27 Apr 2014

Breakfast with Charles

I made a trip to a conference in Glasgow this week, but being so far away it took out 3 days. Not only was it far away in miles, but also in culture – I’ve got used to the comparative isolation of the Highlands and the pace of life and being in a bustling city again felt very strange. En route to the station for my morning train home I made a small detour to the Glasgow School of Art and the fabulous Charles Rennie Mackintosh building. Last time I was here with Henry we had a tour of the building and were shown the development site opposite which was to become a new campus. The £30 million Reid Building, designed by Steven Holl Architects, is now complete and stands in stark contrast to the old building. I liked it, but not so sure about the “now sing” sculpture, a view perhaps shared by the students who had hung an extra “o” on the original building. I felt it was now time for the Mackintosh building to sing again – in a need of a good clean it looked very grubby alongside the new architecture opposite. Next stop, breakfast. I had sampled the Travelodge cooked breakfast the day before ( which wasn’t brilliant) so was heading for a McMuffin when I spotted The Willow Tea Rooms. I waited 5 minutes for it to open and had the place to myself – so, as I ate a most delicious scrambled egg on toast, it was as if I had breakfast with the man himself (and almost missed my train!).

A documentary about the Reid Building - Facing Up To Mackintosh - is on BBC2 at 9pm Tuesday 29 April (on opportunity to see what it looks like inside).

Room De Luxe, The Willow Tea Room, 217 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow


The Reid Building, Glasgow School of Art, Renfrew Street


20 Apr 2014

Easter Sunday

Such lovely weather - too good to be indoors any longer. Here are a few thoughts from Titus...

"Is she still painting that German Shepherd?"
"This looks more fun, what's a picnic?"
"Are we there yet?"

"I think I like picnics (and big sticks)"

13 Apr 2014

Painting Tuition

A close friend, and former colleague, once said to me that I should teach. I wasn’t sure at first, but she gave me the confidence to believe that I had the right approach and passion to guide someone through something new and challenging. First of all I applied for Professional membership of the SAA and have been accepted and registered as a tutor. So this year I decided I ought to do something about it and all of a sudden I have a list of opportunities to start teaching art and a reason to create a new webpage. I’ve joined a number of local craftspeople offering personal, one-to-one, tuition for people staying at the Tongue Hotel. I’ll also be running a few workshops for local art & community groups – a couple in May and one at Timespan in the autumn. So that’s all very exciting and I hope that I am able to practice what I preach in guiding myself through something (else) new and challenging! 

My plein air painting kit available to buy

6 Apr 2014

Swapping Skills

My hairdresser and I have done a little swap – a business card design in exchange for a nice hair do. Daily exposure to a sea breeze and a silly hat means that quite a bit of effort is required to turn my tangled barnet into luscious locks! I love doing illustrations and taught myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator – but there-in lies the problem. I can turn a drawing into a graphic image (a vector drawing – one that will enlarge without losing definition), colour it in and turn it into a logo – most of the time! It seems my technique works more by luck than judgement and on this occasion I came very unstuck. But with the aid of my 2 inch thick techno book and a bit of Googling I learnt how to do it properly and even imported some pretty star bursts. My hairdresser is very pleased with the end result (not to mention the loss of a few years and a boob job) and I am very grateful that she won’t need to reciprocate such a trial and error approach to the execution of her own skills!

Having a giggle setting the design brief!

My pen sketch (left) was transformed into the graphic (right) 
as follows:

I scanned my sketch and opened it in Photoshop then used
the "magic eraser" to rub out the white to leave only the lines
I then opened the drawing in Illustrator and used "live trace"
and then "live paint" to isolate the shapes and colour them in
I then (somehow!) switch on all the paths and "dragged"
 it back onto a transparent file in Photoshop
The with a bit more jiggery-pokery I popped the logo onto a
Vistaprint business card template and added the text