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.