Two days of paper crafts with Xavier
Two days where I was Xavier’s studio assistant, cutting, sticking, printing and making Halloween and autumnal arts and crafts at the Paper Trail at the old Apsley paper mill.
My lovely son’s eighteenth birthday
We had a dinner of Tom’s choice last night to celebrate his eighteenth birthday and then just before bed, minutes into his birthday, I sketched Tom. I promise you the big head is an accident of drawing not a comment on Tom. He was off in the early hours to enjoy a holiday in Amsterdam with his boyfriend Will.
After Tom went to bed I reflected on what a joy he has been and how lucky I am to have him. I also had a giggle looking at the web page Robin made for him when he was about Xavier’s age – including listening to the clip of his high-pitched voice singing ‘The Red Flag’. He was such a thoughtful little character. At great personal suffering he refused to eat any Nestlé sweets because he’d heard on the radio about Nestlé’s aggressive marketing of infant formula milk in the third world. I do so like children with strong opinions.
News Café, Brussels
This is my last sketch from my day in Brussels. Although I’m really glad that we now have a smoking ban in our pubs and restaurants here in the UK, it made me feel quite nostalgic to sit in a smoky bar. And in the spirit of nostalgia I ordered a kir, which when I was a young art student was my drink of choice when excitedly feeling I was part of the bohemian arty crowd drinking at the French pub in Soho. You had to be in the know then, the delightfully different un-English drinking establishment presided over by Gaston Berlemont was the place to spot bohemians such as Francis Bacon and others but it didn’t have a sign outside.
Lunch in Brussels
The quickest of quick sketches while husband looked at the guidebook on our day trip. The walls of the restaurant were covered in different collections of objects – biscuit tins, coffee grinders, long playing records, bottles, packaging. It all added up to a delightful quirky interior. My complementary raspberry beer was delicious.
Once again when the day job gets in the way I resort to colouring in old line drawings – and very relaxing it is too.
On Friday I went to Brussels for the day with my husband. The tickets were the prize for a Little Break to Brussels competition on Katherine Tyrrel’s blog. It was wonderful to go to another country just for the day. Despite, in my youth, designing the brochures for the insurance broking company who brokered the insurance for the Channel Tunnel project I’ve never been on the Eurostar. I’m completely won over, it’s so much more comfortable than the hell that is airports and budget airlines. We were given tickets for the expensive seats – but looking through the carriage windows the budget seats still look much better than the airline seats I usually travel on. We arrived at 9 in the morning, walked and walked until I even had blisters on the soles of my feet. We visited the Grand Place, the Musée des Beaux Arts and the Magritte Museum, had lunch in a quirky little Belgian restaurant and then did a long walk around some of the gems of Art Nouveau architecture that can be seen all round the city. There’s an awful lot more to be seen but we packed as much as possible in a day.
We seem to have a bit of a fruit thing going on here. Hoary Morning, Gascoignes Scarlett, Tower of Glamis, Adam’s Permain, Cockles Pippin, Laxton Superb, Rosemary Russet – the names of the fruit varieties available at Shenley Park Apple Day sound like poetry to me. I’m looking forward to having our own apple days with the planned development of our own community orchard (as part of Heartwood Forest) here in Sandridge.
And talking about woodland and fruit trees, I’ve just found a delightful bit of film about my bluebell wood here
While fruit and vegetable shopping today I rejected the pears Robin suggested buying in favour of these flavourless but beautiful pears. The pale yellow skin and black stalks make such a picture on the plate, it’s worth the sacrifice for once.
Another date screw-up
I don’t know what happens with words when I draw. I reckon there’s a road in my brain and the neuro-whatever-they-ares have to make a choice ‘Now guys youse gotta choose – you go fer da words and da numbas and da dates or youse choose da pictures’. I don’t really know why the thing in my brain is something out of ‘The Sopranos’ but anyway the outcome is that if I attempt any kind of lettering in the midst of drawing, this spelling-bee queen becomes a hopeless drone. So just to clarify, this was in fact drawn on October 9 so please ignore the August in the drawing.
The primary school teacher
She’s an enthusiastic and talented teacher. She adores the children – you can see her melting as she watches them coming in for assembly. She’s impossibly glamorous. She’ll be one of those teachers the children will reminisce about when they’re all grown up, and it will be for all the right reasons. And at the last class assembly I managed to sneak a quick sketch of her for Xavier.
This is currently Xavier’s favourite outfit. An embroidered velvet hat which I picked up when on holiday in Turkey. A dark blue satin chinese top and trousers, a present from his grandfather he’s only just grown into, and the cotton patchwork jacket bought in China by my sister. The finishing touch – a pair of sunglasses which he peers through in our autumnal gloom. We can’t let practical considerations, like being able to see, get in the way of being stylish.
Demonstration for St Albans Art Society
A welcome escape from housewifery to watch artist Robert Harris demonstrate Atelier interactive acrylic paints – which have the remarkable property of being able to be rehydrated to give a longer working time. Robert had a real talent for analysing what he was doing while he was doing it. Personally I couldn’t care less if people watch while I sketch or paint, but to give a running commentary of what I’m doing including knowing the names of the colours I’m using as I use them… I don’t know how he does it.
Weeping with laughter
Robin and Hugo laughing at this YouTube video
‘Hitler reacts to news that Susan Boyle did not win Britain's Got Talent
’Warning – there is bad language in the subtitles
Another quickie, this time of Will
Too much on to post more than the occasional thumbnail at the moment.
A few thumbnails of Xavier
Catching flies at the Maltings Surgery
Hugo is in the wars at the moment – having just got over his skateboarding injury he now has terrible ear-ache. On the advice of the doctor I've been pouring warm olive oil into his bunged up ear. My Grandparents (who always had a tiny bottle of it in their medicine cupboard) would be horrified to know that now we all cook with the stuff. Whatever happened to good old lard?