Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Lacuna

I finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna a short while back. A magical book, set in Mexico in the 1930s and 40s' and 50s' America. It's told mostly in the first person, by a fictional character, Harrison Shepherd, half American half Mexican, who grows up in a remote part of Mexico with his mother, and discovers a "lacuna", a waterhole that you can swim through from the sea, emerging into a deep open-air cave in the middle of the jungle. The word takes on many meanings through the story.

The book opens with an exotic, far from idyllic, childhood on an island off the coast of Mexico, develops with the fascinating, colourful, pulsating and dangerous world of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Trotsky, in Mexico city, and ends in the dark McCarthy times in America after World War II.

A beautiful beautiful book, rich and fun and deep and tragic.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Siobhan Ryan, low-cut black top, 28 July

I'm sure the boys loved this top a couple of nights ago. Siobhan Ryan is probably their favourite amongst the Irish weather forecasters!

Siobhan Ryan, blue dress, 29 July

Siobhan Ryan - lovely blue dress. And she's managed to keep her tan - I wonder, does she apply for days off when she knows the sun will be shining?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

JD's Steakhouse, Terenure

We went to JD's Steakhouse in Terenure for dinner last night, to feed a meat-hungry guest. It was our first time there and we enjoyed it - the boys had buffalo wings and steak and were happy with both, while I had caprese salad and cod and chips - both dishes excellent. I couldn't resist dessert, and had the best banoffi I've eaten in a long time. Service was excellent (you know, when the waitress brings an extra spoon so you can share your dessert) and prices very reasonable (we ate from the early bird menu).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Kyoto pond

My first time trying out watercolour board. I had read a lot of conflicting information on forums - it doesn't buckle, it does buckle, it can take a lot of water, it allows rework, ... I was confused to say the least.

But it worked out beautifully. I painted the water wet in wet (after masking a few ripples and cherry blossom petals), and I was able to mop up areas to be highlighted, and I applied an extra layer wet in wet. I painted the wall wet on dry, and removed highlight areas with a damp brush and a tissue.

I quite like the final product (the colours look better in real life), but I think it's missing a little something - contrast? more of a feature? I'm not sure what.

Evelyn Cusack, purple and black dress, 21 July

Quite an unusual dress that Evelyn Cusack was wearing on Saturday (Belgian National day, by the way!). It suits her - I think it's very flattering.

Siobhan Ryan, red dress, 20June

Another lovely dress for Siobhan Ryan - quite an extensive wardrobe she has!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kundalini Yoga at Danu Yoga Centre

I couldn't go to my usual Hatha Yoga class at the Danu Yoga Centre last Wednesday, so I went to Lisa's Kundalini class on Thursday instead.

Kundalini yoga is very different from what I'm used to - in the class I attended, there was a lot of sitting and breathing work, with a lot of repetitions of poses, some chanting and even a bit of singing at the end (I did my best!). It felt a lot more "spiritual" than hatha yoga, but also very physical - my arms were feeling the pain the following day!

Lisa is a wonderful teacher. You can take her classes at the level you want, physical or spiritual, she doesn't impose her beliefs on her students - she explains the poses carefully, describing all the benefits as we go. She knows her stuff, no doubt about it. She's always challenging us with new asanas or variations on poses we think we knew. You will not get bored with endless sun salutations at her classes, I guarantee you that! And she has a great sense of humour, often interjecting a comment to lighten the mood when we are in the middle of a complex twist or balance pose.

Last but not least, her purpose-built studio is always cosy and warm, even in the middle of winter.

I love going to her classes. Even on evenings when I feel like curling up on the sofa instead of getting into the car to go to Ballinteer, I always come back refreshed, energised and happy.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Urban Dictionary

I was looking up a word on Google, a word I hadn't heard before, a word that young people use it would seem (it sounded bad). And so I came across the Urban Dictionary. I think I will need to refer to the "Word of the Day" on a regular basis if I want to keep up with youth-speak!! Here are the words I learned today:

  • Texticle: "When you have your phone on vibrate in your pocket and you're wearing baggy trousers so when you get a text it tickles your nuts"
  • Bone ami: "A French fuck buddy"
  • Slowest common denominator: "The first person at the front of a single line of moving traffic."
  • Diabeating your kids: "When parents feed their young children, who do not know better or aren't given any healthy options, pure crap, resulting in juvenile onset diabetes."
  • Googlical proportions: "when a private matter becomes so well-known to the public, it can be looked up on the internet.
  • and of course...
  • Hoebag - it's such a horrible word I can't bear to tell you all what it means. You'll have to check it yourself!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The hill

I'm still playing with this sketch I took from the car on the M1 going north a few months ago. This time, I've used Paper to draw and paint this beautiful hill.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


This one I drew with Paper on my iPad a few weeks ago. It's got an autumnal feel to it. It was one of my first attempts at drawing over a watercolour background with Paper, and it certainly encouraged me to explore that technique further, as you've seen already.

Siobhan Ryan, 10 July, sporting her tan

Siobhan Ryan was wearing a lovely outfit last night, one that showed off her tan. It looks like she escaped from our awful Irish summer weather for a few days. Lucky her!

Monday, July 09, 2012


This one dates back a few weeks, but I think it's pretty enough to share. Love the effect - it's simple to do: create a background with the watercolour tool and then draw over it with any of the drawing tools.  I must try a background with the marker tool, I read somewhere it's a quicker way to paint a dark background. 

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Boden Collection 8 - Paper

Getting back in the saddle - I picked up my stylus and iPad and started drawing again last night! And if she looks like the tower of Pisa, it's because she is leaning against a pillar, which I didn't include in the drawing.

This one is an outfit I didn't buy. Don't know why really, as I love that shirt. But some years, I want to buy everything in the Boden catalog, so I have to limit myself. Other years, nothing tempts me. But that won't stop me from having a peek at their sales items!

Thinking about it, it's probably just as well I didn't buy it - big patterns swamp me, as I'm not tall enough to carry them.

Friday, July 06, 2012


BB took this lovely picture at Powerscourt Gardens last Sunday.

Plenty of tourists from around the world were there too, greeted by the sunshine that's been so elusive this summer.

It wouldn't be so pleasant today - rain rain rain.

Boden Collection 7 - Paper

Not as good as my previous one. That often happens, with me with drawing. I manage to draw something pretty well, and after that, it's like my brain switches off - or my left brain tells my right brain that it's not worth pursuing anymore? And I rush, and it doesn't look right. Then I lose heart and move on to something else.

I haven't done any drawing since!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Evely Cusack, 4 July, pale green flower dress

I really like this dress on Evelyn Cusack.

And her warm smile, despite the woeful weather forecast for Friday!

1Q84, Book 3

Just finished Book 3 of 1Q84. Loved it. Different from Books 1 & 2 - it reads more like a thriller, a cat and mouse chase, as the net is closing in on Tengo and Aomame. Also, a much more straightforward story - yes, there are still "Little People" lurking about, and air chrysalises being woven, but the reader knows what's going on, by and large. Let me warn you that it's not a happy ending for everybody. One of the characters that I had grown quite fond of dies a horrible death - enough said.

A few loose ends that I would have liked to see resolved/explained - who exactly was the dowager, how did she know about Sakigake? Was the Fuka-Eri that Tengo knew a "maza" or a "dohta" - she seemed different in Book3?

But it didn't stop my enjoyment - once I like the characters, I'll keep on reading, and cheering them on.

BTW, if you're puzzled by the terms maza and dohta, read this blog review. The blogger didn't like 1Q84 so much, but she makes interesting comments. If you like her style, read this post of hers "Life with a Japanese man" or "The ninja and the dinosaur in the station".

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Saint André de Rocquelongue

This is probably the last of my holiday series. We're back a few weeks now and I'm ready to move on to other projects. What I have learned from these last few watercolours is that cobalt blue +aureolin yellow + burnt sienna make beautiful greens. And also that good paper is essential. All of these holiday watercolour sketches have been painted on Arches Travel Book (300g/square meter/140lbs) paper. I must put a few more of these on my Christmas wishlist! If I can find it, that is - all I'm finding on Cheap Joe's is Arches Postcards, which would be smaller. Also to be added to the wishlist: Cheap Joe's Goof-Proof Greeting Cards: a lovely way to personalise your greeting cards, and so easy to make.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Siobhan Ryan, 30 June, low cleavage aubergine dress

Beautiful dress for Siobhan Ryan on Saturday night - with a low cleavage that I'm sure is sparking plenty of comments on the forums!