Wednesday 17 June 2015

Willow Burn

I had a very pleasant afternoon tea with Lady Elsie Robson today, while looking round the lovely new Willow Burn Hospice at Lanchester. The Painters' Group has been invited to put on an exhibition of paintings there later in the year.

More of this in due course.

Saturday 13 June 2015


(0.8 Marker in A5 sketchbook)

No sooner had I got back from Askrigg and dried off than I was packing again for a week in Bologna, in Italy, with Pat. The forecast looked no more impressive than that for Askrigg, with thunderstorms threatening every day, but the actuality was just the opposite.

Had it been raining we knew that there was plenty of shelter in Bologna because of its famous porticos (note to self: post photographs), but eventually we were grateful for the shade afforded by the porticos as the heat increased throughout the week.

It was a lovely trip and the city was wonderful. It's very much a student town (the oldest university in Europe, in fact) and benefits from their vibrancy. There were fire jugglers at night, an excellent Dizzy Gillespie-style quartet, and an absolutely astonishing juggler-cum-magician. I'm not usually terribly impressed with street magicians, but this guy's control was remarkable. There was one point at which I was certain that the glass ball he was manipulating was indeed floating in mid-air, though common sense told me he had to be keeping control with his thumbs. How though, I can't imagine.

My good intentions of getting more drawing done went out the window yet again, but I made sure that I did do this one drawing from the same window of our hotel, the Cavour Hotel (highly recommended).

Friday 12 June 2015

Askrigg, May 2015

Nr. Helm, Wensleydale 
(Pentel Brush Pen in 21 x 26 cm sketchbook)

My Regular Reader will know of the trials and tribulations I've been going through in the last couple of years, coupled with the delights and accommodations of a new wife and a new house. I've had to get used to: reduced vision in my left eye (not out of the woods yet, it seems); wearing glasses for the first time (varifocals at that); a new studio (still being sorted out); two days away from home each week dealing with the old house; an upset routine (and I'm a great one for established routines); oh, and a host of other distractions if I were to allow myself to really think about it.

So much water has flowed down the gutter in Boogie Street, that it would be an impossible chore to bring you completely up to date and you might find your patience wearing thin in the process. This is a blog, after all, not an autobiography.

One significant event in recent times was the annual painting trip with friends from the Art Club. Or at least what used to be the annual painting trip: because of my eye problems I haven't been on one since 2012, when we went to Staithes. This year I decided I needed to get out and test myself again, to see if I could still do that old "look-and-put" style of drawing.

Eight of us from the Club booked a week in Ingleby Lodge in Wensleydale.

The place was great, with two kitchens and umpteen bedrooms but as we found to our dismay, no cover outside in case of rain. And that proved to be just what we needed. It rained most of the week. When it wasn't raining, there was a fierce cold wind which made standing around drawing or painting virtually impossible. I've always had doubts about Turner's story of having been lashed to a mast in a storm, but true or not, I wasn't prepared to emulate his feat.

So it was that only one proper drawing emerged for me - the one above. On a rare sunny day, with the wind still full in my face, I went out for a walk through some woods near Helm and dropped down into a sheltered valley. Making the drawing proved easy once I'd started and I grew quite immersed in the doing of it, such that after a while I heard a voice say "He's obviously concentrating". Looking up from my sketchbook, I saw a group of hikers climbing over the wall just a little further up. They were all waving and evidently saying "Good afternoon!" I smiled, waved and went back to my work.

The drawing may seem relatively inconsequential, but it certainly lifted my spirits to find that I can still cut it.

In a brief break from the rain, I stepped out into the garden the following day and drew this bird feeder, just for the hell of it:

Birdhouse, Ingleby Lodge, Askrigg.
(0.8 Marker in A5 sketchbook)