Sunday, 10 October 2021

My Top 20 pumpkins from 2018-2020

Pumpkin season is upon us, and I have dug out my carving tools, picked my three home grown pumpkins and bought my ticket to the Cairnie pumpkin patch.

This will be my fourth year carving pumpkins, and once again, The Dory, Pittenweem, have kindly offered to display my carvings in their window.

I'll upload my carvings as I finish them to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If an image works particularly well, I will upload it to RedBubble, but this year I will be focusing more on display pumpkins than carving to the camera.

Before I start carving, I thought I would have a look back at my favourite carvings from the last three years.

I carve real pumpkins using U gouges and craft knifes. All the designs are my own.


Pumpkin Carving of a Cat
Toast the Tabby Cat, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.


Pumpkin Carving of Crail
Crail, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2020

This was my big carve of last year. Because I got my pumpkin seeds in late, over watered them, and with Covid, I wasn't going out shopping for pumpkins, I was working on an under ripe, waterlogged pumpkin, and I wasn't carving at my optimum level, so I plan to redo this design this year.


Pumpkin Carving of Pamela Coleman Smith

Pamela Coleman Smith, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2018

This was one of my first pumpkin carvings. It was my second attempt at the image, and I went on to win a carving competition with it. It was probably the carving that got me seriously interested in carving, and the reason I am now tired and in pain every October.


Pumpkin Carving of a Hedgehog
Hedgehog, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2020

I had finished pumpkin carving for the year, when a friend of mine prompted me to enter a competition. Although this pumpkin was rotting, so I couldn't get the lighting right, it won me the competition :)


pumpkin carving of a lobster
Lobster, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2020
This image is on RedBubble here.

Last year I was so rusty when I started carving, it took me three goes to get this carving. But I finally got one I was happy with.


Pumpkin Carving of St Monans Church
St Monans Kirk, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.

My first attempt at shaded images combining holes all the way through the pumpkin, trying to make the windows look like they were lit up with light coming from within the Kirk.


Pumpkin Carving of a French Horn
French Horn, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2020

Trumpet carved on a Pumpkin
Trumpet, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black 2020

My niece plays the French Horn, so I thought I would have a go at carving one on a pumpkin, as I loved the way the tubes wrap around and form different layers. I thought I would do a whole brass section on one pumpkin, but started with the images being too small and abandoned the project. (The hedgehog ended up on the other side of this pumpkin.)


Celtic Knot carved on a pumpkin
Celtic Knot, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.

I think celtic knots are my favouirite things to carve on pumpkins. As long as you have a clear stencil to work with and approach it methodically, very little can go wrong, and when you finish, you can photoshop the image to create some fantastic patterns in many different colours.


Celtic knot Carved on a Pumpkin
Celtic Knot, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.


An all over pumpkin carving using a celtic knot design
360 Celtic Knot, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2021

I have wanted to do an all over carve for a while, and as I had an early ripener in the garden, I took the opportunity to create a 360 celtic knot design. It looked great, but I was in agony after two solid days of carving, so I won't be repeating that again any time soon.


Sunflower carved on a pumpkin
Sunflower, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.


An Owl carved on a pumpkin
Dark owl, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.


A skull carved on a pumpkin
Skull, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.


A young boy carved on a pumpkin
Hayden, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
Based on a photo by James Palmer


The Dory Logo carved on a pumpkin
Dory Logo, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019

The Dory Bistro in Pittenweem kindly display my pumpkins in their window, so I thought as a surprise for them, I would do their logo.


The Dreel Halls in Anstruther carved onto a pumpkin
Dreel Halls, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.


St Andrews Cathedral carved onto a pumpkin
St Andrews Cathedral, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.


A leafless winter tree carved onto a pumpkin
Winter Tree, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.

This pumpkin had started rotting when I started carving, so I thought I would choose an easy design. Unfortunately, it wasn't as easy as I thought and took me two days, during which, the pumpkin was going brown and soggy. This is why it is my only pumpkin photographed without the top on since I stopped using real tea lights.


Lighthouse carved on a pumpkin
Low Light on the Isle of May, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.

This is actually my personal favourite carving, but the Pittenweem West Shore took about four times as long to carve and is much more popular, so I have let that one have first place.


Pittenweem West Shore carved onto a pumpkin
Pittenweem West Shore, Pumpkin Carving, Moti Black, 2019
This image is on RedBubble here.

I grew this pumpkin in my garden and the carve took two days. I've not managed to create something as large or as intricate since, but I hope to do a couple this year.

Happy Carving

Monday, 26 July 2021

New Exhibition Lined Up!

I am painting away like crazy to make sure there are a few new paintings at my next exhibition in Pittenweem as part of the West Braes Gala celebrations on 6th - 8th August 2021 10:00-17:00.

Pooky the Black Cat, Watercolour Moti Black
Available from RedBubble here

Over 20 other artists will also be exhibiting throughout the village, and a huge celebration at the West Braes Park will mark the official opening at midday, 7th August, of the Pittenweem Pool after the renovations.

I will be selling paintings, prints, cards, bags, cushion covers, notebooks, mouse mats and stickers. I will be exhibiting in my garage alongside Jan Palmer at Venue 15.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Around the Colour Wheel in Eighty Shades: Part One

I've been asked quite a bit lately about my colour choices in my paintings. I have been reluctant to write about it, as I am a self taught artist and assume I have huge holes in my knowledge, but as there seems to be some interest, and I started to tell people I would blog about it, here we go.

Cadmium Scarlet and Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)

When I am starting a painting, I pick two colours which are opposite each other on the colour wheel, so when they are combined in the right amounts, they create a neutral greyish colour. As you mix these two colours, they create a range of colours, some of which can be matched with other paints, which may have different and useful properties.

With my Firth of Forth series, I mostly use Cadmium Scarlet and Winsor Blue (Red Shade). 

Bass Rock, November 2018, Watercolur, Moti Black
Available on RedBubble here

Isle of May, August 2018, Watercolour, Moti Black
Available on RedBubble here

Berwick Law and Craig Leith, November 2018
Available on RedBubble here

The paints that fit in with this colour scheme are

  • Phthalo Blue, Red Shade - Holbein Artists' Watercolour. Lovely and bright blue. Useful when you want to give the sky an extra oomph. However, it does leave a darker blue line around where you apply the wet paint.
  • Phthalo Sapphire - Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour. Very similar to the Holbein, Phthalo Blue Red Shade, but a limited edition, so may be hard to get your hands on.
  • Winsor Blue, Red Shade - Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour. My go to paint for paintings in these colours, but it doesn't work very well if you want to do effects with clingfilm, and like the Hobein, leaves a darker blue line at the edge of the wet paint when it dries.
  • Prussian Blue - Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour. I haven't used this much.
  • Indigo - Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour. I love the properties of this paint. It works really well with clingfilm. However, I find it is best used with plenty of water as can develop a coppery sheen.
  • Venetian Red - Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour. I haven't used this much
  • Light Red - Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour, again, I haven't used this much.

With the Firth of Forth Scenes Range, I only use Phthalo Blue, Red Shade (Holbein Artists' Watercolour), Winsor Blue, Red Shade (Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour), Indigo (Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour) and Cadmium Scarlet (Winsor and Newton Professional Watercolour). (Sometimes I have used Chinese White to pick out the white areas, but I do try to leave the paper blank where I can.)

I have also found these colours useful in other paintings, where I first paint the image using Winsor Blue Red Shade and Cadmium Scarlet, then add minimal colours from elsewhere in the colour wheel.

For example, the colours are perfect for house sparrows. Here I added a bit of Raw Umber (Winsor and Newton Professional) on the feathers and Permanent Green Light (Daniel Smith) for the background.

House Sparrow, Watercolour, Moti Black
This image is on RedBubble here

I used the colour scheme again in my 'Dragon Attack on Pittenweem', with just a bit of Viridian (Winsor and Newton Professional) for the green doors, plants and reflections and Permanent Carmine (Winsor and Newton Professional) for the pink house.

Dragon Attack on Pittenweem, Moti Black, Watercolour
Available on RedBubble here

Happy Painting!

Friday, 18 June 2021

Watercolour Border Collie


Watercolour painting of a border collie dog.
Tess the Border Collie, Watercolour, Moti Black 2021
This image can be found on RedBubble here

Two people wearing border collie T Shirts

Border Collie painting on a set of coasters

Today I finished a long term project I have been working on, and phew! That was a marathon. 

Except for the eyes, this image was created using just two complimentary colours, Viridian and Permanent Alizarin Crimson (I used Winsor and Newton Professional paint.) When combined, these colours create the neutral black colour of Tess's fur; ramp up the red, and you have the perfect pink for the gums; let the green dominate, and you have a cool background colour, which I thought would be good for a dog that loves running around in fields.

I finished this image just in time for my first outing in the art world in a couple of years. If you are in Fife on the weekend of the 26/27th June 2021, I have a stall at Bowhouse near St Monans. Hopefully I will see you there!


Thursday, 6 May 2021

Moti will be at Bowhouse for Open Studios

On 26th and 27th June 2021, along with many other local artists, I will be joining Open Studios at Bowhouse. (Near St Monans, Fife, Scotland)

I am currently working on lots of exciting new art work for my stall, so there will be some new paintings to buy, as well as prints, cards, bags, cushion covers and handmade cards.

Watercolour painting of a dragon on roof in Pittenweem
Dragon Attack on Pittenweem, Moti Black, Watercolour, 2021
Available on RedBubble here.

If you can't make it to The East Neuk on that weekend, you can still get your hands on products featuring my work over on my RedBubble shop.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

Piracy and Psychic Protection

You have worked hard on your creative endeavour: it is finished and you are proud of it. Your magnum opus now exists in the real world, the spiritual world, and for better or worse, the online world. 

Piracy, plagiarism and misappropriation are unpleasant but all-pervasive features of today’s world, and, short of hiding your work under your bed, there is nothing you can do to guarantee that no one will exploit your work for their own reasons. They may scan a print and then sell copies, lift the image from the internet and stick their name over it, copy your book and upload it to a free-for-all website, misquote your words and plaster your name all over statements you don't agree with, or cut and paste your words and pass them off as their own.

First things first, don’t make it easy for people to steal from you. Use watermarks, or if you don’t like them, be creative when photographing your artwork for use online: place leaves, crystals, logos, business cards in the way, so they can’t be easily cropped off. Join relevant support groups, report copyright infringement to the websites, hosts, and publishers. Work with others to raise awareness of the real costs of piracy and copyright infringement, and most importantly, practice what you preach. Spiritually, like attracts like, so don’t complain about people stealing your work, and then download music for free or take an image off the internet without permission and repurpose it for your own use.

Eye of Horus Watercolour Painting
Eye of Horus, Watercolour, Moti Black 2020

This image can be found on my RedBubble shop here.

Eye of Horus on a RedBubble Canvas Bag

Meditation to Protect your Artistic Creations

Firstly, you will need an imaginary safe space with a clear boundary and gateway. This may be an art gallery, book shop, dance floor, garden enclosed by a hedge, or whatever works best for you and your creation. Take time to develop this space, you need to get the balance right between a protective area you can control, and a welcoming space people can come into and experience your work. 

In the middle of this space, have your work on display. Maybe it is a lectern with your book on it, or your painting hanging on a special wall. Think about how you wish to present your precious creation to the world and ensure the layout reflects this. In front of your work, place a protective symbol of your choosing, such as the Eye of Horus, a pentacle, a bunch of heather, or an eye. Have a real life version of this symbol you can see and touch every day.

Relax yourself into a deep meditative state. Look around your safe space and admire your work on display. Be pleased with what you have created. Touch your fingers to the protective symbol and recite a prepared short protection mantra. If you can write your own mantra, it will be more powerful, but if not, feel free to use the following. If you write your own, remember positive statements hold more power and be very careful about your choice of words, don't 'release your work into the universe', or put up barriers so high no one will fight through to enjoy your work. 

Behold: resources, time, love, energy. 
This work I forge, now invite you to see. 
May our hearts witness a shared synergy,
And fair exchange guide this journey.

Have one gateway, door or portal leading into your safe space. By this gateway, place a symbolic receptacle. This could be an honesty jar, a till, a contactless payment point, or what feels right to you. Imagine people entering, and as they pass the symbolic receptacle, throwing tokens into a jar, swiping their card, or whatever you choose to symbolise their payment, so the spiritual balance is maintained. Once people have entered and a fair exchange has taken place, they get to enjoy your work and you are fairly compensated for the work you put in to bring the artwork into being.

Take time to enjoy watching the people milling around the space, enjoying your art. If you have created a work of literature, why not imagine some lovely reading nooks and watch people snuggle down with your book? If you have composed a piece of music, why not have some comfy listening stations or a thriving dance floor? And don’t forget to create a special space for all the people who helped you along the way. Make sure they get a fair share of the tokens people have ‘paid’ to come into the space and use this opportunity to say thank you.

Focus on the boundaries of your safe space, and slowly fill the area with a beautiful golden light. Thank the people who have entered this space for appreciating your art and wish them well. Maintaining the golden light in the space, walk over to the display where your creation proudly stands. Focus this light on the art. If pieces of your art have been stolen or misused, imagine fragments of its soul flying back through the ether to reunite with the original, restoring it in its original state within its own safe space. Some people like to beat a drum or sing during soul retrieval rituals, so if you wish to imagine yourself singing, or beating a drum, do it. Once your amazing artistic creation is glowing and whole. Touch your fingers to the protective symbol.

Leaving your fans enjoying your work, bring yourself out of the meditation, and touch your real life symbol. Keep this symbol close by and touch it regularly whilst repeating your mantra to top up your protection. Revisit your safe space every so often, add new works, enjoy your time there and always thank those who help you along the way.

I believe everyone is completely responsible for their own choices and spiritual development. However, I would advise against cursing people who steal from you. It is upsetting when people profit from your work without paying either you or all the people who helped you on your journey. It is also heart breaking (and theft) when people distribute your art for free without your permission. But by sending curses and negative energy out into the universe, you attract negativity back to yourself. 

In terms of this meditation, I  see the golden wonderful environment you create in your safe space as meaning those who engage with your work through genuine channels will have a profound experience. Those who steal or take your work from other sources, will find your work cold and disinteresting, reducing demand for pirated goods. 

Don't forget legal routes and awareness raising are still one hundred percent valid routes for tackling these issues. 

Sunday, 24 January 2021

West Braes Dolphins

There is an amazing charity in the village where I live called the West Braes Project (SC047249). I do a bit of volunteering for it, which has included, in the past, creating some artwork for posters and logos. 

A few years ago, I set up a RedBubble account to try and make some more funds for the project with the bits and bobs I created. To make things easier to manage, with the project's permission, I have closed that account and moved some of these images over to my own account. (Moti Black).

All the artist's profits from sales from The Dolphin Collection will be donated to The West Braes Project. If you want the profits to go to them, please make sure you only buy from The Dolphin Collection.

There are over 80 products for each image, including magnets, stickers, notebooks, coasters, T shirts, bags, phone cases, clocks, blankets and face masks.

Here are a few samples of the products you could buy to support the West Braes Project. More will be added. 

Gardening Dolphin with rabbit, bee, butterflies and pot plants, on a badge.
Gardening Dolphin, Moti Black, 2019
This image can be found on RedBubble here.

A notebook with a dolphin heart on it
Dolphin Heart, Moti Black, 2021
This image can be found on RedBubble here.

Coasters featuring a dolphin wearing a hat saying Your Oceans Need You
Your Oceans Need You, Moti Black, 2018
This image can be found on RedBubble here.

A clock with a rainbow dolphin logo on it
Rainbow Dolphin Circle, Moti Black, 2017
This image can be found on RedBubble here.
(Previously the best selling image on the West Braes RedBubble account.)

Dolphin Playing Bagpipes on a magnet
Dolphins Playing the Bagpipes, Moti Black 2021
This image can be found on RedBubble here.

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