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This guy

Real name: Phil Heckels. Local Sussex artist. Describes himself as “rubbish” and has made quite a penny from it. You give him a photo of your pet, he gives you a guaranteed shit portrait in return.

Eh. You gotta have a gimmick. Most of his work seems to be for charity.

I didn’t think he was all that funny – until I saw his pictures next to the photos he drew them from.

Whenever you sit down to draw, you are confronted with a series of what we call “picture problems”. How do I position multiple figures so they look natural? How am I going to deal with this weird angle? How do I move the viewer’s eye where it needs to go? Ach, perspective!

It’s even worse when you work from photos. There are always “what the heck am I looking at?” picture problems working from photos.

But von Wolfwinkle says, “I can do this!” and lets rip with the boneheadedest solution to all his picture problems. Click a few to see what I mean.

May 10, 2022 — 7:29 pm
Comments: 6


Here, this Israeli commercial photographer, Lior Patel, combines two things I love dearly: drone footage and time lapse.

Unfortunately, I can’t work out how to link to individual videos directly. I even peeked at the page’s source to see if I could find direct links, but it’s all scripts. Thwarted!

Sigh. Okay. Go to the Agriculture page and scroll down. The fifth video after the header is the one from the picture above: sheep being herded in fast motion. I could watch all day (no, really…I’m just that indolent. Give me a G&T and I literally could).

Fields harvesting, container ships offloading, sea birds settling. He also does panoramic stills. I’d link to some of my favorites if I were allowed to.

April 7, 2022 — 6:44 pm
Comments: 3


This is the 14th Century Church of St George in Luková, Czechia. Known as the Ghost Church.

It had an unfeasible number of fires over the years and gained a reputation with the village as haunted. Finally, part of the ceiling fell on a Sunday service in 1968, and everybody decided they’d rather say mass out in the fields, thank you very much.

Naturally, it only deteriorated further after that. When it was completely falling to bits, the locals decided they wouldn’t mind saving it after all, but there was no money.

Then a sculpture student from the University of West Bohemia filled the church with these weird sculptures. Thirty of them. They look like cast plaster to me. It became a tourist attraction, which generated enough money to shore up the fabric of the building. Now the parishioners have come back inside and hold services sitting next to these creepy things.

There. A feelgood story for a Friday afternoon. Or is it?


We woke up under a half inch of snow. Then it was sunny. Then it snew. Repeat every hour until the hailstorm. I think that nonsense is over, but it’s going to be damned cold for a couple more days.

We will burn through £15 worth of solid fuel today.

Good weekend, y’all!

April 1, 2022 — 6:47 pm
Comments: 13

And STILL Margaret Calvert is alive

I have just done my periodic Wikipedia check. Margaret Calvert is still alive.


I have treated you to my Margaret Calvert rant before. She’s the South African graphic designer who came to England in the Fifties and fucked up all the road signs.

I don’t know if she invented the ugly, glommy ‘International Symbol Man’ style, but she was an early adopter, at least. Hit the link for my least favorite ever Margaret Calvert design, the physics-busting Slippery Road sign.

I remembered to do my periodic check as this image turned up in a story I was reading. Just look at this shit! It’s the Men Working sign. Also known as “Man with Recalcitrant Umbrella.”

No, that’s not original. I’m not the only one who thinks she sucks.

March 3, 2022 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 7



My urn. It’s brass or bronze. It’s had a couple of repairs and is possibly frankensteined together.

I’m of the opinion it was more than one piece. The rings around the top and bottom are decidedly cruder than the work around the middle. Also, the floral motif at the bottom looks European to me.

Uncle B disagrees. He thinks it looks Persian or Indian and all of a piece.

I haven’t dared see if it holds water. Probably not; it’s got some welds around the bottom. Dried flowers, then.

It has an overall chocolate brown patina. I’m not enough of a bumpkin to make it shiny. But I wouldn’t mind rubbing it up until it has a *hint* of metallic sheen.

Is that wrong? Am I a philistine?

I watch too much Drew Pritchard.



February 24, 2022 — 8:19 pm
Comments: 8

Ow! My eye!

Aha! Looking for examples of Blob People illustration, I did a search of “Mailchimp Illustrations” and found:

I’m not sure how her illustrations make me feel, but “empowerment” probably ain’t it.

I still can’t find the particular illustrator I have in mind. I strongly suspect it’s one illustrator and I’m sure it’s a woman. If I find her, I’ll let you know.

For now, a Google Images search of people illustration brings up all the ugly, politically-sensitive art you could want.

What’s that? You don’t deliberately seek out ugly art? How extraordinary!

Good weekend, everyone!

Dammit, yes I forgot the Dead Pool. It’s too late now. Oh, I *am* sorry. Would you like a special non-Friday Dead Pool, or wait a week?

January 28, 2022 — 7:02 pm
Comments: 19

That’s why I keep really stupid chickens

From a site called Good Bear Comics. A few sensible chuckles.

It’s kind of fun to start at the beginning, four years ago, and watch him get better at it. Or is it just me? I like that kind of thing.

Oh, it’s Monday, isn’t it? Yes it is.

October 18, 2021 — 5:45 pm
Comments: 4

Round boi

This picture tickled me, for some reason. It’s by Paul Gavarni (real name: Hippolyte-Guillaume-Sulpice Chevalier, hoo boy!), 1804-1866. French. Brittanica calls his late work ‘bitter‘.

Title: Revers des Médailles (1842) or Reverse of the Medal.

Caption, as near as I can make it (it’s faint): dangereux effet des pates orientales, lelles que le Rachaoul ou le Nafe d’Arabie, sur des organisations trop delicates or (as Google Translate would have it) dangerous effect of oriental pasta, such as Rachaoul or Arabian Nafe, on too delicate organizations.

Not actual pasta, I don’t think. Some kind of sweetie. I only found one reference to Rachaoul and it was a translation of a French pamphlet on agriculture from 1836:

The edible merchants [of Paris] also devise a substance called tapioca, which they advocate almost as much as the famous Rachaoul, which fattens the odalisques of the seraglio; but the tapioca itself is nothing other than cassava, which does not fatten negroes much.

The crack about negroes is not as strange as it looks, I don’t think. Cassava was a staple in Africa and Africans were, by and large, not fat.

As for Arabian nafe, no idea. Knafeh, maybe? Anyway, it’s something he eats with a spoon from a jar that comes out of a cabinet, so early Victorian pudding cups, at a guess.

July 20, 2021 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 8

Not a gemstone

Hast thou heard of Fordite. It’s overspray from car spray booths – hundreds and hundreds of layers of it – baked hundreds and hundreds of times and (usually) as hard as a gemstone. This article says 997 layers per inch, though that seems a little precise to me.

Eventually, the clumps of overspray got in the way and were chipped off and thrown away. I imagine in the era of “any color as long as it’s black” it wasn’t particularly interesting stuff. But the colorful ones people often took home to keep.

Also called ‘Detroit agate’ or ‘motor agate’ or even the specialized Corvettite. People do make jewellery out of it – it’s apparently light enough to be especially good for earrings and pendants. Early bits are more subdued, then the colors get louder and louder. Remember that?

In the 80’s, they switched to a different process. No more spray booths and baking. That means the supply of Fordite is limited, and we all know what THAT means.

Judging by the Ebay listings, there’s still plenty to be had., but the prices are getting on for semi-precious gemstone territory.

I just did another Ebay search. Man, people make some stupid stuff out of amethyst.

June 1, 2021 — 8:29 pm
Comments: 11

A Mr Peabody sort of day

Elbow pain woke me up this morning. Elbow pain. Then I discovered my hands didn’t work properly. Then it travelled to my other elbow (which was a relief, I could stop thinking ‘stroke’). And then it dawned on me I had a trapped nerve.

Radiculopathy, which sadly doesn’t mean ridiculous and pathetic. Had it before, went to a physio, got some exercises which I do with enthusiasm until the pain goes away. Never had symptoms all the way down to my fingers before. This sucks.

So while I’m a monkey (my thumbs are no longer opposable), please enjoy this illustration from my favorite contemporary cartoonist, MK Brown. I see she’s fleshed out her website since I last checked. Start with cartoons.

Look at a bunch. You need a biggish dose to get the flavor.

May 21, 2021 — 7:33 pm
Comments: 14