Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm still here........

My computer's hard drive is now sorted but the internet connection has to be set up once again. I am posting this from my daughter Ellie's computer. She lives in the Valley of Wales where I am spending Christmas this year. I will return to the Northlands of Lancaster in time for hogmanay, - New Year, - to those of you born south of Hadrian's Wall.
I hope to get back on the net sometime early in the new year.
There is a lot of back material to post both on this Blog and The Draughtsman.
Meanwhile, all the best for the season. I'll not be out of circulation much longer. (I hope!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My Computer is Ill

Got back from Cyprus and found there are major problems with my hard drive. Consequently I can't get online. So the Blog will be silent for a while. Should be up and running before Christmas. I hope.
Needless to say The Draughtsman will not be updated either for the time being.
So.. watch this space.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

...and now, the end is near........

........so goes that song sung by Shirley Bassey. "I did it my way." Only three days left of this spell in Cyprus. I am winding down the programme. A fair bit of art has been made, more postings to follow.
I started with the mediterranean frieze and after that did a few experiments with Cypriot style art. Then followed the Aphrodite series. Now full circle, I am doing what I usually do.
The above is the latest pentych, but of the Med this time. I am leaving it here along with one of the Aphrodites for the Cyprus Studios Christmas Exhibition. Not surprisingly it is called "Cyprus Pentych".
So what will I return to? A much colder Blighty, that's for sure. And, for the moment no Luneside Studios either. The developers have now moved in and we had perforce to move out with indecent haste. However it is hoped we will have new premises by the spring of next year.
But for now, I am going to spend these last few days soaking up what sunshine time is left to me. I fly home on Wednesday, alas.
Still, it was nice while it lasted.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Botticelli

The weblink I posted yesterday takes you on a convoluted journey to the images. So here is the Botticelli Birth of Aphrodite. Many of you will know this image already.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Aphrodite


Readers will have by now realised I have not kept this Blog running on a daily basis while here in Cyprus. It has been a rather busy time here one the one hand and the computer time is at something of a premium. I have to book a "slot" and quite rightly, the students here have preference.
Apart from my art projects here, there has been a number of important exhibitions and art events in Limassol which as artist in residence I am obliged to attend. Not that I'm complaining, I get wined and dined and get to see some good art. The Cyprus authorities take their visiting artists very seriously indeed.

You may have noticed a lot of Aphrodite images on the Flickr badge in the margin. This is part of a supplementary project which started as a joke but finished up something of a major project. These things happen.
It all started last year when a "biblical storm" hit Limassol and we at the studios had to do something about the drainage system. We all got soaked through almost immediately and afterwards we all sat with steaming mugs of tea/coffee in our wet tee shirts. It was here that I got the idea, why not do a painting of the birth of Aphrodite after the famous one by Botticelli but have her rising from the sea in a tee shirt. Sort of bring it up to date.

Well, I did some drawings, threw around a few ideas, did a couple of paintings and the final image is as shown here. The gossammer material idea came from work I have seen of Aphrodite/Venus by the fifteenth century German painter, Lucas Cranch the Elder.

Beach Cairn


Last year at this time I embarked on a cairn building programme on a Limassol beach. This involved several of the students in an installation project. The upshot of this has seen me building cairns on seashore locations from time to time. this particular one is on a Limassol beach.
But I didn't build it.
I don't think it was intended as a cairn as such but more likely a makeshift seat for one of the many anglers who fish on these shores with their long beach casting rods.
Functional? Yes. Aesthetically interesting? Well, I think so.
The sands of these shores are constantly shifting. I don't think this structure will be a permanent monument.

A Cypriot Mystery

Just across the road from the corner shop near the Studios in Limassol there stands an imposing looking building with this tympanum above the main entrance. From a distance it look Byzantine. Nothing strange in that. There are Byzantine designs everywhere here. But this one, as can be seen, is distinctly Celtic. There are no indications around the building to tell you what purpose it serves and all the locals can tell me is that it had been blown up during the Turkish invasion in 1974; a rather bloody period in Cyprus' recent history.
So what this beautifully restored building is, I don't know. It looks as though it has a wesh/Scottish/Irish connection. If I can find out more I'll post it here.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

From My Sketchbook

Another image from the current sketchbook. I filled the last page of that book today so I guess I can call the Mediterranean project completed. For now. I have started a new sketchbook and am putting ramdom images in it. Some from thelife as it were, others impressions of Cyprus and others as dream images with a mythological content. There are only two weeks left of this residency so whether I get this book filled before I return to the UK is questionable.
But, we'll wait and see.
These images are also in my other Blog Link

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Ikon Studio

Next door to the Limassol Studios is The Ikon Studio. An example of their work in progress is shown here. They work strictly in the Byzantine style and their principal clientelle comes from the Greek Orthodox Church. Hardly surprising in this country where this is the main religion. It is run by two artists; Yoannes and Spillios. There is no shortage of work for them. There is always a commission waiting for them at the end of each project.
They come across to our studios from time to time for a coffee and sometimes one or two of us go to their place for a metrios and a natter. Two streets away from here there is another ikon studio where you can learn about ikon painting and the Byzantine art tradition for a fee of Cy£20 an hour. At our next door neighbour's we get this for free, well, we keep them in coffee. In the course of conversation I've learnt quite a lot about ikon painting. They are only too happy to tell me about it.
They prepare their own gesso panels and now I can do it properly. I can make a pretty resonable gesso board now. They use materials from scratch. No commercially prepared stuff for them! Colour is applied directly with pure pigment and a medium made up as tempera.
The subject matter is treated somewhat differently to that of the Western Catholic Church where the stress is on how the various saints died; certainly when dealing with those that were martyred for their faith. In the Greek Orthodox tradition they are more interested in how they lived and what contribution they made.
For example, St. Paul who was executed with a sword is shown in Rennaisance art carrying a large sword. St. Catherine is identified with a wheel. But in the Orthodox tradition, St Paul carries nine rolls of parchment to indicate the nine epistles he wrote and are part of the Christian Bible.
I could go on ad nuaseam but I think you'll get the picture, (no pun intended).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Dharma in Cyprus

LinkThe Buddha is believed to have said it is better for people to come and ask for the Dharma rather than have it preached to an unwilling crowd. It seems that here at Limassol we have the beginnings of a meditation group. The students at Cyprus College of Art asked if I could do a "meditation evening" for them. We did this last week when I taught them how to meditatie in our [Soto Zen] tradition. I told them about Throssel.Afterwards we sat for a while. Now they want more. So, this Thursday we will look at the Precepts and other parts of Buddhist doctrine, i.e., the four Noble Truths and the Eightfold path. In true Cypriot fashion this has become something of an event and I have to lay on some catering! So I will prepare a buffet meal of eggs, rice and Greek salad. Lots of olive oil and lemons.
Usually, each evening, someone in this artistic community organises something. Sometimes a game of Scrabble or we watch a DVD and central to all this is the meal organised by that particular host.
The above picture is from my current sketchbook. It is a scattered group of pebbles on the beach after the tide has receded.
Tidal vatiations, by the way, in this part of the Med is about one to one and a half metres. Hardly registers compared to Morecambe Bay's 7 to 10 metres!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sideline

Alongside the main project I have made a few other pictures on A3 size paper. The size is determined by the limitations of how much I can carry on the plane home. A3 paper seems to be convenient.
The above is three differing versions of the same stretch of water-covered shingle. The work is done in coloured inks. Each frame, as can be seen is different. A variation on what I am doing anyway.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Project Completed

The main project I had embarked upon in Cyprus was to make a frieze of twelve pictures each 30 cms square thus making the entire piece 12 feet long. It shows a stretch of Mediterranean shoreline drawn from on site drawings. Hence my morning trips to the beach. The first image is a full painting in monochrome grey and progressing rightwards, each image becomes more and more a drawing until image No.6 is a line drawing in contour only. From there to number twelve it progresses to becoming a fully developed drawing not unlike a black and white photograph.
But now the project is completed and mounted in a presentation portfolio.
The above picture shows images numbered four through six.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Man Who Loves Cats

Followers of my Blog may remember me talking about the Man Who Loves Cats last year while here in Limassol. Howevr I did not photograph him but have done this time. Here he is. He has looked after the feral cats of Limassol for years. At 10-00 am every morning he arrives at the end of Limassol Old Port pier and puts food out and a bowl of water. These cats just know when he's coming. They appear from all the nooks and crannies around and follow him in a great furry mass.
Interestingly enough, there is a monastery not far from here dedicated to St. Nicholas of the Cats.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sunday Morning

This should have been yesterday's posting but the server in Cyprus failed at the crucial moment as I was uploading. So here it is a again.
Cypriots are very devout Greek Orthodox Christians. The overcrowded churches and the throng of people outside during services are testimony to that. The service is relayed to the outdoor faithful via tannoy. So I too get to share it though I cannot undestand much of it aport from when the Greek words resemble Latin, for example, "Sanktos Jesos Christos" etc.
However, while I sit on the beach doing an outdoor sketching session, (the sketchbook is filling up fast with drawings of the seashore), the surging whispering waves weave their song with the priest's chanting. Sometimes the chant is solo and at others, two or three voices, each on a different pitch. It all makes for a beatiful harmonious sound. Some of the chant tunes vaguely resemble those we use at Throssel. Not surprising as Rev. Master Jiyu set the translations of the Scriptures to varoius European chants both Catholic and Orthodox.
I would like to have photographed the crowds outside one of these churches but I felt that this would be an intrusion somehow. They are seriously getting on with their religious practice, not putting on a show for my benefit. Instead I have posted a picture of a Cypriot fishing boat hauling in its net over the front wheel on the prow. A peaceful scene I think.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Early Mornings

A grey dawn breaking. Not a typical Cypriot dawn this morning. There is a storm over in Crete and Cyprus is getting the backwash. It is still a nice warm 25 degrees or so but cool by local standards. It makes a change to see the sea looking more Cornish than Mediterranean.
This is the more usual dawn. Flat calm sea, blue skies and the promise of another hot day. As I write, the Cretan storm has moved on and the sun is back in a wall to wall blue sky.
Incidentally, the sea was warmer than a swimming bath when i was plodging as shown here.
As mentioned in previous blogs, the best time to do any drawing at the beach is early morning while the day is [relatively] cool. It is verry peacefull sitting on the shore just watching and observing the sea and drawing it. Cypriots are very religious and the main religion is Greek Orthodox. There are services held continuously throughout the early morning. The end each service and the beginning of the next is announced by the church bells.

Rhythmic beat of the waves
On the shore
The rise and fall
Like the pulse
Of time itself
*
Through the constant surge
A distant bell

Perhaps the above verse is the best way I can put it

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Norse Legend Re-visited

Each morning I walk along this particalar stretch of shore on my way to a sketching point. This beach is away from the tourist honeypots and is consequently undeveloped. Indeed it is backed by industry, a container depot, and a brewery among other things. On the way to this beach I pass through a waggon yard and past a couple of Greek orthodox shrines. Definitetly not part of the tourist zone.
There are a couple of stray dogs that quietly go about their business of scavenging. One thing that is noticeable is that one dog is both blind and has no sense of smell. The other has these faculties but is lame, it limps along as best it can. But they help each other out.
They remind me that even in this sun drenched paradise, suffering exists. These two dogs must at some time have been more able bodied but now they struggle on somehow yet seem quite undismayed.
What is just as remarkable is that when I show up they fall in behind me and walk part of the way as if they were my own pets then at some point determined by them, they go on their way and leave me to do some drawing. A strange affinity forms when we're together.
Thought and Memory. The two wolves, - sometimes ravens, - that accompanied Odin the Wanderer. Thought and memory complement each other. Thought is short and memory long.Odin was worshipped by the Norsemen (Vikings) as the Allfather. This religion died out over a thousand years ago leaving Odin to wander through the legendary "fading" until the final battle, Ragnarok. The final showdown between good and evil.
So here I am, wandering along a beach like aome latter day Odin with a somewhat enfeebled pair of dogs dubbed "Thought and Memory."
If the real Odin is still around, he must be getting on bit by now and his two wolves/ravens must be getting a bit like these two dogs.
Rather strange that my wanderings on a Mediterranean island has me thinking of a legend from a more northerly land and distant past. But there you have it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Favourite Cafe


Cafe
Originally uploaded by Wulfric.
By around 10-30 in the morning the temperature really starts to rise. To continue sitting on the beach drawing is to invite a serious dose of sunburn.
So............
What to do? I do what every sensible Cypriot does. Go find a cafe, order a Kafe Kyprianou sit back and let the world drift by. Cypriot coffee is like Greek coffee; very strong and served in a tiny cup plus a glass of water. The trick is to take a sip of coffee and follow with a sip of water. Above all, you take your time over this. That small cup of coffee can easily last an hour or so. Native Cypriots are past masters at this, they can manage huge chunks of time in this manner.
This picture is the view from my regular table at the Fani Cafe. In the opposite corner is the Old Limassol Market. A covered market where local produce can be bought at way below the tourist prices.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Limassol dawn


This sculpture, some 12 feet high, stands on the sea wall at Limassol, Cyprus. I caught this image at sunrise.
It is necessary to be up and about very early here for even in October the temperatures can soar to the thirty degree mark and more. Consequently most work gets done in the early morning.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Return to Cyprus

In a few days time, (Monday in fact,) I will be jetting off to Cyprus once again. Has it really been a year already since the last trip? Limassol Studios will once again be my home for the best part of two months. At least this time around, having been there before, I have some idea of what I intend doing there.
I may get involved with constructions with the students there, like I did last year but we'll wait and see.
I plan on doing two things: one is to make a frieze of drawings and coloured work of the sea shore. An extension of my current work. After all the Med will only be a couple of hundred metres away. It will be nice sitting on the seashore in all that sunshine just drawing/painting/watching the sea. (Well, someone's got to do it!)
The other thing I intend doing is to have a closer look at ancient Cypriot art. I didn't get to visit enough of the historic sites and museums last time. So, I'll try to rectify that. Unless the Greek laid back way of life gets to me again.

This is a corner of the Limassol Studios. Much cleaned up I might add for the degrre show held last June.My thanks to Tim Watson, a post graduate at Cyprus Art College for this picture.The Colege as whole lays strong emphasis on painting. Its teaches in a very "hands on" way which, to my mind has much to commend it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

On the Beach (3)

This triptych, made up of three canvasses, each 20 x 20cms was only completed a couple of days ago. Like the other two, - Beach#1 and Beach#2, - it is a study of the water's edge as seen when walking along the beach.
The work is painted in acrylics throughout. There is no overdrawing.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

On the Beach (2)

This is the same size and format as Beach (1) and using the same media. Different bit of beach and showing the water's edge and the way it invades the beach. Rather in the way the water's edge can interrupt a walk on the beach as the waves encroach onto your path, or if walking barefoot, invites you to paddle. It might be a tad cold by British shores but that's another matter.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A "Pentych"



This is Pentych #9.

It was some time since I last posted a pentych so some of you may well be wondering what I'm on about. The word is an invention. Just as a two panelled piece is a diptych and a three panelled one a triptych, so logically I call these five panelled works pentyches. The plan is to produce twelve of them. Six have been done as works on paper and another six are in progress as acrylic paintings on canvas boards. Each of these panels is 10 cms (4") square. This would make each work when mounted, 60 x 20cms. Ideally I would like to have made them larger, each panel say 50cms square. But this would have made them into very large works some 3 metres long by a metre high. They have to be viewed together to see the changing colour/tone in relation to each other. Five separate canvases would, unless viewed in a large room or gallery, tend to get separated and the point would become lost. As can be seen here, this particular work has the left hand panel in a blue-grey monochrome and the right hand one is in full colour while the intermediate three panels show a progression from mono chrome to full colour.

I would like to do a series of images that start as line drawings and progress through tonal drawings to monochrome paintings and full colour then progressively return to drawings. This would need many panels and probably take up all four walls of a gallery space. Are there any galleries out there who would like to give it a show?

I will be back at Limassol Studios in Cyprus from October2 through to November 22. That's seven whole weeks. I plan on having a go at making something along these lines on paper. Yes, they will need mounting behind glass but they will be easier to transport back as luggage in a plane, especially with the current security measures in force. I reckon each image will be about 18" square. I shall post them on the blog, either here or on The Draughtsman if I can get computer access. Which I should do, the studios were online last year.

On the beach (1)

On of my newer paintings in "The Sea" series, Beach#1. Each panel is 6" square and the whole thing is in a frame 25" x 20". Painted in acrylics on paper and graphite overdrawing. It is another way of showing a progression as illustrated in the "Pentych" series.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Turning of Autumn


Autumn seems to have come a little early this year as this changing bracken shows. I took this picture in mid August on Dartmoor. Perhaps the early autumn is a result of the strong heatwave we had in July speeding up the summer. Who knows?
Anyway it makes for a lovely pictue, the golding leaf against the green.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cornish Wildlife - Close Up


Herring Gulls by and large seem to ignore or keep their distance from us humans. Unless you happen to be in Cornwall. But even there they tend to keep themselves to themselves.
Until you buy a cornish pastie that is.
And if you decide to eat it al fresco, then these birds find us humans very interesting indeed. St. Ives is famous for their intimate gulls, in fact they can be quite bold . So much so that Daphne duMaurier was inspired to write a novel based on this. The novel later became a famous Hitchcock film, "The Birds" which, if you've seen it you'll know what I mean. Tintagel is no exception. The gulls are a bit less aggressive but they are persistent. The best way is simply not to feed them. Not unless you want a lot of gulls squabbling around you.
Natural born scavengers, they need no encouragement.
But this chappie pictured here, quite a poseuer, isn't s/he?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Atlantic Sunset

The sun setting into the Western Sea. Not a scene I get to witness all that often. I was inclined to think this was the first time in my life I have watched a sunset over the sea but it cannot be so. Living in Lancaster where from the Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park there is a commanding view of Morecambe Bay, I must have seen a sunset or two over the sea.
Nevertheless, it was wonderful to watch this one at Tintagel Youth hostel.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Youth Hostel in a Dramatic Setting

Perched high up on the cliffs that plunge 600 feet or so down to the sea. The tiny yellow cluster of buildings is the Youth Hostel. The vertical cliff in the background is the site of Tintagel Castle which has its connections with the Arthurian legends.
Another (closer) view of the hostel with Gull Rock some three miles or so beyond. The next landfall from here could well be Manhattan Island. On a clear day....... no you can't see it. The earth is curved and its 3000 miles away. Bit of a long swim I reckon.
It's really peaceful here. The hostel is about a mile out of Tintagel village and consequently away from the plethora of tourists that throng there. It's mainly backpackers doing the coastal route that pass this way. Mind you, there's still plenty of them. The hostel was full throughout my stint there, as was the one I did a week later on the edge of Dartmoor. Tintagel hostel is very popular. Some bookings are made as much as a year in advance. People were phoning, asking if there were beds available on the very night the called. I think the three most common words I uttered the whole time I was there was, "Sorry, we're full." Well, a full hostel kept me out of mischief I suppose.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

YHA Tintagel

I'm off south first thing tomorrow to warden the youth hostel at Tintagel for a week and another near Exeter for the second week. So postings will be conspicuous by their absence for a little while.
The weather forecast is for heavy rain, but thats nothing new for Devon and Cornwall, is it? Bit like my local Lake District I s'pose.
And the powers that be try to tell us there is a national water shortage. What water shortage?
Well yes, there is one in south east England, Kent and the London area but then again the cynic in me notices that if a thing affects London then that's the whole country; which of course it isn't.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A very High Tide



Went for a ride on my bicycle yesterday along the cycleway that goes along the River Lune estuary from Lancaster to Glasson Dock some 3 to 4 miles away. The tide was exceptionally high at 11.2 metres thats about 36 feet in English. Pretty deep. As can be seen from this picture much of the saltmarsh has flooded.

As I've mentioned in previous postings the tide moves really fast round here.As I made my way along St.Georges Quay to the studio the river was very low and high tide only a half hour away. But it reached high tide on time. From low water to 30 feet deep in half an hour. Hmmm!

Its been quite a cool August so far. 18 deg. Celsius being about average. Quite a chilly change from July when it was nearly double that.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Visiting Grandchildren

Cerian and Rhys. The two grand children from Wales. John from not so far away, Kirkham near Blackpool and Jessica from Birmingham. They are posing in the reeds at Leighton Moss.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Home Thoughts [from Home]

Pots and pans hanging from the rack in the kitchen at Thole Man's house in Lancaster. So what else has happened? Well, the Draughtsman is up and running and the feedback has been positive so far. The second wave of grandchildren have had a week with us and done much the same things as the first wave last week. They went horse riding with Brenda's friend, I took them birding at Leighton Moss, they went to the cinema and saw the latest movie "The Car" whatever that's about and in between times shattered the peace and tranquility of a staid elderly couple. (WHO!!!!????) Don't ask!
So what of these grandchildren? Well the eldest one (who didn't stay this time as he was off elsewhere) is a 17 year old who is growing up fast. His brother stayed with me and got to know something of my world for the first time. He is 8 years old and found I live in a different world to his. He lives in a town an his interests are strictly urban. He found a whole new world in my rural interests. Then there's my son's 8 year old daughter; loves ballet, fairy stories and an avid curiosity. She has a 2 year old brother who stayed at home in Birmingham. His turn will come in a couple of years or so. The Welsh contingent I have mentioned before. They were here last week. A five year old lad whose genuine delight at discovering new horizons is a pleasure to watch. His sister is 4 years old and proving something of a sibling rival. She, like her cousin is into fairy stories and her favourite colour seems to be pink.
Tomorrow their respective parents come and collect the little darlings and take them back home. Until next time.
I always look forward to their visits with trepidation but rather miss them after they've gone. Familiar story to most folks I s'pose.
On Sunday I'm off to Throssel for the Kwan-Yin (Avelokiteswara) ceremony.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A New Blogsite

I have stated a new blogsite, "The Draughtsman" in which I will feature finished drawings, sketches and some archive material from earlier sketchbooks. It will be a pure drawings gallery. It may feature other people's work from time to time which will of course be properly acknowledged where possible. I have made the first posting, a nude study.
Please take a look and feel free to comment.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Entertaining Grandkids

It has been some ten days since my last posting. Not surprising as the Welsh contingent of my family have beed here "oop north" for a la'al holiday. Brenda and I took them to the local "Pine Lake" resort at Carnforth where they were able to use the swimming pool there.
We are Sunterra members. Yes we did get taken in by the sales spiel but thankfully only short term. Our membership expires end of next year.For what you get it is not value for money. Holidays abroad can be got much cheaper alsewhere these days. Anyway, we do live close to a Sunterra site so we can enjoy tha facilities.
I also introduced grandson Rhys to the joys of birding at Leighton Moss, a nearby bird sanctuary. Now I am in no way a "twitcher". I am not into looking for only nesting site of the lesser spotted throat warbler. My birdwatching is more passive; what i see when out in the wilds. But I must admit to taking a few trips out to Leighton Moss lately. Its a nice train ride out, only £2.00 return on my pensioner's pass and, if I keep away from the RSPB giftshop a cheap day out too. It is nice just to sit and do a bit of on-site drawing and even look at a few birds too.
It is now a hiatus between the Welsh lot, (Ellie and her children) and the Brummies. That is Dan, Trudy and Jessica and Adam.
The heatwave continues in its un-British way with temperatures around 25 - 30 Celsius. I guess its going to be a train ride to the bird sanctuary again next week.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More patina.......

These two images are where patina has been applied to metal and unlike other surfaces, is a bit more controllable. This first one shows the effect of applying to aluminium foil. Plain ordinary kitchen foil glued to the paper then the drawing done in patina.

As the green patination shows here, not surprisingly, the patina has been applied to copper foil.Both make for interesting pictures and retain their metallic properties.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Morecambe Bay Sands


Such a lovely warm day. Shame to waste it indoors, so I got on my bicycle and headed to where the Lune empties into Morecambe Bay. I found a nice quiet spot on the edge of the sands at the margin of the salt marsh and did the above drawing from the life. Some stones on top of or half embedded in the sand. The "sand" is really estuary mud and very dangerous to walk on.
But it was lovely to sit there drawing and listening to the wildfowl strutting about on the water's edge. I could make out oystercatchers, dunlin, redshank and the occaisional heron and of course the ever raucus herring gulls.
After a couple of hours the birds made quite a commotion and took to the air. I looked across the sands to see a tidal bore heading my way. Time to move. I took to (marinally) higher ground to watch the tide's awe full advance. There is a power and wondrous beauty in the way the tide behaves on the Bay. Which is also deadly if you are on the sands proper at the time. That bore runs at 30 knots so I'm told. It commands respect.
The spectacle over, I cycled back upriver to the studio and stopped by for a cup of tea before goimg home.
There's a lot to be said for making art in the open air, especially when the weather is warm.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

In the Yarden

The "Yarden" is our back yard with a few potted plants going half wat to a garden. Hence the pseudo name. Recently Brenda took over the running of this. She has lots of fresh ideas about how best to do this so all I do is fetch and carry. But looking at the picture, taked yesterday it has to be admitted, she's made a crackin' job of it.
Much of the shrubbery has been in place for some time.This was my idea of then. These shrubs do flower, - in the spring, - but after that just provide a green backdrop to nothing in particular. Brenda invested in some more pots and window boxes and not a few flowering plants and now, we have instant garden. The current heatwave has helped enormously, The new plants are well establiched and as this close up shows, generated a respectable looking garden. As the summer progresses it can only improve.

Number 3

This the third image in the series. The whole thig drawn on a piece uf patinated tinfoil. The same tinfoil as is used in the kitchen for cooking with. After it was glued to the paper, patina was applied and when it had set/dried I drew the form on it and later added a layer of red patina.
Lancaster is enjoying, like the rest of the UK, something of a heatwave. Wall to wall sunshine. It does make a change to wake up to blue skies every morning.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Two Images (1 & 2)

This first one in the series is a conventional pencil drawing on paper. No patina used here. It can act as a "baseline" for the subsequent images
Here a conventional drawing using heavy soft graphite on paper has been treated with blue patina which reacted to the graphite creating a mottled effect not unlike that of watercolour applied using seawater. The results of both are unpredictable. The form can be fairly well controlled but the media, sometimes not.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

From my Sketchbook


LT Composite
Originally uploaded by Wulfric.
There is an old Larch tree, gnarled with age that caught my eye. I drew just a section of is as a detail study and back at the studio did several versions of it experimenting with some patina. Unlike pigment it is supposed to be used on metal to change its appearance. I decided to try it on vatios other materials to see what happens. Sone I have used on the paper itself and others I have applied to metal foil pasted to the paper. The results are quite unpredictable and therefore have a random factor which is almost impossible to control. It was something of an artistic journey into the unknown. The patinas themselves are based on primary colours plus green but their character can change radically depending on what surface they are applied to.
This is a composite of nine of the images. I had made eleven. I will post twelve images on the Flickr badge on the right. One of the images is computer generated to make up the numbers. See if you can guess which one.
The next twelve postings will show each one separately.
I did this work last year during the "Forest" series. It was an interesting exercise.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It is Finished - at last

This is the redecorating job I've been banging on about in previous Blogs, and at the same time kept me away from Blogging.
Its only a small room, 8' by 9' but with so many nooks and crannies, switches and fittings it has proved a rather fiddly job, and all done in the middle of a rare English heatwave. Thirty Celsius if you please, thats 90 deg in American. Probably compounded by the window facing south so the sun just streamed in unabated.
But, the job's done now. The colour scheme is my wife's choice.She'd better like it!
Now the job's completed I'll get back to making some art, and perhaps posting a bit more frequently on this site. Who knows?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pilgrimage of Returning Home

The Kwan-Yin Pagoda, Yong He Gong Temple, Beijing.

The Pilgrimage of Returning Home is a Mahayana tradition whereby a lay trainee visits each of the shrines in a given temple. These shrines are dedicated to various Bodhisattvas and deities devoted to different apects of Buddhist training, e.g. Kwan-Yin for compassion, Manjushri for wisdom, etc. Ideally, the trainee should spend some time meditating at each of these shrines in turn. This may take a day or several days, or again a series of retreats undertaken aimed at each of the various Bodhisattvas' aspects.
However, in the East this has become somewhat compressed into a round of the temple which takes about half a day offering incense at each shrine in turn. In Chinese temples the route is marked by a continuous red line painted along the walls lining the route. The pilgrimage ends at the main shrine to the Buddha. After this a token of the pilgrimage is given to the pilgrim. In my case a Dharma Wheel badge which I now wear on my wagesa (token robe).
In this sped up version I would imagine it is assumed the trainee has already taken the time to work on these aspects or at least promise to do so in the future.
At the time I felt (and still do) there is no point in travelling half way round the planet and not taking part in some temple activity. It would be like a Chinese Christian visiting Westminster Abbey and not staying for Choral Evensong.

Ah, Most Old!

It was my friend Iain's birthday yesterday. He's one year short of sixty now. Sixty is a "significant age" in Buddhist thinking. It is the threshold of the age of wisdom. But, there's no fool like and old fool, I should know.
Anyway, all this put me in mind of that time I went to China in 1997 and visited Yong He Gong temple in Beijing. I had joined with the other pilgrims an did the round, the Pilgrimage of Returning Home, in which incense offerings are made at each of the several shrines around the temple. Before leaving the temple I was invited to ring the Great Bell. This is a large cast bell struck by a horizontally suspended log. I appproached in the prescribed manner and made the necessary bows and then pulled the log back and let go. The bell made a resounding "Bonggg!" I turned to leave.
Just then an elderly looking monk ran up to me and said, "No, no. You ring bell three times". I was only 57 at the time and pointed out I was not yet sixty. The monk insisted I ring it three times. He said, "Three times, please. You have grey hair, you most old." He bowed and left.
I rang it twice more.

Strangely enough, when I did reach sixty I missed both the New Year and Wesak ceremonies that year at Throssel so never did get to make my triple ring. I had it three years early, - in China.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Mucky Job

Sandpapering all the paintwork today. Used a power sander which is one step short of being an angle grinder. It fair whipped the paint of. The top colour was a sort of pale rasberry but the underlying coat had been scarlett. I certainly generated a lot of dust. By the time I'd finished my hair and beard were a bright shade of red. Punk rocker at 66. Now thats gotta be cool, man.
It a long job, is sanding. All you can do is just set to and get on with it and keep on going until its done. It is actually a good form of working meditation; just going right on until its done. Then onto the next thing. Clearing up all the stoor (dust).
Afterwards I had a long shower. It took no less than three applications of shampoo to get all the paint dust out of my hair. And as you can see from my profile piccy I haven't got all that much hair to wash.
Needless to say, no art was made today.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Painting of Another Sort

Brenda reminded me this morning the grand kids, or a couple of them anyway will be up at the end of July, - and I did promise to get the spare room decorated in time.......
Indeed I did, so..... This morning spent clearing the room, dismantling bunk beds and so on. Once the room was cleared then to identify problems. I always find it best to work on the assumption, if anything can go wrong, it will. Better to identify the snags beforehand. A loosely mounted switch needs sorting, some cracks in the plaster etc.
I don't plan on giving a blow by blow commentary on the decorating job but if anything interesting happens I'll let you know. Needless to say I will be painting (and papering) in a somewhat different mode.
But the studio won't be totally neglected.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Tight Fit

This is "Chorale". It has featured in earlier postings. It is done in acrylic on canvas and as I said previously is all of 44 inches square and fitted into the back of the car, but only just. It was a tight fit. It has a good solid stretcher. It needs it. Just £350 plus carriage and packing (unless you come for it yourself) and its yours.

End of the Show


This picture which is A1 size, (84 x 60 cm) is called "Fade". The title referring to the way the background fades in the mists trapped by the closely grouped trees. It is primarily a pencil drawing using pencils ranging from 2B to 6B. The tree in the centre was painted in watercolour prior to overdrawing. The whole composition aims to give a variable focus in much the same way as when confronted by a concentration of trees in real life. Sometimes it is difficult to decide which one to focus on. This picture did not feature in my recent exhibitions at Kielder and Jedburgh, I could not get it framed in time. I have another exhibition coming up in Lancaster in February. Perhaps I will show it then.
Brenda and I drove up to Jedburgh and dismantled the exhibition. Cramming 21 large pictures into a Toyota Corolla is an interesting execise to say the least. One of the works, "Chorale", is 44" square, that's 110 cms in French. It fit in the car but only just and that was by arranging it diagonally with the other work wedged above and beneath! The drive up north along the A7 from Carlisle through the Southern Uplands was a joy. The further north we got the sunnier it became. Grey overcast Lancaster was left far behind.The return journey was equally as pleasant. Teviotdale is a deep valley between steep mountains. This scenery would not be out of place further north in say, Skye, or Mull or anywhere in the Western Highlands. On the way back we made a detour into the Lakes to drop off a picture that had been sold during the two exhibitions, then it was on down the M6 to Lancaster. Ten o' clock at night it was before the pictures were unloaded back at Luneside Studios. The others at the studio informed me it had rained all day in Lancaster while we were away. Truly the gods had smiled on us.
But the show is over, for now. It has been a long day. Time for bed.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

From my Sketchbook

I posted this picture on my flickr account and was surprised by the positive response it got. It was drawn at Byrness in Northumberland last year, on site or en plein aire if you like, directly into an A4 size sketchbook. I sometimes pre-prepare the paper to give something of a random element. Here I applied a watercolour wash using saline instead of water. Sometimes I use sea water; the effect is even more unpredictable. I had applied a pale yellow wash then the ultramarine rectangle and finally a bit of yellow ochre to the still wet blue in the centre.
When the paint had dried I brushed off the remaining salt though some remained embedded in the paper thus adding a textural element. Then I do the drawing. This is the result.
I remember it had been a lovely warm afternoon at the time, the sun filtering through the trees throwing variable patterns onto the forest floor. It was not meant to be a finished work, just some exploration of techniques. I need to know if sea water has any long term effects on the paper before commiting it to more serious work.
Or should I just do it anyway? Your comments please.