You may find… from time to time… complications

Today’s Much Love Monday is brought to you by the very mellow happiness of Curtis Mayfield.

I was going to go with a Fishbone song, since Fishbone are doing a concert at the Nef in Angouleme on Wednesday. I finish at eight thirty on Wednesday, so it’ll be a long day and a frantic drive to catch them, but well worth it. I’m very excited. It’s been a long time since I last saw them. It couldn’t come at a better time: a wet Wednesday in October can’t fail to be funked up by Fishbone. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw them might have been almost 20 years ago, and I’m pretty sure it was October too. I think I wagged off Friday lectures, came home on the Thursday night and went straight there from the train station with some Manchester friends. You might understand my excitement when you realise I get to go to about two or three concerts a year now, and before, I used to write gig reviews for all kinds of big northern papers and magazines, and get paid to go to them! Ah, how my life has changed! One of the first gigs I ever went to was The Sugarcubes, who were playing at the Manchester University Students’ Union on Oxford Road. It was 3 hours of bouncing and dancing with the very young Bjork. I’m pretty sure I lost a shoe. I don’t know for sure, which is weird. You’d think you’d remember whether you lost a shoe or not. After that, it was all downhill. I used to spend most of my money from my various jobs going to see bands – and I got to see the little ones get bigger and bigger – each time, they’d hire a bigger venue. Some got old. Some split up. The coolest gig I ever went to was in someone’s front room in Clapham in London. I’d walked over there with my friend Alex from where we were staying in Brixton, picking up Turkish takeaway rice on the way. I don’t even know whose house it was, only that a strikingly beautiful black girl was singing the most amazing stuff. It turned out to be Skin who would later go to sing in Skunk Anansie. That’s pretty cool, to me anyway. Manchester is, of course, the home of much musical talent of its own, and such talent attracts talent. As England’s kind-of second city (sorry all you other pretenders, like Birmingham…) most bands came to play there, and still do. And yes, you can find the little dark basement clubs as well as the huge arenas. The best gig I ever went to was The Guillemots at the Academy. It was magical and that’s all I can say. I’ve seen a lot of bands who I love, but they blew me away completely. Manchester does have great venues. From the now defunct International I and International II (and International III!) which were on the far-away side of town, out towards Stockport, I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers play to a packed club of 500 people. Then there’s the awful but classic Manchester Apollo with its velvet curtains and 1960s decor, where I saw Megadeth (I think!). There are stadiums, too, though the best was the old Manchester City stadium at Maine Road where I saw David Bowie, then Oasis on their first major tour. From Love/Hate to Pretty Boy Floyd, Alison Moyet to A-ha, I’ve seen a whole lot of music in Manchester. So Much Love Manchester. I miss you a lot. I don’t miss the rain though and I don’t miss the scallies. A scally, for all you non-Northerners, is a naughty boy or girl. I think I’d hazard a guess and say it comes from the word scallywag. Chavs to some, les racailles to the French… No Monday Love for them. I’ve got Much Love for autumn, because this means fires. I’ve had two now, mainly because the armchair was feeling decidedly sticky and damp. There’s a real damp in the air – it’s rained pretty much every day since the last week in September. That’s nigh on 4 weeks of hit-and-miss rain, which is making me come over all Mancunian once again. Maybe that’s why I got so excited by Fishbone. If it rains a lot, you want to get inside, don’t you? I’ve also got Much Love for the delightful Geninne D. Zlatkis, an artist living in Mexico She does things like this:

which inspire me hugely.

I started doing some zinnias in a very similar style, as you can see in the top right.

Then I got a little more me and started doing some other stuff, just playing around. It’s obviously mushroom season at the moment, so a few of those came into my art, as did the scabiosa which I thought might be fairly easy to do.

I was just kind of playing around and getting back into sketch mode. It’s been a while. I tend to only dig them out in autumn and winter and then they get put away again. I love wash and ink – it’s the cartoonist in me, or the tattooist, I guess. I was watching a (really terrible) film – a new one with Simon Pegg – and just having a play about, Geninne-style.

I’ve also been working on these butterflies.

I’m warming myself up for Christmas. I made all my own cards the last couple of years and really enjoyed doing itIt’s mostly about giving someone a little something more meaningful for Christmas. I don’t do very many – only about 30 or so – I guess that’s quite a lot! And I do about one a night from now until the end of November. Last year, they were kind of simple – all black and gold like this:

Though I did some reverse pointillism ones too and some geometric shapes.

This year, I’m thinking I’m going to be a little more wash-and-ink, though I’ve not really thought much about it yet.

Anyway, Much Love to craft-time and how the autumn brings out the indoor creative geek. Much Love to the calm and cold that’s about to descend.

Enjoy your own Monday – may it be filled with funk and colour.

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8 thoughts on “You may find… from time to time… complications

  1. That is indeed a cool story about seeing Skin.

    The wash-and-ink mushrooms and acorn are fabulous. Really lovely and you had obviously relaxed right into it. The love-in-the-mist and dahlia have worked well too. The other flowers are still a bit formulaic, but you can see how they could be adapted for printed pattern making — perhaps some experimenting with a change of medium is called for? Not so keen on the butterflies — they are a bit square for my tastes. Butterflies have all sorts of complex curves in real life and I would have liked to see you treat them more like the mushrooms.

    I remember that Christmas card from last year — super!

    It’s nice to see someone doing some work with a bit of charm. I’ve just been to our local food and art festival and so many of the art school products lack charm.

    1. I agree about the butterflies. I’m that bothered about symmetry that they don’t look so good – mushrooms don’t need to be symmetrical. I kind of like cartoony-print style of the flowers though – I’m thinking of using the design to carve some blocks to print with which is what Geninne does – will see. I kind of warm up as winter goes on! Very glad you like them though.

  2. I love the art work you’ve shown here. It’s shows such a confidence and knowledge of your subject and medium and the style works so well, too. I’d love to master wash-and-ink techniques so if you’re ever up in our area, do call and perhaps give me a few pointers. You’ve fired me up to get started again because, like you, I find autumn and winter the only times to concentrate on my art and crafts. The rest of the year we’re too busy in the garden. Keep doing more of the same; it’s lovely!

    1. I like wash and ink because – I realised this this morning – it’s like colouring in! I do the base in pencil, go over in a Mitsubishi fine line waterproof pen (they’re the only ones I like!) and then paint. I use watercolour because I like the effect, and really, I just play! Sometimes I use gouache, but it’s practically the same idea. Acrylic sometimes too!

    1. I’m going to try! I’ve got to work out how best to do it, but I have many ideas. I’m off to the craft shop on Thursday, so I will buy my supplies then.

    1. I use Daler and Rowney inks from time to time, but ironically, my watercolours are Pelikan. I’ve had them for over 25 years and there’s still loads to use. The yellow and the red are almost out, but the rest seem hardly to have been touched, I use so little of them. They were a gift from my grandparents when I was about 14, I think.

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