Sunday 31 December 2017

Sketch Crawl - The 'Into' Building, 16th December

South Africa War Memorial, from the Into Building
(0.8 marker in A4 sketchbook)

For some reason I completely forgot to post this drawing, done on the last sketch crawl of the year. The "crawl" was a bit unusual, in that the Tyne & Wear Urban Sketchers were invited to join the Newcastle Painters Group for an informal lunch, before we went up to the top floor of Newcastle University's 'Into' Building to do some sketching.

What a view! I've never been able to see the angel on top of the South Africa War Memorial so clearly before and I'm well pleased with the drawing I made. A good end to the year's sketching.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 31st December 1947

"Work again.

Paid 1st full monthly salary £21.14.9.

Saw the New Year in at Mother's with Ronnie & Glad, Billy & Winnie."

And that, of course, is the last entry of the Diary. In the Notes at the bottom of the final diary page are these important dates:


Harry born Jan 29th.

Established as Sen. Mss. Nov 10th."

Finally, at the back of the diary, is a list of music that presumably my Dad listened to and thought worthy of noting down:

"Mood Indigo.
Moonlight Sonata.
Concerto for Two.
Rachmaninoff's Second.
The Flea.
The Folks Who Live on the Hill.
On with the Motley.
The Student Prince.
The Desert Song.
Tommy Dorsey - Getting Sentimental.
Cabin in the Sky.
Gloomy Sunday.
Westering Home (Robert Wilson)
Tenement Symphony (Anne Shelton)
The Folks Who Live on the Hill."

And yes, "The Folks..." does appear twice.

I hope at least some of you have found these diary entries of interest and my thanks to those who may not have found them so, but stayed on nevertheless.

To those who unsubscribed because "Content no longer relevant" I have nothing to say because you won't read it anyway (smiley face).

Friday 29 December 2017

Ian Bennett RIP

I'm saddened to report that my old friend, Ian Bennett, died last night of pneumonia. His wife Rachel died earlier this year and when I saw him last he was looking very frail.
Ian and I, with two other painters, formed Figure8 in 2004 to show our paintings and we held shows round the region for ten years. This is part of the poster for our last show together in 2014. I shall miss him.

My Dad's Diary : Mon 29th December 1947


Mother minded Harry in PM. 

Took Doris to Westgate to see Charlie Chaplin."

Monsieur Verdoux Poster

The film was probably Monsieur Verdoux, a black comedy in which Chaplin abandoned his little tramp persona to play: "A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards."

The film was not well received by the press and did better in Europe than America, but it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing in 1947.

Thursday 28 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 28th December 1947

"Usual Sunday. Pottered about in garden.

Five Wand at night."

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Tuesday 26 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 26th December 1947

"Had walk out with Doris & Harry. Wreath on father's grave."

My Dad used to take me to Saltwell Cemetery every Xmas, without fail, to lay a holly wreath on his Father's grave. After his Mother's death, we changed the day to Xmas Day itself so that we could lay the wreath on her birthday.

My parents were both cremated but I had their ashes put in the same grave and I've made sure I continue the tradition of laying a wreath on the grave, although I now do it on Xmas Eve. This is this year's:

Monday 25 December 2017

Sunday 24 December 2017

December Sky

We've been getting some spectacular sunsets recently. The sky last night was particularly impressive.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 24th December 1947

"Everybody half tight in afternoon. Glad to finish off.

 Kept sober myself."

Xmas parties at "The Ministry" were notorious. Shortly before I went to to work there they were stopped, reportedly after a couple were discovered having it off in a telephone kiosk in one of the Blocks. 

After that, we could only have office parties in the local pubs, most notably "Block 18" - The Newton Park Hotel.

Saturday 23 December 2017

Friday 22 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 22nd December 1947

"Joe on holidays. Looking after 10 & 11 Blocks. Saw Bennett re. shuttle instructions."

Thursday 21 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 21st December 1947

"Took Harry for a walk, called in at Freeman's.

Usual night with Ronnie."

I don't know who Freeman was.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Tuesday 19 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 19th December 1947

"Association night.

Bought D.L.I. Journal."

Monday 18 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 18th December 1947

"Damp & cold.

Drew £3 out of Post Office. Went to Ritz with Doris."

Ritz Cinema, that is.

Sunday 17 December 2017

I Looked *Everywhere*.

Winter's Jar WIP
(acrylic on board, 24 x 24 cm)

Still Life with Fish and Chair WIP
(acrylic on board, 10 x 10 in)

Collage Jar WIP
(acrylic on board, 18 x 20 cm)

On Friday I decided to try to get these three paintings finished in time for a meeting of the Newcastle Painters Group on Saturday, only to realise I couldn't find my box of paints. During the week we'd moved the rest of my stuff from the old house and in making room for all the boxes, I'd put my container of most-used colours Somewhere Safe.
After a search Everywhere, I pressed on with some of my other colours but progress was slow and I didn't complete any of them. Still, they were well-received on Saturday and I've since looked in that other place that wasn't Everywhere and found the mislaid paints.

My Dad's Diary: Wed 17th December 1947

"Damp and cold."

Saturday 16 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 15th, Tues 16th December 1947

Mon 15th 

______________ [no entry]

Tues 16th

"Damp and cold.

Using bicycle for work again."

Thursday 14 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 14th December 1947

"Ronnie's baby christened.

Usual night at Five Wand."

Wednesday 13 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 13th December 1947

"Had quiet afternoon.

Pulled a bit of veg from garden."

Tuesday 12 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 12th December 1947

"Association meeting.

Had long talk with Tommy.

Nice evening."

Monday 11 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 11th December 1947

"Damp & cold.

Took Doris to Gateshead Odeon."

Sunday 10 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 10th December 1947

"Coughing well - cold continues.

Weather is very cheerless."

Saturday 9 December 2017

Winter's Jar WIP

Winter's Jar WIP
(acrylic on board, 24 x 24 cm)

One of the problems with sticking too closely to Gateshead Art Society's programme of suggested activities is that I seem to be ending up with quite a few unfinished paintings. This is certainly not a new situation for me in that I've always liked having several pictures on the go, but the number of unfinished ones is growing.

This came home to me yesterday when I found myself starting yet another. The suggested subject this week (and last, but I wasn't there last week) was "Winter". Using a photograph of a hillside in Little Langdale, adapted to show a covering of snow, I've added another of the pharmacy jars I saw in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

There's a long way to go with it and I'm not entirely sure it will work the way I thought it might, but for now I'll take it forward.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 9th December 1947

"Full of cold.

Brought in 2nd overall for Mr Moody."

Friday 8 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 8th December 1947

"Griffiths, Ministry of Health visited Benton today - loads of bull.

Cold still bad."

Thursday 7 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 7th December 1947

"Work today - same job as Saturday. Finished 5pm.

Gladys churched."

Wednesday 6 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 6th December 1947

"Work all day.

Corridors of No.8 block to clear - finished 5 pm."

The printed motto at the bottom of the page reads:

"Lost time is never found again."

Tuesday 5 December 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 5th December 1947

"Bit of a cold this morning.

Usual sort of day.


Monday 4 December 2017

Mint Street Recovery

Mint Street WIP
(acrylic on board, 25 x 25 cm)

I'm pleased to say my solution for eliminating the annoying Sharpie lines worked. Using acrylic matte medium, I pasted down two layers of very thin paper so that I could see the general outlines of the painting, then re-established the main colour areas. 

Tidied up and corrected with a few Posca Pens (which is why you should ignore the rather insistent blue lines), it feels ready to to be taken forward. The little man outside the shop has become a ghost, but I expect he can be summoned into life again.

My Dad's Diary : Thur 4th December 1947

"C.S. Exam today.

Sat for it and didn't do too bad.

Rain poured down.

G.W. did overtime."

I don't know if we'll find out the result of Dad sitting the Civil Service exam before the Diary ends, but I do know, of course, that he did go on eventually to be an Executive Officer.

Years later, when I was in the Civil Service, I worked with a man called George Wilson who'd worked with my Dad. I wonder if he might have been "G.W.".

Sunday 3 December 2017

Bad Sharpie!

Mint Street WIP
(acrylic on board)

I spent yesterday afternoon in the Shipley Art Gallery, sitting at a table in front of the big Tintoretto, smiling benignly at the people who'd come in to look at Gateshead Art Society's Xmas Exhibition. As part of my duties, I'd been asked to do a bit of painting, just to demonstrate what it is we do at our meetings (as if the paintings on display weren't enough), and so I did.

I'd hurriedly thrown some paints, brushes and a prepared board into a bag, together with a printout of a potential subject, but what I neglected to add was a pencil. So when it came to squaring up the board I had to fall back on the only alternative - the black Sharpie in my coat pocket. And what a disaster that turned out to be.

I'm sure you can see from the photograph above that the construction lines are still plainly visible and that's after several layers of paint. Acrylic is so transparent! Even the layer of white acrylic gesso I added when I got home failed to cover the lines.

I have one other solution in mind, but if that doesn't work, I'll simply have to scrap several hours work and paint over the board and begin again.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 3rd December 1947

"Frost broke today.


Saturday 2 December 2017

Friday 1 December 2017

Sisyphus SOLD

(acrylic on canvas, 8 x 8 in)

This little painting has intrigued me since its creation. It grew out of my current line of Path Through the Woods paintings but unlike the others in the series, it really owes its existence to something in my subconscious. Derived from a pastel drawing done quite a few years ago, it went through several changes, mostly driven by instinct. I sometimes wondered whether it would appeal to anyone other than me.

Yesterday I sent this little painting on its way to its new home in Roswell, GA. 

My Dad's Diary : Mon 1st December 1947

"Still freezing.

Using tramcar now as roads are too bad.

Overtime until 7 pm."