Saturday, 24 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 24th June 1947

"Bicycle laid up - using tandem.

Showery : rained all evening."

Friday, 23 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 23rd June 1947

"Dull morning.

Submitted Exam appln. to S/E."

Thursday, 22 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 22nd June 1947

"Fine but dull.

Park in afternoon.

Mother's at night."

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 21st June 1947

"Rained all afternoon.

Bus strike started."


UNOFFICIAL strikes broke out last Saturday among company bus operatives in 10 counties in the North and parts of the Midlands. Some men staged one-day stoppages, others withdrew labour for the week-end and some groups started indefinite strikes. In certain instances, routes were curtailed because operatives who remained at work refused to enter areas where strikes were in progress."

In addition to the municipal bus service, Gateshead was served by the Northern Bus Company, operating mainly across the Tyne and into Northumberland, and by the United Bus Company which ran into Co. Durham. For getting to Newcastle we relied mainly on Northern for bus travel.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Monday, 19 June 2017

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Repair Work

(Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 in)

This is the painting I started a fortnight ago, before running into obvious problems with perspective due to some faulty reference material. After painting out the errors in perspective and some further repainting, this is where I am with this one now. 

Here's how it looked before:

My Dad's Diary : Wed 18th June 1947

"Dull day."

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Sketch Crawl : Mouth of the Ouseburn

Ouseburn Barrage
(Mixed media in A4 sketchbook)

Time to catch up on our most recent Sketch Crawl - Saturday, 10th June at the mouth of the Ouseburn.

The weather was unkind yet again, refusing to maintain the decent sunny spell of the days leading up to the Sketch Crawl and offering instead some light rain. As a consequence, last minute changes were made to the meeting point and when I got to The Cycle Hub, rather than the Tyne Bar, there was Allan sitting outside, but under cover, drawing a view of the bridges up the Tyne.

In the Hub cafe were Mike and Richard, half way through a breakfast coffee, so I joined them and did a bit of catching up.

After a while the rain moved away, so we set about getting down on paper what we could in the time before more arrived. There was a set of huge green floats in the Ouseburn that really took my fancy and would have made quite a simple subject, but without turning my sketchbook sideways I couldn't find a composition. And yes, some people would just turn their sketchbook sideways, but not me.

The Barrage presented a much more intriguing but potentially more demanding subject and it wasn't long after starting it that I began to think I'd bitten off more than I could chew. And yet ... it all started to come together when first I added some colour with brush pens, then seated in the shelter of the viaduct used coloured pencils to force it to work. The watercolour was added at home to finally make me happy with it.

Next time : 29th July is WorldWide SketchCrawl Day, so I think we'll be aiming to join in that. Stay tuned.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 17th June 1947

"Dull day.

Warm night.

Went to garden with Doris."

Friday, 16 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 16th June 1947

"Dull day.

Coal arrived.

Harry weighs 15 lbs."

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Eye Opener

archie dunbar mcintosh art | Lanark - Archie Dunbar McIntosh:

Archie Dunbar McIntosh RSW
(Acrylic on board, 58.5 x 56 cm)

Pat and I made a special trip to Edinburgh yesterday to see the Archie Dunbar McIntosh exhibition at the Open Eye. There's always a good welcome at the gallery and the paintings were terrific. I've always liked his work, but now that I'm experimenting with acrylics it was particularly rewarding to get up close to it. I was conscious of what a great range of greys he employs, as well as his little personal symbols. Well worth the trip.

And as an added bonus, I had a wonderful lime and ginger scone at another of our favourite Edinburgh stopping points, Bon Papillon, before coming home.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 15th June 1947

"Garden in morning.


Went to Mother's at night."

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 14th June 1947

"Raining today.

Varnished passage and front door."

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 13th June 1947

"Put in    1 doz cabbage.
             1 doz Greyhound cabbage.
             1 doz everlasting flowers."

Monday, 12 June 2017

Sunday, 11 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 11th June 1947

"Fair day.

Doctor says Harry OK.

Finished off front passage."

Saturday, 10 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 10th June 1947

"Wet morning.

Most of night at garden."

Friday, 9 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 9th June 1947

"Fine sunny morning.

Stayed in at night painting.

Harry has German Measles."

At least I didn't have distemper.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Sketch Crawl Saturday

Ouseburn Reflections

Our next North East Sketch Crawl is not far away! We will be meeting on Saturday 10th June to draw around the Ouseburn valley, Newcastle, meeting at the Tyne Bar at 1.00pm. For anyone coming by public transport, the Q3 bus runs along the Quayside right to the Tyne Bar and can be caught near the Monument Metro station. 

Later, we'll probably have coffee at the Cycle Hub.

Hope to see you there!

My Dad's Diary : Sun 8th June 1947

"Windy and showery.

Suspect Harry has measles, but he seems fine.

Out with Ronnie at night."

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 7th June 1947

"Anniversary Father's death (1 yr).

Distempered front bedroom.

Harry develops spots."

Monday, 5 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 5th June 1947

"Bright morning."

Which is more than can be said for the same (rainy) day in 2017.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Friday at the Club

WIP (Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 in)

For reasons which will become apparent in the fullness of time, I can't say much about this painting that I started at Gateshead Art Society on Friday afternoon. 

What I can say is that due to the quality of the photographs I collaged together to make the subject and the fact that I was working at a forty-five degree angle rather than having the canvas upright on an easel, I've ended up with a perspective that is woefully awry.

I suspect the height of the main structure is as shown on the left of the painting and that I've exaggerated the right hand side. Mr Google has provided me with some additional photographic reference and after I've studied it, I'll start correcting the faults. It shouldn't be difficult, but I've always been my worst critic and so can't help being annoyed with myself.

I'll probably post some of the stages of the corrective work, if you think it might be of interest.

More Sketchbook Circle Pages

These are the latest pages in my Sketchbook Circle sketchbook 2017. The first three show additions I made to Gwen's pages, the rest are those I've started or completed alone. Materials used were Posca Pens, watercolour, acrylic ink, patterned parcel tape, washi tape, magazine cuttings, wrapping paper, paper bags, simple printmaking, postage stamps, sheet music, black brush pen, and various adhesive shapes.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 4th June 1947

"Dull day.

Garden at night - put sweet pea net up."

Saturday, 3 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 3rd June 1947

"Dull today. 

Fitted new cotters to bike. Garden at night - put runner bean net up.


Friday, 2 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 2nd June 1947

"Fine warm morning.

Went to Greenesfield House for Welcome Home Fund ... -15/= & certificate."

At the end of the War, Welcome Home Funds were set up round the country to give financial help to returning servicemen. I suspect my Dad wasn't terribly impressed with 15 shillings and a certificate.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 2nd Jul7 1947

"Fine morning.

Took Lennie back to Town on tandem.

Took Ken to garden at night.

Mother had arm attended to."

A couple of mysteries: I don't know who Lennie was, nor what had happened to Gran's arm.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 1st June 1947

"Very warm.

Terrific thunderstorm pm.

Mother's at night."

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 31st May 1947

"Beautiful weather."

As it was today.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 30th May 1947

"Fine sunny day but rain in evening.

Fell with Baby.

Harry vaccinated."

I think it's safe to assume that "Fell with Baby" doesn't indicate an accident, but an outing to Low Fell.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Sketch Crawl : Ryhope Pumping Station

Marker and brush pen in A5 sketchbook
(The brush pen tones were added later)

Saturday started very promisingly: the spell of hot weather appeared to be continuing and when Richard picked me up from Low Fell, he was sporting his shorts for what he assured me was the first time of the year. I assured him I had a cap in case of a sunburnt scalp, but also a small umbrella in case of ... English weather.

When we got to Ryhope Pumping Station the sun was still overhead and Michael was already drawing away on the lawn. The lure of powerful Victorian machinery was more than Richard and I could stand, so we went inside the main building just to check things out before settling down to sketch.

As soon as we were inside the heavens opened.

This was one of the days when the pumping engines were powered up and to all intents and purposes were operating just as when they were installed, except that no water was pumped up to enter the local water supply.

The machinery is beautiful and mesmerising, with huge cast iron Doric columns and delightful detailing on essentially minor parts. I found it genuinely difficult to drag myself away from watching the pistons, flywheels and beams, but eventually I stood and drew the second of the objects above. I've no idea what it might be and probably don't really care.

The rain eventually stopped and we ventured outside, where I admit I found the elaborate style of the building, coupled with the very tall chimney at one end too much to cope with in compositional terms. I should perhaps have decided on a small part of it and stuck to that. Instead, however, I drew the cast iron object with the door and the chains, again with no knowledge of what it might be. A 19th century iron maiden, perhaps? 

Cups of tea and slices of Victoria sponge in the cafe accompanied our sharing of sketchbooks before going home.

Next time: Mouth of the Ouseburn, 10th June 2017.

My Dad's Diary : Thur 29th May 1947

"Dull morning.

Sunny afternoon."

Sunday, 28 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 28th May 1947

"Beautiful day.

Doris at garden at night."

Saturday, 27 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 27th May 1947

"Fine sunny morning.

Attack of malaria - bed early."

Dad contracted malaria in Burma and recuperated in hospital in India, but he suffered from bouts of it for many years afterwards.

Friday, 26 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 26th May 1947

[Whit Monday]

"Dull day - sunny after 4pm.

Out with Doris - then to garden."

Thursday, 25 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 25th May 1947

[Whit Sunday]

"Fine day - Garden in morning.

Took Doris out - then to Club with Ronnie."

Dad was never much of a club man, but I'm guessing he meant a CIU Club. Which one, I couldn't say.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 24th

"Took Doris to the Park.

Baby weighs 13 lbs 10 ozs."

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 23rd May 1947

"Half day holiday.

Went shopping - sports coat and shoes."

Sunday, 21 May 2017

More from Staithes

Staithes with Lobster Pots
(Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 in)

I always like to have at least two on the go, so I started this one today; it's another view of Staithes. I can see already it's going to take more thinking to make it work than the other one will.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A New Acrylic

Staithes from the Pier WIP
(Acrylic on canvas, 12 x 12 in)
I made a start on this new painting today. It's a view of Staithes from the pier and is a lot brighter in colour than the real place, but that's what acrylics will do for you. I'm enjoying this more than my previous acrylic efforts and would continue into the night were my presence not needed as a steward for the exhibition in town.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Annual Show

Clouds over Holy Island
(Oil on canvas, 12 x 16 in)

Sunset, Holy Island
(OIl on canvas, 12 x 16 in)

I dropped these two paintings off today at the gallery on Westgate Road. They'll be going up later today when the North of England Art Club's annual show is hung.

Private View is this coming Friday, 18.45 to 20.00:

Sunday, 14 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 14th May 1947

"Lily's baby born.

Went to garden."

And so my cousin, Kenneth Gordon Aiston, came into my life.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 13th May

"Grand day - very sunny.

Lily. Kept in hospital."

Lily was my aunt, Mam's sister Lilian.

Friday, 12 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 12th May 1947

"Beautiful morning.

Went out with Doris to garden."

Thursday, 11 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 11th May 1947

"Grand morning.

Put in extra row of peas, and carnations.

Rained in afternoon."

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 10th May 1947

"Fine day - Thunderstorm.

Garden at night."

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

More on the Wall

I was pleased to receive this photograph of more of my paintings hanging on someone's wall. The one on the left is based on a little drawing I did in Portmeirion:

On the right is a small painting - the only one - I did after a trip to Chicago.

Interestingly, I have no memory of painting the one in the middle. My guess is it's a painting of Duntrune Castle on Loch Crinan, a place I first stayed at and drew in 2004:

My Dad's Diary : Fri 9th May 1947

"Garden at night."

Monday, 8 May 2017

More Whitby Fudging

Whitby Fudge WIP
(Acrylic on board, 8x8 in)

Moving slowly along on this one. Although I rather like working on these little paintings, I have to admit it's difficult getting any kind of detail on the figures which are necessarily very small. Do I need the detail? Who can say. It's just something I feel I have to do on this style of painting.

Initially, I thought I was going to like the blueness of much of the painting, but now I've put in the woman's coat, I think I want a contrast. More thought needed.

My Dad's Diary : Thur 8th May 1947

"Fine morning."

Sunday, 7 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 7th May 1947

"Grand day.

Put in Bronze Lettuce, Radishes and Clarkia."

Saturday, 6 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 6th May 1947

"Fine and warm.

Heavy rain afternoon.

Stayed in at night."

Friday, 5 May 2017

Whitby Food

The Seafood Shack WIP
(Acrylic on board, 8x8 in)

Whitby Fudge WIP
(Acrylic on board, 8x8 in)

Never one to be keen on finishing a painting, I left the others I was working on and started these two paintings earlier this week. There are things about them that I like and some I'm not so sure about, but mostly the exercise is just an acrylic learning experience. I think they'll work out OK in the fulness of time.

My Dad's Diary : Mon 5th May 1947

"Fine morning but clouded over later one.

Garden - put in Runner Beans and Sweet Wms."

Thursday, 4 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 4th May 1947

"3 yrs ago today.

Went to Winnie's. Wet all day."

Dad met Flakker Hart at Newcastle Central Station when he was first called up and they went through the War together as firm friends, but in 1944 Flakker was killed at the Battle of Kohima in Burma. There is a circle round the "4" in the diary and shading round that.

Winnie was his sister Winifred who lived in Wallsend.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Six Italian Caps

Six Italian Caps
(Acrylic on canvas, 8x8 in)

I knew I had to do something with the upper right cap: it was a curious colour and the Italian flag and lettering, coupled with the line between the cap and brim, was making an annoyingly gurning face. 

Once you've seen that sort of thing, it just won't go away, so I finally settled on replacing the flag and letters with the more standard "ITALIA". The subdued brown of the cap changed to a brighter yellow and now I'm much more satisfied with it. Satisfied enough to sign it, anyway.

My Dad's Diary : Fri 2nd May1947

"Fine day.

Garden at night - put in sweet peas and flower seeds."

Monday, 1 May 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 1st May 1947


Saw 'Odd Man Out'.

Coal arrived today."

"Odd Man Out" is 1947 British film noir set in an unnamed Northern Irish city and directed by Carol Reed. It's based on the novel by F. L. Green and stars James Mason and Robert NewtonA wounded Irish nationalist leader attempts to evade police following a failed robbery. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 30th April 1947

"Took up duties as P/Kr 1 yr ago.

Very cold.

Garden at night."

P/Kr = Paper Keeper, his first job in the Civil Service on return from the War.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 29th April 1947

"Rained heavy all day."

My Dad's Diary : Mon 28th April 1947

"Very windy but fine.

Bad getting back at night."

He was now travelling by bike, of course.

Friday, 28 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 27th April 1947

"Still windy, but fine.

Spent morning in garden.

Went out with Ronnie at night."

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

My Art on Walls

It's always good to see how my paintings look when they've been hung on the walls of those nice people who thought enough of them to buy them. Here are two of those walls.

My Dad's Diary : Sat 26th April 1947

"Sunny day.

Cup Final. Charlton v. Burnley.

Baby - 12 lbs 5 oz."

From Wikipedia: The 1947 FA Cup Final was contested by Charlton Athletic and Burnley at Wembley, England on 26 April 1947. Charlton, losing finalists the previous year, won by a single goal, scored in extra time by Chris Duffy. History repeated itself this year as the ball again burst during the game. Later, the reason for these problems in 1946 and 1947 was put down to the poor quality of leather available after the Second World War.

Image result for Charlton v. Burnley 1947
This week's motto:

"Well begun is half done."

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 25th April 1947

"Light rain in morning.

Looked at garden at night.

Turnip showing."

Monday, 24 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 24th April 1947

"Very windy but fine.

Took Doris to Gateshead Odeon to see Bob Hope in My Favourite Brunette."

My Favourite Brunette is a 1947 romantic comedy and film noir parody starring Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour.

My Favorite Brunette.jpg

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Sketch Crawl : Jesmond Old Cemetery, Newcastle

Jesmond Old Cemetery
(0.8 marker in A4 sketchbook)

Despite heavy rain the previous day, the ground of Jesmond Old Cemetery was not at all muddy as I'd feared it might be. There were some unexpected absences, but Michael, Richard and Allan turned up at 1 o'clock at the South Lodge to be welcomed by Sally, one of the Friends of Jesmond Old Cemetery who is also a friend of mine. 

Pat had come along to keep Sally company, as well as Mike's friend Nicola, and after welcome coffee and biscuits we all went off for a short walk around the Cemetery, with Sally pointing out graves of interest. And there are very many of those - most of the famous and wealthy families of Newcastle, such as Grainger, Fenwick, Bainbridge, and John Dobson, who designed the whole Cemetery, have family plots there.

At the end of the tour, Sally and Pat went off to pick up litter (not much of that, luckily) and the three artists wandered off in search of subject matter. Or should I say, wandered off to single out particular views because I reckon we were spoilt for choice of subject matter. I could spend a week there and not run out of things to draw (provided those things were gravestones, memorials ,and trees, of course).

The drawing above took me until 3 o'clock to complete and by then it was naturally time to return to the South Lodge for more coffee and biscuits. 

Deciding to spend another hour drawing again, we said goodbye to Sally and Pat who had to leave (Nicola had left earlier) and found more things to draw. I knew I couldn't do what I wanted in marker because it takes me much longer to draw that way, so I opted for a 2B mechanical pencil in my A4 sketchbook and made this drawing. I'd intended to ink it in later, but have now decided I'll leave it as it is.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 23rd April 1947

"Very windy.

Heavy rain afternoon and night."

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Friday, 21 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 21st April 1947

"Very windy - turned to rain.

Fair at night - garden."

And it's very windy today, 70 years later, though I'm not expecting rain.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Painting the Caps

Six Italian Caps WIP
(Acrylic on canvas, 8x8 in)

This is how the Italian Caps painting ended up yesterday. I'm quite pleased with the way it's going and am looking forward to seeing the logos and trimmings bringing the whole thing to life.

Bird Table

Bird Table 
(Acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 in)

I completed this little painting a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to post it here. I know it's a bit sentimental, but sentimentality is nice now and again, and I like it. If you like it, it's available - just email me.

Here's the sketch it was based on:

My Dad's Diary : Sun 20th April 1947

"Fine day. Garden in morning.

Put in turnip, beet, onion, radish seeds.

Out with Ronnie at night."

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 19th April 1947

"Light rain, but fine in p.m.


Baby 11 lbs 9 ozs."

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Evening, Hanover Street

Evening, Hanover Street
(Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in)

This painting has now gone to its new home in Hitchin, Hertfordshire

My Dad's Diary : Fri 18th April 1947

"Sunny but cold.

Garden at night. Clearing up."

Monday, 17 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 17th April 1947

"Sunny day.

Went to garden. Put in turnip seed and strawberries."

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Six Italian Caps

Six Italian Caps 
(Markers in A5 sketchbook)

Although I haven't finished the small paintings I began last week, I've been thinking about ideas for some new ones. This is a drawing I did today of some baseball caps I photographed in Bari last year. 

I think it has potential, but, as always, I'd be interested to hear your opinions. This is a colour try-out in Photoshop:

My Dad's Diary : Wed 16th April 1947

"Fine sunny day.

Took Doris to Gateshead Odeon."

Saturday, 15 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 15th April 1947

"Sunny day.

Put potatoes in (1/2 st. lates) also lettuce & turnip seed."

Friday, 14 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 14th April 1947



Sunny day.

Dug garden up - put in cabbage."

That would be their 7th wedding anniversary. Traditionally, the gifts are copper and wool. Not cabbage.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 13th April 1947

"Gardening all morning. 

Split chrysanthemums.

To Mother's in afternoon."

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 12th April 1947

"Sunny morning.

Dug top of garden in afternoon."

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 11th April 1947

"Grand day / sunshine.

Took Doris to Gateshead Odeon to see 'Calcutta'."

Calcutta is a 1947 American film noir crime drama, directed by John Farrow, and starring Alan Ladd and William Bendix.

Image result

Monday, 10 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 10th April 1947

"Light rain in morning.

Cleared up.

Garden at night."

Sunday, 9 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 9th April 1947

"Sunny day.

Committee meeting.

Garden at night. Paid year's fees. Put in two rows potatoes."

I recently discovered this plan of the allotment at the very front of the Diary.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 8th April 1947

"Started using bike for work. 


Snow in afternoon."

Friday, 7 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 7th April 1947

[Easter Monday]

"Gale blowing. Has done a lot of damage."

Thursday, 6 April 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 6th April 1947

[Easter Sunday]

"This is a bad Easter, not fit to go anywhere."

Poor weather continues.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sketchbook Circle : My Second Additions

These pages show additions I made to two pages from Partner A, Gwen, in my own sketchbook. The next are original pages by me, before I sent the book back to Gwen.

I was a bit pushed for time towards the end of the month, so the four of these were made from cut up and reassembled Mail Art envelopes that I've posted here before. I'm still happy with them, despite that.