Monday, 16 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 16th October 1947

"Dull & cold.

Had row with Doris re not going to doctor."

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sketch Crawl : Queens Arms, Shieldfield.

Queens Arms, Shieldfield
(0.5 marker and brush pens in A4 sketchbook)

Officially, the Sketch Crawl yesterday was to Northumbria University campus but while Mike was happy - and successful! - at tackling the intricate modern architecture of the new campus buildings, I felt more comfortable going round the corner to draw this nice old pub on Simpson Terrace. I surprised myself by getting almost all of it done within the first hour. Only a bit of line strengthening and lettering remained to finish off at home.

The mysterious "whirlpool" in the foreground is actually the worn remains of a mini roundabout. Why I stopped drawing at the edge of the page instead of finishing the building on the adjoining page is more of a mystery. Maybe I'll go back and remedy that.

We had a pleasant surprise in the form of two visitors from other Sketch Crawl groups - Andy from Urban Sketchers Yorkshire and Christine from Urban Sketchers London. Nice to meet you both and I hope we get to meet up again sometime.

[Next Time : 11th Nov., Sunderland Winter Gardens]

My Dad's Diary : Wed 15th October 1947

"Showery this morning.

Spent night at home.

Called at mother's."

Saturday, 14 October 2017

La Cartuja, Seville.

La Cartuja, Seville.
(0.5 marker and watercolour in A5 sketchbook)

I'd just about given up on drawing anything in Seville, even after a wander round the fascinating complex of La Cartuja with its Spanish and Moorish architecture mixed with British kiln chimneys, and was on my way out of the gate. Looking back I saw this doorway and, really quite tired by then, sat down on a step and got the sketchbook out. The circular design proved a nightmare because it was composed of thousands of coloured ceramic tiles, but I guess (hope) that doesn't come across too badly in the final drawing.

Back at the apartment, I dug out my tiny watercolour box and a waterbrush and added a bit of colour to pull the thing together.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 14th October 1947

"Fine weather continues.

Went to the doctor's for Drs Certs. Jimmie and Lily sick now.

Doris had dizzy bout."

Jim and Lily were Mam's brother and sister, also living in the flat upstairs.

Friday, 13 October 2017

La Farola, Malaga

La Farola, Malaga
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

Despite an optimistic packing of several different sketchbooks, I found it as difficult as usual to get anything drawn on holiday. Two weeks in Spain and only two drawings done. Well, you either get to see lots of interesting new things or you get to stop for an hour or so and get something drawn. So it goes.

At the end of the week in Malaga, I found myself in the harbour looking at the lighthouse and suddenly feeling I could get something down on paper. And here it is.

My Dad's Diary : Mon 13th October 1947

"Changed bike over to fixed."

Thursday, 12 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 12th October 1947

"Mr & Mrs Brownlee & Ken sick with food poisoning.

Did lots of digging in No.52 garden.

Fine weather continues."

"Mr & Mrs Brownlee" were my Mam's parents who lived in the flat above us with her younger brother Ken. I have no memory of my maternal grandad, but I'm fairly sure this is us together in the backyard. To the best of my knowledge, no one ended up buried in No.52 garden.

The "fine weather" was actually the hottest summer on record for 300 years.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 11th October 1947

"Bed settee suite delivered. Cost £34.00.

Took Doris to Ritz."

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 10th October 1947

"Fine weather continues.

Went to see about 3 pce suite. Fixed on Bed Settee suite."

My Dad's Diary : Thur 9th October 1947

"Harry now has 5 teeth.

Wrote to Joe Milburn."

Monday, 9 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 8th October 1947

"Fine day.

Collected logs from Mother's.

Rec'd letter from Nora."

My Dad's Diary : Sun 5th - 7th October 1947

Sun 5th October 

"Fine sunny day.

Garden in morning. Started stripping turf off.

Five Wand at night."

Image result for five wand mill inn


Mon 6th October

"Fine day again."


Tues 7th October

"Fine day.

Had haircut."

My Dad's Diary : Wed 1st - 4th October 1947

Wed 1st October 

"Fine weather continues.

Went to see Mother - had a bit of a row re politics.



Thurs 2nd October

"Fine and dry.

Overtime again."


Fri 3rd October

"Fine weather still continues.

Last night of overtime."


Sat 4th October

"Sunny day.

Went out with Doris and baby to get new raincoat.

Ronnie had leeks stolen."

Sunday, 8 October 2017

African Currency and a Sharpie

 3 pages of African Currency
(Black Sharpie in 14 x 14 cm sketchbook)

As an experiment, I took on holiday a new small Seawhite sketchbook and a black Sharpie. I know nothing about Sharpies except that they're very popular, so I thought it would be worth a try. The Seawhite sketchbook says on the inside sheet "ALL-MEDIA CARTRIDGE PAPER". I've used them before and had no trouble with them, but when I tried the book and the Sharpie together in a museum in Malaga, I found they didn't much like one another. The Sharpie bled through the paper easily and unless I worked very quickly, I found I was making drawings like join-the-dots

I gave up and took photographs instead.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 28th - Tues 30th September 1947

Sun 28th September 

"Fine day.

Spent morning in new garden.

Got word of increase - 7/6d.

Usual Sunday night."


Mon 29th September

"Started overtime tonight.

Still no news of promotion.

Trouble re pyjamas."

It took me a long time to work out that the last word was indeed pyjamas. Don't ask me to explain why there was trouble with them, or what that trouble might be, because the secret is lost in history.


Tues 30th September

"Fine sunny morning.

Overtime again."

Saturday, 7 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 24th - Sat 27th September 1947

Wed 24th September

"Sunny day.

Started work in new garden - No. 52."


Thurs 25th September

"Dull but fine."


Fri 26th September

"Took Doris to Odeon, Gateshead."


Sat 27th September

"Sunny day. Went to see Gateshead v. York -- Draw 0-0."

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Friday, 22 September 2017

My Dad's Diary: Mon 22nd September 1947

"Very windy.

Spent night in house."

Thursday, 21 September 2017


(acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 in)

Although I know the beginnings of this painting lie in a sketchbook drawing done in a wood quite a few years ago, it seems to have taken on a life of its own when developed in paint. A life of its own in the sense that it rather puzzles me: what does it mean? Does it mean anything? Something in my mind helped it to come to fruition and I can see a certain vague personal symbolism there, but maybe I'm not supposed to delve too deeply.

Whatever, as the kids probably no longer say. I like it and I can tell you what it doesn't mean: I'm definitely not finished with the Path Through the Woods.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 21st September 1947


Usual Sunday."

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 20th September 1947

"Bought new inflator - 6/6d.

Spent afternoon with Doris at garden."

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

General Dealers

General Dealers
(acrylic on board, 10 x 10 in)

Well, nostalgia isn't such a bad thing after all. I'm rather pleased with this and may consider doing more, if I can find material I like.

Working with acrylic is certainly interesting. I had intended to hand letter the shop signage, but a memory surfaced of a big binder of Letraset I had stored away and I dug it out. Sure enough, there was a sheet of white Letraset Printpak so I decided to see if it would apply itself  to a surface of acrylic paint. "GENERAL"went on nicely, but I hadn't counted on the age of the Letraset. It seems after forty years or so, the carrier film becomes very friable and as I started on the word "DEALERS" I found the plastic film simply breaking up as I rubbed on the lettering.

The result is as you see it, rather patchy and broken. I figured I'd have to try to repair it with a pen and acrylic ink, or at a push, a Posca Pen, but the more I looked at it, the more it looked appropriate for the signage of an old corner shop. So it's staying.

My Dad's Diary : Fri 19th September 1947


Monday, 18 September 2017

Sunday, 17 September 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 17th September 1947

"Rec'd word from Pagan re allotment.

Fine day. Broke inflator."

Saturday, 16 September 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 16th September 1947

"Very heavy showers.

P.O. withdrawal £2.12.2.

Received two overalls."

Friday, 15 September 2017

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Path to Mystery

(acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 in)

Although I have umpteen paintings on the go at the moment, my Regular Reader will be familiar with my reluctance to finish them.  There are certainly two in the series of Path through the Woods paintings to finish. Soon, Real Soon Now.

While working on one of the unfinished paintings yesterday, I was reminded of an old sketchbook drawing and decided to see if it might be adapted to this series. The A4 drawing, done in charcoal and pastel on a painting trip in 2003, always seemed to have a sense of mystery about it and although some of that mystery has been lost in the transposition to paint, I hope enough of it has remained.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 14th September 1947

"Windy but dry.

Usual sort of Sunday."