Wednesday, 23 August 2017

                                                        St Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio

'Brother Wolf'
Natural Pigments on Hemp Paper.

Accompanying story to the painting.

The scene is set around 1200 in the Umbrian city of Gubbio.  Many shepherds of this town were suffering at the hands of a wolf.  Lots of their sheep were going missing and being eaten by a wolf, the situation got worse and worse until Shepherds also began to lose there lives to this wolf.

The mayor of the town said “we must resolve this situation immediately” so he sent two of his finest huntsman and a soldier into the forest to kill the Wolf and be done with it once and for all...However.. non of these men returned as they also got killed by this wolf.

The People of Gubbio grew increasingly fearful until the Mayor of the town ordered the gates to be locked and all citizens to stay in their houses. 
People had heard there was a friar in the neighboring town of Assisi that had a way with animals,  rumour had it that he could talk to them.  A message was sent to Francis.

Francis heard of the towns suffering and said he would help.  He arrived to the Town and went straight to the mayor and told him that he had nothing to fear and he assured the people of Gubbio ‘ ” Do not worry, I will resolve this situation completely.”
Mayor; “What are you going to do about it?”
St Francis, “ I will meet with this wolf in person and talk to him”
Mayor, “ I strongly advise against going into the forest, the beast is sure to kill you.”
St Francis, ” Please, have faith, I assure you it will be fine.”

St Francis left the city walls, passed the fields and into the woods to find this wolf. 
As he got further away from the town and as the trees grew thicker he could sense the presence of the wolf. 
The wolf saw this man coming straight towards him, so he adopted a hunting stance; with head down and paws ready to pounce.
St Francis saw the wolf straight ahead of him through the trees.  He made the sign of the cross and calmly, with not one ounce of fear in him, with poise, peace and a general ora  of complete benevolence, he approached the Wolf.
The Wolf was a little shocked and somewhat confused by the total lack of fear in the man.  He froze and lifted his head.
St Francis stopped and said, “Hello Brother Wolf.”
( the Rumours were true, he could talk to the animals).
The wolf stood in silence.  But understood this man meant him no harm.
St francis said to the wolf, “look I’ve come here to talk to you...
 So, there’s a lot of people in Gubbio right now who are Really upset. Because you’ve killed all their sheep and their men, who were Brothers and Fathers, they’re scared and angry and to be frank, a lot of them want to kill you, but don’t worry that’s not going to happen,  I’ve come to you,  to hear your side of the story.”

The Wolf thought, what’s going on here?  a talking Man?
“Look Mate, I’m a Predator, I eat other animals, it’s what I do.   I don’t really have a choice in the matter.... Trust me, deer are far tastier than wooly sheep or bony humans but they are few and far between these days. Your farm lands and cities are getting bigger and bigger.  So there’s less and less space for us.
Plus I’ve been in a bad way.  A while ago  I got injured I couldn't keep up with the rest of my pack, they are far away over the hills in other lands.  Wolves are sociable pack animals, we need to hunt deer  in group co-operation, on my own I am useless.  I lost all my mates and I was starving,   I resorted to eating the sheep as they were my only option at the time, they’re easier prey, I was hungry, they kept me alive.
It became almost impossible though because I was being attacked by the shepherds.  I resorted to attacking them.  Then I was tracked by some hunters, instinct kicked in and out of self defense I attacked first.”

St Francis heard the wolf and could see he was suffering.  “ Ok Brother wolf, I hear you.
 This is what we are going to do, I will sort this problem out completely, it’s a win win situation, but with some compromises.
First though you need to promise me, promise you are not going to eat any more sheep or humans, ok?  I am going to explain to the people of this city your plite.  And You’re going to have to show to them that you are sorry though.   You are sorry right?  You need to understand that they are pissed off, upset and angry  because you have killed their family and friends and they're hurting bad.”
The wolf was sorry.   
St Francis:  “( just to let you know, They don’t speak wolf though so you may have to do  really exaggerated body language,, you know head down tail between the legs sort of thing) ok?

Wolf : “yeah Ok.    But, I’m not entirely sure where my win bit of the ‘win win’ comes into this yet.
St Francis:  “ You will see” he said with a smile.  “ trust me”
St francis walked up to him and stroked the wolf behind the ear like a pet dog.  The wolf lifted his head up and enjoyed the contact.
On lookers who had followed St Francis from a distance looked on in astonishment. :o
“Right follow me, we’re going to Gubbio.”

The wolf trotted along side St. Francis all the way to the city gates.  Crowds looked on in amazement.  Some shouted “kill the beast!”  But most were just amazed at how in control the friar was and how calm the wolf was.
They walked to the mayor.  St. Francis explained the situation to him, the wolf displayed to the city how sorry he was.
St  Francis said this wolf will no longer eat sheep, he will no longer kill men but will protect the city of Gubbio.  All the city needed to do was collectively feed the wolf.   Householders were asked to set a side a small amount of meet each for the wolf and all leftovers were to be given to him.

So for the rest of his days the wolf lived in Gubbio.  The  wolf was humbled and the people grew very fond of their wolf even the wives and children of those he had killed eventually began to enjoy feeding him.  As he went from door to door,  He forever reminded them of the spirit of St Francis and that miraculous day he came to Gubbio.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Exhibiting at START art fair

I will be showing a new body of work at the START art fair in the saatchi gallery from the 10th to the 13th of September 2015.

Gold leaf and egg tempera on Gesso panels.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Wednesday, 10 December 2014











Monday, 18 August 2014

Turning star dust into paint

This border design (like most of my work this year) was painted using hand made paint with both natural and synthetic pigmnts.  Some semi precious stones were used including Lapis Lazuli, Malachite and Cinnibar.  I have also used the synthetic colours Chrome Yellow, and French Ultramarine.
I learnt how to make paints using natural pigments both from my Tutor Ajay Sharma in Jaipur and also from David Cranswick who is a visiting tutor at The Prince's School of Traditional Arts, he also runs amazing workshops as part of  the open programme course at the school.  

Here are some photos of the paint making process using Azurite:

 I have also used a combination of gold gilding ( on the large sections of gold)  and Shell gold for the smaller areas of gold.  Shell gold is made by grinding gold leaf with gum arabic to form a paint.  It is called shell gold because it is traditionally stored in shells.
Gold and all elements heavier than iron are formed during the end of a star's life in super nova stella explosions.  Explosions that temporarily give off more light than entire galaxies.

I love the idea of releasing a colour in the form of a  rock that has been underground for billions of years.  The universe has already mixed a perfect colour, no further mixing is required to make it more beautiful.  Through the slow process of making paint one becomes more conscious of the colours celestial origins.

Pigments from Desmond Lazaro

work in progress, Silver paint on indigo paper


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Leaf From the Tree of Paradise

This painting is 6ft tall.  It is painted using hand made yellow ochre paint on dyed indigo linen.  This  Image is inspired by a hadith (saying of the prophet) I came across that says; 
“In Paradise there is a tree in whose shade a horseman would be able to ride for a hundred years,”
This is just one leaf from that tree. 


This painting is a collaboration with Vinita Sharma.  My design, Vinita’s execution.  Hand made Pigment paint on hand made paper.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Ajay Sharma is in Town!

This week I am helping my good friend and Master Ajay Sharma run a workshop in Mughal miniature painting at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.  It is going very well so far.   He will be showing work this evening and selling some paintings tomorrow from 5 o’clock onwards.  An amazing opportunity to acquire the work of a master for very reasonable prices.!  Get here soon as last year  they sold very fast.  Spread the word.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Prince of Wales visit

 Had a great day last week showing his Royal Highness around the exhibition.

 It was an honour to receive the Ciclitira prize for outstanding work.

 The Ciclitira family and I with hobbit Buck senior round the back.

The 9ft tall school's director, Dr Khaled Azzam and the 8.5ft tall Trustee and Chairman of the school, Sir G. David Green. 

        Dad and the Prince of Wales talking about cob houses.

Thinking Like a Mountain
By Aldo Leopold

A native American Elder was asked,
“What shall we do if we get lost?”
Stand still.  The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is a place called here,
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger
both asking to know and be known.
Listen.  The forest whispers,
“I have made this place, you can leave and return once again
saying, here.”
No two trees are the same to Raven,
no two branches the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you,
you are truly lost.
Stand still.  Listen.
The forest knows where you are.
Let it find you.
by David Wagoner
Horse Chestnut Tree

Study sheet displaying the process of painting an English tree in an Indian way


Animal Tower
All the animals from 'The Forest' painting below have got themselves into a tower.


Friday, 4 July 2014

The Forest

The Forest

 93 x 75 cm Hand made paint on hand made paper

I am happy to announce that this painting received the runner up prize at the art fair ‘Art in Action’  in the best of the best exhibition.  Voted for by all the other 400 exhibiting artists, thanks guys.









I have sold almost everything at my degree show, so this week is the last chance to see my most recent body of work all together.  Come see the forest that I have been painting for the past 6 months.  It is being exhibited at The Prince's Scool of Traditional Arts until Lunch time the 11th of July.  The Gallery will be open from 10am until 9pm Mon to Fri. 10 till 4 on Saturday. 


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

I and other graduate students will be exhibiting work at the Prince's School of Traditional Arts MA degree show.  It will open to the public on the 1st of July until the 10th.  19 -22 Charlotte Road.  Come along!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Putting together a Geodesic dome with Jonathan Horning in Geometry class

Geometry in progress

In the words of my tutor Paul Marchant 'You don't do geometry, geometry does you'.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

My crazy father, Michael Buck is going to be on channel 4's 'George Clarke's Amazing Spaces' showing his cob house in Oxford. It's on this Thursday at 8pm.   Check it out.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Indian Miniature

KEDAR RAGINI , Naturl pigment paint on antique paper.
An Ash smeared Yogi and devotee sit under a tree beneath a crescent moon on a calm and still night.
 This image was painted in an Indian miniature class at The Princes School of Traditional Arts.  I am grateful to our tutor; the master Pichhwai painter  Desmond Lazaro for his guidance and expert insight.  And his selection of beautiful pigments prepared in Pondicherry.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Monday, 23 September 2013

One of my paintings is going to be in this new book.