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.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Well Camouflaged Deer

On my walks through the forest I come across deer from time to time. More often though, by the time I have my camera brought into play they've up and gone. As a Buddhist scripture says, " .......even the slightest twitch will surely break the rhythm." Certainly the slightest move will have a deer making a run for it. This mistrust of man is necessary for survival. But these new digital cameras are wonderful. Without too much movement and provided I don't spend too much time fiddling about the quick shot is possible. This photo is not as sharp as I would have liked but like I've just said this is no time to mess about.
It is a roe deer this one and even among all that greenery she's well camouflaged. I was wearing green at the time so she was unaware of me,- until I moved.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

End of an Era

Byrness Youth Hostel closes at the end of September, alas. But........

There are one or two interested parties who have looked at the property with a view to it being a hostel of some sort. Whether this is a pony trekking consortium or a backpackers group remains to be seen. But from what I can gather, The Northumberland County Council say it has cannot be converted to dwelling houses for another two years. So there is a tenuous hope it might continue in some form or other. The only certain thing is, it is one of 32 hostels the YHA are closing as a money saving exercise.

The end of an era both in the YHA's history and in my part as a YHA volunteer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Well, I'm back! (For now.......)

been up in the far north of England and, as this poster says, into scotland as well. The exhibition at Kielder went well and the same seems to be the case at Jedburgh. The original Kielder exhibition was expanded from 17 works to 22 to fit in the larger gallery. The exhibition continues until this week end, the 25th June. I will be back up there on the Monday to take it down.

In the meantime I was wardening at the Youth Hostel in Byrness in Northumberland. I is set in the midst of this forest. The YHA is closing this hostel at the end of the 2006 season in October. It is one of 32 hostels that are being closed as a cost cutting exercise. Such are the times we live in.

Here is a view of the gallery in Jedburgh.