Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot... 

I think we have forgot .... who knows the rest of the rhyme?

I had to Google it but its something we learned at primary school and was accompanied by the making of Guys (Penny for the Guy) to be burned on bonfires whilst holding sparklers and eating jacket potatoes or toffee apples.   We rarely had 'proper' fireworks at home as my Mum didn't like them  - sensible lady.    But nowadays I guess most people go to organised displays who rarely burn Guys (not politically correct).

Anyway, I shan't forget 5 November as its the day I lost my horse, Roxy.  A year ago today she had to be PTS as she had cancer and at age 26 was too old to consider surgery.    I took several buckets of apples to her old yard for the horses, and chocolates for the owner Clare and her girls.    I'm sure Roxy would have approved!

Saturday was my Grand-daughter's 3rd birthday party and I was official photographer.   A room full of excited toddlers enjoying the 'soft play' surroundings isn't my favourite way to spend an afternoon (LOL) but they all had lots of fun and here's the birthday girl:

We've no idea where all those curls come from

From one 'little monkey' to another ... although I guess I can't really call a Gorilla a 'little monkey'  ?

I haven't been doing much on the art front recently as I'm still struggling with neck/shoulder/arm problems.  But I have an appointment with a sports physio tomorrow so hopefully she'll sort me out.  I think its a trapped nerve as I do have some problem discs in my neck which play up periodically.  Sitting at the computer/drawing board makes the problem worse.

I have done some short sessions on the gorilla I started weeks ago.  Its coloured pencil on black paper and is proving slow going as the sanded paper seems to absorb/dull the colours overnight.   I'm combatting this by spraying regularly with fixative to fix the colour and hopefully give a little more tooth so I can add extra layers.   

It was a horrible dull afternoon so difficult to photograph progress especially as my camera doesn't like black paper and keeps trying to turn it blue/grey.    This isn't true to colour but I'm posting it to show just how many colours have gone into the drawing of this gorilla.

this is more true to colour although in reality the bright colours aren't noticeable unless you look closely, they blend in more subtly.   I've done more work on him since the photo was taken

I have lots of photos of this gorilla (and many others) from my visit to his home at Howlett's Zoo in Kent.  Its an unusual subject for me as I normally gravitate to cuter 4 legged furry animals but I found the gorillas fascinating and was drawn to the intensity of this one's gaze.

I visited our local museum last week - the first time I've been there since we moved to Whitstable 6 years ago.   I'd read that the museum was exhibiting wildlife images from the winners of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2013 as the exhibition starts its UK tour.   I wasn't disappointed, the images were stunning.  I think I'd imagined small glossy photos but the images were all blown up and shown on canvas so looked fantastic on the walls.   Lots of different sections - woodlands, underwater etc but I love our native wildlife and this one by photographer Austin Thomas (Highly Commended) really appealed to me:

I didn't take any more photos in the museum as wasn't sure it was permitted, but these two photos are from the Museum's own site and show just how lovely the images were (and these are very small jpegs so not the greatest clarity here)

Photographer: Samuel Morris

Photographer: Andy Rouse

Must get out and about with my camera more next year (and learn how to use it properly of course).


  1. I actually forgot Guy Fawkes today, but remembered later on. Don't even know if I ever heard the rest of the rhyme.

    Hope the physio can help you, I have similar probs.

    Love the pix and the gorilla is coming along very well although I find the 'second face' a tad distracting.

    I love that owl, Mike would like that one. What's the paper at the bottom?

  2. You have given the gorilla such strength and character, it is superb. And sorry you are struggling with your neck etc. I have frozen shoulder again, which is caused by the computer, so trying to cut down. I do sympathise and sorry it is curtailing your lovely work.

  3. she looks like a very happy kid, happy birthday to her :)

    i hate the 5th :/ it freaks sky out so much and its always the idiots who set off fireworks. it would be ok if it was just the organized event, but it seems like anyone with a yard sets them off :/

    you gorilla looks very regal and the skin texture is wonderful :D

  4. Hi Jo
    I photographed the owl picture on the wall in the museum and the paper under the photo gives details of the photographer, his camera and where/when he took the picture etc.

    The other two photos are taken from the museum webpage so I didn't actually photograph them. All pics in the museum had information sheets attached and it was interesting finding out the background stories to the photographs.

  5. Hi Polly and Jennifer.
    I hope to finish the gorilla soon as he's been staring at me from across the room for far too long. As with all coloured pencil work its taking longer than anticipated to build up depth. But its fun.

    Yep, Sophie (Grand-daughter) is always laughing when we see her but according to her mum she can throw some mega tantrums (not been subjected to any of those yet)!

    Hope your frozen shoulder heals soon Polly. Last time I had to have a steroid injection into the shoulder but, touch wood, this time its healed on its own. Now just got to get the trapped nerve sorted.

  6. Little Sophie Louise is a beauty and you've gotten a great shot of her.

    The gorilla is coming right along but I know cp is slow sometimes. Just take it easy on your shoulder/neck/arm.

    The photos are magnificent. The owl is cute but the light in the bunny photo is superb.

  7. Hi Jan
    I will try to get back to see the wilddlife photo display again before it moves on - it really was inspiring

  8. Hi Sue! Do not know why it has taken me so long to find your blog! I figure I spend too much time on the computer as it is! But glad to have found you! LOVE the gorilla! Beautiful work! I too have problems with too much work time on the computer… my shoulder and a touch of carpal tunnel. I found a good chiropractor that really helped… that and less time on the computer! I also had to go from working on a drafting table to using an easel.


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