I spent the early years of my life growing up in Altrincham in the greater Manchester area of northwest England. It was in these years, between the 1970’s and the late 1980’s that marked the end of the industrial age for the town.
This period left much of our local area with factories that became redundant and closed, some locations included empty land where factories once stood, a lot of these locations existed beside the Bridgewater canal.
I am currently working on a visual art project that is calling on my memories of these locations, working both digitally and with charcoal on paper, creating some compositions that reflect on this period of my life, places from my childhood. I am in my 50’s so this is not easy at times but I feel its a great exercise in visual storytelling…
By what rude waves hast thou been tossed,
To gain this quiet beach?
What wide-spread waters hast thou crossed,
This peaceful shore to reach?
An awful secret dost thou tell
About the yawning deep,
That, while her billows war and swell,
They most profoundly keep.
Thou speakest of one whose weary frame
Has sought repose on thee;
But not of kindred, home, or name,
Sad outcast of the sea!
Thou giv’st no record of his birth,
No token of the clime,
Where he was last a child of earth,
Or when he passed from time.
And who must now, on some far shore,
Await the coming sail
Of him, they will behold no more
Till mortal sight shall fail?
For fearful things dost thou present
Before the spirit’s view;
The parting bark! the canvass rent!
The helpless, dying crew!
Of one dread scene the fatal whole,
In thought, I hear and see.
It chills my blood—it makes my soul
Grow sick to look at thee.
‘The seas must render up their dead!’
Is all thou dost reply;
While o’er thee, cold and restless bed,
The tide rolls proud and high!
The guilty deep is taking back
The witness of her wrath,
To bury it with every track
That marks its troubled path!
A winter time art project, Digital painting created using a Wacom art tablet and taken from a photographic study of our local landscape and the Crows that have made it their winter home.
I feel today’s painting is a big step closer to the final paintings I am hoping to create, I like this composition much more than my last painting and I feel that I am now starting to represent the crows and the movement they create in our winter fields much better….
Nick Drake Lyrics
Betty came by on her way
Said she had a word to say
About things today
And fallen leaves.
Said she hadn’t heard the news
Hadn’t had the time to choose
A way to lose
But she believes.
Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the plan
For lilac time.
If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
And all night shows
Betty said she prayed today
For the sky to blow away
Or maybe stay
She wasn’t sure.
For when she thought of summer rain
Calling for her mind again
She lost the pain
And stayed for more.
Going to see the river man
Going to tell him all I can
About the ban
On feeling free.
If he tells me all he knows
About the way his river flows
I don’t suppose
It’s meant for me.
Oh, how they come and go
Oh, how they come and go.
I dream of you, to wake’ by Christina Rossetti
I dream of you, to wake: would that I might
Dream of you and not wake but slumber on;
Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone,
As, Summer ended, Summer birds take flight.
In happy dreams I hold you full in night.
I blush again who waking look so wan;
Brighter than sunniest day that ever shone,
In happy dreams your smile makes day of night.
Thus only in a dream we are at one,
Thus only in a dream we give and take
The faith that maketh rich who take or give;
If thus to sleep is sweeter than to wake,
To die were surely sweeter than to live,
Though there be nothing new beneath the sun.
She stands out
Against the weeds
Oh, she spouts
Her dandelion seeds
The smiling song
Of spring she leads
May the sunshine on
Her dandelion seeds
From the damp land
Her roots feed
Causing silver strands
In her dandelion seeds
Wishes she carries
Wishes she bleeds
Wishes are scattered
In her dandelion seeds
There are so many great quotes from John Lennon, but this one has to be one of his best 🙂
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
In current times finding happiness has become very important for our mental health, we all need to fight as hard as possible to achieve personal happiness, never let anyone for what ever reason put you in any other mood than a generally happy one !
One tool I have developed over the last weeks to active this aim is to stop reading/watching or listening to the daily news, I could write an essay on the why’s but life is to short!
Just stop listening, get outside as often as you can (walk, say hello to people, look at the landscape around you), it is not selfish to make sure your in a good mental place, you can give more to others if you are!
Happiness needs working at, working to find the things that make you happy and at the same time dismissing the things that don’t – it takes work !!!!
A lot of my images have been black and white of late, I love black and white :), here is a great use of colour in a photo, A sunset that is to die for 🙂
Of all the locations in Ireland for a great sunset, County Kerry has to be the best 🙂
The Peace of Mindfulness is like a boat at rest, just slowly reacting to the movement of the water that it is resting on !
Its our job to find a way of being more like this boat !
I have always loved black and white images, from the moment I first started looking at photographers work and then owned my first camera and loaded its first roll of Ilfords HP5 black and white film. I love the drama that can be created using shades and tones, from pure white to inky blacks.
These days many photographers long after and spend lots of cash on digital cameras that can deliver the highest possible dynamic range of tones and shades, to myself however I just love trying to bring an image back down to the lowest dynamic range possible, that works towards adding true drama into an image.
This image was taken this evening on a forest path, just after we had a thunder and lightning storm, how much more drama does a photographer need ?
Friday Charcoal and Pastel drawing
The lighthouse at Hookhead, county Wexford – Drawing using Charcoal and Pastel on a sheet of A2 cartridge paper.
I have wanted to include the hookhead lighthouse in drawing for sometime so today I used a photo taken about 6 years ago taken one February evening on a walk around the base of the lighthouse looking out to sea. It was late evening just after sunset and light had just just been turned on, a magical moment to be there.
The drawing today took about four hours to complete and is one of the drawing in the last week that I have enjoyed working on the most 🙂 …..
Kilkenny landscape art – Charcoal and Pastels on Paper – Winter trees
This is my second large scale drawing this week, worked on an A2 sheet of cartridge paper with the drawing itself being formatted to fit inside an A3 mounting card and frame.
I am really enjoying working with charcoal and pastels again, I feel that I could and most likely would be able to get more detail into each drawing if I used a set of pencils, high details for each landscape view however is not that much of a worry for me at the moment. The drawings I am working on at the moment are aimed at being Proprietary Artwork for later paintings.
I am learning all the time now about the possibilities of working with what is the very basic mediums of black charcoal and Pastel, the skills of blending and smoothing the charcoal on the paper, back into areas of grey. Drawing with both these mediums is very interesting, detail is possible but needs care to produce, each stage of the drawing needs fixing on the paper so that it is not smudged.
As with any drawing or painting when finished there are areas I like and areas I do not, here I loved working of the misty sky and the trees but found the foreground of the wet muddy field a challenge. I am happy overall and feel I have managed to work in lots of texture and levels of details hidden in the mud in the foreground and very happy with the blended sky.
I am not in all honesty yet looking for finished work as I want to keep learning as much as possible so the more I learn the better and the more that makes me have to look and think about a finished work the better. I am not finishing anything that I would not show to anyone so that is at least very pleasing.
This is the same drawing cropped down, I wonder if its better without the foreground area or better with it ?
If anyone wants to make a comment here – it would only help me 🙂 🙂
Kilkenny landscape – A Charcoal and Pastels on Paper
This week I plan to continued building up my painting and drawing skills, I will continue selected from my landscape photographs and selecting ones that I wfeel will make good Mono drawings and paintings.
This evening I have just finished the above Charcoal and Pastel landscape, its drawn on A2 paper but framed for A3 dimensions. This is a good size from drawing as I feel I can work freely with this size, letting the charcoal move openly. It lets me stand up above by drawing board and move the Charcoal and Pastels with fully movement of my arms.
Just like with my last post I plan next to work the same landscape view in Acrylic paints working with cool grey tones to capture the feeling of a cold grey day, just like the day that I captured the original black and white image on.
I added this thank you message to the post blow but feel that I should also post it by itself !
” I just noticed that the number of likes and visited to my Blog (started in 2011) went well over the 350,000 mark while I was away – I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to you all for this, I don’t post here with such figures in mind , I post to share the things a see and capture around me – That said ! Getting this level of interest and support with so many likes has been a massive boost to me and a huge reason to drive me on in 2019 to keeping sharing my images and a love I have of both Art and Photography!
THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!! “
Starting my 2019 Blogging …..
I always like to start my blogging for a new year by changing my site heading image.
This year my first image taken and posted – my new site header image was taken on Sunday Morning at first light, I was on an early morning walk and the weather was cold with a full covering of cloud. I had just about completed the 5km walk I had planned to do and had almost given up on capturing any images as the light was just so unexciting when the sun came bursting through an opening in the clouds and located itself just about some trees in the distance.
I have taken a little time off-line over the Christmas and New-Year period just to give myself an old fashioned way to celebrate and recharge my batteries, I spend some great time with family and friends 🙂 and as a result I feel great and am looking forward with new energy to 2019 and the future 🙂 , my blog and my love of photography still play a massive part in these plans 🙂
I also noticed that the number of likes and visited to my Blog (started in 2011) went well over the 350,000 mark while I was away – I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to you all for this, I don’t post here with such figures in mind , I post to share the things I see and capture around me – That said ! Getting this level of interest and support with so many likes has been a massive boost to me and a huge reason to drive me on in keeping sharing my images and a love of both Art and Photography!
THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!
The winter solstice (or hibernal solstice), also known as midwinter, is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. It occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere this is the December solstice and in the Southern Hemisphere this is the June solstice.
The axial tilt of Earth and gyroscopic effects of its daily rotation mean that the two opposite points in the sky to which the Earth’s axis of rotation points (axial precession) change very slowly (at the current rate it would take just under 26,000 years to make a complete circle). As the Earth follows its orbit around the Sun, the polar hemisphere that faced away from the Sun, experiencing winter, will, in half a year, face towards the Sun and experience summer. This is because the two hemispheres face opposite directions along Earth’s axis, and so as one polar hemisphere experiences winter, the other experiences summer.
More evident from high latitudes, a hemisphere’s winter solstice occurs on the day with the shortest period of daylight and longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is at its lowest. Although the winter solstice itself lasts only a moment in time, the term sometimes refers to the day on which it occurs. Other names are “midwinter”, the “extreme of winter” (Dongzhi), or the “shortest day”. In some cultures it is seen as the middle of winter, while in others it is seen as the beginning of winter. In meteorology, winter in the Northern Hemisphere spans the entire period of December through February. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening hours of daylight during the day. The earliest sunset and latest sunrise dates differ from winter solstice, however, and these depend on latitude, due to the variation in the solar day throughout the year caused by the Earth’s elliptical orbit (see earliest and latest sunrise and sunset).
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied across cultures, but many have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
Neil Munro (1864 – 1930) was born in Inveraray and worked as a journalist on various Scottish newspapers. He wrote a number of historical novels but is best known for his humorous stories about the fictional Clyde puffer the Vital Spark and her captain Para Handy, written under the pen name of Hugh Foulis.
Although Neil Munro didn’t emigrate any further than Glasgow, his background (his grandmother was from a Gaelic-speaking part of the Highlands) would have given him an insight into emigration and what it felt like to be an exile. This poem is written more from the perspective of someone who stayed behind.
Are you not weary in your distant places,
Far, far from Scotland of the mist and storm,
In drowsy airs, the sun-smite on your faces,
The days so long and warm?
When all around you lie the strange fields sleeping,
The dreary woods where no fond memories roam,
Do not your sad hearts over seas come leaping
To the highlands and the lowlands of your Home?
Wild cries the Winter, loud through all our valleys
The midnights roar, the grey noons echo back;
About the scalloped coasts the eager galleys
Beat for kind harbours from horizons black:
We tread the miry roads, the rain-drenched heather,
We are the men, we battle, we endure!
God’s pity for you people in your weather
Of swooning winds, calm seas, and skies demure!
Let torrents pour then, let the great winds rally,
Snow-silence fall, or lightning blast the pine;
That light of Home shines warmly in the valley,
And, exiled son of Scotland, it is thine.
Far have you wandered over seas of longing,
And now you drowse, and now you well may weep,
When all the recollections come a-thronging
Of this old country where your fathers sleep.
They sleep, but still the hearth is warmly glowing,
While the wild Winter blusters round their land:
That light of Home, the wind so bitter blowing
Look, look and listen, do you understand?
Love, strength, and tempest-oh, come back and share them!
Here is the cottage, here the open door;
Fond are our hearts although we do not bare them,
– They’re yours, and you are ours for evermore.