In the style of a classic

Photo credit Bill Gekas

When I first saw this image I thought wow, when I looked on the photographer’s web page I said wow again.

Bill Gekas is an award winning and self taught, fine-art portrait photographer. He was born and lives in Melbourne, Australia.
He took a series of pictures of his daughter influenced by the style of classic paintings and whilst they aren’t always exact copies of other pictures I think he has absolutely nailed the style, tone and lighting. His lighting setups are often very simple with relatively modest equipment but the results as you can see are just great and unsurprisingly he has won many awards for his work.  
See more of this brilliant series on his site here

Sunny but cold

That’s how the weather man would describe today’s weather, it was as we say “fresh” on the beach this morning and the sea is still frozen out as far as the eye can see.
Good day for staying in, Maggie has taken to the newest creations from Hawkes’ Hounds (more on that here) and now hides amongst them when I get a camera out.

The subject of my still-life project today was these rather lovely wooden table boards, not sure what the official name is here but they are used as sideplates and the spade-like spoony looking things are used to spread butter, really nicely made and from not far from us along the coast in Trelleborg the manufacturer is a chap called Bengt Åkesson
I used a technique to light this picture which simulates dappled sunlight which is something we are particularly looking forward to around these parts!

…and finally

If you arrived here looking for my site I have put that site hosted by livebooks on hold for the moment and re-directed the URL to here. 
Still plenty of pictures to see on my Flickr page too.

Toy Stories

Here are a couple from the latest batch of sock hounds ready for shipping to who knows where, recent sales have seen soft dogs dispatched as far a field as Australia, USA, Japan, and Finland.
This couple have announced they would like to go to the same home, they haven’t got names yet any suggestions? would you like to adopt them?


Read about this today about the up-coming exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, it’s from David Bailey and his personal selection from his photographs called Stardust looks definitely worth a visit and to see so many of his prints all in one place should be quite something. More about it on the NP Gallery’s site here

…and finally

Our laptop died today after several upgrades and new bits added to it over the past 9 years. I gave it to Frank to have a look at, he removed a few bits then got bored and went to sleep, when I asked him what he thought he said “Buy a new one” oh alright Frank.

A long time ago

My special guest on the blog today is someone who influenced me when taking this picture below, a painter, from Spain, his name is Juan Sánchez Cotán. Any of you interested in still life will no doubt be familiar with his name.
Click on this image to view on black background.

He was born in 1560 in the town of Orgaz, near Toledo, Spain. Cotán began by painting altarpieces and religious works. For approximately twenty years, he pursued a successful career in Toledo as an artist, patronized by the city’s aristocracy, painting religious scenes, portraits and still lifes. These paintings found a receptive audience among the educated intellectuals of Toledo society. He executed his notable still lifes around the beginning of the seventeenth century, before the end of his secular life. An example (below) is Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber (painted in 1602, and now in the San Diego Museum of Art).

On August 10, 1603, Sánchez Cotán , then in his forties, closed up his workshop at Toledo to renounce the world and enter the Carthusian monastery Santa Maria de El Paular. He continued his career painting religious works with singular mysticism. In 1612 he was sent to the Granada Charterhouse, he decided to become a monk, and in the following year he entered the Carthusian monastery at Granada as a laybrother.

His style and the aspect I particularly like…

Sánchez Cotán established the prototype of the Spanish still life, called a bodegón, composed mainly of vegetables. Characteristically, he depicted a few simple fruits or vegetables, some of which hang from a fine string at different levels while others sit on a ledge or window. The forms stand out with an almost geometric clarity against a dark background. This orchestration of still life in direct sunlight against impenetrable darkness is the hallmark of early Spanish still life painting. Each form is scrutinized with such intensity that the pictures take on a mystical quality, and the reality of things is intensified to a degree that no other seventeenth-century painter would surpass.

He depicted few artifacts, other than the strings from which vegetables and fruits dangle, this being the common means in the seventeenth century of preventing food and vegetables from rotting. Even if the objects are arranged so that they seem close enough to touch, they are nevertheless distanced. For all the realism with which they are depicted, the isolation of each object, heightened further by the black background, lends them a monumental, almost sculptural gravity.

Juan Sánchez Cotán ended his days universally loved and regarded as a saint. He died in 1627 in Granada.


Hello all and welcome to 2014 it’s going to be quite a year with one thing and another.
I have just finished reading a christmas present the autobiography of Suggs who was (if anyone didn’t know) the front man of the band Madness if you were a Londoner growing up during the late 70’s and early 80’s their music is very relevant and his book goes in to lots of the kind of stuff you will relate to, some of it very funny and some of it just very London. Details of the book on Amazon here.
One particular story I like is once during an open air concert in Finsbury Park in north London in 1992 there were in excess of 45,000 people who had come to see a reunion of the band and when they played “one step beyond” which is one of their classic hits, the resulting vibration of 45,000 pairs of feet dancing to the nutty ska sound actually registered 4.5 on the richter scale and led to 3 tower blocks being evacuated with the fear that it was a genuine earthquake!

Bakery wise, this week’s efforts saw the end of the Panettone which made a quite excellent bread and butter pudding with loads of plump, juicy raisins and vanillery custard with it and then this great bacon and cheese bread as pictured below which was lovely for breakfast still warm.

So just what have Frank and Maggie been up to this festive season? well here below is a small clue, for the full story and more pictures head over to the crazyhoundstore

The panettone

Not bad, a very long double prove, which I believe is good for developing the flavour, I removed the dough from the fridge around 7 this morning and finally baked it this evening at 9. I built an extension on a cake tin with corrugated card and baking paper to allow for the extra height. House smells wonderful! why 2 pictures? couldn’t decide which one I preferred and pixels are free.

Socks I have known (and worn)

You never know where your old socks are going to end up, well I know where mine do, they are filled with stuffing and lovingly stitched and crafted into unique sock creatures and then re-homed all over the world to families without sock creatures of their own! If you would like a pair of your retired socks up-cycled into something utterly cute then let me know and I’ll ‘ave a word with the missus…
For the full story and more crafty creatures and the like read more here