Sunday, 29 June 2014

Thinking positive

I guess determination will help you succeed.  I've been a bit down about my painting,  I'm wanting quick results and of course that isn't how it works.    I've made up my mind to look for another art course after this one finishes.  There is just so much to learn.   Yesterday we were shown how to paint a sky,  I guessed that you'd use blue and magenta,  but who would have thought that there would be yellow in this sort of sky?    

I'm learning more and more,  my mixing is much better,  as is the blending.  I feel more confident as well, usually I wouldn't tackle any figures,  but this silhouette I thought would be easier, and it was.   Still got lots of detail to put onto the beach,  so it looks like there are lots of puddles. 

Not yet finished my piece for the art course.  I had to go home early yesterday as it was just too cold in the art room.  My back and knees were terribly sore,  I knew I wouldn't get much done if I stayed there, so I came home.  I left the art course piece alone,   I felt like I was getting bogged down with it.  That's why I did this piece.  Its from a photo someone had brought into art therapy last Thursday,  I couldn't resist it,  so the chap kindly allowed me to take the photo.   I did wonder if it was beyond my level of skill,  so I just took my time with it.  I did a test piece on some paper,  it's far cheaper than ruining a canvas.  Although if I go wrong I just wash it off and start again.   

I've just had a lazy couple of days,  I realised on Friday that I'd been out nearly every day, so it was time to recharge the batteries.   It was just what I needed. Same today I managed a lie in,  amazing really since Harvey usually demands to be up early.  I'd thrown my micro fleece dressing gown over the bed (it was a bit chilly last night),  Harvey tested it out and decided it was the bees knees!   So we both had a lovey snooze.

I think Harvey has now well and truly settled in,  he's sitting on my lap now,  not following me around as much and is eating well.   We still have a few teething issues,  such as his liking to wake up in the wee small  hours,  I wake up but I have no desire to be active!    The other night he slipped out without me noticing, so he got locked out for a few hours.    But last night I invited him to go out, he stuck his nose out of the door, realised it was raining and bolted back up the stairs - what a wimp.

Enjoy the new week, lets hope the sun keeps shining.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


This is the piece of driftwood I picked up from the beach last week.   It is charred from a fire,  but has such a lovely pattern on it.  I've begun to put some frantage on it,  and I've got some shells that I'm going to break up.   And here's the poem that goes with it:

In amongst the river’s detrius
You lie:
Carelessly cast aside.

Scarred by fire,
Tossed by the sea
A survivor
Refusing death’s invitation

Yet I see the beauty
            Of your hidden soul
Warmed by the sun
Cooled by a dancing sea breeze

Now you lie undisturbed
Waiting to be discovered
By a casual eye
A curious mind

Will the see reclaim you
Before that hand
            Reaches out to you
But you will survive.

A close up of the frantage.   I resorted to using glue to hold it in place.    This is all for art therapy,  we're doing a mixed media piece,  and creative writing, hence the poem.   It was a nice way to spend the afternoon, even if it did mean missing Wimbledon,  though it might have been a different matter had Murray been playing.   Tomorrow it is back to painting,  I've now sorted out my picture, I use Craft Artist to have a play with various elements,  just to see where to place them.   Now I just have t execute it... easier said than done! 

Best get back to some other writing.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

It's been a while

Apologies for not keeping the blog up to date.  I've been a bit busy with Harvey and my art project.  Somewhere along the line I also managed a counselling session and a new round of art therapy.

At art class last week we had to decide what we were going to paint.  I'd taken a few pictures at the beach,  and thought I'd use one of those. I was surprised to see that I was the only one who was being original, the rest were basing their pictures on other pieces of work.  That is allowed provided it is not a copy, or done in the style of. 

This is a dry run,  just wanted to have a practise and try a few ideas,and is nowhere near finished.   I'm much happier with my technique,  I'm learning all the time.  When I began I couldn't get the mix of acrylic to water right,  or even knew how to mix colours.  I'm getting better with both, and feel more confident.   I know on this that I've got the perspective on the small pier wrong,   but I can change it.  I found a way to introduce some texture,  I paint the water and then used my pokey tool to score into the paint, then I added some dark and light blue paint.   I'll be picking Andy's brain on Saturday,  everyone else on the course has been painting for a while, so I am the only newbie.  I've used acrylics for my craft projects, but never just for painting, or at least not properly.   A finer brush would help with the grass, and for more finer details. 

I want to do this as a study as well.  I took this last week during our the first of our art therapy sessions.  We were at the beach,  it is a semi creative writing/art project.   Me being dozy had misunderstood where we were meeting,  so there I was all alone, sent a text and yep, I was in the wrong place, or wrong end of the beach!   It was lovely,  not sunny, but even so it was good to be in the fresh air.   Some of us wandered along the beach, I collected a lovely piece of driftwood which I'll be using as part of my project.  After the class we went to the coffe shop at the baths and had a coffee,  think we kind of took the place over!   But it was so relaxed, a nice start to for our two newbies. 

And to end, the Harvey 'selfie',   I held my kindle in front of him and took the picture.    He's now happy to sit on my lap,  he goes out but won't leave the garden.  Last night he saw off an intruder, a neighbour's cat came in and Harvey was most put out!   I had to rescue the other cat, who was confused with the layout of the flat.   I just need to train him to stop waking up in the early hours of the morning.  He's getting better,  I now ignore him,  which is the best way.  I'm putting his fussiness over his food down to his settling in period.  He's a very clever cat,  he's already worked out how to open the cupboards,  he will also catch his 'treat' in his paw.   My last cat, Ms Mufti had been taken away from her mother too early, she was barely cat socialised,  she regarded me as her 'mum'.   But Harvey has had a better start in life and is fully socialised. 

And of course Wimbledon has begun!   I was determined to watch Andy Murray walk onto Centre Court as champion,   even made an early start to get some vital shopping,  milk/bread etc, so I wouldn't have to go after my other therapy class.    I did see the start of his match and then the chap came to service the gas boiler!  

Hopefully the next post won't be so long. 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

My new flat mate

Meet my new flat mate, Harvey.  I picked him up today,  he was a bit shy at first, taking refuge under a bed,  but he soon settled in.  Not sure if he had actually stopped purring yet, he was in a very good home,  and has been well loved.  He's eager to go out and he can't, not just yet.  So he's padding round the flat!  In a week or so I will let him go out, when I feel sure has accepted his new home, and hasn't got any plans to head home.  Though if he does then he will have to swim! 

I've been looking for a cat for quite some time, but was determined to wait until the right one came along. I used Preloved,  what amazed me was how many owners hadn't bothered to get their cats neutered,  I find that irresponsible.   It was also the thing that put me off a few cats that were being advertised.    Anyway I spotted Harvey last night and sent a message to the owner,  we had a 'lovely' chat, and she invited me to come see him today.  Well I fell in love with him, he came over to me and let me fuss him, and allowed me to hold him.   So that was that,  and Harvey came home with me.   

I'm still painting, but now I am focusing on small studies so I can improve my technique.  I'm starting to get the hang of how much water to use with the acrylics,   these small studies are just perfect for this sort of thing.  I picked up a cheap acrylic pad,  and have cut the pages into quarters.  I will also do some colour mixing as well.  This 'rock' painting was inspired by the wall of rocks at the marina.  I indulged in a beach walk on Thursday, it was just too nice to stay indoors,  I drove down even though it isn't very far,  but the knee and back aren't up to a really long walk.  I took lots of pictures,  hoping to use one or two for paintings, and as studies. 

Harvey is at last having a snooze, on my bed, spoke too soon, he's up again.   He is very relaxed with me,  so I don't think it will take too long for him to really settle in. 

Well all for now, it is too hot to sit at a computer. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

All finished.

My painting is finished,  the boat has some oars and is tied up to stop it floating off.  I'm pleased with it, mainly because I finished it. 

It was week two of the art class,  it was a bit scary as we had to do some sketching, copying pictures to scale, or in my case 'sort of' to scale.  I chose what I thought would be an easy picture, a straight street scene...  a little later the art tutor told me that such a scene was the hardest to do!  But I had a bash, and hadn't gone that far wrong. I got better,  not by much.  Then we did something called blocking,  I'm sure that with practise I'll get better.   Which is what I intend to do, picked up a few supplies on the way home,  and a small acrylic pad, which I can use for practise.  We had a few more people turn up for the course this week,  so now we have a full quota.   We  have a husband and wife who are a bit of a comedy duo, they had us in stitches at times.  It was a nice relaxed atmosphere, and we had some music at our request, well with us all concentrating it was rather quiet!

   I am in for a busy time, we got warned today that we will have homework.  Next week is also busy,  I have a photo walk round Liverpool, and a tour round the Albert Dock,  then counselling and Art Therapy,  and back to art class - phew. 

All the craft stuff has been stored for the art duration.  Unless I need a distraction.  I've lined up my next painting, I was going to do another beach scene,  and did start it but kept going wrong, I was demanding too much of myself.  I've chosen a landscape instead,  that involves some blocking, so it will be good practice.   

I hope this stormy weather has blown through, at least it saved me watering garden.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


As you can see I've been painting!   I was never going to be content with just sitting here mixing colours, so I looked on YouTube for tutorials on painting.  I was spoilt for choice, I couldn't believe how many generous souls there are out there willing to pass on their knowledge.   I came across a tutorial on painting a seascape,  and thought it was something I could tackle.  I will confess that this is the second attempt.  The first was obliterated,  I used a much smaller canvas, and rushed it.  I was very dissatisfied with the end result. So I removed it by washing the canvas.   Today I started again.

I had a bit of an early start,  to the day and to painting. Woke up at 4.30 a.m.,  now what use is that?   I was a bit worried about my BP check,  it was up last time, so that means having it checked twice more...  I thought I'd set my alarm, but I hadn't,  so after managing to fall back to sleep I then managed to lie in.   Anyway the BP was normal, 125/80,   that's were meditation comes in handy!   So with that out of the way the rest of the day was mine.  After a coffee,  a spot of nostalgia with The Waltons, lunch it was time to hit the new canvas. 

I chose a bigger canvas, and watched the tutorial again.   I realised what I'd done wrong, a basic mistake, I'd not thought about perspective - doh!   I also prepped the canvas,  which made life easier.  I also took more time over things,   and allowed some drying time,  that was the easy bit as there was tennis to watch!     Over the course of the afternoon the painting began to emerge,  and one that I was much happier with.    There is still work to be done,  need to add some clouds and waves, and work on the sea,  I also want to add a boat. 

I don't like to think of myself as a perfectionist, but I think I am, not that I reach perfection.  But I do need to be satisfied with what I produce,  it has to meet my exacting standards, if not then it is either destroyed or recycled.  I do try to stick to recycling where possible,  it is easy with canvases,  you just give them a good soak.

I did pop up to The Range for some art materials,  I'd run out of a few colours, couldn't afford the good stuff,  but what I bought claimed to be of artist quality.  I did spend a bit more on the canvases,  and splashed out a whole £1.99 on a palette!    Well almost time for Happy Valley... need to watch the last episode.   

Thanks for stopping by