Monday, February 27, 2006

Circle - Amphitheatre

Here's something to be going on with while I wait for my photos to be processed. This is straight from my sketchbook. I was at Cala d' Or on the east side of Majorca, some 40 miles from Palma. The coast consists of several small sandy beaches and lots of limestine cliff that plunges straight into the sea. the top of the cliff is made up of limestone pavement, not unlike that seen in the Yorkshire dales. But here, wind and sea have weathered the rock into circular womb like shapes. Whare on a beach one can expect to see pebbles worn into rounded ovoid shapes, here the rock is shaped into negative pebble shapes. Its as if they were moulds for pebbles. Rock pools have been carved to form circular shapes not unlike amphitheatres. The pointed tips of the rocks are bleached. Close examination reveals filligree shaping. This is reminiscient of the detailing on Gaudi's Familia in Barcelona. Indeed much of the natural landscape reminded me of the work of the Catalan artists. Hardly surprising really. At least now I could see where they were coming from. Picasso, Gris, Gaudi, Tapies and even Goya.

To Spain, or There and Back Again. (With apologies to J.R.R. Tolkein)

Got back from Spain in the early hours of Sunday morning. Now it is Monday evening and I still feel tired. It can't be jet lag; there's only an hour's difference. No, its what I call "airport lag". Those who fly will know what I mean. Two hours before the flight you check in. After which you wait...... and in the case of my return flight it was a long one. The departure delayed a further two hours to rectify a minor technical problem. Seemingly the pressurisation system wasn't working properly. I guess it had to be put right. I still remember the Helios crash just before my flight to Cyprus. It was the result of cvabin pressure failure. But we got away without further incident. Then the long bus ride home from Birmingham. The trouble with buses is they call at several places en route, makes for a longish trip. But its cheap so can't have it all ways can we?
My daughter Ellie came with us to Spain along with two of my grand-children aged four and five. \their excitement at having a ride in an aeroplane need only be imagined. The high speed rush down the runway, the climb throught the clouds, looking down on fields, the sea and later, the Pyrenees. I must admit to a childish enjoyment of flying too. I prefer a window seat and I enjoy the excitement off take off. Probably the adrenaline.
If truth be known I'm probably a bit of a Peter Pan. Never really grew up.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Week in Spain

This blog will probably fall silent for a week or so while I'm in Spain. I've got the chance of a week's holiday so I'm going for it. Away from this cold wet February. I will be back on Feb 27.

Buddhist Link

It is Rev. Mugo, based at her monastery in Canada that I have to thank for highlighting this site specifically made for Buddhists.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


It is full moon. The height of a spring tide when the tide comes in at its highest and goes out to its lowest. The Lune estuary is no exception in this. After heavy rain the swollen river combined with the high tide can raise water levels well above the predicted height indicated on the coastguard's tide tables. The banks of the river is skirted by salt marsh which becomes inundated at this time. It is amzing how plant life can adapt to these saline conditions.
During the half moon periods we have neap tides where the water doesn't rise so high nor recede so far.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Sitkas are not Barren

Bill Oddie, a comedian turned naturalist did a feature on BBC TV last Tuesday evening featuring the wildlife in the Kielder area. He made the point of it being a very large man made forest made up primarily of conifers, especially Sitkas. his programme illustrated the huge variety of wildlife that is supported by this so-called barren forest. This large coniferous forest is the last real stronghold of the red squirrel in Britain. The grey American immigrant doesn't do at all well here. Which is rather interests as large swathes of the North American continent has natural coniferous forest. I wonder how the grey squirrel fares there. If there are any Americans/Canadians out there reading this I'd love to see your comments. Are there red sqirrels in North America I wonder?

Saturday, February 04, 2006


All things are constantly changing; the seasons come and go, today cloudy tomorrow sunny, the tide rises, the tide falls. One only has to be out drawing en plein air to see the light as it hits the landscape is constantly changing. Probably nowhere more than the sea. Waves rise and fall as does the tide and the light constantly changes. On the Cornish coast, shown here the light changes are starkly obvious. The tempestuous Atlantic manifests it well. But even in the milder Mediteranean the light is never constant.
I have done a series of works exploring this concept of continuous change, sometimes using the forest scenario and sometimes the sea. Usually I start with a full painting and each picture prorgresses/regresses to a drawing, from tonal to pure line.