Gamma cat

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I was watching a video today and remembered one if our old cats, Gemma. Like the cat in the video she would ride round on my shoulders, and was determined to stay near me. I once visited a friend in the street and went in through the front door. I came out the back way after the visit and could not see her so I went through the entry (passageway) back to the front, and there she was, sitting on my friends doorstep, waiting for me.

We first met because she had been going to my friends house and eating the dog’s food there. I had recently lost my old cat, he had died of old age, so I agreed to take her. We booked to have her neutered but she was pregnant. She was fine up until the birth but did not bite through the umbilical cords, When  we got up in the morning the kittens had been born, but one had died. It was a shock as I had not realised there was a problem. We were saddened by the kittens death.

As there were three kittens left we kept two and gave one away. This was because it was an odd eyed white cat, and we didn’t think living by a main road would be good for it.

Her two kittens, a male and a female lived with us too. All of them lived long lives, I think they had a good life with us.

Anyway we had not realised how bright Gemma was. I have a painting I did of her from a photo. If I was outside with her and tapped one side of the gate post she would jump across the gap to me. She was so good at it that I could take a photo of her in mid air, this was the basis of a painting called Gemma leaping.

Her happiest spot was sitting in the sun on the window ledge upstairs. This is my favourite cat painting, and most loved image if her.

Howl

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Howling against the wind,

The wolf sits atop the mountain.

Moon shines down on glistening snow.

Quelling fear I walk on,

In darkness amid the trees.

 

Wolves leap along the track,

Their green eyed glow, reflected by my torch,

Stay to one side of me

Fearful of the stranger in their realm.

 

Howl back at the moon,

Step quiet in the dark,

Leave fear behind in the old town,

Come out and see the shining stars

And howl against the dark.

 

I dont live in a country with wolves, but a lot of the stories about them attacking are apparently mythical. However I would not want to be bitten by one, they could carry diseases like rabies. Wolves are powerful predators, they are pack animals and follow a dominant male and female pair. I would love to see a real one in the wild, but not in captivity. I saw the pelt of one at the weekend at a Saxon reinactment. I hope it was old and historic and not a recent purchase.

Howling against the dark and wind feels like how it would be, icy cold, your breath turning into ice crystals. The feeling of wide spaces and high hills. Freedom, Beauty, life.

Twins drawing.

One thing you can do with digital art is change your ideas. These three drawings are all  worked on from the dot drawing I initially started with. Not exactly joining the dots, but smudging them together and changing the consistency of the pens from plain to metallic.

The app I was using was a galaxy apps called ArtRage oils (free) and Layout which is linked to instagram.

Being creative means I like playing with different techniques. I remember the thrill I got when I first saw a drawing package at a radiography conference.  It was a big screen to draw at, with a large computer to control it all. I could see the potential for art even then. This was in the 1980s and things have come on massively from then. I think the stall holders at the conference were surprised by what I could do.

These drawings are very crude, but they are effectively finger paintings. Even with a stylus they are not exactly good. Other drawing packages on proper graphics tablets can be phenomenal. Here is an example of a drawing I did on one of them….

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It’s still crude, but there are many more tools to use to get different blending. I think this was done in Photoshop on my wacom tablet. Im considering doing more of this, the trouble is my little tablet is too versatile and I don’t have to so at a desk and keyboard to use it. I guess it’s a case of what effort I want to put in.

Cheers x

Black cat appreciation day

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Some people don’t like black cats,  but I do. I had two of them over the last few years. A female who was very sweet and tiny, and a big male who would sit and guard the cat flap at night.

My only worry with black cats is that they are difficult to see at night so I always put reflective collars on them. That goes for black and white cats to as they tend to have black bodies and the white parts are underneath or on their legs.

Black cats are supposed to be lucky in the UK where in other parts of the world they are meant to be unlucky. They have a history of being thought to be witches familiars, but I think if a lonely old lady wants a cat to keep her company she should not be persecuted for it. If a black cat walks in front of me I try to stroke it!

Cats were worshipped in Egypt and thought to be related to gods.  I think the Egyptian cat God was Bast? however I may be wrong? Cats have lived with humans for thousands of years and caught mice and rats which eat grain, so they were well liked on farms.

Ideas for Black cat names? Sooty, Blackie, Beauty, Smudge, Molly, Lady, Archie, Night, Moonbeam…….

Money makes the world go around?

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Thats what they say..

You can hear it today,

Money makes the world go around,

That’s what they found,

When people have money,

Life is more sunny.

When people are poor,

Dont darken my door..?

How can it be right,

Billionaires have might,

When there is no dosh (money)

No one gets nosh (food).

80 people have more money,

Than half the world’s population, funny…

While the world sits in debt,

Rich men still cast their net,

For gold and jewels and folding stuff…

When will they say they have enough….

So Money only makes things fun

If you have it, by the ton!

 

Tv nostalgia.

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Writing about toys from the 1960’s made me remember the TV from then and the following decades.

I realised that young people would not have a clue about old fashioned tv, how expensive TV sets were, how rare they were, how big they were….

I remember us getting a tv, but I could not remember how old I was, probably 5 or 6. I remember one Christmas watching a black and white puppet show about Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, there was also something called “watch with mother”, with programmes like “Andy Pandy”. I was a member of the “Tinga and Tucka club” I think. That was about two Australian koalas. In fact we seemed to watch tv for all round the world, “Belle and Sebastian”? ” Skippy the bush kangaroo”, “Flipper”, “Daktari”…..

What I remember is the TV was in a wooden cabinet. There was only one channel at first. The BBC. Half the time there were no programmes and you could watch a test card covered in lines and patterns, the best thing about that was they played interesting music…..then when the TV went off at night it closed down with a white dot on a black screen.

When we got the TV from the TV shop next door I remember half the street coming in to watch it with us. I think there was a special occasion that people wanted to watch. Other exciting programmes were test cricket, wrestling (on a saturday) which my dad enjoyed, and crime programmes like “z cars” and “Dixon of dock green”. I remember the first episodes of “Dr Who”, and hiding behind the settee when the Daleks came on.

Some more favourites were “Thunderbirds”, ” Captain Scarlet” and “Robin Hood” plus programmes like “Ask the family”.

By then I think there were two channels, BBC2 had come along. Later ATV (a local station from ITV) arrived, and we got to enjoy soap operas like “Coronation street” and “Crossroads” if you want to see how they were like try looking up Victoria Wood’s brilliant “Acorn antiques” spoof sketches.

All this without a remote, video player or DVD in sight!

It was only in the 1980’s we got Channel 4…..now we are awash with channels, but they don’t have as many memorable programmes. I know the old shows like “The Champions” “Randall and Hopkirk” and “Department S”  maybe are cheesy, and are very sexist, but that was what was on.

The never-ending shows now on digital and streaming,  satellite and terrestrial are overwhelming. In the old days when TV was black and white, there seemed to be enough. You went out to play and didn’t always spend hours infront of a screen; in fact if you watched too much people said you had square eyes!

This is all without remembering the TV repair man that had to come when it broke down. Usually he would have to change a “valve”, please don’t ask me what they are!

Kaliedoscopes

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Does anyone remember the kaleidiscopes you could get as a child? A cardboard tube, brightly coloured, with an eye hole at one end and a plastic cover at the other end. You could see little plastic blocks inside the cover which was slightly transparent. As you looked through the eye hole the little coloured blocks would turn and move and because there was a mirrored surface inside you got a symmetrical pattern which was so beautiful.

As you turned the tube the pattern would change, you could hear the little plastic bits move and rattle as the image changed. The pattern was never the same, and because the blocks were different colours it was like looking at a moving stained glass window.

Today it’s all changed, you can create patterns using digital apps but they don’t seem to stir the same feelings of creativity in me. I would play with my kaleidiscope for hours.

Nowadays we have computer games, and video games, but where are the simple toys? I feel nostalgic about spirographs and etch-a-sketch toys too. I was very lucky to get things like that as Christmas presents.  I wonder how children would react to them today?

I know we should use less plastic, but maybe they could be made with recyclable materials….