Saturday, 9 December 2017

Two Rivers watercolour paper





Here's a nice thing. It's a box of hand-made rag watercolour paper, and it came from Neil Hopkins of the Two Rivers Paper Company, up on Exmoor. Just the thing for Christmas! ...Neil gave me a couple of sheets to play with a while ago, and it was fun and interesting to see what I could do with them.

I usually use Daler-Rowney Langton or Fabriano Artistico papers, because they are very smooth and allow me to draw and paint very fine detail. The trade off is that they will only take so much depth of colour, and are relatively unforgiving of mistakes. And I've stopped using erasers or masking fluid because it almost always damages the paper surface. 

The Two Rivers paper is quite textured, but I was still able to get good detailing in, in this picture of Melangell seen in progress here. And you can lift the paint back out if you goof, without any perceptible harm done to the paper. You can get quite an intense depth of colour too. 


I've got ideas for some more pics using the new paper... when I've got a couple of little commissions out of the way...



Friday, 1 December 2017

flat batteries



The north wind is blowing, and temperatures just around zero. Out of the wind, the days have been rather pleasant, and the moon is waxing and nearly full, so it's nice looking out at night.

It may be the low temperatures that administered the coup de grace, but my domestic batteries, on which I depend for light, the water pump, and the tiny circulation pump on the woodburner's back boiler, are just about banjaxed. This morning the lights dimmed to a faint glow as soon as the water pump cut in when I was filling the kettle for my tea.

I primed the pressure lamp, but there was no paraffin left in it so it didn't light up... I love this lamp; it's an Austramax, an Australian version of a Tilley lamp that I found last week at the informal reuse/recycle centre that is the boaters' bins. And it started the first time (but I now need to refill it; fortunately, there IS a tin of paraffin somewhere in the boatman's cabin...)

Today I must move up to the wharf at Bradford on Avon, ready for the weekend's Floating Market. And then maybe hunt for some new batteries, PDQ.



Saturday, 25 November 2017

pondlife


Finished this week, an illustration to go on an information board by the top pound on the Caen Hill lock flight near Devizes. I was quite pleased with the way the newts turned out. ...I'd started painting the picture as a whole, but quickly realised I couldn't do everything in as much detail as I'd have liked, unless I used a huge piece of paper - v problematic on a small and crowded boat. 

So I did the background, like this...


...and then the creatures, like this...


...a line of white ink along the back of the newt helps define its roundness and newtiness


...and then it's much easier to arrange the animals around the text, and vice versa.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

erasing feminist history - the Bristol mayor 'horsewhip' story


When Winston Churchill arrived at Temple Meads station in Bristol on November 14th 1909, he was attacked with a whip by Theresa Garnett, a suffragette, who shouted "Take that in the name of the insulted women of England!"

 Churchill was Home Secretary at the time, and had authorised forced feeding of imprisoned Suffragettes.

On the anniversary of this incident, Mal Sainsbury, a Bristol Labour Party member and a woman very active in her local community, posted the story on Facebook, commenting
And now there are loads more of us angry women in Labour-controlled Bristol who would quite like to take a horse whip to anyone who votes to strip our city of vital services, close most of our libraries and withdraw funding from all our public parks in the name of 'austerity'. 'Deeds not words' so come and gather on College Green tomorrow from 5.pm for the full public Council meeting at 6.pm to discuss and vote on these disgraceful and completely unacceptable cuts in the City Hall.
Bristol played a major role in bringing down Thatcher's government over the Poll Tax. In those days 5000 of us gathered on College Green and were charged by mounted police.
There are legal and viable alternatives to accepting and implementing Tory brutality and incompetence, and we Women of Bristol will be standing up for all our citizen's rights tomorrow.
Please join us and bring your metaphorical horsewhip to lick our Mayor and Councillors into shape!
Her comment was selectively quoted and used to characterise it as a racist attack on Marvin Rees, the mayor. Here, on Operation Black Vote, it is apparent that the writer calling for her expulsion from the Labour Party was not in possession of the full facts, or that they chose not to reveal them.

Labour party member Mal Sainsbury informed a Bristol local party Facebook group that she’d like to take a ‘horse whip’ to Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees for the cuts he is being forced to make to some local services. She goes on to encourage others to join her: "Please join us and bring your metaphorical whip to lick our Mayor ". 
As a matter of urgency Labour party head office must suspend its racist members in Bristol until a investigation is undertaken, and sanction those who have supported such appalling rhetoric.
It's possible that a case might be made for insensitivity in Mal's post; I'm not the one making that case, though, because I think the response misses the point. Referencing an important moment of Bristol's radical and feminist history in the context of current affairs seems perfectly legitimate; and attempting to silence and mischaracterise that reference is misguided and mischievous, and reflects poorly upon those making that claim.

(postscript 24th Nov) it seems that Bristol mayor Marvin Rees is a member of OBV, the organisation which published the inflammatory article calling for Mal's expulsion from the Labour Party. And as of today, that inflammatory article is still present on OBV's website, despite them being in full possession of the facts, and despite discussions between Mal and OBV as a result of which they expressed themselves satisfied that 'her intentions were not racial'. Anecdotally, I understand that a lot of hostility has been generated against Mal Sainsbury online as a result.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

early morning photo shoots


A message from Barry; Wednesday morning it's going to be a lovely frost, perfect for your calendar shot; are you up for it ....early start though ?

I'm always up for an early start, as you may already realise. By heck it was cold though.

That was last winter. Barry, of Bread and Shutter Photography, kindly sent me the pic the other day, and said I could use it. So here it is. Good, ain't he?

Kennet and Avon - a canal year - 2018 calendar

Yesterday I was in Bristol again, picking up calendars that we'll be selling to raise funds for the K&A Floating Market. These calendars show photos that were taken by several local boaters, with the aim of giving a taste of canal life. 

Here are some sample pages from the Canal Year calendar. I volunteered to format it, and since the downloadable calendar boxes I looked at seemed a bit dull, I decided to draw them. It took a while, but there you go, job done.

The calendars will be on sale at the market on Dec 2 and 3 in Bradford on Avon. You can also buy them online, at this Etsy shop




Thursday, 16 November 2017

market poster


Here's the poster for the Kennet and Avon Canal Christmas floating market, at Bradford on Avon. Click on the poster to open it in a new window, then download it!