Monday, 28 February 2011

Inspiration Part 2

Brittle February sunlight
More gamboling about in Southwold...

Obligatory nature photo- I love the air bubbles left in the sand by the sea foam

Gorgeous curly brackets
We think this strange face looks uncannily like BBC Coast presenter Mark Horton, below...

What do you think?  (pic

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Looking for Inspiration

I am enjoying doing Alisa Burke's Sketchbook Delights online art course at the moment.  Its the first online course I've ever done, and as an educational designer in a previous life, I'm very impressed with her approach.  I'm learning so much and its such fun.  Only trouble is that my internet connection is pretty slow, so the videos are arduous to download.  Never mind its worth it.

Eel finiels on the partitions between the benches on the Pier
I've been out today doing a bit of homework for the course - looking for inspiration.  We went to Southwold for the afternoon, and I took my camera to snap lots of ideas...

The lighthouse, and the Sole Bay Inn

I love the way you can see the reflection of both me and the lighthouse in the glass.
The notes reminded Pat of 'The Clangers'...
More photos to post tomorrow, when the connection is faster than 'when Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.'

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Doing something positive

Sketchbook pages - various pens and water wash
I've had another collapse, but that's probably a good thing because I am going to see the neurologist tomorrow, so the symptoms will be fresh in my mind.  It comes from not allowing myself to admit I feel horrendous.  And boy, do I feel horrendous!  I'm really fed up of being so ill for so long, since well before Christmas.  Its been a foul winter, and I shall be glad when its over.

In the meantime, I've been congratulating myself for having written over 21,000 words (76 pages) since Christmas on the new bodice-ripper, and playing in my sketchbook.  I declared a duvet day today, mainly because my body was refusing to do anything else, but I did manage to spend a bit of time practicing my pen and ink rendering and a bit of scribbly sketching.  When I give up the idea that it must be perfect, I just do it, and its such fun.  I wish I could get out of my own way a bit more often.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Twenty-nineth Anniversary

My Parents, taken at my sister's wedding on 1st  March 1980*

3rd February 1930 - 16 February 1982

A kind friend said to me the other day, when the subject came up:  'but time heals.'  And I said 'Bollocks!' rather more vehemently than I meant to.  And I am sorry for that.

But the truth is that time doesn't heal.  It just helps you get used to the idea.

Today I just feel rather nostalgic.  After 29 years, I suppose that's hardly surprising.  I feel annoyed that there are so many things I wanted to talk to him about and I shall never get the chance.   I wonder what he would think about life today.  The only thing I am certain of is that he would have loved Google Maps and Google Earth.  He was such an enthusiast for maps and traveling.

*Photo courtesy of Sian Wray, with grateful thanks.

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Somebody felt a little left out by my 'I lust Scotsmen' post, so I thought I had better point this out:

This is my fella.

Isn't he hunky?  Love those sexy dimples.

He's not Scottish.  He's from Oxford.

But he does a luscious impression of Sean Connery.... or maybe its Craig Brown!
Either way, I'm a very lucky girl.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Okay, bear with me, this is going somewhere...

I confess.  I have a terrible weakness for Scotsmen.

I like them swarthy and impish….

Neil Oliver (BBC)

Bronzed and muscled…

Kevin McKidd (BBC)

Quiet and sensuous….

Denis Lawson (BBC)

Skinny and slightly mad.

David Tennant (BBC)

I even like them scrawny and foul-mouthed….

Peter Capaldi

 Or just plain wrecked.

Ken Stott

Although even I have my limits….

Gregor Fisher as Rab C Nesbit
 Something that struck me as I was drooling over Neil Oliver’s latest offering last night is that watching television or film is the only occasion when it is acceptable to spend an extended period of time looking at someone.  Just think about it – if you spend an hour or so staring at someone going about their daily life, you’d get had up for stalking at the very least.

I was having a conversation with a friend about sexual attraction the other day, and she commented that as she gets older she find that she is able to look at men in a purely aesthetic way.  It is possible for her to appreciate what she called ‘the beauty of youth’, the sheer beauty of a young man, without any element of lust coming into her perception.

I am lucky.  Being a Libran with a distinctly visual bias, I have always been able to do this.  I can see heartbreaking beauty in just about anyone I meet.  Last year, when I was drawing studies for a series of caricatures, I was almost moved to tears by a snapshot of one subject.

Most people don’t do this, however.  They equate beauty with sex.  Yet people who would never dream of going to an art gallery to look at Michelangelo’s David will spend vast portions of their waking hours staring at beautiful people on the TV.  Has the visual media become the only channel of aesthetic appreciation we have left in our society?

That said, I appreciate that beauty is subjective.  Few people would agree with my selection of what I deem to be attractive men shown above.  (And I confess to more than a smattering of lust thrown in here.)  But what about this self portrait of Rembrandt?  He may be old and pouchy-looking, but look at the eyes.  Isn’t he beautiful?
National Portrait Gallery Website

Next time you are watching the news, or out and about in the street, take a few moments to see the beauty in other human beings.  Who do you think is beautiful?

Monday, 7 February 2011


Cascade - the weir near our home
February has come in, wild and woolly, but thankfully dry and mild.  And I have been as frenzied as the wind, writing two and three thousand words a day on my new novel.  The ideas are coming like an avalanche, filling every corner of my head.  But what started out as a delicious creative phase has turned into exhaustion.  There is only so much a body in the state mine is in can take.  You might not think sitting and typing on a laptop is tiring, but quite apart from the huge amount of energy expended to power my brain, I get physically very tense and wired.  This is because I very much 'live' my scenes, blocking them out, acting them in my head over and over again until I get them right, which can be exhausting when they are as packed with passionate emotion as the ones I am currently working on.  At the same time I have been wrestling with an IBS flare-up, and some unpleasant side-effects from the medication the doctor gave me to combat it.  The result is that, much as I am loving the work, I'm going to have to take some mental time out and think about something else for a few days to allow myself to recover.

But this gives me a new perspective on my writing habits.  I always thought that my start-stop method of production was a bad thing, illustrative of creative blocks the size of Glasgow housing projects!  It turns out that this is not so.  My body needs a break.  It is reacting just the same way it did when I was a teenager, caught up in the passionate emotions of boyfriends, falling out with friends, and all the other things that seem important at that age.  Powerful emotion goes straight to my guts.

So I am going to follow Michael Nobbs' sage advice and remember what I enjoy (not just writing).  Which in this case are the potted daffodils on the windowsill - I love flowers so much.  Right now I am lying in bed feeling rotten, and I plan to stay here until my body has used this chance to relax and recover to its fullest.  It may be extreme self care, but right now, that's what will ultimately get the book written, and make me a happy, healthy bunny into the bargain.