Thursday, 7 April 2011

Owls are fun

On Mother's Day* I boldly eschewed the 'out for a meal' tradition by taking my mum to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary. Ask me how it was. How was it? It was a real hoot.** It's actually a bit of a misnomer; they certainly have plenty of owls but there are also many other birds and even some mammals. You'd think, living in a fairly rural area, that I'd see owls all the time but that just isn't the case. I'd certainly never seen one up close, so it was fun. This fellow was my favourite:

You just can't get cooler than that. He's evolved his own crash helmet.

They also had some red squirrels. I'd never seen one before.

An entirely uninteresting fact that has just popped into my head is that my sister used to work for the Guardian insurance group, whose logo was an owl. The telephone number of the Ipswich branch was 282820. Geddit? Genius.

There are more photographs on my Flickr page.

* I'm going with what seems to be the accepted punctuation, but why isn't it Mothers' Day?
** This footnote is purely to give you time to enjoy that joke before moving on. That's assuming that you, like me, read footnotes straight away rather than going back to them.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Hey man, slow down

I'm back, and having cleared from my throat the debris of another failed project I'm feeling strangely optimistic and ready to do something new.

I have learned, from a second attempt at daily visual blogging, that nothing of any real worth can be done in a hurry. As much as I'd like to believe that it's possible to create meaningful pieces of art in a conveyor belt fashion every evening, it's not. They might look okay, but you're basically peddling a succession of half-formed ideas that could almost always be improved upon. When I came up with the story project I imagined that the posts would be very simple - mostly photographic - and nowhere near as time consuming as Creative Year had been. It seemed very manageable and I felt confident that I could see it through to completion. The early posts reflect this simplicity. Inevitably though, I then felt an obligation to improve and offer something of greater substance and found myself in that middle ground again. The format was restrictive and I felt that it wasn't going anywhere or saying anything.

I realise that I'm getting a reputation for being a quitter, but really I just care about my output. There is something appealing about daily posts because you very quickly amass a large archive and give the impression of being hugely productive, but less frequent and more considered work is definitely a better option. How many of your favourite pieces of art, and I'm including music and film in that bracket, have been thrown together without much care? None, I would imagine. We all appreciate things that take true effort and we always acknowledge it, subconsciously or otherwise.

So, whatever I end up doing, I want it to have more value. My creative output isn't a hobby that I fit in around my life because I don't have one; my artwork is the only thing that I'm likely to leave behind.

I'm going to keep posting stuff as and when I do it, and I'll start with this portrait I've just finished of Emma Stone. In a radical departure from my usual subject matter, she is an attractive young actress. I don't think portraits are my calling but they're quite fun to do when I'm between other things.

If it interests you, there is an accompanying time lapse video here.