Friday, 30 April 2010

Dales Diary - Saturday 24 April

Roots, Rigg's Beck (Pentel Brushpen, watercolour, A4 sketchbook)

Our two cars met up in Bedale on Friday for a sandwich and to collect the keys. With only a short diversion to the Black Sheep Brewery at Masham for essential supplies (Golden Sheep and Riggwelter), we were soon being astonished by the house that is The Rookery. It's massive. It was once the stable block of the old house, which says something about how big the house must have been.

The rest of the day was spent settling in and wandering round the house and grounds, but the following day, Saturday, I started out with a determination to get at least one drawing done each day. Not particularly ambitious, perhaps, but for me, who likes to walk around a lot taking photographs, it's adequate.

I started with a gentle walk (new boots!) up Rigg's Beck that runs through the farmland round The Rookery. New-born lambs everywhere and an unfortunate number of dead and decaying rabbits. I wondered about the rabbits. Were they being shot and left to rot? Sadly, I suspect myxomatosis is to blame.

The day's one drawing quota was achieved with this drawing of roots falling down into the beck.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Compo & Clegg Again

Branches (Pilot disposable pen, A4 sketchbook)

It's that time of year again. I'm off for my week's drawing and painting today. Drawing mostly, I expect, and mostly things like this sketchbook drawing of ivy branches. And just possibly, a rock or two.

I'll be back in a week to let you know how it all went. Meanwhile, don't get too worked up over the election. He's not worth it.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Restaurant Progress

Kastela Seaside Restaurant (work in progress)

Everything at the Club was still wet today, except for the Harry Ramsden painting, which I've brought home to finish. I knew that would be the case, so I took along this Kastela Restaurant painting and made some headway with it.

There's a lot of balancing of colours to be done but that will probably have to wait for three weeks. Next Friday will be the start of this year's Compo & Clegg Painting Week. This time we're off to the Yorkshire Dales, somewhere I've never been before. What an adventure!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Split Rock

Split Rock (Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 ins)

Back at the Club, I found the owners of the building were making up for the freezing we suffered in the Winter, by pumping out all the heat they must have saved up from that time. Still, it didn't stop me from pressing on with and finishing Split Rock.

With a little time in hand, I gave the poison dwarf in the clothes shop painting her cards and made a start on the upper part of the picture. I'll advertise for someone else to run the store, someone with greater stature. Or maybe it doesn't need anyone in it. What do you think?

Clothes Stall (work in progress)

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Old Drawings #56

Cypriot Depths (Charcoal on A1 cartridge paper) Private Collection

My eyes have been bothering me lately. My left eye, in particular, has been aching now and then and blurring occasionally, so I finally gave in and went to have them tested, the first time in 13 years. As I suspected, there's been some deterioration in my vision, especially in the left eye, so I'm on the point of biting the bullet and getting some glasses.

This puts me in the slightly worrying position of not knowing how it might affect my work, how I might cope with painting while wearing glasses and - as a friend asked - whether it might lead me into more detailed painting. I think the latter is unlikely, given that my earlier painting was less detailed years ago, when my eyesight was actually better. The more detailed approach in recent years is due to other factors and is something I keep under review.

All of this, together with some Spring cleaning and some minor work on the house has led to a pause in painting. So for now, here's a drawing done after my first visit to Cyprus in 1999. It's a view into and through an old building whose roof had collapsed, possibly as a result of shelling (it was near the demilitarised zone).

This is the painting that followed on from it. Both drawing and painting were completely ignored by the tutors at Uni, of course, but that was par for the course.

Into the Depths (Oil and collage on canvas, 36 x 36 ins)

Friday, 9 April 2010

Kastela Restaurant Again

Kastela Restaurant (work in progress)

I really was very taken with this restaurant we found in Kastela, a series of little seaside harbours between Split and Trogir. So here's the beginning of another version of it. Built out on stilts into the sea, it's rather like a modest version of our Victorian piers.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Clothes Dwarf

Clothes Stall (work in progress)

Back at the Club after a couple of weeks, I made some adjustments to my clothing. Hah. I mean I put in the folds which has improved things a lot, I think.

However, I'm not at all pleased with this woman who has wandered out of her cubbyhole at the back in an attempt to sell something. She seemed to be OK when I left the studio, but looking at the photograph now, she's definitely gone down in my estimation and appears to have become something of a dwarf. I'll make her grow a bit next time I see her.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Scrubbed In

Kastela Seaside Restaurant (work in progress)

It was a fine Spring day today and I really felt like getting things done, but I'd arranged for the Rat Man to come. He was supposed to call last week, but Something Went Wrong. I guess Something must have Gone Wrong again, because he didn't arrive today either.

As a consequence, the rats are probably still plotting a Second Front and I spent the day pottering. But I did get time to quickly scrub in this small painting which should help fill out the Small Works Collection quite well, I hope.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Keeping Them Coming

Boat in New Harbour, Chania (work in progress)

I've made a little promise to myself to keep these small paintings coming. This is another, started today, on a 30 x 30 cm canvas. As Pat pointed out, it's another boat which could indicate a series, but I suspect that's accidental. There will be more boats, but mostly what I'm aiming for is a set of small paintings of Mediterranean, Aegean and Adriatic subjects.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Another Hour

Chania Harbour (work in progress)

Another useful hour presented itself today and I took advantage of it. I decided to straighten out the curve of the harbour in the interests of composition within the picture plane and have developed the colours and shapes of the buildings. More to be done yet, though.