Category Archives: Art

Plein Air Pittville Park painting challenge

Last Sunday, in a manifestation of the arrogance for which I am known and loved, I entered a painting competition. For a £15 entrance fee, I went with a friend to Pittville Park in Cheltenham, and spent six hours painting. The competition brief was to paint anything inspired by what you see in the park, representational or abstract. Here’s the view that caught my eye:

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Watercolour painting: Nature in Art

Back in the 1990s Fiona and I used to do a little bit of watercolour painting, despite not really having any idea what I was doing. Over the last few months, inspired by the not-actually-that-good Channel 5 TV show Watercolour Challenge, we’ve started to dabble again. This Saturday, we painted Nature in Art: a Georgian mansion just north of Gloucester that’s been converted into an art museum.

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Spoileriffic thoughts on Wandavision

I got a recommendation from a friend to watch the first three episodes of Wandavision in a block. That suggestion was solid. It’s slllooowww to get going, especially, if you’re not bathed in American sitcom culture. Fiona and I watched the first episode together and didn’t get much out of it. We started the second, and she bailed before we reached the opening credits, feeling it was more of the same. As a matter of pacing, I think they needed to bring the red helicopter into the first episode, so there’s something there other than a 1950s sitcom of the kind that 2020s TV has left far behind for a reason.

In fact, I wonder whether the best way to watch this show isn’t just to skip episode 1 completely.

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The Empty Nest: album and launch

As we approach the end of 2021, I have a pretty good idea of what my top ten albums of the year will be, for my now traditional What I’ve Been Listening To post. And one of them is an album I want to write much more about than will reasonably fit into one of the brief entries in that post. Hence today’s post:

The eagle-eyed among you will spot that this album is by my wife Fiona. That has everything to do with why I know about it at all, but absolutely nothing to do with why I love it so deeply.

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A rainbow surrounding our home

Yesterday we had an amazingly clear rainbow. And it happened at just the right time of day (4:20pm) that the sun was in just the right place that I was able to step back from the house and frame it entirely within the rainbow. Here it is, straight off the phone, with absolutely no retouching:

These are dark, dark time. But at the risk of sounding like Movie-Sam trying to encourage Movie-Frodo with greetings-card sentiments that Tolkien would never, ever have written, it does help every now and then to see something like this, almost supernaturally beautiful.

Three recent meals

On Monday last week, I made pizza from scratch for the whole family: but because it’s hard to separate a mass of dough out into five equal parts, I made enough for six pizzas, and saved the last dough ball for the next day. This is my lunch last Tuesday:

That’s a home-made dough of course, topped with a very simple tomato sauce, mozzarella, thinly sliced chorizo and jalapenos.

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Paint the whole world with a rainbow

Back on 12 December last year, we had a spectacular rainbow out behind the house — so clear it felt you could reach out and touch it. Here’s a photo of it that I took on my phone, completely unedited:

That’s all: just something beautiful for these dark times.

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Won’t somebody PLEASE think of the statues?!

Ian Malcolm and Dar Williams on modern art

I stumbled across this old favourite moment from Jurassic Park:

“If I may. I’ll tell you the problem with the art you’ve made here. It didn’t require any discipline to attain it.”

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Etch-a-Sketch ruined castle

For some reason, in the autumn of 2010 I decided to draw a ruined castle on an Etch-a-Sketch. I just stumbled across a photo I took of the drawing, and quite liked it, so here it is.