5 Dec 2011

Weaving the Past

 So, here is one of the reasons that I've not posted in a wee while. Due to serendipity (I love that word) I got chatting to a lovely lady called Cheryl James and we got chatting about art and photography, and she mentioned that she was doing an installation in an old mill. I said how I would love to draw a place like that, and lo and behold, she said there was space for me to join her in her exhibition.
  Its an amazing mill, still using machines dating as far back as early 1900's, most are from the 40's and 50's, and if they could talk... One lovely guy working there, been working in the mills for 50 odd years, and only been out of work for 5 minutes. Said he got made redundant from one mill, walked down the road and got hired at the next mill. Had incredible stories, but getting him to stop...

 Each machine had beautiful parts, each one individually designed for a specific use, but taken away from its context a great sculptural work of art. Not sure that is what the engineer/designer had in mind when he made it, and not sure that I captured it, but I could have spent months in that place drawing.
So, many visits later, drawing the two men working there, the old looms, the weird and wonderful contraptions, I found myself putting up an exhibition with Cheryl. All crazy and usual last minute panic to get things done, but I did it. So, if anyone is in Selkirk, its on till the 20th December, at Andrew Elliot Ltd. Phew.

3 Sep 2011

Secret beaches

Finally found this lovely beach in East Lothian near North Berwick. A few people have told me about it over the years but said I had to find it for myself as it was so special. So all I'm saying for those who care to find it, its east of North Berwick, and left down a little leafy lane, and down a bit...
Fabulous secret not so little beach, a few people there but all studiously ignoring each other pretending it was just there for themselves. Great views over the Firth of Forth, and Bass Rock covered in guano shimmers in the sun. Bliss.

29 Aug 2011

Blaeberry's and wave chambers

Couldn't resist squishing the blaeberry on the paper to see what colour it was. Went down to Kielder Forest in Northumberland and came across a huge patch of them. Spent what felt like an hour picking them in the heat surrounded by flies and midges, and ended up with only a wee bag of them. Just enough for a pie, but oh what a pie! We were actually on our way to see the Wave Chamber by Chris Drury. A stone built beehive that you went in, shut the door and sat in the dark, until you realise that you're looking at waves on the stone floor. The hut is right on the edge of the reservoir and its a camera obscura reflecting the water into the hut. All you can hear is the water lapping at the shore, and see this reflection. Lovely meditative place. If I ever have a river or a pond, I would build one

9 Jun 2011

To Tatamagouche

 So made it north after the Big Apple. Thought I'd try and draw all the animals I saw whilst up there - was dying to see a moose and a bear, but no luck. Or thought I saw a moose, but have a feeling it was just a deer. Definitely saw a beaver though, very exciting swimming alongside the road in a ditch. And a porcupine. Dead one, but definitely a porcupine.... But by far the most exciting one was what we think was a snowy owl.  Just above my brother's field, circling the trees, huge and beautiful. My brother and girlfriend moved out there last year and have started a flower farm, beautiful place, all organic and free living. Check our their blog if you get a chance, great reading about all their adventures in setting up a farm in a totally new environment to them. I'm so glad we made it out there, and great to be able to contribute my lil bit to their cause!
 Tried to draw the dutch barns all over the place, but this was done from the train across to Nova Scotia, so they flew past, so, I know they look nothing like the beautiful dutch barns, but wanted to capture the feel of them surrounded by thick snow and the water and hills beyond them.
 Jamie and Fay collected their own maple syrup, so exciting going down everyday to see what was in the bucket. Took hours to boil it down to anything remotely resembling the stuff you see plonked down infront of you with your pancakes, but so tasty, knowing you've collected it yourself.
 So many houses had these little lighthouses in their gardens. Loved them. Only managed to get three of them, but they had all sorts of different shapes and sizes.

This was drawn at Peggy's Cove, a beautiful place, a mecca for artists the world over. Not a great representation this as it was drawn in what must have been -10 degree wind chill, so no feeling at all in my hands, or brain, but one day I'll return in the warmth. It has a great lighthouse, and the whole village has been built on granite. William deGarthe, an artist, lived there and when he was 70 he started carving out a 30m mural on this granite dedicated to the fishermen. Amazing piece of work, but 7 years later he died, not having finished it. Amazing dedication to work on something that consistently, to still maintain that vision after all those years.

30 May 2011

New York 2

Loved all the different fire (?) hydrants I saw on my trip. Don't know what all the different colours meant, but I especially loved what looked like gold ones on Park Avenue. How decadent.

 Went to a Korean restaurant as we used to live in South Korea when I was a kid, so we wanted to try all the food we used to adore, and it was far better than I remembered. I'm afraid the oil pastels didn't even remotely capture the delicacy and beauty of the food we were served, but great tasting bulgogi and kimchi again. Yum.
 Drew these collection of people from our breakfast table one morning all walking past in their own little worlds getting ready for their day ahead.

Loved all the reflections in the glass. You would see hidden buildings reflected but you could never find the actual original building that made it.

27 May 2011

Trump Towers to Tatamagouche

 So, I've been on a transatlantic whistle-stop trip around New York and Canada. A wee taster of two completely different places, both fascinating, and both great. Not nearly enough time spent in each place, but a good introduction to both brothers lives across the pond.

 So, a few drawings will follow in various posts. A sketchbook was filled in all of two weeks, but I won't scan everything. But here are two of the skyline from the hotel.

Loved the water towers that were all over the place in New York. Apparently they all have to be the same style, only one company makes them, just to keep the integrity of the New York skyline. You don't really notice them at first, but once you spot one, you start to notice hundreds all over the place, I just loved the patterns and uniformity they made amongst the totally different buildings.

24 Mar 2011

What a turkey!

Loved drawing these turkeys. Could hardly walk under the weight of their own importance, all fluffed up and noone taking the blindest bit of notice. Never really noticed how beautiful their feathers were, quite subtle until you really look. Wish I had my paints when I drew them, but seeing as I was supposed to be working when I whipped my sketchbook out,  probably would have been really cheeky if I had done so...

3 Mar 2011

Two gone and counting

So where have the past two months gone to? Gone far too fast, but must show I've been having far too much fun. Either that or just got too many things to do and not enough time.

So I'm back to doing my drawing calendar, did it last year sort of, but I tended to draw the days about a week or so later, and couldn't for the life of me remember some of the days, so its only a half filled diary. I've kept this one in the midst of my current sketch book, as last year I kept it separate and never took it around with me. If I can keep this years one going daily, as its always with me,  it would be great, then at least I've got a reminder in the years to come of what a crazy ol time its been lately.

12 Feb 2011

Natural Geometry

How on earth do woodpeckers get perfectly circular holes? I've walked past this tree many a time and always marvelled at the perfect circles, so I finally decided to stop and draw it, and celebrate the clever wee elusive birds. Yet again the dogs waited patiently, well sort of. A stick kept being dropped at my feet at a not so subtle hint to get moving, stop drawing and start playing. One day I hope to catch a woodpecker on paper...

1 Feb 2011

St Bride's Day

Heard when I got up that it was St Bride's Day, goddess of fire and light. St Brigid is said to have helped the Virgin give birth to Jesus - whence she is the protector of pregnant women and midwives. Her pagan namesake, the Celtic goddess Brigit, was also associated with fertility and childbirth. Her feast day, is also the Gaelic spring festival of Imbolc, On this mystic day adders were believed to abandon their winter lairs: and the oyster-catcher birds, called in Gaelic Gille Brighde, ' the servants of Bride', made their appearance, bringing Spring with them. We saw a huge flock of them in a field today, coincidence? Not sure if I can remember seeing them earlier this year.
So this first day of February, we were told it was a good day to sow some seeds, so our new propagator bed was put to its test and tomatoes were sown. Shame she doesn't guard against forgetfulness. Forgot to turn off the hose filling up the water tank in the greenhouse, so guess what is now flooded...

31 Jan 2011

Pottering On

Can't wait, its feeling oh so that much closer to Spring and all it holds. Drew these pots in a friends' greenhouse while it was getting fixed after the snow bought all the panels in. Was meant to be helping but got distracted by all these cacti in their terracotta pots. Only very quickly painted afterwards, but it got me all excited about the planting plans and ideas that are shortly to be put in place. Also just started a fascinating book about the 'Secret Life of Plants' by Peter Tompkins. Written back in the 60's but still relevant. Makes me think twice now about how I talk and deal with plants. A must read for anyone who is even vaguely interested in plants.

24 Jan 2011

This little piggie

So that's the pigs gone. Great to have them, and learn all about them, not so great having to go out and feed them through 3 feet of snow over Christmas, but glad we did it. Thought I'd try and capture them, but all I  mostly managed to get was their backsides as most of the time they had their heads down in a trough or the mud rooting around. They did like the occasional scratch behind their ears where they went off in a kind of trance and leant into my hand. Only found out last week though that they were males. Sorry guys for calling you girlies the last 6 or so months, you'd think it'd be obvious...

18 Jan 2011

Resolute with resolutions

So far this year trying very hard to stay focused. I know its taken me till today to post, when I promised myself I would post much more often, and I would do a drawing a day, but so far that's not quite happened. But I have already done an oil painting this year, and I've started planning the next few, and one art resolution is to get at least one into a gallery. Resolution two, to enter art competitions. As they say, you've got to be in it to win it.... Resolution three, revamp my illustration portfolio and send off to agents and publishers. Four, keep up the blog. Five, uuhm, stay focused...
So here's to resolutions. Anyone willing to keep on my case is welcome. I'll try not to kick and scream too much.