Friday 30 July 2010

Guest Blog

It's been a busy time, with last weekend taken up with Pat's Mum's 90th birthday. I was going to write something about it, but then thought Pat could do it just as well, if not better:

My last week has been taken up helping my Mum celebrate her 90th. She has been high as a kite all week and has thoroughly enjoyed being the centre of attention.

Saturday was the actual birthday and we all, (Harry & I, my sons and partners, my brother and his wife, their sons, partners and daughter, 15 altogether) had a slap up lunch at Headlam Hall.

Headlam Hall

She had a (real) birthday cake, (plastic) tiara and magenta feather boa which she wore with aplomb.

Tiara and a Boa

Luckily the weather was fine and we could move out into the gardens afterwards and take loads of photographs. She was thrilled to have all her family around her, all getting on with each other and looking so happy.

We left her on Sunday surrounded by flowers and plants, and every inch of space covered in cards.

I was back on Tuesday for Wednesday's buffet lunch party at the local pub for some other family members, friends and neighbours. She still didn't flag, but moved around from table to table talking to everyone, then out in the garden for more photographs.

She now has more presents than she knows what to do with, enough plants and flowers to open her own shop and over fifty cards. She also has a whole new lease of life. On Wednesday she announced that she would see everyone again in ten years time, and I suspect she could be right.

-- Pat Mailer

Saturday 17 July 2010

Bands of Colour

Orange House (work in progress)

As Casey Klahn pointed out in his comment on Black Ship and Mosque, Chania, there's a certain attraction in compositions that consist of relatively simple bands of blue sandwiching a band of coloured complexity. At least, I think they're attractive and I'm pleased at least one other person sees it that way.

I find the concept so interesting that I've been looking for further examples of it to work through and for variations on the theme. This is a variation in that the sandwiching has been turned on its side and there are now vertical bands of wall sandwiching the main subject of the painting, the Orange House. Although it may be less obvious, the recently started painting Archway, is also derived from this thinking. Development of the painting may make it more obvious in due course.

In the case of these paintings, of course, the walls are not quite as featureless as the bands of sea in the earlier pictures, but it's not impossible that further paintings on this theme might produce plainer walls. Oh, a painter's life can be so exciting in its possibilities ....

Thursday 15 July 2010


I'm always a little restless when I'm finishing off my tax accounts. I don't like doing them and would rather be painting, but generally I end up fiddling with both and feeling ... well, restless.

So it was today that I made some small progress with the accounts and then some smaller progress with a painting that may yet work out, but not until I can give it my full attention.

Coming up from the studio, I slumped into my chair in the living room bay window and looked out at the setting sun. It's at times like this that I sometimes wonder why we try to make paintings. They certainly can't compete with what gets painted in the sky every evening.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Sunlit Wall. No Bagpipes.

Archway (work in progress)

Those bagpipes I hear must be still some way off, because this is definitely somewhere more exotic. I hasten to add that at this point I'm not prepared to enter into a discussion of the value judgement inherent in my suggestion that Scotland is not exotic.

I enjoyed working this over an old painting I'd decided would never make it to completion. The texture and colours of the old painting were really good to paint on. I worked quite fast and used what paint was still on the palettefrom the last session. As a consequence there's some greying of the colour (especially the greens) which will need to be dealt with when I cone back to it, but overall I like the effect of a sunlit wall seen through an archway.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Black Ship leaving Harbour

Black Ship leaving Harbour (oil on canvas, 9 x 12 ins)

This Black Ship has proven to be very useful. However, I think I may have exhausted its possibilities for now and will have to start looking elsewhere. I think I hear bagpipes ....

Friday 9 July 2010

Black Ship and Mosque, Chania

Black Ship and Mosque, Chania (oil on canvas, 12 x 12 ins)

One of the " one or two other things" I was "getting on with" got finished today. The two Black Ship paintings look good together and it's not immediately obvious that one is 30 x 30 cms and the other is 12 x 12 ins. It is immediately obvious, however, when I try to put them both into 30 x 30 cm frames. Bummer.

Black Ship at Chania (oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cms)

Thursday 8 July 2010

Frustration and a Fish

Chania Harbour (work in progress)

It's been a week of frustration, mostly. The latest "winter" painting is misbehaving and progress, such as it is, has been of the two steps forward, one step back sort. The painting is in a state I don't care to show at the moment, some painting out having been necessary, but once I've re-established it, I'll let you see where I am with it.

Meanwhile, I've been getting on with one or two other things, including some work at the Club today on this small picture of Chania Harbour. The light in it is peculiar and I wonder where it came from. Somewhere within the picture itself, I guess, because it wasn't in the original scene.

I came away relieved of some of my frustration and carrying a fish - Roly has been in the trout streams again and although he catches them, he doesn't like to eat them.

Friday 2 July 2010

Hot and Solitary

Chania (work in progress)

Well, it was another gloriously sunny day today, so what better idea than to make my way to the Club and paint amongst my fellow painters? Of course, the studio being so hot, everybody (by which I mean all two of them) had gone home by the time I got there.

Having taken along a fresh small canvas, I figured I might as well get something done, so spent the next couple of hours laying out yet another view of part of the harbour at Chania, while muttering aloud to myself and wiping the sweat from my brow. Who are these people who say painting must be fun?

Thursday 1 July 2010

Hickery Dickery Dare

Fibretip and coloured pencil in A6 accordion fold Moleskine.

Hickery, dickery, dare,
The pig flew up in the air,
But Patrick Brown
Soon brought him down,
Hickery, dickery, dare.
Sometimes a change really is as good as a rest. I recently agreed to help out Michael Nightmare with his Piggy Moly which he'd retrieved from a moribund group of Moly Xers. When it arrived from Lynne Lamb a few days ago, I found the chance to do something that didn't involve painting very attractive, so tonight I set to and finished my contribution.

The nursery rhyme I found in Cole's Funny Picture Book, a treasure from my childhood. and I decided to make my pig a superhero. The evil Patrick Brown, his arch-nemesis, is yet to appear on the scene.