Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Resilient. The ability to bounce back. I've been talking to my Strength boys about resilience these last few weeks. Life throws all sorts of stuff at us. We can catch it, duck it, deflect it or let it just bounce off us. You get to choose what you hold on to and what you let go. How we cope with it depends on how resilient we are.
We may wobble but we don't have to fall down.

Monday, November 10, 2014




having catatoniaa syndrome characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor:
The schizophrenic remained in a catatonic state.
appearing to be in a daze or stupor; unresponsive:
She had the catatonic expression of an avant-garde model.
a person who suffers from catatonia.

prayer, and the fall of the Berlin Wall

9th Nov 2014, is the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which led to the fall of communism across Europe and the reunification of Germany.

Unlike many great political upheavals, it was achieved without bloodshed, and may not have happened at all without people like Christian Fuehrer, the pastor of the Nikolai Church in Leipzig. He decided a few years earlier in 1982 to hold Prayers for Peace every Monday at his East Germany church. in the early days, barely a dozen people turned up, but over several years it grew. It grew to such an extent that people couldn't fit into the church, After Monday prayers on 9 October 1989 more than 70,000 people assembled there in order to demonstrate.

It was only a few months since the Tienanmen Square massacre and so people were nervous, and hospitals prepared for the worst. Riot squads gathered and patrolled the streets, ready for anything. Armed only with candles and Jesus' message of 'Love your enemy' and 'no violence' in their hearts the people set out.

Chanting 'No Violence' and 'we are the people', they totally confused the riot squads.
Pastor F├╝hrer later said: "They didn't attack. They had nothing to attack for. East German officials would later say they were ready for anything, except for candles and prayer." 

And then, exactly one month later, a wall which had stood for decades, dividing families, a city, an a whole country came down.

For more read this BBC report or this interview with Christian Fuehrer. He wasn't Gandhi or Mandela, but pastor Fuehrer is one of my heroes. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

the naughty little radio

Many years ago (it was in a previous millennia) I had an idea for a picture book. It revolved around the story of a young anthropomorphic radio cassette player who was always playing up in school (he only wanted to do rock and roll in music class), being naughty, and, worst of all, LOVED eating cassette tapes.

Of course he wasn't allowed to graduate until he got that tendency under control!

And of course, radio cassette players were already well on the way out when I came up with my idea. The 90's were the heyday of the CD after all, and rewriting it as the story of a maverick CD player just didn't seem to work in the same way. It was a cute idea whose time has come and gone, and only remains as a few sketches in my archives.

In this internet age, even television seems to be on its way out. Strangely enough I am listening to more radio these days than ever before, which was a mature technology even in my father's day.

Here are a couple more sketches of my old story book character.
In later designs he was less the old square boom box, and a more curvaceous post modern design. At one point I even started to build a model puppet of this design, which I planned to give a talking mouth and eyes that moved and blinked. I didn't get much past drawing up full sized plans, and getting a few bits together.

So, check out the details, like the nose is a radio tuning knob, and the carry handle is actually fluffy and is an analogy of hair. The carry handle also could unhook from the top and become a shoulder strap. Such innovation and clever industrial design ideas.  So stylish, too!

Too bad I usually come up with these things on the wrong side of obsolescence. Anyway, I've spent enough time blogging tonight, it's time I went back to working on my story of the little steam train who couldn't...

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Who knows the burden of naturally curly hair? How it never sits how you want, how humid days make it twist and curl more? How windy can make it hard to manage? Ah well, at least I'm not a ranga, ginger or carrot top...
I finished this small painting yesterday, and the hair isn't really half as curly as I originally planned it to be. But quite often artworks twist beneath your brush and can go in slightly unexpected directions. And they still somehow turn out okay, sometimes even better than expected.
Life is full of twists, no one knows what is just around the corner,so you must face the future with determination, like this young lady, and step out in faith and hope.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Prehistoric Hygiene

When I saw that the Illustration Friday topic for this week was 'Prehistoric', it  (and a rainy summer weekend) gave me the push I needed to put this little guy together. This is a prototype for an idea I have had for a while (since having to draw 'floss' in a game of Draw Something), and when I work out a simple enough mechanism, Rex here will become an articulated automaton; when you turn the handle, he will vigorously floss his teeth.

 He was cut from offcuts of mounting board and painted with acrylics. the actual teeth were cut from the lid of a margarine container, and the dental floss was simulated by using a piece of dental floss!

Its a little known fact that the dinosaurs were wiped out entirely by a virulent gum disease, something which could've been easily prevented by daily flossing. After all, as a class they have such lovely teeth, and it would be a shame not to look after them! 

And anyway, a T-rex's short little arms aren't much use for anything else!