Rudyard lake railway.

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This is a drawing I did last year of the dam, a little station on the Rudyard Lake railway, a miniature railway which runs over a railway bridge above the road going out of Rudyard village towards Macclesfield.

The station for the railway is situated just beyond the bridge on the land alongside it, you can drive up a slope to get into the car park. The miniature railway consists of small steam engines  (I’m not sure of the scale,  maybe a 5th or a 6th of the size of a fully grown one). There are small passenger carriages some with windows and some without that are towed behind the engine.

The line is open at weekends in the summer months to take you along the wooded valley that leads up to the lake.  (Not sure how much it costs sorry). The first stop is at the Dam  (pictured) which is where the lake has been dammed to collect water. That is because Rudyard Lake is a reservoir for the local canal system. The train journey then continues down the length if the lake to the far end of it.

The journey is very scenic, with views over the lake with boats sailing on it and the wooded hills beyond. Sometimes we get out of the train at the dam station so I can do a drawing or painting.

The railway was built by a school several years ago. It’s on the track bed of the Great Central railway which went from Manchester to Birmingham and then London. The track was taken up in the 1950’s  we think. It went through Rushton Spencer and on to Macclesfield then Manchester apparently.

Anyway, I think the lake was named after Rudyard Kipling? But it might be the other way round. His parents used to visit the area, but I don’t know the story about that I’m afraid.

The miniature railway has a snack bar with teas and coffees. Rudyard Lake has a tea room and other facilities. Parking can be difficult by the lake but you can also park at the railway and walk along the track bed which is also a footpath up to the dam where you can walk across to the little area with the tea room. This is where the boat club is based together with a little visitor centre. The footpath continues along the track bed up to the head of the lake and there are also little paths that you can follow to get closer to the lake.

Other access to the lake is along a narrow road which takes you into the Rudyard lake hotel carpark. I’m not sure about the parking there. I don’t remember having to pay but it can get crowded.

Rudyard lake is a couple of miles away from the main road between  Stoke-on-Trent and Leek. You can also get to it from the road between Leek and Macclesfield.

I’m not a travel writer so this may not be totally accurate.

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Decorating pottery

For years I have drawn a little cat in a hat, useful if you want to talk to someone and they have a fidgety child. I would ask if they would like me to draw them a cat, and then draw this motif, with a pointy hat, and a name tag on its collar so the child could choose the cats name.

I also like decorating pottery so took the opportunity to do so at Trentham Retail village. This is on the A34 near Trentham village, a couple of miles South of Stoke-on-Trent, near the Stoke South junction of the M6 motorway.

There is a shop there selling pottery called the Potters Barn. They have glazes and blank pottery so you can decorate pots yourself. I know it’s usually for children, but I don’t see why adults can’t do it too.

Anyway I painted two cats, so you will see one or the other depending on which hand you hold the mug in. There are various things to paint so I chose a large mug. It cost me £15, but when you think that’s including the firing of the mug, it’s no too bad.

The final result should be bright and cheerful. I added numerous flowers in the background and dots on the rim. I should get it back I a couple of weeks.

Monoprints

I had fun today doing some mono printing, which means one print. Basically you rolling onto a clean flat surface, then you can use objects to scratch through it, or add different colours. You can do one print then add a different colour and as long as you line the paper up in the same place you can get different effects.

I chose to draw a cat into the rolled ink. Then you gently lay the paper on top, press down with your hands, not to heavily, then carefully pull the paper off. Of course the image is reversed from what you drew, so if you add text it needs writing in reverse.

The ink we used was really thick, so I actually managed to get 3 or 4 pictures from each ink drawing. I added some black pen drawing I top of a couple of them, I don’t have photos of them as they are not finished yet. Thanks to another member of Etruria Artists for these photos.

Mow Cop

Mow Cop…..

If you ever drive on the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton, look to your left as you are driving North, just past little Moreton Hall. You might catch a glimpse of Mow Cop on top of the hill…

Mow Cop is a folly, built to look like a castle, and it stands above the village of Mow Cop, giving views of the Cheshire plain and Shropshire and the Welsh hills.

We decided to visit today as a group I am in- Stoke USK, (urban sketchers group) is due to visit on Saturday but I can’t make it.

I did some brief sketches of the castle and the view, clouds were quite low over the plain and rain was threatening. I irritated myself because I started the castle drawing too far over the page so had to start again.

While we were there we saw a carved stone with lettering on it. I could just make out the words. “To the Glory of God
A camp meeting near this spot on May 31st 1807 began the Religious Revival led by Hugh Bourne and William Clowes known as Primitive Methodism (unveiled?) By the president of the Methodist Conference 13th May 1948”

I knew that the Methodists had started in the area; Bethesda chapel in Hanley , the city centre of Stoke on Trent, is currently being restored. I imagined people gathering at Mow Cop, listening to the Victorian preachers, in rain, wind and hail. A romantic view I know. But the place is very atmospheric.

We finally tried to walk up to the castle, but the steep steps defeated me so I only got half way up. Richard managed a bit further.

Want to visit?  The castle is a bit difficult to find. Once you are on the hill you can’t see it as well. However there is a good sized car park when you get there. You will see a National Trust notice board and it gives the opening times. Roads approach from the A34 and a road from Tunstall in Stoke-on-Trent.

Keyboard fixed!

The bug is fixed thankfully.

It’s useful having a computer shop just down the road…

Apparently it was an “unusual glitch” whatever that means. My normal keyboard shrank last week to a smaller version. I just thought it was an upgrade but apparently it was the computer downloading another version because the first one had stopped working, it was only when my computer kept flashing up “unfortunately, Samsung keyboard is not working” that I realised that something was wrong.

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So every couple of seconds the message flashed up, technology is like that, it tells you there is a problem but not how to resolve it. How do you sort it out when you cannot type in a question to Google, for instance, to ask what to do?

So, switch it on and off, switch it on and off and flick the SD card out and back in, then try to remove duplicated photos, clear cache’s, uninstall apps you don’t use. Clear the cache’s again. Run the anti virus, remove old unwanted emails and messages……

Nothing worked, though I had freed up memory on my external memory SD card…..So it had to go to the shop, they could not type anything in to even get on the internet to download a new keyboard. So they kept it in to fix. You don’t realise how attached you are until you have to leave your computer behind. Talk about separation anxiety! But it has come home fixed.

Thank you one stop computers in stoke. Very helpful and they only charged me half of what they estimated.

Cheers and thanks x

Talk time

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I miss talking to people sometimes. I have a tenancy to isolate myself as I have said in the past. But today was a good day, I saw an old artist friend who has an idea for a travelling exhibition, and my work fits with it. It’s great to get some positive vibes. Also, a painting that I did a couple of years ago was bought at my exhibition. Someone really admired it and decided to buy it. I feel like a parent seeing a child move into the world. It’s amazing how attached you can get to things, and to see something you love go to a good home gives me a glad feeling inside.

In fact what started out as a quiet weekend has turned out very well. People were interested in my exhibition and some of the new things I have went down really well. I have to thank a friend for creating necklaces for me from some fused glass I made in a workshop earlier in the year. Also a photographer who turned some of my paintings into cards. Again they sold well.

I have not made a fortune, but it has boosted my confidence. Even the chap that came in and said my art was not his cup of tea was not rude, just honest.

The only bad thing is that I seem to have caught a cold! Maybe talking to all those people meant I picked up a bug. We will see….

Exhibition time

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It’s that time of year when I have a small exhibition of work at Etruria. An area of Stoke on Trent in the Staffordshire.  This year it came round fast.  I didn’t really know it was going to happen till a couple of days ago. I think I was feeling a bit down and so I hadn’t organised things very well.

The building it is in is an old warehouse next to the Trent and Mersey, and Cauldon canals. It’s a very old building, with an old canoe up in the rafters, and half a model canal boat up high at one end I the room. It also has some of the largest long legged spiders I have ever seen….but thankfully once I had set up they went into hiding.

Anyway its happened, its up. I’m selling cards and necklaces as well as paintings. I am not really good at doing that. I can be polite, helpful, and enjoy explaining the work I have done, but I don’t like selling, putting a price on things.

I’ve spoken to a few artists recently and they feel the same way. They want to be creative, because they are creative, not because they want to run a business. …

Anyway I think people enjoyed what they saw at the exhibition, I had some good feedback.

What  want to do now is start working on new art!