All posts by davidburles

About davidburles

I am one of the author's for the website Monkey Side Bars. Monkey Side Bars is a twice-a-week drawing game where you are challenged to a piece of art on a specific theme. Husband of a lovely wife and father of three trouble making boys. A personnel and asset manager by profession including Emergency Response Coordination. Lover of art, sports and fishing in leisure time. A gamer by nature on all platforms. A little addicted to digital art. Lover of technology and really big fan of politically correct and totally legit tech hacking :-)



What you see is what you get!

What is the meaning of optical you ask? Well it’s basically vision or sight enabled by light. Light is colour.  Colour is light.  Black is the absence of colour or light.  Simple yes ?

Remember that crappy dress where everyone argued its colour and nobody wanted to be wrong? this one…


well whether you said it was blue and black, white and gold, you would have been right. There is no real wrong in the colour world.  It is most certainly in the eye of the beholder. Light certainly can play tricks with ones perception. Optical illusions can be achieved with the most subtle change in background contrast.  I often giggle when I read fellow artists complaining of colour limitations or colour matching in art apps. With the right approach, its amazing what can be achieved just using contrast techniques and visual illusions.

colour bar

The above image looks as though the horizontal bar is fading from dark grey to light grey from right to left yes?  Or is it just the fact the background is in fact fading from dark to light grey from left to right. The horizontal bar is the same shade of grey left to right.
Our minds are just easily fooled.

Pale yellow or white

Here’s another. It kind of looks like the general colour with in the borders is a faded yellow. Or is it the fact the image’s blue and yellow border has tricked our brain into believing the image is a pale yellow when it is in fact plain old white.

The word ‘optical’ can really be associated with anything to do with light and colour and general visual perception.  It’s what you see.  You can only see with the light on.  No one can see in the dark, in the black, the absence of light, the absence of colour.

I’d suggest any artist not aware of these optical illusions spend a little time to understand how to play tricks with colour.  It certainly helps if you are using apps with colour limitations.  Learn the colour wheel and work out how to blend your own colours.  Never forget the background colours and contrast. It ultimately amplifies your foreground to be visually interpreted however you want it to be.

So what kind of optical artworks can you monkeys create.  All will be employing the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.  They will all be optical unless someone paints minimalistic black canvas…  but that wouldn’t be any fun now would it?



32 Karma Poster

You’ll get what’s coming to you!
What goes around, comes around!

Golden rule in Christianity – Do on to others as you would have them do on to you!

I do believe the above statements were made thinking of the laws of causality – Karma

Karma can refer to the principle of causality where intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

The theory of Karma is a fundamental doctrine in Buddhism. This belief was prevalent in India before the advent of the Buddha. Nevertheless, it was the Buddha who explained and formulated this doctrine in the complete form in which we have it today.

I am not of any faith but, I most certainly believe in Karma. Sometimes karma isn’t as swift and punctual as we would like but eventually it does catch up with those who its chasing. It is almost as if it is the psychological equivalent to Newtons cradle. Every action has an opposite or equal reaction. You treat someone bad, expect someone to treat you bad. If you treat someone with respect, respect you will be shown.

There are many in the world Karma is still chasing but sooner or later it will catch up to them. Like Revenge being a dish best served cold, sometimes Karma likes to wait for the most appropriate time to strike.  I believe there are certain ISIS crowds Karma is searching for and its only a matter of time before it gets its chance.

Yay for Karma! Without it, I would have probably been arrested for trying to make amends when it was taking too long to catch up to those I believe needed some justice.

So, are there any Karma inspired artworks that come to mind for you monkeys? Can’t wait to find out.


25 Feverdream Poster

Ever woken up, dripping in sweet, wondering what on earth you had just been dreaming? You were probably having a fever dream. fever dream is a particularly intense or
confusing dream or nightmare brought on by a fever. 

I think the most vivid, crazy dream I’ve had was fever induced. Flu ridden at the time and quite ill. The specifics of the dream I can not recall, however it was quite ridiculous. I can remember thinking to myself, ‘what the hell was all that about?’. I guess it is kind of like a surrealistic nightmare. Hallucinations within a dream which are scary and induce fear.
Rationalisation is lost. Everything as crazy as it seems appears to be real and your mental capacity to distinguish real from unreal is lost. 

Just like having a fever during the day, no matter what state you are in,  it is hard to think straight. The brain doesn’t function well above or below 37 degrees celcius. Thus the
irrational behaviour and lack problem solving ability. Like hypothermia (low core
temperature) the ability to think clearly is not a luxury. 

Fevers make the brain go crazy and think some really weird stuff up. Fever dreaming is the next level or craziness. It could be a nightmarish Dali landscape coming to life with flying Nemos making fun of the shoes youre wearing. Stuff like that that just doesn’t make sense.

So what are going to fever dream up?. Some surrealistic nightmare,
Or maybe you want to reference one of the thousand songs titled fever dream.  I look forward to your fever dreaming.
[pencil draw of mine (no ref) finished in Pro-Create.


17 Ronin Poster

A ‘Ronin’ was a term first used in the days of the Samurai. It’s origin dates back to 1185 AD in Japan. A Ronin was a samurai who had lost their master either by means of defeat or dishonour. Basically a Ronin was a lost soldier with no purpose.  A life destined to be served with out direction or the direction is no longer clear and concise.
A rogue warrior if you will.

The Actor Kataoka Nizaemon in the role of Oboshi Yuranosuke (leader of the 47 ronin)

I think of the ‘Ronin’ as an individual. The guy or gal who sets their own path,  not the ‘conformist’ who follows someone else’s path. In samurai terms however, the Ronin meaning is a little deeper than individuals and conformists. The samurai had a long history of well educated, highly skilled warriors who answer the orders only of their master. The term Ronin back in its time of origin would have meant heart felt sorrow for the honourable soldier with out direction. A soldier who is still at war but has no battle plans or instruction from his master and commander.

These days, the term Ronin isn’t quite as significantly felt as it was hundreds of years ago.  Now a ronin may be student who has just finished schooling but hasn’t got a job to go to. It could be someone out of work and in between jobs. I could be someone who has just got out of relationship and they are looking for a fresh start. Basically someone who hasn’t got their future laid out for them clearly.

The term ‘Ronin’ was given to the Wolverine by the Silver Samurai in Marvel comics story-lines. Again, someone who has weapons and skills in war and destruction but no direction or instruction on how to use his powers.
A lethal soldier who has no master to command him.

The ‘Ronin’ personality exists in today’s society. People who crave instruction and direction. They are most unlike the warriors of old but they are lost without someone telling them what to do. They are those who you’d read about in ‘lord of the flies’.
I work with some of these people lol 😀

So who is your Ronin? A samurai who lost his master?
A warrior with out a purpose?
Or just someone lost, someone who has lost their direction or purpose?


12 Fractal Poster

A fractal is a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale. If the replication is exactly the same at every scale, it is called a self-similar pattern. An example of this is the Menger Sponge. Fractals can also be nearly the same at different levels.

MengerSponge3_400 An example of a Menger sponge.

I look at something like the Menger Sponge and think to myself ‘that’s how they came up for the idea of Hellraiser’s Lemarchand’s box’. You know that rubiks cube that sends the gamer to hell when they crack the puzzle? 🙂

Seriously though, there is significant link with the mathematics and fractal art. One of my favourite mathematical artists, M.C Escher, was a genius with combining both sides of his brain for some tricky art. It is amazing what can be made by repeating the same pattern on different scales.

I like to think of fractal art as looking at a sand dune. From a distance, all sand dunes are unique and have a different look about them. When you look up close though, our artist mother nature, has made all sand dunes out of the same stuff.  Many particles of sand if you will,  just that they’ve been constructed slightly differently but it is still the same shape, the same pattern, but the final outcome is different. This could be said for many things in nature.

So think simple with sand dune analogy or be tricky and channel some Escher patterned work. This is definitely out there for the artist’s interpretation.



The term “psychedelic” is derived from the Ancient Greek words psychē (ψυχή, “mind”) and dēloun (δηλοῦν, “to make visible, to reveal”), translating to “mind-revealing”.
A lot of people associated the term psychedelic with the sixties movements and
hallucinogenic drugs. Either way, if something is psychedelic,
it certainly stands out and it’s going to be bright and colourful.

When I think of psychedelic art, I think of artists like Francoise Nielly, Patrice Murciano and Leonid Afremov. Not necessarily psychedelic scenes, but they all have a way with bright colours. I’m not sure they are revealing windows into their artistic mind or rather they are just like using those colours. In using those colours, they’ve created their own style.

I’ve dabbled in psychedelic colours before on a few occasions. Was I on an acid trip? No, not this time lol, Never. Was it me trying to let people know what is going on in mind? Yeah, sort of. For me, it isn’t that deep. I like using a psychedelic colour range every now and again because ‘I want to and because I can lol’. Usually I make something for people who follow me. Something I necessarily wouldn’t hang in my house but other people would. People dig psychedelic images especially if the theme tickles their fancy.

Psychedlic landscape

Psychedlic nudeWhen artists take on psychedelic images with depth, they use the colour palette to depict shadow and light on a different level. The colours used can sometimes reflect the emotion the artist is portraying or they are  just setting a mood.

So what ever your psychedelic image, I’m sure it will be bright and colourful. Will it be a window to your artistic soul or an example of what you think others may like.



A celebration, party or social gathering; it all means good times are meant to be had by all. The occasion can be something as official as a Wedding or it might be a party to celebrate an anniversary of some kind, it might also just be for the sake of it. Sometimes we do not need a reason to celebrate other than feeling like it.

Why do we celebrate? Why do we enjoy social gatherings or parties? Not all of us do. I tend to avoid parties if I can but ironically I enjoy it when I go. It is kind of social avoidance to a degree. Sometimes I just like my own space lol. The crowd does certainly dictate a mood.
I know that if my wife were to host a lingerie party, I would make myself scarce to avoid crazed woman and inevitable questions “Does this make me look fat?”.
With that example, we should choose our parties wisely !

I enjoy Weddings. Everyone usually has a good time there in my experience. Everyone is happy for the couple and the celebration is more of a romantic bond instead of how many shots tequilla you can do.

Reunions are funny. I enjoy seeing how much people change and how little some others do. Usually you see the high achievers, and it’s not someone anyone predicted to be successful and then you see the opposite. People who had their ambitions mixed up with their capabilities lol. I don’t take pleasure in seeing anyone fail or fall from grace but I do have a soft spot for seeing justice in life.

Birthday parties ; Now that depends on whose birthday it is doesn’t it?. Especially as we age, some people seem to get sensitive with this celebration. Some people love to be the centre of attention. A party all for them and all about them. Then there are other birthdays where the host just wants to entertain and reminisce. Usually their guests are the same crowd they’ve known as they’ve grown up. It’s like a mini reunion for the friends I think that’s why movies like ‘American Pie’ are popular with so many. A lot of people can relate to the feel good adventures and the parties. Especially Stifflers parties. I’m sure I grew up with a guy just like that.

Anyway, party on people.



What is a Robot you might ask? Well Wikipedia says ” a robot is an automatic mechanical device often resembling a human or animal. Modern robots are usually an electro-mechanical machine guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry.”

I work with robots. They replaced people a few years ago. I guess the reason they replaced people was due to the fact they do not question, they do not sleep, they are programable and they do not get injured or have sickies. In a management position, it is quite easy to understand why robots replacing people makes sense.
It doesn’t always make sense however.

One thing humans can show that a robot cannot is simple; ‘Emotive thought’.
What I mean by this is people can make decisions  based on emotional throughts or
experiences whereas robots cannot. Humans can make more appropriate decisions using not only our senses but our memory or our history database is used everytime we have to make a judgement or decisison in life. Again, this doesn’t turn out for the best.

What robots can do that humans can’t, is make totally impartial unbiased decsisons
(Unless programmed to do otherwise). Robots do not have emotive thoughts provoking or steering their decisions. They usually base all decisions on mathematics not on whether their feelings have been hurt previously.

Someone can be robotic. They can be perceived as being programmable or easily led. Maybe in some light, a conformist. The individual in robotic world would be like the robot that blows up once in while.

Who is your favorite robot? Mine is Bender from Futurama. Although I do have a soft spot for the crazy stabbing and exploding robots in the same show lol. Cant see myself drawing a robot from work this time. They aren’t into selfies and aren’t all that photogenic :-).

So, is it a funny cartoon robot we will draw? A cybernetic organism robot? Maybe even that silly K-9 dog from Dr Who? We will have to wait and see.


BLUEDid you know that Surveys in the U.S. and Europe show that blue is the colour most commonly associated with harmony, faithfulness, confidence, distance, infinity, the imagination, cold, and sometimes with sadness. All I know is that it is between purple and green on a colour wheel.
One of the reasons that people may prefer blue as opposed to other colours,  just my theory,  Anomalous Trichromacy / colour-blindness.  Out of all the
varieties of this condition, Tritanopes type blindness  confuses light blues with greys, dark purples with black, mid-greens with blues and oranges with reds. Out of all the colour blind conditions, this is the most rare.
People suffering from protanopia are unable to perceive any ‘red’ light, those with deuteranopia are unable to perceive ‘green’ light and those with
tritanopia are unable to perceive ‘blue’ light.
Numbers of tritanopes/tritanomalous people and achromats is very small, perhaps 1 in 30-50,000 people.
Considering those statistics, it is fair to say that the majority of the population will see blue. Only a very small minority will not . The tritanope population is the exception to the rule. Thus 99% of children ask that question “Why is the sky and ocean blue ?”. Remember to tell them “White light is what we get from the sun. It’s then broken down to a six colour spectrum, blue is the only colour in the white spectrum that does not pass through the atmosphere and ocean – so its the only colour visible to colour to the naked eye”
…its just that simple… or is it 🙂
I think of blue to be used as an emotion. My colour pallet holds blue in an
emotive position especially if its an impressionistic piece. It’s a huge part in any realistic piece, especially with landscapes, blue sky’s, blue oceans etc.
So what is your blue ? Is it a visual colour? A colour to express emotion?
A colour to represent an element ?

Your call blue monkeys.


DOGGEDDogged is one of those terms I am sure we’ve all heard before. We’ve used it in sentences  and the most common meaning is stubborn determination. There are other adjective meanings to the word but, stern determination is the most common.
Why is that so?
Why is the name ‘dog’ linked to this expression. Why not catted?

The term ‘dogged’
is said to have come from the Middle English at around 1275-1325, meaning; having characteristics of a dog.
Now, depending on the context in which the word is used, the word dogged could be
interpreted both positively and negatively. The context in which the word is used is critical.

So why not Catted? I think I have the answer. To put it into perspective, lets have a good look at the animal kingdom.

Lets just have a look at the African hunting dog  Vs the Lion;

African hunting dog – Size 18 – 35 kg

Lion – Size – 250 kg

Dog = Highly successful hunters – nearly 80% of all wild dog hunts end in a kill

Lion = Not so successful – only 30% of all Lion hunts end in kills.

Here’s some interesting facts and then my shameful analysis;

* Cats are capable of about one hundred distinct vocalizations; dogs are capable of about ten…This means a dog doesn’t get distracted chewing the fat like a cat would. A dog doesn’t have the vocal side to hold a conversation thus it has the ability to focus on a situation and not be distracted trying to make noises for attention like a cat 🙂

* Hunting is not an instinctive cat behaviour. If a kitten doesn’t learn to hunt from its mother or other cats, it’s unlikely that it ever will… This basically means cats are lazy. Dog’s will work hard to get a meal. They don’t need tuition as their instinct to hunt is hereditary.

* Domestic cats sleep an average of sixteen hours per day. In the wild, big cats that expend lots of energy hunting sleep even longer. Only sloths spend more of their lives asleep… In other words; cats are lazy. Why catted does not work here; You could say “I worked like a cat last night”, a rational individual would interpret that as you had slept for 75% of your shift.

So with these facts considered, it is understandable why we decided to use ‘dogged’ to
describe stubborn determination as opposed to ‘catted’, which does have an interesting meaning in the urban dictionary.

With my biased review, you can see that I am a dog lover. ‘Dogged’ is an interesting
expression and I enjoyed researching its history.

I’m sure artists will do their ‘dogged’ best for this one.