Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Bag is Packed...

As the old song goes.........
"Oh my bag is packed / I'm ready to go...../
I'm leavin' on a jet plane.........
Well, not quite just yet. First I have a 250 mile bus ride to the airport, THEN I'll leave on said jet plane. Anyways, I set off tonight. Fly out tomorrow morning.
I'll probably update the Blog once a week. Depends on how much it costs to use internet cafes in Cyprus.
This piccy is of a single tree up in you-know-where. the original is some three feet long. I'm thinking about using it as a margin on my notepaper. Makes a change from letterheads.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Greek Doors

My eldest daughter, Cath returned from a holiday in Corfu and brought me back a calendar with pictures of Greek Doorways. They are very bright and colourful and full of character. It has given me an idea for something in Limassol if, that is, there are some old greek doors around in that part of Cyprus.But seeing I'll be staying in the old part of the town I'd be surprised if there weren't a few old doors, archways, alleys etc.
I haven't scanned in any of the pictures from the calendar, I don't want to fall foul of copyright laws whether they be UK or Greek. So it might be worth a peek at their website.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Countdown to Cyprus

It was planned way back last April. I would spend a month making art at Limassol Studios in Cyprus. Now departure day is just over a week away. The flight is booked as is the bus to the airport. Taxi organised for the other end.
The plan is to go by National Express to Heathrow. That bus arrives there at 5-00am. I'll be in good time for check in! Fly out at 10-00 am and land in Larnaca around 4-00 pm, Cyprus time. They are two hours ahead of British time which will have reverted to GMT by then. Then the taxi for the fifty or so miles trip to Limassol.
I don't think a two hour change in time zone is likely to bring on jet lag, but length of time spent traveling may well result in similar symptoms.
As I look out of the window at the grey November sky, a sky that can't quite make up its mind whether to rain or not, and think about where I'm going, I think the trip will be worth it.
According to the weather forecast for Cyprus it is 25ºC and sunny. The evening temperature is 17ºC.
I'll be making some art. Its a hard life but SOMEONE'S got to do it!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Co-op at Halton Lea Gate

The HLG store has had something of a reprieve. I read in the Hexham Courant that negotiations between the good people of The Gate and the management ot Penrith resulted in the store getting a further six months to prove itself. It is now up to the locals to follow the old mantra, "Use it or lose it."
We'll know the outcome by next March.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Autumn Afternoon

I did take some photos at Byrness as well as doing on-site drawings. A shaft of sunlight filtering through the tall trees picked out a small patch of the forest floor in an almost flourescent green.
The picture is in B&W. I prefer to use a monochrome format. But then I do tend to draw in monochrome.
For some strange reason my profile photo doesn't show up. I've checked it on Flickr, the host site and it still seems to be valid.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


From time to time we see the reason for the forest's existence. Growing timber either for the paper industry where the felled trees are ground into wood pulp or sent to the sawmills to become cut and dressed wood for joinery and carpentry.
This particular stack, which I drew "from the life" has stood for about a year so is clearly intended as timber. It will be well seasoned by now. If you look closely you will see the bark has begun to peel away of its own volition.
The felled area has now been replanted. There is a policy of for every tree felled, two are planted to replace it. Sustainable foresry practice.
In some areas the newly planted trees have plastic sleeving to protect them. these are broadleaf trees. FE has embarked on a programme of re-introducing native species as well as commercial conifer. The days of dense blankets of sitka are coming to an end. But the FE still intend to have sitka make up 60% of its tree cover. Visit their site for more information.
This image is taken from my sketchbook and is about 21 cm square. Pencil drawing with some watercolour.

NT 767072

That number is the grid ref for this little scene in Redesdale. It is an area of the forest made up primarily of larches. But the area in the foreground has been left to grow wild and not only is there new growth of the curvacious larch but a few stray spruces as well, both Norways and Sitkas. There's a lot of bracken around which is treacherous to walk through as it covers deep water filled holes and some serious bogs.
Not far from this spot there is a clearing with a perfect circle of larch trees around it. The ground within this circle is flat and bright green. It looks inviting until more closely examined. It isn't grass that covers this lush zone but a thin layer of sphagnum moss that hides a watery bog or mire. I poked this with my walking pole and a jet of water spurted out. You don't walk on this stuff. Beautiful but deadly.
There was evidence of trees having fallen into this space but have disappeared under the moss.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Quite a mouthful but that is the name of it, just on the Otterbern side of Byrness looking down the Redesdale Valley towards where the River Rede enpties into the Tyne near Bellingham.The length of its name reminds me of another long named place in North Wales,
Llanfairpwylltansiliogogeryddllanberysansiliogogogoch. That's if I've spelled it right or got all the syllables in. It means , "The little house beside the church upon the hill," or so I've been told.
Cottonshopeburnfoot is simply the foot of the Cottonshope Burn where it joins the River Rede.
Whatever. Its a nice peaceful place to be.
As may be gathered by the fact pictures are posted, I am back in Lancaster. For now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Changing Seasons

The trees are turning golden very quickly now. A skein of some forty or so geese flew from due north and went right over the hostel on their southern trajectory. Those vee formations are a wonder to behold. As they fly on there is a constant shifting of position so that the goose at the apex of the vee only holds its position for a short time. The due south flight line would put them on target for either Morecambe Bay, the Dee or the Severn estuaries. They were too far east for the Solway. If they came in a straight line I guess they came from Svalbard, Spitzbergen in the Arctic North. Its wonderful when you think about it, how they can fly all that way.
Whilst in the forest a red squirrel put in an appearance high up in a larch tree. Later on I saw a buzzard drifting lazily in the sky.
I haven't seen any deer this time round but their spoors are plentiful. Judging by the small size of the prints I reckon they are Roe Deer. They are around. As I sit drawing in the forest I can hear their characteristic asthmatic sounding cough. I did hear a bellow the other day. It could only be a stag, (you don't get cattle in dense forest), the rut starts any time now.