She often looks out watching the cars and vans racing up the hill. Looking at birds flying up to the factory roof, playing with the mobile on the window. Jumping down and clawing my legs under the desk when I go to type things up. This is her territory. She’s upstairs and her brother is downstairs. Both in their individual realms. They sometimes meet to play and chase. She’s a happy cat, she is mistress of all she surveys.
I wrote a long piece about this, then I fell asleep, my finger hit the screen and I’ve lost it! I will try and remember what I was saying.
I was bought up in the 60’s and 70’s, when shops closed on a Sunday, people bought enough food to last and put it in the pantry (a small room lined with shelves which was stacked with tins and dry goods).
It was quiet, no one had cars so we would play in the back garden or go to the local park which was a few hundred yards away over the main road. But the road was easy to cross because it wasn’t that busy.
Back to today. I sat in the garden and was surprised to hear birds singing. I think I could recognise about three different songs. They were up a tree at the other end of the garden, normally they would have been drowned out by the road.
Even the rush hour failed to happen. Normally the cars queue on the street waiting to turn into the traffic. Today, one car every few minutes.
The only thing I saw which was wrong was three young men, full of energy, walking together laughing, making fun, striding out. We have been told not to be in groups of more than two. I just worry…
Still, it’s quiet, like an old fashioned Sunday.
Part of the set up for the play we went to see were the cars. Old and new. My favourites were the Austin Maxi in mustard yellow, and the bright red Audi Quattro. Both were just inside the door as you came in, together with an old caravan. It set the scene so well. Fascinating.
I came downstairs about an hour ago and the sweet, loud, melodious song of birds was filling the air. At this time of year in the spring it seems louder and more beautiful than ever. Fizzing through the air like ripe electricity. A great pleasure to listen to.
Then cutting through it the insistent alarm call, not of a blackbird, but a ruddy car alarm! The bird song quietened for about five minutes, a car engine started up in the street, and traffic noise commenced. But soaring high above it the melodies of a Blackbird and its mate have resumed. Liquid notes rising and falling in complicated trills… And that ruddy car alarm again!
Today I had a break from my exhibition for an hour, so I went and sketched a few of the classic cars. I have to say there were a lot of Austin and Morris cars, plus things like the Scimitar car that I drew.
Each sketch took between 10 and 15 minutes. I tried to be accurate, but when you are standing in a field with cars or engines, people have a tendancy to walk in front of you or stand in the way.
Drawing is slow motion photography I guess you could say, you click a camera, but your hand and eyes have the effort of coordinating to get an image. It’s not easy to draw a new subject. Wheels can be too big or small. A bumper might be too high up, and cut across where the radiator grill should go. Also when you use a thin nibbed pen you have the difficulty of getting dark areas without wanting to spend ages cross hatching.
Movement is another problem, while drawing the diesel engine I tried to get a feeling if the spinning motion, but it started to get messy. There are so many pipes and wheels and tubes. I have no idea what bit does which action, its hard to link things up in your head.
Anyway I took photos of the cars for comparison, I may paint some of them.
If you wonder where I have been, I have been painting these tiny miniature paintings on canvases around the size of a matchbox.
I’m quite enjoying doing them. I would like to present them in small gift boxes but I don’t know where I can get some from.
People don’t seem to have room for art, so the idea is they might buy one of these to put somewhere special… you never know…
I haven’t done much this month but at least I have got going again over the last few days. I’m putting an Exhibition up later today which will be up on Saturday and Sunday at Etruria.
Details are that the Etruria Industrial museum is holding a static steam engine day on Saturday and a classic car day on Sunday.
Might see you there…..
After our first night at Morecambe we could not resist a drive up to South Lakeland. Part of the Lake district. It only took a short while to get there.
The first place we visited was the lakeland motor museum. Situated near Haverthwaite in the south part of the Lake district, the museum is just off the main road. There is a large selection of motor cars, from the oldest cars and getting younger as you wind your way through the collection. Interspersed with shop window fronts full of museum exhibits, the cars are very interesting. I decided to draw part of a blue Bentley that was owned by Donald Campbell. He lost his life trying to beat the water speed record on Coniston lake. The colour of the car is not authentic because the car was restored in the past. However it was a beautiful example of the workmanship of car makers. There are also bicycles and planes on display in the museum.
Then it’s a few meters down the road to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway. I sat and drew the bridge over the train tracks while we waited for the steam train to arrive. The train was pulled by an engine called Repulse. I’m not sure but I think it was a Bagnall engine. They also have the only two Fairburn steam engines still in existence. (The rest were broken up by British rail when diesels were introduced to the railways).
We took the train up to Lakeside and then travelled on the Tern, an old converted steam ship which is now powered by a diesel engine. Tern took us to Bowness about half way up the Lake. The mist and rain was falling off the hills and from the sky. After several weeks of summer heat it was actually quite pleasant to feel the cool damp air. We did not have time to carry on up to the top of the lake to Ambleside because we were running out of time. So a short break at a Lakeside cafe and we came back on another, smaller boat. Back to the train and back to our starting point at Haverthwaite station.
Back in time for a quiet meal in a Chinese restaurant in Morecambe……