Tuesday, 31 March 2009


The other day my daughter drew a picture of a man climbing a long ladder into the sky to get into an aeroplane. Woooo!

Anyway - slowing down now with the pastels. Running out of steam - I think finally - phew. So the first act of 'Hum of History' (parts 1-7) is finished - with the rest of the series to be continued later...
Now the desk summons. Writing. But meanwhile catching up on a whole heap of films this week - all those you've already seen - but which take forever to hit these shores.

How are you nine persons doing?

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


Hello my few. Pot reminded me (in the intimate environment of the mini-chatroom that accompanies a wordscraper game) that I'd not blogged for ages and yes it would have been even longer - were it not for that meme below.

I try to keep up a slight pretence that I am writing here and there, but my word count this year so far has been zilch. Even though I do feel the urge - every now and again..

But I'm still smitten with drawing - mainly because it is so lovely to get an instant response. There's blog/facebook feedback and my daughter of course - who demands to be in every picture - but also reactions from the few folk who stroll through the house from time to time. You don't get the nasty shades of 'no' of script responses. People can wrinkle their nose or walk away - but they tend not to - they always say something unexpected . Yesterday a couple from Canada came. He was fascinated by Helen's microwave on the canoe (he in furniture - I think) and talked about making kites. His wife was pleased the naked lady had the good sense to keep (what are clearly her best) shoes on. She thought the kite tags looked like medical sutures.

My daughter, when she first saw the picture with the orgy (and big hand) announced she was going to report me to the police for drawing people doing rude things with no clothes on. She sleeps in the room with the Ark on the wall and, in the morning, tells me what everyone on deck did during the night. When she comes back from school she always notices who's new on board.

So that's what I enjoy - engagement.


Saturday, 21 March 2009



1) Put the link of the person who tagged you on your blog.
T'was Potdoll of course

2) Write the rules
Here they are

3) Mention 6 things or habits of no real importance about you:

i) I prefer savoury to sweet
ii) I drink between 8-12 cups of tea per day
iii) I love hoovering up dead cockroaches but not emptying the bag later
iv) I'm now addicted to wordscraper - especially 'random rules'
v) My favourite colour is olive green
vi) I can't count (as pointed out in comments) and get left and right mixed up too

and I tag you

Saturday, 14 March 2009


Update: now finished
In the end I used google earth (of course) to 'image' the world. I find I keep downloading and removing it - but it was perfect for finding exactly the right piece of the globe for the picture - plus it can stretch and contort the continents as the world rotates. That arm-like inlet ending in two fingers (on the bottom leftish) is apparently the Suez canal. So I printed off the bit I needed a couple of times and worked from that - but still haven't worked out quite what happens up beyond Japan at the top. I think there may be room for a small piece of Australia above or near the peach bird. The oceans were a bit of a nightmare - so much space really. Then there's still the constellations to work on...
In photographs, the egg seems to have this ethereal glow.

Ploughing on..


Sunday, 8 March 2009


For the next picture I'm taking a small section out of No 4 and expanding it - from this:

to this.

I went to an opening at the gallery the other evening and - looking at the space, worked out that it could probably accommodate 8 pictures really well - plus maybe a few sketches and photographs. I'm on the 6th. The one decribed here will be no 7. Then there's always one I made earlier I could pull out again...


Saturday, 7 March 2009


My mum went in for a hip replacement operation this week so my mind switch has mostly been on 'agitated'. She's doing fine right now and walked 10 metres unaided today. There's always that dread at times like these, when you phone the hospital or get a call from them. The hospital she's in is like a prison in terms of security - and won't even allow family members to drop off newspapers or anything outside of visiting hours.

The lady in the next bed to my mum looked in a pretty bad way - don't know what she was in for but she looked thin and old and kept sort of doing this sort of lacy, typing dance thing with her fingers on the bed clothes and trying to lift her head - very close to the end I'd say - but fighting, fighting it, then retreating. There's a strange skin thing that seems to happen to the nearly dead - whatever colour people happen to be - the skin gains this sallow, soapy quality - do you know what I mean?

Years ago (when a student) I worked as a cleaner in several London hospitals - Bolingbroke was one (now defunct) and another near Old Street. Most of my time was spent dusting and cleaning toilets. So being on the ward was always more exciting - despite the fact I was usually on wards full of elderly people. I heard the death rattle for the first time. Other times I'd be dusting in the dayroom - quietly spraying the windowsills away from the circle of wheelchairs & stuffed-chair pensioners positioned round the TV when a low menacing hiss would start 'Die!' Quickly the cursed whisper would spread across the room like a football cheer; 'Die die die!' And I'd rush from the room.

The best thing about cleaning wards was the polisher - you know those big industrial hoover machines that skim from side to side leaving polished stripes. Great fun.
In fact my own fear (of bad news from the hospital) was probably exacerbated by a story I read fairly recently in the 'No 1 Ladies Detective' series - where there was a series of regular and unexplained deaths on a particular ward in a hospital. They always occurred on the same day of the week at the same time. They were eventually connected to a cleaner whose routine involved switching off a defibrillator (or other vital lifesaving equipment) in order to plug in the electric floor polisher. Tut.

Aside from this - the art. Have made a start on the next one as you can see. I'm having a bit of trouble drawing out a rounded, globe piece of the world. For a start, can't find a bit that I want, that doesn't have too much ocean in. I've downloaded these rotating NASA animatronic rotating earths - but it's the angle too I'm having difficulty with. When you're drawing pictures you need to think about filling the space well, as well as accuracy - it has to look good too..

Actually been thinking about the essence of drawing and writing quite a bit lately - particularly in terms of 'composition'. In drawing I think I've now finally 'got' composition for the first time in my life. In drawing, composition is maybe just a couple of lines on the page - but lines on which the whole of the picture will rely. If I compare this to scriptwriting, then composition is probably closer to metaphor than structure. (Schrader says "the metaphor is the structure" Maybe all art and writing is about finding the essences of things - the absolute simple reduction of message. A bit like the throwback way smell works. GG Marquez said that the enigma of the tropics could be reduced to 'the fragrance of a rotten guava.'

So in this picture I drew two circles (not whole circles) one is the outline of the nest and the other is the edge of the world) Once those were in place I knew the whole picture would work - just the details had to be worked out. Two circles. That's all.
So after I've sorted the ocean, there's the constellations.

Other than that its been insanely hot here this week - 40 degrees plus. My pc keeps crashing because the fan inside just conks out in the heat. Agghhh - always seems to be right in the middle of an important game of word scraper.

Life can be a little trying sometimes huh?

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