Thursday 31 August 2017

Wednesday 30 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 30th August 1947

"Hot & dry.

Went out with Doris and baby."

Tuesday 29 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : 29th August 1947

"Hot & dry.

Started overtime."

Monday 28 August 2017

Knife Garden

Knife Garden
(acrylic on watercolor paper)

All those who suggested I shouldn't touch this painting I produced with a painting knife at Tony Montague's workshop, may or may not be dismayed to find I couldn't let it lie.

I said I didn't like the sky and I meant it, so I took my brush in my hand, dug out some different blues and painted over the rather scrappy, turbulent sky of the original. I think the new sky is calmer and makes the painting much less frenetic. Using different blues has left an interesting halo round the big tree and I like that effect. I'll probably leave it alone now.

I've photographed the painting in a temporary mount, just to see how it might look framed.

My Dad's Diary : Thur 28th August 1947

"Still no rain.

Spent evening at garden."

Sunday 27 August 2017

The Path Never Taken

Path WIP
(Acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm)

When doing Tony Montague's knife painting workshop a couple of weeks ago, one of the images I thought about using was a small monochrome inkjet print provided by Tony. In the end, I used another, but I was still interested in this monochrome because it showed a path through a wood, a theme that continues to fascinate me.

On Friday at Gateshead Art Society's weekly meeting, I thought I'd make a start on this image and see where it led. And this Work In Progress is where I got to by the end of the session. There's a great deal of the cadmium orange underpainting showing through and I intend to keep some of that, especially in the trunks of the tree. The main difficulty is sorting out the monochrome trees and branches, but I'm now at the stage where I can see the wood for the trees.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 27th August 1947

"Warm and dry."

Saturday 26 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 26th August 1947

"Still no rain.

Spent night at the garden. Soil dry about 2 ft down."

Friday 25 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 25th August 1947

"Hot & dry.

Went to library at night."

Interesting to note that although this was the day of his 32nd birthday, there's no mention of it in his Diary.

Thursday 24 August 2017

Wednesday 23 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 23rd August 1947

"Still no rain.

Went to town with Doris."

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Monday 21 August 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 21st August 1947

"Still hot & dry.

Harry 19lbs 8ozs.

Garden at night."


"Austerity starts today. 
Stirling conversion stopped."

The Attlee Government was forced to introduce austerity measures in 1947 to the dismay of Britons who'd had to survive the shortages of six years of war. This link says austerity began on 27th August. My Dad doesn't agree.

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