Blackpool and the Blustery Day

Whilst taking my father-in-law on a recent trip to a Model Boat Show in Blackpool, I planned to use my free time while he was buying model kits and visit Gordon Young’s and Why Not Associates wonderful collaborative typographical installation ‘The Comedy Carpet’ sited in front of the famous Blackpool Tower. Sadly when we arrived it closed off for some repairs.

My time wasn’t wasted as a storm was battering Blackpool with surging waves from the Irish Sea.

Wold Newton

…the Beauty & the Pain

What started out as a beautiful sunny Saturday trip to the Yorkshire Coast via the picturesque Scenic Route soon had a sting in its tail. As with most of our trips out over the last few years, they always involve us stopping off at some quaint place we usually just drive on through to explore its hidden beauty with ‘Trusty’ the camera, today’s place was Wold Newton, a small Yorkshire Wolds village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire with a tiny population of circa 337.

As you turn the bend in the village your welcomed by the quintessential English village pond full of ducks and geese and lovely duck hut in the middle, including a wooden arched footbridge leading to the most well-kept ‘English’ red phone box I’ve seen in years. We parked up and ventured into the village, which didn’t have a soul in sight, our first call was the parish church of All Saints an 11th century Grade II* listed building, although a small church, it was no less in beauty, as with most of these village church’s it was unlocked and empty, so we paid our respects and sighed the visitors book, plus I took a few snaps of the magical stained windows in the summer sun.

Next stop was the village pond, where a lone boy was feeding a full loaf of bread to the ducks, we slowly walked aground taking pictures and admiring the view, it was while we was there that Paula felt as small bite on her foot, thinking nothing of it we carried on. Our next stop was to find the Wold Newton Meteorite Monument, erected to honour the largest meteorite observed to fall in Britain, which fell near to Wold Cottage farm in 1795, sadly we couldn’t find it, which was good for Paula has her foot had started to itch.

We arrived at Humanby first and enjoyed Fish & Chips from our favourite east coast chippy ‘The Captains Table’ we even watched a lovely wedding party depart from the village church with the bride and groom going off in shiny 1957 Chryslers New Yorker. Our next stop was Hunmanby Gap to enjoy the scenic views across Filey bay, and a few hours on the beach, which allowed Wifey to sooth her foot in the cooling North Sea, evening soon came and homeward bound to Leeds beckoned.

Once home we noticed a few tiny bite marks on her foot, but what evolved over the next few days after visiting the doctors a few times and eventually getting sent to the A&E and quickly admitted to the hospital ward was nothing short of shocking, it turns out the tiny bite turned into Cellulitus (Blood Poisoning) with other complications including heart palpitations. Thankfully after 3 days on an intravenous drip of strong antibiotics and lots of other meds, she finally came round around and started to fight back against back against such an evil venomous insect bite.

Cellulitus Blood Poisoning
Cellulitus Blood Poisoning

Thankfully she’s was soon on the mend and looking forward to some R&R in the Spanish sun and sea to help the healing process, only to bitten again by a mosquito on the leg which started to swell, luckily a friends tip from Mexico of rubbing it with a raw garlic glove helped it heal very quickly…phew!!

…Beauty & the Pain

The Derecho Storm

Storms in Paradise

One of my ‘bucket list’ of things to photograph (which is quite vast) has always been lightning, and whilst in the Murcia region of southern Spain I managed to tick that photographic ambition of my list. It occurred while we sat overlooking the picturesque bay of Mazarrón at a lovely beach restaurant that we noticed the approaching Spanish storm, but this was no ordinary weather front, what was developing was a Derecho, a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving groups of severe thunderstorms. The scary thing about these Derechos, is they can cause hurricane force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods, apart from the tornado we was soon to experience all the latter.

As we sat in our relative sanctuary overlooking the bay, we watched as the thunder-storm approached the town of Mazarrón, it wasn’t long before the Derecho had rendered the town powerless and plunged in total darkness, it was at this point after lighting stuck the telecommunications mast on the mountain behind us that we decided to head a little closer to home, or in this case, the local beach bar shack, it was at this point I rushed back to our villa to collect ‘trusty’ and my timer release cable. Once back at the shack and the camera was setup and running on a tripod, I relaxed in what I thought was relative undercover safety at the time with a nice mojito.

The storm soon approached us and the camera was soon capturing strike after strike of these majestic bucket list bolts over the sea. But then the strong winds and rain arrived, so the barkeeper quickly pulled down the sidings on what was basically a wooden gazebo to protect us and the two Spanish couples (who was loving the drama). It was at this point that we realised it was going to get a lot worse before getting better, especially after the last thunder bolt of lightning set fire to hills overlooking the shack. We quickly packed everything away, said our fond goodbyes and made a hasty run for the villa through torrents of rain running through the streets, and made it back without any mishaps, (thankfully) apart from the soaking wet attire, which I must say, Wifey’s ‘Miss Wet T-Shirt’ impression looked quite sexy.

Although the storm raged well on into the evening, I was at least left with a bucket ‘list’ full of lighting bolts shots finally captured.

I even managed to capture some video…

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Last Lightning #video #videoloop

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The UK isn’t without similar storms, as the recent one which battered the south coast earlier this year shows.

The Apprentice Awakens

Craig Drake is a name synonymous with MilnersBlog, as I’m such a massive fan of his Patrick Nagel ‘Pop Culture’ style of visualisation, although now its about time we lay down any reference to his work being any homage to the late Nagel, and instead embrace him for the talented awakening artist he has now become in forging his own palette of Geekologie inspired art, which firmly embraces visual film culture, instead of the pop culture style which Patrick Nagel presented.

He recently presented a well deserved Solo Art Show at the Hero Complex Gallery in Los Angeles, and I’ll admit the show looked like it was on another level…as you can see in the pictures below, Drake showcased a huge body of work of iconic film culture heroes! He even saved four special works of art until the end of the show, the best space ship in film culture in my opinion, the “Millennium Falcon” plus a few new additions to his film culture palette with Lucas/Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and also The Hobbit with a the beautiful dragon Smaug and the graceful Gandalf the White which was screen printed on a brushed aluminium.

carrie fisher princess leia by craig drake
carrie fisher princess leia by craig drake

In an interview with the Hero Complex Gallery he gave a rare insight into his creative process.

Craig Drake’s Creative Process

Craig Drake has hit the ground running with Hero Complex Gallery! For our first show, Weapon of Choice, he created 3 stunning pieces: MacReady from The Thing, and two versions of Hanzo’d, featuring a sexy close-up of art inspired by the character O-Ren Ishii from Kill Bill. His work has a style that is reminiscent of the celebrated 80’s artist, Patrick Nagel.

Craig hails from the chilly suburbs north of 8 Mile Road in the Detroit, Michigan area. Determined to be an artist, he studied at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. In 1998, Craig moved to San Francisco and worked for several years doing freelance design and animation for companies such as Adobe and EA (Electronic Arts). In 2006, he transitioned to Lucasfilm where he created his first Nagel homage of Princess Leia. This piece was then printed as a signed, limited edition poster.

In Craig’s own words, “Like a lot of Star Wars fans, having grown up in the ’80s, I was exposed to some amazing signature pop culture visuals. Truthfully, [Nagel’s] style really annoyed me as a kid, but as time went on I began rediscovering his work — his brilliantly minimalist yet bold vision of beautiful, strong women is what inspired me to illustrate Princess Leia.” From the original Leia poster, a line of five other Nagel-inspired Star Wars character pieces were spawned.

Since then, Craig’s popularity as a world-class artist has exploded! Last year alone, Craig produced numerous pieces showcasing his brilliant style featuring beloved characters from movies such as Blade Runner, The Bride of FrankensteinMetropolis, Black Swan and Escape From New York, just to name a few. With his clean lines and stylized take on portraits of pop culture icons, it’s no wonder why fans are clamouring to get a Drake on their walls!

When I asked Craig to breakdown his creative process, he had this to say, “First I start with rough pencil sketches to block in shapes. At this stage, not much reference is used to keep the original composition vision pure.

From there I might make a tightened pencil. Then hi-res images are gathered to soak in the subject’s details. Second stage is the drawing the final vector itself. Using Adobe Illustrator [and] using my trusty Wacom set up, this process takes anywhere from 1 to 2 days. Best part is this Illustrator master is print ready after a few technical mods to make separations for silkscreen posters. Third stage is painting. Which can take up to 5 days for larger pieces like R.J. MacReady.

Since the master drawing is complete digitally, I then use it as an exact guide and draw the image to scale on illustration board. After that I use gouache paint to bring it to life. I love engineering in small variances between the digital composition and the one of a kind painting. Even collectors have picked up and geeked out on these details, which makes me very happy.”

Since the show he’s forged ahead producing countless more stunning pieces of Mondo Art, his latest was for the organisers of Star Wars Celebration VII, the travelling confab that celebrates all things connected to George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away, which returns to Craig’s home state of California at the Anaheim Convention Centre from the 16th-19th of April 2015. 

I wonder if he’ll be producing a calendar like he did for Star Wars Celebration VI with some new artwork for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” before the 2015 release date… Fingers crossed

A brief selection of his work he’s done since the Solo Art Show… he’s a busy man 🙂

Finally a rare find, some Mondo Art he did for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus which was sadly never used.