Sunday, 25 September 2016

Practising perspective.

We were allowed to venture outside for my last day of drawing. It was a rare sunny day and not to be missed. 
All that theory on perspective I'd been learning and now I had to put it in to practise. It's knowing where to start!? I started drawing right in the centre where the river disappears. I was sitting on some steps looking down on this scene. My river seemed to be flowing upwards! This first drawing took about 20 minutes so I felt I was quicker and more confident. Then I worked on it at home from the photo I took.

The river still looked like it was flowing upwards but overall I was pleased with my efforts.
Drawing class has finished now and it doesn't start again until September. I'm supposed to be practising drawing at home but so far I haven't lifted a pencil.
It was May Bank Holiday and time to get out. I'll have to try taking a sketch book out with me.
I'm sure that must be what Edith Holden did, I love her nature notes and drawings of the countryside.

For now I'll just record the nature with my camera.
You're very lucky here in NI if you get a good weather day for May Day.
What did we get? Freezing cold wind and rain showers - but there was a bit of sunshine. 

This time I ditched my proper camera in favour of some 'I phone' photography.  My photos go straight on to my phone and I pad and then it's simpler to upload photos on to the blog. 

We went for a walk in Moira Demesne. I found it hard to see anything on the screen with the sun shining. I just guessed at what I was taking. There were some nice woodland paths with wild garlic growing.

Bluebells and celandines.

I spied this field of yellow but I couldn't get close to it. I think it's rapeseed growing.

A bit of camera shake, mostly because of the wind, gave me this blurry photo. I liked it.

I always like the noise of the rooks and their precarious nests swaying high up in the branches - the trees against the blue sky looked lovely.

Along one of the woodland paths there was a rogue tulip growing.

On our walk we pass a long narrow pond with terraced steps that is very overgrown and neglected.

A poor specimen of Campion.

Good old daisies and dandelions will find anywhere to grow.

Cherry blossom.

All my photos give a false impression of how chilly it was!
We finished up our May Day at the Ballinderry Antique Shop. This room is huge and there are so many more rooms to explore, I could easily spend a whole day here. 
About twice a year we go for a look around,  in fact I've been going here for over 40 years and it has certainly expanded over the years - I've never seen so much stuff packed in to a place. It's almost too much to take in!


Saturday, 9 April 2016


Here's the thing. I've realised since I started drawing that I know very little about art, or famous artists. These days my mind is just a confusion. For the past three weeks at my drawing class we've been tackling linear perspective.  I found a book in the library suited to me.

I thought I had an understanding of the horizon and the vanishing point as my teacher was talking and demonstrating it all to us.

 Then when it came to drawing a pile of real life boxes, well I didn't have a clue how to go about it.

I studied my library book briefly, then gave up. I'm not inspired to do any drawing at home.

This week we moved on to 'breaking the rules' of perspective.  That sounded like more fun. 
However, it just looked like another still life to me.

For this drawing we had to change our point of view and combine different points of view in the same image. 
I'm not sure if any members of my class understood.  I drew the still life for a few minutes in one position then moved to another part of the room and continued my drawing.

ended up with two teapots and lots of lemons! 
I'm sure I am not interpreting correctly what our teacher is attempting to get us to do.
'Cubism' was mentioned. That's when I realised I knew nothing about art and artists.
I drew the tulips in a more geometric form but I still didn't have a clue. 
Then I came home and read up a bit on cubism and Picasso and Georges Braque and now I know a bit more than I knew before. 
I'm tempted to cut up my tulip drawing and piece it together now.
I might just break the rules. Isn't that what my teacher said? 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The passage of time and a retirement hat.

I've been reflecting on the passage of time again. There's been a reason that I haven't had time or inclination to write my blog.
I've written about dealing with my mum's different problems over the past few years, and all the time it took up!  My brother- in - law, my sister and me shared the load, but my brother - in - law did the biggest share by far.
During that time, for the last 4 to 5 years, my sister was receiving treatment for cancer.
Endless hospital appointments, operations, radiotherapy, chemo, hair loss - she went through it all with great dignity,  not wanting people to know about her illness, she just wanted to live as normal a life as she could. So I respected her wishes.
I'd say she managed to mostly keep it to herself,  the family and a few close friends. She kept going right up until last Christmas Day. Although she was exhausted, she made the effort. Then on Boxing Day it was almost like she'd had enough.
I went over to England once again on the 29th January to help look after her.  While I was with her there was never any talk of dying, we just got on with it,  then on one of the last days she said,  "I can't do this anymore".
She died at home, on the 6th February, 66 years old. One of my son's read a poem at her funeral. It reflects on how you live your life - 'the dash' between the year you are born and the year you die.

Another event that involves a passage of time is your working life. It seems like my husband has been working for almost as long as I've known him and now he's about to hit retirement age!
Last year I made a thinking hat for my son's 30th birthday. My husband was extremely jealous!
He's been going on about it ever since!
So I promised my husband a hat for Christmas. Well that didn't happen, I was worrying about my sister too much and couldn't settle.
So this week he's got a big birthday coming up, he'll be 65 this Friday, and I've finally got around to making the hat.

I had this remnant, costing 1/6d in old money.  I inherited a lot of fabric from my mother-in-law's stash and I thought it would be nice to use it to line the hat.


I quilted the lining and made the hat in much the same way as my son's hat.

Somehow I managed to cut out and stitch a hat that was far too small! So I had to make another one.
Maybe that small one will fit me. His and Hers.

The braid also came from my mum - in -  law's stash. It's old.

I made a tassel.

Then finished it off by stitching his initials.

I'm calling this one the 'retirement hat'.      

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Where does the time go?

The passage of time. I remarked upon this just this week when we had to say our goodbyes to the family dog, Snoopy. He wasn't my dog, he belonged to my son and daughter in law, but I looked after him quite a bit over his 14 years.
He happily attached himself to anyone that would take him for a walk and all the family loved him. One of his favourite walks with me was over the fields. He knew the way there and he knew the way back even better and when it was time to come home he would lay down and refuse to move!

We'd all noticed a change in Snoopy lately, he was becoming an old man and, after a visit to the vet last week, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. They advised it was time to let him go.
Time has to move on.
RIP Snoopy

Time can be a healer too and just before Christmas I was back over to England to visit my mum. 
Between Christmas 2014 and Christmas 2015 my mum was lucky enough to be given two new knees! So with time, and healing, I saw a good improvement in her overall health. Not bad for 90!

I'm hoping time will improve my drawing too. 
This was what I had to draw for our last and final class.

I don't seem to get much done in class and I find it difficult to concentrate. I end up taking a quick photo and then working from it at home. There's a whole lot wrong with this drawing and I need help!
So now I'm going to have to enrol for more classes and see if I can improve on my drawing skills.
Time will tell!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Is art for everyone?

I particularly liked Richard Branson's blog post this week,  Art is for everyone.
He has such a positive attitude and inspires you to 'just go for it'.
He drew a simple little self portrait and, with just a few lines, had captured his likeness so well.

Last week I was drawing the bust of an African woman in class - and yesterday I continued on with it. We have two hours and it takes me half an hour to settle in to it. My head is scatty and maybe if I could concentrate more on what my tutor is saying it would help!

I really think some people are born with a real talent for art, they're gifted.
Others, like me, just like to 'go for it' even though we may never be like Picasso.

My drawing is overworked, I would say, but I am just a beginner.  Some of this is also done at home, from a photo, and that's not ideal.
To me, the shading is all looking dark and much the same all over. I didn't mind the look of the headdress so much. Anyway, here she is.

last week

this week

 Back to the drawing board, methinks!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Fact or Fiction?

My trip to the library the other night got me thinking.  I almost always choose factual books. I can't get in to fiction. It's not that I don't want to, but I have this feeling of guilt if I sit down to read a book for any length of time. Instead I should be up and doing something.
On the other hand, my husband can sit on the sofa reading for hours, and doesn't seem to feel one bit guilty that he hasn't talked to me all evening!
When he starts reading a book he can't put it down. Whereas the books I read, they can be dipped in and out of anytime.
Books are great for keeping you occupied but they can be anti - social too!
I'm looking forward to reading my books. My husband said, "Why is your pile of books always heavier than mine?"

Here are a few of the reasons why I chose them.

  1. The Art of Mindful Walking by Adam Ford.  Because I've always loved walking. My mum tells me I always wanted to walk, while my sister, who is four years older than me, would climb in to my pushchair at any opportunity. I don't know what the book is about and doesn't that word 'mindful' seem to be cropping up all over the place? I think it means that when you're out walking you should be mindful of all the things that can trip you up.  On the road and in life.
  2. Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. Because I like cooking but I don't like recipes that have great long lists of ingredients ( I'm thinking Jamie Oliver here). Rachel cooks in her tiny Paris apartment with few ingredients.. I first saw her on BBC2 in 'The Little Paris Kitchen'. What's more - she has an arty side to her and is a graduate of Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in London. 
  3. the modern preserver by kylee newton. Because I grew up in a country village and we had a garden where my mum and dad grew fruit and veg and preserving was a way of life.  I love making chutneys and pickles. My husband hates the smell of boiling vinegar with a vengeance, see here, so for now I've given up making chutney and just read the recipes and make jam instead.
  4. Compendium of Drawing Techniques by Donna Krizek.  Because I wanted to learn the basics of drawing - what pencils to use, or how to draw a line or even hold a pencil. I didn't know there was more than one way.
  5. Drawing Nature by Agathe Ravet-Havermans. Because she is a botanical illustrator and her drawings of nature are exquisite. I want to be able to draw like that!
  6. Handmade Interiors, a DK book. Because I've got a bare window that's been waiting ages for a new set of curtains.
  7. The Fundamentals of Drawing Still Life by Barrington Barber. Because he has a brilliant name and for last Thursdays drawing class the scary subject was the bust of an African woman. I need inspiration.

                              Unfortunately the photo I took is blurred, and so is my mind.
                                       Here's my drawing - to be continued next week.

Does her cheek look like a breast and her mouth a nipple?!  Who's still here?
What do you like, fact or fiction?

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Basket of cyclamen.

The dreaded basket that went walkabout the week before last was back at my drawing class last Thursday.
It had taken on a new appearance.
Sadly, some flowers had died and some were droopy.

This was my un-finished drawing.

We asked our tutor to demonstrate how she would go about drawing the basket and, starting with an oval shape and very light pencil marks she mapped out her drawing. It was quite mesmerising, watching and listening to someone as skilled as her putting in the different shapes, shading, making marks and chatting about life in general as the drawing gradually formed. 
More than an hour had gone by before we knew it, but it was a worthwhile hour and I learnt a lot and also have a lot to learn. When I look at my drawing I can see some of the things that are wrong with it, but I don't have enough (or any) experience to know all that is wrong with it or how to correct it.
 I wish I did, it's frustrating!
Anyway, after watching the tutor, I attacked the basket again. We're all a bit scared of it. 

As we ran out of time at class I worked on my drawing at home and tried to remember all the things I had been taught. I found the leaves difficult, working from my photo wasn't ideal, but I persevered and here's the finished result below.  Another challenge awaits tomorrow.
Here's someone's drawing and work I admire. I'd like to get some drawing in to my stitching and that's one of the reasons I signed up for this class.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Oxford Island.

A shopping trip to Rushmere Shopping Centre on Saturday, then a stop off at Oxford Island.
I was reluctant to get out of the car.  Do we have to?  It was wet.  Can you see Lough Neagh?

Looking the other way towards the Discovery Centre and the berries were dripping wet. 

The weather was improving  a bit.


The wet afternoon was brightening up. This wall mural was amazing.

The texture of the wall made the  butterflies and bees look almost real.

I loved the way the daisies had been painted over this door. Why don't we paint our houses like this?!

Too wet for a picnic.

Maybe it will be dry in the woodland, under the canopy of trees. 


Oops! No, not Santa in the hide, he's everywhere at the moment!

Can't see many birds.

Never mind, it was worth getting out of the car despite the wet weather.
There's plenty to see at Oxford Island.