Friday, June 30, 2006

EDM Challenge 72 Draw somewhere new

Earlier this week, we went to Machynlleth in mid-Wales, mainly to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology
We arrived to find a single wooden hut in the car park. I was somewhat astonished, until I saw the water-balanced railway going up the hill to the main centre at the top. The railway is entirely powered by water. There are two carriages with a rope between them. The top carriage gets filled with water, while the bottom one has water emptied out of it. This makes the top one heavy, so it slides down the hill, pulling the empty one up as it does so. I’m sure the website explains it better than I can.

There were loads of examples of sustainable living – like energy efficient houses, wind-power, solar and water-power, and gardens which they have managed to grow on top of slate by building raised beds and filling them with compost. There were goats and chickens and a baby duck. Occasionally we spotted a resident – you could tell them by the mugs of tea (herbal, no doubt) that they always carried.

We stayed at a wonderful farm-house just outside Machynlleth called Talbontdrain Dinner was a home-cooked affair, and so delicious we had to eat until we popped. She went to so much trouble, preparing a good mix of vegetables and salad to go with the lamb stew, and then bringing out a huge fruit pavlova for dessert – crispy and chewy in all the right places, with fluffy cream and very fresh ripe fruit. Highly recommended if you are ever in mid Wales.

We took the guesthouse dog for a walk on Tuesday, around the wild hills covered with bracken, foxgloves and slate. Very spectacular. And the dog was perfectly behaved. When she saw any animals, she snuck past them before trotting off again, ears bobbing up and down. She was great company.

I did a couple of sketches in the guesthouse to meet the EDM challenge of draw somewhere new.

Tomorrow, I’ve got my second Open University day school for the writing course. Now all I have to do is remember how to get there.

Blast. I can't upload the images. I'll upload them later, if Blogger will let me.

Edit: Here are my sketches

Thursday, June 22, 2006

EDM Challenge 71 - Favourite sport

The challenge was to draw something representing your favourite sport. I'm not into competitive sports - never have been. So I drew my cycle helmet (yes, that's what it is!) I love my bike, particularly now we live in a place with lots of cute country lanes where rabbits bounce about in front of you and crows soar overhead. It's a great way to keep fit whilst having a nice time.

Monday, June 19, 2006

EDM Challenge 69 - Beverage

I'm trying to draw every day. Today's effort is the challenge from a few weeks ago to draw a beverage and write a little about it. Well ... this is a cup of tea. I don't drink much tea, but needed a bit of old-fashioned English comfort as I've been watching a blackbird outside nursing itself with a very poorly-looking wing. There's not much I can do for it except leave it in peace. I hope it pulls through.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I'm still here

I was just on the phone to Mum, and she pointed out that I haven't written anything here for a while. So here goes.

I've been pretty busy. Last weekend I ran a career change workshop. Despite running it on the hottest day of the year so far AND the same day as the first England world cup footie match, ten people attended. They gave me a round of applause at the end, which made it feel all worth while. I love it when my workshop delegates get a lot out of the day, which they did seem to.

Last Wednesday was my last day at art college (until next September.) We looked around the final year shows. These included photography, textiles fashion, painting and sculpture and installation art. I particularly liked a wire sculpture of a bird on a piece of driftwood, with the bird interlaced with found items such as feathers. It was on a large scale (perhaps six foot by four foot for the whole piece, and the bird about the size of a crow with outstretched wings.)

We had a street party last night in the village (for the Queen's official birthday) and got chatting to some of the locals. They have fascinating stories to tell, and most of the estates round here are named after one or other of them. I'm also learning a fair bit about farming (it's incredibly hard work, for starters.)

Today we've been out on bikes to Chipping Warden, saw some artists painting plein air, and did about 17.5 miles. So why am I not losing weight? Huh? Then this afternoon we went to Canons Ashby, a National Trust house and gardens. We had lunch and cake (oh, maybe that's why.) I did some sketching, and discovered I like drawing with charcoal pencil - but I can't draw trees.

On the writing front, I’ve just about finished a couple of poems for my TMA submission. I’ve really enjoyed learning about poetry. I’ve also got somewhat addicted to reading it, currently reading Being Alive. There’s some good stuff in there, particularly a poem by Mary Oliver that ends with the lines “so tell me, what is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” These words just send a shiver through me. I’m pretty happy, though, that I’m enjoying my precious life just as it is right now.

I tried to upload one of my paintings for you, but Blogger won't let me. I'll try again another day.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Good Weekend

We've made the most of the sunshine. Yesterday we both went for separate bike rides (so Rick can get some exercise). It was glorious - sunshine and blue sky, but still cool and breezy as it was early morning. We then went to Banbury, where I finally bit the bullet and treated myself to some painting canvas - a pack of 3 for £9.99 from the Works. Now I've got to do some 'proper' paintings.

Today, we visited Ryton Organic Gardens and I took my SLR with me and took some shots. How antiquated though - I've now got to wait until I've finished the film and get it developed before I can see them. This afternoon, we cycled to Upton House - 15.5 miles - my legs are jelly. However, we got a reduction for arriving by bike AND we had a leaflet to get free cake. I did a watercolour sketch of the secret garden - not a spot on Karen's watercolour sketches but I enjoyed doing it.

Friday, June 02, 2006

EDM Challenge 68 - Draw your computer

This required patience, which is something I don't have too much of.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

EDM Challenge 67 - Draw Something Mom

Looking for mother and baby images, I found this pair Aren't they gorgeous?

EDM Challenge 66 - Fire Hydrant

We don't have fire hydrants here, so I found a picture at They are quite fascinating, aren't they?