Ninety minutes at night

6°C, cold and dry.

A 1½ hours after work. This is a return ride after over a week of feeling poorly. I’ve really felt the cold but, unsurprisingly, it’s not noticeable after the ride.

As you can see, the speeds are quite low, partly because of restrictive warm clothing. Ironic that I overheated slightly. A week of no exercise does make the cold air more biting.

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Linseed Door

7°C, rain.

Got a cold so stayed in and worked on the house. This is the door to a cupboard which was panelled over, probably in the late 1970s. The panel cake off easily but the paint flaked and revealed its thickness. There were atm east 4 layers, the lower layers were even thicker and softened reluctantly under the heat gun. The yellow is rather shocking (probably 1980s) but the two colours beneath are interesting.

Those two lower paint coats needed more heat to soften and smelled different.

Now the door is finished and re-hung, the room smells of linseed oil. Is that the medium for old paints? I feel rather nostalgic about that smell, it reminds me of art college

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Two hours.

I used to keep a measure of my accumulated bike rides by adding up the weekly then annual milage. In a good year, I could total 6,000 miles. As the years go by, this figure has steadily declined to around 5,000. However, I recall doing a survey about a decade ago and worked out that I did about 10 hours a week exercise. Over his last year, it’s somewhere around 9 hours per week. In other words, it has not really gone down much, I’m just slower now.

As for today, what a cold biting wind there is. It’s cold for it’s direction – south East. Two hours was enough and even my legs felt stiff despite me urging them on.

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Liverpool night glow

6°C, fresh breeze from NW. Dry.

I still like cycling at night. This is late twilight, about 6pm.

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That’s why I bought the Jake.

7°C, quiet and cool.

Autumn rust.

A fine November day, surface water everywhere after recent downpours. I felt the magic on this ride – so that’s why I bought this bike. The poor machine got caked in mud especially after plunging into a deep rut. It then looked like gravy.

What a satisfying day, the distance is not great but it took 3 ½ hours.

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A few days off…


No cycling because of low energy caused by a quiet cold.

In class demo: monoprint.
Tiny sketch from a meeting.
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Many miles, but. little.. strength…

11°C, some sunny bits, but you know – it’s November.

A much used route.

Nothing seriously wrong but I didn’t have a lot of energy on tap. The ride was nearly 50 miles but I avoided the bigger hills because of that empty legs thing.

This old Arrow bike is running nicely with its new brakes, chainset and BB. The next bit to fail will be the Sora shifters, they are quite loose now after 20 years use. This used to be my main commuter and winter bike so it has some huge miles in its history.

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A6 pen (biro IV)

At least there is some intensity in this one. The glancing sunlight and secondary lighting make for a sculptural form.

I will be ready to return to painting soon.

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Mustang gallop

11°C, some SE breeze, dry but damp.

Grey October day.

What a dull day to end October on. There will be much more dank, dreary and cold ones to come this winter. The return route was better with a tailwind. I could enjoy those long level straights and work on the edge of anaerobic.

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School demos

Lesson demo 1

Teaching how to use graphite powder in drawing. This is more a painterly approach. Lay out blocks of tone softly with a cloth. Work in highlights with a putty-rubber. Only then dive is with ever softer pencils. This is a top-down method that parallels painting a ground, under-painting, over-painting then glazes.

It’s a way of thinking that avoids errors introduced by filling in an outline that so many children use. This offers a clear route in via broad tones towards fine detail last.

Lesson demo 2.

So many children get in a fix and want to start again. Sometimes that’s because an outline is off. Sometimes they have represented a boundary with line that they can’t even see. For example, a face outline partly covered by hair. I teach them to build up details starting from the eye-line. That way, the eyes get the most attention; they are, after all, the most important feature ina portrait.

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