Sunday, 20 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 20th August 1947

"Hot & dry again.

Went to garden at night - very dry."

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Path to the Sea

Path to the Sea
(acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm)

Leaving the Envelope and Jar to stew for a while ("marinade" might be a kinder term), I've returned to what's becoming a theme of mine - paths or tunnels through woods. This one is based on a photo I took this year on the island of Lopud, but I've allowed myself a good deal of liberty with reality.

I used the technique I learned from Lesley Seeger's workshop in March, laying down a layer of gel medium and thin paint, then working into it. Previously I used the pointed end of a brush but this time I thought I'd give a Colour Shaper a go. I've had these things lying round the studio for ages and never known quite what to do with them. The taper point tool made some really interesting marks that, when I came to work on the painting after the gel had dried, began to suggest quite exotic plant life. Some kind of cactus or succulent appeared from the top of the wall at the left and I encouraged its growth. 

The actual path on Lopud did lead to the sea but the path was very high up and we never reached the end or saw the sea. It seemed appropriate, then, to let me get a glimpse of the sea in my painting.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 19th August 1947

"Sat for Promotion Board.

Hot day. No rain.

Stayed in at night to look after Harry."

Friday, 18 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 18th August 1947

"Still hot - still no rain.

Went to garden to water celery, leeks etc. at night."

Envelope and Jar

Partly inspired by by some of my Sketchbook Circle work, I decided to see what might happen if I collaged the inside of an envelope onto an old MDF panel. Where would it lead? 

I thought I'd draw an pharmacy jar I'd photographed in the Fitzwilliam Museum and turned the envelope into a table. I'm still playing with the image, but the addition of an olive branch, the suggestion of a window and a pair of table legs are indicating a way forward. 

Might work. Might not. Any thoughts?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

In the Boatyard

In the Boatyard
(acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 cm)

Three days work, off and on, to get this done. There were boats on the water and another figure, but in the course of refining it they got painted out and not put back in. I guess the missing man got in the missing boat and sailed away.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 17th August 1947

"Heat wave continues.

Garden in morning - too hot to work.

Out with Ronnie at night."

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 16th August 1947

"Still hot.

Garden in afternoon, walk with Doris at night."

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Monday, 14 August 2017

Sketchbook Circle : Me

Running short of time with the Sketchbook Circle in July, I had to eschew any thoughts of adding to Gwen's pages in my sketchbook and concentrate on doing some of my own. Some pressed paint, some washi tapes, a sheet of brown paper and other bits and pieces ...

My Dad's Diary : Thur 14th August 1947

"Had test this morning.

Heat wave continues."

I assume the test is part of the Promotion Board.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 13th August 1947

"Hot day.

Went for walk at night round T. Estate."

The Team Valley Trading Estate was first begun in 1936  and opened by George VI in 1939. Laid out as a leafy park, even now it's quite a pleasant place to walk through, but in 1947 it was quiet and rural, there were a couple of woods and a river (much of it culverted, but not all) and it was a big change from the terraced streets of Bensham. I spent a lot of my childhood there.

Here's a photo of the layout in 1947:

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Crab Pots, Staithes

Crab Pots, Staithes
(acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 in)

I put the final touches to this painting yesterday. There are still things I might do to it if I allowed myself, but that would be a mistake. As it is, it captures the essence of the day better than I could hope.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 12th August 1947

"Another sunny day.

Went to garden at night."

Friday, 11 August 2017

Knife Painting Workshop

Knife Workshop WIP
(acrylic on watercolour paper)

This is the result of an interesting workshop this afternoon, led by my old friend Tony Montague. Using one of Tony's own photographs of a garden whose name I've forgotten, this was done with heavy body acrylics and a couple of painting knives. No brush, other than to lay in some base colours on the 140 lb watercolour paper, and me very much out of my comfort zone.

It took me until the coffee break, when I stepped away, to recognise the better aspects of this painting, and I was very grateful for Tony's later offer of a pot of fluorescent orange that helped make it sing a bit.

This was my first use of heavy body acrylics and I was surprised to find that parts of the painting were still wet when it was time to take it home. All my recent experience of acrylic painting has been with standard, flow formula and fluid acrylic, all of which dry frighteningly fast.

I quite like this painting, but it needs cropping and I'm already thinking about how it might be improved with a brush and some other colours.

My Dad's Diary : Mon 11th August 1947

"Received notice of Board & Test.

Stayed in with Doris at night."

That's a Promotion Board, of course.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 10th August 1947

"Went to garden early.

To Park at night to hear band."

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Coloured Elephant

Elephant Tea Rooms
(Markers and digital colour)

In an idle moment, I added a bit of colour to my recent drawing of the Elephant Tea Rooms in Sunderland.

My Dad's Diary : Sat 9th August 1947

"Garden in afternoon.

Went on walk with Doris."

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Monday, 7 August 2017

Sunday, 6 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 6th August 1947

"Dull day.

Went to garden at night. Took up first drill of potatoes.

Heavy rain."

Saturday, 5 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 5th August 1947

"Bill stayed extra day - went to Durham.

Fine day for last day.

Took him to Westgate at night."

I assume this was the Westgate Cinema in Newcastle. It closed as a cinema in 1958 and reopened as the Majestic Ballroom ("the Maj") in 1959. The Beatles played there in 1963. Later it became bingo hall and  is now the O2 Academy.

Friday, 4 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 4th August 1947

[Bank Holiday]

"Went for walk with Bill.

Down to S. Shields at night."

South Shields was always a popular Bank Holiday destination, using the rail connection from Gateshead Station to Shields. Here's an old postcard, date not specified:

Thursday, 3 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 3rd August 1947

"Went walk in morning with Bill. 

Went to Park to hear band at night."

This is the Bandstand in Saltwell Park, though it wasn't in this part of the Park when Dad and Bill went there.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 2nd August 1947

"Had a walk over to town with Bill and Doris."

Today's Diary motto: Many a false step is made by standing still.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 31st July 1947


Sunny morning.

Joe Leddy, Bill and myself out at night."

Happy Birthday, Mam!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sketch Crawl : Sunniside, Sunderland.

West Sunniside, Sunderland
(Markers in A4 sketchbook)

This was the first outing for the newly renamed Urban Sketchers Tyne & Wear (Sketch Crawl North East, as was).

Drawing in Sunderland when there's a scheduled football match between Glasgow Celtic and the Black Cats makes for an interesting experience. Coming into Sunderland on the Metro from Gateshead, Richard, Pat and I watched as helpful fans and Metro personnel scooped up a legless Celtic supporter from the platform at the Stadium of Light. Getting drunk that early would certainly mean he'd miss the game altogether, but maybe he didn't have a ticket for the ground. Football is a mysterious game.

Mike led us from Sunderland Metro Station to the Sunniside area, where a bit of regeneration seems to be going on. There's a landscaped sitting area and a bit of public sculpture which didn't immediately attract me, so I started to explore the streets beyond. Straight away I ran into hordes of shambling Celtic fans, bottles and cans in their hands and incomprehensible chants on their lips. I felt a little as if I'd fallen into The Walking Dead tv series and there were bands of Walkers everywhere.

Retreating back to the Sunniside area, I eventually settled down on a wall and drew the first sketch, an interestingly elaborate building with a side turret. It turned out later that just about everyone else had drawn it too, but I couldn't see them beyond the bushes I was sitting next to.

You might notice the written sound effects I recorded on the drawing - seagulls calling, police sirens wailing not very far away and some women in a nearby building cursing, swearing and clashing pots and pans about. The sounds of the city!

I'm not too pleased with this drawing. I started to indicate the shadow on the top of the turret before realising that the same shadow extended down the whole face of the building, so I was just as happy to stop when the others decided to move on.

Elephant Tea Rooms
(0.8 marker in A4 sketchbook)

On the corner of Fawcett St and High St West is a fantastical building showing "a blend of high Victorian Hindu Gothic and Venetian Gothic styles." We all agreed it was an impossible draw, then settled down in the pavement cafe opposite and began to draw it. It soon becomes obvious, when drawing a building like this, that it's a matter of finding the patterns, then repeating them without worrying about there being the right number of elements. I was quite surprised at how much I was able to get done that way.

Next time : The Old Low Light, North Shields, 12 August.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 30th July 1947

"Fine day, but chilly.

Went up to Exhibition Park with Bill."

The Exhibition Park is in the north of Newcastle.