Monday, August 21, 2017

Sunflower field

I got fed up with my sunflowers.
So what do I do?
I start painting a sunflower field!
At least, I've got only one version of this one. But I might need more to get to what I have in my head. The main thing that bothers me here is the blob on the left - it was supposed to be some bushes and trees, but somehow it lost its shape along the way and looks like some alien monster from Star Trek (the original series - special effects got a little more sophisticated by The Next Generation).

I'm trying to explore new ideas and textures that take me away from a strict representation of what my camera captured. And I hope the yellow sky conveys the heat of the day.

Although it wasn't that hot - just about 30 Celsius. Which to me is normal Summer temperature in the South of France. Quite pleasant actually! And the joy of sitting out on the terrace for breakfast and dinner. A rare treat when you live in Ireland. I think I'll need more sunshine and warm weather next year. But I'll have to watch my carbon footprint, or we'll end with those temperatures in Ireland, which really wouldn't be right!

Back to the blob - how would it look if I cropped the painting? That's one of the beauties of watercolour paper - something you can't do with a stretched canvas!

Better already.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Airports and stations

One big advantage of travelling alone is that I can get to the airport when it suits me, allowing plenty of time for shopping and sketching.
On this occasion, it did mean getting up at 3am. With a MyTaxi booked for 4am, and a FastTrack through security (the best thing ever), I was at the airport with two hours to spare. Travelling with hand-luggage only, I couldn't do any shopping, so that left plenty of time for sketching. I got myself a green tea and a gluten-free muffin of some sort (which tasted awful, by the way, but I didn't want to queue for the more appealing food options), then I sat down at a counter overlooking the bar. Nobody noticed me - people have their phones and they are pre-occupied, plus they're not quite awake at that time yet.
To really finish that sketch, I probably would have needed an extra half hour or even an hour. But I had a plane to catch, so that's all I've got!

And then, there was a train to take. Good open spaces, train stations. Unfortunately, I had even less time, and this view of Brussels North never got beyond this stage.

Still, not a bad start to the day!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rugby Word Cup Women's in Dublin

I'm watching rugby on the telly. That has to be a first. It's the Women's Rugby World Cup, it's set in Dublin, and it's Ireland vs Japan, so of course I'm interested. And yes, I'm rooting for Japan! 頑張ってください!!

The first phase of the matches is set in UCD, just down the road from us, so it was really easy to get to. So I spent the afternoon in the Fan Zone (it was the England-Italy match), sat on the ground and started sketching! Several children looked on, and a few grown-ups too, including some young French women, who were surprised when I turned back and thanked them for their kind comments.

When I was done, I went over to the Japanese supporters I had captured, and showed them my sketch. They were so pleased they insisted on taking pictures with me and my sketchbook! Unfortunately, I forgot to take my phone out to get a photo too.

After that, I walked over towards the all-weather pitches, met with my husband and my dog and we walked around the back, then watched the Japanese team warming up and wished them good luck!

So far so good. 27 minutes into the game and it's 0-7 for Japan! In my humble opinion, the Irish team thought it would be easier to beat the Japanese, and they're finding it tougher than they expected.

May the best team win.

3rd time lucky

Drawing someone you know is the hardest thing.

But I had a very patient subject, who was busy watching the telly, so I was able to try three times. The first two - no likeness whatsoever (the second one actually looks more like a neighbour, strangely enough), but the third one, I feel I can recognise him, and I hope that others do too.

Another tournesol, and two more

I often find it hard to stop with one attempt - that's the nature of watercolours - you have to explore the process through more than one painting, as opposed to acrylics, where you develop a work through layers. As is often the case the first one is the best.

This is the first one I tried

 Second, on bigger paper. I like how the petals worked out.

Third, on smaller page, with salt to create the seeds in the centre. But the petals are too orange.

Tried a bigger one, but the salt didn't work for some reason. I must explore that further. Obviously the ambiant temperature and humidity will affect how the salt pushes the pigment, but the weather had not changed to any great extent between these two paintings.

I tried to "fix" the last one by adding oil pastel. Clearly didn't work. Time to move on.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Eatyard

Another Sunday, another sketching location. And rain again. This is August in Ireland. But I bumped into a friend just as the rain was starting and we took shelter together, and chatted for a while under the trees by the canal. Then we scouted for a good location where we could stay dry. And we found the Eat Yard, just beside the Bernard Shaw pub in Portobello. I wasn't particularly hungry, but I got chips from the Box Burger. My fellow sketcher got a sweet potato burger. And we set to work.

This is not something I was aware of until Sunday, but food truck culture has hit Dublin. Now cars are not my strong suit. We've established that already. But this one wasn't going nowhere. So I started with the overall shape (more or less) first, then I went back in for detail, jumping from one area to the next every time I struggled with a particular point. And no, I'm not sure I'll ever manage to fit the bottom of my subjects onto the page. You'd think at this point I'd remember to start at the bottom, or draw higher on the page. Or start with a quick pencil outline. One day maybe. But then I wouldn't be me. And where would be the fun in that?

I haven't yet developed the ability to sketch things and people at the same time. But there were loads of young people hanging around the yard, fathers with young children (one little boy stole an eraser, and when it fell to the ground, it looked exactly like the gravel under our feet - he looked fairly cross when he was asked to pick it up and hand it back!), young couples, first dates. There was a young man and a young woman in very intense conversation. Although I wasn't listening to what they were actually saying, it sounded like a first date. And the young man was working hard at impressing the young woman! I wish them well for the future!

The man behind the counter at Burn Baby Burn was so impressed with my sketch that he took photos of it to include on their instagram page! But unfortunately, I can't find it anywhere - there are just too many people using burn baby burn as a hashtag!

Still, it was a very pleasant afternoon, despite the rain!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


It was one of my goals for the summer, to go down to Belfield and sketch. Better late than never, but it looks like this will be my only chance, unfortunately. I won't even be there for the Women's Rugby World Cup. Which is a shame, as even the training sessions would be great sketching opportunities, particularly with the Japanese team there!

But never mind, Belfield will still be there next summer, and I'll make sure to reserve time for my own goals, rather than getting caught up in other things. I know I've only got myself to blame. A little better time management is all that would have been needed. But sometimes, I just don't have enough energy.

This is one of my favourite spots, by the way, a quiet courtyard between the old and new science buildings, where a majestic old tree stands, watching over generations of students going by.

Funny that before we got Timber, I always found Belfield boring, just a concrete jungle with no good view of the mountains or the sea. They say that familiarity breeds contempt. But in my case, it's the opposite. I've grown quite fond of the place. It's within easy reach of home. Timber loves it. It's quite safe, even when he is off the leash. Although there are a few s.q.s (squirrels) and r.a.t.s (rats). Which can be quite distracting. And swallows in the summer. We had to keep him on the lead for most of the walk this morning, as several of the rugby teams were training on the grounds. But he didn't seem to mind. And there are a lot of interesting buildings and views that would make great urban sketches. Well, at least, I've captured one so far. I did paint a view of the pitches last year, a lovely painting I sold.

Well, maybe I didn't hit my goal for the summer, but, come September, I might go there on Saturday mornings to sketch and paint. Nothing to stop me!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Chasing Coral

We watched Chasing Coral on Netflix a few days ago. And it is scary. Scarier than Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth (Although I hear there is a sequel, so that will be one to watch out for). Scarier? Why? Because it shows you what's already happening,  the coral reefs around the world are dying because the sea temperature continues to go up, leading to coral bleaching and death of a whole ecosystem. Coral reefs hold 25% of the oceans' fish. And when the reefs die, the fish die too. A bit like having the whole Amazonian forest disappearing. And worse in a way, because most people don't have any idea what it's like, and probably don't care.
I just find it so sad that my young nephew will probably never get the chance to snorkel over the reef and see turtles, black-tip sharks and eagle rays swimming all around him. I know that many people have never had the luck to see this alien world on our blue planet, but believe me, it's amazing. There is nothing to prepare you for the feeling you get when you swim over the reef for the first time, and it's like you're floating in space. Or when you swim out of the lagoon and find yourself face to face with an eagle ray, who is as surprised as you are to see you there. Or the pure joy of snorkelling in a shoal of blue triggerfish.

Chasing Coral is basically showing how quickly that whole world is dying. And given how little our politicians, or most people for that matter, care about climate change, I'm not seeing a happy ending, unless we wake up and start taking action. There was a scene in the movie where the crew are filming on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. And when they come up to the surface to the base they've rented for the duration, it's a party platform where young people are drinking, dancing and flirting, with absolutely no interest in the reef itself. I found that scene so sad. Our world is dying and the generation who will be affected by it don't know and don't care.

Now, I'm not perfect. Despite my effort to walk rather than drive to the local shop, to eat less meat, to recycle and avoid unnecessary consumption, I found that my environmental footprint was 176% of the UK average!! Too many flights this year! But at least now I know, and I can try and do something about it. Why don't you try out the footprint calculator and see what your impact on climate change is, and what steps you can take to make our world a better place, a place where the next generation will be able to live, and maybe enjoy a swim/dance with all the exotic fishes on a coral reef somewhere.

Because let's face it, who wants to live on Mars?

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Sketching the sketchers

It wasn't the perfect Sunday. But after missing two weeks, I was determined to make it to Dublin Sketchers last Sunday. Things were going well. I got parking right outside our location, Griffith College. And it looked like it was going to be dry for half an hour at least. Then we found out that permission was required, as young kids were staying there in the summer. We didn't have permission. Some people headed towards the canal. I took one look at the darkening sky and said "You can do what you want. I'm going to the café" Some of them were not seen again. I heard of one person who went home after getting wet. This is August in Ireland. When it rains it rains. 

So, what do sketchers do when they are stuck together in a café for a couple of hours? They sketch each other, of course. And chat. And drink tea. And eat. That too. 

For some insane reason, I decided to paint directly to watercolour. No preliminary drawing. No measuring. And I had a ball. You will not recognize these people. James is thinner. Des has a more interesting jawline. And Marina is much prettier. I hope they forgive me! I forgive them.

And I found a use for graphite grey - perfect for painting black-framed glasses!

Saturday, August 05, 2017


Still jumping around from one idea to another. And I haven't touched monoprinting this summer yet! It would be really useful to have another working table so I could go back and forth between watercolours and monoprinting That will require a serious reorganisation of my little room, though. I've looked at the Ikea website, and they don't have anything narrow enough for my room.

So, rather than trying to tackle the whole sunflower field and landscape, I turned a failed watercolour over and started painting this on the reverse. Exploring transparency and textures was so much fun that I've now started another version in a bigger format. I really need to start painting larger if I want to up my game. And summer is the time for playful exploration. No pressure. No targets. Just pure colour and joy.

Friday, August 04, 2017


While I was working with photographs from Béal Bán, I decided to try out a view of the dunes just behind the beach.

I really wanted this one to be a "good" painting, so I spent the time doing thumbnails and trying out colour and value dominance options. Again, going back to another one of my bibles, Powerful Watercolor Landscapes, by Catherine Gill. A book more about choices than watercolour technique. But very useful. Sometimes you just need to go back to the drawing board and think before you paint. The eureka moment came when I tried a portrait composition, and decided on a light dominance.

Unlike sketching, this one was about product, rather than process. But strangely enough, having done the homework, the process turned out to be extremely enjoyable.

And, PS, I'm still playing with these yummy colours, some old (prussian blue, naples yellow), some new (buff titanium, perylene maroon), and what fun it is. Limited palette is definitely the way to go for me.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Hoppalong Cat

It's hard being a 17-year-old. Particularly when you have diabetes. And you're a cat. But it helps to have a good Mummy and Daddy (I call them Slaves - they're great at opening doors). And although I hate going to the vets, I strangely felt better after I got home. And I did get to meet Bríd and Linda and Kevin and Sarah (she was wearing a funny hat). There was another cat there, going in as I was going out. And he was making a fuss. Not like me. I'm one of their best patients (I think they mean honored guest), they say. I never hiss or lash out. Except when they clip my nails. Don't like that.

This time, I came home with this thing wrapped around my leg. It catches when I walk, particularly going up the stairs. And it makes getting in and out of boxes really hard (Female Slave came to the rescue, thankfully). First, they wouldn't let me out. And then, when they finally obeyed my orders, the front exit was blocked. What use is that? But then they gave me freshly-cooked chicken breast. Not the boring dry stuff. No even AD. It was so moist and tender. The real taste of chicken. Not organic though.

I heard them call me Hoppalong. Were they mocking me? Surely they wouldn't dare. Come to think of it, I remember Male Slave using that term for Female Slave a couple of years ago, so it's can't be bad. I think I'll just sleep for the afternoon now.

More clouds

I decided to try out the same Béal Bán view again, with different colours, and then with the same colours again, but experimenting more with contrast and wet-on-wet versus wet-on-dry.

The different colour experiment didn't work out. Bloodstone Genuine wasn't a good pigment for clouds afer all. Plus I didn't wait long enough to start painting my mountains. So, instead of giving a soft "cloud-kissing-top-of-mountain" effect, I just got a #fuzzymountain look.

But the other painting was fun. I cranked up the Moonglow and it granulated beautifully. And I think I will never tire of West-of-Ireland skies. The next step will be to figure out how to paint an interesting painting that incorporates the clouds, rather than just the clouds. First step would be to lower the horizon. Second, go more abstract in terms of the land and sea. Third, paint bigger. And then what? I think I'm going to have to go back to Donald Teskey's paintings, that's what. A little ambitious, yes. But what have I got to lose, except my sanity?

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

San Marco Basilica

I'm all over the place at the moment. Just recovering from that cold, I am jumping from one idea to the next without plan or reason (yes, I know, it's supposed to be rhyme or reason). I've only been sick for 5-6 days, but I feel I've missed out on so much and I really want to catch up and do, well, everything.

Back to the usual wake-up call - even if I live to 100, I will not get to do everything I want to do. That's the problem with being on the wrong side of 50, you look at life in terms of how much time's left. And that's scary. But then it makes me even more determined to live to 100, which, let's face it, is highly unlikely. Yes, there is longevity in my family, great-grandmother died at 92, grandmother at 89. But, despite my healthy living, I have a few medical conditions that will probably lead to complications as I get older. And I did smoke until the age of 28. Or was it 32?

Anyways. Lots to do. Lots more to do.

This one is an attempt at sketching San Marco's Basilica in watercolour only, no drawing, no measuring, no planning! I started with a negative-space rendition starting with the sky. That was a good way to draw all these domes without thinking about it too much. These large domes and turrets are tricky. But once I had a silhouette, all I had to do was work my way down that building, one feature at a time.

I know I should have added lots more people, and probably smaller people to give the sense of scale, but I got bored with it in the end!

Still, for a first time tackling this difficult subject, I was happy with how it went. I must remember this for the next time I go to Venice - it would be so fantastic to paint this from life!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Excited by colours

As you can see by the yellowy-grey tint of the paper, the photo doesn't do this little piece justice.
So you'll have to believe me when I tell you about the excitement that overtook me when I painted this scene from the Dingle Peninsula (Béal Bán). First of all, I always seem to turn my back on the Three Sisters (I don't know why those three hills are called that to be honest - some research will be required, as even Wikipedia is not offering much in terms of useful information! Oh and by the way, Béal Bán means White Mouth, I'm told) and photograph the other side of the bay, looking towards Ballydavid. Maybe it's because the clouds always seem to cling to the mountains behind?

So when I set to work on this with my new paints, it was all about the clouds. Such fun! Buff Titanium, Lavender and Moonglow, with a touch of English Venetian red towards the horizon. It all moved and blended and pooled just so!

As this was also an exercise in controlling the wetness of my paints (I went back to yet another one of my watercolour bibles, Watercolor Painting, A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium, by Tom Hoffmann, after a disappointing landscape painting), I had to wait just the right amount of time before I started to paint the mountains (prussian blue and moonglow) - I wanted a softness that indicated clouds kissing the mountains, but I didn't want to end up with a complete backrun that would bloom into the sky. The trick is not only to watch the paper, but also to be careful about the amount of water in the brush. Squirrel brushes are not good for that - they hold too much water.

After that, the sea (prussian blue + naples yellow) and sand (buff titanium + English Venetian red) were easy!

That just makes me want to paint more!

PS: yes, I've changed the theme background and width on my blog. After so many years, it was about time!

Monday, July 31, 2017

The old and the new

Remember this photo from our Bloomsday sketchout? It was taken in front of a house on Hardwicke Street (just one street behind the Olivier Cornet Gallery)

Well, I was on Hardwicke street recently, meeting Jason Sheridan from the Hardwicke Street Community Garden, and he sent me this photo:

One of the things I love about urban sketching is that it brings you to parts of the city you would not visit in your day-to-day life. This is Dublin inner city, with its poverty, unemployment, social issues, its drug problems. Not a place I would normally go to. And yet, Hardwicke Street's residents made me feel very welcome indeed when I visited. And I got to know them a little better, chatting with old and young. All that because of a sketch from Bloomsday! I am a firm believer that sketching can bring people together. 

And I did find out about Margaret Sheridan, Margaret Maguire and Amanda Bowes. Sadly, all three were killed in 1980 when a joy-rider lost control of the car he was driving at speed on the street. Margaret Sheridan was Jason's grand-mother, Amanda was his 8-year-old cousin, and Margaret Maguire was a friend of Mrs Sheridan. 

May they rest in peace.


After I got back, I did this little painting from a photo I took in Bellegarde-du-Razès, using my "old" colour palette, so it was a little bit of an experimentation, playing with colours I haven't used in a while.

The result isn't quite as sparkling as I wanted. And definitely not as interesting. Was there a good reason these colours were cast aside?

I'm sure I can do better than that - it's a bit too literal an interpretation of the landscape - I think I should try something more abstract and textural! I've just picked up Ann Blockley's book on watercolour textures, and I'm seeing things that are really inspiring me! Always good to go back to my old classics.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Old Colours

And some old colours too, which I've dug out of my paint box and organised. Not sure what I'll use them for yet - that's why they've been in the box for a while (years in some cases - if the tube is well sealed, watercolour will keep a long long time)- but they are so cheerful that I'm sure I'll find a project to make me happy on a rainy day:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

New Colours

Let's talk about exciting new colours I've discovered while reading a blog post by Marc Taro Holmes, aka CitizenSketcher. I was so intrigued by some of the colours he uses in his standard palette that I had to try some of them at least. I do have my own minimum favourite palette, with quinacridone gold, aureolin yellow, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, PG50, PV19, pyrolle red, phthalo green, green apatite genuine, and burnt sienna - those colours will work for most of my urban sketches and sea and clouds too. But the names of some of these new colours were so exotic that they got me intrigued.

  • Buff Titanium - PW6:1 - it's a white of some sort. Not that attractive on its own, but Marc Taro Holmes swears by it for complexion mixes, and beaches, and crazy skies. And yes, I have tried it for all of the above, and it works. Accompanied by perylene maroon and prussian blue, it makes a perfect mix for painting faces.
  • Graphite Gray - PBk10 - yes, it's a black. Apart from the patch below, I haven't tested it yet. It's a very smooth dark grey, no granulation. Maybe I'll try it for drawing with a paint brush? 
  • Lavender - PW6+PV19+PB29 - so that's a mix of white, ruby red (pink red) and ultramarine. I could have mixed that myself I guess, but it was mentioned as a colour Alvaro Castagnet used to push backgrounds back. And yes, I did think his book on watercolour painting was useless. I still do. But his paintings are amazing. And I know using the same colours as him is not going to transform me into a professional artist overnight, but I believe in using the best possible tools on my journey! 
  • Moonglow - PG18+PB29+PR177 - that's veridian green, ultramarine blue and permanent alizarin crimson to you and me - well the guys at Daniel Smith decided to mix it all together and the result, Moonglow, is just amazing! It's just a purple, I hear you say. But wait until you see it granulate and separate when mixed with other colours. I've tried it with Buff Titanium and Lavender for skies and it makes the most amazing clouds!
  • Bloodstone Genuine - this one doesn't have a pigment number because the pigment is Bloodstone Genuine, or Heliotrope - it's a stone. Quite dark. Not quite sure yet how I'll use it. It granulates beautifully, but I've tried it for clouds and it didn't work for me - I just have to find the right colour to mix it with.
  • Perylene Maroon - PR179 - now if you want to paint the colour of blood, perylene maroon is what you need. It's so thick and intense! But if you dilute it well, it will work for painting faces, as I mentioned above.
And then, there are a couple of colours that I already had which I've included in this palette
  • Chinese White
  • Naples Yellow
  • English Venetian Red
  • Prussian Blue
Prussian Blue and Naples Yellow because they worked well for painting faces, English Venetian Red for no good reason except that I thought it would be a good red to have, and Chinese White because I felt that if I kept it in the tube, it would dry out through lack of use, like every other watercolour white I've ever bought.

So we'll see how these colours will all work out. I have them all together in a little portable palette, so they'll be handy for urban sketching!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bellegarde-du-Razès sketches

That bad bad cold is still taking a lot out of me. I don't even have the energy to sketch or paint. That's so frustrating. You know the feeling, when your body is so heavy and tired that you think it will never get better. And that's only a cold. God forbid I ever have anything serious! Plus I don't get summer colds, particulary in a good summer. Yes, I was at the doctor's surgery and a nursing home and on an airplane in the week before I got this cold, so that's probably why. And there is a theory going that I've been wearing myself out with all my activities and that maybe I should take it easy for a while. Well, I have no choice but to take it easy right now. My legs feel so weak I think I would struggle reaching the top of the road.

OK, enough moaning.

When travelling, always carry your little sketchbook with you, and a small watercolour set if you can! On this occasion, the set I brought with me was a mini Sennelier set. It's really tiny tiny, but perfect when you're sight-seeing and you don't want to carry too much. I brought one watercolour brush, my versatile Pyramid brush from Rosemary and Co., quirky but useful in that it can do both detail and good washes. I also brought one pen, my beloved Lamy Safari (extra fine nib), filled with DeAtramentis waterproof Document ink.

This was the view from the house in Bellegarde-du-Razès, all rolling hills and fields. I really liked it. If I was to build that house myself, I would change its orientation, with more windows and terraces facing that way. But then again, that's full South, so I can imagine that after one summer there, I'd be looking for the shade!

This view is from the village. There is a little square with a picnic bench, and it overlooks some of the houses and the fields and hills in the distance.

And then some airport and airplane sketches. Airports are the best place to practise drawing people: they are generally looking at their phones or reading a book, you can move to a different spot if you don't want to be noticed, you can do a combination of standing and sitting poses, there are plenty of bags and colourful outfits. It's a long time since I was in transit in Dubai airport, but if I went there, I would definitely bring my watercolour set, and the hours would pass really quickly. Maybe I should book a flight with a really long transit time? My fellow passenger would go mad of course, but I would be happy! Or book a flight to Donegal or Kerry and spend the day in Dublin airport just sketching! Well, now that I look into it, it would actually be cheaper to book a cheap Ryanair flight. Dublin to East Midlands is currently 14.99, versus 34.99 to Donegal. But then again, it depends what terminal I would want to work in. That would be a great project!

Thursday, July 27, 2017


I was so lucky to be invited to France for a few days by my good friend Françoise, who had the use of a house in a tiny village called Bellegarde-du-Razès, in the Aude department, about 40 minutes from Carcassone, and 20 minutes from the town of Mirepoix in the Ariège towards the Pyrenees.

The weather was glorious - 3 days of pure sunshine (and a few thunder clouds in the evening - they always form over the Pyrenees), intense blue skies and 30 degrees. Perfect!

My main memory of the views is the gentle hills and valleys that stretch as far as the eye can see, with a mix of vineyards, wheat fields, forests, and sunflowers. Apparently, it was peak sunflower season, and it was so intense! A very different feel from the Corbières, which is more rugged and dry.

Not much to do in the village itself, but it's very pretty and I could spend a week sketching there and still not capture all the views. On my last day, we discoverd a hiking trail that goes through the whole Razès area. We only walked a very small section of it, but it was so peaceful. You can get the map at the post office, which is open every morning.

And if you want more to do, there are lots of beautiful towns and villages nearby, like the town of Mirepoix, with its market and cathedral (well worth a visit), and the castle of Montségur, which we didn't get to as I needed some pool time!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cold remedies

I hate having a cold. I hate it even more in the summer! It's not fair! I get the feeling I'm going to be coughing for weeks, despite deploying all my cold remedies! And since the coughing happens mostly at night, I feel wrecked. Here is what I've been throwing at it so far:

  1. raw grated garlic (in a salad with tomatoes and a dash of rapeseed oil - actually quite nice, if socially awkward)
  2. baked garlic
  3. Difflam throat spray and gargle
  4. expectorant syrup
  5. paracetamol
  6. vitamin C
  7. Pineapple juice
  8. Lots of rest
  9. A few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star Trek the Next Generation
  10. Drops of lavender oil
  11. hot water with
  12. grated ginger 
  13. lemon juice
  14. manuka honey
  15. cloves
Anything else I could try to shake this off?

Two things to add to the list:

  1. A friend of mine recommended grated raw garlic and turmeric simmered in milk. I haven't tried it, but it sounds so awful it must be good!
  2. I just got a new cough syrup from the pharmacy: Bronchostop, and it already seems to be helping. It's based on natural ingredients, thyme and marshmallow root, which I like, and it works for all kinds of coughs, which is perfect for me. Productive cough during the day and tickly cough at nightime! I'm still feeling worn out, but once I can control the cough, I will regain my energy in no time!

Watercolour faces - Sktchy

Well done me! I've stuck to one thing! Still working on drawing people from Sktchy! In watercolour this time. I was inspired by Marc Taro Holmes's wonderful portraits. I have a long way to go, and I should definitely paint in a bigger format (this is approximately 10x10cm), but I had fun with the colour mixes. More about those another time.  And the model was happy with the end result. 

I didn't show her the first layer, although that's often more interesting to me than the final product - I just love to see the fluid colours run and mingle, and I feel no pressure to create a likeness.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


I keep going round and round, jumping from one subject to the next. So I'm back with drawing people, for a short while anyway. Since I haven't had the time (or picked up the courage) to go to a life drawing session, I turned to Sktchy again. This time, I tried to draw the minimum amount of features to define the form. It worked well for two of the three, so I uploaded them. And got great feedback (9 people wowed the girl in shorts, and 4 the young man in profile, including the subjects themselves)
Sktchy is an interesting concept, isn't it? You can get your portrait painted without having to commission or pay any artist! Having a portrait of yourself is no longer the exclusive privilege of the rich and famous - I kind of like that! But also, artists can practise their craft without having to pay a model, or even leaving the comfort of their own home! Now all I need to do is practise. Or maybe I'll move on to something else? Clouds maybe?

This one didn't work out so good. I will make another attempt and will only upload it when I'm happy.