Saturday, 29 August 2020

Ground 300!

Little did I know that when myself and my then housemate Ben (now partner) attended Haig Avenue to watch Southport FC in November 2016 just 'for something to do', that three and a half years later I would have been to three hundred different football grounds and would class myself as a 'groundhopper'. It was a cold evening and I had zero inclination that watching football in this capacity might become a hobby. I didn't even know it could be a hobby.

Fast forward to 2020, after many days travelling to strange places, thousands of miles covered (whether that be by rail, road, air or water), hundreds of goals witnessed, countless coffees consumed and multiple photographs taken, we pulled up to Allithwaite, just outside Grange-over-Sands on the evening of 17th August. The previous day had been overcast, though this day the sun was shining and seemingly ignoring the amassing storm clouds overhead. The conditions were fantastic for photographs and couldn't have picked a more appropriate evening for this occasion. Having seen a few images of Quarry Lane beforehand online, I knew that I would enjoy this one. I was not wrong.

We approached from the top of a hilly lane, already giving us a taste of how we were about to spend the next ninety minutes: we were faced with a large, partially grassed over quarry behind one goal. As we neared more details began to reveal themselves: to out left was a building housing the dressing rooms, alongside this was car parking and a grass bank soon to be dotted with spectators. To our right were a number of houses lining the road running parallel beside the ground and beyond these, further in the distance was the sea. 

This match itself had many aspects which would send some groundhoppers running for the hills: it was played out in 3x 30 minute thirds rather than the traditional 2x 45 minutes halves, there was no programme issued, it was a pre season friendly, it was played between two reserve teams and the pitch was not railed off. To me it was paradise. There are not enough superlatives to describe the ground and I honestly suggest you look to watch a game there yourself, whoever is playing. Cartmel 'A' are currently using it, due to their home ground not yet ready. It was topped off by the appearance of a rainbow, which stayed for almost the entire game.

Here's to the next 300...

You can view the full set of photographs by clicking here.

Ps. I've been terrible at regular blogging throughout August. Will try better in September!

Saturday, 15 August 2020


Nope. I haven't taken up running, apologies Strava fans.

What I have done though, is an animation test clip of someone running. Well I say test clip, but it's more of a segment, because it's part of a longer film. The film is a work in progress and is quite experimental, so perhaps that's why I say 'test clip'.

The film is a mixed media short, comprised of various recycled bits of paper from my studio. Sometimes this is from previous projects or works, or sometimes just scraps which I don't know what to do with. I then cut these up in to 8x8cm squares, sometimes paint on them or sometimes manipulate them in other ways, scan them in and sequence them on the timeline in Premiere Pro. I have also started adding some rotoscope animation to them, because it fitted well with the theme. I won't be discussing that until it's complete, because it's more of a moving image artwork than a film in the traditional sense and therefore don't want to be influenced in any way while creating it. Despite this, I am happy to share segments and explain about some of the creative processes I'm using.

This piece is made up of photocopied paper, cut up in to *loads* of squares (above), recycled from a previous project. I thought the paper would make a fantastic background, because the amount of texture and unintended pattern it would make. I think I made the right decision! The result was just what I was looking for and perhaps turned out even better than what I had first imagined. The project I was using the recycled paper from was quite a big one, so there was plenty of paper to play with. I had enough to create another section of similar style and there is still lots leftover, which I will also be utilising. 

I also went for a slightly different style for the rotoscope animation in this project. As you can see on the above image, the outlines have quite a smoothness to them, more so than what I usually use. I activated the line smoothing on TVPaint. I'm always looking to try new ways of animating and again wanted to diversify my portfolio, so decided to use this technique. It's quite reminiscent of the line style I used to use when I started off animating in Adobe Flash, so I feel it was perhaps a nostalgic choice which lead me here.

I also reverted back to the bold, block colouring, than employing the more realistic shading style I have been using of late. This was because the backgrounds throughout this project are all quite textured and 'hand made' looking, so wanted the rotoscope animation to contrast with that. I think with the smooth lines and the block colouring, it provides the contrast I was after.

Here is the clip: