Doodles in the margin from an artist living and working in the Scottish Borders.

Friday, 26 February 2010

That Was a Week, That Was.

Florence, Spring Evening.


As of Friday last, we were having a celebratory Chinese takeaway, just waiting for the date for exchange of contracts and it was Scottish Borders, here we come - moving in for Spring. Come Monday and our buyer pulled out - whoops! no mortage! - and we're back to square one, financially in peril and mightily enraged. Still, I'm back on an even keel now, thanks to positive thinking, taking it philosophically and prescription drugs.

I put up a couple of new paintings on my website, another pair of oils. The Florence one (oil on canvas) was another in my long list of Reasons To Hate Windows. I mean see-through-walls windows - not the creation of notoriously litigious software gnome Bill Gates, which is a fine piece of work - and Florence is full of the buggers. While Pisarro is able to suggest whole sweeping boulevards of windows with nonchalant black smudges, I can't.

I increased the amount of sunlight falling at the far right, to change the relationship of the dark and light areas and bring some light and warmth down into the darker, colder tones. It's technically an impossible angle for the light to be shining on the buildings and especially the arches, but I don't think it's immediately noticeable and it makes for a more balanced painting. It's the best of my Florence paintings so far, but I'm still such a terribly literal painter, somewhat stuck between realist accuracy and impressionist suggestion, which is what I want to work towards. Paint more. It's the only way. Still, I like how the backlit skyline turned out. Really, that's the bit I wanted to paint.

Cley-next-the-Sea is near the knee of Norfolk, stuck out into the North Sea, and when we were there it was bitterly cold, grey and blowing a gale. Proper out of season beach weather. Champion.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed, Tripod, Tripod and Tripod Again

The Heat Ray at Shepperton, ink on cartridge paper.

Partly for practice, partly for enjoyment, partly to increase the portfolio, I'm working on a series of illustrations to a book, in this case War of the Worlds. I read it for the first time recently and was knocked out by it - an extraordinary book for all sorts of reasons, not least its startlingly visual nature. This is the third in a series of six, and what's remarkable is how unlike the first tripod I drew this is. I always manage to stuff something up like that...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Seascape Escape

Over to Donegal - oil on board - 18"x 12"

An evening view from the beach at Benone, Northern Ireland. I'm hoping to produce many more seascapes in Northumberland and Scotland.


Making Trees From Charcoal

A while ago I was bought some charcoal and a huge sketch pad (A2!) to try and tempt me out of my finickity den made of microscopic pencil strokes. I have a special fondness for the trees on Cannock Chase so I did some studies of the ancient oaks and a solitary conifer there.

Charcoal is such a lovely material to draw with. It was large, expansive, messy and highly enjoyable.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

That New Parish of Yours...

And still the English conveyancing system grinds on, like Dickens' Circumlocution Office. The moon and planets wheel about their axes, deadlines creep forward like creatures from a nightmare, a letter takes a week to travel what is a half hour drive for a crow in a car, and I sit and wonder how much to charge my solicitor for emails I sent badgering the District Council, something a civilian may have thought maybe my solictor should be doing for me.

It's like being run over by a lorry, but very slowly.


I post these samples from a work in progress that I've written and am illustrating myself just to remind myself I do have plans and projects and things to do in the future and that although I can take more time and improve I can draw.

One day this will just be a memory...


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