28 Jan 2014

Henry's House

I was saddened to hear about the death of Kathryn Findlay last week, a renowned Scottish architect who I once had the pleasure of meeting. I dug out my well-thumbed book about organic architecture which features a number of the fabulous houses by Ushida Findlay, such as the Soft & Hairy house. Back in 2000, in my capacity as Landscape Architect, I was asked to comment on the high profile planning application for Grafton Hall in Cheshire. I remember being a bit tongue-tied, in awe of the design, the architect and the whole situation – how wonderful it must be to have the freedom to design such fabulous forms. The building was designed to be part of the landscape and the visual impact so minimal that the sort of comments I would usually make were irrelevant – what could I possibly say? The development was approved, but I believe a traditional manor house has been built instead. I didn’t know then that I’d be involved in building my own house one day – the budget hasn’t allowed for such an ambitious design but the process is an exciting one. In fact it has all started to happen this week – busy, busy, busy and not much painting!

New Grafton Hall - from www.ushida-findlay.com

Soft & Hairy House - from www.ushida-findlay.com

19 Jan 2014

Free Art Lesson

You’ll be pleased to know that I have woken up at last, so this week has been all about catching up. My diary is now open in January 2014 (instead of November 2013), my list of “things to do” has been redrafted and I have managed to do some of those chores I normally  “put off”. I now have a clean and tidy house, the accounts are up to date and even my “for mending” pile has disappeared (any toys requiring further facial surgery have been cremated). The ironing pile has vanished too – but I think that is because things have been worn and moved to the washing pile! Titus was very upset by the roaring monster who followed me round the house (hoover) and is still somewhat disturbed by my threat to reduce his budget. Within an hour of admiring my clean and fresh smelling bathroom, I had to mess it up again. Titus (who else) thanked me for such a lovely run on the beach by rolling in something very unsavoury and required a thorough shampoo. So domestic and Titus duties under control I shall return to some painting. If you fancy some painting tuition – look out for the voucher in The Telegraph on 25 January. I am one of 150 artists across the UK offering a free lesson in association with the SAA.

14 Jan 2014

Sheep Sleep

I think this year is going to be one of the fastest on record – I feel like I’ve been asleep and missed a few weeks! I’m sure I had a cute puppy not so long ago – but I’ve woken to find he’s been swapped for a 30 kg donkey. He has eaten all his toys, grown out of his bed and adopted the sofa (which he fills quite easily) as his own. He casually steps over the barrier that prevented him from bounding upstairs and can very easily rest his head on the table. Having just woken up suddenly in January 2014, I desperately tried to exercise the left side of my brain, get organised and uncover some grey matter. Just as I got going, I was irreversibly distracted by much excitement about a sheep! The lovely Princess Neptune became a tabloid star and her personal portrait artist got a mention in the national press. Needless to say, the hunt for the grey matter was abandoned in a flash and I returned to the world of cuddly sheep and fell back to sleep.

"I'll sit on the floor then shall I?"

5 Jan 2014

Into the Unknown

Happy New Year ! 2013 was certainly a big adventure and this year will prove to be another. The house build has begun and I’ve a few exciting news stories up my sleeve on the art front. We’ve just come home after 2 weeks in a cottage not far from here, where a good time was had by all. In preparation for Christmas I embraced the convenience of online grocery shopping – both the coal man and the Tesco man arrived at the same time, Titus went mad and the cats nearly hitched a ride back to Wick. When the commotion died down I discovered that I had ordered 20 bags of apples instead of 20 apples! Consequently one of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat more fruit – starting with the apple mountain. Another resolution was to start my visual diary again – the last one stopped soon after Ned died because my pictures where empty without his face, but now there is a new face (in case you hadn’t heard!).

5 down, 360 to go!

Titus & Dylan made a lot of noise

The Unknown to some - but Dylan mistook him for my Dad!