Tuesday, 30 June 2015

All About ... the Art Course Day 4

This week was all about tones, with the aim of creating a picture using only four tones of the same colour.  We started by learning about how tones work in a picture to create depth, where the lighter tones will be and where the darker tones will be.  We had a line drawing of the scene to copy and then it was all about learning to add water to the paint to produce the various tones and also about the different brushes and when to use them. 

This is as far as I got today, just adding the two lighter tones.  We'll finish the picture next week by adding the two darker tones in the foreground. 
The pencil marks didn't photograph properly so you can't really make out the scene.  We started with a wash of the lightest tone and there is definitely a knack to doing this which I haven't got.  Yet!  I need to practice - mine is very patchy and streaky, but M said it is just all down to practice so once I finish teaching and have a bit more time, guess what I'll be doing!  I did a bit better adding the detail you can see above although, again, I need to practice doing the trees - mine are just a bit too straight.
I like tonal studies so am hoping that this is a technique I can perfect.  I'm not sure about the colour of this one (it was chosen for us!) but I'd love to try one in shades of blue, or shades of grey ... just not 50 shades!!!
Hopefully, I'll be able to show you the finished picture next week.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Me on Monday

Me on Monday ... counting down to the summer break.  Only 10 more teaching sessions to go, and then 11 weeks holiday!  This week will be tiring, but fun, as I allow the children free choice to play their favourite pieces - they're happy as they think it's an easy option but it's a good way for me to assess their progress.
Today, after I finished work, I helped Julie move some more things round to be stored in my home. Her house will be photographed tomorrow, so they are all having a last minute panic.  That was also the pattern for Saturday and Sunday, either moving boxes or searching on the Internet for possible new homes.  I started looking for myself as well, maybe to downsize when I've sold off all of Ced's things.  It's a possibility, but needs a lot of thinking about.
I've just been looking around the garden and was pleasantly surprised to see that the blue clematis that I thought I'd killed, has actually flowered.  Only one flower, but it's a start. 
It's lovely to see that the planting has attracted some wildlife - plenty of bees and insects, and there are a few birds visiting the garden, but I'd like to see more.  I'm thinking of getting this sort of feeder and will set it up just beyond the end of the decking, nearish to the house, so that I can photograph the birds from the living room.  If any of you have any do's and don'ts, I'd appreciate the advice.
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Cherished Blogfest

I first read about this over on Sammy D's Bemuzin blog.  It's the first ever Cherished Blogfest and will run over three days - 24th, 25th and 26th July 2015.  During that period you are asked to post about a cherished possession, limiting your posts to a maximum of 500 words.  I'm not sure, from the way it is worded, whether you're supposed to only write about one possession over the three days, or about a different possession on each day.  The full details of the blogfest can be found here.
I like the fact that it's only a commitment for three days so I'm going to join in ... I've already signed up for it and I've decided to write about a different possession on each of the three days. edited: it's just been clarified that the idea of this blogfest is to choose one cherished possession to write a single post about, and that single post can be published on any of the three dates.  I now have to choose that one special item - this makes it much more difficult to choose!
I hope some of you will join in as well.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Passing the Time

It's nearly the end of the school year for me and my normal teaching timetable has big holes in it, as I've completed my contracts in some schools but still have one more set of lessons to deliver in the remainder.  This means I have plenty of waiting time between the schools on a couple of days, when it isn't worth trying to get home because of the distances involved. Yesterday was one of those days.
I'm not complaining.  The weather was glorious and this was the view where I spent a pleasant hour or so, eating my lunch, and reading.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt | Six More Found!

I didn't have to work yesterday, there was only housework to do at home, but ... I don't like housework and the sun was shining, so I made better use of my time and toddled off to Bath to take some photos for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt.
I started off up at Claverton Down, the home of Bath University, to photograph the entrance for No 10 | a college or university.

Next stop was to be a little way down the hill at Claverton Manor but as I turned the corner by the university cricket ground I spotted this, No 9 | a tent.

I carried on down the hill to Claverton Manor and the location of the American Museum so that I could photograph their ticket booth for No 19 | a ticket booth. I had planned to go into the museum as there is a tepee in the grounds but unfortunately everything was closed due to a power failure, so maybe a return visit for that one.

My next stop was Sydney Gardens which is the only remaining eighteenth century pleasure garden in the UK.  The first photo is Minerva's Temple and the second one is, I think, the Pavilion, both for No 5 | architectural columns.
Still in Sydney Gardens, and photos of the two cast iron bridges over the canal for No 6 | a metal bridge.

The final photo took me right to the top of Bath to Beechen Cliff, the hill mentioned by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. At the top of this hill is Alexandra Park where there are magnificent views over the city and its surrounding hills.  This is for No 16 | a panoramic view, taken while standing someplace high in the air.

Click these links to see my other photos for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt:
The First Photos | ornate door knocker, a person walking a dog, a TV satellite dish, a public restroom, bathroom or toilet, and a natural body of water.
The TARDIS Toilet and Other Photos | a public restroom, bathroom or toilet, a turtle, and someone holding an umbrella
Many thanks to Rinda for organising the hunt again this year.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Love/Hate Challenge

Celine over at Down the Rabbit Hole has tagged me to do the Love/Hate challenge - list 10 things I love, 10 things I hate and nominate 10 friends to carry on the challenge.
So, here are my lists:

10 Things I Love

1. playing in the brass band
2. hearing a baby's laugh
3. writing on good quality white paper using a fountain pen filled with black ink
4. having fresh flowers in the house
5. drinking homemade lemonade (in the summer) and homemade hot chocolate (in the winter)
6. exploring new places
7. learning new things
8. seeing a rainbow
9. relaxing in a bubble bath, reading a good book
10. red poppies

10 Things I Hate:

1. bad manners, rudeness and inconsiderate people
2. people who write in library books
3. the taste of tea
4. tattoos
5. bullying and injustice
6. driving on icy or snowy roads
7. being late
8. doing the ironing
9. broken promises
10. reality TV shows

10 Friends to Carry on the Challenge:

Maggie - The Farmer's Wife Day by Day
Barbara - From My View
Helena - Helena's Creative Maven
Miriam - Miriam's Blog
Joy - Welcome to Daisy Row
Karen - Me, My Camera, Eye
Aril - Wonderings & Wanderings from Gnat Bottomed Towers
Ella - The Flowers of Progress
Ailime - Echoes and Reflections
Betty - A Bench With a View

Over to you ...

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Photo Pairs

I've chosen the same clematis I photographed last week, but this time I've opted for ...

A big thank you to Helena for organising this weekly Photo Pairs link up.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

All About ... the Art Course Day 3

Today was all about the use of additives to create different finishes.  We used kitchen roll, cling film, white candle wax and salt.
We did a practice sheet first using kitchen roll (top) to create clouds and cling film (bottom) to create a water effect.  I need a bit more practice on both of these techniques!

Next we started on a dandelion picture, using the candle wax as a resist to draw the seed heads, then using two different colour washes and finishing by sprinkling salt into the wet paint.  We will finish these next week as we had to wait for the paint to dry completely before we can lift out to create the stems.
Finally, a beach scene created in three sections.  The top sky section is a blue wash, then using scrunched up kitchen roll to make the clouds.  The middle section is the sea using candle wax, two washes and creased cling film to create the water movement.  The final section is the sand which will be two washes of yellow and brown.  I have to try to complete that before next week.
The colours haven't photographed properly so the sea doesn't show up too well and there is much more contrast between the sky and the sea in the actual painting.  On the whole I'm pleased with this painting so far.

Of all the things we did today, my favourite technique is the addition of salt.  I love the  mottled finish and think it will make good background paper for greeting cards.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Me on Monday

Me on Monday ... feeling relaxed. Only two more weeks and one day of teaching and then a break until mid September.  I can't wait!
Saturday morning was the usual band practice and then the rest of the day was spent catching up with friends who have just returned to this country after living abroad for years. We've kept in touch with regular letters and emails over the years, but it's not the same as actually being in the same room together is it? They're travelling round meeting up with family and friends for the next few weeks and they're not sure where they will eventually make their home but at least they will be in the same country so it should be much easier to see each other in the future.
Sunday was a relaxing at home sort of day. No rushing about.  No housework. Just pottering about doing what I fancied.  Julie brought some more of her things round to store and this time she came alone, so we were able to have a proper chat together, which we haven't done in ages.  Maybe we just all rush about too much?
Today, I've managed to dodge the rain and stay dry when arriving at, and leaving from, my Monday schools.  It's been raining hard most of the day but I walked out of my final school to find brilliant sunshine and a beautiful blue sky. Hope it stays like this as I hope to go to Corfe Castle and Lulworth Cove later in the week.
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

On Sunday

pottering in the garden
making a long overdue phone call to a friend, catching up with his good news
starting to edit my Anglesey photos
watercolour painting ... practicing more apples pictures!
listening to music ... enjoying old favourites

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Street Plants in June

This month's search for street plants took place in Nunney, looking around the castle and the wall surrounding the castle grounds.

First are the plants found inside the castle - not as many as I was expecting to find.

The next photo was also taken inside the castle, peering through a fence as one of the towers was cordoned off - I think possibly because birds were nesting there. You can see how the lack of foot traffic has allowed more plants to gain a foothold.

The rest of the photos are taken of the outside of the wall surrounding the castle, next to the footpath leading down to the bridge over the brook.

Linking with Lucy at Loose and Leafy.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt | The TARDIS Toilet and Other Photos!

Yesterday I arranged to meet my friend, S, at the Warmley Waiting Room Café.  This venue was chosen as I knew about their Doctor Who TARDIS toilet and wanted to photograph it for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt.
The café is tiny and is housed in the converted railway station waiting room.   The one thing the café needed to operate was a toilet for staff and visitors, and this is what they had made.  It's brilliant (although you may need to be a Doctor Who nut to fully appreciate it!). This is for No 12 | a public restroom, bathroom, or toilet.

the sign on the inside of the door
It's a popular background for photographs and the people in the kitchen can apparently flip a switch so that the lights flash and the TARDIS sound is heard.  For those who may not know what I mean, here's a Youtube video of the TARDIS sounds ...
S then very kindly posed with her umbrella so I'm claiming this for Alternative B | Someone holding an umbrella.

We went for a wander along the path and into Warmley Forest Park where I saw my final offering for today ... No 7 | a turtle.  Normally, I'd be annoyed at this sort of graffiti, but admit to being secretly pleased on this occasion as it gave me a photo for one of the prompts!

That's the only photos for the scavenger hunt but here are the rest of the ones from today.  The next three were taken in the Forest Park. It was a really hot sunny day so it was lovely to be in the shade of the trees.

The final photo was taken on the way home near the Cold Ashton roundabout and is the first wild poppies I've seen so far this year.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Lavender Farm

I finished teaching earlier than expected yesterday so I called into Somerset Lavender for lunch.  And to take some photos, of course!
It's on my 101 in 1001 list and I've been planning to visit it for the past couple of years - I drive past the road leading to the farm every week on my way to my Wednesday school - but never actually got round to visiting the farm until yesterday.  It was the best thing I did all day yesterday and just the perfect way of relaxing after a tough teaching session.

They do a good selection of light lunches and I think it's earned a place on 'my favourite places to eat' list.  I had their cheese scone platter and a big mug of hot chocolate - it was windy and just starting to rain so I was in need of something warming!  This was the flower arrangement on the table ...

The lady who runs the café explained that the lavender is delayed this year and she estimated that it'll be another three weeks before the main crop is in flower.  This was the only patch that's in full bloom - you can see the lines of the various varieties of lavender in the background, most of it still to flower.

This is looking across the five acres field and is the crop which should be ready in about three weeks, so obviously I'll be making a return visit.
There is also a fantastic rose garden full of massive rose bushes - most of them taller than me.  It was one of those days where it bothered me a little that I have no sense of smell, as I'm sure it must be a beautiful sensory experience to walk amongst these roses.

The next plant was in one of the other flower beds but I couldn't find a label for it.  Does anyone recognise it, please?

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Photo Pairs

Another selection from my garden this week for Helena's Photo Pairs, showing ...



Tuesday, 16 June 2015

All About ... the Art Course Day 2

Today, we got to play with the paints! We were all given a set of paint brushes which are ours to keep and the first half hour was taken up explaining about the different brushes, grades of papers and types of paints.  It's a bit of an eye opener - the enormous range of paints and papers and the different results that can be achieved through various combinations of the materials.  We've been advised to steer away from the cheap watercolour paints that are available as it is so difficult to get good results from them - it's one of the reasons beginners often think that they can't paint properly.
Our first task was creating a colour wheel, which taught us how to mix the primary colours to get the secondary colours and so on.  

After the break (filter coffee and chocolate biscuits!!), we tackled our first watercolour, using the wet on wet technique.  Mine isn't finished as I had to leave before the end so I'm going earlier next time to finish it.  I still have to 'lift out' some of the paint to create some highlights, which'll give more depth to the painting and I'll learn how to do that next time.  They're apples, in case you weren't sure!

I went wrong on the red one by not adding the paint using a dry brush which has watered down my colour too much.  When it was wet the depth of colour was good but it's dried too pale so I'll know for next time.  Also, I didn't have time to lift the excess paint where it had pooled which is why it has dried with an outline.  After I left they were using the same technique to paint a crocus so I'll see how they got on next week and then have a go myself at home.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself this morning, completely absorbed in what I was doing and the time passed way too fast.  I'm going to invest in tubes of the primary colours and a pad of 300gsm watercolour paper so that I can practice at home.  I'm fairly sure that I have a new hobby!