Monday, 29 September 2008

Building up

Ignoring the right side, I worked over the columns on the left, adding some black over the grey. I can start to see roundness. But I want to add colour to deepen the effect; warm and cool tones. I have a set of 'landscape colour' pens, ochre, greens, burnt sienna. I'm not feeling precious about this work so I'm not scared to try out new techniques.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Penshaw in pen

Using the scribbling method I've started to develop to fill in areas of tone & colour, I've made a start on the dark columns of Penshaw. I'm referring to the photo I took, and the 'photo shopped' version, and I'm drawing on the ochre colours I know are under the coal dust to build up the depths I'm after.
This is in it's very early stages yet, but I'm happy with the way it's going. You can still make out the areas I've mapped out with a 2B pencil, with the in fill done in Faber Castell Manga brush pens so far.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Late summer

While the kids played football, I drew part of the wooded hedge at our local park. We are lucky to have such a beautiful space just round the corner from our house, and it's yet another reason I love living in this neighbourhood. Roker Park has won awards for cleanliness, and the children's play area is about to undergo remodelling soon.This drawing was done in the enclosed scented garden with a Indian ink finewriter pen.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Mind blowing

Last night I went to see Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray at the Newcastle Theatre Royal. I was gripping, and overwhelming. Wow. I'm lost for words to describe the experience, but this morning I'm getting flashes of images and sequences from the production in my mind's eye. I have never seen a dance narrative before, and I wonder how much more I derived from it already knowing the story.

Now I want to re-read Wilde's book, watch any film adaptations I can lay my hands on, and also look into Bourne's work and see what else I can get to see. Edward Scissorhands is coming to London over Christmas. What I wouldn't give....

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Colossal shadows

This image is a photo I took, then changed in Adobe Photoshop using the 'fresco' tool.

I love the undulating across the columns. When drawing on site I often loose track of the shadows and get lost in the detail. Photos like these mean I can go home and take a step back from the wind and grass.

Monday, 22 September 2008


Penshaw Hill itself is nestled amongst other hills stretching across Weardale. This is the view east across Herrington Park. If I was stood a little higher up Penshaw hill I could have added the North Sea in the far distance.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

The sky

The monument has no roof, and the sky can be seen in peculiar shapes between the apertures of the columns and the entablature (that means the top bit - more about that later).
I remember that when I was a child my dad would always exclaim, "It'll be nice when they get the windows in and the roof on!"

Friday, 19 September 2008


Penshaw Monument stands on a hill 136 metres above sea level, and is itself 20 metres high. I am just over 1.5 metres tall. So, whenever I visit, pulling up in the car at the bottom of the hill, walking up the hill and standing at the monuments feet, I am awed by it's size.

Penshaw Pillars

Pillar 8B graphite The pillars of Penshaw Monument are made of sandstone, which, it is rumoured, were taken from a nearby Roman dam. The whole monument is coated in coal dust which has accumulated over the years since it was erected in 1844.
I have taken on a challenge of working on it for 6 months, so we'll see where I end up around February 2009. As I post images I'll include some of it's history along the way.
I spent yesterday morning there making sketches and paintings and taking photos.

Sunday, 7 September 2008


The English sport of face pulling

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Old sketch books

It's lovely to take some time to look back through old sketch books, and follow the meandering of ideas.

Friday, 5 September 2008


In Eire most of the shop signs in the villages are still hand-painted. This I love, because in the UK most of the signs are printed on plastic using the same lettering & fake colours (you know what I mean) that we see everywhere. There's a pub nestled amongst about six other pubs in the village downs from my dad's house, and painted on the sign is a rabbit. I love that rabbit.

Now, there's a hare, which my dad has named Hector, who visits dad's house daily, and great joy was felt when my sisters and I visited some weeks back, and we all got to see that hare in the garden. He's a bold, strong looking chap.
I decided to turn the village rabbit into a hare for my dad. I can only show you the sketches because I didn't photograph the end result, which I've painted on my dad's key box, but I'm sure dad will send me a photo and I can then share it with you all. For now, you'll have to make do with the rough stuff.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Domesic Goddess

kitchen benchI'm home from our holidays and I'm back at work, the kids are back to school and it's time to get back into painting. I had no idea that it is the routine I have at home that allows me time for my art. While travelling with the kids, visiting family, day trips and picnics there's been little if no time to myself and for drawing or painting. I thought it would be otherwise, I imagined afternoons sketching while the children played, but we had a full calender and the five weeks have flown past.

I've had a fantastic time and I have great plans for our summer break next year.

BUT, it's time to get back into my routines at home, and to dust off the drawing table.

What's to come? Well, I've been working in the Moleskine exchange books, I want to make notes about the exhibitions I've been visiting over the summer, and I'm determined to resume daily drawing and painting. I've enjoyed the break from it all, but goodness - it's good to be back.
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