I’m sitting here watching a Video. Yes you read this right…. A video.

I wanted to watch an old film with Jodie Foster in it called Contact. Based on a story by the scientist Carl Sagan. But unfortunately my digital TV is experiencing what used to be called “on the blink” . I think its lost some of its channels because of the weather. So instead of 150ish channels I only have 92. Well we only used to have had 2 channels, so you would think I would be satisfied  but I wanted to watch Close Encounters of the Third kind and then Contact. But the channel that they were on isn’t working. I like Contact because it is Sci fi and about Seti, the search for extra terrestrial intelligence, and I had a citizen science computer program running looking at fast fourier transformations and things like that… Well anyway. I’m watching it on Video. But it was recently announced one firm are stopping making DVDs! They are just going to concentrate on blu Ray and the next generation of data discs . It just makes me feel old….. And yet the video is an old friend. I need to find out if I can still play it if we have to get a new TV…. .

Jupiter progress.

Note the first photo is the latest version.

For some reason they came out opposite to how I posted them. Here are two parts of my Jupiter tryptich based on a photo Jupiter in the rear view mirror by Nasa. Taken as the Juno probe flew by Jupiter.

The challenge is to finish one panel by Friday. The other two will be painted on our Open days, 16th and 17th of November 2018 when we join with the Stoking Curiosity event. Run in conjunction with Keele University and Staffordshire University.  There are a series of talks and lectures over the two days based on the integration of art and science.

Given I love astronomy I decided on this subject. Forgetting that I don’t have a working printer and that my computer is on the blink. I have to thank Mike and Nick at Spode for printing me off black and white photos and then colour images. I would not have got this far without them….. So I’m struggling with the complexity of Jupiter. I’m working on an image from above one of the poles where the oranges and reds of the main bulk of the planet turn to sombre blues browns and dark greys.

My shoulders and arms ache. Although I’m just trying to get one panel finished I have to work across two of them so they fit together and I can orientate where the blotches and patterns are. Please don’t expect perfection..I will try to see how it comes out. If you are around Stoke for Stoking Curiosity come along. I will be in studio 21 at Spode.




I still think this is one of the most exciting places to visit.  Jodrell Bank in Cheshire. It is a massive structure whuch us dedicated to looking at the universe in the radio part of the spectrum. It has been responsible for some of the mist important radio astronomy since it was built in the mud twentieth century.

The telescope was built by the university of Manchester and is out in the countryside because it was away from the radio frequency noise of cities in the North and Midlands of England.

The complex has a beautiful visitor centre, cafe, lecture halls and science space full of fascinating information about the dolar system, our galaxy, and into the far out reaches of the universe. There is also an amazing arbouretum full of specimen trees and a map of the planet’s. I don’t have all the details or the prices for entry, but if you are ever in the area its worth a visit.

Quantum cats…

Everything is ‘Quantum’ these days, its a word used for cleaning products, sci fi programmes, batteries….

Quantum, meaning tiny packets of energy, such as a quantum of light or electrons.

I’m no physicist or chemist but it does interest me. A few years ago I read a couple of books by John Gribben, “In search of Schrodingers cat” and “In search of Shrodingers kittens”.

See Wikipedia for information about Erwin Schrodinger. I tried to post a link but it would not copy over.

The idea is a thought experiment where a cat is placed in a box and a radioactive source is used to determine whether a poison will be released into the box killing the cat. There is no way of telling if the cat is alive or dead unless you open the box….. the cat is in a duality of states in the thought experiment, neither alive or dead until an outside influence, ( you or me) open the box to determine what has happened.

Seeing the cats this morning reminded me of the books.

Apparently electrons can become entangled and then even if they are separated by the entire universe, they will still react at the same time if something happens to one of them….Einstein called it a spooky reaction at a distance,  or something like that, I don’t remember the exact quote. But it showed that something was moving faster than light to make this happen. I don’t understand half of what was being explained but that is no reason to not try and understand, if you see what I mean.

Other authors and books to read?

Richard Feynmann, “QED”…stands for quantum electro dynamics. ( hard going and I didn’t understand much of it)

Feynmann wrote several books “Surely you are joking Mr Feynmann” is a wonderful autobiography and gives an inkling of what quantum mechanics is about.

I would write more, but my knowledge is too poor. However I hope I have tickled your thought-buds?!

(Apologies to scientists out there for this rather sketchy blog post)

Twins drawing.

One thing you can do with digital art is change your ideas. These three drawings are all  worked on from the dot drawing I initially started with. Not exactly joining the dots, but smudging them together and changing the consistency of the pens from plain to metallic.

The app I was using was a galaxy apps called ArtRage oils (free) and Layout which is linked to instagram.

Being creative means I like playing with different techniques. I remember the thrill I got when I first saw a drawing package at a radiography conference.  It was a big screen to draw at, with a large computer to control it all. I could see the potential for art even then. This was in the 1980s and things have come on massively from then. I think the stall holders at the conference were surprised by what I could do.

These drawings are very crude, but they are effectively finger paintings. Even with a stylus they are not exactly good. Other drawing packages on proper graphics tablets can be phenomenal. Here is an example of a drawing I did on one of them….


It’s still crude, but there are many more tools to use to get different blending. I think this was done in Photoshop on my wacom tablet. Im considering doing more of this, the trouble is my little tablet is too versatile and I don’t have to so at a desk and keyboard to use it. I guess it’s a case of what effort I want to put in.

Cheers x

Red Moon, Red Mars.


Tonight I was promised celestial beauty. An eclipse of the Moon, as Earths shadow would pass across it leaving only red light, which has a longer wavelength, to get past and paint the Moon red. Not only that butthis s was due to be the longest eclipse of this century. And to add to the excitement Mars is at its closest approach to the Earth for fifteen years. It is actually up there in the sky shining brighter than Sirius, the dog star…..

Celestial fireworks indeed…I have seen lunar eclipses before, usually as the moon is rising in the east and just around the time the Sun is setting in the west. They make the moon look round! Its strange but because of the lunar soil and dust it looks quite flat normally, but when you see it eclipsed, it looks like a Christmas bauble in the sky…

Mars is also red, and it looks even redder at the moment because it is having a world wide dust storm that obliterated any changes in tone, leaving a blank world facing us, but making it more reflective for sunlight hitting it.

So, waiting for both objects to rise,  and after several weeks of almost cloudless sky’s…A big grey cloud floated across the view, no gaps, no glimpses. No, just like previous sky watchers my plan to view the eclipse came to nothing.

Never mind, Mars won’t fade too quickly and the Moon will be eclipsed again. Meanwhile I think I will go try and find the telescope. It must be in the shed…



What makes the world go round? How do we experience time? What is a premonition?

Some people pretend to prognosticate, be aware of portentous events before they happen. Other people do not give these ideas credence, or use logic to work out what is actually happening.

On a few occassions something will happen that I thought of the day, hour or minute before. For instance yesterday I remembered hearing a radio play with a particular character in several months ago. Today another play with the same character was on the radio….it made me quite confused. Could it be I had had a premonition? When I look back on my life I can remember other instances when I knew something was going to happen. Almost as if Time was playing in reverse, so I knew because it had already happened?

Then the sceptic in me woke up. Perhaps I had heard a trailer for the play on the radio yesterday but only on a subconscious level? Maybe other premonitions were coincidences. Although I can’t explain when I dreamt that I would meet some friends on a cycle ride and have to take shelter from a storm in a bus shelter? That actually did happen!

Weird, maybe something to do with quantum entanglement. But thats another story. This thing has never allowed me to predict lottery numbers or winners of horse races. Although I do win more than my fair share of raffle prizes!