28 March 2007
A few people have asked me what progress I’m making on my book about the history of Leslie House, the former home of the Earls of Rothes. There is still some research to be done, and a lot of writing and editing. The main reason it isn’t finished yet is that I would like to be able to write about the renovation of the house by Sundial Properties, and this is only in the planning stages at the moment.
I got my first Moleskine in 2001 to use as a travel journal, then bought my next one five years later for the same purpose. But in the last year my collection has mushroomed!
The photograph shows:
1. Japanese Album: Japan journal May 2006
2. Japanese Album: Austria journal October 2001
3. Sketchbook: Sketches July 2006 - March 2007
4. Sketchbook: Japanese sketches January 2007+
5. Watercolour Notebook: Watercolours March 2007+
6. Sketchbook: Sketches March 2007+
7. Large Memo Pockets: Old love letters
8. Large Squared Notebook: Learning Japanese
9. Large Watercolour Notebook: Brand new
26 March 2007
This is another painting from yesterday's trip to the museum. I went along before the class specifically to paint this Vivienne Westwood jacket which one of the other ladies on the course had painted last week.
25 March 2007
Today was the last day of the four-week watercolour course at the museum, and we visited my favourite gallery, the Ivy Wu Gallery, with its exhibits from Japan, China and Korea. I started this painting, copying a woodblock print of a geisha. I’m sad that the course has finished, as I met lots of interesting people. I will keep going back to the museum to paint and draw, and the first thing I need to do is finish this painting!
Inspired by the drawings of mrana, I decided to start doing some drawing with coloured pencils. When I tried to sharpen the old John Menzies ones I’d had for the past few decades, I discovered the leads were falling apart, so I treated myself to a set of 30 Caran D’Ache Pablo pencils. For my first drawing I wanted to try something with quite a few colours, so I drew one of my favourite necklaces (and one of my best ever bargains – it was only £1 in the Miss Selfridge sale).
24 March 2007
I took my first trip on the Glasgow underground today, from Buchanan Street to Hillhead. It only costs £1.90 for a day ticket that can be used for any number of journeys, and there’s a train about every 5 minutes. I had a look around the shops on Byres Road including a large Oxfam bookshop, and also went to De Courcy’s Arcade on Cresswell Lane where there are some lovely little gift shops, then to the Botanic Gardens where I drew the impressive Kibble Palace glasshouse.
21 March 2007
C gave me a Lindt Gold Bunny as a thank you present for selling my old car to her, and inspired by the paintings of Paris Breakfasts I decided to do some paintings of it. It was just as well that I had a box of Lindor chocolates at my side as I was doing so, or I would not have been able to resist eating the poor bunny!
12 March 2007
The results of a poll, released today, show the top ten books that British adults could not finish. Here’s my top ten selection of books I either didn’t finish at all, or that took me years to finish:
1. The Little Friend by Donna Tartt.
This was very disappointing to read after The Secret History (one of my favourite books). It languished under my bed half-read for a few years before I skim-read the rest of it.
2. Babel Tower by A S Byatt.
Although I’ve started this twice I haven’t admitted defeat on it yet – it’s still on my to-read shelf.
3. Little Men by Louisa M Alcott.
I wouldn’t say I altogether disliked it, but unlike Little Women it doesn’t seem to have much of a story, so it was a bit of a slog to get through it.
4. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
For some reason I can’t get into books set in India. At least I didn’t waste money on this one – it was a library book.
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I did eventually finish it but it put me off buying anything else labeled as magical realism.
6. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.
Magical realism set in India – why did I buy this? I didn’t finish it and didn’t bother keeping it.
7. Number 9 Dream by David Mitchell.
Interesting premise but it got tedious and confusing. I did finish it eventually, and it was better than I’d expected from the confusing beginning.
8. The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein.
It was worth it in the end, but it took me over 20 years to get beyond the first book.
9. Harry Potter a l’Ecole des Sorciers by J K Rowling.
I can only manage a few pages of this at a time – it’s a long-term project for me.
10. The Complete Works of Jane Austen.
I’m enjoying it, but it is another long-term project.
I went to the museum on Saturday to finish the painting of the glass vase, and to scout out which objects I might be interested in painting during the class. Yesterday the class visited the bird and butterfly galleries, where I sat just across from this particular bird with its irridescent plumage, tucking myself in out of the public's way, or so I thought, not realising that I was right next to the world's largest and smallest eggs, which every man, woman and especially child wanted to get a close look at!
08 March 2007
I’ve recently been working through “Fashion Design Drawing Course” by Caroline Tatham and Julian Seaman, but rather than using it to learn fashion design I’ve been adapting the course to suit jewellery design. I’ve worked through the first four units so far. Usually when I design jewellery I just work out of my head or make a very quick scribbled sketch, so working on my designs on paper before I start making the jewellery is a new experience for me.
I also recently bought “The Art of Jewellery Design” by Liz Olver, which I hope will also help me develop my jewellery design skills. I would like to find a book with more technical information on how to illustrate jewellery, but I haven’t found one yet. I love the illustrations in “Tiffany Diamonds” by John Loring – I would love to know how to create that sort of sparkle in my own drawings.
05 March 2007
Yesterday I attended the first session of a four-part watercolour course at the National Museum of Scotland. After an introduction we proceeded to the glass gallery where we each painted a vase of our choice, with Karen the tutor offering help and advice. I didn't finish my painting so I will go back on Saturday to complete it before next Sunday's class. We were also given some homework to do, to help familiarise us with the colours in our paintboxes.
A large part of the museum will close next year and will not reopen until 2011. So it is a good idea to make the most of visiting the museum now. When it does reopen, there will be even more on display, a street-level entrance, and escalators to all floors.
02 March 2007
More and more people are creating art that is confined to the pages of small journals or sketchbooks rather than being hung on the wall. This is art on a more personal level – it’s about meaning rather than great talent.
These illustrated journals, often containing both text and artwork, are usually in a small format enabling them to be carried everywhere in a pocket or handbag. Unlike a traditional sketchbook containing preparatory sketches for larger works, the items drawn within these little books are chosen not for their beauty but for their personal meaning to the artist, whether they be items around the home, places visited or people met.
One of the great proponents of this type of art is Danny Gregory, whose book The Creative License encourages readers to draw something every day.
01 March 2007
The loss of Sky One from the screens of Virgin Media cable television subscribers today has got me thinking about the future of television. In today’s fast paced world, consumers are looking for ways of watching visual media (whether films, TV, animations, music videos, etc.) that are easy and flexible and fit in with their lives. And that’s why so many are turning to downloads (whether legal or illegal).
We live busy lives and are constantly on the move - we want television we can watch on our mp4 players on the train, at our desks at lunchtime, or even in the bath. Traditional media just can’t supply this, even when supplemented with systems like Teleport or Tivo. Even the ubiquitous YouTube, which many people are turning on in the evening instead of the TV, is not ideal in this respect, as viewers are still tied to the computer.
Another factor driving the downloading of TV shows outside the US is the global society of the internet – if every forum we visit is discussing the new epidode of Heroes or Lost, it doesn’t seem very fresh and new when it finally comes to our screens months later.
Rather than pay for a subscription to cable that I hardly watch, I’d rather pay for downloading the TV I actually want to watch, when it is new, and watch it where and when I want to watch it.