Thursday, 31 May 2012

Weather Normal - dull again

Just as I was having a coffee in Mamuska, David turned up for a chat. We discussed the price of food, and then went our separate ways. I decided to lunch at Lye Torng. It is closing down at the end of July, so I shall have to find another watering hole. There was a photoshoot for Asos, and they were using it as a base, so fun to see the models appear and disappear in their different costumes. I sketched inside from another angle. Later I did the sitting room at home in pencil, which was very messy and uncontrollable. I shall try and tidy it up and publish tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Another Lovely Day

David bought me a coffee at Mamuska this morning. He was disappointed to hear I was not going to the Isle of Wight, but I assured him that he would survive without me. Sat in the garden after my soup lunch and sketched the back walls of the house. \ I have discovered that the addition of quite a lot of cinnamon improves soup. Also made a pear crumble which was rather wicked in every sense.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Felt Tip strikes again

some of the spelling below on the London College of Communication site looks a bit suspect

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Still Hot on Sunday

and not conducive to doing much after my efforts on Friday to Chelsea Flower Show and my Urban Sketch Crawl on Saturday. So I pottered around while awaiting my Ocado delivery - mainly cat food, but the one missing item was of course, the bag of ice, so I was forced to make some. My old friend David arrived and we chatted and looked at work we had done. David has progressed very well and mainly paints nudes. The colours are rather delicious and his modelling is very good. After a bit of time in the garden we went off to the NPG, and David kindly bought me a sandwich for lunch before we looked at the Lucien Freud, which was good to see. I have developed a rather rude way of walking in front of all the other viewers who spend so long standing in front of paintings. My excuse is that I am short so they should see over me. We popped in to the Queen exhibition for a quick look before returning home for tea. I hope we will meet again soon. Good to be back in touch with old friends. Dorothy and Julian popped around for a quick cuppa before Dorothy had to put some shelves together at home. Dorothy is going away for a week next Sunday. I have decided to purchase the ingredients for gazpacho today. I have been hooked on making French onion soup which is delicious, but gazpacho will be better in this weather. I shall use the old Elizabeth David recipe. Last night I got a bit carried away with James Oses' lovely felt tip drawings, and did a rather mouldy sketch of my window, which was quite fun, if as usual rather wonky. I would like to be able to draw a straight line. Or get proper perspective.Or draw good ellipses. Oh well. Anyway, here's the latest scribble:

Saturday, 26 May 2012

First Urban Sketch Crawl

Despite being somewhat knackered after the Chelsea Flower Shower, I arose betimes and was at Temple Tube Station at around 10.15, so had a coffee with a couple of others before setting forth. We were given excellent maps with plenty of information, and the plan was to meet if we wanted at Temple Church at 1pm or at Gough Square later at 4pm to compare notes. I saw Jenny, and we decided to go off together. We started at the Royal Courts of Justice, where we actually stayed for quite a long time. My sketch (below) was more than somewhat crappy, but of course Jenny did a very creditable brush and ink drawing. We picked up a couple of sandwiches and ate them in Kings Bench Street where we spied an excellent vintage taxi which was taking a bride to her wedding, and Jenny did a quick sketch of that. We found a quiet place around the corner from the church and spent a short while sketching there before a final meetup in Gough Square. I met Pete Scully, who gave me his card, also James Oses, who had already met Jenny, and I gave out cards which I had from Lapin in Barcelona. There were quite a number, maybe about 25 sketchers, and all of the work was very varied and interesting. A few samples below. We then repaired to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese for a drink before departing home.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Chelsea Flower Show

Was rather disappointing in a way. I think I am too unfit for it. There was a long walk to get in, then a long queue, and masses and masses of commercial stalls for the sale of garden related stuff such as sets of garden furniture etc. In between were the gardens laid out by various organisations. The winning Brewin Dolphin garden was good but hard to get close to. It was boiling hot and my feet were misbehaving so my concentration was not good. Had to sit down and have an ice after half an hour, and had to leave after an hour.There was an awful lot of garden related sculpture. I suspect that you have to be very keen on gardens to enjoy the show, but at least I actually went to it. I thought the best thing was a tall kind of cone structure. It was good to see Julia, who works so hard to get tickets for these things, and to meet some more Carpe Diem members, some for the first time. Waiting for the bus coming back were two very old ladies who had been there since 10am so most are more hardy than me. Here's some pics-

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Still Hot

So went the sleeveless way despite my enormous, drooping upper arms. I decided to be a bit hardcore and expose the bastards. Meeting Romy for lunch as arranged, so I decided to arrive very early and have some coffee and read my paper outside the tapas place. This was very pleasant in the hot sun, and I have definitely taken up a bit of colour on the arms and chest. My face is less noticeable, caked as it is in makeup. The night before I had tried the eyelash dye in order to economise on mascara, but this obviously needs a bit more technique, which I can use next time, i.e. putting the stuff on with an old mascara wand rather than the thin plastic thing provided with the kit. Romy pitched up, having survived the moving experience, and we enjoyed the odd glass of cava and tapas. On asking whether my presence on the punters holiday would be as a helper, or extra, I was rather surprised to hear that my successor has decided to lead from the front, and go with them . He was therefore taking less help than customarily. Also, Romy had not been sure whether I wanted to go on this holiday or the next one, since I had enjoyed the Wye valley so much. Although not entirely sorry not to go as things may be happening at home, the extra income would have been handy. I have cancelled the cat feeder which I had needed to book well in advance. Romy did kindly offer to ask if I could go as an extra, but I decided that my successor would feel uncomfortable if I were there. They are taking one good helper, but with two coachloads of people and two venues, I hope it will be enough. Time will tell. Below is a strange sketch, where I started with a crocheted granny blanket, then got caught up in scribbles.
I did some more desultory sketching in the evening of things around me, then Julian turned up with Yuki, down from Huddersfield where he lives with his wife and small children. He is taking part in some medical trials to help finance the family, which seems a bit dire to me. With very little English, he conveyed that he was not allowed anything but water until after the trial. Dear me. At least I could provide a comfortable bed while he is down here.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Heatwave for a Change

Coffee with David and gave him three Lucia volumes. He is really enjoying reading them, and I will pass on the other three volumes of the set when he has finished these. Bought some fruit and veg and went back home to make a veggie stew (below)before enjoying the sun in the garden for a bit. Here's a bit of a plate I unfortunately broke which is nestling among my plants. Later, Kate came around and dismantled my shower head which was spraying the entire bathroom so now there's just a flood of water coming down luckily. We chatted for ages until Julian appeared for a cuppa and to reserve my chaise longue drawing. I made a detail drawing of the arm (below).

Monday, 21 May 2012

A Bit Knackered

so had a couple of days at home. I then discovered what a tip the place is, and did loads of washing and tidying up. I looked at some paintings and did a bit of work on them. This one apparently looks like the Queen Mother but is meant to be the Queen. It is a bit rough, but that's me.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Brompton Cemetery

Went there yesterday. We met at the Troubadour which reminded me of old times - my old friend Graham knew Mike the owner, and we used to drink mugs of cocoa and find leaflets with recipes for petrol bombs scattered about the tables. We went off to the cemetery, but somehow I was not really in the mood for drawing, and produced only a couple of scribbles, while the more professional artists produced some wonderful sketches which were shown later when we met in a pub called the Atlas in Seagrave Road. Quite a good pub, Kate and I had some soup for lunch there. Got home early and subsided in front of the telly. David had been asking me about the style of my chaise longue, so did a sketch of this.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Lulastic Fantastic

Terrific blog by local blogger. Have a look at I shall now be embedding things in resin etc etc. We shall see.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Touch of Silver

In an attempt to tone down the ginger, I purchased two products. One from Superdrug called Colour Effects Cool Blonde which is aimed at toning down brassy blonde, and the other, a larger container of something called Touch of Silver, with violet pigment, ditto. Used the Cool Blonde last night and the Touch of Silver this morning. These have both toned down the ginger a bit, but I can use one or other twice a week and the effects are supposed to be cumulative. Easy to use but messy, involving a dark coloured towel, you just shampoo in and leave for five minutes before rinsing out. I was told my hair looked a bit lighter in colour today, but I can't see it. Phone call from David this morning inviting me to coffee again. We had a chat about 'old times' and he is delighted with Queen Lucia, so I shall give him my Folio set so he will have enough to read for ages. I think there are five or six volumes. Met my little Lithuanian friend for another coffee. She is worried that her boyfriend is not interested in sex but is interested in her. Lucky old her. However, she talked so much about sex to him that he was concerned about her and sent her a rather large dildo, which she brandished at me. Quite funny I thought. He obviously has a sense of humour. Lunch was soup again at Mamuska. Today I had Polish Sour soup. Seems to taste of sauerkraut, and has bits of potatoes and sausage in and is quite substantial and quite tasty. I may remain on the soup diet for a bit at £3 a time. Dorothy back at work today, not sure that was a good idea. I am becoming a bit bored with drawing fruit as you can see, and have taken to fiddling around with strips of painted paper. Tragic really.

Thor's Day

Picked up a bit of shopping in Elephant & Castle. Excellent soup for lunch at Mamuska: described as cabbage soup, this was a clear soup with a little potato and bits of cabbage and sausage in it and plenty of flavour. Definitely home-made - I found a couple of juniper berries in it. Texted Dorothy who was ill in bed and in need of sustenance. Purchased some Lemsip and went to Borough Market for German bread, soup, and russet apples and eggs. Took these to Dorothy, then set off for M & S in London Bridge station for salad materials, more soup and some fruit. Quiet afternoon, and drew a bit more fruit - one pencil, one ink drawing, in the evening. I really enjoy the programme about reuniting family members, probably because of my own and Romy's experiences.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Freezer Horror

Met David for a coffee or two at Mamuska. He is going to read 'Queen Lucia' and is ploughing his way through some Trollope - 'The Prime Minister' which I have not read. Had a chat with Nibby in the morning, and later went to the Member's private view of the Queen exhibition at the NPG with Cathy, who kindly bought me a tea and bun later. It was quite a small exhibition, but quite good and we were fascinated by the 3D portraits. Here's a snap of Cathy looking at the Queen portrait. When I arrived home, all the milk and stuff in the fridge was frozen, without any obvious reason. However the separate freezer also needed defrosting so did this in a rash moment. However, when I had repacked it and turned it on again the beeper kept ringing nonstop. Since it was around 11pm the noise was very irritating so I rang Dorothy in desperation. Poor Dorothy was suffering from 'flu and trying to get to bed. Nevertheless I was advised to turn the fast freeze button on, which shut the damned thing up. I felt guilty disturbing poor Dorothy and hope for a quick recovery. Julian is due back from Barcelona today.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Party People

These are photographs I took and experimented with painting, quite crudely, to change colours and accentuate the action or movement and expression. They are people playing, dancing, and a couple of children at a party.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


Well, it was cold and dreary last night. Bored with telly and did some sketching, below.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Tulips in Pencil

Just tidied these two up. Had an excellent chicken Massaman in Lye Torng.
I shall stop doing tulips for a bit. I may get to the Toulouse Lautrec tonight. Possibly depending upon the weather, which has been total crap so far today.

Uneventful Sunday

Quiet day, warm but very windy, so I just bought my paper, did a bit of shopping and hibernated for the day. Decided to do a couple of drawings of tulips in the evening: two with pen and ink and two with pencil. The pencil ones have smudged so will need to purchase a rubber to tidy them up and some fixative or hairspray.
I shall add the pencil ones when I have tidied them up.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Ginger Minger

Oh well. I may have to find a rat-coloured rinse to tone it all down a bit. Despite everything on the hair front, I forced myself to go out and meet David for a coffee or two at the Elephant. Then did a bit of shopping before a diet coke at the Lye Torng. Then off to the new Gelato place in Borough Market for a liquorice ice cream (quite nice) followed by a share of absolutely delicious coconut ice cream with Dorothy. This was lunch. To counteract this a bit, I walked very slowly home before changing rapidly, feeding the Kookster and setting forth for a Thai dinner at Thai Silk with Ken's group. I should not have purchased the cheap bacardi breezer which turned out to contain nearly 400 calories, had I known, but ignorance was bliss, and it was very refreshing. I met a very interesting Russian woman, Tatiana, who is living in London during term times and learning English while her daughter is at boarding school in Bath. Tatiana is very experienced on Thai matters. She used to work for a company who did a lot of business importing clothing from Thailand, and used to go to Bangkok every couple of months. She seems to have travelled extensively, and was wearing some rather gorgeous Greek earrings with multicoloured stones set in intricate gold filigree. Apparently she bought masses of semiprecious and precious stones in India, and had them set by her jeweller into huge earrings and other bits and pieces, but she says they are far too flamboyant to wear in London, apart from parties, but she can wear them in Moscow, where bling is the thing. I left quite early, as I was still a bit knackered from my earlier walk home. Caught the bus this time. Shall have a quiet day today, contemplating the enormity of the task I have taken on so foolishly. Hanging the exhibition will be hell. Dorothy has told me which printer I need to buy for my ipad, as I really need one now. I shall revisit IKEA soon and purchase frames in bulk to get stuff ready to exhibit. Shall also do some more sketching.

IKEA Hell (continued)

Omitted to mention that I was so tired after the IKEA experience, that walking out of the store into the drizzling rain, I made the fatal mistake of deciding to go to Croydon on the tram instead of Wimbledon. This way, I reasoned, I would be able to get a bus direct from Croydon to my street. However. I was advised to alight at West Croydon bus station. First mistake. Should have got off at the stupidly named 'Centrale'. Could not find the only bus which goes to my house and after walking for ages going up and down subways with my heavy bag in the rain was almost in tears with exhaustion. Eventually found the right stop after about half an hour and fell gratefully in to take the long and convoluted journey home. I now discover that I should have gone to East Croydon, got a one stop train to London Bridge and got the bus or tube home. Oh well, such is bus pass life. Yesterday I purchased more sketch books, then had a fishy pedicure with Alice, followed by lunch at Mamuska. I spent ages trying to fix things to the back of my pictures and dug a huge hole in my thumb with a screwdriver, before resorting to tiny ring screws which were much easier to put in. Nibby said that galleries insisted on D rings, but WAC have not specified, they just want strings across the backs, so that is what they will get. Normally I would just put a lot of the drawings up unframed, with pins, which is the modern way, but to fit in with the gallery I am framing them. Because the frames are light and cheap I tend to regard them as temporary framing. To me, they look fine anyway, but if people want to reframe things they will have the work at a cheap price, so the price of reframing would not be an issue, hopefully. Often, when you spend a lot of time and money with framing, people reframe paintings to their own taste anyway. Nibby thought I could save money on highlights by dying my hair back to its normal colour. With this in mind I purchased some dye which was described as 'dark natural blonde'. Of course it turns out to be a rather drab slightly gingery brown, rather darker than my natural colour, and looks fairly vile to me. I may now have to have a couple of blonde streaks put in to liven it up a bit. We shall see.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Gallery Snaps and Horse and Cart

Above is the gallery entrance
stairs going up with space on the right
left hand space by stairs
looking down from the top stairs
- and here's the horse and cart.