Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hope -- ink sketch

Hope, ink sketch on paper, 2008, 5.5" x 4.25" approx.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This Is The Way The World Ends...

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays & a Wonderful New Year...don't forget to look after the planet.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Armageddon sketch

Looking back over the year's work, it strikes me that while I've been quite prolific, most of the works have been on a small, somewhat intimate scale. The epic has been lacking. So, with that in mind, here's a preliminary sketch for "Armageddon" should be interesting to see how this develops. Stay tuned.

Fine-line marker on granite printer paper, 2008, 11" x 8.5". Please click on it for a larger view. It ties up a lot of past influences & ideas & shows the way forward. It's the end of the world as we know it...

Menowar again

This is just to announce that the painting "Men O' War" (or even "Menowar")-- also just published in Sow's Ear Poetry Review -- has been accepted for the Limner Gallery "Emerging Artists" show in March (from the 7th to the 28th) 2009. Below is the piece:

Menowar, 2007, acrylic on plywood, 18" x 30".

I'd also like to mention that there is another painting of this subject, begun before but finished after the one above -- I didn't like the original version, but later returned & "fixed it":

Menowar Variant B, 2007, acrylic on plywood, 18" x 30".

The painting was done for possible inclusion in the Museum on the Seam's traveling "Coexistence" project. It is unclear whether the piece (in digitally altered form, printed on a large banner) has been or will be exhibited on the continuing world tour of that show. Here is the piece as I altered it in Photoshop:

Noexistence, digitally altered painting, 2007.

Around the same time as the painted versions, to help with visualizing the piece, I did a small pen & ink sketch:

Menowar working sketch, 2007, 6" x 10" approx.

Backtracking further, I did a painting in 2004 called "Man O' War", which was the basis for the double version:

Man O' War, 2004, acrylic on plywood, 24" x 19.75".

The 2004 painting was in turn based upon a 2003 brush & ink drawing, which was created at around the same time & in the same spirit as the War Room pieces:

Man O' War, 2003, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11". Private collection, upstate NY. Also published in Direct Art magazine volume 11, Spring-Summer 2005

It's always interesting (to me, at least) to see how a particular image evolves & takes on a life of its own. I don't usually do multiple versions of a piece. I sometimes do, as in this case, or in a few other thematic examples you might be able to notice in my work.

At this point I have no further plans to do other versions of "Man/Men O' War". But, you never know.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sketch of a Man's Head

New small brush & ink drawing of a man's head, partly inspired by a news story about previously unknown Leonardo sketches being found on the back of one of his paintings.

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 9" x 7".

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Menowar" in Sow's Ear Poetry Review

Just a note to mention that my painting "Menowar", done in 2007 & intended for the Museum on the Seam's Coexistence exhibit, has just been published in Sow's Ear Poetry Review, alongside the poem, "Moving Out: Saudi Arabia, 1992" by Eric Paul Shaffer. It's printed in b/w (though the painting is in color), as it's a b/w magazine. Here is a scan of the image:

I didn't include the poem itself for copyright kind of reasons.

The Sow's Ear is a fine publication originating in Winchester, Virginia, I believe. Thanks to editor Kristin Zimet for getting in touch. Here is their web site:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ImageLoop Slideshow

I can rarely resist a new gimmick...
Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Total Collapse drawing

Here is another new brush & ink drawing, dedicated to the Bush administration & the current stock market/financial world situation:

Total Collapse, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11". Hmmm...maybe unrestricted capitalism isn't always a good idea...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Graveyard of the Colossi

New drawing, that was not actually intended to be a comment on the current financial crisis in the USA & abroad, but it might as well be.

Graveyard of the Colossi, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11".

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Grotesque Head 2 (Screaming)

Another new smallish drawing in a more expressionistic/grotesque vein, like the one below. Same dimensions: 11" x 8" approx.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Grotesque Head (sketch)

This is just a fairly quick ink & brush drawing of a head. I've been looking at quite a lot of Alfred Kubin & Odilon Redon lately -- can you tell?

Grotesque Head, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 11" x 8".

"Love, War, Fire, Wind: Looking Out from North America's Skull" due soon

"Love, War, Fire, Wind: Looking Out from North America's Skull", the book collaboration with Eliot Katz (poetry) & myself (cover painting/design & interior ink drawings) is just about ready. It should have a January 2009 release. The back cover blurbs are in from Allen Ginsberg (RIP), Adrienne Rich, Howard Zinn, Alicia Ostriker, Jim Cohn, William Heyer & (last but definitely not least) Tim Slowinski. The book has about 180 pages, of which around 55 or so are my drawings. Here's the front cover again:

And here is the back cover with the blurbs:

Click for readable version. As you can see, the only thing missing now is the ISBN...more details to follow.

Monday, December 01, 2008

In the Vortex (color study)

In the Vortex, 2008, acrylic on board, 16" x 12".

Above is the color study for a painted version of the Vortex image from the Timeless series (below & link). It was painted under bad lighting conditions (gloomy outside, electric lights casting shadows inside), so it's surprising that it came out reasonably well. I was originally intending to do a more detailed treatment, but it became apparent that the painting would have to be on a larger scale. Stay tuned, as they say...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Ruined Architects of the Ruins

New ink drawing -- partly inspired by the "Ruined Citadel" drawing in the Timeless series:

The Ruined Architects of the Ruins, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11". Click on image for larger version.

Could be the start of a new series, or merely a standalone piece.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sketch of a Head

New small drawing:

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 11" x 8.5" approx.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"New American Gothic" in Roll Magazine

Just as a break from the usual relentless artistic probing of the meaning of life, the universe & anything else, this is a post to mention that the portrait that Nadine Robbins did of Diana (wife, muse, goddess, poet, life partner) & myself is featured this month in Roll Magazine (creative living in the Hudson Valley), on the last page before the back cover, where they have the monthly "roll portrait":

click on image for much larger view

I still look rather surprised & Diana looks a little melancholy, so it's a slightly offbeat take on us, probably. Nadine's portrait web site is here, btw, and her portrait blog is here. Here are her actual URLs for you:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

About the Timeless Drawings

This is just a note to try & explain a little the series of drawings featured below. The series was done over a period of less than a week, & I deliberately didn't really edit the series -- this is the way & the sequence it came out. It is a sort of rumination on my life so far (I just turned 50 on November 11), so it contains at least in passing some of the major themes of my work, as far as my mission statement goes, which usually says something like "Ayton's work deals with socio-political issues, mythology & the human condition", which already pretty much covers a lot...

So, there are references to the War Room & related anti-war works, Human Rights & the UDHR are probably alluded to, as well as my many other influences (surrealism, expressionism, symbolism, the entire history of art as we know it -- ha ha), and specific artists (Kubin, Rops, Redon, etc.) & also literary figures (Rilke & Kafka come to mind), so the allusions are pretty densely layered, I hope.

My current thinking is that it should be seen in the sequence it was done in, rather than the reverse series (newest first) I put up a page on my web site here, where you can see somewhat smaller versions, but get a sense of the progression, which I think is there, though not specifically planned. While not a narrative exactly (though maybe it is), there is a continuity & resolution of some kind, an evolution maybe.

At the present time, I'm not sure if this is a major work, or just a minor distraction. Time will tell, I suppose. I should also note that this series kind of mirrors an older series of drawings called "In Humanity", which can be seen here. I'm thinking of publishing this series (Timeless, that is) in the Narcissus Press literary review, "Narcissus". I am the art editor, after all...I will post details of that as & when they become available.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Coming Race

The final drawing in the "Timeless" series:

The Coming Race, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11".

The title, The Coming Race, is a reference to the novel, "Vril: The Power of the Coming Race" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, first published in 1871. I have not read this novel. The title, "Timeless Drawings" is a vague nod in the direction of The Endless, as featured in the Sandman comics, written by Neil Gaiman & produced by DC, as introduced to me by my friend Alisa. Neither of these references has much bearing on the content of the drawings, as far as I can see.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Timeless One

New drawing for the series:

The Timeless One, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11".

The Vortex

Life is a vortex, if you ask drawing in the "Timeless" (it has a name now) series:

The Vortex, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11".

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Domain of Thanatos

Another new ink drawing in the new series:

The Domain of Thanatos, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11".

They All Seek Redemption

Another new ink drawing for the new series (which doesn't have a name yet):

They All Seek Redemption, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11".

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Last Sleeper

Another new ink drawing:

The Last Sleeper, 2008, brush & ink on paper, 14" x 11".

New Ink Drawings

Continuing the series:

Warrior with Winged Helmet.

Ruined Citadel.

Gateway to the Future.

All drawings are brush & ink on paper, 2008, 14" x 11".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ruins of a Lost Civilization

From the new series:

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 14" x 11".

I seem to be dwelling on systemic collapse, entropy, destruction, etc. Something like that.

Shattered Colossus Surrounded by Mountains

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 14" x 11".

Another new drawing -- part of a possible series.

Broken Man Walking

New ink drawing:

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 14" x 11".

It had been a while since I'd done an "intricate" figure drawing like this. Might do some more...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sketch of a Head with Dark Eyes

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 11" x 8.5" approx. Sometimes less is more, I guess.

The Head That Wanted to be NeoClassical

New ink drawing:

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 11" x 8.5" approx. Funny how these things take on a life of their own sometimes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

UDHR Powerpoint Slideshow

Above: slide of UDHR Article 1 -- painting & text.

Just a note to point out that the Ayton UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) paintings (done in 1991 & exhibited extensively in reality & also on the Internet) are now available in Powerpoint slideshow format. Each image stays up for 20 seconds & then goes on to the next. The text of each Article is alongside each image, as you can probably see from the screenshot above (the Preamble is not included, though it could be added in).

This slideshow was publicly previewed recently -- at a reception at the BSR (Business for Social Responsibility) Conference in New York City on Nov 5th 2008. Apparently, around 1200 people from 50 countries were present.

The UDHR slideshow is available for not-for-profit & also for-profit events etc., at a very reasonable cost (calculated on a case-by-case basis). Please let us know if you are interested in utilizing this cultural/educational piece.

For more info, please go to, or email us at "info at" -- actual email address link not included to avoid spam harvesting.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Head of a Young Man

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 11" x 8.5" approx.

I guess the point of drawings like this one above & the one below, is to keep my muscles (hand muscles & brain/drawing muscles) limber. I find that if I go too long without this kind of exercise, it's harder to get back into the rhythm of creating also strikes me that I could do this almost endlessly--spend every day creating heads without repeating myself too excessively. However, that's probably a delusion...

Boy's Head

Brush & ink on paper, 2008, 11" x 8.5" approx.


Harvest, 2008, acrylic on board, 16" x 12".

This is a new painting I did a short while ago. I've been trying to get a decent photo of it, but due to lighting conditions or the reflectivity of the paint, I've been disappointed with the results...the above seems to be about as good as I can get with my current access to the appropriate technology. If I can get a better shot, I'll replace it with that.

In any case, I guess this is a seasonal piece.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

No Sense of Tomorrow

A new small painting:

Acrylic on board, 2008, 10" x 8". Just a small, poetic sort of image. No real definite reason for painting it...

Friday, November 07, 2008

My UFO painting

UFO, 2008, acrylic on board, 8" x 10".

Above is my recreation of something I saw in the sky in the early 70s. It's not really meant to be an accurate representation in a scientific sense, as it was a long time ago & I can't really remember the time of year or exact atmospheric conditions, etc. Also, apart from the details visible in this image, there were really no other details visible on the object (no windows, no flashing lights), whatever it was.

I was sitting in my seat on the school bus in north Yorkshire on my way to school in the morning. I looked out of the window & there it was, kind of hovering there with a twisted "vapor trail" kind of thing. My immediate sense, based on nothing beyond simple observation of the phenomenon, was "it's hurt". I kind of felt that this thing I was seeing was a living being rather than a craft of some sort. That was my reaction.

I didn't alert the other kids to this. I was a shy kid myself, & for better or worse, I didn't think the others would be "ready" to see it, whatever that meant. As far as I know, no-one else noticed it.

I don't know how far away it was or how large it was. Quite large, maybe. Definitely not huge.

It was not moving as far as I could tell, just there in the sky in a stationary position. A few minutes (5 or 10) later, as the bus had moved on, I saw it (or another, similar one) much further away in the sky, a whitish dot.

I have no real idea what this thing was, other than maybe some kind of living thing. I don't think it was an extraterrestrial or interdimensional or time-traveling craft. I shall probably never know.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ziggurat drawing 2006

Ziggurat, 2006, ink on paper, 11" x 8.5" approx. Click for a slightly better view.

I just found the above drawing whilst going through older works (a couple of years old, anyway) in my studio. I thought it had interesting abstract & architectonic qualities, so I've scanned it in. Not my usual drawing subject matter.

The Nuclear Family

Like the title says...

The Nuclear Family, 2008, acrylic on board, 16" x 12".


A new painting -- might be a study for a future piece:

Plague-Colossus, 2008, acrylic on board, 16" x 12". Not a great photo -- will try & take a better one...(new version uploaded). I might do some more work on this one. Still thinking about it. This work was partially inspired by "Satan Sowing Seeds" by Felicien Rops.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Futurist

Nothing at all to do with Boccioni et image of where the Internet & technology may be taking us...

The Futurist, 2008, acrylic on board, 14" x 11".


A new, small painting of the end of civilization as we know it (a theme of mine):

Twilight, 2008, acrylic on board, 12" x 9". Partly inspired by a recent trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to see the Morandi show--it's almost a still life.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Burden of the World -- 2 versions

Burden of the World I, 2008, acrylic on board, 14" x 11".

Burden of the World II, 2008, acrylic on board, 14" x 11".

Here are 2 new small paintings based on the ink drawing, "The Loneliest One" (see below). There are 2 distinct treatments -- the first version was more expressionist & painterly, the second more "objective", if you will. Strangely, the emotional impact seems to me to be more or less equal, though different somehow...