Tuesday, 7 January 2014


We've got off very lightly in the stormy weather that has been going on for the past two weeks here.  Minor damage to fences and greenhouse but no flooding or structural damage.    Some of the pictures on the BBC news have been quite incredible, water higher than cars on some flooded Kentish roads and huge tidal waves in Devon and Cornwall.   The severe weather warnings have been lifted now apart from rain warnings for the South and South East so looks as though the worst of the stormy weather has passed (touch wood)

This was our lawn yesterday but its outside, not inside.   Lots of unlucky householders have to contend with thigh high floodwater in their homes and that must take weeks/months to clear

I'm so looking forward to getting some brighter skies again.      I have been working on my coloured pencil drawings in readiness for submission to UKCPS.  I had planned to submit two entries yesterday but  haven't been able to get decent photos because of the poor light.

This is the best I can manage for Lulu, but the picture is still a tad dark so I'll try again later in the week to get more accurate colour.  The background looks grey but is actually white.   I've added about 8 more subtle layers of colour to her skin/hair since the last update.   This is cropped to the shape/size of the frame I'll be using

This was the previous update

I can't get a good photo of the gorilla at the moment (particularly difficult as its on a black background which I struggle to phtograph at the best of times).  Will update later in the week.

In the meantime, I've been putting Photoshop Elements 12 to good use.    I haven't got many 'old' photographs - most seem to have been lost in divorce/house-moves etc.  So, when visiting my Mum at the weekend I had a look through her scanty collection of pictures.    She didn't have anything in albums but just an assortment of photos in a box.

I love this old photo of my Mum - sadly little bruv got his hands on it as you can see (think he was about 6 at the time but should have known better)!

and with some tidying up with Photoshop:  got rid of the writing, some stains and creases etc

and this is an old an old snapshot of her parents (my Nan and Grandad)

and cleaned up/cropped

and me, almost topless(!!!) in the garden.   I removed the creases and evened up the tones in the background but then ended up cropping it anyway.   I've improved about 20 old photos so far and have another dozen to do


  1. Boy, does it ever make a difference. I have the same problems, my mother died over here, cousin closed up her UK apartment and all I asked for were the photo albums, I never got them. So nothing of when I was a kid, well, I have two or three when I was a little older but not yet a teen. Wonder if I can do anything with them on GIMP. I also have some photos which have gone brownish or sepia or whatever it's called. Believe one can fix that as well.

  2. Hi Sue,
    I'm glad you made it through the bad storms with so little damage.
    Your "Lulu" is fantastic! And I am positive there is almost no way to perfectly duplicate colors from camera to computer screen - one of my pet peeves.
    Love the old photos!!! The one of your mother [head only] reminds me of Ingrid Bergman.
    Stay safe and dry!!!

  3. Lulu is now a superb painting, just love the expression on her face. The old photos have been magically made new with photoshop. It's nice to see them and to see how you have improved them. Now you can save them for perpituity!

  4. Was going to add, was your nickname Droopy Drawers!

  5. I really regret not having all my photos from my time living in Singapore/SE Asia and my Safari in Mombassa. Think the albums went AWOL during this last house move.

    But a few little gems have turned up at Mum's ... so all is not lost.

    Jo - if you want to email me any pics to have a 'tweak' with please do ... although it seems Mike is au-fait with Photoshop so could probably do a better job!

  6. Thank you Kathryn. We Brits are getting soggy, seems USA/Canadian folk are getting frozen .. what is happening with the weather these days?

    I see what you mean about Ingrid Bergman. I think the fashion was to look kind of sulky and sultry in portraits back in the early 50s

  7. Hiya Polly

    Nope ... for some reason my nickname was Winkle!!

    Except that my favourite uncle always called me Suzy Wong (the only person in the World allowed to call me Suzy or Susie as I hate that name)!

  8. Your mom was absolutely beautiful, Sue! She definitely looks like a movie star! Of course, she has that perfect face that I look for when I do a portrait...maybe someday you can allow me to paint her? Lulu is amazing...you did an outstanding job. And love how you restored the old photos...

  9. this really makes me want to "fix" all of the old photos mom gave me. know idea why she gave me the originals, maybe because i can fix the ones that need fixing. need to scan them all but there are a lot :/ at least if i scan them and save the scans in a few places, if the originals do get lost, there will be copies...hmmm now where did i put them? :p

    lots of wind and rain here, but no flooding thankfully still. some of the damage down south is mind blowing. huge rocks and cliffs just gone

  10. I used to know a little girl who looked so much like this painting. It is fabulous, Sue. And these old photos! I love seeing them and seeing how you are cleaning them up! Great work!

  11. Thanks for commenting Hilda. Yes you're welcome to paint Mum if you wish. I can email a higher res image if you like.

    Hope you find your old pics Jennifer. Its fun to do and there's something special about old photos I think

    Hi Sherry. Lulu (that's her nickname) is Italian. She and her Mum are our neighbours at our holiday home on Fuerteventura (Canary Islands). She is very pretty but this 'pout' appealed to me more than a standard smiley pose. Good practice for my coloured pencils.

  12. So glad you didn't get any more damage than you did, Sue! I had a round of fixing old photos after my mom died. PSE is great for it but I used Paint Shop Pro at the time and it did almost as well. I think the Gimp would do well also, Jo. I had it at one time and found it useful but didn't try to learn it well.

    Hee hee, I noticed your saggy diaper first thing too. Your mom really does look like a movie star in these photos - you've done a great job restoring them.

  13. Forgot to say that Lulu looks great! It's always so hard to photograph or scan a photo! Good luck with it and good luck with it as an entry - I love it and hope it gets accepted into the UKCPS show.

    Has Lulu's parents ever seen it or know about it?

  14. Hi Jan.

    Funny thing is that Mum's younger Sister (my Auntie Janet) was the glamorous one. Janet was a Lucie Clayton model (THE model agency of the time)and was always photographed in beautiful gowns and surrounded by hoardes of handsome men etc., or appearing in newspapers and magazines

    So I guess I grew up just thinking of Mum as 'Mom' and Auntie as the superstar. Must have been a bit hurtful for Mum!

    During our last visit to Fuerte, we only saw our neighbours once before they went back to Italy for a holiday so, no, they don't know about this portrait of Lulu yet. It will be a surprise for them when we're back out there in lat February.

  15. Nicely done Sue. I told you it was best to have a definite goal in mind when 'playing' with Ps, it focuses the mind and stops you from going off at a tangent. I am in the process of going through all my parents' old photos with them so that the identities of the people in them don't get forgotten.

  16. Thanks Mike - good advice as ever!
    Good idea to find out all the identities while you can ... I didn't have a clue about some of the people in Mum's sepia photos.

  17. I love the expression on the child's face. A very sincere and real picture. The eyes draw you in and are incredible.

  18. Hi Shelley. Thanks for visiting and commenting - much appreciated, especially as I see that 'realism' art isn't really your thing. Just had a quick look at your abstracts (very vibrant and thought provoking) and will visit again when I have more time :-)


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