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.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

The seven swords that are killing art

Back in spring 2020 a few artist friends of mine were rallying against an increasing trend in the tarot community: pirated decks. 

Online retailers were offering cheap pirated decks, for which the publishers and artists received no payment. 

What shocked me the most was the number of people within the tarot community who jumped to defend their right to buy cheap pirated decks.

Two artists I admire announced that they planned to stop creating new decks, as they could not financially afford to inadvertently give their art away for free. I saw two exciting projects abandoned, and another deck creator said that they were leaving the field as why should they create art for a community that steals from them.

Friends of mine were attacked on line for defending the rights of artists (and publishers, and agents, and assistants, and all the people involved in bringing creative works to life). Things were getting pretty unpleasant.

People were arguing that they had a right to buy pirated decks and that the artists were ungrateful for the praise they should feel that people admired their art work this much!

At this point, I stuck my oar in, and, although I fortunately have never knowingly had my intellectual property stolen from me, I wanted to stand in solidarity with the artists and those being attacked for saying piracy is wrong.

TA poem about piracy based around the Seven of Swords
The Seven Swords of Piracy by Moti Black, March 2020

The background image is based on a skull pumpkin carving I did in 2019. The image can be found on my RedBubble shop here.

Skull Pumpkin Carving on a RedBubble Cushion

The Seven Swords of Piracy

By Moti Black


I cannot be held accountable for the things it is I buy.

How can I tell if it’s genuine, when sellers always lie?

Do a bit of research, check why it’s too good to be true.

Look at the product and the vendor: assess the real value.


Foregoing Responsibility

I am not the bad guy here, it’s got nothing to do with me,

I paid money, I did not steal: my friends tell me they agree.

You paid someone to steal for you, you condone the work they do.

Money makes this market grow: the money that comes from you.


Consequence Denial

I get something a bit cheap; the artist gets a free advert,

You’re making a fuss over nothing, no one is getting hurt.

You’re handing money to criminals, and what that funds, who knows?

You hurt the artist, reduce investment, and bring fresh art to new lows.



The greedy artists charge too much, they must be rich, don’t you see?

I can’t afford the prices they charge, that’s why there’s piracy.

Most artists aren’t as rich as you think, and you clearly don’t value their art.

Would you be happy working for free for some self-entitled upstart?


Compulsion Disorders

I have an addiction and you have no right to make me feel like this.

Publishers should not push their wares when they know that we can’t resist.

If you are being genuine, please seek professional advice.

But it’s not an excuse and don’t tell others to buy fake merchandise.


Faux Ethics

There’re always those silly extras, that come with authentic goods.

I’m doing it for the environment, I’m helping to save those woods.

You could buy the item second hand, or not buy it at all.

Your blatant consumerism weakens your claim to a higher call.


The Blithe Shopper

Look, I don’t care, say what you want, it’ll have no impact on me.

To be honest, if I could, I’d be printing art out for free.

For all the artists, can I just say, you are not welcome to our art.

To knowingly buy pirated goods, reveals a truly selfish heart.


Unfortunately, things went down hill from there. A facebook group was discovered where people were sharing images of decks for others to print them out for free, a publishing house an acquaintance had most of their books and decks published with went under, and a friend who makes a small income from a couple of niche ebooks found their work in several places on download for free websites.

I saw friends and acquaintances suffer financial hardship, stress and depression; jobs lost; the market for new decks and books shrink; and people attacked on the internet.

In the middle of all this, I was writing my first novel and trying to expand my nascent art career. I was sure I must be crazy, but all I have ever wanted to be was a writer, (or an artist if that fell through), and I finally got to have a stab at it now I was north of forty. So embrace the crazy I did.

Whilst writing The Casa Martyrs, I did a lot of research into psychic protection to make sure the magic system I was creating was as authentic as possible. 

I am by no means an expert in the area, but one night I thought, 'Hey! why not put these two things together and create a little meditation for sending new creative works off out into the universe with a little bit of spiritual protective (environmentally friendly) glitter scattered all over it?'

This is what I created... (Piracy and Psychic Protection)

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