12 January 2021

Drawing Tuesday - from/to the charity shop

Something you found in a charity shop and brought home - or something you've put into the bag with all the other donations, waiting for the charity shops to open again so as to get rid of more "stuff". 

I walk past a charity shop most days and often something in the window catches my eye, either as desirable or as A Big Mistake. At the moment, with the new lockdown in place, the windows are frozen in time - containing not particularly nice things, in a not particularly nice time....
That little fellow came from a charity shop about a year ago; 25p was the price on his head. A waving chick half-hatched from its egg. Bonkers! Irresistibly ludicrous and it cheers me up!

From Janet K Shoes waiting to go to the charity shop.

From Joyce - a toy dumper truck from a charity shop and soon to be on it’s way back, not played with anymore!

From Gill - This is a little vase I bought as it is perfect to put home grown flowers and greenery in for the dining table. After I had finished my collage I noticed that I had subconsciously taken the colour scheme from an old drawing next to it.

From Richard - My painting clutter grew so I found what I think must be a make-up container, in a charity shop. I think that was to be able to pack it all for our honeymoon, on which we did quite lot of painting, among other activities. 

From Judith - To Charity Shop: books, books and more books.

From Sue K - Deep concentration - kept losing my place! Why did l choose such a complex piece to draw?

From Mags - The tea strainer  bought  as  'shiny object' contribution  for City Lit drawing class has actually proved quite useful for its intended purpose. Which is more than can be said for Ian's cheese slicer which I haven't yet managed to sneak to the charity shop ... Practising drawing with left hand

From Jackie - I bought this beautiful wooden dolls house complete with furniture and occupants for £10.00 in a local charity shop. My grandsons aged 5 and 3 were delighted to invade it with their cars., parking them in the upstairs area🙃…. however eventually, just before the family relocated to Sweden, Max, then aged 7, started to play with it the way I had hoped…  I am waiting for their next visit from Sweden, whenever that might be... to see if it will still hold their interest! It certainly holds mine… I think I must be still waiting to grow up….

From Ann - I found this pitcher in a charity shop some years ago ..it's such a great shape and texture I felt it would be great for still life paintings. Miss trips to charity shops ..such great finds!

From Carol - I brought this little egg cup with lid for 99p last year just because it was beautiful and I thought would be good to try and draw. It turned out to be ghost-like and a good challenge to look at the light shapes I really enjoyed drawing, it was 99p well spent.

PS it is too small even for small sized Tescos eggs! Perhaps that is why it was in the charity shop.
Am loving all the qurky things we feel compelled to buy.

From me - The cardinal virtues, from a manuscript from around the year 800. Found in "The Age of Charlemagne", published in 1965, which I got from a library book sale (Morley College) recently; the image in the book was monochrome, which made it "interesting" to get the tones -
The cardinal virtues are faith, hope, charity, justice, prudence/wisdom, temperance, courage/fortitude. 

07 January 2021

Poetry Thursday - two birds


A crow in fancy dress
tricked out in pink and russet
with blue and black and white accessories
lurks in a tree, managing not to squawk
his confession: 'I am not a nice bird.'


On guard and at rest at the same time,
the right claw planted in the earth, a rock
in its left that falls if it sleeps. A stone
in its bill to keep it from singing its dreams.

The wherewithal of a crane, its own sentry,
pinning the land to the land with its foot.
A crane, lifting the lid of the town, pulling the plug.
The city centre swinging from a crane's hook.

Invited to make an exhibition of illustrations in celebration of the Saison Poetry Library, London, Mary Kuper took a quotation from Jospeh Brodsky a a starting point:
"Poetry is a dame with a huge pedigree, and every word comes practically barnacled with allusions and associations."

The illustrations are linked to etymological excavations, and suggest the play between the words poets use and the meanings buried in their forgotten roots and histories. 

The book was published in 2012, in celebration of 100 years of books in the poetry library, whose collection, for whatever reason, starts in 1912.

05 January 2021

Drawing Tuesday 22 Dec - red

 The theme is the colour rather than the object. You might have a red object, or red pens, pencils, whatever - or in this frustrating time you might be "seeing red" about something or other....

Or Matisse's red room may have been the first thing that came to mind....
(he's done red fish, red boots, red dancers too, according to Automatic Google)

Perhaps the red studio...

Or "The Dessert: Harmony in Red"

From Janet K - New red shoes - and nowhere to wear them! They will brighten up Christmas Day.

I was making a collaged card for a Christmas present and didn't use the roses so decided to put a few red bits together.

From Joyce - I’ve been playing with torn-edge collage with paper printed on my new toy, a Gelli printing plate!

From Mags - Memories of the "Longest Night" celebrations in Iran in 2007. The kelim was bought in Isfahan, resisted temptation to buy  a carpet with helecopters and Kalashnikovs...

From Ann - One of my very favourites is La Coiffure by Edgar Degas. It's so full of energy, a warm pulse of colours ..so intense and intimate. The impact of reds orange and pinks ...

The second pic is bit over exposed but a gypsy dancer we saw in Avignon a year or so ago! She was just so amazing and vibrant...

From Sue Kay (aka Sue S) - a collage I did earlier in the year - it reminds me of rush-hour! I think I must stop adding bits to it now!! 

From Judith - Gnomes and Elves for the tree and a reminder of hot summer days.

From Jackie - ..a week late with the robot looking traditional corkscrew utensil….. surrealistically imposed onto red wine  followed below that by Miro’s Le Soleil Rouge…

From Sue B - my red amaryllis is finally flowering!!

From Najlaa - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

From Gill - Wishing you all the best for 2021!

From Richard - I sweated red cabbage and, as always, stared at the beautiful blue juice that runs. It thought to put that onto paper - starting to imagine some generic sky - but it is a very weak pigment. Then I reduced the liquid to intensify it. Wrong idea; it turned brown, but that’s interesting too. I have much to learn about natural dyes. So, the reason our Christmas dinner was so late …...

From me -  the grandbaby and I were drawing together; while she was being wildly expressive I made a tiny cockerel (of sorts) ... a dash of red (her crayon) and bits of black (my pen)  here and there, and it took shape -

She has produced several "masterpieces" that I'm looking to turn into woodblock prints. These two looked liked faces, so during the tracing I took out a few superfluous marks and made some of the lines thicker -

 The lines and dots could be monochrome or they might appear in a range of colours.

22 December 2020

Drawing Tuesday - "oldest utensil"

 First of all, what's a utensil? Dictionary definition: " a tool, container, or other article, especially for household use "

Second, what's "oldest"?? Maybe a shaped flint, or a simple stick, or humble pot, if we're thinking about the history of humanity and its tools. Or maybe the inherited wooden spoon that holds, through many years of use, the secrets of a mother's or grandmother's cooking. Or even any tool that is older than we are? Sometimes "oldest" is defined by the young company it keeps. How you feel about it might depend on whether you think "old" is good, or undesirable. 

Mystery object - is it a utensil?

(We thought it might be a tagliatelle cutter)

From Mags - A stick drawn with sticks using Knopper Oak Gall and Alder Buckthorn natural inks.

From Janet K - Only about 20 years old but treasured. Knife rack made by my Uncle Art. Only when seeing it in a photo did I realise how wonky the top edge looks!

From Carol - This is a homemade Tap Wrench made by my Father – in –law. It has been in my garage for 38 years and to my knowledge we have never needed to use it to cut any threads – I rest my case!

From Sue S - Here’s my aged utensil - dad used to make home-made wine & l inherited this corking machine.

From Janet B - I suspect this Black and Decker is older than me. I borrowed it from my father 40 years ago and never returned it. He would occasionally ask how it was and I would reassure him that I was looking after it and putting it to good use. 

From Gill - I don’t have any interesting old utensils as I’m not sentimental and often declutter as I don’t want to become a hoarder.
So I have tried to draw the cutlery my parents bought me over 35 years ago.

From Judith - Ah, didn’t check, remembered useful not oldest so am offering an extra pair of hands.

From Joyce - here’s a rug making tool from my grandmother. I think it’s the kind used for pulling pieces of fabric through a hessian backing since you can prod to make a hole first.

From me - The old knife sharpened (from Germany, 1930s or 40s) has become a strange creature, bug-eyed, hairbrush-shaped...

17 December 2020

Poetry Thursday - The More Loving One, by WH Auden

    The More Loving One
    Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
    That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
    But on earth indifference is the least
    We have to dread from man or beast.

    How should we like it were stars to burn
    With a passion for us we could not return?
    If equal affection cannot be,
    Let the more loving one be me.

    Admirer as I think I am
    Of stars that do not give a damn,
    I cannot, now I see them, say
    I missed one terribly all day.

    Were all stars to disappear or die,
    I should learn to look at an empty sky
    And feel its total dark sublime,
    Though this might take me a little time.

    The poem was recommended by Alexander McCall Smith when he answered readers' questions in a short video in April 2020. 

    In this short video, he reads a very short story from his latest collection.

15 December 2020

Avertising slogans was my first thought, and Mr Google helpfully pointed out a short, rather american, list here 

Political slogans - health-message slogans (rather a lot of those about at the moment) - what else is there, there'll be one along any moment, slogans are plentiful. In fact, "slogans are plentiful" is or could be a slogan... why not make up your own, and find something to draw that suits it! 

From Joyce - A bit sketchy but you get the idea!

From Carol‘Love it or hate it’. Marmite drawn some years ago and fun with collage and shapes done today.

From Ann - my attached abstracts says a lot about the last few months for me...jokey but element of truth in its simplicity. 

From Mags - Today, it's 5 years since we moved to Faversham and I visited the 'Fleur' Faversham Society Visitor Centre which has just reopened to buy a replacement (and spare !) of my broken favourite Fine Bone China mug. If you apply enough Photoshop filters , all sense disappears.


From Janet K My slogan and thought for the day.

From Sue S - A stitch in time saves 9.

Here’s my stitch-up!

From Judith - Inspired by Millwall Football Supporters’ slogan. Fortunately took an interim photo before spilling water all over drawing.

From Gillian - Say it with flowers.

I received these beautiful flowers from friends just for watering their plants while on holiday.

From Jackie - a few thoughts before I ran out of ideas!

From me - "Many hands make light work"; collaged from a recent Weekend magazine. The challenge was to use just that magazine.