Monthly Archives: September 2018

Medieval Steam Iron Design

Steam Iron

Medieval Steam Iron Design

The latest addition to Ismail al Jazari’s styled, design book is the steam iron. This picture uses colour pencils asĀ  I made the mistake of trying a different sort of paper, which didn’t work at all with watercolour paints.

Coded writings

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. šŸ™‚


Prints, postcards and mugs of this wonderful Medieval Steam Iron are available from my on-line shop.

The Modern Medieval


Carrying on from the modern landscapes in a Medieval or International Gothic style and the contemporary saint avatars, I have started a series of medieval instruction manuals.

I discovered the 12th century, Arabian polymath, artist/inventor, Ismail al Jazari’s works and have taken them as a starting point. Al Jazari produced a manuscript book detailing 100 different machines that people could make. These included fountains, clocks and musical machines.

Ancient manuscript

Using the format and devices Jazari created I am producing drawings of modern appliances in his medieval style. This includes strange spiky cogs, flaming furnaces and water wheels, all linked up to power and operate my machines.

Al Jazari machine

Al Jazari’s Manuscript

Al Jazari’s designs also contain Arabic lettering and symbols to explain the working of his creations. Not speaking Arabic and not wishing to write complete nonsense I decided to use the phonetic alphabet to annotate my drawings. This gives it a mysterious feel but is also legible if you know how pronunciation is written.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the first design is a coffee machine. Obviously water flows from the tank on the right, into the boiler and is pumped up into the filter from where coffee drips into the cup. If you have any ideas that you’d like me to try out please add to the comments section. šŸ™‚

Prints, postcards and mugs are available of the wonderful Coffee Machine from my on-line shop.



Saint Emygdius – The Saint of Rock and Roll

Saint Emygdius

St Emygdius

Continuing with the modern emoji saints, here we have St Emygdius. Born in Treves, Germany, he converted to Christianity and made his way to Rome. On route he performed a number of miracles and cured the sick, as a result the pope made him a bishop and packed him off to Ascoli Piceno.

When Emygdius arrived the governor, Polymius, offered his daughter’s hand in marriage and tried to get him to worship Jupiter. Instead Emygdius converted her to Christianity, incurring the governor’s anger, who then had him beheaded. St Emygdius simply picked up his head and walked off into the hills, where his followers built an oratory.

When, in 1703, Ascoli Piceno was spared destruction during an earthquake, people put it down to the hand of Saint Emygdius. He has ever since been invoked against the effects of earthquakes and is always shown holding up aĀ  crumbling building while dressed in his episcopal robes.

Other saints in this series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St PatrickĀ , St Michael and St Francis

Archangel St Michael


This forms part of the modern emoji saints series. The idea that if Byzantine or Early Renaissance painters were working now, how would they have portrayed religious topics. As emojis, obviously.

St Michael

So, if you’re looking for an angel to take your battles to the enemy, Saint Michael is your guy. He is often pictured as a warrior angel, fighting the foes of heaven. In Revelations he takes on Satan and wins, there are also paintings of him defeating serpents and dragons.

Attributes of the saint

St Michael is fully equipped for the task and is shown wearing armour, carrying a sword and spear with his banner attached. He also is depicted holding the scales of justice, where the lives of sinners are in the balance.Ā Tradition has it that the colours associated with him are Royal purple and cobalt blue, this accounts for his colourful attire.

The archangel is a popular figure as patron saint, he is the protector of Jewish people and guardian of the Catholic church. The people of France, Germany, the Ukraine, Brussels, Kiev and Dumfries. Enforcers also look to St Michael, so police officers, the military, paratroopers, firefighters and paramedics call upon him. Strangely enough, so do grocers and the sick.

Other saints in the series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick, St Francis



The Saintly Chemical Brothers


St Cosmas & St Damian

The two brothers, Cosmas and Damian came from Arabia. They were Christian physicians who freely administered care and relief to the sick of the area until their martyrdom in Syria, in 287 AD.

When arrested and tortured they proved pretty indestructible, surviving hanging, crucifixion, stoning and being shot at with arrows. Still they refused to recant their beliefs, so the Prefect of Cilicia ordered the pair beheaded.

The brothers are most often depicted togetherĀ  surrounded by medical paraphernalia. Due to their healing skills they have been adopted by physicians, doctors, surgeons, dentist and veterinarians as their patron saints. St Cosmas is usually associated with physicians and is depicted holding a pestle and mortal, while St Damian is normally shown holding some form of remedy.

Other saints in this series – St David, St George, St Andrew, St Patrick, St Michael and St Francis

San Francesco Preaching to the Birds

neal-winfield-st-francescoFollowing on from the Saints of the British IslesĀ series, next we have San Francesco, one of Italy’s favourite saints.

Sites of St Francis

The churches, monasteries and hermitages of Saint Francis are popular places for both locals and foreign travellers to visit and down the centuries his stories have provided artists with inspiration.

Giotto’s paintings

On the subject of inspiration, this latest watercolour takes Giotto’s paintingsĀ and combines his preaching to the birds with the background ofĀ  the painting of St Francis receiving the stigmata.

The hills represent the landscape at La Verna in Tuscany and amongst the various birds he preaches at are two Twitter logos. The tree is also a representation of Giotto’s oak tree, with a golden background.

Like the other saintly paintings, St Francis can be bought as a postcard, poster or on a lovely coffee mug.



The Saints of the British Isles


St David

I thought the four great saints of the British and Irish isles would be a great set to paint. Each has their own idiosyncrasies, their colours, attributes and associations, all are colourful characters.

Dewi Sant

Saint David, a peaceful preacher who is pictured in full regalia, with his crozier and a dove. Being Welsh, it wouldn’t be right not to include a daffodil and a dragon. The colours reflect the red, green and white (hence the clouds) of the Welsh flag too.


St George

Saint George

George has been adopted by many countries, along with the English, Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro are all patrons of the armour wearing, spear wielding, dragon killing saint. He has also been adopted by the scouting movement, the military and syphilis sufferers.

Saint Andrew


St Andrew

Andrew the Apostle is another favoured saint and as well as the Scots, the people of Georgia, Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Spain are also great followers of the man. Scotland’s interest stems from the belief that relics were brought from Constantinople to St Andrews in Scotland. He was crucified on a Saltire cross and this accounts for the white cross on a blue field that makes up the Scottish flag.


St Patrick

Saint Patrick

Ireland’s Romano British missionary who is feted as the founder of Christianity in Ireland. He famously used the shamrock as a tool for teaching the holy trinity and is credited with driving all the snakes out of Ireland. It is also said that his old walking stick when thrust into the ground and left, grew into a tree.


The four can be bought as mugs or postcards, which would make excellent gifts for anyone interested in the saints of the British and Irish isles.

Other saints in this series include – St Francis, St Michael, St Emygdius, St Cosmas & St Damian