Monday, 12 July 2010

Poetry at Dove Cottage

This will be the last post for a bit while I take off again in search of The Great Outdoors.

And a poetic one it will be.

The day before we left the Lake District we went to visit Dove Cottage where William Wordsworth lived and produced many of his finest poetry.

We were taking advantage of a programme of free poetry in the grounds at the rear of the Wordsworth Museum run each summer, sitting on wooden benches on a grassy slope in the dappled shade of great oak trees.

As usual I cannot miss not just the free poetry but the free models for me to draw while they recite their stuff:
Got the girl's name is in fact Penny Boxall, and the bloke is Andrew Forster.

And this was Katie Hale telling us "How to Kill a Mermaid":

And while I draw, my darling wife amuses herself with the goings-on of Cheryl Cole in 'Hello' magazine!:
Keeps me from getting too high-falutin' she does!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Happy Pappy

Ah, summer days...nae work and living the life o' Riley!

Fathers' Day took on a new meaning this year with wee Harry joining the Cornelius Clan:

Nanna the Photographer even managed to get herself in the picture!

And here's the proud mum with her son:

Apart from a few nice pressies for Fathers' Day I got an excellent bottle of wine:

As you can see, Pappa needs a bib in case he spills any!

Not much chance of that happening!!!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The Dream

While on holiday last week we went to see a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream put on the local Village Hall by the Grasmere Players

Without wishing to over-exaggerate (which I am prone to do) this was undoubtably one of the best productions I have ever seen and although by amateurs you could be forgiven for thinking them professional. The set and costumes may not have been the most lavish but the acting, enthusiasm, and remembering all the words was top of the class!

And, as usual, while waiting for 'curtain up' I get out my sketchbook and observe my fellow theatre-goers:

I think the guy was from Nose City.

Big Ba' Heid Strikes Again
Expletive deleted.
Why me? Is this guy wi the big ba' heid and sticky-oot ears following me around?

And now the play has started you must remember I am viewing the action through his lugs when he turns to the side, and drawing by the dim illumination of a fire escape light.

"...The actors are at hand; and, by their show,
You shall know all, that you are like to know

A very creative touch to have all the tradesmen wearing dungarees:

The Rude Mechanicals
Snug, Quince, Starveling, Snout, Flute, Bottom.

Then here's the two young ladies in love with the same man:

Hermia and Helena
These two were excellent, even playing out a very realistic cat-fight on stage!
And, although the play is set in early Greece the costumes were more Arabian but still very good for all that.

But..."The course of true love never did run smooth":

Lysander and Hermia
Hermia arguing with Lysander and eventually throwing herself at his feet.

Bottom was absolutely brilliant with a perfectly glaiket face and daft expression:

If ever I could remember any lines and got the chance to act in this play then I would most likely be cast as Bottom...overly enthusiastic, wanting to play all the parts, always falling in love with dangerous women, and a bit of an ass...
he-haw, he-haw!!!

But what is this?:

Cobweb and Mustardseed

"Over hill, over dale, Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over Park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen.."

These two wee lassies were just terrific!

And, of course, the second best joke in the play is when Bottom it turned into a donkey which Titania falls in love with:

The fairies tie this brilliant donkey-head hat onto Bottom's head (wish I could get a hat like that - I'm sure it would suit me). Then Titania falls asleep with him on her woodland bower.

But the very best part of the evening was the acting of this young lad as Flute, the Bellows Mender who is made to play the part of Thisby in their own play-within-a-play:


"Nay, faith, let not me play a woman...I have a beard coming".

With a wig of wild shocking red hair, his lips plastered with bright red lipstick, and wearing a dress over his dungarees and wellington boots this guy was hilarious, although as he went on his words grew higher in pitch until he sounded more like Madge Simpson or Miss Piggy from the Muppets!

A brilliant evening which sent us out into the summer night feeling good and smiling :o)))

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


It's good to get out of the car and head for the hills on foot with only a rucksac full of sketching materials. Especially when it's not raining.

I'ts good to get back to drawing and painting direct from the subject even if it is hanging precariously from the side of a hill:

Tarn Crag and Gibson Knott
Ink and wash in sketchpad, A5x2.
Great name that - "Gibson Knott"!

And looking up through the glen, or whatever they are called in England, past a small, almost dry waterfall called Sour Milk Gill, to the peak of Tarn Crag:

Sour Milk Gill and Tarn Crag
Ink and wash in sketchpad, A5x2.

Then some time spent idling away the afternoon beside a pure and clear burn, or gill:

Greenhead Gill
Ink and wash in sketchpad, A5x2.

What a heavenly country.

What a good holiday.

A busman's holiday.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Wanderer Returns

Took off a week ago Wednesday and headed south to what is called the Lake District in England - a very good place to go to enjoy the English football fans’
humiliation at first hand!
And also a very good place to go hill-walking and to savour the delights of their pubs and ale-houses.
The initial concept was to camp for four days next to a lovely wee village called Hawkshead where we have spent many’s a holiday, and experience life in the rough (literally). Ah, the fresh air of a force-ten gale, dining al fresco wi‘ bugs in yer soup, waking up during the night with your lilo flat and the racket of the crows at five in the morning, then staggering to the communal showers hung-over from over-indulgence and carousing the night before - sheer delight :o{
But at least it didnae rain!

I’ve drawn and painted Hawkshead and the surrounding area many, many, times and if I can dig out those sketches and paintings sometime and I’ll post them to let you see how nice a place it is.

But this visit there wasn’t any time between the all the camping activities, walking in the countryside around Esthwaite Water, watching football and tennis in the Red Lion. The first time I produced my sketchpad was on the second night in the Kings Head where we had the great fortune to hear this local singer/songwriter, Pete Lashley. A great mixture of songs he sung to his own accompaniment, some of which I knew and could join in, like “Island in the Stream”:

Pencil in sketchbook, A6.

Two nights, however, was more than enough of that camping malarky so next morning we struck camp and set off for home.

On the way we stopped in at another lovely village, Grasmere, which we have often passed through but never stayed. That was when we spied a sign “Self-Catering Apartments: VACANCIES”. This was more like it - home from home, a comfortable bed, fully functioning kitchen, a bed, and a clean shower cabinet for one person. And a telly, yay!:

Beck Allan's Guest House

Pencil in sketchbook, A4.

Not cheap but available for a whole week. Unplanned vacations are the best. No time to think about making all the arrangements before hand just do it there and then.
And what a week it was: walter-wall sunshine and balmy hot like Italy nel’estate.

And this is where I hope it gets interesting.

After all the days, weeks, months, nay, years spent cooped up in a studio burning my brains out over semi-abstract figurations here I was in the most beautiful countryside with time on my hands. This is what I was born to do. This is probably where I am happiest - walking in the country with sketchpads, pencils, pens, brushes, and my wee travellers watercolour box, drawing and painting 'en plein air'…sheer heaven:

St. Oswalds Church

Pencil and watercolour in sketchbook, A4.
In the graveyard associated with this church lies the romantic poet William Wordsworth (of daffodils fame) and his wife, Mary.

Old Pine Tree

Pencil and watercolour in sketchbook, A4.
A very strange lop-sided pine tree standing alone in a field.

Grasmere and Heron Pike

Watercolour pencils and watercolour washes in sketchpad, A5x2.
Half-way on a four mile walk looking back across the mere to Heron Pike in the distance. This was my first attempt at drawing with watercolour pencils with the hope of blending-in washes and blurring the edges. Didn't work that way...needs more practice.

Heron Pike

Watercolour pencils and watercolour washes in sketchpad, A5x2.
Another attempt with the watercolour pencils and much closer up to the Pike.

More sketches to follow another day.

Hope you have all been nice while I've been away!