Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's those pesky crows again

Beach Huts and Crows, Winter

Did this mixed media piece today: acrylic, pencil, collage and ink.
Memories of the crows on the beach in winter.
Early morning. Scavenging for anything edible they can find from the day before. Then squabbling.

Here they are just marching along past the beach huts, having a decko.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sheep and Magpies

Just finished this

It's what you might call a spin-off from my Sussex picture. I foresee a field project coming up.
Of which more later but this has been a bad, bad morning. Our aged dog died.
Then I accidentally deleted about 350 photos from my camera.

Dark day so I will shutup now, keep my head down and hope to duck the third whammy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

A lovely surprise ...

... in my mailbox this morning.

This is the colourific invitation to this year's ABNA (Association of British Naive Artists) show which is taking place in November (6-19) in St Ives, Cornwall, a county which must rank as the spiritual home of the genre. And I was lucky enough to have my sheepish Castleton painting included on it (top left corner).

Thankfully I have received word that that big naive parcel of mine arrived in a record time of five days. I guarantee it will take about 5 days to hack through the sticky tape and bubble wrap to get to the paintings inside.
Sorry Judy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Angels round my Sussex church

This is a painting which gave me a lot of angst as far as the colours and overall composition were concerned and which was finished in fits and starts.

It essentially follows my original idea, so lord knows why its execution was such a trial. Funny how some pictures just come tripping off the paintbrush, as it were, and others are a struggle. I think a lot of the trouble was that I stubbornly refused to change the angels from their scarlet frocks, for some reason. Once they changed into their gold - or rather Naples yellow - ones it all came together. Like the meerkat says, Simples. I  must say I like the spiralling movement of angels, sheep and clouds around the rock-of-ages-like church.
For the record here is a photo of my somewhat grubby and dog-eared original same size drawing:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where seabirds soar

I was reading my pencilled in notes in my sketchbook and decided to have another go at the Snowhill mudflats according to the colours I saw at low tide on a darker afternoon.

I am still missing out that almost violent acidic green of the lichen-like seaweed (which probably isn't seaweed at all - I'm not very good on plantlife) that clings to the grasses, pebbles and rusty chains. It's a very difficult colour to cope with so out it went.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dark and creepy?


Beach huts
Can't think why huts and sheds hold such an attraction for me. I have some really weird photos (to an independent viewer, eg. "Mum, what were you thinking of taking one of THAT?") of various garden sheds. Plain wooden ones. 
Anyway, these two are small acrylics on paper with the intention of developing them into larger pictures.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My big fat naive parcel

This morning I finally sent off three kilos-worth of paintings to Cornwall for the British Naive Artists' show in St Ives next month. All I can say is I feel very sorry for the person at the other end who has to unwrap it. Thoughts of childhood parties and pass the parcel came into my head. Never in the field of human endeavour has so much sticky tape been used for so few paintings ...

Unfortunately I was frazzled, engulfed in a mountain of bubble wrap, cellophane and paper and working against the clock and failed to recognise the importance of marking the event with a photograph so that all might laugh at my cack-handed packing skills. No wonder I only lasted a day on the Selfridges gift wrap counter in my student days.

Still, look at my postal track record: gaping envelopes, ripped parcels, lost packages ... to say nothing of one that eventually arrived after a sojourn in the Cayman Islands. So no, I don't trust the postal service. Here or there. I simply place my faith in the great God sticky tape.

So failing a pic of the parcel I am putting up photos of a couple of the paintings inside it. And hope they are winging their way to the west country even as I type. Safely and soundly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A tower in the sea

So okay, the Nab Tower doesn't look like everybody's idea of a typical lighthouse, but I think I prefer it that way.

Dark and looming, mysterious even. A bit grim and foreboding, even on a sunny summer's day. I am trying to wean myself off it but as it is such a part of the Bracklesham Bay seascape it's hard to leave it out of my seaside paintings. So anyone wondering what that black rectangle is on the horizon, wonder no more.

Interesting facts: It was towed to its site in the Solent in 1920.

It rests at a crooked angle on the seabed, is 27 metres high and flashes a white light every 10 seconds.

For history geeks there are some fascinating pictures of the tower under construction, and lighthousekeepers' first-hand accounts of everyday life on it back in the days when it was manned, on:
(Sorry, can't do links!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stressed out seagulls

This is a picture I did today of seagulls soaring over the mudflats of Snowhill Creek - before I got stressed out, to say nothing of locked out, by Google passwords, usernames, blockages and the rest. And a phone call .

I remember a song from my youth beginning Fly, silly seagull ... Ms Mitchell?
Anyway it was a haunting, calming melody and hopefully goes with what I tried to make a calming image. Which would have been quite impossible after 6 pm.

Tomorrow I will post what I intended to post today before I got stymied by techno-horrors and lost my rag.

I will now go and make my peace with the cat who didn't deserve to be shouted at like that.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I have a camera ... again

So here is the latest of the small studies I have been painting whilst on a roll with my sketchbook doodles over the past few days. Done last night with the tremendous sound of the Atlantic drifting through the open door.

The sea here is unleashing all its customary seasonal fury at present. I saw a large ship lit up on the horizon and couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor saps on board who had fallen victim to the advertising blurb about sunny winter cruises round the Canaries...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life's a sandbank

I took this picture in to be framed today in readiness for the December show. It's called Cut Off, and I must say I know how they feel at the moment. Metaphorically that is. I wonder if that's what spending too much time swimming as I am doing lately does to you. Dehydration probably.

Anyway, this painting depicts a famously treacherous stretch of the Witterings coast where such occurences are not uncommon though seldom fatal thanks to the vigilance of the lifeguards. When I was small I was fascinated by tragic tales of long lost travellers (and their horses - my sympathies were all for the horses) being swept away or sucked under as they crossed the sands of Morecambe Bay, so I suppose that is why these images of the cruel sea closing in on hapless souls bubble up from time to time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Dumping of Cats

They've been at it again. Unscrupulous cat dumpers, that is.

We glimpsed some half-grown kittens up the road, identical ginger-and-white jobs, but they dashed into the banana groves and haven't been seen since.

One of the occupational hazards of living a stone's throw away from a cat sanctuary, I suppose. And one of the reasons we are lumbered with so many, after they quietly but determinedly worm their way into the kitchen - and our affections.

Plus, of course, they make such wonderful subjects for a painting!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lost in my sketchbooks

And not only lost IN them. I'd be lost WITHOUT them.

My sketchbooks are all discreet, black, run-of-the-mill W&N ones, (am I the only person in the world to have developed an allergy to the word "moleskine"?) dog-eared, battered and small, (pocket-size for preference) and their content is often illegible to everyone but me, not at all like the swish beautifully arranged creations with highly worked up images, all clean and smudge-free, I sometimes see and envy on other artist's websites.

Mine bear traces of  rain, wind, the sea, tea and wine, have particles of sand in the spine, the ghostly remains of squashed insects here and there and are generally, I suppose, a reflection of their disorganised owner. Blimey, perish the thought. Bag-ladydom beckons. Another case of art reflecting life, perhaps?

Anyway, I have been immersed in some more recent old ones of late using impressions from them them or even bits of impressions from them to assemble quite small mixed media pieces on paper which stand on their own (or rather eventually, when mounted, will lean against each other in gallery browsers). The results are quite pleasing and in some cases will lead to larger works. Though what they have led to right now is a bigger than usual mess and masses of bits of clipped paper trailing through the house.
When I have my new camera I will put some up, in the meantime - a few leaves from one of those messy sketchbooks of mine.