The Kick-About #44 ‘Double Gong’


After the pudding-weight of festive expectations associated with our previous Kick-About, Alexander Calder’s light-weight dance of shape and colour sends us turning gently into the new year, with another showcase of new works made in a short time by a loose group of artists with homes all over the world. A happy and transformative 2022 to all of you!


Phil Cooper

I loved the prompt this week. I’m a big fan of Alexander Calder’s sculptures. By happy coincidence there’s a big exhibition of his work here in Berlin right now at the just-refurbished Neue Nationalgalerie. Quite how I came to write such a story in response to the beautiful, elegant mobile in the prompt is a bit of a mystery. I think too many mince pies and liqueur chocolates over Christmas sent me a bit funny!”


You can find a PDF version here


instagram.com/philcoops / hedgecrows.wordpress.com / phil-cooper.com


Phil Gomm

“I love Calder’s work and wanted to build some similar whirling thing in my house and then seek to capture ideas of movement, flight, shadow and light in some kind of photographic response. At first, I settled on the idea of producing this impression using virtual components only, building some Calder-inspired shapes in Photoshop and then using them to produce a snapshot of their imaginary interactions. I’ve included two of those attempts here…”



“… but then, I happened on a much more lo-fi opportunity, resulting from my husband’s impressive consumption of Quality Street chocolates over the Christmas period; Quality Street come wrapped in these lovely squares of coloured cellophane, which my husband turned into an ad-hoc garland hanging down from the mirror – in glorification of his gluttony! Suspending the streamer of sweet wrappers from the ceiling, I set out about photographing it from below – lying on my back on the floor and framing the shots to avoid the presence of the cobwebs and the smoke detector! I enjoyed very much the water-colouresque results in all their floatiness, and I’m tempted to draw some conclusion here about the routes towards inspiration being found more-often-than-not in the realm of more analogue activities.”



Marion Raper

“Have you ever spent a long time thinking something was going to be rather difficult to achieve? However, when you actually begin, you find it is a lot easier than you thought? At first, I deliberated making material into dangling swirls, then I tried something using beads and twisting them, and finally just went for it with good old card and scissors. Result! Fingers crossed 2022 will go just as easily for everyone! Happy New Year!”



Kerfe Roig

“Once again, I had an inconclusive result, but now I know how to get closer to my original idea, had I time – and a spare wastebasket! One thing I really like about these challenges is the ephemeral nature of them; this will exist only in photos, but it may lead to other more permanent installations, who knows?  It’s always fun to try new things. The metal in the Calder mobile reminded me I had a fish mobile/wind chime made of recycled spoons that my brother had given me years ago, which I never could figure out how to hang correctly.  So I took it apart, traced the fish, painted watercolor paper in primary colors, and made more fish.  I used a hole punch to make eyes, and simple cotton thread to hang them. I had an idea to use an embroidery hoop and circle the fish around it at different heights, but I didn’t think of the wastebasket to hang it in until after I had attached the fish. I think if I hung the hoop over the wastebasket first, and then attached one fish at a time, I could get a better, more balanced result. Another problem was no sun for the entire week; I tried three different lightings to photo it, but natural light, I’m sure, would have been much more satisfying. But they did move and the metal occasionally chimed, so a definite improvement over the original set up, and I like the interaction with the mesh of the wastebasket too.”


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Vanessa Clegg

“Thank you Gary, this was a terrific challenge! One of the many things I love about Kick About is that it winches me out of my usual way of working and into the arena of experimentation. Many failures, but what the hell. It’s fun and can sometimes lead to an opening up in my work. Happy New Year everyone! Some wire drawings… celebrating 2022, (we can only wish).”


vanessaclegg.co.uk


James Randall

“Three deep breaths and I jumped into the festive season with some Calder focus padding. Minimal thinking involved when I read about the gongs in the piece sounding only rarely, and that this unexpected element was what one audience member regarded as the key. I had just made my Gerry a gif festive greeting for his correspondence, so I made a few more for KA, but they are too short for the final frame to feel rare, but hopefully they are cheery. Hope you all had a lovely couple of weeks.”



Charly Skilling

When looking at Calder’s “Double Gong”, I couldn’t help wondering what shapes and patterns it might make with a loaded paint brush attached to the end of each arm, then set against a huge sheet of paper, and set spinning. And that got me thinking about my stick.

To help me get around, I use a metre-long white stick with a ball on the end. This I roll back and forth across the path in front of me, (a bit like a minesweeper!) to alert me to bumps, potholes, changes of texture, kerbs and so on. I considered using a huge piece of paper and a pot of paint, and rolling the paint across the surface with my stick, but soon dismissed this as unlikely to result in anything which conveyed much to anyone (or even me).

So then I started thinking about what the stick conveys to me and how it conveys it. So much information travels up from the ball through the stick to my arm and brain.the ball vibrates differently on different surfaces; it can flow smoothly over some surfaces or jump and jerk over others. It will sometimes catch on a raised paving slab or unsuspected step and stop with a suddenness that sends a shock wave to my shoulder. And sometimes the ball slides away from me down an incline or steep camber. The friction between ball and surface also makes noise that forms a constant background to my walks.

So I fixed my camera/phone to my cane (with a bit of help) and went walkabout. The resulting raw video provided some interesting sounds and images and, with another bit of help, I can present ‘Stick and Ball’.”




Graeme Daly


“When I saw the colours and shapes of Calder’s mobile, I was reminded of the seventies, and I have always been in love with mid-century architecture, so itching to do some environment art, I drew a house surrounded by Calder’s colours and shapes.” 


@graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog


Gary Thorne

“Happy New Year to all. Tried creating a still-life mobile, hoping to better view ‘variations on a theme’ in support of being freer with composition when painting. Well that failed! Rethinking demanded reusing again these miniature cut-outs in a 3-D manner. How I wish magic powers could float objects where ever they are placed in space!”


linkedin.com/in/gary-thorne


With many thanks to Japan-based Kick-Abouter, Tom Beg, we have a new prompt to carry us into January, the alchemical Splendor Solis



Short Story: The Night Before (2021)


On Christmas Eve in our house, there was always a tradition of telling ghost stories just before bed, often with a flickering candle for a bit of Dickensian ambience.

Sometimes the stories were read from a book, but often they were created by the family itself, each of us taking it in turns to make up a new bit of the story, before letting the next person continue it, cliff-hanger by cliff-hanger. Mostly, these descended into fits of giggles, as my brother and I failed to resist the temptation to slip rude words into our respective sections, and by ‘rude’, I mean words like ‘bum’, and ‘knickers’.

*Snicker.*

Christmas Eve has always had this touch of spook about it, and I think my sensitivity for this peculiar atmosphere predates any knowledge of Scrooge and his ghosts. It was just a night with an imminence like no other. The prompt for The Kick-About No. 43, Arthur Rackham’s 1931 illustration for The Night Before Christmas, depicting three little boys heading up to bed, captures this feeling very precisely. It’s there in the contrast between their cherubic faces and what is not so angelic about the rendering of their shadows on the wall behind them. I thought this a perfect opportunity to revisit that childhood tradition of a Christmas ghost story, while also exploring a few other ideas too.


You can find a PDF version here


The Kick-About #43 ‘The Night Before Christmas’


Our last Andy Goldsworthy-themed Kick-About together inspired some winter wonderlands (and some much less wintry offerings too, courtesy of Brisbane-based artist, James Randall). For this, our last creative runaround of 2021, we’re keeping things seasonal, with an illustration by Arthur Rackham for a festive classic. Enjoy this showcase of new works made in a short time, and wherever you are, and whoever you are, I wish you and yours all the very best. “Merry Christmas, one and all.”


Gary Thorne

“I jumped into this sweet text with no clear ideas, so dug out my favourite Pelican fountain pen and began a repetitive process of re-writing the narrative onto lightweight card cut to 140cm lengths. On completion, to counter the banality of what I’d done I re-wrote it, word-for-word, in free-form graffitti style; less mind-numbing, yet still clueless as to the intention. Days later, in woodland, I happened upon a magnificent, towering, perfectly-formed evergreen. With willow twigs in-hand, and the echo of Goldsworthy, I then attempted this balancing act. It may not be towering at 150cm, unless perhaps you’re that mouse not stirring on Christmas Eve. May all Kick-Abouters enjoy a healthy and happy holiday.”


linkedin.com/in/gary-thorne


Tom Beg

“It’s the season of giving gifts, but these days it’s more like the season of GIFs for me. I’ve been making a lot of quick fire animations in my spare time, and producing some looping Christmas tree things seemed quite natural. I think this one is suitably high-tech but festively cheesy at the same time.”


twitter.com/earthlystranger / vimeo.com/tombeg / tombeg.com


Kerfe Roig

“The night sky needs no man in a red suit, sleigh, or reindeer to inspire wonder.”



What To My Wondering Eyes

the night lengthens
into hours that refuse to pass

the stars grow larger,
constellations singing

suddenly a bridge,
a ladder made of light

silence becomes a dance,
its ancient steps retraced

the circle keeps its promise–
a child will lead the way


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Marion Raper

I have taken some artistic license with this Kick-About, and you must imagine that it is early on Christmas Eve when the light is just starting to change before darkness falls. The weather is cold and there has been snow a few days earlier, which is now slushy . This young boy’s mother has said, ‘Hey Jack. Can you just run up to the woods and bring us back a little tree to decorate tonight? Your father’s so busy at the farm he’ll be exhausted by the time he get’s home and your brothers and sisters are so excited and can’t wait to start decorating it. I’ll never get them bathed and into bed asleep before Santa comes tonight!’ Christmas Eve is such a magical time and there is so much to do that it always flies by before you know it.



“And wishing all the Kick-About gang a relaxed, leisurely Christmas and a healthy new Year – artwork courtesy of Toby, my youngest grandson, who proudly carried this picture out from school this week.”



Phil Cooper

“The shadows in Arthur Rackham’s drawing are rather ominous, but I find there’s a spookiness lurking in so many of his images. His work is, on the surface, often enchanting and whimsical, but there’s a darkness and strangeness to them hiding just out of frame.

I’m submitting a painting that plays with similar themes for this Kick-About; shadows and light, mysterious things unseen, and a prickle of unease. I don’t know what’s going on behind the topiary here, perhaps somebody burning rubbish on a bonfire, or a streetlamp, or maybe something else…”


instagram.com/philcoops / hedgecrows.wordpress.com / phil-cooper.com


Graeme Daly

“Not much from me today, as I did these quick sketches on the journey to Stansted airport on my way back to Ireland! I couldn’t get over the eerie nature of Rackham’s scratchy shadows! I found his illustration horrifying – in the best way! For me, Rackham’s art always veers towards that polarising view of what is ‘charming’, where it is uncanny and not quite right. There’s something about the blackness of the line work, particularly with the scratchy shadows, and the way the sickly stained walls progressively get more bruised towards the top; making me think old Saint Nick isn’t as jolly as it’s told, and could be hiding in those shadows, ready to unhinge his bearded jaw and gobble up those kids as they run right up to him… ‘He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake…'”


@graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog


Charly Skilling

“I grew up in a very tall, very dark, very cold Victorian house, and although Arthur Rackham‘s drawing was done a quarter century earlier, the image instantly brought all my childhood fears back to me. There were shadows everywhere and permanently icy draughts that stroked the back of your neck, and then savagely slammed any door you were unwise enough not to shut securely behind you. It was great in daylight: high-ceilinged rooms and long corridors, changing floor levels, and plenty of hiding places. But when the night drew in…”


You you can find a PDF version here.


Vanessa Clegg

“I was thinking of the brilliant film, Nosferatu, with the shadow of the vampire climbing the stairs then put that into the traditional snack left out for Santa! Enjoy Christmas everybody, however you choose to spend the time. Have fun and keep cosy.”


vanessaclegg.co.uk


Phil Gomm

“On Christmas Eve in our house, there was always a tradition of telling ghost stories just before bed, often with a flickering candle for a bit of Dickensian ambience. Sometimes the stories were read from a book, but often they were created by the family itself, each of us taking it in turns to make up a new bit of the story, before letting the next person continue it, cliff-hanger by cliff-hanger. Mostly, these descended into fits of giggles, as my brother and I failed to resist the temptation to slip rude words into our respective sections, and by ‘rude’, I mean words like ‘bum’, and ‘knickers’. *Snicker*.

Christmas Eve has always had this touch of spook about it, and I think my sensitivity for this peculiar atmosphere predates any knowledge of Scrooge and his ghosts. It was just a night with an imminence like no other. Rackham’s illustration of these three boys heading up to bed captures this feeling very precisely; it’s there in the contrast between their cherubic faces and what is not so angelic about the rendering of their shadows on the wall behind them. I thought this a perfect opportunity to revisit that childhood tradition of a Christmas ghost story.”


You can find a PDF version here


James Randall

“Thanks Gary Thorne for your good advice to take a sub-tropical approach. And so I landed on the hot nights when the heat spins about you as you search for the numbness of sleep. I could have used a darker palette for night. I had the Christmas excuse to use the gold paint that I was too conservative to use previously – wish I could share the metallic on screen. So as the year darts to a close thanks to all of you wonderful KAers and your inspirational works. They amaze me every week and make me want to try harder to capture some of your spark. May you all have a wonderful Christmas and a healthy happy 2022!”



Courtesy of Kick-Abouter (and artful Christmas Tree wrangler) Gary Thorne, we have a new prompt to carry you through those moments when, despite all the food and other festivities, you’re twiddling your thumbs and wish there was a classic example of mid-Century kinetic art to inspire you…



Throwback Friday #84 There Was A Man (2003)


Another old song dating from a downbeat, if highly creative, period of my life, and another break-up song at that! I actually remember the melody for this one, which moves me towards doing something constructive with some of these out-pourings, if only to ensure against forgetting them completely.


there was a man

1

there was a man and the world was his oyster
woke up with the sunlight still dreaming of choice
the things he would do just given half of a chance
the songs he might sing and the dance he might dance
there were some who believed he could fly
there were some who believed he had wings
here was man, most people said
a man with a talent for just about everything
only here’s the mystery. Here’s the part I don’t understand
because he vanished one day, and the world went away
and I know this because I was that man.

chorus

(and I think) that man left my life the way you did
and not late one night or by the slam of any door
but like a warmth slowly cooling, like some thread in me unspooling
like conviction becoming much less sure
I think the man that was me left alongside you
and just like a ghost I think he’s following you still
but if I wait here maybe he’ll come back
because, maybe, just maybe you will

2

there was a man and the skies were the limit
touched the stars with his fingers and the moon his to win
its light on his face and its silver his prize
the heavens in reach and those stars in his eyes
there were some who believed he was born
to start like a spark some great fire
here was a man it was often heard said
a man with plan for climbing now even higher
only here’s the crying shame. Here’s the part which feels like a sham
this man let go of the stars, let the moon float away
and I know this because I was that man

chorus

3

there was a man and his heart was wide open
like a door needing no key, like a gift freely given
unconcerned with the risk, unconcerned by the fall
from the podium high, from these ivory walls
there were some who believed he’d been crowned
like some prince in some old fairytale
here was man these same people said
a man with a love so sure it just couldn’t fail
only here’s the trick up the sleeve, here’s the ending no one had planned
‘cause how his heart broke, how his heart cracked and died
and I know this because I was that man

chorus


The Kick-About #41 ‘La Ville’


From the ephemera of the last KA’s flowers of fire, to the more concrete energies of Fernand Leger’s La Ville, it’s another showcase of new works made in a short time by an eclectic group of creatives. We have ‘all sorts’ of different work in the mix – and quite literally this time too! Happy browsing.


Tom Beg

“I wanted to create an abstract image that conjured up the feeling of climbing some obscenely huge tower and looking down on the endlessly sprawling megalopolis below.”


twitter.com/earthlystranger / vimeo.com/tombeg / tombeg.com


Vanessa Clegg

“I don’t know why, but Léger’s work reminds me of liquorice allsorts, with a touch of fuzzy felts (remember them?) thrown in… So I spent an enjoyable afternoon playing with sweets, attempting to recreate something vaguely Léger-like, at the same time gobbling the residue – eating the art! Can’t recommend it highly enough!”



vanessaclegg.co.uk


Kerfe Roig

“A collage with words.”



The City (after Leger)

In the beginning you can divide the questions
into a multitude of forms.
For your second act define your journey.
Offer your voice to the silence of light.
Remember to open the secret red door.
Do you know why?
It’s too early to be the end.
Simple, really.


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Marion Raper

“My daughter had the good fortune to go to the premiere of the film, House of Gucci, in London recently. Whilst watching the stars parade down the red carpet, she took a fabulous photo on her mobile. It captured Lady Gaga walking through a forest of mobiles held aloft, and with the city lights all around.  I thought this was such a great shot and would be just right for this Kick-About. I did a watercolour sketch first and then transcribed it into cubist terms.  How times have changed since the times of Leger!”



Charly Skilling

“I do not share Léger’s delight in modern cities, In fact, the aspect of British cities I most enjoy is the eclectic mixture of architecture from throughout the centuries. Here you are very likely to find long-established shops housed in medieval buildings, sagging gently against a some tall, stern, corsetted Victorian hotel, which is itself being eyeballed by a 1960’s concrete office block. Leger wrote to a friend, ‘I am still constantly astonished by the vertical urge of these people drunk with architecture. From my room on the thirtieth floor, the night is the most astonishing spectacle in the world. Nothing can be compared to it… This city is infernal. A mixture of elegance and toughness.’

I am trying to capture, in crochet, that spirit of a night time cityscape. It is a work in progress, but I started with sketches, then collage, and then began recreating some of those images in what will eventually be, (I think), a five-panelled piece of work. As you can see, there is a way to go!”



James Randall

Léger may have lived in an exciting time when cities were evolving rapidly with new industries and styles emerging – and I do love a new architectural design device today but, after the last year and a half, cities have lost a lot of gloss for me. In my KA submission I used building facade photos to recreate the Covid 19 virus model from the CDC and popped a little fiery hell below it. Looks fairly cheery to me!



Phil Gomm

“I took this photograph in Katowice, Poland, on the first of my two trips there in 2017 and 2019 respectively. My reason for visiting the city was on account of my collaboration with the orchestra there. This particular image was taken on my first visit, on a bright winter’s afternoon, as I explored the city in the gap between rehearsal and performance. Léger’s painting reminded me of this image, something about the absence of any horizon and all those vertical stripes, the prompt sending me back to my archives for a rummage.

The association made, I set myself the task of using this one photograph as the only element in a digital collage, re-sizing it, layering it, rotating it, slicing it up, and then building it back together again. Different layering combinations soon pushed out different colours, and ultimately, different cities, or rather the same city at different times of the day. In common with so many of these Kick-About challenges, I find restricting my available resources to be an effective way of getting into making different types of work.”




Phil Cooper

“Léger’s love of the city is evident in his painting, La Ville. It hums with the energy and activity of the ever-changing urban landscape. Everything in the painting looks on the move, new structures are rising up before our eyes, while others are being knocked down to make way for yet more construction.

I live in Berlin, a city with a unique history and a place that’s had more than it’s fair share of destruction and renewal. The life of the city here has ebbed and flowed like the tide, dying down and growing up again dramatically over the last hundred years or so. I’ve been out sketching recently, taking a little folding stool out into the neighbourhood where I live, drawing and painting quickly (because it’s so chilly here at the moment!), responding to the strong shapes of the architecture and the frequently shifting landscape of the streets.

This sketch for the Kick-About is of a ruined old building that was part of a factory complex. Not that old, but derelict and dead, waiting to be cleared away for something else. It was a great subject to paint, probably more interesting than the bland blocks of flats that will undoubtedly take its place soon. Léger celebrated the shiny energy of the new, but I’ve been drawn to the melancholy of the city that is disappearing.”


instagram.com/philcoops / hedgecrows.wordpress.com / phil-cooper.com


Graeme Daly

“With Léger’s La Ville being inspired by the city’s urbanisation I decided to mimic the feeling of constant change. Gritty photos taken on the streets of my current stomping ground in London are meshed together in a smorgasbord of shapes, colours and texture, to highlight the building up and tearing down of the fast paced concrete jungle.”


@graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog


Thanks to regular Kick-Abouter, Phil Cooper, we have a new prompt, Andy Goldsworthy’s Ice Spiral, which is surely a secret wish for the magic of winter and other transformations. Have fun, and see you back here in December.



The Kick-About #40 ‘Flowers Of Fire’


After the gothic shadows of our last Kick-About together, how about a bit of flash, dazzle and colour? Inspired by the delightful illustrations from various collections of Japanese firework catalogues, the Kick-Abouters are lighting things up with a vibrant display of new works made in a short time. Whizz bang ooh ahh indeed!


Marion Raper

My first idea for this wonderful topic was to do some machine stitching on paper, as I thought I could get some exciting and interesting firework patterns with this. However, my sewing machine had other ideas and although I have used this method before, my needles kept breaking and I had to opt for plan B – hand stitching. First I used acrylic inks as background and then added various threads, sequins and oddments from my stash. As I sat sewing it came to me that life is like a firework! It starts off at great speed, happy, colourful and joyous, then there’s a bit of brilliance and sparkle and it finally shoots off into the heavens with a giant BOOM!!



Graeme Daly

Graeme:  I do have this massive piece of glass that was taken off a neighbour’s shower… it stands perfectly by itself, so I’m going to haul it into my room and give it a whirl for more experiments.

Phil: Don’t die.

Graeme: I’ll try!  I see why you love this practice so much. It’s so much fucking fun! I got lost in it. 


@graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog


James Randall

“For some reason when I initially read the prompt list a lot of flowers types were in it (in my old persons head!) – so I worked with building photos and added flowers and water pics (from the archives) and Japanese type in a square format, but I had killed off any vitality. I ditched the type and changed the format to 1:3, and eventually lost the building layer. Also accidentally rotated the pic to portrait. I think it improved the piece.”



Phil Gomm

“This prompt got me thinking about ways I might make fireworks my photographic subject without burning down the house in the process! I settled upon an equivalent phenomena that shared both the ‘rainbows’ and ephemerality of fireworks, filling a large white bowl with water and lots of washing-up liquid, and setting about blowing large heaps of bubbles. I was able to focus on, and through, all the multiple planes of the bubbles, which I soon learned produced these nicely ‘explosive’ qualities. I was reminded of the moments just after a rocket explodes, so not the big sky-born chrysanthemums, but the petering out of the last few sparks against the smudges of smoke. I took a whole bunch of photographs, always trying to find the next most expressive composition, and all the time racing against the inevitable popping of my soapy installation. Even as I was happy with the resulting images, I felt pulled towards getting into the explosiveness a little more, evoking the sights and sounds of a firework display, and so putting some of these images to work. The short film ‘Whizz Bang Ooh Aah’ was the result of trying to do just that.”




Kerfe Roig

When I looked through the fireworks catalogues at all the different images, it made me think that the artists were trying to project their dreams into the sky.  Visions of wishes and magical things.  As usual, the collage turned out very differently than I imagined it, but I think it captures the spirit of what I intended to do.



fireworks

you dreamed without beginning–
breath, stars, flowers
of light

you were happy to hold
hands with what was
not there

you closed your eyes and sang
from the inside, way down,
like flying,

listening to your heart beating,
rearranging the pattern
into constellations

you released what you had not
seen—you gave it away
without thinking

you dreamed with your arms open
and became entirely unafraid–
spilled over


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Phil Cooper

I really loved the Japanese firework illustrations for this prompt, they’re so controlled and carefully arranged; the opposite to what I think of as a firework going off, but they work beautifully. I’ve played with some photos I took a few weeks ago at the Britzer Garten in Berlin, where there was a fabulous display of Dahlias glowing in the autumn sunshine. The flowers were so firework-like, the colours so bright and hot, I really fell for them. We don’t have bonfire night here in Germany, so the Dahlias will have to do for me this year!


instagram.com/philcoops / hedgecrows.wordpress.com / phil-cooper.com


Tom Beg

“I was immediately struck by the simplicity of the illustrations, and how a few simply arranged shapes and colours could represent the forms of fireworks so well. I wanted to create something complex from something very simple and immediate, so I whipped up some very basic animation loops and then duplicated and rotated until some suitably cool looking abstract effects were generated. From a vertical orientation they remind me of fireworks shooting up into the sky and scattering in the atmosphere.”



twitter.com/earthlystranger / vimeo.com/tombeg / tombeg.com


Charly Skilling

“I didn’t think I was going to be able to contribute to this Kick-About because of time constraints, but I found I kept remembering the firework nights of my childhood (which, as you may already know, was a very long time ago!). In the end, the only way to get these memories out of my head was to put them down in words. Hopefully, it may trigger a memory for those of you old enough to remember, and for all the others, think of it as an example of the 1950’s English family at play. Weird or what!?”


You’ll find a PDF version here.


The last time painter, Fernand Léger, featured as a prompt for the Kick-About, we were treated to a mouth-watering display of food, fruit, and flowers. For our next creative departure, our destination is Leger’s 1919 painting, La Ville. Enjoy your city-break!



The Kick-About #39 ‘The Children Of The Night’


Our last Kick-About together was kicked-off by the cut-outs of Henri Matisse, and specifically his White Alga on Orange and Red from 1947. Inspired by one of Matisse’s less well-known cut-outs, regular Kick-Abouter, Kerfe Roig, treated us to something with touch of Halloween about it – a trio of rather dashing devil masks, and a foretaste of this week’s showcase. With dialogue uttered by Dracula himself as our starting point, it’s little wonder things have taken a spookier turn…


James Randall

“One of those Kick-Abouts that seemed to have a life of its own. The colours were fun to try to control.” 



Vanessa Clegg

“Based on childhood nightmares this is a painting I did a while ago but by re-photographing the unmounted slide, it could become a still from a seriously spooky film…make up your own narrative!”



“All I can say is that it’s a classic thriller/horror trick of dark shadows, tangled forest, mounting soundtrack, being lost, sense of being watched… Whaaaaaa!”


vanessaclegg.co.uk


Graeme Daly

“Some painted over photographs from a forgotten forest in Ireland. Inspired by the stagnant stillness of nature in the night, where no street lights are seen, and only the little tufts of smoke from chimney spouts signify life. The thick fog and heavy mist hiding and shielding much of what you should see, like a visceral view of brain fog. But still, our imaginations would always be lit, ablaze.”


@graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog


Tom Beg

“Without knowing where the quote for this week’s came from my mind instantly jumped to Victorian-era gothic fiction and ghostly visions and apparitions. With perhaps the help of some otherworldly spirits guiding me, I got a nice little phantasmagoric effect going in the same kind of magic lantern ad hoc way the horror theaters of old used to employ.”


twitter.com/earthlystranger / vimeo.com/tombeg / tombeg.com


Phil Gomm

The prompt comes from Bram Stoker’s Dracula – the count is talking about the baying of the wolves beneath the moon, but I was never truly scared by vampires and the like. This was due in part to my fascination with the nuts and bolts of horror – its trappings, its effects and its preoccupations. The early horror actor Lon Chaney, was known as the man with a 1000 faces, on account of the ways he transformed his face for his performances in films such as Phantom of the Opera (1925) and London After Midnight (1927). Inspired by Chaney’s lo-fi monsters and the lurid short stories of the Pan Book Of Horror, I set about producing a series of self-portraits.

The way in which the resulting images were produced involved conscious use of my webcam, as opposed to my digital camera, courting the particular effects of low-light levels and low-resolution. I was going for something nostalgic, what it was like as a small boy catching glimpses of disturbing things on small, poorly-tuned black and white televisions. I wrote the captions to further enrich these imaginary moments, ranging across a host of hoary old tropes and cliches familiar to me from those wondrous Pan Books of Horror and countless old movies. That said, for all my obvious enjoyment in producing these portraits, one or two even left me glancing uneasily over my shoulder…”



You’ll find a larger PDF here.


Phil Cooper

What a juicy, exciting prompt this week! Children of the Night is such an evocative theme. For my contribution, I’m submitting work I made a few years ago, but it’s something that has never seen the light of day, and I thought this Kick-About prompt was a good occasion to give it an airing.

I’ve written here before about some design work I did for a touring stage production of Hansel and Gretel back in 2018. Working with director Clive Hicks-Jenkins, the overall concept for the staging involved using children’s toys and building blocks to conjure environments and scenery for the action performed by two puppets.

Before we arrived at the final approach, I played around with some other ideas, most of which were discarded once we had nailed the shape of our vision. The idea I’m submitting here focused on the witch’s cottage, traditionally made of sweets to entice the starving children into the witch’s clutches. Simon Armitage had written a wonderful text for the piece that provided a rich, dark re-imagining of the traditional tale, with a contemporary edge to bring the story up to date. One of my earlier ideas for the cottage involved incorporating sweets into the architecture, but to depict the confectionery as rotting and putrefying. The witch in Simon’s tale is a rather desperate creature, half-blind and cack-handed, and she hadn’t kept on top of the window-dressing designed to entrap lost children.

I made a model of two stone gate posts, the entrance to the cottage garden, topped with a couple of rather mouldy-looking liquorice allsorts. The images here include the original sketch from my sketchbook, the models, and some test shots on a table top environment of the witch’s garden. It was all good fun, even if the idea never took off. I did make loads of fake gingerbread cookies, which we used in a filmed animation sequence, so the concept found its way into the production in the end.”


instagram.com/philcoops / hedgecrows.wordpress.com / phil-cooper.com


Marion Raper

“I find ruined churches and in fact any type of ancient architecture fascinating and love imagining how people lived there and who they were. The fact that when night came and the only light was from candles and fire must have been so scary.  No wonder everyone believed in spirits, ghosts and demons.  Added to that would be the earie sound of wolves howling.  Such clever animals and necessary for the ecosystem. I hear they may even be reintroduced . Hopefully not Dracula as well!”



Kerfe Roig

“I was thinking about this prompt when I found some monoprints in neon colors that I had never finished, being uncertain where to go with them.  I wondered what would happen if I covered them in drips and spatters of spirits and night… And then I wrote something to accompany them.


Children of the Night

There’s a dark path in the forest that reaches not only to the horizon but far up into the stars in the sky.  The contours float, infused inside and out by an endless melody that sings chaos into shimmering pattern.

Where does the story end?  Perhaps it leads to dreams that have been hidden away, to possibilities invisible in the light of day. To once upon a time that becomes here and now.

If you listen – still, silent, boundaried by the night – it’s possible to catch a glimpse of these distant voices. But only a child can find the entrance to this liminal landscape of matter, spirit, and sound.


wonder shines
silvered, transcendent –
opening


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Chris Rutter & Evelyn Bennett

Here is the latest effort. A cut-up poem from the text; ‘Listen To The Music’.”


rutterandbennett.com / instagram.com/rutterandbennett


And for our next creative prompt…

“The spinning saxon, flying pigeons, polka batteries, jumping jacks and firecrackers, squibs and salutes, Aztec Fountains, Bengal Lights, and Egyptian Circlets, bangers or bungers, cakes, crossettes, candles, and a Japanese design known as kamuro (boys haircut), which looks like a bobbed wig teased out across the stratosphere. . . the language of fireworks has a richness that hints at the explosive payload it references. And yet, anyone who has ever held their camera up to the blazing sky knows that a brilliant firework show can rarely be captured to any satisfying degree. Perhaps this is what makes a nineteenth-century series of catalogue advertisements for Japanese fireworks so mesmerizing: denied the expectations of photorealism, these images are free to evoke a unique sense of visual wonder.”

More here and here and here.



Throwback Friday #75 Glint (2003/4?)


Another song, written years ago, the tune for which I’ve long since lost, likewise the chords, though when I read these words, the ghost of a melody is playing in some other small room of my inadequate memory palace. This ditty is upbeat and defiant. I was obviously feeling less heart-broken when I wrote this, and imagining for myself some kind of more dynamic trajectory. Looking back on these songs is like looking at a photograph of myself and not really remembering where I was at the time, or what I was doing, or who I was with; a snapshot, yes, but poorly archived. One day perhaps, I’ll return to some of these phantom songs and drag them back into their corporeal form.


glint

i’m like a clock – tick tock – i’m like a clock that got stopped
like a pocket watch, like a pocket watch dropped
and my face got knocked and my hands, my hands kept still
I think it’s killing me, this time to kill


like a rocket-ship – dan dare – i’m a rocket-ship docked
got fins, big fins, but my rocket-ship’s locked
I can’t pull free, my countdown freezed, by gravity
I can see the stars but they can’t see me

chorus
but something in me is coming to be
like the crest of a wave on a listless sea
i’m spreading my wings, i’m leaving this nest
don’t look for me here, I won’t be with the rest
i’m that glint in the sky, hey, you keep the pie
the waiting is done, it’s my turn to fly


like a summer storm – flash bang – like a summer storm soon
got fire, enough fire, I could light up this room
but the horizon’s dark, though the air is charged and my heart’s in sparks
but let the lightening strike, let me make my mark

chorus

like tnt – stand clear – like tnt sticks
got a fuse, a short fuse, got a switch I can flick
my dial’s in the red, I’ve been juiced, I’ve been fed
now it’s my turn to lead ‘cause I won’t be led

chorus


The Kick-About #37 ‘Punu Ngura’


As a bit of a gardener myself, I am endlessly enthralled by the sheer variety of plants and their various habits and habitats: our previous Kick-About featured a uniquely rare blossom, and this week, it is artist Peter Mungkuri’s celebration of the treasured trees of the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands of north western South Australia inspiring us to produce new work in a short time.


Graeme Daly

“My mind instantly wanted to create some cyanotypes, with their mesmerizing deep Prussian blue and infrared white, a process that is always a joy and I never tire of.”


@graemedalyart / vimeo.com/graemedaly / linkedin.com/in/graeme-daly / twitter.com/Graeme_Daly / gentlegiant.blog


James Randall

 I take Mr Mungkuri’s works to be about a sense of place, memory and stewardship of his country. I tried to evoke a similar sense of capturing memories and the way they integrate but change and blur.



Tom Beg

This image was an attempt at getting a kind of scratchy illustrative quality using the tools that I would typically use to make more polished CG work. I liked the somewhat otherworldly quality of the prompt, so this image, through trial and error, evolved into this big and mysterious organic-looking structure.”



twitter.com/earthlystranger / vimeo.com/tombeg / tombeg.com


Vanessa Clegg

“This work is stunning, so a huge thank you for bringing Peter Mungkuri into my world. To Australian Aboriginals, the land, and all who dwell in it, is sacred, interspersed by marks of great significance. Finding one of the nearest parallels here, I looked back at Medieval Catholicism, where people lived their belief system (sadly that didn’t stretch to the natural world) and pilgrimage was a part of that, so… the circlet of Rowan berries (symbol of the Tree of Life/ protection in Celtic lore) is a kind of ‘votive card’, a prompt on the journey; to remind us we are part of a greater whole (this is where we depart from established religion) where the Sacred truly lies. The woodland floor is ‘now’ – not a Pre-Raphaelite romance, but the reality of finding pharmaceuticals scattered among the beech maasts…”


Rowan circlet. Graphite and watercolour on paper. 6” X 6”


“Pills and Beech Maasts” Graphite on Gesso. 2’ X 4’ ( Diptych)

vanessaclegg.co.uk


Marion Raper

I love Aboriginal Art and especially Peter Mungkuri. He paints such wonderful patterns, shapes and colours, which are indicative of his memories of his country.  I also learnt he is passionate about teaching the younger generation about taking care of their homeland. Good on him! Whilst doing my research I came across a game the Aboriginies played using stones painted with symbols, with which they used to tell stories. I thought I would try doing a similar thing. Unfortunately, there seems to be a shortage of smooth round pebbles in my area and I spent more time looking for suitable stones than painting them! I tried to think of symbols young children would easily recognise and could turn into a story.”



Phil Gomm

“‘Monochromatic plant forms’ was the start for me in response to Mungkuri’s painting. I was curious to see how ‘slightly’ I could depict my subject matter, how stripped down, and then use some of the techniques from this previous Kick-About response to produce particular effects. I was also thinking about the direct image-making of producing cyanotypes and how you only get one shot, and how the immediacy of the process produces happy accidents and unpredictability. The resulting images combine drawing onto painted glass (or is it etching?) with long-exposure photography, and I was happy with the resulting mood of them; plant skeletons under moonlight?”



Jan Blake

This painter was a great inspiration, and I am sad not to have spent more time on it. Where I live I am gratefully surrounded by trees in the centre of a busy city. I feel their presence all the time, as I work at home. However, when I am out, the sensation of trees affected by light is what inspires me and gives me their stories. I was intrigued by the black and white of the images.  Unusual for me to see Aborigine paintings in monochrome. So I have included 2 drawings in Black and White  However I couldn’t resist including the tree outside my window that supplies me daily with stories in full colour, especially at this time of year.


janblake.co.uk


Chris Rutter & Evelyn Bennett

“Here is our ‘Tree of Life’.”


rutterandbennett.com / instagram.com/rutterandbennett


Kerfe Roig

“The layering of the different elements got me thinking about an idea from Claudia McGill that I had copied and saved which I recently found when sorting out files. She took a magazine and tore pages partially out to create a new layered collage-like image. I did not have any magazines with trees, but I have lots of surfing magazines I bought on eBay because they are full of images of sea and sky to use in collage. So I layered the ocean. My poem is a shadorma quadrille for dVerse, using the word provided by Linda, linger.”


weaving light
waves that cross over
in curved lines,
waves that land
inside the pause of the edge,
waves that linger cusped–

a small piece
of time, and yet it
fills me up–
I balance,
holding on to tides synapsed
between spells and signs


kblog.blog / methodtwomadness.wordpress.com


Charly Skilling

“I have been looking at some aboriginal art  for some time  and thinking  about how to incorporate the shapes and tones into crochet, so this prompt was just what I needed to give it a go. This first attempt is very simplistic, but I enjoyed creating it, and will definitely return to this prompt in the future.”



Judy Watson

“The prompt could hardly have been more suited to me and my natural inclinations. It’s inky and leafy and Australian. What strikes me most is the combination of the loosest of ink splatters with far more careful and detailed patterning. I was going to explore some inkiness yesterday (Yep! Last minute again!) to see where an observation of Mungkuri’s work might take me, especially with regard to the use of white ink patterning over the top of the looser ink layers. But before I could begin something happened… Our bees swarmed!  Later, I had a bit of a go at my inky exploration of Peter Mungkuri’s plant drawings, but my mind was full of bees. And joy. So it became an illustration of Hugo and me, arms uplifted to the swarming bees.”



judywatson.net / Instagram.com/judywatsonart / facebook.com/judywatsonart


With thanks to Evelyn Bennett and Chris Rutter, we have our all-new prompt – the cut-outs of Henri Matisse. Have fun!


Short Story: Nasturtiums (2021)


Taking Sheila Legge’s image and Kafka’s Gregor Samsa as equal parts inspiration, I arrived at this short story as my response to The Kick-About No.36. There’s a bit of horticultural knowledge in there too, a thing about nasturtiums thriving in the poorest conditions, and likewise, the situation unfolding in Afghanistan for women and girls. Despite the story’s seemingly outlandish premise – a woman waking one morning to find her own head transformed into a vegetal ‘lump’ – it wove itself together with surprising ease, proving once again, to me at least, how genre is placed perfectly to tell the truth.


You’ll find a PDF version here.