Tuesday 31 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 31st October 1947

"Damp morning.

DLI Assn. Pd 2/-.

Met chap who had been 'hanged'."

Oh for more detail! If I had to guess, I'd opt for someone who had been a prisoner of the Japanese.

Monday 30 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 30th October 1947

"Dull and showery.

Another night in house."

Sunday 29 October 2017

Saturday 28 October 2017

Oil Pastel Workshop

Across the River WIP
(Oil pastel on grey mount board, 11 x 11 in)

Another Friday afternoon at Gateshead Art Society, another interesting workshop led by my old friend Tony Montague

I've used oil pastels before but not to any great extent and I did find it a little frustrating not to be able to cover greater areas faster. This picture represents about an hour and a half's work and you can see I'm nowhere near covering the grey mount board. I don't want to cover all of it, of course: the board was chosen for its colour and some of the grey will show through the finished image.

As is often the case, I had to make a frantic search for suitable imagery for this afternoon session and I eventually found this image in a set of photographs I took on one of our painting weeks away. This one was in Little Langdale in 2007, and you might be able to guess that I chose it as an addition to my current fascination with paths through woods.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 28th October 1947

"Dull and showery.

Spending most nights at home now."

For those who wonder, this just means "spending most evenings at home".

Friday 27 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 27th October 1947

"Dull & showery.

Went to Library at night."

Thursday 26 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 26th October 1947

"Usual Sunday, but to Five Wand at night."

Wednesday 25 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 25th October 1947

"Spent afternoon in garden digging."

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Lost in the Woods

Tower in the Woods WIP
(Acrylic on board, 12 x 12 in)

Thinking I was on a roll with these woodland path paintings, I decided to try this one, based on a conflation of two photographs taken in Croatia. I've always liked  the idea of finding deserted or derelict buildings in the middle of woods so the Romantic in me was pleased. I think perhaps I would have liked it to have become darker, more sinister, but my sunny personality won out as always (winky emoji).

Initially, I'd planned to paint it on one of the more recent 8x8 inch canvases but then decided the subject deserved something a little larger, hence the 12x12 inch panel (incidentally cut from one of the many paintings I've had to destroy in the last year). Yet, as I've often found to be the case, the change in scale, even this small a change, proved awkward. By restricting the available area, the smaller sized paintings made me more economical with the shrubbery; given the relatively broad expanse of the new support (I exaggerate), I ran amok with wild and florid bushes and tree tops.

It was all too busy. What I've done now - and the photo shows where we are at the moment - is draw round the main clumps of bushes with a green Posca Pen and flatten out the shapes with darker paint within those outlines. It already looks better, so I'll try to reassert some of their solidity without, I hope, making it all too busy again.

My Dad's Diary : Fri 24th September 1947


Went to D.L.I. Assn. meeting. Paid 2/6."

As long as I can remember, Dad was a member of the DLI Association, an ex-servicemen's organisation. He was the flag bearer at commemorative marches and I think the meetings allowed him to talk about the War in a way he never could at home.

Members of the DLI Assocn. came to his funeral in 2001 and, with my permission, draped his coffin with the Union Flag and gave him an honour guard.

Here he is with the banner at a Reunion (probably at Brancepeth Castle) in 1951.

Monday 23 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 19th - Thur 23rd October 1947

Sun 19th September

"Usual Sunday."


Mon 20th September 

"Neighbour was put in own room today - took over 46-66.

Drew £23 from Post Office."

The first part is obviously to do with Messenger services at work.

Here's Dad (on the left) in 1948 with "my Messengers".


Tues 21st September

"Foggy morning.

But still very little rain has fallen.

Received £12 for settee."

I guess this was the old settee recently replaced by the three piece suite .


Wed 22nd September

"Fine but chilly.

Slight fog.

Paid for 3 Pce Suite - £34."


Thur 23rd September


Went to G'head Odeon to see Sinbad the Sailor."

Sinbad, the Sailor (1947) starring the great Douglas Fairbanks, Jr and Maureen O'Hara. : "In medieval Persia, during the rule of Caliph Harun-Al-Rashid, Sinbad the Sailor boasts about his latest adventures to his friends."

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Sketchbook Circle - nearing the end.

Holidays in Spain meant I had little time to work on my Sketchbook Circle book, so only four pages this time. Materials used : Posca Pens, torn envelopes and magazines, cut up prints from my Circle Partner, Gwen, maps, a postage stamp, a chocolate wrapper, various other found papers and some basic printing.

My Dad's Diary : Sat 18th October 1947

"Fine but chilly.

Saw Hull City beat G'head 1-0."

Tuesday 17 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 17th October 1947

"Dull and cold.

Doris went to Dr. - slight heart trouble."

Monday 16 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 16th October 1947

"Dull & cold.

Had row with Doris re not going to doctor."

Sunday 15 October 2017

Sketch Crawl : Queens Arms, Shieldfield.

Queens Arms, Shieldfield
(0.5 marker and brush pens in A4 sketchbook)

Officially, the Sketch Crawl yesterday was to Northumbria University campus but while Mike was happy - and successful! - at tackling the intricate modern architecture of the new campus buildings, I felt more comfortable going round the corner to draw this nice old pub on Simpson Terrace. I surprised myself by getting almost all of it done within the first hour. Only a bit of line strengthening and lettering remained to finish off at home.

The mysterious "whirlpool" in the foreground is actually the worn remains of a mini roundabout. Why I stopped drawing at the edge of the page instead of finishing the building on the adjoining page is more of a mystery. Maybe I'll go back and remedy that.

We had a pleasant surprise in the form of two visitors from other Sketch Crawl groups - Andy from Urban Sketchers Yorkshire and Christine from Urban Sketchers London. Nice to meet you both and I hope we get to meet up again sometime.

[Next Time : 11th Nov., Sunderland Winter Gardens]

My Dad's Diary : Wed 15th October 1947

"Showery this morning.

Spent night at home.

Called at mother's."

Saturday 14 October 2017

La Cartuja, Seville.

La Cartuja, Seville.
(0.5 marker and watercolour in A5 sketchbook)

I'd just about given up on drawing anything in Seville, even after a wander round the fascinating complex of La Cartuja with its Spanish and Moorish architecture mixed with British kiln chimneys, and was on my way out of the gate. Looking back I saw this doorway and, really quite tired by then, sat down on a step and got the sketchbook out. The circular design proved a nightmare because it was composed of thousands of coloured ceramic tiles, but I guess (hope) that doesn't come across too badly in the final drawing.

Back at the apartment, I dug out my tiny watercolour box and a waterbrush and added a bit of colour to pull the thing together.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 14th October 1947

"Fine weather continues.

Went to the doctor's for Drs Certs. Jimmie and Lily sick now.

Doris had dizzy bout."

Jim and Lily were Mam's brother and sister, also living in the flat upstairs.

Friday 13 October 2017

La Farola, Malaga

La Farola, Malaga
(0.5 marker in A5 sketchbook)

Despite an optimistic packing of several different sketchbooks, I found it as difficult as usual to get anything drawn on holiday. Two weeks in Spain and only two drawings done. Well, you either get to see lots of interesting new things or you get to stop for an hour or so and get something drawn. So it goes.

At the end of the week in Malaga, I found myself in the harbour looking at the lighthouse and suddenly feeling I could get something down on paper. And here it is.

My Dad's Diary : Mon 13th October 1947

"Changed bike over to fixed."

Thursday 12 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 12th October 1947

"Mr & Mrs Brownlee & Ken sick with food poisoning.

Did lots of digging in No.52 garden.

Fine weather continues."

"Mr & Mrs Brownlee" were my Mam's parents who lived in the flat above us with her younger brother Ken. I have no memory of my maternal grandad, but I'm fairly sure this is us together in the backyard. To the best of my knowledge, no one ended up buried in No.52 garden.

The "fine weather" was actually the hottest summer on record for 300 years.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 11th October 1947

"Bed settee suite delivered. Cost £34.00.

Took Doris to Ritz."

Tuesday 10 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 10th October 1947

"Fine weather continues.

Went to see about 3 pce suite. Fixed on Bed Settee suite."

My Dad's Diary : Thur 9th October 1947

"Harry now has 5 teeth.

Wrote to Joe Milburn."

Monday 9 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 8th October 1947

"Fine day.

Collected logs from Mother's.

Rec'd letter from Nora."

My Dad's Diary : Sun 5th - 7th October 1947

Sun 5th October 

"Fine sunny day.

Garden in morning. Started stripping turf off.

Five Wand at night."

Image result for five wand mill inn


Mon 6th October

"Fine day again."


Tues 7th October

"Fine day.

Had haircut."

My Dad's Diary : Wed 1st - 4th October 1947

Wed 1st October 

"Fine weather continues.

Went to see Mother - had a bit of a row re politics.



Thurs 2nd October

"Fine and dry.

Overtime again."


Fri 3rd October

"Fine weather still continues.

Last night of overtime."


Sat 4th October

"Sunny day.

Went out with Doris and baby to get new raincoat.

Ronnie had leeks stolen."

Sunday 8 October 2017

African Currency and a Sharpie

 3 pages of African Currency
(Black Sharpie in 14 x 14 cm sketchbook)

As an experiment, I took on holiday a new small Seawhite sketchbook and a black Sharpie. I know nothing about Sharpies except that they're very popular, so I thought it would be worth a try. The Seawhite sketchbook says on the inside sheet "ALL-MEDIA CARTRIDGE PAPER". I've used them before and had no trouble with them, but when I tried the book and the Sharpie together in a museum in Malaga, I found they didn't much like one another. The Sharpie bled through the paper easily and unless I worked very quickly, I found I was making drawings like join-the-dots

I gave up and took photographs instead.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 28th - Tues 30th September 1947

Sun 28th September 

"Fine day.

Spent morning in new garden.

Got word of increase - 7/6d.

Usual Sunday night."


Mon 29th September

"Started overtime tonight.

Still no news of promotion.

Trouble re pyjamas."

It took me a long time to work out that the last word was indeed pyjamas. Don't ask me to explain why there was trouble with them, or what that trouble might be, because the secret is lost in history.


Tues 30th September

"Fine sunny morning.

Overtime again."

Saturday 7 October 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 24th - Sat 27th September 1947

Wed 24th September

"Sunny day.

Started work in new garden - No. 52."


Thurs 25th September

"Dull but fine."


Fri 26th September

"Took Doris to Odeon, Gateshead."


Sat 27th September

"Sunny day. Went to see Gateshead v. York -- Draw 0-0."