Monday, February 28, 2011

Ghost ship on the Horizon

Well that's what it looked like anyway. It is always such a time-jolting surprise to see a vessel like this out at sea and it was so far out and I had to zoom so far in that I knew it would come out blurry, misty and Ancient Mariner-like. So no apologies this time for the poor quality of image. 
Purely deliberate. 
I love the timeless stamp of these traditional sailing ships. 
It could have been sailing out of another age.

There are some rocks up at the Santa Cruz end of the island with crude carvings of galleons - just a few lines but recognisable, nevertheless - made by someone among the race of people who inhabited these islands before the Spanish conquered them. Their amazement at just such a scene and the need to record it lived on in me in a diluted form. Only I opted to snatch up my Ricoh and press a button in preference to a primitive implement and get stuck into a piece of rock. 

I was at a bit of a loose end over the last image in my four seasons series but have now found a hook as I describe it to myself, a way in (a canine one), and I am looking forward to starting that today. 
While still carving away bit by bit at the lino, worrying at the island-wide dearth of Japanese paper, making soup and potting up the last of the plants I bought on an unintended spree at the garden centre a couple of days ago...

Mmm .............. where to start?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Keats House in Winter

So ... that wasn't my last word on Keats House at all apparently.
Well, I decided as I had already done summer and autumn I may as well go for the complete set and snip away at winter and spring and do a four seasons thing.

I also thought as cats hadn't featured in either of my two efforts so far and as they seemed to be cherished residents of Wentworth Place, with the Dilkes and Brawnes being cat lovers all (George Keats, in a rather wistful letter home from the comfortless wilds of the New World, recalled the Brawne residence thus: "I remember the curtains, the chairs and the cats ..."), I had to include some somewhere. 
Cats are, after all, Very Important Animals.

So here they are, running harum scarum through the winter snow, the very last vestiges of which were melting away when I visited in December, so I have had to imagine the carpet effect of a thick fall.

If nothing else I now have the satisfaction of knowing I won't have to cope with the traditional, God-awful last minute panic of having to dream up and print out my cards for Christmas this year! 
Hey, Amanda is ahead of the game, for once.
(Yeah, but they will still arrive late as usual, I hear my friends say).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back to boats

Okay, so I was struggling with this house portrait and couldn't find any paper in my not exactly wide-ranging hoard of magazine pages and clippings and these colours kind of came together into these shapes to make this design.
The local harbour is after all second uppermost in my mind these days.

Something tells me it's going to be hard to find stand-ins for Lake District slate roofs within the pages of Vogue, Glamour and Cosmo. Even though I have some fine potential sheep-y clippings. 
What I really need is a windfall of architectural magazines ...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Purely decorative

There is so much birdsong at the moment, blackbirds and blue tits mainly, so they must have been on my mind when I started messing about with paper yesterday. And this design for a card surfaced.

The colours and lighting is bad - the background is more of a lovely warm Naples yellow and the rest of the colours are much brighter - but I was battling against the combined effects of an overcast day and my not terribly good camera. Oh, and fears that the cats might stroll across it with their muddy paws, poised as I was with the picture on the floor in the doorway and me hovering over it trying to snap it.
Once I get a better photo, which I'll have to do for printing out, I'll probably replace the above.

Monday, February 14, 2011

More poetic birds ...

Autumn Days

... which is my last word on this particular subject.
For now anyway.

Now off to review what I might describe as the housing situation re Wordsworth, Shelley and Beatrix Potter ...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

still snipping away ...

at Keats House. 
And now trying to decide between different backgrounds:

 and leaving this design as it stands.

Or adding the garden. 
Or a song thrush. 
Or doing those separately. 
Decisions, decisions.

Portraits of houses is something I've had in mind for some time but couldn't find the way in ... now I've found it. 
Ha ha, Eureka!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Two awkward nuns and two bouncing dogs

= two recent bits and bobs.
The nun painting, the sketchbook idea of which I posted earlier, is finished.

They are two of a group who all looked really seriously out of place among the desporting semi-naked bodies on the beach at the Witterings on a bank holiday a few summers ago.

The bouncing dogs emerged from something rather more problematic.

It's a fragment of a painting I sat up late into the night doing. My only excuse for this aberration is that I must have been hallucinating. The next day, thinking better of the rubbishy result I chopped it up in disgust and cut out the only bit I was even vaguely happy with. That'll teach me. Too much detail. So I've stripped what was a complicated image of the local port back to a couple of bouncing dogs on the sea wall. And will put it behind my ear for reference for a future minimalist painting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why oh why

Do I paint deep into the night and not-so-early early morning when I know I will feel knocked for six the next morning?
Anyway, I'm not sure how that particular painting is panning out yet.

In the meantime I have done a collage, after thinking twice about throwing out a pile of my daughters' fashionista magazines, which is a variation on the linocut design (still haven't got to Santa Cruz for lino) of Wentworth Place which is such a perfect Regency doll's house of a building.

collage detail (1)

It was ages since I had done a collage and it was great fun. I even managed to downsize the nightingale and put some more authentic plums (rather than pears) on the tree under which the ode was written. Had it not taken the best part of an hour to pay the wretched water bill this morning I would have been in time to buy a selection of coloured papers to use as backing for more.

Collage detail (2)

I find it very therapeutic cutting, sticking and listening to Radio 3 ...