Tulips

Joyful tulips. Gentle flowers.

Mixed with some white flowers that look a bit like roses, but are something else. These were my valentines day present. They are keeping well. I love the way they open up. The stems bend and buckle depending on how much water they have. When the water level falls they droop. I’ve given them a bit of plant food to keep them going

I was thinking about why a lot of my flowers in my garden had kept flowering late into November and December last year. Then yesterday I heard a report that about 40% of the world’s insect population has disappeared in the last few years. Could it be that they are not around to pollinate my garden flowers. And if they are not here for flowers what about fruit and crops.

Recent bans on nicotinoid pesticides may be lifted although they have been implicated in the death of bees.

The world’s ecology must come first. Otherwise the life of all plants that need pollenation by insects may be seriously at risk.

Aurora

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“And what is Life?—An hour-glass on the run,
A mist retreating from the morning sun,
A busy, bustling, still repeated dream;
Its length?—A minute’s pause, a moment’s thought;
And happiness?—A bubble on the stream,
That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.”

[From ‘What is Life?’ (1820) by John Clare]

I just read this quote and thought about what I would love to see. My friend recently visited Iceland and was lucky to see the aurora borealis. I decided to try and draw it since I haven’t had the opportunity to see one. I was surprised to find out they can be colours other than green which is caused by Nitrogen ions in the atmosphere. The pink is from Oxygen.

The magnetic North Pole of the Earth is drifting towards the actual North Pole at several kilometers a year. There is speculation about what is causing this. But as the Earth’s has a molten iron core it causes a magnetic feild generated by the movement of the Iron. The earth’s magnetic feild may flip (it has before) and so the aurora may drift further south.

The magnetic feild lines emerge from the poles like a bar magnet. This is where the Earth’s magnetosphere is at its weakest and the solar wind, which is made up of charged particles, comes down the magnetic lines and causes the gases in atmosphere to glow.

I wish I had more knowledge about it and I hope one day I will see it.

Old film projector.

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I was looking through my old photos and came across this from about a year ago. This is a film projector that was used for a local cinema. I have no idea what all the bits are for. But it’s interesting to see what used to be used before digital came in. My partner once did a training course to learn how to project films. There is usually a splodge marked in one corner of the film so you know when the next piece of film  (reel) is due to start. Apparently some films could have up to eight reels. I don’t know enough to describe it properly. But these machines are beautiful, so well made, which allowed classic films to be shown to audiences. There is a national film and cinematography museum in Bradford, England, which is well worth a visit. I think it still has an IMAX cinema which shows twice the normal sized film. I think it’s 70 millimetres instead of 35 and the film has to be run on its side…. I might visit again soon.

 

Keeping track

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I can’t keep track of things… I want to but social media can be overwhelming. If its panto rehearsals, craft fairs ,art exhibitions. .. A lot of the time I just have to delete things. It’s not that I don’t want to do stuff, just my head is full of things I need to do and I end up stationary instead of getting things done. I’m hoping this will change soon, maybe for the better.

Then there are emails, I don’t know how people manage their accounts with WordPress. I think I’ve said before that it’s hard to keep up with them all. I want to, but then two hours have passed and I’m still sitting in the same place!

Apologies if I don’t always respond to your posts.

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Drawing a kiss

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How.?

Noses get in the way

Mouths don’t fit together

Where do they look?

Do they close their eyes?

This turned out closer to a little peck on the cheek than a full blown kiss. Maybe it’s a first kiss. They are looking at each other quizzically. Is this OK? What is their back story? They are not children or teens. They are about the same age, young adults. Life is ahead of them, do they have a future together.? Can they trust each other. It might have been easier to draw real people, but I don’t think two models would stand around for an hour while I drew them. The same goes for photographs, I don’t know anyone who would want to let me do that.

Trying to imagine how to draw this was interesting, it’s not something I normally do. I used a drawing app and a stylus to do this and a pencil setting on 3 and 5 pixel widths in black, grey and white.

It’s a doodle, a sketch, a bit of fun.

 

Brushes

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Where do you store your brushes when you have been painting? Please don’t store them with the ends of the brushes facing downwards, in water or turps, its a bad habit and can ruin your brushes.

Brushes are not cheap. They come in various sizes, shapes, types of bristles and handles.

They range from the tiniest brush with a good point, to very large flat headed brushes which could almost be used by a painter and decorator.

Types of bristles can be made of sable, hog hair, squirrel and other animal hairs. If these sable is the softest and easiest to get good results with. A brush with strong  hard bristles can be used to roughy cover large areas and block in colours.

For me a synthetic hair works best. It tends to be flexible yet durable. The cost is usually slightly less than sable.

Going back to storage.. Gently clean your brushes under luke warm running water if you can. Sometimes if the brush is still loaded with paint I will swirl the head of it round in the palm of my hand while rinsing it under the tap. This releases the paint. If I was using oil based paint I would use a little substitute turps and rinse the brush in a jar of the first, then to clean it thoroughly I would use a bit of washing up liquid in the palm of my hand and a tap running warm water and just rinse the brush till the water runs clear.

Once the brushes are clean dry them on a little kitchen towel. This also helps to assess if all the paint has gone.

Place your brushes with the brush heads facing upwards and all the bristles smoothed back into the correct shape of the brush head. You can use your mouth and lips to repoint delicate brushes. By storing them this way they will dry better, the brushes will not end up bent almost in half, and the bristles will not end up glued together with paint. Brushes are a valuable commodity and correct storage will save you money by not having to buy as many replacements.

 

Drawing practice.

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What’s better than challenging yourself to do something different.

If you draw something often enough you get to know its shape, whether its a drawing of a car, or a landscape, or a face.

If you want to see things more clearly when you are drawing it can be an idea to turn your picture upside down. then you can identify areas you need to adjust.

This is an extension of the idea. Draw the object upside down then turn it the right way up. It’s a way of learning. I find myself talking through what I am doing. Is the nose too long, are the eyes too close together. Just think how you would draw someone if they were standing in their head? How does the hair on their head fall? Where would the shadows be. In this case I can turn my phone round and clearly see that the face is too long, the eyes are too small and the face is too thin. But it doesn’t look as bad from the normal perspective. I think that’s because of foreshortening. Tablets and phones tend to be held horizontally where pc screens are vertical.  With phones that means the top of the image is further away from your eyes than the bottom of it. Consequently the top half may be drawn slightly bigger than it should be so that when viewed upside down you can see the distortions.

When I was a child I learned to draw by copying from cartoons and photos,  but also by drawing people from life and from memory, the old adage is right, practice makes perfect. I just need to spend the time to learn and hone my work.