Greenhouse of Eden 35 cm x 35cm
The Medieval Greenhouse of Eden plays on the same ideas as the other room paintings in this series. It uses a 13th century style, with its weird perspective and limited palette to create a modern image in a Medieval way.
It takes inspiration from my neighbour’s banana tree, the florist over the road and the tall umbrella pines that populate the nearby park.
The facade is drawn as a front-on elevation linked to multiple vanishing points throughout the painting. The idea is that viewers are forced to use other depth cues in order to create a three-dimensional view. This ultimately gives the painting a topsy turvy feel.
Blurring of the images behind the glass windows, overlapping, size difference and aerial perspective all give depth and three-dimensions to the painting. The blue sky and verdant green background, orange ochre tiles and red pots create a spacial effect and make the conservatory stand out.
Like an M. C. Escher etching, the viewer believes and disbelieves in the same breathe. You can see the depth in one moment and then are unable to the next. This is how one-eyed people see the world, through a series of snapshots that on occasion don’t add up but then with a twist of the head, all make sense again.
St Martin of Tours
November 11th is St Martin of Tours day and is celebrated all over the world. He was born in Pannonia in modern-day Hungary. Martinus served in a Roman cavalry unit as a horseman and travelled across Europe.
Bishop and the Geese
He converted to Christianity at an early age and at some point before 361 AD he left the army and joined the cult of Hilary of Poitiers.
In 371 AD he was consecrated as the bishop of Tours. It wasn’t his first choice of job and to avoid being appointed he tried hiding in a shed full of geese.
St Martin’s cloak
Another tale relating to St Martin tells how when encountering a beggar at the gates of Amiens he cut off a length of his cloak so that the poor man could warm himself.
As well as patron of the poor and geese, St Martin also takes care of wine makers, inn keepers, soldiers and tailors. During the Middle Ages a remnant of his cloak was carried into battle. The people responsible for looking after the relic were called “Cappellanu”, and the name was used for all priests who accompanied soldiers in battle. In French this became “Chapelains” and eventually the English “Chaplain”.
One of the biggest challenges for colourblind people is getting the right colour. Not the colour right because we know we want the red t-shirt not the green one. However, which is the red one?
As a colourblind artist this has been my problem my entire life. Twenty years ago I remember playing a computer game called Bubble. It was a standard game where you shot coloured balls into the sky and popped ones of the same colour.
ColorAdd Color Wheel
Impossible for anyone with Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) but this game was different. Within the bubbles were a variety of patterns, each representing a colour. So, you just ignored the colours and played with the patterns.
I’ve always wondered why other designers don’t use patterns instead of colours when key coding things. The London Underground is a nightmare for CVD people.
Well the clever people at ColorAdd have come up with a symbol based series of codes that take the guesswork out of colours. It’s a wonderfully simple and incredibly helpful system. Aren’t some of the cleverest solutions always the simplest ones?
Three symbols are used to represent the primary colours – red, yellow and blue. Then combinations of these are used for the secondary colours – orange, purple and green. Black and white are squares and tones are the appropriate square (white for light, black for dark) with the colour symbols inside.
The uses are endless. Clothing, stationary, wiring, directions, medicines and food can all, with the addition of a little logo, be demystified for colourblind people. When you consider that an estimated 350 million people worldwide have difficulty distinguishing colours, this surely is one of the most common sense additions to packaging I can think of.
To find out more click ColorAdd.
Medieval Garden Shed – watercolor 20cm x 30cm
I love the idea of combing eras and this one places a modern garden shed in a medieval style Gothic, herbal garden. The shed design is based on one from a B&Q garden centre catalogue but it has been given a 13th century twist.
It features iron hinged, shutters, a trefoil fan light and is drawn in a flat perspective. Inside, the storage box and plant pot come from the Ikea product range.
Medieval Herb Book
The medieval garden draws inspiration from an ancient herbal manuscript, with its twisted trees and over grown plants. Meanwhile, the gardening tools are taken from an old German wood cut.
The colourful marrows and onion plants look strangely at home alongside the modern, wooden shed, stocked with its range of intimidating implements.
Others in this Modern Gothic rooms series, include the library, kitchen and the bathroom.
Prints, postcards and mugs of the Medieval Garden shed are available from my on-line shop.
The medieval Twitter post is taken from York Minster where there are lots of stained glass windows of birds. Some of these have scrolls coming out of their mouths with Latin text.
I thought it made a funny juxtaposition, the idea that these were very early tweets. After all medieval leaded lights were called the poor man’s bible and used as a way of communicating religious messages.
So here we have the traditional Twitter bird drawn in an 11th century style, with a scroll coming out if its mouth quoting the famous Trump nonsensical “covfefe” tweet of 2018. The comment, love, retweet and share buttons have also been given a retro look.
King John Tweet
Next I decided to look at a historical incident from a modern communications stand point. So I chose a tweet about the signing of the Magna Carta, in 1215, at Runnymede. The war between King John and the 25 Barons was finally ended with this treaty. I liked the idea of him referring to this important, historic scroll, in a Trumpesque way, as a “big document”, with the hashtag “Magna Carta”. The idea that the barons like it and then the 25 of them shared King John’s tweet is amusing.
The image of the bird is taken from a stained glass window in the Zouche Chapel at York Minster. However, I’ve painted it blue to represent the Twitter logo. The share, love and comment buttons are pretty much the same as the earlier ones, while the retweet is slightly different. The image combines both the elements of the cathedral’s leaded light and the Twitter format giving it a fascinating mixing of eras.
If in the 13th century Ismail al Jazari had had the opportunity to design a cigarette lighter, I feel sure his painting would have looked something like this.
He would have incorporated a sealed pot to hold the gas and somehow tied down a piece of flint. There would have been a cog that when turned could adjust the height of the flame and the whole mechanism would have been put in a decorative box.
As with the previous machines, I’ve used the phonetic alphabet to give the painting an air of mysticism. The strange symbols and the addition of the mathematical formula for a burning match gives it a real sense of this being a scientific document.
Prints, postcards and mugs of this fascinating Medieval Lighter are available from my on-line shop.
Medieval Steam Iron Design
The latest addition to Ismail al Jazari’s styled, design book is the steam iron. This picture uses colour pencils as I made the mistake of trying a different sort of paper, which didn’t work at all with watercolour paints.
The picture uses the same phonetic alphabet as in the Coffee Machine painting and also incorporates the strange symbols found in al Jazari’s original 13th century drawings.
Sketches for the next in the series include a food processor, electric whisk, cigarette lighter and a toothbrush. If you have any ideas about a modern appliance you’d like to see me draw leave your suggestion in the comments box. 🙂
Prints, postcards and mugs of this wonderful Medieval Steam Iron are available from my on-line shop.