Artwork by Millie Potton

Mad Hatter

MH – Mad Hatter is one of my pseudonyms on this site. It obviously derives from Alice in Wonderland. It was prompted by the Red Queen or RR, my protagonist co-editor. I thought of Mad Hatter simply as someone who has unusual ideas and maybe is a bit whimsical. The painting, however, expresses well the mad element. The strong brushstrokes, representing the face and the flying hair are clearly over the top. It is a very strong and striking painting. The eyes and teeth make it rivetting. I am a bit more wary of the use of my MH pseudonym these days. I still use it; but I check whether I am not becoming too much like the painting. Not to be encouraged.

Sideways Skulls


Skulls are, of course, not everyone’s cup-of-tea, so to speak. I quite like them, however. They seem so suitable for supporting a face. They also seem very open to interpretation. They remind us of death, although maybe not our own. These three skulls look very comfy, one against the other. I wonder what they are thinking…..Rest In Peace? Peace in Rest? Hard to tell. Not sure why they are ‘sideways’ skulls – more like full frontal, although the three look a bit semi-circular.



Never heard of this, so I looked it up – Hymenoptera is a large order of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants. Over 150,000 living species of Hymenoptera have been described, in addition to over 2,000 extinct ones. Many of the species are parasitic.

The scale here makes the insect look enormous and powerful. The representation is real – that is, very realistic-looking. Almost touchable, in fact. Also, almost transparent. Very engaging either way. Would not like to meet one my size, that’s for sure.



I had a problem coming to terms with this painting.

First, it’s rather sombre, so I was not sure where to put my attention. In the end, I settled for the whole, rather than the parts.

Second, I got the flowers and then the skulls; but was not clear about the relations between them.

Third, I got the 2 skulls and the 2 flowers, plus a sort of flower skull…the big one.

Bit by bit, I worked out that the 2 flowers are comparable to the 2 skulls. Also, that the big skull is much like a big flower.

Finally, I came round to the following:

  1. The flowers represent life, in some sense.
  2. The skulls represent death in some sense.
  3. The big skull represents a bit of both, in some sense.

The sombre colouring floats between the 2 worlds, partaking of both.

That just leaves the candle (in the right upper corner)……..with a flower (which is a light?). Maybe this is a candle/flower like the big skull is a skull flower…..

I have become quite engaged with the painting, although I am still not sure, which end is up, so to speak…

Finally, biorhythm, what’s with that? Life and death entwined? But why rhythm then? And why don’t the skulls and flowers interact more?

Maybe Mille can help on all this?

Here she is………


And I would like to comment on “ Biorythm” as it is the piece I’m most proud of as it got me an A* in my GCSE. It was Inspired by the artist Paul Cezzane and Vincent Van Gogh (in particular their still life work) and the way they use harsh, textural and empathic brushstrokes which create individuality in each painting. I titled it  “Biorythm“ meaning a reoccurring life cycle as this piece is somewhat grotesque yet pretty. I wanted to represent two state:

1. the beauty of life (shown through the sunflowers) and

2. the horror of death (the scary skulls) and how we are all part of this cyclical process of living and dying and even through death new life can spawn leaving the mighty force of nature to proceed it’s course and rebirth. 


I engaged with the fish painting immediately. The assertive strokes of the earlier MH painting, coupled with my former life as an ‘angler’ aka as a ‘fisherman’. I taught my children to fish both in fresh water and in the sea (we always put them back…..). My son is a committed carp fisherman and is teaching his children too…..This fish is as lively as the Hymenoptera is resting. One can imagine the scales glinting in the sun……The structure of the painting, however, is unusual. The centre of gravity is very low. The fish outstructures the swirling tails. Is this intentional? If so, why? Not clear to me. Maybe it raises the perspective……. not too sure.


For the fish i was inspired after going to Kyoto  Gardens (a small Japanese garden next to Holland Park) and being immersed in a somewhat tranquil and almost spiritual oasis of the garden, there was a pretty little fountain full of Koi fish within the garden which I sat next to for hours admiring. This got me looking into Japanese art/ paintings the of the koi fish and thinking about these stunning fish. Apart from their obvious beauty that makes these fish so superficially pleasing to people I wanted to grasp in particular what is so special about them and why they are so sacred in Japanese and Chinese culture. I found out that in general these creatures are associated with luck and good fortune and that the different colours of their scales in fact hold different meanings. I used the colours blue, red and gold accordingly so…Blue – If you saw a blue Koi meaning peace, serenity, and calmness would supposedly enter you life.Red – a symbol of intense love, motherhood, power, strength, or bravery. Gold –  koi symbolise prosperity and wellbeing in business.(All the colours I used) 

Human Anatomy


This put the fear of God in me and I am an atheist. It’s just the thought that all that gubbins goes to make up ME and I have no idea how it all hangs together, never mind works. Of course, I get on with bits at a time. For example, I am typing at this very moment and so manage to make out in practice. Again, it’s so assertive, even without the brushstrokes of the Mad Hatter and the fish. Still, after all, everything seems to be in place, so we should be self-assured. It could be an exercise, of course……..but it still conveys meaning. I rest astounded and will reflect some more. Perhaps MP can help?


 For the anatomy biro sketch there’s not much to say other than it being my interpretation or take on Leonardo De Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man” combined with aspects of the Hindu Goddess Durga (of war, Strength,Protection).


Interesting. How does it compare?