Sunday, 27 November 2011


Today is David's birthday and this is the first time we've spent it in England for many years.   Four years ago (for a BIG) birthday we went to Las Vegas with friends and on 27 November visited the Grand Canyon going the whole hog with plane transfer, helicopter down to the bottom and a boat ride along the Colorado river.   Here's a picture of the birthday boy himself ... sailing on the Colorado river dwarfed by something older than he is/was:

and sitting next to the 'driver' of the plane as a special birthday treat (bless)!!

In successive years we've celebrated his birthday in the sunshine at our house on Fuerteventura (Canary Islands).

This year I have taken on more Christmas work than planned so can't 'escape'.   The day started off windy and grey here in Kent with intermittent drizzle but by lunchtime the sun made an appearance (albeit weak and watery) so I persuaded David to join me for a walk along the beach where we stopped for a late lunch.  We were out for a few hours and the brisk sea breeze certainly blew a few cobwebs away.   OK it wasn't shorts and T shirt weather but for late November in the UK it wasn't  at all bad!

Have to make a mention of this couple of enterprising lads we met on the beach at Whitstable:

Our local beaches are pebble (not sand) and the lads had spelt out the following message in pebbles and left a 'collection' cup alongside.

So we asked them why they thought we should give them money and they 'performed' for us ..... jumping off the wooden boat launch site and somersaulting onto the pebbles ...... no health & safety issues here then!!  

Not sure what their parents would think if they knew what their lads were up to ... but they weren't 'OIKS' they were polite, well spoken and very presentable boys who'd dreamed up this way of earning some cash ...... but those pebbles would be very unforgiving if the boys misjudged their gymnastics!

Anway,   as I'd lost the natural light by the time we got home I didn't want to do much to the girls' portrait - particularly not to skintones.  I did some work on the dresses and here's the latest progress report - its photographed at my workdesk with daylight bulb lamps each side.   Unfortunately, they are different makes of daylight bulb and the light varies (why should that be I wonder if they are both supposed to simulate daylight)??   the right light is more 'white' the left is more 'yellow' as you can see from the photo.

Right, that's it for today .... time to relax for a couple of hours methinks.


Peter Barker said...

Hi Sue, for what it's worth after MUCH expensive experimentation, the bulbs with the colour temperature I find the truest to daylight, is 5,400Kelvin - I'll email you with the details of where to get them.

Kendra said...

Happy Birthday to David! Today is also my husband's brother's birthday and my best friend's birthday, it's a popular day. One of my dream trips is to helicoptor (or hike...) into the Grand Canyon and then a boat or raft ride on the Colorado River. It must have been amazing.

Those 2 boys are quite daring. I wouldn't want my sons trying that ... although one of their favorite pastimes as teens used to be jumping off bridges in the summer.

Your portrait of the girls looks really wonderful! Love the hair! Girls' hair is so much fun to draw.

sue said...

Thanks Peter I'll look forward to getting that email. I find it so hard to work in colour once the daylight has disappeared.

Thanks Kendra I'll pass on your birthday message to David.
Must confess I'd never wanted to visit Las Vegas (neither had my best friend) but our husbands persuaded us to try it!! It was an absolutely amazing experience .... but not sure I'd want to repeat it!! I think the Grand Canyon trip made it worthwhile though ( and the Bellagio fountains)!!

Jennifer Rose said...

happy birthday david!

and yeah, at least the boys weren't huddled under a blanket asking for change on the street corner

Jan/ said...

This must sound like a very inane comment but the girls look so very English! I don't know if I can explain any better but they're both just darling & personify my vision of little English girls!

Happy Birthday, David!!!! I hope this one has been a great one and that you have many more to come! Maybe one day you can visit the States again and perhaps head East instead of West to Las Vegas!

jyothisethu said...

the portrait is very beautiful. you plan anything in the background?

Doreen Cross said...

Wonder painting Sue. Can't wait to see it finished.
They will be so thrilled with it I am sure.

Doreen Cross said...

Happy Birthday David. Have a good one.

sue said...

Thanks for all the birthday wishes which I passed on to David :-)

I agree Jennifer. They didn't expect something for nothing and I'd like to think the money is to buy mum & dad a Christmas gift (but of course they could have been planning a trip to the nearest off-licence) lol

sue said...

Thank you Jan ... perhaps its because of their colouring - kind of 'English Rose' lol

David would love to travel 'further afield' but after years of commuting to and from Singapore I dislike being cooped up on a plane for more than 3 or 4 hours ...

Thank you Jyothi. I don't plan to add a background to this picture. I've just visited your Blog/s - enjoyed the views of Kerala in particular.

Thank you Dors .... its only a few weeks since you were doing the same trip isn't it (Colorado I mean)!

"JeanneG" said...

the dresses are really looking great. Tell David Happy Birthday. I love seeing your work in progress.

Janet Pantry said...

Sue, what great photos! Never been to the Grand Canyon, or indeed the USA. I'd go if I didn't have to fly! Much rather go by ship even if it took a week (or more?) to get there, hehe. Love the story about those boys, made me laugh! It's been wet and windy here too but no sun like you :(

The portrait's coming along nicely, isn't it? Interesting re the daylight lamps, I've had to use mine all day long, it's so dreary and dark now, couldn't draw without it. It's def. not the same as good, natural daylight tho.

sue said...

Thanks Jeanne - I did!

I don't like doing long flights these days Janet but the Grand Canyon certainly was impressive. Weather grotty here today - gale force wind and rain YUK!

Peter Barker has given me some advice and a recommended supplier of good daylight bulbs so 'fingers crossed' for better results soon.