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Sketching again: changing light

Jun 4, 2015   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Was inspired to sketch my reflection in the French door as it changed in the light, prompted while listening to Aboreal – Dawn mix Meant I got out my art stuff and found a missing tape measure. Haven’t sketched in aaaages. And this really was play. Delighted.


I am learning to skate!

Nov 28, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

I’ve wanted to skate since childhood, so here goes.

I really want to be able to skate backwards, but forwards first will be a great achievement. To mark the venture I’m going to produce some short broadcasts for where I host a radio show each week.

If you want a sneak peak, then follow the Youtube link below.

A flood of Noah conversations, thank you Mr. Aronofsky

Apr 16, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

I say thank you to Aronofsky for opening the flood gates to so much debate. I’m sure the story of Noah hasn’t been reviewed and discussed in so much detail by so many people for years.

As to the movie, well not my cup of tea. As I watched it I could hear the words of my Masters tutor ‘that’s convenient’ resounding in my ears at moves in the plot. Twins, yeah right. Convenient – you’ll understand if you’ve seen the film.

I think that the script would have made a better stage play. Ditch the CGI & the overpowering soundtrack, saying ‘this is dramatic’. As to the adaptation of the original story: the writers’ artistic license could have been so much more imaginative. The thing I did appreciate was the exploration of Noah’s angst, the idea that what he was being asked to do carried such responsibility and he didn’t know how to handle it.

Here’s to more discussions about big stories 🙂

Letting go of expectations

Apr 8, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

A friend of mine organised a creative reflective spot in an old church. A time to explore a theme with a bunch of people. She chose wire and we explored how wires connect and lets current flow through.

The hands on side was fun as she put out some wires for us to play with, to create and model a form. I thought I’d make a star, but angles just weren’t natural to the material.

Then I spotted a friend making a flower, so I thought ah… loops and twists. Now I was working with the wire and not against it. The loops flowed and then inspired I dinked the loops to make petals. Then pching 3D moulding grew as the current of inspiration flowed. Fun.

Afterwards someone discarded their wire and said I could have it. They had worked it into a red ball with a multi-coloured tail, which they clearly thought wasn’t useful. But no, this became the flower bud and stem.

Then as I pottered to find the wire cutters and snip a bit of green to take home, I found someone else had dropped some twiddled green. Together the three parts became a greater whole.
My lesson : Let go of expectations. There are so many more connections and inspirations than we’ve yet imagined.

Wire flower






Wire to make

Behind the picture : the past embedded in the present

Jan 17, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments
Self portrait 2014

Self portrait 2014

Self portrait oil on canvas – left reverse of image, right the front.

I’ve been taking portrait classes, either as the subject or the student. One lesson I was painting the tutor and he caught my eye and said ‘you’re copying’. I was taken aback.  Surely that is what you are doing, when creating a likeness of someone. But no, the tutor said that I should be exploring. And since that moment my exploring has taken off.

So, I decided to paint over a self portrait started over 10 years ago. But now my precept was different. I ditched the photo that I had been using to ‘copy’ from and found a mirror. Rather than copying I explored, light, tone, texture, character. And here are the results.

I  realised that I didn’t record the original painting, but today I saw the light shining through the canvas where it is drying against a window. Et voila, its past is embedded in its present.



Open mic night

Jan 9, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

I went to my first open mic night.
It was all kinda scary; fright or flight
So I wrote a poem
Even read it out loud.
But oh dear oh dear
now that I’m home
My brain just won’t leave
the rhyming alone.

Upgrade: leave the past behind

Jan 9, 2014   //   by admin   //   Blog, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

So my 6 year old phone decided to go on mute, permanently.

I tried various remedies, restarts, factory resets etc, but none resolved the problem.

The only way forward was an upgrade, a new phone.

So a new phone, well second hand, was acquired and the upgrade made.

But as the software transfer was complete a sneaky ‘feature’ remained. A shadow of the past!

Now the new phone showed the mute button was still on!

For me a picture and a lesson that dysfunction from the past can unwittingly imprint the future.


…and another red: brazilwood

May 6, 2013   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments


Origin: Brazilwood dye comes from the Caesalpinia tree, and was named “brazil” even before the discovery of that country!

In the Middle Ages it was always sold in blocks, and the craftsman had to reduce the solid wood to powder by scraping it with a piece of glass, or filing or pounding, as the finer the powder the more easily the color can be extracted from it.

In its natural state, brazilwood is a light, brownish red; mahogany in appearance. Today it is sold in blocks or chips, and sometimes in scrapings or shavings (as of 1960s).

Pigment: When the brownish powder of brazilwood is wet it turns reddish. When steeped in a solution of lye it colors the liquid deep, purplish red, and hot solutions of alum extract the color from the wood in the form of an orange-red liquor.

Most medieval brazil lakes were made either from the extract made with lye (a weak solution of potassium carbonate) or from the alum extract, as these solutions get the color out of the wood more thoroughly than plain water. Just what the shade is that is extracted depends on how acid or alkaline the mixture of solutions is made. The more alum: the warmer the color, the more lye: the colder the red. The precipitate is collected by settling and pouring off the liquid. The pasty mass is smeared on an absorbent surface such as a new brick or tile to dry. Then it is ground, and has the same degree of transparency as the alumina of which it is chiefly composed. When chalk is added to the alum, a more opaque pink rose is produced by the resulting admixture of calcium sulphate to the alumina lake. When white lead was used, it had no other effect than to give substance to the lake and slightly less transparency, rather than to make it opaque. When marble dust and powdered egg shells were added to newly formed lakes, they further controlled the color produced by reacting chemically with any excess of alum which might give a brown cast instead of rose. In all these cases the brazil color was mordanted upon the white material, so to speak, dyed with the brazil, and the pigment so formed was different from a mixture of a finished lake with a white pigment. 

In art: Brazil lakes are not very permanent.

Reference source:

Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain: colour pigments

May 4, 2013   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Let’s start with red, or should I say reds….

red, the color of blood, fire and wine….. life, danger and vitality

Alizarin crimson (Alizarin madder lake)

About: Madder lake was made from the European madder root, Rubia tinctorum.  Since the 1850s (approximately) it has been made synthetically– under the name alizarin– with an identical chemical composition, but a superior clear transparent tone and lightfastness and by manipulating these chemicals, a range of shades has been made from scarlet to ruby.

Pigment: Roots of the madder plant are dried, crushed, hulled, boiled in weak acid to dissolve the dye, and fermented to hydrolyze anthraquinones from the glycosides. The extracted dye is made into a pigment by dissolving the dye in hot alum (aluminum potassium sulphate; AlK(SO4)2 · 12 H2O) solution, and precipitating pigment with soda or borax. Synthetic alizarin lakes are prepared by reaction of alizarine with aluminum hydroxide.

 In art: Alizarin lake colors are permanent to light and to the gaseous atmospheres of urban areas. However, when mixed with ochre, sienna and umber, they lose their permanence, and when mixed with blacks or oxides, their permanence is not affected at all. Excellent as a glazing color over a dry surface. Alizarin madder lake  is a coal-tar color, and in permanence exceeds the natural product, which in contrast ages more gracefully than the artificial.

For more information see

Happy Christmas 2012 : the year of the portrait

Dec 25, 2012   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Watercolour portrait

I had no idea this time last year that I would be painting portraits and writing a book.

Here is a watercolour from my last portrait class. I’m learning soooooo much.

At an art exhibition in London I read a quote that said, in drawing a portrait we are actually learning more about ourselves. So yes I’m learning more about myself too:)

And the book….chapters are unfolding, words and pictures!