Sunday, 29 November 2020

Old Journals

My tidying and decluttering has meant I have been able to look at my old art journals without lots of things falling off the shelves! I thought I would share some of the pages I liked occasionally. It is strange that some are immediately memorable, and some I don't even recognise! Like this page below. I don't know who or what inspired these two. This journal is from 2014 so not that long ago really.
This page is also not memorable. I think I was drawing photographs from a book about Julia Margaret Cameron.
I know why I did this one. At a certain point in the year there was a massive trend for tartan scarves, which, for some reason annoyed me. Maybe it was because they were not genuine, like Andy's McCallum tartan one is, but fake tartan fashion. So this is my attempted rendering of some fake tartan wearers. In the end, probably the next year, I bought a big tartan scarf too. 
Here is a happier tartan wearer. Maybe I had changed my mind by then.
This journal is one of the ones where I have re-purposed an old book. I have quite a lot of those, and using them involves some preparation, in gessoing or painting the pages with acrylic to make them stronger. Sometimes I leave sections of text or pictures showing, as they are inspiring. This book is 'The Bridge of San Luis Rey' by Thornton Wilder. I have read it but don't remember much, though Wikipedia has jogged my memory. 

I think I must have found this in a Sunday supplement, and the dragon was related to Chinese New Year celebrations at school.

Two forgotten pages.

The book 'A Beautiful Darkness' by Fabien Vehlmann inspired this page.

Reviews to describe it below:

 "A twisted tale that draws from the likes of Alice in Wonderland and The Borrowers, only Beautiful Darkness presents a much bleaker allegory about brutality. As the tiny people lose hope, their underlying pettiness, greed and jealousy become evident despite their polite words and pretty faces." --Los Angeles Times Hero Complex

"It's The Borrowers meets Lord of the Flies." --Comic Book Resources

The last picture is a girl with a rabbit skull as a hat. I found the skull on a walk near a river in Northumberland when we were staying with our friend Phil. Not sure why I made it into a hat!

Thursday, 26 November 2020


Madeline's portrait is finished. She says she is happy with it and it is helping take her mind off the economy which is being talked about on the news going on behind her. Painting the map skirt was a lot easier and more fun than making it. I don't often get impatient when making something, and see no point (usually) making something I am not enjoying. But I really wanted the map skirt to exist, so I had to put up with breaking thread, sore fingers and things not going as planned at first! 

Black and white to see tone-skirt ok, shoes have none!      


Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Me on Google Street View

I was going to feed one of my cats in the summer and the google maps car drove past me. I have been checking every so often since then to see if I was on it, and here I am! I have seen them before but this is the only time I remember when I knew exactly where I was and I was walking. I don't know why but it is quite fun to be on there. When I first started using street view my neighbour Dee was putting the bins out. I love street view. It is such a useful tool and fun to tour areas of the world where you are not from or have not been, as well as your local area.
I was going in the grey door on the left of the two men. It is the back entrance to the cat's flat which is just above, and saves a ridiculously long walk to get there from the front. The cat is very shy and stays under the bed. This time I could look under and see her, frozen and waiting for me to go, so that was a first!


Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Anchor Update

I was wondering, like River, where all the anchors come from, and googled that question. I didn't find the answer, though I suppose some are from the shipbreaking that used to go on, but I did find the Big Anchor Project, which records anchors wherever they may be around the world, under the sea, displayed on land, beached like mine, or in museums. I often feel that I don't use the internet very well and am always happy to find a new thing to explore. I have learnt quite a lot about the parts of anchors in the last hour, and also about map references! I have recorded my anchor, a stocked anchor I now realise, and have put the information I know from a photo from a distance of about 10 metres. I may go back at some point and do some measuring so I can record more! I didn't know anything about the parts of an anchor, and now know that the stock is the part that goes through or around the shaft-the knobbly bit on top of this one. The shaft is the main length of the anchor. The flukes are the bits at the end of the arms-the thing poking out of the mud. This one is puzzling as the fluke is not at 90 degrees to the stock, and because I can't see the rest of that part it is hard to tell what is going on. If my information is wrong I suppose my anchor may not make it through moderation!


Monday, 23 November 2020


I haven't been here since before the first lockdown and fancied a change of scenery. It is an easily accessed piece of the foreshore and there is lots of parking nearby so an easy place to visit. The sun had gone by the time I arrived but it was pretty mild and I enjoyed my walk. I love this little path that leads to the steps.
There was a family with two young children on the shore so I suppose they made this perfect sandcastle on the step. I was a bit worried to see the two children filling up their buckets from a dribbling outlet in the wall. It could be rainwater but it could also be sewage. I should have told them I suppose but it was too late by the time I saw what they were doing so I didn't.
The colours of this old boat are echoed in the colours of the flats behind.
This anchor is really huge. I wonder how long it has been there. There are at least four anchors on my usual bit of foreshore, though I have a feeling one has been taken-the smallest one without a long piece of chain. Even the small ones are extremely heavy (obviously!) I saw two men taking a small one from Rotherhithe on one of my visits. They were really struggling. Even if I could I wouldn't take one, as I like seeing them there. 

Pretty iridescence on this bottle. 
Anchor close up-as close as I could get without getting stuck!
I can't see any redeeming feature in these buildings in Wapping. Apart from maybe the diamond pattern on the left hand one. They look quite impressive glinting in the sun, but they weren't glinting today and just felt oppressive.

Thanks for the kind doll painting comments, (and the extra info on Trypophobia Steve!). I recently spent some time looking up artists who paint toys and found some good ones, then lost my list. I found it again today so here they are.

Peter Jones

Joyce K Jensen

Margaret Morrison

Jonathan Queen

Kate Stone


Sunday, 22 November 2020

More Painting and Trypophobia

I enjoyed painting this doll, especially the patterns on her clothes. She is a new acquisition from eBay, from a seller who said not to bid if you had less than a certain amount of feedback points. What a cheek! Anyway, the doll is beautiful so never mind her grumpy warnings.

I didn't know what to put in the background, then inspiration hit in the form of an old cutlery box I have, which is decorated with silver and gold bamboo.
I like the way her feet are dangling in the air. It makes her look a little magical and also puppet like. 

I have been painting these circles today. I was thinking about Christmas cards and thought pretty circles and gold would work. They have not lived up to my idea but I have been playing around anyway. A few years ago a colleague who was studying psychology, told me about a condition called Trypophobia. It is not an officially recognised condition. It is a fear of holes or circles gathered together, and can be triggered by such things as bubbles, pomegranates, animal patterns or condensation. Or maybe my paintings-so look away now if you have it. 

And I started another portrait. This time of Madeline. I made her a paper outfit last night out of an old map, some tissue paper wrapping and a little washi tape. 


Friday, 20 November 2020

Through the WIndow

I recently  rearranged the bedroom, and the clothes rail is now by the wall not the window. This means that Cassie can return to her hobby of looking out of the window through the slats in the blind, and that Oliver can experience this exciting activity. I hung two lightweight cotton curtains up to stop people looking in. They were saved from the old wardrobes as I knew they would come in handy. I hook one of them into a drawer so the cats can sit between it and the window. Olly was looking through when I went out the other day, and when I went to look at him he began pawing through the blinds at the window as I think he was confused. I took a picture as he looked cute. The reflection looks much more solid that he does and I quite like the effect.