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. 


Sunday 15 November 2020

Doll Paintings

I have been painting on some of my Mum's stash of watercolour paper, which is a pleasure to paint on. I have been using my acrylic inks which I love, to paint portraits of some of my dolls. I started this a while ago and did the rabbit and the TLC picture, and a few small ones, and over the last couple of weeks I have been doing some more. Each one has been a challenge in its own way but part of what I like about making anything is the problem solving aspect, so a challenge is good. This doll came to light in recent sorting of stuff, and I had forgotten all about her. She has a squeak if you give her a little shake. Her right arm is permanently waving which must make it ache after a while. Getting the arm shadows right was the hardest thing with this painting, and I don't think I have, but in the end, after about four goes I gave up. The shadows on the face from where I have my lamp are very stark but they seem to work better than the arm. My favourite part to paint was the pattern on her dress.
Like fireworks, flowers and starry nights combined.
This doll came from the Cats' Protection League shop up the road. I was very happy to find her. She is made from a soft velvet fabric, like the Norah Wellings boy, and has lovely clothes. I especially like her hat. The chair was my Mum's and she used to sit Christmas characters in it, hence the bows. The chair was the hardest part and I only realised how complicated it was as I was painting. I loved doing the flowers on the floor. It is the plastic cloth that I have on my art desk. The desk is great. It was from an art school and lifts up to make an easel, as well as providing storage. The side has metal flowers that tighten to hold the easel up. It came with a stool from the art school too which I am sitting on at the moment. I got it from Greenwich market a long time ago.

She has drunk too much coffee. 
I think this one is my favourite so far. I love the colours. I went a bit dark on her clothes but they then sort of match the fish. The fish is an uncompleted model made from things from the foreshore. He has pipe stem fins and still needs a tail. She is sitting on some foreshore cleaned up nails. 
Her hair is such a beautiful colour. 

Saturday 14 November 2020

Out and About

I took all of these photos either on the way to work, or during my lunchtime walks in the last week or so. Apart from the last one which I took this morning when I encountered the army horses. I see them quite often on a Saturday morning.
I couldn't place the typeface on this pub sign, and did a bit of googling, during which I realised it reminded me of old Ladybird books from the 60s. I wonder if the sign is that old. It might be Gill Sans.
This is my bus stop. I took the picture because of the column of smoke or steam in the distance. Not sure what it comes from. 
Very foggy morning last week. This is on Blackheath. 
I walked a slightly different way to the bus stop as I was early and it was a nursery morning when I can't get in before 8 or sometimes later. Dawdling led me to this, which I don't understand. I stopped thinking about it after a few minutes as no explanation struck me. The lockdown has made a difference to the morning traffic and I am getting to work a bit quicker. The evening is slightly quieter too.
This is on a Primary school in New Cross called Myatt Garden. I did one day there about 25 years ago and liked it. It was a very arty school then. I hope it is still.
Sweet café names.
This is in Camberwell near the nursery. I still have not exhausted all of the walks I can do, but have had a couple of occasions where I have wandered a bit far and don't think I will make it back in time, and one where I thought briefly that I was lost!
Same place as the bike shop.
This cat did not want me too near, but did pose very nicely on a tree stump!
I don't know what this building was but it is in very poor condition. 
The colours of this scene are just lovely. The street I park on has a lot of rubbish just left there which is a shame as it is a pretty street.
The horses. The riders have their horse in the middle and one either side that they are leading. It looks very stressful to me!