Saturday, 20 June 2009

Anniversary #38

OK, OK, OK, I know I have gotten a bit lost in the labyrinths of my own mind for a while but, like a dead budgie, I always turn up sometime at the bottom of my cage.

What I have to gab about is my 38th Wedding Anniversary (a surprise even to myself that I could even remember the number!), but what a day it was. Read on:

Meditation at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre (Metta to you all) with long conversation with my friends on how it is possible to express emotion in paint (Buddha alone knows), followed by lunch at my very favourite Italian Ristorante (Topolino's) my absolutely favourite restaurant in Glasgow (it's impossible to eat anywhere else without making unfavouable comparisons), and the reasons will become clear even if the link doesn't. We (my darling wife and I) have been having lunch there for two years now every Thursday immediately after the going to the Buddhist Centre and have never yet had a poor meal. Quite the contrary, it is incomparable - and we have great patter with Ricardo (il cameriere extrordanaire [a bit o' French there just to show how cosmopolitan I can be] who is mad keen, not only with our mutual reverence for the Glasgow Rangers, but also his deep and passionate love for Andy Murray, our rising star (No3) in the tennis world (Ricky has the 't' shirt and the shoes (how sad is he?) but also, presently helping with the service, a lovely cameriere lass called Diane (love the hairstyle D!).
Many, many, thanks to Ricardo for waving the cost of the lunch on our anniversary day.
But the day didn't end there, Oh no:

Two hours at the Glasgow School of Art Degree Show (crap Fine Art [NONE of them can paint as far as I'm concerned!], but beautiful Silversmithing and Textile Design, as usual, as well as what they now call "Visual Communication" (Graphic Art to oldies like me).

But, La Piece de la Resistance:

I managed to get two tickets for a concert (for FREE [no cheapskate me - just canny])at the Glasgow City Halls to hear the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra who play a mixed bag of fantastic music starting with the most sublime excerpt from Mendelssohn's Hebridean Suite, "Fingal's Cave" (I have to admit I felt very emotional with the opening bars but instead of wallowing in it I observe the effect for my Grande Projet); then Hydyn's Trumpet Concerto; and pieces from Handel's "Water Music"; including the "Bouree" (which we play in Mandolin Class), finishing with the "Overture: Beatrice and Benedict" by Berlioz; and, finally, "The Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra" by Benjamin Britten (they put that one in especially for me :o)

And just to finish off the evening...a bit of Jazz. Right next door to the City Halls was a small cafe-bar with a live jazz band - the Michael Deans Quintet - with a friend from the Buddhist Center, John-Paul, playing fantastic bass guitar.
I didn't make any sketches from the SSO concert (miles too far away) but I did get some sketches in the more intimate atmosphere of the cafe:

Michael Deans playing Saxaphone.

The Drummer.

John-Paul on Bass.

Trumpet 1.

Trumpet 2.

Hope you also enjoyed the show :o)

Saturday, 23 May 2009


If you get any Emails telling you that ham and chopped pork has been infected with Swine Flu don't open's just Spam!

Friday, 22 May 2009

A Scottish Garden in May

In response to Vivien's Blog I am posting up some of the multitude of flowers presently astonishing me in my very own garden. Not many words (you'll be glad to know) but if only Blogger could offer an olfactory dimension to it's blogsite then you would half-ways understand why I get so exercised by this show of munificence:

"Centaurea montana", Feathery petals of the most delicious cornflower blue.

"Clematis Montana" covering the fence at my front door greeting me with it's abundance every morning with more buds than you can shake stick at giving promise of more abundance for weeks to come.

"Prunus laurocerausus", Laurel: Dark and quiet but reeking of early summer while I drink my Bordillino and dream of Lake Garda.

"Rhododendron Evelyn", Named after a close family friend of great intellect and deep compassion.

"Scilla", or Bluebell to you and me. Prolific and my absolutely favourite colour of blue, after cornflower, ultramarine, cobalt and cerulean, and, of course Sky blue, whenever we get the chance!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Such a Lovely Lass!

I drew this a couple of months ago while we were travelling on a train down to the coast and she was all wrapped up against the cold, which now seems a million miles away, and another country:

Pencil on paper, 2xA6.
The days fly by so quickly and now we are approaching what we laughingly call 'summer', and I still think I'm a young thing, but know I am not.
I've spent the last half-hour watching a big grey cat in our garden that I call 'Smokey-the-Bandit' because he used to come and eat some of the food I left out for Leo! Until I know better, I call him "he", but he won't come anywhere near me (much to Jacqui's relief), but I would love to make contact with him.
And now I am eating the first rhubarb crumble of the season, with ice-cream.
Such a good day, and my football team, Rangers, also won their league game against Hibernian.
I am happy , and everything is right with the world (even though I know it is not).

Saturday, 11 April 2009

OCA Exhibition at Ocean Terminal

Taking a moment's breather from the confusion of abstracted thoughts so I'm doing a bit of tidying round and catching up.

Time flies when you are enjoying yourself, as they say, and I've been having lots of fun recently but it appears that five weeks have passed since I put my three paintings into this exhibition, organised by the Open College of the Arts (OCA), and a whole month since I went back for a visit to see how it all looked.

I thought you might like to see what the exhibition looked like in-situ:

This is one of the better areas (above), albeit a corridor, but don't let that lady with the serious look on her face kid you - I know for a fact she is skint and has no intention of buying!

Looking down the length of the mall. My paintings are somewhere along there on the third floor's thirty-fourth column:

The exhibition is made up of both present and past students, and this past student's work (below) is also by my present Tutor, Jane Mitchell:

Ah, here's what I'm looking for:

Goldenbury Hill in all it's glory, but what's this...nobody looking at it? Hey everybody, up here --->>>>>!

Apparently six paintings were sold, but I don't need to tell you that none of them were mine. If any of them had then you wouldn't have needed the internet to hear about it!!!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

OCA Changeing Lives Exhibition

Yesterday I drove through from the Wild West (of Scotland) to the Erudite East to submit three paintings into an Open College of the Arts (OCA) exhibition at Ocean Terminal, Leith Docks, Edinburgh.
I could have submitted three more recent paintings but I didn't really have anything else created under the auspices of the OCA. These three were done circa 2005 when I last painted anything for the "Painting 2: Finding Your Way" Course, or as I like to term it: "Painting 2: Losing Your Way". I lost all confidence in my painting at that time, although when I look back I now feel perhaps I shouldn't have.
Ce'st la vie, can't re-live time, I can only move forward from here. And these are what I chose to put into this exhibition:

All three are painted in acrylics on paper, and framed in natural wood.

The exhibition space is not ideal, being 3 or 4 stories up on a kind of top-level open gallery of a shopping mall with the paintings displayed high on widely spaced columns. I'll go back there again next week and take some photo's to show you what I mean. Still, I understand it is almost impossible to get affordable gallery space anywhere in our nation's capital city, or anywhere for that matter.
So, I shouldn't complain - I am just happy to have three paintings hanging anywhere in public at the moment without me nailed up there beside them :o{

Sunday, 1 March 2009

First Album

I must be off my head - this has taken me just about all day to assemble but I'm sure you'll a' think it's worth it and be clamouring for copies!

And it is Melanie at My Croft that's all to blame. You see I was checking to see if she was back blogging again and sure enough there she was, the wee lamb, blethering away about this fabby new Blogger-Land game she herself was caught up in and I thought it was brilliant too!

The game is to follow a set of instructions and randomly come up with the name of your band, the title of your first album, and the cover artwork. This is doing the rounds so I'll give a mention to those from whence it apparently has come:
Secretnotebookswildpages , and

And here are the instructions:
To create your own band name and album cover, follow these easy instructions from m. heart:
1. Click wikipedia. The first random article you get is the name of your band.

2. Click quotations. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3. Click flicker. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4. Use Photoshop (or similar) to put it all together.

Anyway, here's my take on it:

"Emotions are Violent" by Danskammer.

Danskammer Point Light is, of course, a lighthouse sitting out on some exposed coastal headland near New York (I'm sure you know it well Melanie?), and the quote comes from W.Somerset Maugham - "When you're eighteen your emotions are violent but they're not durable".

And the excellent photo of a lovely lassie is by Stink Poop on Flickr.

I thought the three parts came together rather well with the Scandanavian name, the coldly lit girl, and the raw emotional tag.

Anyway if all of that hasn't made you weep yet, then this will: My first track on the album will be "La Campursita" by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez, played deftly on an A+ Moon mandolin by that Plucky Plectrum all the way from East Kilbride -
yours truly, "Wee Davey Twangathon" :

[standing ovation and thunderous applause]

Thank you, thank you, thank you, don't throw flowers, just throw money!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo

Absolutely fantastic!

Ballet Trocadero at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

What a show, what movement, what colour, what grace, what technique, what broad shoulders!

These guys were just fantastic..a brilliant parody on female ballerina's, and their facial expressions as well :o{

The dying swan from Swan Lake die laughing for, with his/her tutu shedding feathers like a hen being plucked!

I cannot really do any justice to the fun and amazement this bunch of guys provided, but, for what it's worth, here goes:

If only I was 40 years younger and didn't give a toss!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Change of Name.

Having thought this ower for a few days (who said ah wisnae quick?) ah hae decided that "Sleekit" is far too derogatory a term fur sich a nice lady from New Zealand, whom I hardly even ken (yet).
So, since it's ma game and ah can dae whit ah like, ah'm gonnae gae her a new nom-de-plume: Hens Forth she sall be lumbered wi'...Lady Neeps!!! Yayyyyyayayay!!!

So, wi' Lady Haggis, and now Lady Neeps, a' that's needed is fur us tae find a 'Lord, or Lady Tatties'.

Any offers oot there?

Anybody daft enough?

Ye ken whit ye huv tae dae!

Dinnae be shy :o)

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Lady Sleekit!

And my second award for services to the Scottish Vernacular goes to...dinahmow (! Yayyy!!!

She is only the second person (with an empty brain) to receive this prestigous accolade, and from Hens Forth will be known as...Lady Sleekit (as in "Wee sleekit, cowrin', tim'rous beastie) frae Aft Agley (as in "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley").

Keep up the guid work, hen!

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Happy 250th Birthday Rabbie!

Jacqueline, Pencil on paper, circa 1975

"My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my love,
Thou’ it were ten thousand mile."

Happy 250th birthday Rabbie!

It also happens to be my mothers birthday, even though she's gone these past 20 years.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Very Bad

It’s very strange how words, often spoken in jest, can come back and bite you on the arm - literally.
Last week when I replied to comments from ‘Susans’ I quoted Mae West with her famous words - “When I’m good I’m good, but when I’m bad I’m very bad!”. Now I don’t know who is the worst here but when Sparky’s increasingly aggressive behaviour towards me reached a scary pitch I had no choice but to return him to the cattery.
The first couple of incidents I just passed off as initial nervousness by him at being in a whole new environment with people he didn’t know yet, but as the week progressed he started attacking me, hissing and baring his teeth and lashing out. In the first major attack he managed to claw my forehead with deep cuts, just above my left eye, and in the second, while I was preparing a bedtime meal for him, he launched himself off the kitchen unit and bit me on my arm. I threw him off but still he was hissing and snarling, facing up to me. I don’t know what I did to provoke this but it left me badly shaken. Next morning when I came down to give him breakfast he was still bristling at me and made to go for my leg. I couldn’t handle this and no longer trusted him wondering when next he would turn on me. Although he hadn’t attacked Jacqui yet, apart from a bit of hissing, I couldn’t allow that to happen - she would freak out if it did and I thought it was only a matter of time. I decided there and then that I had to return him to the cattery which I did on Saturday. It broke my heart. I feel so sorry for him. We were told he had behavioural problems without specifying what they were and I just thought it was finding himself in a Rescue Centre cage with lots of strange people and noise - nothing a bit of TLC wouldn’t cure. So now I am without a cat again and don’t know if and when I will try again.
A sorry tale, and one that causes me a lot of sadness and pain, but another experience of life which I have learned much from.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Introducing Sparky!

Yesterday we went down to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) dog and cat rescue centre in Hamilton [just about 5 miles from East Kilbride] to see in person which poor animals they were holding and offering for re-homing. They had some beautiful animals many of which were in pairs [ J could not deal with two at a time (even though I could!) so we limited our viewing to single cats].
"Gizmo" was not the prettiest cat (I was not particularly looking for Miss, or Mr Cat 2009) and he was quite old at 9years (that also was not a problem). He was very, very friendly, and anyone would absolutely love him, especially children, so it seemed to me he was not in any desperate need of me.
"Mustafa" was a fabulous bright orange British Tabby who endeared himself to everyone who approached his cage and meowed constantly (would that get on your nerves, or what?). Again he seemed to be suitable for a family with young children.
When I set off yesterday on this quest I had two things in mind: to be open minded, and to be open hearted.
Three things in mind: to seek to give an unfortunate cat a new, loving, home. It could be the oldest feline who has lost it's owner aftr many years and in desperate need, or like, 'Sparky', been abandonded and showing some behavioural problems stemming from lack of TLC:

First photo. Here he is. Totally agitated and unsure of his surrundings he is, to start with constrained to the kitchen. So he's checking out the high surfaces with eyes like saucers.

Sparky doesn't stand still for a moment at present to get his photo taken!

Ah, got him on the prowl, now introduced to the Living Room.

Calming down a lot, here he is on a kitchen chair with his big saucer eyes!

Then, after a while , he settles down on my lap (which is amazing after only one day) and sleeps a happy sleep.
As I write this he is on my lap watching everything I do!
Sparky is the name I have given him since I didn't really like the name he came with which was Fletcher. He is about a-year-and-a-half to 2years old and found abandoned in an empty house. I presume Fletcher was the name on the door. So I don't want to lumber him with a name from his unfortunate past. Today, giving him the run of the house (which has been an exciting day of discovery) he has settled and changed almost beyond recogintion. He is developing a confidence already, and is more than happy to sit on my lap for a bit of petting.
So welcome Sparky - you are now international, and can expect not only a lot of petting but a lot of drawing too!