Kilgreggan , Gourlock  and the Clyde Estuary , via a self portrait 

There  are lots of windows and mirrors in the Airbnb. Reflections of a lamp in the bedroom caught my eye. So I had fun layering it in Image Blender and Prisma to create a self portrait 


Today we went over the estuary in a little ferry to Gourlock for coffee ( black Americano 6/10 , hot chocolate 2/10 ) the Victorian pier at Kilcraggen  attracted my attention so I played with my images of that too 




A mandala had to be added in the mix of course.

The train station at Gourlock is all new and shiny. 

They have an interesting exhibition of old photos and railway posters on a couple of walls that celebrate old paddle steamers and  Gourlock’s importance during WW2 as an international naval base. 


I only got one good photo because there was lots of reflections and shadows from the new architecture. This map  illustrates how it is possible to see Bute and Arran from the sitting room at Kilcraggen. Slightly different light from yesterday 


The light changing on the same view last night whilst I was sitting on the sofa 

 

Kilcraggen

We decided to go away for a few days after Easter. Jon found an Airbnb with a ‘view’ over the Clyde Estuary, a couple of hours from Edinburgh.

Kilcraggen  flourished with the building of its pier in 1848 . The area was developed as part of   the industrial expansion of Glasgow, with  villas and castles built as summer residences for well to do business men who then commuted by ferry and train back into the smoke and the grime. ( West Rosneath peninsula heritage trail A.Bray ) 


When we arrived yesterday it was a beautiful sunny day, warm enough to sit outside near the pier  and eat ice cream. 

The Airbnb is set back from the estuary on a road that runs parallel to the waters edge. The house is built on a steep rise with panoramic views. The changing light was so beautiful we decided not to close the curtains that evening

The house is owned by an artist. The walls are covered in paintings. The rooms are filled with plants and an eclectic range of objects. It felt as if the sun was streaming in from 3 sides.  I became visually overloaded so I laid down on a sofa. 

Jon had opened the windows so I listened to a variety of bird song as the sun warmed my feet.  I couldn’t remember the last time I had lain indoors and had that happen. It’s four years since we moved to Scotland in July. Jon and I decided that it must have been at one of our family homes, because the sofas had not been in the correct position in Abingdon. 

The flat in Edinburgh is a lower ground and basement as I am sure that I have written somewhere before. The light streams into the flat between March and October , but it can be a long dark weight during the winter. 

I wrote and drew in the visitors book because there is equipment provided. 


‘The sun is shining so strongly I am not used to it flooding a into a room from lots of angles. I am in love with the view from the sofa looking across to Bute and Arran. Jon is sitting in the garden which is unheard of in April in Edinburgh , marking some papers. I have become unused to the tranquility and birdsong. I love my flat,  but the day is constantly  punctuated by the sound of buses and cars driving past the window. The ceilings creak 

with visitors to the CAB but it’s quiet at night and the weekends. Here it is so still’ 

This morning I walked around the gareden collecting photos of spring flowers and I could hear the waves on the shore. 



Now,  Jon has lit a fire and the room smells softly of wood smoke. 

Inner Spaces with Erin at Glastonbury 

I just spent 3 days in Glastonbury on an art retreat. Glastonbury was something else – I don’t know what I was expecting. Anything goes, fairies, angels, goddess’s . The high street is a multicoloured eclectic  feast. 

One of the highlights of my visit was an hour spent in the Chalice Well Gardens, wandering with friends in the sunshine exploring and then lying on the grass in the warmth for a few moments. 


Erin’s workshops were a mixture of talking, short demos and lots of free styling. I felt quite liberated and my never NEED to draw a mandala again. 

I am extremely untidy by nature- drawing mandalas over the last three years has really honed my hand eye co-ordination, but lately it was an addiction and any bored moment that threatened was filled with detailed circles. 

Working with expressing my inner space through collage and paint was like breathing freely, after struggling up a steep hill with asthma on a cold morning. 


The first night I had terrible nightmares about screaming and a nasty beastie coming to get me. I worked on these along side my Inner Space work.

The first morning we got up early and walked up Glastonbury Tor, forgetting to check the visibility and weather before hand. It was cold and wild , the wind threatened to steal my phone out of my hands on a couple of occasions 


I love using bright colours , thinking about my inner space after the walk – had me painting in blue and orange, my blue seeping into the hard alien world and neutralising the noisy orange 


We tried different techniques mark making , sewing ( I forgot how much I love to sew) and burning our fears which was cathartic 


The resulting papers and fabric  were such fun I had to do a few more. 




They were glued and stitched onto my journal pages. I seem happy to let go of mandalas but circles are going to remain a recurring theme

We made patterned papers that were stitched and ripped to make great edges and loose fragile pieces to add texture and interest. I like the way sewing allows a freedom between the pieces which tends to get lost when you use glue 


Deb made a surreal pink rabbit stamped sheet to represent an outer world and after my initial laughter he became a motif on my pages- when I get back I am going to have to carve  mine own little monster to represent my nightmares.

The next few days we woke up to beautiful clear skies- Deb and Kath went back up the Tor to experience the sunrise. I wanted to add some colour to my moody grey photos so I overlaid my Tor with my orange / blue picture – it went through a prisma filter as well. 

We did a powerful group constellation therapy on the last evening and worked with how we can access strength and help within our selves by considering all those that donated their genes to create  us. I love group work and sitting and painting with these women all week and then the  doing the constellation was powerful. I have been fighting  putting my name down on the waiting lists for art studios in Edinburgh , that is going to happen now  and I am going to work exploring more abstract  messy pieces. 

The last morning we worked on how ‘yes’ and ‘no’ can be explored through our bodies and then into paint and collage 


I also worked on a ‘happy’ painting making  on some abstract circles – I only realised half way through that there were 12 of us in the room 

Two finished spreads  

Focused Spells 


What does the inside / outside feel like? 

Manipulating Edinburgh with my IPhone 

The last couple of weeks  manipulations in my iphone apps, I’ve been experimenting digitally with ideas for paintings- I haven’t worked like this before. Usually the digital images are a end product in them selves. 


Interesting window at my gym – Edinburgh , waste pipes , Georgian window , light through a room, shutters , trees out the other side ( it ticked lots of boxes …..) 

I always sell a few pictures in my exhibitions that are Edinburgh based, so I like to manipulate what ever I am working on in that direction for a few pieces – shameless marketing? It pays for the framing and nibbles at the private view 


Heisenberg filter applied – I could do a whole graphic novel just using that filter 


Add a bit of dramatic colour – to see if it could work over the top of one of my mandalas – Nope 

Well we could use the trees reflected in the door at the gym or some stairs on the way to the market? 


Below I image bleneded the Heisenberg steps with the coloured gym window – which is a bit more interesting , but can I be bothered to draw all those railings? It’s always a problem wether to draw or whether just to leave it as a photo. 


Earlier this week  Edinburgh chimneys worked really well 



They inspired me to add a sky and a silhouette to a canvas I keep adding layers to – but, wasn’t going anywhere. I like the blue against my red wall

And I’ve gone off at a tangent….

Suddenly – just like that, it’s all about chimneys and architecture ……

And then – I am spending ages on my iPhone layering and fiddling in my apps – making my self bug eyed and just a bit obsessed (again)  if you ask me ….






At least some of these are  taken and played with outside,  wandering Edinburgh getting some fresh air (lol) – anyone watching me must have thought I was doing a window or door survey ……..



And I notice I am doing a bit of painting – though still architecturally based 


And then there are those that I deleted 


Apps I love using :  

Image blender, where you can layer two images , mask , arrange and change filters


Prisma – adds arty filters to your work , my favourite is ‘Heisenberg’ – which has an image of Richard Cranston in role, as its logo ( so I get to break bad and change my art into stylised cartoons , with the press of a button) 


The filters on the iPhone camera – particularly  ‘Exposure’ ( my phone never uses the correct exposure automatically? ) and some thing called ‘black point’ which are  part of the ‘light’ menus  


Layout – inside IG which puts my pictures into nice grids 

A3 still life Part 2 

Building up my layers –

Stage 5 –  I spritzed pink ink through a doily and added turquoise acrylic paint though stencils 

Stage 6- I want a more orange effect so spritzed some yellow ink through the doily after the acrylic paint had dried 



Above are the doily and stencils that I used 

Developing a style , A3 size part 1- step by step 

Frequently over the years, I have been asked to do bigger work. I bailing at it because I like working in my kitchen on several things at once. However, the still life style I have been producing would work well A3 ( 12″x16.5″)

Drawing a mandala that big was a bit tricky until I got the hang of it

Stage 1 – mandala  drawing using water soluble teal ink on 140lb watercolour paper and cartridge paper 

Stage 2- Spritzed with water x4 

The second one is drawn with thin sharpie just to see what happens ( my turquoise pen ran out) I always think as I do each stage – leave it here …..


I love the slight differences that you get doing a series 

Part3- adding texture and energy drawing loose spirals in a variety of different pencils , gelatos and pens 


I also added some Galeria  Matt varnish because the blokey in my local art shop said it would act as a resist …… we shall see 

Stage 4 – sprayed pink watersoluble pink ink through a crochet diolly 


I have decided that If I am doing teal and turquoise acrylic backgrounds on top and of these I need to add a bit more zing to the underneath layer. Disappointing there is no evidence of the varnish acting as a resist at this stage …..


But not too much 
Fluorescent pink and yellow is just a bit too much even for me …. ( above I spread it on with a credit card)