-By Paul Bonner

So – we’ll start at the end this time, just to help see where we are hoping to get to – eventually. I think I have used up two or three post here at Muddy Colors, over the years, trying to concoct some concrete and informative words that will help convey the intricate, convoluted and rigorous process that is necessary to make a pleasing arrangement of marks and colours on a blank sheet of paper. Casting a critical eye back over these missives, what they actually appear to do – is meander around, rambling aimlessly on about my creative endeavours – whilst very skilfully evading the much desired concrete part of things, and insisting on wallowing around in the mud of half-formed theories and extremely vague assertions. So – enough of that.

I know that however much I try and tighten up my perceptions of what it is I actually do – I will inevitably end up wandering all over the place, trying in vain to search for patterns, clutch after visual signposts, and generally make sense of my efforts in the studio. All for your sake, of course. I don,t need to know for my own sake, don’t particularly care how it happens. There is no set map. Just see where it takes me. See – I can feel some rambling definitely threaten to take over, what was intended to be, an almost script free, stripped down post. So – we,ll nip that in the bud, and stop right there. The idea was to let the pictures explain them selves – and save me the bother. I will only re-iterate what I seem to have come up with in previous posts – that it is indeed a rather hap- hazard process that is just what I have ended up with after all theses years.

‘Course – there is strict drawing, planning, juggling, jiggling, violent devil-may-care about turns and rapid reversals. Otherwise it wouldn’t be fun, and without taking the chances offered to inadvertently destroy hard earned progress, because a better idea suddenly makes itself known to you, how can you come out the other side howling with happiness when it worked. I can only apologise for the early pictures not being so sharp.

I invested (though I,m beginning to doubt if that’s the word I’m looking for right now) in a good camera – only to find that it has more options on it than the cerebral pyrotechnics that I’m capable of can deal with. Also – as I,m sure many of you will attest – one simply forgets to put down brushes, turn off that lovely arty flow of energy and snap some amazing progress shots. Well – I do. It’s a question of priorities – isn’t it?

So – turn off your mobiles, stop rustling the bloody popcorn packets, go to the loo if you must – quickly, and on with the show……..there are no adverts – but bare in mind this is no Directors Cut. Vast swathes of scribbles have been done away with, and as said – painting took precedence over photography, so there are sudden gaping chasms between scratchy pencils where I,m grasping after ideas, and pretty, coloured areas, where I have packed up and moved on. As I’m sure the more discerning amongst you will no doubt notice.

There were quite a few more sheafs of paper, covered in seemingly random markings, that mark  the beginning of my endeavours – this is the only one to survive the rigorous cull that takes place after a painting is deemed finished.

It’s a goblin, isn’t it.

Humans always a lot more tricky. No big noses, beady eyes or  pointy teeth to cover up anatomical deficiencies.

The final drawing on stretched paper, tensely awaiting my arrival – with some big brushes.

The big brushes go to work. Very important to remember the masking film (frisket?).

Creating the “stage” for the players. Iv’e got better at not worrying if the dark shadowed outline on a character blends with a dark piece of background. That,s what happens in real life. If one over- designs a picture trying to tick all the visual boxes and push all the technical buttons, you risk ending with something very pretty, but totally unbelievable. Reality and nature is most often a kind of controlled chaos anyway…….welcome to my world.

I really was not looking forward to start painting this in-decipherable jumble of goblin anatomy…….

Beginning to see the stage come together for our players. It’s always a relief to get them anchored somewhere.

The horse and rider are the focal point – so needs dictate that I get them placed first. A horse and human present a multitude of un- welcome challenges – compared to a bunch of rowdy goblins, so I had to know that he was capable of filling his role first.

Then…….I could block the goblins in. This is actually the “worst” part of painting where – for me – the most self-administered discipline is required. There are 13 or 14 goblins running around – so – not wanting to spend the rest of my days, going even more grey and wrinkly in front of the it, I have to be a bit methodical with my approach to this. 26 – 28 hands. 26 – 28 feet. ( and the noses that always seem to accompany them)  A deep breath . Switch on the  auto-pilot, and just get on with it. A real labour of love. This is just hard work – and hands never get easier, no matter how many times one has to draw and paint them. All this striving to be a little bit better each time is not all it’s cracked up to be. But what choice do we have.

We are getting there… Soon the why’s, wherefores and reasonings of my path in life, fall gently into place with a contented sigh, and I can begin enjoying myself. 



More bling!!!

Yet more bling!

The icing on the cake. Final blinging……..trick being, of course with blinding – knowing when to stop!

Finished. Off for a cup of tea, an ale if it,s the weekend, and a probably all too brief lie down in a darkened room with a cold rag draped over my fatigued brow.