8 December 2010

the afternoon shift

Just an afternoon shift today, I've been working this morning making the jigsaws for the kids and sending out old tat I've sold on eBay.

The afternoon shift consists of endless repeated layers of white glow added to the neon of the secret date plaque.

That is all I do, until 6.30pm.  And then I head home.

1 December 2010

snow, and an old sock on my hand

The first day of December and the snow came down.  Gatwick airport is closed and I may be stuck here tonight.  Might as well get some painting done then.  Just as soon as I've cleared a path to the garret.

1 hour later: I'm settled with a cup of tea and the heater on.  I spend some time with an old sock on my hand, rubbing grime off the neon numbers of the secret date plaque with the tip of my little finger and turpentine.  Such remedial werk is time consuming yet essential.  It is not glamorous.

Sat there with the snow coming down outside it is hard to concentrate, the icy wind blowing in from the North keeps catching the garage door and it creeps open to let in the cold.  Lunch time comes and goes, hot food helps but leaves me feeling dozy.

I take a look through the more inconsequential small canvases on the shelf.  I choose the white 'path of least resistance' and also take out 'SSHHH' as a colour guide...

Not quite finished, but certainly a little shimmy in the right direction.

16.00 hours.  I leave early to catch a train, which takes 4 times as long to get home.  Later trains on the same route are stranded over night, but I am at home with my wife and cat.

24 November 2010

the taste of white spirit lingering on my tongue

With Christmas coming there are toys to be made, so that all the little boys and girls don't have sad faces on Christmas day.  This means I've had extra payed work to do this morning in the workshop with Santa's elves.

But I'm ready to paint now...

My first task was to try and get that secret date plaque back on track.  I masked out the numbers and commenced with throwing whatever I could find at it: white spirit; oil paint; ink; clean water; dirty water; anything.  I poured and scraped and splattered it all on, then poured and scraped and wiped it off.  The masking fluid didn't last long, but the result was pleasing, and I took it outside to dry in the low November sun.

I've had the taste of white spirit lingering on my tongue ever since.  No amount of tea, water or cake can shift it.  I do wonder what this does to my insides.

Satisfied with myself, I've begun the next phase of "the pink path of least resistance trickling through a crack in a rock face", or "the rock face" as I affectionately call it. I wonder will I ever be happy with it?  But I must persevere or it will always be there, lurking in the corner.  I've decided to knock the glow back a bit so the neon appears deeper in the crack.

As soon as I've done this, I have a brain-wave:  Out comes the red-neon light I bought recently.  I secrete it between the joists under a shed in the garden and take some photos of the intense glow emanating from the darkness. This will give me something to reference for my next attack on "the rock face".

NEXT!  I take up my tools and set upon the large square canvas of Le Corbusier's Marseille blue-print for modern living.  The tools I use: some antique Winton no.39 Terre Verte oil colour, and then a piece of charcoal rescued from the bonfire, which looks like some kind of monolithic totem when seen out of scale.

I work on the foliage and then I go home.

17 November 2010

No paint today

There will be no Wednesday Painter-ing today.

Instead I will be spending the afternoon at the hospital, and the evening at a meeting in London about an exhibition.

[The two are not related, and I'm hoping the latter makes up for the former.]

10 November 2010

the most un-productive day

This morning I have been running a few internet errands.  I will now make a cup of tea and be off to the studio...

I did a bit of secret testing for an idea I have involving a strobe light.  Call me enigmatic, but I don't want to say any more at this stage.

So after I'd stamped a stroboscopic light-show onto my poor retinae, I unpacked my new neon bulbs and made some reference photos for 'Ne Travaillez Jamais'.

Then I actually did some painting:  After the white neon on black success of last week, I pulled out a white neon 'path of least resistance' and gave it a werking over.  I left it at lunch time. It needs more werk.

I returned after lunch and faffed around for a while.  Nothing was getting done, I transferred the neon photos to the old Mac for reference purposes.  Everything I am werking on is either wet or stuck.  I leave early and go and take some photos of some old junk I plan to put on eBay.  It was the most un-productive day in quite a while.

3 November 2010

a corner turned

Just doing some computering before I head out into the crisp sunny morn... And I'm off.

I faffed for a bit with the secret date plaque, then made some more mess on "Rock face" number 2.  Then I had to do a bit of payed work for an hour.  By which time it was time for lunch.  After which I can't resist checking my emails, even though I know it will end in yet another bout of procrastination.

This afternoon I will do some proper painting.

Progress was slow: a flurry of activity on the pink neon path (trickling down through the crack in the old "rock face"), but then I was stuck.  I threw some more oily muck down the latest "rock face" just to try and unlock the creative forces.  No joy.

Cup of tea and a bit of tinkering with an old amplifier...

Around 4.30pm there was a change.  I decided to have a mess with SSSHH.  This white neon in blackness has been evading me for too long. Time to take it in hand.  I found a neon photo on the computer: White neon with a green tint in the glow.  Recipe: Titanium White + a touch of Emerald Green +  a smidgen of Prussian Blue (Lamp Black to darken).

Success!  I leave the studio with a spring in my step and a corner turned.

27 October 2010


I have spent this morning doing some (payed) werk, and also catching up on a few emails and things. It is now 10.43am and I will go and make a cup of tea and head on out to the studio...

It is now 10.53am and I am still on this infernal computer.  I really, honestly, am going now.

First task: I paint in some sky and find a vintage tube of Oxide of Chromium to give to the trees

Post-lunch: Another fun-filled time painting and pouring on "rock face" number 2.

Later: I was merrily werking away, intending to bring the neon glow on the secret date plaque back to a whiter shade (it's looking decidedly yellow).  But too much paint, and we're losing the background.  I blend it out good and hard.  Still no joy.  Emergency procedures: flood a load of white spirit down the surface.

And then I have to go and fuck it up completely.  I was rubbing it back, but the white has spread everywhere, the background is getting lost under a haze of white, which is growing and growing.  fuckfuckfuck.

Looks like we're back to scratch.  I add some green and black to get rid of the white, but I have a feeling I'll be starting again on this from the ground up next week...

20 October 2010

artex and papered cracks

09:07 hours.  I am turning off the computer and heading for the garret.  Hmm,  judging by the icy air that greets me, we seem to have skipped autumn and cut straight to winter.

I put the heater on to take the edge off the cold.  But then go outside anyway.  The second "rock face" canvas ends up clad in tissue paper to cover the cracks and add some more texture and wrinkles.  Then I take a break and get a lift to a well-known hobby & craft superstore to buy some canvas.  Proper heavy duty canvas, not like that flimsy, light weave stuff I've been putting up with.  5 metres of canvas: I have plans to build some more large stretchers.

Back at the studio: the latest commemorative date plaque gets a load of chalk added to the neon glow.  I do the usual blending and brushing and go in for a second layer.  But something is wrong.   I take to it with some water: kill or cure.  It looks even worse, then it looks better.  phew.

And next: "Rock face" no.2 has been drying in the crisp air and sun.  In it comes, and I crack open an old jar of artex.  Yes, you heard me, artex.  Brush it over the the thick, plastered and papered areas.  And it's time for lunch.

After lunch I make some progress with the other "rock face".  I stand back and look at the fresh, deep pink neon glow.  I will leave that one to dry for now.

Must keep up the momentum... "Rock face" 2 is now under a layer of stone-y oil paint, I picked out the cracks and everything.

The big square canvas goes back up on the wall.  Another frenzied attack on the sky:  leftover grey paint; dirty water; more oil paint; more water; rub it back; white acrylic, watered down... all of it dripping down the surface.  I turn it on its side and run more filthy water down.  Then flip it round and do the same the other way.  It ends up hanging at an angle, all manner of watery mess trickling slowly down the canvas.

13 October 2010

the business end of my brush

Hi-Ho! And off to werk I go...

I've spent the morning jumping from canvas to canvas, doing a bit here, a bit there.  Werking on things that haven't seen the light of day for months and months, and everything remains in a half-finished state.  These are just two of the paintings that have seen the business end of my brush:

I'm starting to think I need a new project to really get my teeth into.

This new "rock face" could be that project.  Looks like there'll be quite a bit of werk prep-ing the ground before the neon is added.

So I sat there, contemplating my next move.  Gazing round the studio...  As if in a trance I approached the large square canvas on the wall, applied a little oil paint (Coeruleum Blue and Burnt Sienna) to areas at the foot of the picture plane.  Then out comes the ink and a frenzy of activity; then on goes my pint glass of water...

next: thinned-down Cobalt Blue and White, more water, more paint; then the dregs of everything I've thrown at it, that has collected in the trays underneath, that goes back down too.  I have paint on my hands and paint splashed across my face, and the feeling is good.

I have another go: water; charcoal; brush it around; scrape some old flake white paint across with a palette knife to suggest a cloud; and, of course, more filthy run-off water... I sit back and take it in: a good start.

And to finish off for the day: a little more werk on the orange neon glowing 'NO'.

7 October 2010

I THINK OF YOU AND I SMILE exhibition photos

On the final day of my exhibition, Verity and I snuck in early to photograph my paintings in situ. 
[see previous post for a short video tour of the exhibition]

6 October 2010


I just spent an hour tidying the mess I left behind last week.  Chucked out a load of old palettes, rags, and detritus that's been building up on the studio floor. It is more organised, even if it doesn't look it.

And now, a bit of chalky whiteness on the latest secret painting.  Fixative spray, then leave the loft and the fumes...

I was looking for some plaster-of-paris, but instead I came across a big tin full of old tubes of oil paint. Bonus!  It's okay, I found the plaster-of-paris shortly after.  Mixed it up and slathered it onto the canvas I began last week.  I already have ideas for the neon that will emanate from the crevice, but for now I must wait for the plaster to dry.

After an extended lunch (curse you internet!), I pay the top secret painting some more attention.  White oil paint to build up the glow, I patch up the areas that need a little extra, then go over the parts that have become a bit dirty from all that chalking earlier on.

And finally, some more werk at the old "rock face" (or "The Path of Least Resistance 3 (pink)" as it should probably be known).  And then I finish early, I have a gig to go to...

29 September 2010

pale yellow goo

After taking down my exhibition on Monday, I had to catch up with a couple of hours' work.  So I am late to the studio.  I will stay later today to make up for lost time.

Painting begins after lunch...

I've been werking at the "rock face", gradually building up the pink neon glow again.  I don't do pink much, so it's a case of trying to remember the best mixes of paint, and in the right order.  I set it aside to dry.

The current top secret painting is still wet.  So I begin work on a new canvas.  A merry hour is spent ripping up bits of cardboard and gluing them to the surface.  I plan to build up a new rock face in relief, with neon glowing out from a pitch dark crevice.

Sometime earlier this year I began a large square canvas watercoloured with Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation.  Today this canvas made a re-appearance on the wall.  Out came the masking fluid...  and now it oozes down the surface coating the building in pale yellow goo.

I finish the day with a bit of a clear out.  I find some old canvases my friend Sarah gave me, rip off the old canvas and now I have four small square stretchers to make use of.  I also remove some of the other crap that lurks in the corners of the loft, so that I might have some extra space to store things and to swing the proverbial cat.

22 September 2010

getting back in the swing

I had a week off last week to spend with my beloved. But I'm back and there is painting to be done. It's incredible that even after just one week off, it takes me a bit of time to get back into the swing. There have been tentative steps this morning, tickling the white glow of the current top-secret painting.

Everything stops. A rare miniature anteater strolls across the top of the canvas.

Post-lunch lull: found my way upstairs, and have been at the computer for 24 minutes. Procrastination is a terrible thing. I only came to check the time of sunset (so I don't turn into a pumpkin). Must. Drag. Myself. Away.

Back in the studio. I werk some more on the pink neon path that trickles through the darkness in the crack in the rock face. And then a little more experimentation on the big bad 'NO'.

I finish the day with an attempt to make the sinister crow look more realistic. Better. But not completely satisfied. I suspect it is destined to always be just a preparatory sketch. Poor, maligned crow.


We have entered the final week of my exhibition of neon paintings at Blanch House. Owing to an administrative error (not mine) the exhibition will finish a few days earlier than advertised. The final day will be Sunday 26th September. There will be an informal end-of-show drinks do to celebrate this Sunday between 5pm and 7pm. So if you haven't yet seen the exhibition, or you fancy another look, this is your very very very last chance.

Here are the details, one more time:
neon paintings by Dominic Bradnum
8th August - 26th September 2010
open 7 days a week, from midday.
Blanch House, 17 Atlingworth Street, Brighton, BN2 1PL [map]

21 September 2010


I received this email the other day marked:
Kind Attn: Dominic Bradnum / Ref: Assistant Artist - Artwork from Images / India
I just had to share it.

"Dear Dominic ,

Greetings from India.

I would like to introduce myself as xxxxx xxxxxx from xxxxxxxx, India.
I am an artist making paintings in Oil on Canvas and Acrylic. I can
also provide services in water color on paper, pastels on paper,
ceramics, sculptures, wood, textiles, rugs, metal handicrafts,
embroidery, and reliefs from designs/images as per your instruction.

I specialize in making art from images.

I am in no way infringing, copying, or competing with you as you are
a renowned and a well off artists and I am just an artist making my
livelihood out of it in a far off country thousand of kilometers away
from your country. Moreover, I will be working for you in making more
paintings/art which you can offer to your customers and sell more
and become the best and most sought after artist of your region
and add more creativity and variety in your offering, or in case of
time restraints.

To make you 100% sure of the quality work, I will be sending images of
the painting/artwork during different stages of its making so that any
difference in detailing, accuracy or color scheme could be worked out.
Any inputs from your side or me is properly communicated to give you
the best work. I assure you of hassle free working given an opportunity.

Kindly note I would like to work for you similarly as OLD MASTERS of
Yesteryears like Picasso, Van Gogh, etc. had assistant, the
only difference being they had studio assistant artists and I will be
your outsourced assistant. In this technology advanced world I can work
through images sent by you over Internet and e-mail or may be you
sending postcards and me making paintings out of it.

Further to it, I do understand you may have your own style which
may or may not suit my offering to you.

I assure you of good returns out of this association. Since you are
in the field of art, we can work as long term partners wherein I can
supply you with High Quality paintings / artworks from Images at very
competitive prices.

Sincerely look forward to hearing from your side.

Kind Regards,
xxxxx xxxxxx"

An intriguing proposition. Now I would hardly call myself a "a renowned and a well off artists [sic]", and I'm dubious that Van Gogh and Picasso had studio assistants, but it's intriguing nonetheless. I just need to put aside my pride in my work and my copyright hang-ups, and I could be flooding the market with a load of knock-off fakes/cover-versions of my paintings "at competitive prices". Maybe I could out-source all of my werk and create a whole army of Wednesday Painters, with copy-cat blogs - Wednesday Painter-ism, a whole new art movement.

I'll sleep on it.

10 September 2010


As you may have noticed I've been sprucing up the blog with a lick of fresh paint. I've also updated the gallery, and added a more comprehensive selection of my neon paintings.

I feel a bit happier inviting people round now.

8 September 2010

Stop. Start. Stop. Start.

8.30am start. I have a date with a top-secret painting. I have one day to make the neon glow. One day to produce what usually takes a few weeks of Wednesday Painting sessions...

Stop. Start. Stop. Start. Stand back and look. Lay down and regard. Back to the easel. KEEP. ADDING. MORE. WHITE. GLOW. There is only so much paint you can add. And still it is not right. I can't see how I'm going to get this finished today.

4pm. Still working on the white neon. Still struggling to bring it to a satisfactory state of glow. It is not something that should be rushed.

I return after a tea break and conclude that I should mess with it no longer. It will not be ready, it will have to wait. Instead I begin making a card for my beloved. And just after 5pm, I pack up and leave the garret.

2 September 2010

a bit of a spring in my step

Yesterday's post was a bit of a lie. I did get some painting done, but only for a couple of hours in the evening. Most of it consisted of running paint and thinners down the canvas: the results were pleasingly fragile and beautiful.

Today consisted of more of the same, with a bit of toothbrush splattering thrown in. I left the canvas with the look of a well worn, patinated copper plaque and a bit of a spring in my step. Next week I turn my attention to the neon.