Pets and their owners

picture of a cat

I have had a number of pets during my life but never really been sure why I wanted to share my house or garden with what is basically a wild animal.

I’ve never been convinced that anyone ‘owns’ a pet and I’ve never seen a caged bird that looks happy. Some pets, I’m sure, don’t even realise they have a keeper and some can’t wait to escape.

So I wondered what might be beneath the desire to keep these living creatures in our lives – but, as often, not too seriously.

Budgerigars – possibly kept by those who secretly want to be prison wardens.

Hamsters – for people who want to teach children about death.

Bees – ironically, are they often kept by people who dislike crowds?

Chickens – flashy creatures who all taste the same under the feathers.

Cats – ideal for those who want to house a god they can cuddle.

Dogs – ideal for anyone who wants to be seen as a god.

Fish – the perfect pet for anyone who lack empathy.

Tortoises – a great pet if you can’t sustain interest all year round.

Horses – for people who can afford the pet equivalent of an all terrain vehicle.

Rabbits – kept by people who enjoy enforced celibacy.

Snakes – an ideal pet for those who struggle to form friendships.

Reptiles – suitable for anyone who likes birds but hates feathers.

Japanese inspired magazine cover

japan woman's face

Japanese art, fashion and illustration style are all influences in this poster. At one time I aspired to be a magazine layout designer until I appreciated the dull monotony of the job. At that time, in the late 1960s early 70s, there were a range of magazines that were beautiful works of art in themselves – Twen, Vogue and Nova amongst them.

Produced as a museum-quality poster made on long-lasting semi-glossy (silk) paper – paper-weight: 170 gsm / 65 lb

This poster is available to purchase in four sizes from A1, A2, A3 and A4. All prints are made to order.

For those who are not familiar with all the ‘A’ paper sizes, a visual guide to these is shown below:

poster sizes
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The Furies of the Tango

art deco poster of two couples dancing

This is derived from an Art Nouveau book illustration by George Barbier for a book entitled La Guirlande des Mois (published 1917).

The original drawing was in pen and watercolour and has been reproduced in a variety of tonal variations.

I have kept relatively true to the colour of the original, but redrawn it so as to be sharper as a large poster.

Produced as a museum-quality poster made on long-lasting semi-glossy (silk) paper – paper-weight: 170 gsm / 65 lb

This poster is available to purchase in four sizes from A1, A2, A3 and A4. All prints are made to order.

For those who are not familiar with all the ‘A’ paper sizes, a visual guide to these is shown below:

poster sizes
buy on etsy button

A Good Book – is a friend for life

poster a good book

This poster is derived from an Art Nouveau advertising poster which I have always admired. The original was by Koloman Moser and produced around 1900.

The printing process for the original poster would have limited the design to relatively simple blocks of only seven colour and was used in advertising for an illustrated book.

I have repurposed the original for this poster, but kept to the style, colours and theme of the original. The titling is completely new.

I am intrigued that the dark grey of the book cover and the background to the type are the same, but the surrounding colours make you see the book as darker.

It’s available in four sizes, suitable for framing or wall display.

This poster is available to purchase in four sizes from A1, A2, A3 and A4. All prints are made to order snd produced on a silk finish 170gsm paper.

For those who are not familiar with all the ‘A’ paper sizes, a visual guide to these is shown below:

poster sizes
s
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Parracombe, Exmoor

poster of parracombe

I lived in Parracombe for forty years, have known it for even longer, and saw it change gradually over that time. Strangely, this view of village is how it was almost 120 years ago, but still familiar. In the age of steam a narrow gauge railway was built from Barnstaple to Lynton. During the planning process the community in Parracombe was less than enthusiastic about the proposition. Parracombe ended up with a ‘halt’ rather than a full station. The age of steam almost bypassed Parracombe completely.

This poster is available to purchase in four sizes from A1, A2, A3 and A4. All prints are made to order snd produced on a silk finish 170gsm paper.

For those who are not familiar with all the ‘A’ paper sizes, a visual guide to these is shown below:

poster sizes
ster of parracombe
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How my life is shaped by ASD

brain exploding

This is how I have coped with life. It may or may not help others.

Having only been diagnosed in later life as being affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, I am now reluctant to mention it to friends as reactions range from disbelief to dismissal. I missed the window to be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome because it has now been removed from the official diagnostic toolkit, but it’s still the best shorthand description of where I find myself.

There are elements of your personality or your brain wiring that you can never change, but you can find workarounds for some of the problems they present. Some solutions I found early in life, some I am still perfecting.

Eye contact
Always awkward, but if you look at someone’s nose it seems to them that you are looking at their eyes. This causes me less stress and they are happier because I appear to be engaging with them.

Physical touch
This took a long time to cope with and is something I still find awkward to initiate and with which I am still sometimes uncomfortable. I made major leaps forward by joining a theatre group when younger who told stories through physical movement and voice. Interpersonal touch was required in this process, but as it was in the context of ‘playing a part’, I became, to some extent, more comfortable with it.

Reading facial expressions
Studying cartoons was really helpful to me. The artist has to convey emotion in a few deft strokes of a pen and exaggerates each facial expression. My reference data from this study is not infallible, but I now get it right maybe 75% of the time.

Hyperfocus or obsession (talking too much)
I still haven’t got control of this one but now recognise, sometimes a little late, that I need to shut up sometimes. Very few people are really interested in anything other than having their own beliefs reinforced.

Social interactions 
I have a tendency to be too serious, to take everything too literally and to ask for explanations on any opinion that someone holds. When you have a compulsion to ask interrogative questions it is often assumed that you hold the opposite viewpoint – when all you’re trying to do is understand their attitudes.

When I remember, I now ask shorter questions, leave lots of silences and accept that most people occupy immutable positions on religion, politics and gender issues. They are not going to question or even logically justify their own long held views.

Attention to detail
This is a benefit as well as a hazard. It’s possible to get so involved with detail that you lose sight of the wider picture. Reminding or questioning yourself as to why you’re so engrossed can help add perspective. On the plus side, that kind of dedicated concentration can pay dividends in some areas.

Humour
I love good comedians. I think I have quite good sense of humour. Where I can trip up is with the unexpected joke, the quip introduced into a conversation. It’s difficult to ‘switch track’ from serious to funny and it sometimes takes a minute for me to realise a comment was a joke. When the unexpected intrudes into a conversation I often replay the previous few seconds in my head to check if I missed a change of tone.

Changes in patterns and routines
It’s in my nature to think things through, to see the road ahead as clearly as possible. When someone changes a plan it’s extremely unsettling because I have to rethink all the detail again.

I try to take a step away and see whether there is logic to this change (other people find it easy to be impulsive). I don’t like changing well thought out plans simply because other people are happy to ‘wing it’. I haven’t really solved this, other than to engage in work where I can plan independently.

Collecting and listing
These are habits (obsessions) that are not uncommon in non-ASD people too. The difference is probably in the zeal, focus and the way they can dominate your life. I have found that the more collections I allow myself to indulge in, the less any single collection dominates my life. I still don’t fully understand this one.

Depression and confusion
All sufferers of depression are probably familiar with the internal cry of ‘but there’s no point’. After years of avoidance, prescription pharmaceuticals have eventually helped me.

Friendships
I always assumed that if you made a good friend it would last a lifetime. I still don’t understand why not, but sadly it doesn’t seem to work that way. It’s not easy to become close enough to someone to trust them. When they subsequently ghost you, it’s impossible to understand why. I presume I’ve done or said something that offended them. 

I have found that it’s easier now if I don’t consider anyone a long-term reliable friend.

In General
You have to accept that people don’t find you easy to get on with at a social level – however ‘normal’ you try to be, it never quite works. Accept yourself for who you are. Ignore the perfect friendships others appear to have (possibly an illusion anyway). Find something that will interest you for a lifetime. Write a blog, not to become famous, but to clarify your thoughts.

The Six Colours of a Rainbow

We’ve seen a lot of beautifully drawn rainbows recently but what colours should you use. It’s a simple matter of physics, but not everyone has seen rainbows the same way, and when Sir Isaac Newton got it wrong we all followed. This is a potted history of how rainbows have been described over millennia.

homer's rainbow

Homer
About 3000 years ago, Homer, an Ancient Greek epic poet and philosopher, described rainbows as being a single colour – purple. Maybe he was severely colour blind or more interested in poetry than painting.

a rainbow of three colours

Xenophanes
About 2500 years ago, another Greek philosopher called Xenophanes of Colofon identified two more colours. He added red and a yellowy-green to the purple. Still not much like a real rainbow.

The European Renaissance
Some 500 years ago, during the European Renaissance pretty much everyone ‘in the know’ agreed there were four colours, red, yellow, green and blue. But they got a lot of things wrong in the Renaissance period.

It’s worth remembering that orange had only just been named as a colour – before then it just meant an orange – and the colour was referred to as a yellow-red.

The Enlightenment
It began to make a little more sense around 400 years ago at the start of the Enlightenment, known as ‘The Age of Reason’. Science began to challenge some long held beliefs. Europeans expanded the rainbow to five colours – red, yellow, green, blue and purple.

Science takes over
A major change came in 1665 when Sir Isaac Newton split light using a prism (he bought it at a county fair) to make a rainbow on the wall of his room. He got his assistant, under instruction, to mark the divisions of colour with a pencil.

A incorrect correlation
Newton believed there must be a connection between the number of colours in a rainbow and the number of notes in a musical scale (he was wrong). We still use the names he gave those seven colours – Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.

But colours sometimes change name
Newton probably intended for the seven colours of a rainbow to look more like this. That one he called indigo was almost certainly dark blue – he would have known Indigo as a dye that comes from a plant called Indigofera – and his blue might well have been a paler greenish blue.

The primary colours of light
The three primary colours of light are Red, Green and Blue. Mixing them is called additive colour mixing because the more of the primary colours you shine in one place, the closer you get to white. (its not the same as mixing paint)

Red and Green combine to make Yellow.
Green and Blue combine to make Cyan (a pale blue).
Red and Blue combine to make Magenta.

You may recognise the colours, or even just the letters RGB, as they are the three colours used in televisions, computers, smartphones and stage lighting. The three secondary colours may also be familiar as the colours of the inks in a inkjet printer.

A more accurate rainbow
So it might make sense to use these colours for our rainbow drawings. Of course we’d have to think of a new mnemonic to remember them. Roy G BIV (USA) or Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (UK) would no longer work.

How about a new mnemonic for Red Yellow Green Cyan Blue Magenta?

Rainbows You Gladly Colour By Magic?

Lynmouth, Harbour Lights

poster of lynmouth harbour lights

When I first knew Lynmouth, in the 1960s, the Harbour would be bustling, both during the day and in the evenings during the summer. Pubs, shops and cafés would all be open. Now it’s much quieter after the day visitors have left, but still as atmospheric as the light fades.

I am probably one amongst many who would like to see it busy with tourists as the sun sets, but life changes, habits change and holiday-makers have changed too.

This poster is available to purchase in four sizes from A1, A2, A3 and A4. All prints are made to order snd produced on a silk matt 170gsm paper.

For those who are not familiar with all the ‘A’ paper sizes, a visual guide to these is shown below:

poster sizes
buy on etsy button