Friday, 19 December 2008


Yesterday, after meditation at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre, we took a walk along to the Theatre Royal to see if if we could get a couple of seats for the afternoon matinee performance of Scottish ballet's SleepingBeauty. As is our normal tactic we turn up half-an-hour before the show starts to see a) if there are any seats, and b) if we ask for the cheapest in the hall will they up-grade us to the Dress Circle :o) It's worked many times before, but sadly not yesterday. However...out comes our Auld Git's cards and we get a big discount to fairly decent seats to the front of the Upper Circle. Just as well I'm long sighted though 'cause it's still a fair distance from the action. That doesn't spoil our enjoyment tho' bacause Tchaikovsky's music is just sublime and the whirling movement of the dancers mesmerising!

Under the dim light of a Fire Exit I get out my small sketchpad, and flowing with the music, jot down some images using my photoshutter method - stare, and stare, and then quickly close your eyes and see what image you can remember:

Pencil on paper, A6: Sleeping Beauty #1.

Pencil on paper, A6; Sleeping Beauty #2.

Pencil on paper, A6; Sleeping Beauty #3.

Pencil on paper, A6; Sleeping Beauty #4.
There were a few more sketches started but didn't progress beyond the gesture of an arm, the turn of a foot, the flying through the air of a beautiful princess missed by her supporting male dancer and lying in a heap on the floor (very undignified) but that would be naughty to show those momentary lapses :o)
So I won't!
Still, the music and the spectacle dance through my head...da da da da da dee dee dee dum de da dee dum (the Rose Waltz).

Monday, 15 December 2008


I've got a lot on my mind at the moment (whether to comb my hair {what's left of it!} to the left or the right; what to ask Santa for Christmas - a Playstation3 LittleBigPlanet, or an Oor Wullie book; and how to design an Advanced painting course for myself [of which much more later]).

In the meantime I was asked a few weeks ago by my son to paint a couple of pictures for his Kitchen with the colour yellow in it (although I wasn't too happy when he turned up a week later asking if it was done or should he just go to Ikea and buy something off the shelf? See what I've got to put up with! The word is: 'incandescent') Ah, Ive become a decorator just like my dear old dad!

More fool me, but I said yes and have been sporadically working on this two-some set of sunflowers:
Acrylics on canvas, 50x40cm: "Sunworshippers 1"; Based on a watercolour of sunflowers I made last summer (for some strange reason I didn't sow any sunflower seed this year even though I love them to bits) they seemed the natural subject for Kitchen decoration.

Acrylics on canvas, 50x40cm: "Sunworshippers 2"; After the initial impetus of drawing out the design and laying down the first wash the Ikea comment kinda put me off for a while, but with Christmas charging up on us like a raging bull I thought I better get my finger out and finish these two of a kind so I can wrap them up separately and give them as presents to my son and his pard'ner.

Acrylics on canvas, 100x40cm: "Sunworshippers": This is what they look like together (although my photography would have them different {can't argue with a camera that can do a fantastic range of functions mostly at the same time AND remember where it put things!}).

I can see them getting pride of place for about a month then disappearing into the cupboard under the stairs, or being offered back (as my brother once did) when they no longer match the curtains!

C'est la vie.
Anyway my mind is on more academic matters.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Blog Scot Award!

Now, you can be assured there won't be many people getting this Award (not many daft enough!) so this is a bit of a rarety - in fact, so far, it's the only one of it's kind!

And it has been awarded to... Melinda (yayyyyy!) for her services to the Auld Scot (that's me) 's lingo and her cheery disposition, even when it's raining cats and dogs here in Scotland (tho' it's as dry as an auld bone in Arizona), and who from hencefoth will be dubbed :

"Lady Haggis of Clartymidden"!

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

Haggis Neeps and Tatties
a' washed doon wi' a wee dram o' the guid stuff!

Ye've got tae try it!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Standing Stones

Held off posting these various development drawings of the Machrie Moor Standing Stones, on the Isle of Arran, until Brian received Vivien's moleskine which I sent and posted up another of my drawings as part of our MoleskineExchange. The moley drawing came out of the final drawing in this series but I'll go back to the beginning (which is a very good place to start) and see if I can remember how it all came about (it now seems like a very long time ago when I did these, either that or my memory is fading faster than .....oh dear, I forgot what I was trying to say!)

Since I didn't make any drawings direct from life when I went to Arran last month I was working from my own photographs. After a couple of more realistic interpretations I then shifted gear and going off at a tangent (which is often my want) and started applying a new dynamic using heightened colouring to say more about the subject than is immediately apparent from 'real' life:

Neocolour II on paper, 40x30cm: Development #4.

Well the sky was blue and the bracken was kind of redish, and the Stones were lit to one side by the setting sun. All that was needed was a bit of heightening of those colours to start getting 4,000 years worth of history talking!

Fine but what if the mood needs to be colder and more distant?:

Neocolour II on paper, 40x30cm: Development #5.

Blue and grey takes us back to the ice-age, long before central heating (although the way things are going in this country and in this present century we are all going back there at an alarming speed and wanting to move to Arizona!) This development was simply a chance to use a favourite colour combination of colours, but I was especially pleased with the grassy green suggestion of a circle as though there were more Stones just out of picture. In reality there weren't any more having been pilfered by even more ancient men than me to make new structures elsewhere.

But what if.....:

Neocolour II on paper, 40x30cm: Development #6.

A portentious sky and two Stones standing forever at the edge of an abyss. The Stone on the left is so tall it disappears out of the picture getting darker all the time, and both Stones are rooted into the earth from where they came.

What else can I do with these fellows? :

Neocolour II on paper, 40x30cm: Development #7;

Previous developments are all standing back in admiration so I thought it was time to get up close and personal with one of them at least and see how the centuries have left their mark. Scarring and fissures, love-hearts (for f*** sake!) and lichen, and blooms of algae all writing their own history. Tablets of stone down from the mountains with messages of wonder from our predecessors. Good on ye, mates, and thanks - I would drop you an email to tell you how much I love these Stones but I don't appear to have your address!

Never mind, I can always post this appreciation and hope you are listening out there!

Neocolour II on paper, 40x40cm: Development #8.

This final piece came with a desire to soften the scene and make the Stones an integral part of their open moorland, windswept, environment. But what is this? One of the ancient peoples come back to honour their own monument? Na, it's just wee Jacqui posing beside the tallest Stone to give it scale (she says that's all I ever ask her to do when I take photographs of buildings and structures. Problem is she is so small it gives quite a skewed view of what you are looking at!)

So there you have it: Standing Stones on Machrie Moor. A wonderful place to visit and stand within the circle marvelling at the organisation and desire of peoples from 4,000 years ago. Makes you think.

Monday, 1 December 2008


Or as we call it here in the West of Scotland: ‘tig‘. And when you’ve been ‘tigged’ you are then ‘het’! But even though I was tigged, or tagged, I’m no het because I jumped up off the ground onto a high ledge which made me immune from being het!

It seems that everyone on the planet is currently being tagged (well, at least in Bloggerland) and I was no exception with my dear friend Melinda conferring the accolade onto me last week to which I graciously (I hope) declined (and I hope she is still talking to me!). And I also have to thank my cyber pal Edgar for outing me and telling the world that I AM the Paranoid Prince of Party-Poopers! But at least he did give a generous pointer to the MoleskineExchange group I contribute to. Thanks for that Edgar!
My reason for not participating is two-fold: firstly, I’m just not happy about asking people in turn to do this and perhaps missing someone out who might have liked to take part; and secondly, I don't think my life is interesting enough to share in this way (not as interesting as Melinda's anyway). But, if you'll listen, I don’t mind sharing with you some of my own fishy foibles just don’t ask me to pass it on.
So, just to show the world I’m not really an auld grouch, I am going to play ‘Solo Tag’ which shouldn’t hurt anyone or offend if they are not on my list at the end, because there won’t be one!
Right, it’s here that I must now tell you seven little known factoids about myself set down in roughly chronological order:
1. When I was a nipper still in my pram I won a Beautiful Baby Contest and still hold my youthful good looks to this day! (the rest were pot ugly and greetin’).
2. At the tender age of ten I first left home to serve as a cabin boy on the Black Pig and we sailed the Southern Oceans in search of pirate treasure and I came back a real man.
3. When I was sixteen I winched (courted) a young 14 year old babe called Claudia Skiffer (or something like that) but soon chucked her when she grew ten feet tall and I couldn’t reach up to kiss her!
4. In my early twenties I played Centre-Forward for the mighty Glasgow Rangers and scored a hat-trick against our deadly rivals, Celtic, in the Scottish Cup Final. The first was a peach; I took the ball from the half-way line and dribbled round ten players, sometimes twice, including my own, and fired a fabulous left-foot volley high into the net taking the goalkeeper with it. No wonder they call it ‘the Beautiful Game’. The second was a headed goal when I out-leaped Celtic’s giant defenders and bulleted the ball into and through the net; and the third was similar to Diego Maradona’s ‘HandofGod' which put England out of the 1986 World Cup. I got away with it because the Ref was just as mesmerised by my fancy foot and hand work as all the other players and the 100,000 crowd!
5. As a young architect I was commissioned to design and supervise the construction of a grand opera house for Sydney which I duly did but lost the plans down the back of my settee. A certain young Mr Utzon was visiting at that time, but I never knew what became of the plans.
6. After I left Architecture and took up painting I once got a painting commissioned by the French Government and it now hangs in the Louvre two along from the Mona Lisa. It’s called “Mon Grande Cul“, and here it is to show I’m not lying:

Acrylics on board. The sub-text to this painting goes like this: Lady on left says to lady on right:"Does this dress make me look big"? To which the lady on the right replies:"Naw, it's your enormous boobs and yer big fat arse that does it"!
7. I once was travelling on an open-topped bus when it passed under a low bridge and I got my head knocked clean off. The surgeon was a real genius and managed to sew it back on again, unfortunately back-to-front, however it wasn’t noticed until a nurse said to me three days later: “Ye’know, yer talkin' oot the back o’ yer heid!”. I still do so to this day!
8. Finally, earlier this year I was abducted by aliens and flown to the planet Zorg where I was kept as a sex slave for six years to the evil Queen Dominatrix (affectionately known as “Trixie”). However I did manage to escape on an un-attended solar skater-board and after traversing the outer reaches of the universe found my way back home in time for tea. Apparently I was only away for six hours and was seen dozing the afternoon away up the Queens Park.

So there you have it, all true :o)

Well it beats the mundane reality like: I once dropped a stitch while knitting a dress for my dolly; or I still take my teddy to bed at night, or I used to wear my hair down to my shoulders but now I don’t have any.

Well that last one is definitely true!

And the very last part is to pass the baton on. So to all the cats I know, and all the cats I don’t know, yer het!

That just about covers it, so now Im away to get on with some painting!
ttfn :o)