Thursday, 2 December 2010

Flamingos and dinner dates

We've not long returned from a nice little 2 centre break in Gloucestershire and South Wales.

We went for a few days to Slimbridge Wetlands Centre. The weather wasn't exactly kind but we made the best of it and had a couple of nice walks round the site. One of my favourite sights were these beautiful colourful flamingos, sich a strange site at a British Wetlands centre.

On one of of walks I persuaded my DH to pose on these stepping stones, well i wasn't going to risk wet feet!

A really lovely surprise was this outside enclosure almost teaming with these tiny Harvest mice, barely 2" long. I've never seen them in the wild so this was a very unexpected treat.

After a few more excisions we made our way to Cardiff to visit our DS and his wife. We had such a lovely relaxing weekend, despite the weather. As we live in the country it's always a very different experience for us to spend time in the city, and Cardiff is a great place, very vibrant with a population that really know how to enjoy life.
I had a very pleasant time in John Lewis, wishing as always that I had a spare couple of grand to spend.

As usual we were spoilt with several great meals both at home and in the city, trying out alternative restaurants like Milgis, with it's DIY art on the walls, a Yurt in the back yard, and great veggie food.

Cardiff Arts Institute was pretty cool too, with its retro sofas and a great rubber glove installation!

I just wish I hadn't forgotten my camera, I could have shown you the window display at All Saints Fashion shop, it was full of old hand sewing machine all lined up on shelves taking up the whole window display.

Of course a visit to Cardiff is never complete without a visit to Craft in the Bay for morning coffee and cake, plus a look in the gallery of course, to give the men suggestions for Christmas presents.

It was so cold that the water round the fountain was frozen.

And having forgotten my camera on Saturday I thought I'd make up for it with this rare unpopulated shot of the Millennium Centre.

We had a great weekend and a big thank you to our thoughtful hosts.

We were pretty glad to get past this stuff though, once we left Wlaes, but if followed us home, and now we're snowed in!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Long silence

I can't believe it's been about a month and a half since I last put up a post on this blog. My excuse is that since I started my C&G blog it's been really difficult to run 2.

But help is at hand, I finally saved up enough money to buy a 13" Macbook Pro today and it's divine!!!

It has everything I could want on a laptop for our travels in Connie, the most exciting being a ten hour battery and a back lit keyboard, which has been specially designed to help you make fewer typos. All I need now is to learn how to spell and touch type and I'll be blogging for England!

So I just thought I'd put a few pics of what I've been doing and where we've been.

Halloween's past, Bonfire night next, and then it'll be Christmas.

A new table cloth and napkins made for Connie, to match the tea cosy, I bought.

Dead trees always have that dramatic impact.

Seem to have mislaid the rest of my pics at the moment, but will find them soon!

Hope to be back soon.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Proud parents

Just wanted to share a proud parent moment, when we watched a lovely programme on BBC 1 Wales last night that our son Dan has edited.

Not being golfers ourselves we were surprised to find what a wonderful story there was to be told about 5 Welshman "who have played in the world's biggest team golf competition," the Ryder Cup.

If you have even a slight interest in golf I know you will love this beautifully crafted programme. I'm not biased of course, but the cuts and music choice were perfect and often funny, just the right combination of brevity and humour. It made us proud to be British as it exemplified our 'Bull Dog ' spirit and a refusal to give up in the face adversity.

You can view it here on BBC iplayer

Well done Dan and the team.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Nice surprise and Dungeness

Today my friend Shirley and I went to the Guildford Institute in Surrey to make the final arrangements for a 3 week exhibition we're having there. When we walked into reception I caught sight of some paperwork behind the desk that had my painting on it. After enquiring why, from the receptionist, she smiled and said "Oh haven't you seen it?" And it turned out to be their Autumn event and course catalogue. I was really pleased as this was a first, but then I looked at the credit inside, only to find my fellow exhibitor's name and misspelled too........ Oh well it still looks nice.

So if any one's in the area do drop in, they do a great lunch there and Guildford's a pretty good town for shopping.

The weekend before last we went to the amazing Dugeness Spit in Kent. To those of you who don't know it, its a shingle area of land that's unique in Europe and is the nearest thing we have to a desert in Britain. It's growing at the amazing rate of 8' per year.

It's definitely one of those places you either love or hate. For us it was love at first sight.

Now this may sound strange when the area is bleak with nothing but huts and ships and fishing paraphernalia as far as the eye can see.

With a power station at the end of the road.

But it's this very bleakness that has drawn people to live here, some of whom have embraced the stark beauty of the place and used it to fuel their artistic imaginations.

The little white hut with the bunting is an amazing studio for displaying this artist's work as is his front garden.

What a great way for beach rubbish to end up.

And this is the artist Derek Jarman's cottage.

And some of his amazing sculptures.

Us on the beach being blown around by 40mph gusty winds.

With all the decaying fishing equipment on the beach there were plenty of wonderful textures to be had.

I have no idea what this is, but it made me want to sketh it.

On the third day of our stay it rained quite hard on and off and the clouds were changing all the time so I stayed put in my cosy mobile studio and tried to capture the bleakness of the place.

We were so impressed with the quiet of the place and the lovely people that live there, so tolerant of visitors poring over their landscape, that we're going back up on our next trip, so hopefully the weather will be kind and we can find some more inspirational ideas for our artwork.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Fitting everything in

You'd think wouldn't you, that when you get past 60 time would sort of melt away and you'd just be able to amble along each day doing whatever you chance!! Life seems to just get busier or I get more side tracked.

Well anyway I've managed to find a few moments to do some blogging, some necessary as part of my Diploma, which has now taken a very interesting turn into 3D land (or should that read lala land) judge for yourself. You never know when you head off into the unknown, whether your bordering on discovery or just 'lost in space'.

Half the reason I'm an absent blogger at the moment is the fact that we spend a lot of time with our newest family member, Connie.

I don't think she was too impressed to be used as a washing line, spoiling her beautiful lines :-)

We were away as usual the w/e before last at Singleton Open air Museum and I took the opportunity to use the camera again. Which I'm happy to say I'm getting used to.

There was a production of 'The Firework maker's daughter' being held in the grounds (unfortunately for us all tickets were sold out), but I took some shots of the wonderful lanterns as consolation.

This one had a 'fish eye' filter put on it in-camera.

These delightful waterlilies were also part of the show and of course had to be manipulated in the camera, just for fun.

I only wish I knew what part this gruesome thing had to play in the production

And these by contrast were lovely in the sunlight

Cyanotype anyone?

And just so I can join in Gina's sketchbook project I had to do a couple of 5 minuters.

There was a repeat on TV last night about the Nation's favourite flower, at the time I couldn't think of one, now I remember, I love it and every year I try to photograph it, and this year I think I got better.

And just to make the w/e perfect, how's this for a view from our secret wild camping lay-by. We had a quieter night than we would have done with our neighbours at home.

I'd just like to say good luck to all those taking part in the FOQ challenge that West Country Buddah set up last year. Hope all goes well for you, and sorry I couldn't take part after all.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Relaxing weekend

After all the excitement of the exhibition, we thought we needed a nice relaxing weekend in our favourite town of Arundel. I think our children think we have shares in the tourist industry there as we spend quite a lot of our free time there.

I've been trying to get to grips my new Nikon D5000 for a while now, so thought I'd use the w/e to take a few shots. I've been using an old 80-200mm lense which is great quality but I can only use it on manual focus, so that's a bit of a challenge.

Someone had a sense of humour

A lovely summer evening

Some in-camera editing

Best foot forward

My ideal place to live, watching the river traffic while you dine

And of course a bit of texture.

And while sitting here I took my best shot of the day

Lastly a bit of the creative stuff...... "the mind rolls in in ever widening circles in order to progress through the jungle of creative paths, in an attempt to find the one that fits us best."

More info here

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

More fun on the roller coaster

I'm getting ever closer to the finish of Module 1 on my C&G Diploma course, and I do think I've made progress on this last chapter here.

Love it or hate it the above sample is certainly a leap outside the box for me.