Saturday, 15 April 2017

Seagull Sales

The weather was quite nice yesterday so David and I walked into Whitstable town - David's not a great one for walking but I bribed him with the promise of a bag of chips to eat on the beach!

Being Good Friday/Bank Holiday the town was crammed full of visitors - great for the local community but the queue at our favourite 'chippy' was a mile long (OK not quite a mile, but offputting to us).    We settled for chips from a different provider and they still tasted good eaten out of paper whilst sitting on a beach groyne!

We popped into the Horsebridge Gallery and sadly it wasn't very busy but I was chuffed to find 2 red dots on my wall ... two of the seagull pictures have been sold.   I think because the weather was nice most visitors were on the beach rather than indoors.

We are stewarding at the Gallery tomorrow afternoon so I'm keeping fingers crossed for good footfall and perhaps another red dot or two ... the forecast is for light showers in the afternoon so that might encourage visitors to head indoors and the Gallery does have a lovely cafeteria on the second floor!

these are the two with red dots  ... two down, six to go

Easter Weekend

Happy Easter weekend to everybody ... hope you're having a great time.

We're having a lazy day today - recharging batteries etc

On Tuesday morning we hung my pictures in the Horsebridge Gallery where I'm sharing in the 'Made in Whitstable' exhibition.   We then had to visit our dentist as David had toothache for a couple of days but sadly the offending tooth was deemed unfixable and had to be removed ... but he cheered up in the evening when we went to the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich, London to see the Tall Ships.

More than 30 Tall Ships have gathered on the Thames at Woolwich and Greenwich for four days before setting sail for Quebec to mark the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.  They leave London around 5pm tomorrow (Sunday) heading for Portugal, Boston and finally Quebec

I'd booked ticked for us and two friends to do an evening sail on the Wylde Swan and watch a firework display on the river bank at Greenwich.   We were on board from 8pm till around 11pm and the staff kept plying us with delicious plates of cheese/cold meats and pickles and then several types of hot chicken snacks - curried, chinese style and in BBQ sauce.     Background music from the 1960s was playing quietly (and who can resist singing along)!!

I took lots of photos but the quality isn't brilliant as they're hand-held camera shots in dim light ... but you get the idea

 Peter Burke's 'Assembly' at the Royal Woolwich Arsenal ... 16 larger than life cast iron figures which are a little spooky IMHO - especially when seen in the half light

David and Steve taking photos before we boarded 'our' ship

Cap'n Clinker .... David having fun!

Part of the Thames Barrier - looks quite pretty at sunset!

Staff quarters ... which are very 'compact' but I guess nowhere near as cramped as they'd have been in 'olden days'.    Its a shared room - males one side females the other side with privacy curtains in the sleeping compartments and a small locker per person.

I photographed this image from the tv screen in the bar which was showing scenes from a recent journey made by the Wylde Swan.    This shows what it looks like under full sail ... quite amazing isn't it?

Monday, 13 March 2017


I found time to finish the Gulls this afternoon ... I have 8 ready to mount and frame. 

They are quite 'basic' but the whole idea was to keep them simple so they were fast to produce and can be offered for lower than normal rates at the Exhibition I'll be participating in over the Easter week.   The Gallery is in my home town of Whitstable (which is a seaside town) so I'm hoping these might attract buyers looking for 'topical' work.

I will have some dogs/cats/humans in the exhibition as a back-up but I found they didn't sell well at the last couple of shows ... all depends on the visitor and footfall though

David asked why I haven't drawn a 'pair' of gulls, or several 'pairs' of gulls as that's how we see them most often on the roof of our neighbour's house having noisy conversations with each other - but I've had my fill of gulls for now and also my fingertips are very sore from blending pastel into the sanded paper (my own fault but I do it every time I use Fisher 400 paper and I never learn)!!

These are the pictures with a mount/frame just laid over the top to show how they look.  I still need to sign the pictures but will wait for a couple of days in case I decide to do a little more tweaking first

By the way, if anyone has trouble seeing these photos (are they too large)? please let me know.   I know Jan can see them with no problem but I'm never sure whether to leave the size as Large or Extra Large - 'Original Size' option is too big for my layout and overlaps the borders.     These are all 'Extra Large'   

Friday, 10 March 2017


We were out yesterday visiting friends and family and also test-driving a new car ....

Yes,  its that time of year again when hubby gets a bee in his bonnet about changing the car.     Although he is (was) a chartered accountant and knows it doesn't make financial sense to change the car every two years its the one thing he has alway done.  He is a bit of a' petrol head' whereas I think of cars as nasty contraptions that are necessary to get you from A to B but I'm not really bothered about the model or the age (so long as it is reliable and comfortable)!

The two cars test-driven on Tuesday and yesterday were both crossed off the list for various reasons and I'm bored with car-showrooms/salesmen so I let him go out alone today to drive a Mercedes he'd had his eye on.      Apparently it has ticked 99% of the boxes on his checklist so looks as though the deal is done

Having him out of the house left me free to get back to work on the gull pictures ... but I couldn't settle and kept finding things to sidetrack me.   So I haven't got as far as I'd have liked today.    3 are now finished and one is halfway there

I've just laid a simple double mount over the top of each to show how they will look.   The idea is to put each into a very plain black frame (unless I find something I like better in the 'cheap' price range as I'm hoping to produce more of these and offer them at fairly low prices when exhibiting at the local Whitstable Gallery over the Easter week.   

As I live in a seaside town I'm hoping gulls might prove a popular subject - fingers crossed!

As I mentioned in the previous post, these are all done in pastel on Fisher 400 paper which is a golden coloured sandpaper.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


We got back from India on Sunday - having had a fabulous time despite the VERY hot temperatures which were in the high 30s every day (nearly 100degrees)

Sadly I managed to contract another cold (3rd this Winter) which has 'gone to my chest' so I'm coughing and wheezing and feeling a bit yuk still ... I've had it for more than a week though so it should be on its way out soon.

Its back to reality now.    Exhibitions are looming and I learned that one of my entries was juried into the UKCPS International Open Exhibition and I'm very pleased and relieved about that as it means I have had entries juried into the annual exhibition for 10 years out of 11 since I became a member of the Society and this year I will achieve GOLD Signature status!   Yeayyy!   I was a tad worried as I really hadn't done anything special for this year - I ran out of time and resorted to reworking some older practice pieces.  

The exhibition is smaller this year - just one floor of the Gallery is being used so the number of entries was cut back and the standard has got much, much higher (so I'm doubly pleased to have sneaked in with one entry)

I have a commission to crack on with but am still awaiting good photos so ..... 

I'm also exhibiting with the Made In Whitstable Group over the Easter week and have to find around 12 - 15 pictures to fill 'my' wall space at the Horsebridge Gallery in Whitstable.     I'm so bored with all the pictures hanging on my studio walls that I thought I'd get my backside into gear and do a few 'cute' puppy/kitten type pictures - just to sell! ....

Having been out all morning I finally sat in front of the computer around 3pm to look through my folders of cat & dog ref. photos and I came across some photos I'd taken of a Herring Gull on our roof a couple of years back.    I don't normally draw birds but .... why not?     I live by the sea and gulls are a common sight here in Whitstable so I decided to give them a whirl even though they aren't particularly pretty.

The first one took me two hours, start to finish .... so that's a real bonus.     I've now outlined 3 others and put in the blue backgrounds.  I'm on a roll !

I'm working in pastel on Fisher 400 paper - which is a golden coloured sandpaper that just eats pastel pencil.    The background is soft pastel.

I have lots of these double mounts which are white with a black 'inner' and suitable for A4 sized drawings.   With commissions I tend to work 'bigger' so the mounts have been redundant till now   It will be easy (and cheap) to find frames this size to suit the pictures.

I've used more of the darker blue pastel for the background on the next 3 pictures ... which I'm regretting now as I quite like the green/blue colour of the original drawing.   The ref. photos are taken of the gull sitting on the roof of our house so the background is blue sky (and it was a perfect Summers day).

However the green blue colour (above) kind of looks like a nice sea colour which I prefer.

Too late now ...

I used two shades of Soft pastel on the sandpaper and then an old paintbrush to push the colour into the paper surface

Actually, the blue background isn't quite this 'blue' in real life but the photos were taken in artificial light so hopefully I can get better photos when I next work on these (Friday)

This is the last picture where I haven't used the brush yet to distribute the colour