Thursday 30 November 2023

30 11 2023


Thoroughly enjoying painting Pete - another sitting should see it done but may try and extend it for the pleasure of it.

Otherwise, engaged in domestic stuff. German researchers arrive tonight to delve into my Papas stuff so have felt it necessary to clean and tidy up.

Got some drawing to do, too, though right now I should be hunting papers and  photos and the rest. 

Though after a sleep deprived night (=too much moonlight) I fancy going to sleep...

Wednesday 22 November 2023

23 11 2023

 Another sitting with Pete yesterday - will be able to finish next week, I think.

I'm using the scans of his veins in the background, a far-from-faithful reproduction but does the job.

The Nature Diary drawings progress - ha. the kingfisher! - already I'm taking them far more seriously than was my intention when it began. The best outcome is that I have to walk about and look at nature, or there is nothing to do. Though ambling about is also challenging.

Last night at twilight, coming back from the river at the bottom of Rue des Jardins,  stopped in the Place de Republic to chat to Christin, a local poet. Suddenly something dropped over our heads, almost touching us, and fell to the ground by our feet. A big V shape, mottled, and something screaming. 

Shocking. In retrospect it must have been a raptor taking a bird from the plane tree and getting it wrong - not killing it outright, hence the screams - the raptor obviously couldn't let it go but also couldn't fly with it struggling. It tried, short flights across the car park without gaining any height, presumably hoping to tire the little bird which wasn't giving up without a fight We chased it and it got up the side of the footbridge to the side of the riverbank where we couldn't follow.. So no idea who won. 

Was served Quail at dinner later. 

Too many metaphors.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

21 11 2023

 Collard doves on Toby and Leos house. Lot of wrongness about the third along: I overcorrected and then had the scratch off the ink which has ruined the surface. Really don't want to redo the whole thing - will think of something.

Drawing a murmuration now, that's neurotic activity if anything is but I saw a splinter group chase off a falcon and found that exciting. Just seen a kingfisher too. Got Peter sitting first thing so that one can wait. 

Monday 20 November 2023

20 11 2023

Ink and charcoal and pencil - its big and sits well with the pretty (ish) nuthatches - enjoying myself.

Which rather shows in this little oil, featuring two birds. Almost accidental. 


Saturday 18 November 2023

18 11 2023


Yesterdays haul... today is shags. Or cormorants, lovely to see them back whatever they are. Sweet painting emerging too, somewhat fanciful and may never be finished.

Thursday 16 November 2023

17 11 2023

 Pleased with myself yesterday - despite the rain a bird or two came to feed and despite my sundry maladies I drew them, watercoloured them and felt competent. The paper is large, the birds are probably twice life size which pleased me - they aint pretty or in anyway dinky. Need some practical work though, beaks and feet chiefly. Will leave them and do some more...

...and trying to express the pain in hands and feet for my Before Death series (or whatever I called them, I forget) (!!)

Had a go at Petes portrait. Stupid, should wait for the sitting. Turned to wall now.


Later; saw a dipper and trying to paint that now. And remembered my first ever notebook.

-My father had just written his first book and of course designed the cover. (Using my poster paints BTW) That was 1959. He'd been given a dummy book to fit the design to. After he'd done he gave me the book - hard-backed, blank pages. Bliss.

I started my Nature Diary. Trotted about drawing growing things and whatever, solemnly dating and noting. 

Then the publishers - Wiley - wanted the book back. Why?? No idea. Stafford was upset but had to take it back from me. 

Obvs still rankles. Time to have another go?? 

Enjoying using this beautiful paper, gifted by Bernard before his death. Imagine, dying with hand made rag printing paper in your studio, unused. Poor man. It behoves me to use it up. Bernard wouldn't like what I'm doing - I can hear his scorn - but tough.

16 11 2023

 Did a decent sitting with Peter Gregory yesterday, due for another next week - a joy - not prepared to post it yet in case I use up the goodness. As it were.

Want to sit and draw the very frequent visitor to the bird table, the nuthatch - actually there are two - but my hands are hurting after yesterdays exertions. Will put on mittens and have a go. Far better artists than me have managed to work with arthritis. And the new tremor will add a dimension. Sigh.

Tuesday 14 November 2023

14 11 2023


Fine line between slick and assumed gaucherie.  Resolved by tremor and incompetence.

Maybe finished maybe not.

The photo has cut off significant content on the right - will resnap in the cold light of day.

Monday 13 November 2023

13 11 2023

 No photos yet -

Pete, Clare, Ray, Diane came into the studio where the unfinished works live and I was OK with that so maybe they are nearly done.

And today I gave Marcus a quick tour of the more recent stuff in the gallery and felt comfortable with that.

 Probably just means I trust my friends rather than the work.

Thursday 9 November 2023

09 11 2023

 Three war pix on the go, not yet fit for anything - and I'm only going to do these or I'II end up topping myself. What does peace mean, I ask myself... will move onto that topic asap.

I'm grateful to Roy for reminding me last night that this is not a Jewish conflict but a Zionist one. Can stop reading Jewish literature.

(Though interested to note in the Code of  Jewish Law [Ganzfried-Goldin, Hebrew Publishing company NY, 1963] that one should not leave a book open or you will forget what you have read)

Found a nice Kitaj painting; a Jew fighting a Muslim. Choose which is which, he says.

Wednesday 8 November 2023

08 11 2023

 Really should shift stuff out when finished or I go back to it - but glad I did in this case, found a wonderful Prussian blue which was just the job to tighten the sky up. God knows where it came from, one of the joys of clearing up is having to search for things and finding others. Think it was in a (real) lead tube.  Also found a decent gold which responded well to tacky damart and stand oil and is now enhancing the bubbles. Glossed over the too-extreme whites. Job done.

Otherwise I've started on three small Gazza/Israeli conflict pieces. Have read the Pentateuch and the Jewish Code of conduct. The former makes it clear that the Jews as Gods chosen can kill anyone they like -or don't like, rather - and have a long history of genocide. The latter is less clear. In 4 volumes there is no mention of war but a deal about mourning. (And lots of other interesting things.)

These are going to be hard. Whenever I've worked on war before I've become suicidal. Will try and make them quick.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

07 11 2023

 It's taken me till now - 10.00amish - to unpack and gesso (first coat 50/50) 6 little canvases, 60 x 50cms. Nice to feel a brush in hand again but I'm so frail!! Thought I was fine, imagined a great thing, but real life lingers.

Changed bedrooms so no longer sleeping next to studio - too cold - 

Studio too clean. Embarrassed to make a mess. Wearing overalls so as not to get paint on my clothes, what???  Strange times. 

Step by step.