Elephant in the room.

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I painted this a few years ago. It was an elephant my friend made for penkhull mystery plays. It was used in a procession onto the village green and was carried by shoulder straps. I think it had cloth legs hanging over the edge to make it look like someone was sitting on the elephant.

It was so amazing I decided to record it as a painting. The frame was made of willow withies then canvas was stretched over the frame and painted white. Finally a fringe was attached to it and other fabric decorations.

The painting went to my friends house but sadly the elephant is no more. I think it was burnt in a fire at the garage it was stored in a few years after the play.

Autumn Spring

I posted a couple of photos of this painting a few days ago but I wasn’t happy with it. I was going to change it but didn’t know what was going to happen to it. I had ideas but as I worked on it I couldn’t figure out whether they would work or not. One side was complicated, the other to simple. How to balance the sides but not paint over the whole thing?

The solution was to paint over a lot of it, but allow the background to show through. I tried to go for an exploded boxes side on the left of the picture and a more curved pattern on the right. Also I added more green and blue to the right. Finally I added some metallic paint on the left to tone down the black I had used to paint the box shapes  just on one side of each box/object. Anyway the cat seems to like it!

Started again

I’m just starting a painting about 2ft by 2ft 6 inches.

It’s a view of the Spode site looking from the building that houses Hulton Pottery which is a small studio pottery on the Spode site, looking down the run of buildings then on to the iconic Spode Chimney that stands high above the site.

Spode is changing, parts have been demolished, other parts will be gone soon. However new people at moving into the studio’s on the site. Together with the visitor centre and the hotel it is becoming more vibrant and interesting.

Hopefully the weather won’t get too cold this winter, that’s what really puts me off going. I have a studio but my mind isn’t on things really. I have found it really hard to get motivated but perhaps I have turned a corner…..

So I will leave you with the beginnings of a painting..with luck I can get it finished soon.

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Two old paintings

You know when you find old paintings? You wonder where you were when you painted them, what you were doing! These bring back memories of a holiday at Challaborough in Devon in 2002.

The rocks were dark and solid, with red brown sandy beaches. Across the bay you could see Burgh Island, a small island across a stretch of sand. To visit it you had to drive up from Challaborough and follow the coast road round to a little hamlet opposite the island.

The stretch of sand is really a sand bar that reaches out from the coast to the island, sometimes it is under water and can only be reached on a sea tractor that has a seated platform high above the waves. The island is worth a visit  because there is a 1930’s hotel on it that Agatha Christie, the famous crime fiction writer, stopped at. There was also a pub near the shore of the island, called the Pilchard. Im not sure whether they are still open as it was over 16 years ago that we were there!

I remember taking little canvases with me and sitting painting the view from the caravan site we stayed at at Challaborough, I also remember having to stay there longer as I twisted my ankle because the caravan steps were rusted through with the sea air and collapsed when I climbed up them.

Anyway these are two small canvases that bring back memories…..

Knitted Jupiter, well not really..

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I wanted to paint Jupiter a couple of years ago, but my technique with acrylics does not quite work. I think I don’t blend colours as well as I could, still I had a go…..to me thus almost looks knitted…

What would Jupiter think if he was an ancient God?

 

You knitted me? That can’t be right,

I am great Jupiter, not a wooly jumper?

In all my days of pomp and might,

I was never treated rougher.

My power is great, my influence strong,

I never wore a cardie…

My orbit is extremely long,

And I am very hardy.

My storms last centuries you know,

They do not soon unravel,

So take your woollen paint and go,

As I through space do travel!

View of Dartmoor

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This is a painting I did a few years ago of a friend standing beside one of the outcrops at the top of a hill in the Dartmoor national park.

The rocks have been weathered over the millennia to create flat plate like structures stacked up on top of each other. Sometimes the base will be of softer rock and so the stack will be formed above a narrow neck of rock where the surrounding stone had been worn away. Another place to find these sort of outcrops is in Yorkshire. You can also get limestone pavements where the rock is at ground level but there are large cracks going down deep between the rocks with plants growing up, taking shelter between the stones. These can be found up at Malham cove in Yorkshire.

My friend used to fly gliders over Dartmoor, so he knew his way around the area. It is a beautiful part of the world, high up above the surrounding countryside with rolling hills and wide skies. Sometimes it snows up there and it can be very bleak in the winter . I can imagine trying to shelter behind these rock on a cold winters day with an northerly wind blowing snow and sleet at you. I guess Dartmoor ponies might even have sheltered there.

The painting was quite small and was painted with acrylic on canvas. It went to a good home.

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Casey

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If ever there was a strange cat it was Casey. He would jump in to any box, and kite! Black and white, with golden eyes, white paws, weighing in at around 5 kilos.

Casey was a stray, he kept going into a local shop and walking along the shelves, knocking things down. I was asked if we would take him in as no one else had claimed him. So he became our cat for a while.

But Casey was not clever. Every day he would sit on the white line on the centre of our road, every day, just after 5, when cars were driving down the street. Every day risking his life. I would drive round the corner, get out of the car, and call him in. I never knew why he did it, but as the evenings got darker I became more worried.

Then one night he limped in through the back door. We took him to the vets and they said he must have been hit by a car. The head of his femur had been broken, where it fits into the hip socket. We had to let them operate to remove it, the hip would recover if he was kept quiet and not allowed to move around much. We got a small cage and he had to stay in it for 3 months…..

Eventually he was allowed out. He was fit and healthy again, but I doubted his ability to stay safe. It was winter so Casey was given luminous, sparkling collars so that if he did go onto the road he would be visible to cars.

Nothing happened for a while. I took  a photo of him playing in the kite and decided to paint it.

Then one night he went out and when I looked for him in the morning he was nowhere to be found.

Worried, I put up posters, I rang a local cat charity, and then as it was the weekend, I had to wait for Monday to ring the council to see if their waste trucks had picked up a black and white cat. But there was no news.

Finally I rang another charity, yes they had collected a badly injured cat, they told me which vet he had gone to. It was on the other side of the city, it was the emergency vet that they used.

I rang in hope and fear. Yes they had received the cat, but it was badly injured when they got it so they had put it to sleep….. I was shocked. I asked why, and they said it was because no owner could be found! I asked what would have happened if I had found out where he was earlier? They would have operated to remove his leg! I could not get over the fact that he had been euthenised because I had not contacted them….I was so upset. His life was taken because there was no one available to pay a large bill….I was totally broken, felt so guilty. But there was no way I could have known where he was. It was before microchipping came in. My cats are both microchipped.

I still miss that mad, weird cat…..