Saturday, 25 April 2015


A quick update on the footy situation. I am delighted to say that today I could walk without pain. So I went into town with Alistair. Admittedly, I didn't get any further than the library because I seem to be a bit wobbly and tired on the leg still. But I was quite happy there, looking at books for my women's travel reading and browsing cookbooks. I still have four days off so I might try some breadbaking from The Fabulous Baking Boys, a nice bread and cookery book I borrowed. Aberdeen Central Library is a lovely building, grand Edwardian classicism outside and incongrously cosy 60s wood and funky lights within. I managed to drive out,which was very encouraging, but my foot was bit achey so Alistair drove me back. I am ashamed to say I am a terrible backseat driver, I could feel my foot doing the 'brake' the whole way!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Stardust Chateau

This fantastic house is not, in fact, a gorgeous French Chateau, it is another masterwork by Mr Henry Clutton (see previous post). And it appears in the film Stardust, from a few years ago. Minley Manor is a hugely overwrought Renaissance style Victorian house. I'm not sure I've done it justice here, I didn't even start on the polychromatic patterned brickwork.
This was quite a scary paint as I did a proper perspective drawing to get the left bit right and then started slathering wet on wet paint around. I almost chickened out and left it as just a drawing.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Indian Interlude

So, I am still sitting on the sofa with my foot up, getting better, but missing all the lovely weather and not being able to do much. You'd think all this enforced rest would be great, but actually it is quite frustrating.

Staying sane, for me, involves a set of ongoing small projects. 

Every day, I watch one of the excellent Yale University online lecture videos on Roman Architecture (still loving my Romans project).
Women Travel books features Around India in Eighty Trains by Monesha Rajesh. I am particularly enjoying this, as I am fascinated by India and still feel the romance of trains. This reached a strange conjunction with my enthusiasm for Wes Anderson films as I watched Darjeeling Limited, about three brothers travelling through India on a train.
Thoughts on travel: choice of travel companion is the most important thing, witness one author being in India with a militant atheist (awkward) and another being stuck on a yacht in South Asia with a guy who wanted to go out with her but who she wasn't interested in (even more awkward). I think it is the same with any holiday, some people would just drive you insane. I'm not sure I am a very easy travel companion, I am neurotically organised and a huge culture vulture with a very low boredom threshold. In Darjeeling Limited one brother has a P.A. who puts a laminated itenary under his door every morning. I thought that was ideal.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Clock at Cliveden

For my clocktower series. No, I've never been to Cliveden House, but I wanted to do an obsessive drawing as I am bored on the sofa with my dodgy foot. This is from the essential Victorian Country House by Mark Girouard, my favourite architecture book. 
This work of sheer deranged genius is by Henry Clutton, an unfamous architect. A colleague of the more famous Victorian architect William Burges, he converted to Catholicism and mainly designed churches, before retiring due to blindness. But this is a mindboggling building, dwarfing the rest of the house...look at that spiral staircase....this is what I love about Victorian architecture, where they throw the rulebook away and go big, bodging styles together, just getting crazy.
From an art point of view this isn't a big colourful one, it's about the drawing, but I am trying to improve my skies. I'm also using my grandad George's watercolour set, which is lovely to work with.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Working Around It

I have two parties coming up in the next month...a 40th birthday and Alistair's works do (which is always quite sophisticated and held in a boutique hotel). And I have a dodgy sprained foot which is lingering and needs to be in a very comfy shoe. So usually I would go for a retro knee length number, but I needed long to hide the shoes. 
Found this fantastic green supervillainess dress in john Lewis and it has converted me to maxi length.
I used to love the long and traily when I was an art student and I discover I still love the drama of a mass of fabric. 
Be brave! Try something you don't think you'd may love it.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Seen from the Tracks

This week, I have been mostly travelling on public transport, due to car breakdown. On the beautiful train journey from Aberdeen to Insch I spotted a wonderful local house; Keith Hall, looming pinkly from the trees and lawns of a country estate. The house dates from the 1600s and is unusual in being more of a renaissance mansion than a castle. It is now luxury flats and I long to live there. And here it is, in another first for me, a wet on wet watercolour in tubes technique.

Following my lack of rapport with Alwn Crawshaw, I am trying Jean Haines book Painting Colour and Light in Watercolour. She gets very messy with lots of abstract blobs and blodges, which I like. 
I can also say that travelling by train is lovely, if expensive, getting lifts off coworkers is brilliant, but the bus service is really awful. Also a lot of very early starts and freezing in the cold and wet. I am really hoping my car will be back on the road soon.