to be very careful about where they play...

Here's a new image from the prawns and bees book. This one is of a ship accidentally bumping into a whale while it's playing hide and seek with a seal. 
Here's the sketch first up so you can get an idea of how this image began.

And below is the final image, all tucked away and ready for bed.

I'm thinking I might take a break from it for a short bit and put some work into the other book which has been neglected for a while now. A fresh head on it I hope will make the difference and allow me to really get ahead on it.

A belated Birthday Video

Somehow it slipped my mind last year to ad the video I made of Oscar's sixth birthday party to my neglected blog. He insisted that the music remain the same for this years video as last years (he liked it) but I went in another direction half way through. It felt right.

If you like the music, it's from Powermad and was used to spectacular effect in David Lynch's movie Wild at Heart and is available here on iTunes

Happy Mothers Day!

Apparently it's mothers day very soon so in the interests of all those who have `complicated' relations with their mother, here's an updated version of a picture I did a few years ago from my alien species, `Critterz' series, and some of the original sketches on paper I used to work from.


My Drawing process

I draw out a very, very rough lot of shapes first off to see how the image is positioned. Sometimes this helps to clarify an idea I have. Working digitally now means I can sketch in elements and apply them where I want later. 

I'm still getting used to drawing conceptually on the Wacom tablet. Really it's much easier to draw (conceptually) on a one but there's a sort of mental hurdle to get over as much as I try to deny it.  I'm just used to paper. It's ridiculous I know, but there really is a mental divide I've noticed between those of us who are relatively late to computers verses younger people who have grown up with them.

I really wish I could `cntrl - Z' my mistakes on paper rather than using the eraser, now that would be cool.

The original `Red' version where I think I went a bit overboard on making it too alien.

The original `Red' version where I think I went a bit overboard on making it too alien.

Final version...

After mulling it over I decided the original colour scheme was a bit too intense for an image about nurturing and motherhood. My ideas on what was `alien' got in the way of seeing the image for what it really was - and so, softer colours that I still hope, portray a sense of the alien as well.

And here's the final, rendered image. Updated with some colour tweeks.

And here's the final, rendered image. Updated with some colour tweeks.

A bee and a prawn exchange pleasantries on their way to work...

Slowly but surely I'm getting through my Mr Shiny book. Here's a new one, just in time for Christmas and ready to do another one in the new year.  I'm hoping I'll get a lot more done than I've done in 2015. Which is now two. Not a good average I admit but life has a way of getting in the way of our own best thought of plans.

Originally I'd made a start on this book a fair while ago and was going to do the original sketches, build up the image over it in Adobe Illustrator and then shade them from there but `the Missus' convinced me to use my original sketches as she felt they have a better `energy' about them.

Final Image

And so, the final image of a bee and a prawn saying hello to each other on the way to work.  It seems very English for some reason.

A bit of studio work

My (now ex) flatmate Anji is a professional Sexalogical therapist and kink practitioner.  She needed some promotional images for her work and website and these are some of the results. 
I've always wanted to explore my sexuality creatively through photography and Anji has been the most understanding and willing model. Sadly she's gone on to other areas. We took some good photo's I reckon and had lots of fun doing them.

This last image is one I took of Katie, Anji's beautiful friend who was very generous in letting us use her camera and collection of lenses.