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.