Remembering south devon

I just found photos of this perfect small bay near Plymouth, Devon.

I think these were taken in 2015 or 2016. We stayed at a nearby caravan park and would come down to the bay either in the day or during the evening depending on what we had been doing.

Luckily there is little or no plastic pollution. The water looked very clear and it was warm enough to swim. However caution is required for going further out. Apparently a woman died a few years ago after trying to swim round the headland to the next bay.

on the way back to our caravan we had the excitement of seeing a slow worm (a type of lizard) in the field next to the pathway.

I do want to go back again soon.

 

Sky, trapped.

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Your sky is trapped up high,

Below the stars you spy

Cerulean blues,

Ultramarine hues.

Tiles and bricks embrace

a pale blue face,

Reflecting windows catch the rays

of sunlight dappling through leaves.

No clouds can dampen your topaz sight.

slow shading to darkest night.

Trapped blue, without rain,

tomorrow shine out again.

Skies

One thing about living in a temperate climate in the Midlands of England is the variations in the sky. We might have just had one of the hottest summer’s on record, but like most people here I am waiting for the rain to come back. The country usually gets enough, but at the moment satellite imagery shows the grass burnt to brown instead of the greens of summers. Trees seem to be fairing better because they have deep roots. But hopefully when the rain comes down from the sky the land will recover.

Skies….

Clouds fly on the breezes and winds,

Blue skies soon turn grey,

Magic sunsets illuminate the sky,

Stars shine out on high.

Shooting stars obscured by clouds,

Planet’s seem so bright.

Moon and Sun in turn appear,

Sometimes Moon hides Sun.

Look up, look up, into the air, not just to the ground,

Above your head the sky astounds,

The world below is gone.

 

Well I do like skies. There is something called the cloud appreciation society which has interesting information about clouds. They suggest blue skies are boring, and watching the different sorts of clouds is the thing to do, from cirrus, cumulo nimbus, asperatus, mammatus, stratus, so many names. New cloud formations identified. ..

Skies are such a barometer (no pun intended) of our atmosphere. I would hate to live in a country where the weather stayed the same for months.

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Red Moon, Red Mars.

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Tonight I was promised celestial beauty. An eclipse of the Moon, as Earths shadow would pass across it leaving only red light, which has a longer wavelength, to get past and paint the Moon red. Not only that butthis s was due to be the longest eclipse of this century. And to add to the excitement Mars is at its closest approach to the Earth for fifteen years. It is actually up there in the sky shining brighter than Sirius, the dog star…..

Celestial fireworks indeed…I have seen lunar eclipses before, usually as the moon is rising in the east and just around the time the Sun is setting in the west. They make the moon look round! Its strange but because of the lunar soil and dust it looks quite flat normally, but when you see it eclipsed, it looks like a Christmas bauble in the sky…

Mars is also red, and it looks even redder at the moment because it is having a world wide dust storm that obliterated any changes in tone, leaving a blank world facing us, but making it more reflective for sunlight hitting it.

So, waiting for both objects to rise,  and after several weeks of almost cloudless sky’s…A big grey cloud floated across the view, no gaps, no glimpses. No, just like previous sky watchers my plan to view the eclipse came to nothing.

Never mind, Mars won’t fade too quickly and the Moon will be eclipsed again. Meanwhile I think I will go try and find the telescope. It must be in the shed…

Breaking the block!

Going to an arts group is a great way to start painting again when you are struggling.

I’m a member of a couple of groups so I spent a few hours today doing a couple of little paintings, a view of a hill with a sunset adapted from an old magazine photo and a green man or woman (not sure yet) from my imagination, but taking the eyes , mouth and nose from a face on a leaflet at a local fire station where we hire a room once a month.

As usual I’m concerned with colours, trying to get them right…is there too much brown in the green person painting? Is the sunset too dazzling in the  hill and lake painting (which is only about 1 by 1 and 1/2 inches).

I started discussing skies with other members of the group. Trying to think through how to render the light on clouds as the sun sets. To be honest when I get my hands on a paintbrush and paints I soon start creating again. The friendly support of the other members of the group just gave me that lift I needed.

If you can join a group I would recommend it. Each person had a unique idea of what they wanted to paint or draw. We all have our own styles, and some people wanted to use pastels, while others were using oils or acrylics. Each make marks differently. It’s wonderful to take a walk round the room and watch the progress of the artists there.

So…….the block is broken. There may be a mass of pictures coming this way soon!

Pastel workshop

I went to a pastel drawing workshop today. We were shown how to use various grades of “toothed” paper. It was like drawing on fine sandpaper .

The smoothest grade was used with soft pastels (not the oily sort but the dry powdery ones). You could use a silicone spreader, I think it was called, or your fingers and hands to blend the colours.

First you make broad sweeps of tones, all of similar colours, so a light blue, mid blue and dark blue or grey for instance. You smudge them on the paper, then you add layers, working into each layer and dragging the pastels about with the spreader/smudger. You can get interesting marks and edges using this tool.

Then you overlay other colours to contrast, say an orange or a pink, adding detail as you go. Finally adding the darkest and lightest colours, which seem to float on top of the others.

The second paper was rougher and you must not get it damp or the surface will come away. It was coloured a turquouse blue. This paper was so rough you were not supposed to smudge it as it would destroy the texture. You had to draw with thinner layers of pastel and in a much more impressionistic style.

The third paper was really rough like sandpaper. The tutor said sometimes people fetch the skin off their fingers blending it. Better to swiftly smudge it with the flat if your palm. This paper could be wetted with an alcohol based liquid which allowed the pastels to blend and run. As the liquid quickly dried you could draw over it and smudge it with the silicone spreader. or use a pastel pencil for more definition.

I gained a lot of information from the workshop and will be doing some more work in pastels.