Digital Da Vinci — or — How to Split a Restaurant Bill for 13

My friend, Ria, was commissioned to paint a replica of Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, 3 meters (9 foot) wide.

Ria’s painting, in acrylic on sanded aluminum board, took her about a year. By comparison, Da Vinci took three years. Then again, Da Vinci’s version was slightly bigger than Ria’s – 9 meters (27 feet) wide and 5 meters (15 feet) high.

Da Vinci used faces of actual people in his painting. When the monastery prior complained that the work was taking too long Da Vinci wrote back that he was struggling to find a suitably evil face for Judas, but that he’d be happy to use the face of the prior who had complained. After that, the complaints stopped.

I saw Ria’s finished painting a few weeks ago and it was impressive from all points of view – the perspective, the detail, the accuracy of the copy, the colours. An all-round great job on a difficult commission.

If you haven’t seen Da Vinci’s painting, it’s his take on the story of Jesus with the twelve apostles having a last supper before the crucifixion. The apostles are shown in various stages of anger, suspicion and dismay.

Techy Camera Stuff, Plus “Where Can I Get My Nails Done?”

OK. For once a blog that is not about books, authors and writing. Today photography is on my mind.

(For camera buffs, enjoy the techy stuff. For non-camera buffs, skip over the techy detail, which is in  navy. For the colour-blind, apologies, you may have to read it all.)

Where Can I Get My Nails Done?

(See this in gorgeous full-size technicolor at https://gallery.staadecker.com?image=36 )

In May 2018, I drove three hours south to the shore of Lake Eerie to Continue reading “Techy Camera Stuff, Plus “Where Can I Get My Nails Done?””

Of Otters, Alcohol, Time and Tyranny

A recent reviewer said “Dropping Into Darkness” reminded them of author Terry Pratchett.

The bad news is Terry’s books aren’t for everyone. He has a readership of a mere 85 million people.  I’m a fan though, so in defence of Terry (and anyone kind enough to compare me to Terry), I’ve put together some of my favourite quotes from his books.

Otter
Do Unto Otters As You Would Have Them Do Unto You …
image courtesy of pixabay.com under CC0 license. https://pixabay.com/en/otter-animal-fur-2647702/

Continue reading “Of Otters, Alcohol, Time and Tyranny”

How To Build A Fictional Bridge

I’ve had many questions and comments about the cover illustration for my book, “Dropping Into Darkness”.

Book Cover, "Dropping Into Darkness"

The fictional bridge on the cover (can’t say more about its importance without spoiling the plot) was inspired by a real-life bridge, the Trift Bridge in the Swiss Alps. That is a giddily narrow, high, thin, spidery foot bridge. A thing of insubstantial ropes and cables and planks. 570 meters (1700 feet) long and swaying in the wind 100 meters (300 feet or 10 storeys) up in the sky over a glacial gorge.

I started with an open source digital line drawing tool called “Inkscape”.

This was my early line drawing:

I didn’t like the visual effect of the planks running left-to-right. So, my next update in Inkscape was to lay the planking lengthwise, aiming them at the Continue reading “How To Build A Fictional Bridge”

No Time Travel Needed

In February 2018 I broke (again) with the themes of the previous books and published a sci-fi novel, “Dropping Into Darkness”.

A reader said that the style reminded him of Terry Pratchett meets John Flanagan. Book Cover, "Dropping Into Darkness"I’ll take that as a huge compliment. Terry Pratchett  was the creator of the intricate and wonderful “Discworld”. John Flanagan, master of the cliffhanger, sets his two best-known YA series in a world that approximates our Viking era.

For “Dropping Into Darkness” I did not create any new worlds. It’s our own planet earth, sometime into the future, after three eco-catastrophes. It’s the story of a small band of people on a journey they’d rather not be on, and the journey isn’t going well … Continue reading “No Time Travel Needed”