England in the Summer

 

Earlier this week I decided to have a go at painting with a less realistic look.  I decided not to allow myself to use a small brush and to make a more, what I call, ‘blobby’ painting.  My plan was to throw on some darker lower layers and then add more detail in layers and go lighter in tone as I got more detailed.  I used gouache, although oils would have been lovely for this.

Rather than painting on location I used an old photograph of a place near where I used to live.  It’s looking out from what is know locally as ‘The Bluebell Wood’ onto a local farm.

Here’s the photo…

Once I’d got the main shapes and structures down I stopped looking at the reference to avoid the temptation to make it too accurate and too close to the original.  It turned out to be a fun and easy way to paint!

🙂

I also had planned to finish my other painting but I got sick in the middle of the week.  I’m on antibiotics again.  I don’t know why I keep getting unwell so often.  My best guess is that one of two things really kicks it off.  Either I don’t get enough sleep because of the chronic pain and my immune system get’s weak because of that, or I get badly stressed about something (very frequently because of my autism) and that weakens my system too.

I have previously asked my doctor for help and advice with this and he said I need to have a ‘healthy lifestyle’.  I told him I eat a good diet, I keep my body clean, I try to get as much rest as I need, I don’t drink or smoke or take any illegal drugs.  He said I should exercise more.  This is hard because I need crutches to walk more than 10-20 metres and sometimes I end up in tears just trying to get to where my car is parked.  So I asked him how I could do that given the mobility problems I have and he just shrugged his shoulders.  I thought that was really unhelpful.

So I decided to try to manage this better on my own since he’s clearly not going to help at all.  I’m finding ways to better manage stress and allowing myself more sleep time when I miss sleep because of pain.  I’m also pushing my consumption of fruit and vegetables and topping up vitamin c.  Hopefully things will get better.  I feel so rubbish again now.

 

 

The Shield Knot

A while ago I did some more carving.  I had some mahogany offcuts from a local timber yard and decided to make a family present from one of them.  I drew a shield knot onto the wood and then carved it out.  I used the same tools as I used for the Wand last Friday – but no Dremel.

tools

The carving took over a week but was incredibly relaxing to do.  I really enjoyed it.  Once I had the carving work done I painted the carved areas with a dark brown acrylic paint, to make it really stand out, and then varnished the whole thing.

Here’s the finished work:

Shield Knot Carving1_WEB

And here’s a close up:

Shield Knot Carving2_web

Alohomora – Wandmaking Adventures!

Today my little dog brought me home a stick.  She doesn’t often do this because she usually loses them really quickly – she’s not the cleverest dog in the world – in fact my Dad thinks she has the brains of an aubergine!

BonnieAub

So I was about to put the stick into the rubbish when I saw how straight it was.  I wondered what I could make out of it.  I’ve been reading a lot of J. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ recently so I thought I’d try to make a wand out of it.  I got out my carving tools and had a go:

tools

Here’s the stick in it’s ‘dog-scrounged’ form:

bonnie's stick

First I stipped the bark off:

whittling

Then I could see how good or bad the wood really was.  It wasn’t great…

nobark

Both ends were moulded and split:

end2 end1

But the stick was much longer than I needed so I cut those bad ends off:

removeends

And I began to carve a handle shape on the thicker end:

beginshaping

(In this picture you can also see my dog’s tooth marks in the wood!)

Once I’d got the basic shape I got out my Dremel and began to clean it up and smooth it out in earnest until it looked properly wand-like:

shaping fishined,jpg

The next job was to sand it, paint  and varnish it.  I decided to paint the handle only and leave the varnished wood on the main shaft.  I used acrylic paint – blue and gold – and Yacht Varnish for it’s high shine.  It took three days for the various coats of varnish to dry but here it is:

wandfin

I might give this as a gift to a child who’s into Harry Potter.  I did try it 😉 but sadly it’s doesn’t do any magic – you just can’t get the unicorn hair these days!  Good fun for kids though.

The Dark Forest Lake – Ink on A3 Paper

This has taken about 4 hours and was done over three days.  It’s my first ever A3 Ink drawing.  I was inspired originally by the dark forest picture on pottermore.  At the time I was refining my ability to draw trees and these creepy bent, mostly dead trees seemed perfect.  It took a lot of patience as there’s lots of paper to cover but I loved doing it.  The chance to draw some better detail was wonderful.  I already have an idea for my next A3 Ink drawing.

Anyway, here it is…

 1darkforestlake_WEB

(Click for a larger version)

Also, please note I’m not able to find my good camera at the moment so this photo was taken with my phone.  It has lost the most detailed parts of the image – the surface of the water and some of the other fine lines.

Here is my sketch from early on…

1darkforestlake_sketch_WEB

And here is the piece halfway through…

1darkforestlake_halfway_WEB