Monday, 31 January 2005

Decisions... Decisions

We pulled up outside the cottage we were viewing on Saturday and all my hope was bubbling up inside me.

The place had real character - wooden beams in all the rooms, and nooks and crannies everywhere. The lounge, kitchen and bedrooms were lovely and spacious.

But there were 3 big drawbacks... the first was the aforementioned problem of no parking/garage, the second was a path running through all the gardens (plus the garden was on a steep slope) and the third drawback that P said he would never be able to live with, was the tiny shoebox bathroom.

Now, here's the exciting bit... on Sunday we made an appointment to view another cottage in a very rural setting. It's not the prettiest place you've ever seen but inside it's fab. The owners have done it up to a really high standard. All the rooms are spacious and the whole house is very light and airy. There’s a large drive in front of the property for parking too. It beats the other place hands down.

The only thing that would need work is the garden which is a completely blank canvas being just a lawn with a few concrete slabs for a patio. I love the idea of making it exactly how we would like it.

So... I think this is the one. I just have a very warm, excited feeling about it.

Friday, 28 January 2005

Valentine's Day

So is there any romance out there?

I have banned P from looking at this site for a while so I can tell you what I'm up to.

We've agreed this year that we're not spending much money on presents for Valentine's Day so it's the thought that counts. I've just finished putting together a CD of all the songs that remind me of our relationship from when we first met through to now - it's been great fun. The next thing I'm going to do is make a decorative case for it. I've already made a card using wire and beads. I might post a picture of it after the event.

There is also the Valentine's Ball to look forward to. Richard has hired a Latino band for the night which is a first. It's another black tie event and I can't wait! This probably means buying another dress!!

I'd love to hear any plans anyone has... Can't you just feel the love in the room?!?!!

Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Making a Nest

I spotted a lovely little cottage yesterday that has just been put up for sale. I've got a feeling about this one and I've booked us an appointment to see it on Saturday morning.

I'm trying not to get too excited about it because then it will be harder to compromise (it's bound to be smaller than where we are now and there's no driveway or garage which means that I'd have to brush up on my parallel parking skills - not good!). We really need to buy a place before the prices start rising again.

We were going to buy a couple of years ago but the message on the street was don't buy now because in 6 months the market's going to crash. Of course that didn't happen and the people who did buy made an absolute fortune. Talk about missing the boat.

But it's such a gamble. Who knows what's going to happen?

Monday, 24 January 2005


Hands up who's been to see Cirque du Soleil's 'Saltimbanco'...

It's such an amazing show and not what I was expecting at all. A mixture of traditional circus tricks (acrobatics, juggling, trapeze etc), theatre, dance, comedy and music, dramatic costumes, audience participation, it even has it's own language and the whole thing is so precisely choreographed.

For me it had sinister undertones which made it fascinating (there's nothing scarier than a clown in what looks like a plague mask).

It's truely amazing. If you have the chance go and see it.

Tuesday, 18 January 2005

A painting broken down into 4 stages

Lily 2. Acrylic on Canvas. 610mm x 762mm. This was a recent commission based on another of my much smaller paintings. The client liked it and requested a larger version. I photographed the process at 4 different stages...

Stage 1... This is where I often have the most fun. I start off with my acrylic paint very diluted so it works almost like watercolour and I work very quickly, slopping the colour on, picking out the shapes and arranging my composition. I build up the layers using the transparency of the dilute mixture. In the next stage I will apply the paint more thickly so it is opaque in places and then in the final stages of the painting I will once again use glazes of colour to unify and harmonise.

Stage 2... I start to shape the petals using cool and warm colours. White is never just white paint. A white petal can be made of dozens of colours. I have used very cool pale blues for the lightest parts of the flower and warmer tones of pale purples for the shadows, but there are also creams, greens and yellows in there too. This is the stage where I'm most likely to panic! So often a painting looks ugly just before it all starts to come together.

Stage 3... Now the darkest tones are laid down in the background it will be much easier to adjust the form of the petals in the next stage, where I will bring out the curves and shadows. The background will also be given more depth.

Stage 4... I spend time standing back from the painting, checking and evaluating before I decide it's truely finished. Sometimes I make lists of changes that I want to make and then tick them off as I do them. Finally when all the final details have been added and the colours refined I sign the painting.

Tuesday, 11 January 2005

My last sketch of 2004, drawn on New Year's Eve from our little cottage in Dartmouth. The houses directly opposite had strange 2 part roofs that caused interesting angles.

Friday, 7 January 2005

Happy New Year!

Hi Folks, I'm back from spending New Year in crazy Dartmouth on Devon's South Coast. Thanks for all the messages you sent me over the Christmas period, much appreciated.

I've got lots of things to tell you, but before I do there is a huge pile of washing waiting to be done, a flat to be cleaned and a workspace to be tidied.