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Monthly Archives: January 2015

I’m taking a little time out from painting to think about my next art project. For this purpose I’ve been exploring the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg. This is an amazing astronomical resource but the volume of information held here is staggering. “Strasbourg astronomical Data Center (CDS) is dedicated to the collection and worldwide distribution of astronomical data and related information.”

A Virtual Universe with all the known stars in the world!

In order assist viewing the data the softwear developers in Strasbourg have developed Aladin softwear. “Aladin is an interactive sky atlas allowing the user to visualize digitized astronomical images or full surveys, superimpose entries from astronomical catalogues or databases, and interactively access related data and information from the Simbad database, the VizieR service and other archives for all known astronomical objects in the field.”
→ Thanks to acknowledge Aladin Sky Atlas

In order to (try to) understand the information available in the Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg I dowloaded the Aladin softwear and have been exploring its capabilities.

The image that I decided to explore is contained in the following image that was photographed from Redhill, UK. The reason that I chose this image is because it contains galaxies that are more than 40 million light years from Earth. 40 million years ago is mid-Eocene (geologically speaking).


Widefield view of Stephan’s Quintet (red circle) and NGC7331 + Deer Lick Group (red box)
WO GT81, Canon 700D + FF | 20 x 120 secs + darks/bias/flats @ ISO 1,600

Thank You Watchthispaceman.

In order to construct the images that I have in mind I want to use more complex grids. I also need to explore the construction of grids!

Quantum experiments Meanwhile back in the real world – what might quantum experiments have to do with anything? The Speculative Realist branch of contemporary philosophy is concerned with ‘reality’ and what that might be. What might ‘reality’ mean to us?



Painting as performance 14

Oh dear I seem to have created a high speed version!

Friday 23rd January 2015.  Three days past the full moon – spring tides.  Herne Bay – low water 08.28am, 0.28m, not the lowest of spring tides but with pressure of 1024mb and a slight offshore breeze, bright partly sunny morning and sunrise at 7.56am conditions are promising.  Only thing is – it’s cold, very cold with the temperature of minus 2 degrees celsius at 6am.

Decided to give fossil hunting at Herne Bay a go.  Leave home in the dark at 6am.  The stars are out and the birds are waking up and singing the dawn chorus.  It’s my favourite time of day.  Slow journey to the coast with the M20 closed eastwards of Junction 7 and the lorries being stacked on the inside lane.  Poor lorry drivers they face a delay of at least 3 hours to reach the ferries and eurotunnel.

Finally arrive at 7.50am, that was a very slow journey.  Conditions on the beach are good and there are not many other people there.  Spent about two hours collecting and got just over a hundred teeth with a larger number of complete specimens than usual.


Herne Bay – sharks teeth


Sharks tooth close up. About 2cm in length.


Small fossil, 1cm long.
What is it?

I’ve just finished reading Mick Jagger by Philip Norman.  Really enjoyed reading this book, a fascinating insight into Jagger, The Stones and their antics.  Clever Jagger the control freak, who is in control at all times, and has one eye on the bottom line. Jagger treats his women in the most disgraceful manner – why do his exe’s and offspring have anything to do with him??  (Must be the money – money corrupts/power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.) What a terrible example to set to the next generation.  Whilst I still like a lot of The Rolling Stones music, I’ve ‘gone off’ Jagger.

Julie Burchill reviews Mick Jagger by Philip Norman for The Guardian.


Painting as performance 13

Selfie 2015

Selfie 2015

New year – new picture!


Trying out the cremenitz white!

Back to painting after the long Christmas lay-off.  I’m now tackling the quinacridone pink areas of my painting.  Highly transparent this paint is very difficult to work with to produce a smooth finish.  Adding white, lead or titanium, just desaturates and cools the resulting mix.  This is a big problem and there’s no other colour quite like quinacridone pink.  Even the addition of a little cadmium scarlet to the white and quinacridone mixes doesn’t warm the resulting mix much!

I have just finished reading Hockney. the biography by Christopher Simon Sykes.  This covers the first part of Hockney’s life.  I’d previously read Hockney a Pilgrim’s Progress by Christopher Simon Sykes that cover the second part of the artist’s life.  I understand that Hockney is outstandingly talented but I still don’t like him or his work.  Must admit that his anti-authority stances at school and at Art college, especially The Royal college of Art, did make me laugh.

I’m currently enjoying reading Playing to the Gallery:  Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to be Understood by Greyson Perry.  Easy understand, Perry’s book cuts through much of the BSt of the contemporary art world.  Perry mentions Duchamp’s urinal.  If anything can be art because the artist said so could the converse be true?   Could my art productions be declared to be non art?  Thus sparing them critical judgment.  I think that this topic needs further investigation.  After all what is non art? is the corollary of what is art? except that what is art? is (and always will be) subjective and unproven.

And, I almost forgot to mention this month’s edition of the New Scientist.  The article, Gravity’s secret:  How relativity meets quantum physics.  A brief synopsis of this article – HERE.  Michael Brooks explains why the quantum world is not normally visible to us in our world.  Even I could understand his explanation!

ART / That way madness lies: ‘Everyone is an artist,’ Joseph Beuys famously declared, but perhaps he should have added that not everyone should necessarily exhibit their work. Andrew Graham-Dixon on the ‘BT New Contemporaries’, Manchester in 1993.