Tuesday, 6 October 2015


 Another month and another set of films, 18 this month; including a mix of  mountain climbing, snow, dancing, cooking, a bit of film making and a lot of axe wielding too...
A few film faces, Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs, And Jack Nicholson & Shelley Duvall in The Shining.Here's a few snaps of the painting process.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015


Another month has gone and many films have been watched. I spent all of August in Newcastle cat sitting for a certain cat of mystery, and when I wasn't doing that or drawing  I watched some films - 36 in total. 
La Grande Bouffe
This included 12 visits to the lovely Tyneside Cinema in the centre of Newcastle, several Mission Impossible films, some oldies, a giant shark, a grand feast, a couple of documentaries and a few musicals...
Many visits to the Tyneside cinema this month .
I highly recommend the cafe/bar's grilled cheese sandwich as a pre film snack. 
The little books I wrote my film viewings in.
The pink one is new this month and is my ninth book since 2009


June and July seem distant memories now, but this is what I watched;  25 in June and 19 July, this included a trip to a Secret Cinema showing of Empire Strikes back (I stupidly forgot to take a picture of my costume, but it was fun), 2 trips to see the new Jurassic World film (it can't beat Jurassic Park film though), 3 documentaries, several animations and a handful of oldies. 

A few Film paintings to add to the collection, You can see more over at my website - I try and upload new ones each month. 
What happened, Miss Simone?
Inside Out

Monday, 27 July 2015

cats in film...

Having not complied Junes list of films yet (its been a busy month) and the release of my new book “William Heads To Hollywood” at the start of July, I thought I would celebrate with a little list of cats in films. It’s basically two of my favourite things, together in a list. 

  I would not call this a definite list in anyway, it really is just list of cats I have liked in films, some being more integral to the plot than others, while some are just in the background - but it seems that I still seem to notice the cat! (i also notice that they always save the dog in films but thats not relevant to this post). 

So here is my list:
please note not all these films are suitable for young viewers and may contain spoilers. 
sorry in advance.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013 - Coen Brothers)
Such a great cat - I loved the way it walked down the hall.

The Matrix - (1999- The Wachowski Brothers)

 Its not good to have deja vu in the Matrix.
I have never understood whether a black cat is good luck or bad luck. 

The Third Man (1949 - Carol Reed)

The cat plays such an important role in the reveal scene and next to Orson Welles too. The cat held its nerve exceedingly well - but I did wonder how he managed to jump down from that window in time? Well It appears they used several cats and weren't so bothered with checking how similar their markings were.

 Oh well its still a great cat and film.
 ( The BFI have also just rereleased it too, so a great time to see it on the big screen).
The Godfather (1972 -Franics Ford Coppola)
The right accessory for any Godfather is a very pretty cat. 
Just don’t get on the wrong side of the Don or you might end up like the horse - so watch what you scratch and chew kitty!

Kiki's Delivery Service - (1989 - Hayao Miyazaki)
One of my favourite things about this film is this cat, especially when he finds this mug.

L'Atalante (1934 - Jean Vigo)
So many kittens! They seem to multiply through out the film, at times you do worry some might fall over board.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961 - Blake Edwards)
The second ginger tabby to feature on this list is 'The poor slob with out a name', I feel his character had a lot to put up with from Holly Golightly so really should deserve a name.

The Cat In Paris (2010 - Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol
By day a loving house cat but by night a cat burgular, they do say there are more owners than there are cats.  Such a lovely animation, i thoroughly enjoyed this.

Bringing up Baby- (1938 - Howard Hawks)

 This is technically not a domestic cat, its a leopard (infact there are two and a dog named George), but it had to be on the list as 1, its one of my favourite films, and 2, it has Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in. 
Whats not to like.

The Jungle Book - (1967 - Wolfgang Reitherman)
A classic and again these aren't your domestic kitties but I still wanted to feature them. 

Moonrise Kingdom (2012 - Wes Anderson)

A very cute kitten, joins the two runaways on their adventure and has a better fate than the dog.
 I wish I had a kitten that would happily sit in a basket. 

Alien (1979 - Ridley Scott)
Jonesy, The third ginger tabby on my list. A cat that if you ever head off in to space, and you let the guy with the alien attached to his face back in, its handy to have around, just incase you are about to walk into a potential alien death trap.

 Lion King (1994 - Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff)

Okay again not your domestic feline but it had to be included - they aren't called the king of the cats for nothing. Plus it has great songs.

The Shadow Of The Cat - (1961 - John Gilling)  
Beware of Tabitha!  
It really wasn't her fault, and quite frankly she is loyal beyond the end to her owner. The killers were stupid and over reacted, they get their comeupence in the end, so really everyone needs a cat like Tabitha. 

An American Tail (1986 - Don Bluth)
 I have not seen this since I was probably 6 but i do remember the song “There are No Cats in America”, which is a LIE! (there totally are cats in America).

How to Catch a Thief - (1955 - Alfred Hitchcock) 
Cary Grant plays a retired jewel thief, known as "the cat" who happens to own a cat too. 
Here is another photo (not from the film) of Cary Grant looking very fabulous whilst out walking a cat...

Bell, Book and Candle - (1958 - Richard Quine)

Another of my favourite actors, James stewart (another Swoon!) and this time working with not only Jack Lemmon and Kim Novak but a lovely Siamese Cat - named Pyewacket. 
Not my favourite of Stewarts films but it does have a nice cat in to work some extra magic. 

Metro Manila (2013 - Sean Ellis) 
 I couldn't find a still of the cat from this film, its a great unexpected film. The cat has a very minor role, but in the end you are happy it survives. 

Bolt (2008 - Byron Howard and Chris Williams)
An okay film, better than I expected. I always find the side kick character in kids film more interesting than the main one. I would also like to mention the pigeons - I know this post is about cats in films but the pigeons are very amusing.

Lady and the Tramp - (1955 - Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske)

The second film on the list with siamese cats in.

Grand Budapest Hotel - (2014 - Wes Anderson) 
All I can say is poor persian cat...and don't get in the way of William Defoe!  

The Cat Returns - (2002 - Hiroyuki Morita)

A whole world of cats. 
Imagine you save a cat and it turns out he is actually a prince. A dream until you are not allowed to leave.

My Afternoons with Margueritte/La Tete en Friche (2010 - Jean Becker)

There is small scene where Gerard Depardieu reads the dictionary to the cat, which I found amusing. Also It is another film where there is a funny pigeon scene (he names them all). 

MGM Lion - Slats, Jackie, Telly, Tanner, George and Tanner. 
(1924 - present)

He wasn't technically in the main feature but the Lion is an integral part to the beginning of any MGM film.
(Also see Tom and Jerry version of the MGM Lion).

The Ariscotcats (1970 - Wolfgang Reitherman)
well no list would be complete with out this one because.... "Everybody wants to be a cat!"  

 Heres a list the BFI put together for World cat day (yes its a real day) and here is a fun site about cats in films I came across - It seems I have a lot more films with cats in to watch. Do you have a favourite cat in film? 

And just to finish heres a picture of Paul Newman with a cat.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Round up of events...

Its been a busy few weeks with barely a moment to sit down, here is a little round up of what I have been up to...

 Firstly I was asked to create a window display for the new book “William Heads To Hollywood” for the Waterstones on Deansgate in Manchester. It was very exciting and William was very happy to grace a window. 
It was also a lot harder than you think to get it put in, there was a very tiny, slim door that allowed you into the window space - think Alice in Wonderland or Being John Malkovich and you get the idea. Anyhow it all went ok - and I only spilled the popcorn once! 
(before the new books arrived).
Thanks to Charlie for all the help. Go and see the window and say hello to William whilst you can. I will also be at the store for an afternoon of storytelling, activities and book signing on saturday 25th July. If you are around do come and say hello. For more information head here.
Next up I was a guest on Down the Rabbit Hole, along with Steve Antony. You can listen back here, and find out a bit more here. 

At the start of July I was invited down to Damers’ first school, in Dorchester. The day started with a visit to the library, a brilliant library space which such a great selection of books - its great to see such a fab library thats used and loved. I met with a group made up from all the local schools, they listened to me read and I answered questions. Plus we did some activities and some of them had a go at drawing William.
there was a super monster in the school hall.
There were some great drawings but sadly I forgot to take any photos of them. I was also asked to draw things for them - including the head teacher, whilst she watched! 
 eek - no pressure! Thankfully she liked the picture and I was allowed to stay for the afternoon session, back at the school. It was with the younger kids in the hall. I also stayed to talk to a few parents after school, and drew a few things for the kids in kids club. It was a super day and great to see kids enjoying the books.  

I then had a few days to recover which included a day booked on weaving course at Syson gallery in Nottingham run by Hannah Waldron
some of Hannah's lovely work on show. i just love the colours.
The course lasted three hours and was great fun, thanks to Hannah and the gallery for running it. I learnt many techniques and tricks, and was very pleased with the sample I made. I hope to have a bit of spare time to practice more...
I then headed up to Newcastle to chat with the cat of the hour, William and share the new book with him. He has been practicing his posing skills since the last book and gave it a big paws up. 
He personal celebrated with a prawn cocktail on the red carpet.
I also helped decorate some biscuits and a cake beautifully made by my talented cousin, for  the official book launch. If you head over to cakepoppins you can see more of her cakes.

 We then took them down to london for the launch, held at Book & Kitchen in Notting Hill. A beautiful bookshop, with an outdoor patio and kitchen serving delicious food. A lovely place to ponder the afternoon with a stack of books. 
Unfortunately I managed to time the launch with the tube strike which meant many people couldn’t get to the launch, it just meant we all just had to eat more cake. 

It was a lovely evening considering, with many friends, family and book folk managing to make it down to celebrate. I am so excited and pleased William Heads to Hollywood is finally out. 
the cake inside matched the colours on the cover of the book.
And finally, I created this cover for this weeks Big Issue North - its packed full of great book recommendations for the summer so be sure to grab a copy...
 here is one of the illustrations from inside the article...

I have lots of other exciting news and projects to tell you about in the coming weeks but for now thanks for reading and after all that I am off to have a catnap. 
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