stories and illustration

River Tweed, Late Afternoon, Nearly Dark, Freezing

River TweedAfter blue skies for days, at last a touch of winter, snow on the hills, ice in the air, mudtracks frozen.  I go walking past the fishing hut, where one is requested not to walk as it disturbs those fishing, but today no-one is there, not even the keeper with his black dogs, only some guinea fowl. Taking a few pictures my hands are freezing, so  I put them on the back of my neck for a few minutes to warm them up before putting my gloves back on. Is all this displacement activity because I should be in The Tardis working? There is one illustration that I am trying to plan out, but it is the big quandary, the design of this drawing: however, I shall go on thinking and experimenting until I have something I am satisfied with.  I want to do something new, really – new to me, anyway.  I find myself looking at trees and wondering how to draw them so that they have individuality, and are not just  standard “tree”.  Treetrunks aren’t really brown at all, for instance. I suppose that having a digital camera has made me look at things with more attention.  So the dance between the observed, the media  and the imagination begins. At least I have a studio full of lush paint and crayons just waiting to be used. Meanwhile I scrat out one more rough.  We’re getting there, I think… anyway, it was good to be out in the open air, freezing my mitts in this winter come at last.

January 20, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Walking in Small Woods 1


Sun setting over the Cheviots filters its pink light, stage right,  on to the trees, where the few last leaves are sprinkled like stars. The earth layer is thick with new leaves over old, darker leaves. I am looking at woods as I need to paint woodland for some illustrations, and it is these sort of small woods where I imagine the story taking place.  I ordered a whole designer set of gouache paint yesterday, in a box, now I will have to use them, having been so self-indulgent, and just before Christmas too.  I tried acrylic on paper as an experiment and it felt all wrong, but going back to gouache felt sort of right, and a tad exciting after water-colour. I have been looking at the possibilities of gently tinted watercolour paper – eggshell, oatmeal, duck blue – those kind of colours.  I am getting ready for the New Year.

November 20, 2014 Posted by | Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Studio II


October 12, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tubes of Blue

watercolour tubes

I was trawling through photographs, eliminating a good many –  if I go on amassing images my computer will not have room to breathe. I found some very repetitive snaps of my studio, which I sent to the recycle bin (how do old images get recycled, eh?), but I kept this one as I thought the colours were nice.  At this point I seem to have got some pristine tubes – delicious.  I thought of entitling the blog Blue Tubes, but decided it sounded a bit too like a late-night pay-to-view programme. I keep my acrylics in an old cutlery tray when I am working, but these watercolour tubes are in a contraption which I bought for a couple of quid at Kelso Car Boot Sale, I think it is for serving some kind of Japanese delicacy by the look of it, but soon as I saw it, “paint tubes” came into my mind.  It is ideal, the best thing I have found for keeping the colours fairly separate, so I can find them when I want. If anyone knows what it was for in the first place, I would be interested to know.

Off to Newcastle tomorrow, to look at the SevenStories collection at Design Works, to choose something appropriate to go into an exhibition of children’s illustration in the Granary Gallery in Berwick upon Tweed, as part of the Berwick Book Festival in October.  We have been asked to to choose some work from the wide collection at SevenStories, to by shown with our own work. I am hoping that my choice of a page from Angela Barrett’s work sheets will be permitted to be shown.  Her work will put mine to shame, but hey-ho, that’s my choice.

Actually, I like it that there is much room for improvement – it makes life more interesting.




August 14, 2014 Posted by | Art, Painting, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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