Category Archives: Creativity

A Walk Among the Gods.


I’m going through a bit of a Greek mythology phase at the moment. I’m fascinated by the myriad of ‘minor’ deities they have to represent nature – they literally have thousands.

While going for a walk in the woods down by the river, I got to thinking about ancient Greece and – if I were alive back then – how many deities I would be walking amongst.

So I wrote a poem about it.

Hope you like it. Stay safe and well during these turbulent times under lockdown.

naiads greece

A WALK AMONG THE GODS

By David Milligan-Croft.

On my morning walk, the goddess of the forest

Spread her roots before me to form a stairway,

So that I may walk down the steep slope of the valley

To where the river naiads skittered above rocks,

Meandering over Gaea’s flesh toward the sea.

The sun goddess winked and flickered through the branches,

Scintillating off the peaks of the river’s crown.

The sky goddess held up her sister

Enveloping her in a lustrous, cerulean blue cloak.

The goddess of the wind chastised the reeds on the riverbank,

Tousled the leaves in the trees and held aloft the birds,

Who sang their song to the nymphs and protogenoi,

As automobiles droned in the distance, oblivious to the rapture

Of the forest.

1 Comment

Filed under Animals, Art, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, health, History, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, love, mental health, Nature, Philosophy, Poetry, religion, Uncategorized, Writing

The Devil makes play for idle hands.


That’d make me the Devil then.

Oh well, I’ve been called worse.

Here’s a fun (yes, fun) writing game for kids and growed ups alike.

First off, draw around your hand.

No, the other one. The one you don’t write with.

IMG_20191127_134045

Next, you’re going to write a word in each finger.

  1. Think of an object, (such as a lamp, table, doll, trombone, necklace etc), and write it in your pinky finger. Don’t think too hard about it, whatever pops into your mind.
  2. Think of a colour. Write that in your ring finger.
  3. Name a place. Could be a town, a country or somewhere specific, like a treehouse. Write that in your middle finger. (And, don’t show the middle finger to your parents.)
  4. Think of a shape. (Circle, triangle, hexagon, sphere, etc.) Write that in your index finger.
  5. Finally, think of an emotion. (Happy, content, isolated, frustrated, sad, etc.) Write that in your thumb.

Now for the writing exercise.

Write a paragraph that incorporates all of the words you have written in your digits.

They don’t have to be in the order that you have written them down.

And don’t overthink it. Just let it flow. The sillier and more surreal the better.

Once you’ve finished, read out your five things then read your paragraph.

As you can see in the example above, there are three completely different paragraphs using the same five words.

You might be wondering why there are two hands in the picture above. Well, because you can play it with a family member, (if they are in quarantine with you), or you can just overlap your own hand over your previous drawing and colour in the shapes that overlapping them makes.

So, there you go. That should take up about 15 minutes of their day!

Well, they could use the paragraph as a springboard to a longer piece of prose. Or, like the example, they could do several variants using the same words.

It’s good for creativity, prose, composition, spelling, punctuation, grammar and comprehension. (But don’t tell the kids this, or they won’t want to do it!)

6 Comments

Filed under Art, Children, Children's stories, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, Games, health, Ideas, Inspiration, Literature, Medicine, mental health, nhs, Uncategorized, Writing

Hopscotch in the rain


e1496770971add6422c564be5dd6d816

You don’t see chalk on the pavement much anymore.

My daughters used to do it outside our house and up the street with the neighbours’ children.

I was walking to school the other day to pick my daughters up when I saw some lovely pastel chalk drawings on the pavement and it took me back to when I was a kid.

So I wrote a haiku about it.

As you do.

 

Hopscotch in the rain.

 

Chalk on the pavement;

Hopscotch memories fade, in

Fine summer drizzle.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Art, Children, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, Games, Haiku, History, Ideas, Inspiration, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

Unleash your inner Tempest


Addendum.

Unfortunately, the Shakespeare exhibition and all workshops have been cancelled until further notice due to the coronavirus.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

 

Fancy contributing to an exhibition based around Shakespeare’s The Tempest?

I’m facilitating an exhibition for Arc in collaboration with Stockport Libraries as part of Shakespeare Week.

The theme for the exhibition is to bring the great bard’s classic play to life visually.

IMG_20200220_150039

Here’s one we prepared earlier…

Who can get involved?

Well, there are two groups of people that can take part – locals, and non-locals.

If you’re local to Stockport, you can come along to one of our group sessions at The Heatons and Brinnington libraries. They are on Tuesday 17th March and Friday 20th March respectively.

There are two sessions at each library. 10.30 am – 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm.

You can pop along for one, or both sessions. (There’ll be different activities in the morning and afternoon.) Stay for 10 minutes or two hours.

For non-locals who fancy having a go, simply email me a pdf of your piece (or post it if you have time) and I’ll print it out. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Vermont or Verona, just pick up your pencils and paintbrushes and wear your heart on your sleeve.

It’s quite simple really. I’m asking people to draw or paint on top of The Tempest text, as in the example above. Artwork can be A5, A4 or A3 portrait or landscape and can be in any medium.

Sometimes called Humuments or Black-out poetry. You can use the text as part of a background, or highlight certain parts of the text to make a completely different piece of prose or poetry, which doesn’t have to relate to The Tempest at all.

See examples above and below.

IMG_20200227_211458

IMG_20200223_110307

IMG_20200226_183437

IMG_20200227_121815

The exhibition opens on Saturday 28th March at the Arc Centre Gallery Cafe, Hat Works in Stockport at 11 am – 4 pm.

That doesn’t given you long if you’re not local and would like to submit a piece. We’ll be putting the exhibition together w/c 23rd March, so ideally, we would like email/postal submissions by Saturday 21st March please. I’ll be waiting with baited breath.

Email me at thereisnocavalry@icloud.com for more details or my postal address.

Good luck, the world is your oyster.

 

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Advertising, Art, Books, Children, Comedy, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Education, History, Ideas, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Inventions, Literature, love, mental health, Philosophy, Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

The era-defining legacy of Tish Murtha.


Patricia ‘Tish’ Murtha is another photographer I’ve been wanting to write a post about for quite some time. And, like my previous post about Saul Leiter’s early work in New York, Tish Murtha captured the zeitgeist of working class Northern England during the late 70s and 80s under Thatcher.

7b490caba3a350705ada2f97f9829e36

Tish Murtha 14/3/1956 – 13/3/2013. © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Unlike Leiter, Murtha’s work focuses predominantly on the socially deprived. One of the reasons I love her work so much is that I can empathise with a lot of the shots. I can see myself in them as a kid growing up in Batley in the 60s and 70s.

youth-unemployment-13-kenilworth-road

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Her images also remind me of the early social documentary work of legends like Bill Brandt and Don McCullin. The sort of work we don’t see enough of. That’s because people don’t like to look at it. Because it tells us the truth about the society in which we live.

Local Boys in Bradford 1972

Don McCullin

billbrandtlamethwalk

Bill Brandt

One of the things a great photographer does is make the viewer ask questions. Like, who are they? What are they doing now? In this case, who started the fire? Did they start it? Why are they unconcerned? What are they looking at?

Tish Murtha doesn’t just capture images of the economically deprived in our society, she captures joy and despair. Fear and determination. Hope and uncertainty. Perhaps most importantly – love and kinship.

 

864x576x2

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

 

5aff57b5892913cd92f354c9eedc2941

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

3b6d5657b52a0c00370b8692a5b29a8b

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

6a00d83451ebab69e2022ad39955fb200b

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Tish-Murtha-15-Youth-Unemployment-

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

GIA0040K_07.TIF

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

d4aae9d554902650cffe2c9bc11a3f4b4cc0a03f_1100

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

c01663b5117f6d050a9c1404a8510385

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

5246a2af6cb3d3acebac7255ca88f67d

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

59dcad797fa44cb198000014.width-1440_NamGkDKQaRTwMcgP

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

6dadfb0720ef8f6ab0c33dbd20842b4dd63cd82a_1100

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

02_elswick-kids-supermac-1978

Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, All rights reserved.

Tish Murtha would have been have been 64 next month. Sadly, she died at the tender age of 56 in 2013 of a sudden brain aneurysm.

The legacy of Tish Murtha is carried on by her daughter Ella who has kindly given me permission to publisher her mother’s work, and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

Ella posthumously published collections of her mum’s work in the books Youth Unemployment and Elswick Kids which you can find here.

You can also get exhibition prints here.

I could continue this post with Tish Murtha’s work for as many Google pages there are showing it. But that would leave you with nothing to do. To find out more about her era-defining work – and how she saved the lives of four women through organ donation – why not explore her life and work here.

Happy birthday Tish.

4 Comments

Filed under Art, Books, Children, Children's books, Children's stories, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Economy, Education, health, History, Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, love, mental health, Uncategorized, Writing

Happy [insert occaison here] Day


Introducing There Is No Cavalry greeting cards.

Something for every occasion. (Because they’re all blank inside, so you can write what the hell you like.)

IMG_20200107_112953

What’s the difference between you and Moon Pig?

Some would say, nothing physically.

Others might say that my greetings cards are that little bit more special because they are uniquely hand painted by moi.

And why are you telling me this?

Because I want to give them to you.

Well, when I say ‘give’, I mean give them to you in exchange for money.

That’s right, it’s your once-in-a-lifetime chance to own one of these rare and original works of art. (Maybe twice-in-a-lifetime if this batch sells well.)

So, what have you got?

I have A5 and A6. Which if you don’t know what size they are, A5 is half the size of A4 and A6 is half the size of A5. A3 is twice the size of A4 and A2 (which is pretty big) is twice the size of A3, but that doesn’t matter, because I don’t have any A3 or A2 cards. That would be ridiculous. (Don’t get me started on A0.)

Yeah, but what are they pictures of? They look a bit funny to me.

That’s because they’re abstract landscapes. At least, that’s what I’m calling them.

I potter about the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales quite a lot and they’re impressions of the shapes, textures, colours and light of the landscape.

Then there are also a couple of Japanese-style watercolours, like this…

IMG_20200107_113152(1)

I couldn’t possibly afford a once-in-a-lifetime, unique, hand painted card by David Milligan-Croft, could I?

Probably not.

Hold your horses. Let’s not be too darn hasty there, pardner. How much are these pesky little critters?

Since when did you become a cowboy?

Sorry. How much are they?

That’s better. £3.00 each for the A6 and £4.00 each for the A5.

That’s ludicrous! You’re practically giving away these once-in-a-lifetime, hand painted, unique cards, by soon-to-be-famous artist, David Milligan-Croft for nothing!

I know. I’ve not been well.

Where do I sign?

You don’t. You message me which one/s you want, pay into my paypal.me/dmcroft  account, and I pop them in the post to you. But I’ll need to work out postage first depending on where you live, so don’t put any money in just yet. (Unless you just want to make a huge donation.) I’ve put a postage guide at the bottom of the page, but I don’t imagine it will be more than 1 or 2 pounds.

I couldn’t possibly send this to someone else, it’s too unique!

Stick it in a frame then.

Great idea. What if I want a bigger one? I have a portrait of the ex that I quite like the frame of.

I’ll do you a bespoke one if you like. Just let me know which card you like the style of and the size. Obviously, it won’t be an exact copy, it’ll be…

Unique!

That’s right.

Just scroll down to sample my wares and if you’re interested either message me below or email me at thereisnocavalry@icloud.com for details.

Toodle-pip.

 

IMG_20200123_152610

1. Watercolour and inktense, A6.

IMG_20200123_153141

2. Watercolour, A6.

IMG_20200123_152519

3. Watercolour and inktense, A6.

IMG_20200123_152441

4. Watercolour, A6.

IMG_20200123_153114

5. Wayercolour & inktense, A6.

IMG_20200123_153047

6. Acrylic, A6.

IMG_20200123_153022

7. Acrylic, A6.

IMG_20200123_152950

8. Inktense, A6.

IMG_20200123_152629

9. Watercolour, A6.

IMG_20200123_152547

10. Watercolour & inktense, A6.

IMG_20200123_152418

11. Watercolour & inktense, A5.

IMG_20200123_152352

12. Watercolour & inktense, A5.

IMG_20200123_152306

13. Watercolour, A5.

IMG_20200123_152242

14. Watercolour, A5.

IMG_20200123_152218

15. Watercolour, A5.

This last one is slightly different as it’s an A5 black and white print, so I can do as many as you like. What shall we say for this one? [scratches head] Two quid each. They might be prints, but they’re still unique. 🙂

IMG_20200123_152120

16. Black & white print, ink on paper, A5.

postage-rates-fi-blog

In the not too distant future I’m going to be doing a series of landscape photography postcards of my meanderings around the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales.

IMG_20200113_222847_801

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Advertising, Art, Brand, community, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, Design, Ideas, Illustration, Inspiration, mental health, Nature, Uncategorized

Bonjour 2020!


I thought I’d begin 2020 as I ended 2019 – writing in French!

Why? I have no idea.

Plus, it’s a tad late for New Year salutations.

I’ve wanted to write a post about Saul Leiter for many a moon.

Why? I have no idea.

Wait, I do. Because I love his work, that’s why. And I thought it only right and proper I shared the love.

I am intrigued by his voyeuristic style. Apart from Leiter being a pioneer of early colour photography, he managed to capture slices of the Big Apple’s social and cultural life in 1940s and 50s America. I think the compositions are very cinematic and each character could inspire a short story.

He said his early influences were the Impressionists Degas, Bonnard and Vuillard. But I’d venture to chuck Toulouse-Lautrec into the pot as well.

And he wasn’t just a dab hand at photography. He was pretty good at dabbing with a paint brush too. (Quite a few of his paintings are over-painted photographs.)

I’m not going to blather on giving you his life story, you can do that here. I just want to show you some pretty pictures. So, here you go…

75bb7415c7ed50312059dab58c0e551b

9a55cd463525ecdf9a2bc093776b9211

e06b95397c980a4e305c5b8fc1d5b008

8a9b8166e187bf1975d18cb9f8fc1379

f817eb1da76d76ff5a31f85820372b49

paris_1959

351295

Screen_Shot_2019_06_18_at_2_50_56_PM_master

0a7761a1d007ada31d6ac9081c130dfa

225c987bc8f952680d9807216a78b7d2

a7812984c8028cc25d3363412dad6614

31e84d40c2931d0beeb4f049f10fb19a

1b72f6c86e115250975e2838850238d1

saul-leiter3

in-my-room-saul-leiter4

in-my-room-saul-leiter5

1_joanna

DSC01260editcrop

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Advertising, Art, Contemporary Arts, Creativity, History, Illustration, Innovation, Inspiration, Photography, Uncategorized