My first acrylic landscape

I used acrylic paints including black, white, red, ultramarine and Phthalo blues, sap green, and yellow ochre and Burnt ochre. I mixed them and applied them with a Credit Card. I’m pleased that I instantly have something strong and rich in texture. The colours are complex and give depth to the abstract scene.

A brief history of atonement

I started writing about how a doctrine can change over many years, using atonement as an example, became diverted into a discussion of whether atonement might be a secondary theme of the gospels, regardless of it being the central theme of the creed, and of what we call the gospel message.

My essay still doesn’t say what I want it to say, and your comments are welcome.

Read the draft here. (Press Ctrl-L to read full screen.)

Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal explains in the latest Art Society magazine his new exhibition in Venice on the theme of the lost library. Alongside collectable artifacts which of course include his exquisitely simple ceramic pieces, the main focus for our meditation is a collection of books by exiled authors, all translated from their original language.

On reflection, if you are capable of reflection and a little empathy, we should find that moving. Imagining exile is hard enough; imagine wanting to be remembered, to be known and even loved, and to tell your story, especially a story of being dispossessed of your home and possessions, friends and family, culture and the gift of belonging. Such books are an invitation to a special hospitality; can we invite these foreigners’ stories into our own memories? Can we volunteer to be the ones who matter to the exiles, as being the carriers of their stories, to be substitutes for the audience that would ideally heard these stories in their natural language? The books were translated by and translated for readers for whom simple words like food, meal, hill, and town, all convey nothing of the cultural wealth and peculiarity of the original words used by the native people of the authors’ home.

Looking up at our room, I see our own “library”, including bookshelves, but also everything else that tells our story. You too might wonder what people would make of you from the collections in your own space? There’s art on our walls, much of it our own, and the rest by friends and family. It tells a story of inheritance of art from our parents, and the story of the slow and hard won journey into that craft. There’s two huge hifi speakers making a statement! and the statement is something to do with our values. It’s not just that we love listening to the soundtrack we’ve made for our lives, but also we’ve made a lot of music, and 3/4 of our children are professional musicians. Some furniture has been given, some bought, and some refurbished from junk. We are happy with our journey from having nothing, and providing comfort without excess to our family. Above all, I am struck by the amount of open space in our rooms, obtained by moving out of London to be able to accommodate our friends and large family. We have 10 grandchildren, and everybody loves to be together. Our “library” has sofas for all (!) and that itself tells a story.

Your story is all around you, told in the library you have accumulated around you. What story is told?

The Daily Journal

I annotate my sketchbook, and I illustrate my journal. Having just started a brand new journal (aren’t we all inspired by new stationery?) I set out to make the layout of the journal pages more “graphic” and hopefully add more beautiful illustrations.

Of course my writings are too personal and poetic for sharing (!) but here’s a few illustrations:

View up the hall to the kitchen
View from my chair at breakfast
View of my breakfast chair from the garden
Decorations in the hall

Website graphics

I’m involved in the redesign of a website, and wondered if it would be cool to modify all of the photographs to create a house style to unite the graphics with the colour scheme and mood of the design template.

What do you think of the effect I have created from these colours snapshots?

Portrait on Canvas

Mary and I painted each other. It’s important to stretch one’s boundaries, right?

Well, technically it’s not an ‘oil’ painting. I’m using acrylic paint on a real canvas though, for the first time ever. Now portraits are the hardest thing to paint, and I never do portraits, and I’ve never tried this kind of paint or a canvas before,.. Does it sound like I’m making excuses? 400x500mm 3 hours.


50m with Soluable Graphite Stick. and large pad.

Benedictus. Title of a beautiful book of ‘Blessings’ by the poet John O Donohue. What is a blessing? Good question! I don’t think I could explain but if you want to experience the profound and sustaining power of blessing, try searching YouTube for “The Blessing UK” with the biggest speakers in the house. But what’s this got to do with Celtic knots? Well we don’t have time or space here. Another day!

Lockdown Drawing

We’re home. Every day. So here’s another drawing of the garden through the window. Actually I love being at home. I’m happy.

It’s an hour’s work (work?) with Staedtler 0.3mm inkliner and some graphite stick.

I then used Prisma to make three sections so you can scroll across the scene in Instagram. I think these would look good in three square frames as a triptych?

Indoors. Again.

We’re all indoors these days. A lot. Apart from going out for 30m ‘exercise’ as if we either go out to play like school children or prisoners, or habitually set out to get hearts beating for health and fitness. Anyway! Having spent the morning outside with a sudoku book, I attended online art club from an indoor sofa.

Some errors occurred but can’t be changed. That’s the joy of ink!

The drawing is of the dining room and here is what it looks like in a B&W photo:

Framing makes everything belong

Street Sketch

Sat in the sun with a large sketchbook and a 0.8mm Inkliner and a fat graphite stick. Drew the trees in my garden with the houses behind them without thinking much about anything like structure. At the end I looked at it and decided to darken the shadows behind the trees to make them relatively darker. The whites will always be white but the darks can be darker with pressure. So one can achieve more contrast by leaning in a bit more. I like the result.

Nine Birches

There are three clumps of three birch trees in our garden. I don’t know how they got there but I’ve drawn them in my sketchbook this morning with a 0.8mm Inkliner and added some approximated watercolour highlights. I wish I had left little pieces of unpainted ‘white’ trees.

Ink only
With added colours

Here’s the screensaver edition:

So, start again on a big sheet of watercolour paper.

Then decide to do a dark background using masking fluid. Actually quite a lot of masking fluid! But I have a new jar to open..

In the morning it’s all dry and I get started. I forget the palette is full of Cerulean blue mix when I use it as a straight edge. So now we have splodges. And can’t tip up the page to run the colours onto the masked edge. Oh! It’s all going wrong. And as always it’s because I am in a hurry. Anyway, drying can’t be done in a hurry so I just leave it out there. For an hour or so.

I’m wondering if this is finished