Friday, 31 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 31st March 1947

"Day off today but pretty miserable as Doris still bad.

Baby doing fine."

Thursday, 30 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 30th March 1947

"Doris still bad.

Stayed in all day. Had few drinks with Ronnie at night."

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Maritime Trust in Colour

As is now quite often my practice, I've been trying out colour combinations on my Sketch Crawl drawings, using Photoshop. I find this much easier and less worrying than hand colouring sketches and I do get to a result I like quite quickly.

I feel certain there's a painting in this coloured version of the Maritime Trust boat shed.

My Dad's Diary : Sat 29th March 1947

"Doris still bad.

Having bad time with her.

Newcastle beaten by Charlton 4-0

Cambridge beat Oxford"

Mam was never an easy patient.

The second sports result refers, of course, to the Boat Race. Oxford were regarded as favourite, but lost. The Times rowing correspondent suggested the "Boat Race was as disappointing as the weather in which it was rowed".

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 28th March 1947

"Doris bad with Nettle Rash.

Johnson supposed to start at Stationery next week."

Monday, 27 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 27th March 1947

"Had day off. Went to the town with Doris and baby.

Baby's weight - 10 lbs."

"The town", of course, is Newcastle.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Working on Rakes Lane

Rakes Lane WIP 
(acrylic on canvas, 20 x 20 cm)

I've been wondering where to take the small plein air canvases I started at Lesley Seeger's workshop in Huttons Ambo. It became clear to me quite quickly after the workshop that I don't really like the thin layering method of painting that works so well for Lesley. The end result looks lovely online but doesn't satisfy me when I see it in actuality. I need some body in my painting.

As a result, I've been working over this, one of the three Huttons Ambo canvases. First of all, I tried drawing out some of the definite shapes I could see in the original, using the one photograph I took at the time and relying considerably on my memory. Then I applied quite solid, opaque colour to the drawn areas, arriving at what I think is the beginning of a painting that might work for me. More in due course.

Sketch Crawl : North East Maritime Trust, South Shields

Pulley (0.8 marker in A4 sketch book)

It was a lovely sunny day yesterday, perfect for the Sketch Crawlers to hide away in a boat shed and do some drawing. We met up in The Word, the new library in South Shields, and had coffee before heading down to the River Tyne. From the ferry landing it's an easy walk along the river to the North East Maritime Trust boat sheds where Richard had arranged we could do some sketching.

The sheds are at first rather intimidating, I found, with so much stuff cluttering the place - every bit of it a still life subject in its own right - and so much going on as the volunteers go about their restoration work, so I tried to find something to draw on the quay outside the sheds.

I quickly found what I've always known, that drawing boats from a position other than straight on to the side is very difficult: so many curves! My first attempt at a coble being refitted was such a disaster that I welcomed the fact I'd decided to use pencil rather than ink, and rubbed it out.

In the quieter shed next door I found a balcony where I was faced with this pulley (above) and so set about dealing with all those chain links as the river lapped gently on the slipway below.

In the Shed 
(2B mechanical pencil in A4 sketchbook)

I'd more or less given up doing anything more, but wandering inside the main shed again, I saw Bob across the way doing a sketch. I liked the way he was framed by the extractor fan and decided to make a quick pencil drawing of just that, but as the drawing went on, more and more of the clutter began to find its way onto the page.

I spent last night adding some of the details, such as the diamond pattern on the windows and a few shadows.

These two drawings represent two different approaches for me. The first is an example of my usual decision on these Sketch Crawls - to make a finished drawing that stands on its own. The second is a new development for me - a definite attempt to get down an idea for a possible painting by rearranging elements of the subject as I go along. 

My Dad's Diary : Wed 26th March 1947

"Fine morning.

Committee meeting at 1 pm."

Saturday, 25 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 25th March 1947

"Usual sort of day. Bicycle nearly completed - went for run to garden."

The garden was Dad's allotment.

Friday, 24 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 24th March 1947

"One day's leave due - taken.

Fine morning. Did washing.

Went to Gateshead Odeon at night."

Thursday, 23 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 23rd March 1947

"Had a walk along to see Pagan.
Doris and I took Harry out for first time."

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 21st March 1947

"Letter from Alan. Nora ill in hospital.

Snow practically all gone."

Nora was Dad's sister-in-law (my Aunt) in Australia.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Adding to the Mix

Yesterday's progress on these three paintings. I'm beginning to realise the forgiving nature of acrylics and understand why so many artists who use them often end up describing their work as "mixed media".

I continue to find it difficult to thin the paint to a consistency thin enough to make fine lines. Maybe that's just lack of practice, but I also seem to be having trouble getting an even distribution of colour, so that there are areas that simply appear slightly translucent and so need over-painting.

On a recent trip to Hobbycraft I bought a couple of white Posca Marker Pens with the idea of using them in my Sketchbook Circle work, but it occurred to me yesterday that, as they contain water-based pigment ink, they'd be suitable for use with acrylic paints. And so they turned out to be - ideal for some of the fiddly white markings on the Attic Vessels, as well as on some of the details on the Food Station painting.

This led on to my using black markers on the Food Station to sketch in the figures and then finding that, like the heavy outlining in Attic Vessels, I want to keep some of the black lines. I always thought that changing to working in acrylics might be beneficial in terms of making different work and so it's proving to be. Early days yet, but I can see how collage might be incorporated soon. All very normal for many artists, I know, but quite exciting for me at this stage.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 19th March 1947

"2 cwt coke from C.W.S."

Saturday, 18 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 18th March 1947

"Raining (with sleet) all day.

Took Doris to Essoldo at night to see 'Janie Gets Married' and 'The Letter'.

Snow disappearing fast."

The Essoldo, along with all the other old cinemas in Gateshead, is long gone.

Janie Gets Married (1946)

Married life isn't as blissful as either Dick or Janie had hoped. Dick is hired to write filler for his father-in-law's newspaper, but is never allowed to prove his real worth. Janie has to do housekeeping while dealing with a "well-meaning" mother and mother-in-law. When Dick invites an army buddy to stay with them, and that buddy turns out to be a girl, the situation takes a turn for the worse.

The Letter (1940) starred the wonderful Bette Davis and was directed by William Wyler:

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Friday, 17 March 2017

A Little More Acrylic

Three little canvases I'm working on today in the studio. All in acrylic, all 20 x 20 cm, all in various stages of completion. The first is an attempt to translate a drawing I made at the Hancock Museum into a painting, the second is the Bird Table painting I started yesterday and which I've worked on a little more, and the third is a rather hesitant start to a painting based on a sketch I did in Durham Market Place.

A rather disparate set of images, but useful in finding my way into acrylic painting, something I'm determined to do.

My Dad's Diary : Mon 17th March 1947

"Fine morning - sun shining.

Fine all day."

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A Little Acrylic

Bird Table (WIP)
Acrylic on 20 x 20 cm canvas.

Although the new studio is still in chaos, I made an attempt to get some painting done yesterday. I have a few of these very small canvases so I prepared them with a variety of base colours (burnt sienna in this case) and made a start on this bird table painting.

My Regular Reader may recall it's based on a sketchbook drawing I did at Ingleby Lodge in 2015 and which I recently played about with in Photoshop. I'm still struggling to get to grips with acrylics. Instead of using medium I worked with the colour straight from the tube, but found the consistency of the different makes (and possibly ages of the tubes) not terribly compatible. Despite that, I'm relatively happy with the way things are going and am optimistic enough to want to start one or two more.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 16th March 1947

"Raining this morning - continued all day. End of snow?"

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 15th March 1947

"Fine morning - everything frozen hard.

Clocks go 1 hr B.S.T. tonight."

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 14th March 1947

"Sun shone today - slight thaw.

Went to Dr. Murphy for Doris.

Freezing hard at night."

Monday, 13 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 13th March 1947

"Six inches of snow this morning. Traffic stopped.

Over 24 hours snow fall. 

Communications paralyzed."

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Lesley Seeger Workshop

Last week I travelled down to Huttons Ambo with my Sketch Crawl mates, Richard and Mike, for a one day Exploring Abstraction workshop with Lesley Seeger. We had a great time, the weather was excellent, the food and company were great and Lesley was a warmly enthusiastic and encouraging tutor.

Her methods are unusual, or they are in terms of how I'd normally work, even allowing for the fact that I don't normally work in acrylic. At her suggestion, I took three small (20x20 cm) canvases, two tubes of acrylic, a few brushes, a pot of acrylic medium and a little pot of water out into the local fields and from the vantage point of the hill in the photograph above, I made a a tonal drawing in blue acrylic - the canvas above - which I later worked on back at the Village Hall.

Moving on to Rake's Lane, a beautiful nearby hollow way, I made this second image with two colours and again worked on it back at the Hall.

From just up the Lane, looking back at the village, I made this third canvas. At first it was quite like the second one but somehow I managed to slop a dollop of painting medium onto the canvas and the whole affair took on a completely different character - hence the very pronounced linear quality. Again, more work was done on it back at the Village Hall.

Apart from being a really enjoyable experience, I learned quite a bit about the nature of acrylics and how they might behave. These three canvases are far from finished, of course, and whether I continue in exactly this way is uncertain, but I have a better idea of where I might be going if I pursue this medium.

Sketchbook Circle - February Pages for Partner B

These are the pages I added or worked on for Partner B in February, using a combination of markers, collage, acrylic ink and simple printmaking.

My Dad's Diary : Wed 12th March 1947

"Annual General Union Meeting.

Doris arrived home - went to arrange about nurse.

Snowing again."

Saturday, 11 March 2017

No Regrets.

I mentioned a short while ago that there'd been a small flurry of new subscribers to this blog. I didn't know the reason why that should have happened, but I do know why some of them are now unsubscribing - "Content no longer relevant."

I make no apologies for continuing to post My Dad's Diary, which is presumably the content that has given people the hump. This blog, while concentrating on my painting and drawing, has always featured a small amount of  biographical material and will continue to do so. My Dad's Diary provides a look into the first year of my life and I want to keep it somewhere safe. I post the blog entries on Facebook but am aware that they'll quickly disappear into the past; at least on my blog they're potentially there forever.

It's somewhat ironic that, were it not for the Diary pieces, there'd be little or no posts from me here and no one would have been alerted to the possibility that the content had changed in any way.

Getting artwork done has not been easy in the last year or two, for all sorts of reasons. but I haven't given up and there will be more posts about painting and drawing in the very near future. Just haad yer horses, as my Mum would say. 

And remember, Boogie Street is a two-way street. Just as I hope at least some of you want to read what I have to say, I'm always interested in reading what you have to say in return. That's what the Comments box is there for, folks. You can even leave an anonymous comment, although sticking a name of some sort at the end of your comment would be polite.

It's good to talk. Smiley face.

My Dad's Diary : Tues 11th March 1947

"Thaw continues but frost during night. 

Put leave pass in for 24th."

Friday, 10 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 10th March 1947

"Thaw started. Rain during night. 

Sick of being on my own again.

Went to Westgate at night - '13 Rue Madeleine' "

13 Rue Madeleine was a film starring James Cagney. My Mam always said Jimmy Cagney reminded her of her father.

"When spy chief Bob Sharkey finds out one of his agents-in-training is actually a Nazi double agent, his strategic decision not to arrest him results in tragedy."

Thursday, 9 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 9th March 1947

"Cleaned front path for Mother and had dinner there.. Went to hospital.
Had tea at Mother's and went out with Ronnie at night."

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 8th March 1947

"Went to Milburn's 21st Party. Had good time."

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 7th March 1947

"Cold morning - mild during day.

Got trolley back repaired.

Doris kept in hospital - bachelor life again!!"

Monday, 6 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 6th March 1947

"More snow this morning.

Mild all day but freezing at night."

Sunday, 5 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 5th March 194

"Very mild - thawing."


Saturday, 4 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 4th March 1947

"Coldest morning yet. Snow still lying and freezing hard.

Trolley taken for repairs."

I'm assuming the trolley is a work trolley.

Friday, 3 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 3rd March 1947

"Still freezing hard. Fine day.

Baby OK but Doris had to go to see doctor."

Thursday, 2 March 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 2nd March 1947

"Baby christened today. 

Lovely day but cold. Snow still lying . Freezing at night."

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

My Dad's Diary :Sat 1st March 1947

"Fine morning but cold.

Freezing at night."